CLA tells MPs planning reform is vital to help to build stronger, more sustainable countryside

18 October 2016

Reforming the planning system to make it easier for rural businesses to deliver important development is vital to help to build a stronger and more sustainable countryside, the CLA has told MPs.

Giving evidence to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill Committee today (18 October), CLA President Ross Murray put forward the case for changes to the Bill which would secure a viable future for rural communities and their economies by further reform of the planning system.

Mr Murray said he welcomed measures on both planning and compulsory purchase contained in the Bill but told the Committee that without changes unnecessary costs and delays would be imposed on farmers and landowners looking to diversify through the planning system preventing essential development from coming forward.

He said: “Developing homes, new business spaces and commercial opportunities reinvigorates rural communities and helps to build a stronger, more sustainable countryside.

“The Bill is a welcome opportunity for further reform of the planning system so that rural businesses have the best opportunity to help rural communities thrive and grow. We want to see changes that make changes that positively encourage important development in rural areas and which help to secure a more viable future.”

The CLA is calling on the Government to make it possible to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate only in relation to pre-commencement conditions. Such conditions prevent any development with planning permission from taking place until detailed aspects of the project have been approved and the condition has been fulfilled by the applicant. Currently, if there is a disagreement over a pre-commencement condition imposed by the local authority the appeal can lead to the entire proposed development being re-examined.