New planning framework is not a licence to develop but about being sustainable, says CLA

24 October 2013

The CLA today (1 September) said the overreaction surrounding the reform of the planning system is provoking ill-informed opposition to the "presumption in favour of sustainable development" proposed by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The Association said the presumption is about taking a balanced approach to planning applications and is not a licence to develop for housebuilders. It argued the Government's proposal is for a more flexible system within environmental limits and called for it to be given a chance in the countryside.

CLA President William Worsley said: "CLA members live and work in rural areas. We care deeply about the countryside and do not want it to be concreted over any more than other organisations currently speaking out. However, we believe sustainable development is about taking a balanced approach to economic, social and environmental factors and not about developers getting the green light to build rough-shod over rural areas.

"The countryside, and the communities and businesses it supports, must become more sustainable than it is at the moment. If the current unbalanced planning policy continues, the countryside and all it contains will not survive."

Mr Worsley added: "UK farm income fell last year by 6.4 percent. This means the farmers who manage the landscape and biodiversity the public so loves, need an alternative source of income. Extra money can only be provided through a more flexible planning system to encourage economic growth.

"Without the opportunity to diversify, there will be even less money than there is now to underpin the management of the countryside. Therefore, we must have a measured debate about how economic, social and environmental factors can equally benefit the countryside through planning policy."