Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers has submitted her response to a Government consultation published because of an amendment she tabled to a Bill in Parliament on planning. In this 16-page document, the MP sets out how she wants the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to work in practice, to enable local people to have a greater say in what is built in their area.
Last year, Theresa tabled amendment NC21 to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, backed by 60 MPs. This led to Secretary of State Michael Gove offering a compromise and undertaking the consultation now underway. She has highlighted that this win will only be delivered in practice if important changes are made to the NPPF.
Speaking in Parliament last week, the former Cabinet Minister said: “The Secretary of State brought forward significant concessions to rebalance the planning system to give local communities greater control over what is built in their neighbourhood. That is very welcome.
“It is being taken forward in the consultation now under way on the new National Planning Policy Framework, but the battle is by no means over because the extent to which the compromise delivers real change depends on how it is implemented. It depends on that consultation.
“Let me give an example. I very much welcome the new NPPF footnote 30, which promises that brownfield development will be prioritised over greenfield; but even on brownfield sites, it is crucial to respect factors like local character and density. "Brownfield first” must not mean brownfield free-for-all. We need more detail on how the “brownfield first” approach will be delivered in practice.
“Giving councils new powers to set design codes is also welcome, but design standards need to be additional to, not a substitute for, existing planning protections on matters such as green belt and greenfield density, height and character. A project that is an overdevelopment cannot be cured with high-quality design.”
Theresa also pointed out that further changes are need to the planning system which applies in London. “There is still an urgent need to curb the power of the Mayor of London to impose targets on the boroughs,” she told MPs.
“The Mayor has used the London Plan to try to load additional housing delivery obligations on to the suburbs, especially boroughs such as Barnet, which have already delivered thousands of new homes in recent years.
“My long-running battle to safeguard the local environment of Chipping Barnet must continue. Know this: I will fight with diligence, determination and perhaps even a little obstinacy.”