GreenSpace slams planning policy

Parks charity denounces 'single ideology' in Government's National Planning Policy Framework.

Landscape leaders have launched a series of attacks on the Government's planning proposals, saying that they smack of a "single political ideology".

GreenSpace said the definition of "sustainable development" on which the National Planning Policy Framework proposals hinge was weak, inadequate and gave no real basis for objective or consistent appraisal.

Glaring omissions included a failure to promote the role of green infrastructure in supporting good-quality urban areas or in combating climate change. Without well-planned landscapes, a development "can't really be described as sustainable".

GreenSpace issued its 20-page response last week. The Government wants to promote local planning strategies and ensure sustainable development.

GreenSpace questioned the co-existence of more development with environmental protection and said strong planning frameworks were often needed.

Its strongest criticism was saved for the claim that without growth, a sustainable future could not be achieved. "The statement is entirely representative of a single political ideology," said GreenSpace, led by Paul Bramhill.

"To say planning must operate to encourage growth and not act as an impediment simply dumbs down the more expansive role of good planning systems. It must have power and tools to be an impediment where proposals are inappropriate."

In a separate response, Design Council CABE said planning must recognise all the components that made up a sustainable place.

"The draft does not require green infrastructure to be managed in the local plan or through a duty to cooperate, said chairman Paul Finch. "Social, economic and environmental considerations should be balanced for true sustainable development."

Green space safeguard - Local referendum

According to the Government, communities will be able draw up plans to safeguard green space.

New provisions in the bill will enable them to boost the amount of space for food growing, leisure and recreation, together with powers to protect existing green spaces and to identify other land that could be used by locals.

A referendum at the end of the process is intended to ensure that communities have the final say on whether a new plan comes into force.

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