Planning consultant Malcolm Scott said the new framework, controversially brought in by the Government to help simplify planning and make it easier to build, which would boost the economy.
He said the changes "could help garden centres in principle".
Scott added that among a host of other changes (see coverage on the National Planning Policy Framework in Horticulture Week):
"Sustainable development, which is to be permitted in a wider range of locations than previously, now incorporates the concept of socio-economic sustainability, i.e. jobs. So if a garden centre development will maintain and increase jobs, this is a factor given more significance in the planning decision making."