Barbara has written to Conservative Planning Minister, Greg Clark, to ask him to make clear what his Government planning reforms would mean for proposed developments like the one at Burgess Farm, Walkden.
The Government is currently consulting the public on a draft new National Planning Policy Framework. This short document will replace over 1,000 pages of planning guidance which has developed over the years. The planning reforms being proposed have attracted much controversy because they would have the effect of removing protections such as having targets to develop brownfield land before considering green field land.
In the face of national uproar and opposition to their radical reforms, Conservative Planning Ministers now seem to be signalling that they will backtrack. Planning Minister Bob Neill MP has suggested that the government will change its planning policy to re-instate some of the measures which helped protect Green Belt and Greenfield land in the previous legislation.
“The Conservative-led Government has caused confusion and chaos in the planning system and there is now much uncertainty about what planning authorities should be doing about this. On the one hand the Secretary of State is not giving weight to the suggested reforms in recent planning decisions he has made because the changes are still out to consultation. Also, Planning Minister Bob Neill has just said that the Government can improve the Planning Policy document so that “by the end of the year we will be in a very different place”.
“However, planners at Salford Council still seem to think that they are being required by the Government to take account of the Government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework. The council’s planners think that the Government wants them to grant more planning permissions and that they cannot insist that brownfield land is developed first.
“This uncertainty is very difficult to live with and it is affecting the process around the appeal on the proposed development of Burgess Farm. It is clear to me that the Government will have to update its draft planning policy and put back some of the important measures that protect Green Belt and green open spaces from development. I have asked Planning Minister, Greg Clark, to clarify the situation urgently and I will pass his advice on to Salford Council as soon as I receive it.”