Disaster warning on planning framework

COUNTRYSIDE campaigners have described new planning guidance which has been issued for consultation by the Government as a “disaster waiting to happen” for South Yorkshire.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) South Yorkshire branch has criticised the National Planning Policy Framework which was first published by Ministers last month.

According to the campaign, it is “the biggest reform of planning for over 50 years” and the charity believes it will place countryside around Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield under threat.

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John King, planning officer with CPRE South Yorkshire, said: “It’s a disaster waiting to happen. This new framework means the weakening of planning control.

“It doesn’t commit to the principle that the countryside should be protected for its own intrinsic character or beauty.

“What it does is to place South Yorkshire under increasing threat and leave communities and planning authorities powerless in the face of pressure from developers.

“It’s going to be chaos. It’s a return to the terrible planning system of the 1980s. There will be a lack of certainty about planning that will be no good for communities, businesses or countryside.

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“Nobody will know where they stand, which won’t deliver growth or protect the environment.”

The charity claims that changes to green belt policy would allow building which would previously have been restricted and said the policy will lead to a loss of emphasis on brownfield regeneration.

There are also concerns over the creation of neighbourhood forums that will have the power to give planning permission. CPRE said they would be set up in a way that could be “dominated by businesses rather than residents”.

Mr King said: “We’re urging people to object to the draft framework now and to write to their MP to tell them how these proposals could really damage our local landscapes.”