New planning rules should encourage eco-home building

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March saw new, simplified planning reforms with the launch of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

One of the key issues covered by the new policy is sustainability and the impact of development in the countryside.

What sustainability actually means and how this is translated into policy has been and still is being debated, however David Ettridge, managing director of Ettridge Architecture in Hessle, East Yorkshire, believes the NPPF is a step in the right direction.

David, who has had recent experience dealing with council planners when looking to build dwellings in a Yorkshire village, points out that until recently development was encouraged only in towns and cities, where the employment is.

“What about sales representatives; those that work from home and those who travel for a living?” says David whose firm is currently working on “earth-sheltered” and pure hemp eco-home projects. “Why can’t they build new dwellings in villages and wouldn’t that be good for everyone?”

He adds the NPPF may make it easier within a defined and sustainable framework, to develop in the countryside.

Many of the well-known green institutions have been worried that this may give the go-ahead for indiscriminate development in Yorkshire’s villages and countryside. Green firms such as Ettridge Architecture Ltd argue that this is not the case, as each proposal will still be evaluated by planners on a strict project by project basis.