CPRE charter fights to save countryside

Call to arms as CPRE unveil charter to stop destruction of the English countryside

Bullying tactics by developers – Too often at present, controversy over local planning is typified by large, powerful developers railroading unpopular proposals through the planning process. This can often involve using the threat of their right of appeal against refusal of planning permission to wear down local opposition. Undeveloped land can always be subject to a planning application for development, and applicants can keep on submitting variants of the same proposal at intervals indefinitely. As soon as any one application succeeds, there is no provision for development to be stopped provided it complies with relevant conditions. In other words, developers can keep on playing the system, and only have to get lucky once to achieve their goal. In stark contrast, local communities and other ‘third parties’ to planning applications have no right of appeal against planning approval, even if a development would go against a locally-agreed plan.

‘Precisely at the moment when we should be defending the countryside, and making it more accessible because it gives us all what we need more freely than anything else under the sun – we are at grave risk of losing it.’ CPRE President Sir Andrew Motion

As the evidence mounts that Government planning reforms are not working the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) today (Monday) launches a three point charter to save our countryside. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was intended to simplify planning and get houses built. The reforms have not delivered the housing people need and are instead causing harm to communities and landscapes.

CPRE’s charter demands are:

Don’t sacrifice our countryside [1]

Our open spaces are being destroyed unnecessarily. Previously developed brownfield land should be re-used first to protect the beauty and tranquillity of our countryside and breathe new life into our towns and cities.

A fair say for local communities [2]

Local people are increasingly unable to stop the destruction of their towns and countryside. The cards are stacked in favour of powerful developers. We want a democratic planning system that gives communities a much stronger say in the future of their area.

More housing –in the right places [3]

The country urgently needs more affordable homes for our rising population, including in villages and market towns. But they must be sensitively located; with excellent environmental standards and high quality design that enhances local character.

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