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Planning professionals call for ‘vital’ changes to NPPF

Words: Laura Edgar
New developments should feature sustainable transport options / Shutterstock_649524580

Planning professionals, charities and other organisations involved in planning and delivering sustainable development and infrastructure have written a letter to the government setting out the improvements they believe the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires.

The letter outlines a number of “vital” changes that the group of signatories believe would “significantly” improve the pace at which development proposals clear the planning process.

This would result in “high-quality, genuinely sustainable development”, they say.

Many objections to proposals are made on transport and environmental grounds, but these could be pre-empted if the NPPF provided “clear criteria” for the siting of development, and which takes account of the full range of government policy priorities affected.

Further to this, the accessibility of a development location by an appropriate range of sustainable transport options should be a “key factor” when determining the suitability of an application. This would ensure that residents had good access to a wide range of services using sustainable transport.

Transport authorities and operators, the groups explains in the letter, should be involved in the whole planning process, while the layout of developments should make “appropriate” provision for buses, cycling and walking and reduce car dependency.

Sue Percy, chief executive at the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT), said: “CIHT has worked with fellow professionals to highlight some key improvements that can be made to the NPPF and the system of planning in England and Wales to create more sustainable and economically prosperous places. For too long, too many homes have been built in the wrong locations with insufficient integrated transport. CIHT believes we can, and must, do better.

“We believe that our current planning system needs to change and by improving the integration between planning and transport we can deliver improved outcomes for all.”

Last week, the RTPI said the draft NPPF must focus on transport-oriented housing developments, stating that choices on strategic transport investment should not be made in isolation.

The letter has been signed by:

  • Sue Percy, chief executive at CIHT
  • Lynda Addison, chair at the Transport Planning Society
  • Victoria Hills, chief executive at the RTPI
  • Joe Irvin, chief executive at Living Streets
  • Jonathan Bray, director at Urban Transport Group
  • Hugh Ellis, head of policy at the Town and Country Planning Association
  • Phil Southall, managing director at Oxford Bus Company
  • Stephen Joseph, chief executive at Campaign for Better Transport
  • Michael Bach, Chairman: Planning, Environment & Transport Committee, London Forum of Amenity & Civic Societies.

Image credit | Shutterstock