Will National Planning Policy Framework help North East Business?
“The Chancellor announced in the Budget last week that the new National Planning Policy Framework will be published and come into effect on Tuesday. The NPPF will replace 1000 pages of guidance with just 50 pages. The Budget statement indicated that the NPPF will remain growth-friendly and retain the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
“However, it remains to be seen what caveats, if any, are introduced to ensure protection for environmentally sensitive areas. This has been a major campaigning point for groups including the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
“The Chancellor said the NPPF will come into effect immediately with no transitional arrangements identified. The majority of the Councils in the North East, including Newcastle City, Gateshead Metropolitan and Northumberland and Durham County Council, do not have their local plans in place, and will therefore be reliant on the NPPF. If Councils in the North East are to be able to direct where growth goes, they need to move quickly to adopt local plans.
“While the cutting of planning red tape will help North East business’ it is not enough in itself. There is also a desperate need to improve access to finance otherwise no development or regeneration will be able to come forward. This is as least as big an issue as any delays caused by planning.
“It is good to see that the Chancellor has stuck to his guns and it is clear that the intention is for the NPPF to remain growth-friendly, which will hopefully provide the boost needed to encourage growth in the North East, especially in rural areas.
“However, getting planning permission is only one part of the process. Businesses also need to be able to secure finance to get projects developed. Unless this issue is resolved there will continue to be a blockage in the system, preventing development, economic growth and job creation.”