Derbyshire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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NPPF - our Chairman's report

Community Control or Countryside Chaos? analyses the impact of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on the countryside in the two years since it was adopted.  The research has found that the reforms are forcing local councils to accept major developments against their will in all parts of the country.

Countryside under siege
It reveals plans for over 700,000 houses in the countryside - including 200,000 allocated for the Green Belt. As a consequence, the countryside surrounding towns and villages across England is now increasingly under siege. Around the town of Ashbourne there are proposals for 1047 new houses, which, if agreed, could increase the population by up to 35%.  Sites already earmarked for housing are being left undeveloped while councils are under increasing pressure to allocate more and more land for future development.

This pressure has significantly slowed the rate at which local plans are being formed and adopted, meaning councils are powerless to decide what land should be developed in the best interests of local communities.  The report also reveals that despite sufficient availability for over one million homes  on brownfield sites, only a quarter of local authorities propose to prioritise these over Greenfield sites because the NPPF does not provide  enough support for them to do so.

Appeals go in favour of developers
CPRE’s research shows that over two thirds of appeals for major housing have gone in favour of developers in the last year, including one at Ashbourne. Councils are increasingly reluctant to defend an appeal due to the risk of incurring costs, which can go into the hundreds of thousands of pounds if they reject an inappropriate development that is ultimately overturned.

Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of CPRE, said: "This report provides firm evidence from across England that the Government’s planning reforms are not achieving their stated aims. Far from community control of local development, we are seeing councils under pressure to disregard local democracy to meet top-down targets.  Local authorities are having to agree fanciful housing numbers and allocate huge areas of greenfield land to meet them. Where they lack an up to date plan, the countryside is up for grabs and many villages feel under siege from developers. But tragically the result is not more housing, and certainly not more affordable housing – just more aggro and less green space."


Local Plan for Amber Valley
The Local Plan for the Derbyshire District of Amber Valley is currently undergoing a phase of public examination and it includes a number of proposals for large scale developments on green field sites. CPRE members are attending the public hearings to try and protect these green spaces for the future use and enjoyment of Derbyshire residents and visitors – once the green fields have been built upon, we have lost them forever.

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