National Planning Policy Framework

Thank you for contacting me about local development.

I believe that local councils and local residents should be at the heart of the planning system. As you may be aware, the previous Conservative-led Government strengthened the use of the local plan. This sets the rules for how an area will develop over time.

While 82 per cent of authorities have now published a local plan, only 65 per cent have fully adopted them and 20 per cent have no up-to-date plan at all. The Government has announced that it now expects all councils to produce and bring into force an up-to-date local plan for new homes by 2017. If they fail to do so, the Government will work with local people to ensure that a plan is drawn up.

More generally, the National Planning Policy Framework provides the strongest possible protection for the countryside and local green spaces and the Government is working hard to get every inch of brownfield land back in to use. I am also glad that local residents have the final say over whether onshore wind farm applications get the go-ahead in their area.

Ideally however I would like the powers of residents to be strengthened further helping to ensure that local plans are not undermined by developers. I think there are ways the Government could help in this respect and it is an issue which I will continue to raise with them.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.