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The Government has published a draft National Planning Policy Framework for public consultation. It’s the biggest shake-up of planning for over 50 years and we believe it will place all of our countryside – including the Peak District National Park – under increasing threat. 

The NPPF does not commit to the principle that the countryside should be protected for its own intrinsic character, beauty and heritage. Instead, it will place the countryside under increasing threat and leave local communities and planning authorities largely powerless in the face of developer pressure.

We have grave concerns that pressure on the Peak District from damaging development will grow due to

  • weakening of policies that currently strictly control major developments in national parks
  • changes to Green Belt policy which would allow building which would previously have been restricted on the borders of the national park 
  • loss of emphasis on brownfield regeneration – as a result of the removal of the national brownfield target and failure to promote efficient use of land
  • the creation of new neighbourhood forums that will have the power to give planning permission but will be set up in such a way that they could be dominated by businesses rather than local residents
  • weakening of the ‘town centre first’ policy by removing office development from the sequential test which prioritises the use of land in towns and cities first
  • pressure for increased car use – by removing the requirement to set maximum parking standards for non-residential parking in major developments
  • abolition of exceptions policy which allows small scale affordable housing to be built in rural settlements, which is likely to add to pressure for market housing and reduce the supply of affordable housing
  • weakening of controls over outdoor advertisements, including no mention of billboards being inappropriate in the countryside

You have until October 17 to take part in the consultation and oppose the plans.Please also write to your MP now! MPs tell us that the most effective letters are those written by individuals, so it’s best to write from the heart telling them how your local countryside could be affected by these proposed changes. If you prefer, you can edit or use the model letter that the CPRE national network has written.