The chairman to identify any items of urgent business
Referring to the recent publication of the National Planning Policy Framework, Chairman of the Committee, Councillor Terry Glastonbury, advised members that the framework replaced the Planning Policy Guidance Notes and Planning Policy Statements that members were familiar with. The Chairman said that the framework had significant implications on some of the items for consideration at this meeting and invited Group Manager for Planning and Housing, Peter Williams, to outline a course of action for the committee to consider.
Referring to the late material that had been circulated before the start of the meeting, the Group Manager drew member’s attention to the following information; -
‘The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published on 27 March 2012. This document sets out national guidance and policy and replaces the previous Planning Policy Statements (PPS’s) and Planning Policy Guidance (PPG’s). The reports included in the schedule of applications presented at this committee meeting were written prior to publication of the NPPF. Whilst the new document has significantly reduced the volume of guidance, the core principles that the planning system should seek to manage where development takes place; promote high quality design that is sustainable; and, have regard to issues including energy efficiency, flood risk, protection of heritage assets and safeguarding the open countryside, remain. Members should note that the NPPF reaffirms the position that decisions should be taken in accordance with the Development Plan. It specifically contains the principle of a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” where councils do not have up to date Local Plan coverage. In the Forest of Dean we have a Core Strategy, which was examined with regard to the draft NPPF and was adopted on 23 February 2012. On this basis, the Council has up to date Local Plan policy for the district in accordance with the NPPF. It is this Core Strategy Document that forms the primary basis for the assessment of site-specific development proposals alongside the Gloucestershire Structure Plan. Both of these documents comprise the Development Plan for the district. The late material for each individual case will update the policy context for each application, where appropriate. Planning conditions and reasons for approval or refusal will also have to be changed, replacing reference to PPS’s and PPG’s with the new NPPF’.
The Group Manager elaborated on the information included in the late material. Advising that there had been no transitional period for the change to the NPPF, and that the implications had become immediate from 27 March 2012, he said that the introduction of the NPPF had corresponded with the period between report preparation and consideration of the reports by the committee at this meeting, hence the references to PPG’s and PPS’s.
To assist with the smooth running of the meeting and to avoid repetition, he suggested that the committee consider delegating authority to himself, as Group Manager for Planning and Housing, to make any necessary amendments to conditions and to reasons for approval and refusal, in order to reflect the changes in circumstances following publication of the schedule of applications. This would also allow him to replace references to PPS’s and PPG’s with NPPF.
Despite concerns from some members of the committee about whether the impact of the changeover on those applications that had commenced the decision making process prior to publication of the NPPF was fair, the committee agreed to delegate authority to the Group Manager for Planning and Housing, Peter Williams, to make any necessary amendments. On this basis, it was
RESOLVED to delegate authority to the Group Manager for Planning and Housing, Peter Williams, to make any necessary amendments to conditions and reasons for approval and refusal to reflect the changes in circumstance following publication of the National Planning Policy Framework.