Planning statistics published as pressure mounts to improve rural development quality

Statistics for UK planning applications received between April and June show that waste developments accounted for 62% of total decisions and mineral developments accounted for 32%. There was a 6% decline in the number of decisions relating to new dwellings.

What the statistics cannot show is the quality of the developments being approved and the environmental impact they may have. The Countryside Agency has called on decision makers to reject poor quality planning applications. “The new philosophy should be ‘Is it good enough to approve?’ not ‘Is it bad enough to refuse?’ said Countryside Agency chairman Ewen Cameron.

As part of the Agency’s consultation document on improvements to planning in rural England, Cameron has demanded a new planning vision. The main areas of improvement include:

  • better quality proposals from developers that respect the character and distinctiveness of local areas
  • planners should seek community and environmental benefits from development through new ‘development obligations’
  • community involvement in planning through Village Design Statements, Local Agenda 21 initiatives and village appraisals

A full planning policy statement is due to be published by the Countryside Agency in mid 2000. Planning for Quality of Life in Rural England will form part of the complete planning policy. The interim policy document is available from Countryside Agency Postal Sales, PO Box 124, Walgrave, Northhampton, NN6 9TL.

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