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MK demands Government rethink on NPPF
In its response to a consultation on a revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework, Mebyon Kernow has challenged the UK Government to “go back to the drawing board” on the NPPF.

The Party for Cornwall also called for local control over all aspects of planning and planning policy.

Shown below are some extracts from its representation;

More local control needed for Cornwall

It is the view of Mebyon Kernow that, at the present time, politicians and communities in Cornwall have very limited control over planning.

This is fundamentally wrong, and MK is committed to winning meaningful devolution for the historic nation of Cornwall, through the creation of a National Assembly, which could be responsible for ensuring that all decisions about planning are taken in Cornwall .

It would include the production of a Cornish National Planning Policy Framework to replace the NPPF produced by central government, which would allow policies and targets to be agreed locally.

Planning decisions would be taken by local councils through the remit set out by the National Assembly, while any appeal process would then be controlled by Cornwall’s legislative body – so that planning inspectors from many miles away do not over-rule local communities and their elected representatives.

We would appeal to the UK Government to look again at devolving meaningful political power to Cornwall, including full control over planning ...

Concern at so-called “presumption in favour of sustainable development”

Mebyon Kernow objects to the so-called “presumption in favour of sustainable development,” which has been consistently criticised by a wide range of interest groups who consider that it has often led to unchecked and damaging development.

We share this view and note that the NPPF still states the “presumption” should be “sufficiently flexible to adapt to rapid change.” But surely, is not rapid change, as the term suggests, inherently unsustainable?

MK calls on the UK Government to replace the “presumption” with a more balanced approach to the assessment of planning applications, that appropriately weighs up both the merits and disadvantages of individual schemes.

Local needs housing

For MK, a key priority for planning policy must be the provision of genuinely affordable local needs housing. But this has been undermined by the NPPF, and the planning/housing policies of the UK Government as a whole.

Definitions of affordable housing in the new draft NPPF do not include “social rents,” which have traditionally been charged for council houses and housing association properties.

Instead, “affordable” rents or sales are defined as needing a 20% discount from market prices, which still leaves the homes ridiculously expensive and out of the reach of many local families. The document further includes a definition of “starter home” with a sale price of up to £250,000 and promoted for families with a “household income” of up to “£80,000 a year.” This is frankly ridiculous, especially for an area like Cornwall where 44% of households have total annual earnings below £20,000 (source: Cornwall Council, New Frontiers).

We would appeal to the UK Government to totally rethink its approach to the provision of affordable housing.

Second homes

The NPPF is silent on the issue of second homes, which is a key problem in Cornwall, and a factor that excludes local people from the housing market and leaves many coastal villages little more than havens for holiday makers. It is time that legislation was introduced that allowed Councils to stop and then reduce the spread of second homes.
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By Dick Cole. Published on 21st May 2018.

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