Rural group presses protection charter

A Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) charter has highlighted the key areas it wants tackled in policy changes brought about by the localism agenda.

The document stresses that financial incentives to encourage councils to build homes and community right to build referendums should only be used in line with local plans.

It also wants a new limited community right of appeal to rebalance the system, empower local people as part of the big society and improve the quality of decisions.

"The planning system is largely responsible for the fact that although we live on a crowded island, most people are still only a short distance from beautiful countryside," said CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers.

"The government is taking the right approach by empowering local people. At the same time, it is important not to lose sight of the vital role that a strong national framework must play in protecting our unique English countryside," he added.

Planning minister Greg Clark said that while the government is committed to moving power back to local people, it will still promote the highest standards of architecture and design.

"The current local government system does not provide the right incentives to build homes. Changing this will be more effective than the failed regional targets."

Making Localism Work for the Countryside - CPRE's Charter for Planning Reform is available at

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