Betts calls for extension of NPPF consultation timetable

The chair of the communities and local government select committee has called on the government to extend a consultation on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), expressing his concern over its timetable.

Parliament: select committee chair calls for consultation extension
Parliament: select committee chair calls for consultation extension

Earlier this week, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published the consultation, which set out its thinking on a range of planning policy proposals, including the proposed housing delivery test intended to ensure town halls deliver the homes set out in their local plans.

In a letter to the communities secretary Greg Clark, the communities and local government select committee chair Clive Betts called for the consultation, which currently runs until 25 January 2016, to be extended by a month.

Betts said that many of the consultation proposals "affect significant issues of public policy, which should be the subject of informed debate".

Betts wrote: "We are therefore concerned that the consultation was launched without warning and the period envisaged for responding to it will largely be taken up by the Christmas and New Year holidays.

"In addition, many of the stakehoders who will be expected to respond have been deeply engaged in the committee stage of the Housing and Planning Bill and may not therefore have the resources to produce a considered response to the consultation."

In a statement, Betts said: "This consultation raises significant issues of public policy and it also represents the first changes to the NPPF.

"Given the impact of some of these proposed changes, particularly to the green belt and to local decision-making, the government really should think again and ensure there is informed public debate by extending the consultation period by a month."

The DCLG acknowledged it had received Betts' letter and said that it would respond in due course.

A spokesman said: "This government wants to deliver the homes this country needs to ensure anyone who wants to own their own home, has the opportunity to do so.

"We are always willing to listen to a wide range of views on how we achieve this. That’s why we are currently consulting on proposed changes to national planning policy, as part of our ambition to deliver 1 million more homes overall by 2020."

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