The countryside champions

Press Statement: 29th March 2012

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Christopher Napier, Chairman, CPRE Hampshire

christopher napier

CPRE Hampshire welcomes the changes which have been made by Ministers to the draft National Planning Policy Framework. There is no doubt that the campaign lead by CPRE and the National Trust has achieved vital improvements to the draft document, which was criticised for being a developer's charter. We are grateful to our Hampshire MPs who pressed our case within Government, combating the forces in favour of economic growth at all costs.

The essential balance between economic, social and environmental objectives within the planning system has been restored. Protection for the South Downs and New Forest National Parks and our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty is maintained. Recognition of the intrinsic value of the undesignated countryside, which had been removed, is now brought back. This is crucial as it is the countryside local to where people live which is so highly valued by residents of Hampshire. CPRE campaigned very hard for this over recent weeks when it seemed that Ministers were set to discard a protection which has been with us since the inception of the planning system.

Over 78% of housing in Hampshire has been built on brownfield land over the last ten years, making best use of our land, saving our countryside and revitalising our town and cities, all at the same time. It was, therefore, of great concern to CPRE Hampshire when the priority for use of brownfield land did not appear in the draft Framework, but common sense has prevailed and the final document states that use of brownfield land is a core planning principle. We are seeking to ensure that District and Borough Councils give proper weight to this principle in their emerging Local Plans, and so reducing the need to build on greenfield sites.

The default "yes" to development has gone, much to our relief, as it would have undermined the plan led system and given developers far too much weight within the system. We have no objection in principle to the presumption in favour of sustainable development, which is brought in. The meaning of sustainable development is made clearer, yet it still lacks clarity and we shall have to see how it works out on the ground over coming years.

It is a tribute to CPRE campaigning over some years now that the Framework includes policies to combat light pollution and save dark skies, and to identify and protect areas of tranquillity.

Ultimately, the proof of the new policy framework will be how it works in practice. CPRE Hampshire will be working with our local authorities and communities in Hampshire to try and secure the best results for what the Planning Minister Greg Clark rightly referred to as "our matchless countryside".

- Ends -


Notes to editors

  1. A CPRE national press release gives CPRE's analysis of the National Planning Policy Framework. See CPRE's initial analysis of the National Planning Policy Framework (Press Release: 27th March 2012).
  2. A short video interview with CPRE Chief Executive, Sean Spiers, can be watched at the foot of this blog:
  3. CPRE Hampshire strives to promote the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of the countryside of Hampshire by the sustainable use of land and other resources in town and country, and encouraging the biodiversity and well-being of rural communities.

For all media enquiries, please contact:
Keren Burney, media & communications officer, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01730 894123   Mobile: 07876 780065

For information on CPRE, please contact:
Anthony McEwen, Director, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01962 779185   Mobile: 07717 296025