IHBC sighs with relief as NPPF arrives

The IHBC has greeted England’s new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) with some relief, highlighting both the substantial improvements from the first draft and welcoming the potential the NPPF offers for people to lobby for improved capacity in local authority conservation services.

Jo Evans, Chair of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), the professional body for built and historic environment conservation specialists, welcomed the NPPF saying: ‘Like many other organisations we were concerned that the re-draft might do even less to secure sustainable development. However, having looked at it in some detail, we too are pleasantly surprised that government has taken on board so many of our concerns.’

‘We do very strongly support the concerns of the RTPI regarding the limitations of the document for wider planning purposes. But once the limitations of the document itself are recognised, then we must compliment the government on its responses to wider concerns, not least for the inclusion of the protection of the historic environment within the core planning principles for sustainable development.’

‘The new approach in the NPPF also offers a huge opportunity for local people to press for proper levels of conservation services in their local authorities. For too long these have been undervalued, sidelined or misunderstood. The emphasis on local outcomes, inspired by local needs and energies, should ensure that people can register with their local authority the substantial benefits that come with the right level of conservation service there, starting with a conservation officer.’

Trefor Thorpe, IHBC President, said: ‘ The IHBC’s concerns that the UK-wide definition of sustainable development had been mis-represented have been acknowledged in the new draft. We were very concerned that England might lose the over-arching link to the other planning priorities across the UK that the agreed position provided. We raised those concerns with the Parliamentary Committee as well as with government itself, so it is particularly gratifying to see that the NPPF has set its own priorities within the wider UK policy interpretation of sustainable development.’

Find the download link for the NPPF here: LINK

See the technical guidance (on flood risk and minerals policy) here: LINK

See Clark’s statement to Parliament here: LINK

To understand why local authorities need Conservation Officers: LINK

Dept of Communities Article: LINK

Search Planning Portal: LINK

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