MPs Raise Concerns About Effectiveness of Town Centre First Policy

MPs have raised question about the effectiveness of the planning system to direct new retail investment in town centres during an oral evidence session on the National Planning Policy Framework.  John Pugh MP for Southport and member of the Communities and Local Government Selection Committee referenced ACS’ (the Association of Convenience Stores) report ‘Retail Planning Decision Under the NPPF’ during the evidence session.

ACS’ research found that since the introduction of the NPPF 76% of gross retail floor space given planning approval is located out of town.  John Pugh MP questioned Neil Sinden from the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Nicola Walker from the CBI on the effectiveness of impact tests and sequential test for out of town retail developments.

Neil Sinden, Director of Policy and Campaign at CPRE said: “The fact that local authorities are increasingly relying on developers themselves carrying out these impact tests, and the research that the ACS have carried out suggests that inevitably these impact assessments carried out by developers are biased in favour of the development in question” .

In July, ACS Chief Executive, James Lowman, spoke at an evidence session on the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework. Mr Lowman told the Communities and Local Government Select Committee of the failure of the Government’s ‘town centre first’ policy and the need for change to support high streets.

The CLG Committee will publish their findings on the Operation of the National Planning Policy Framework later this year.  The ACS’ Retail Planning Decisions Under the NPPF research can be viewed here.

This entry was posted by Victoria on Fri, 12/09/2014 - 09:00