19 November 2020

We have responded to the Government’s consultations regarding shorter- and longer-term changes to the planning system. Read our full response here

We also contributed directly to the responses made by CPRE, and we share many of their concerns about the significant changes proposed.

We will continue to make the case for the landscape, wider natural environment, cultural heritage and rural communities to be properly taken into account as the reforms process unfolds. The Government proposes amendments to both the National Planning Policy Framework as well as legislation to implement the changes and we expect further consultations will take place in relation to these.

27th October 2020

We have now submitted our response to the second of the Government’s consultations regarding the national planning reforms. This consultation sought views on longer term reforms to the planning system, which are set out in their White Paper – Planning for the Future

Our response reiterated some of the concerns in our response to the earlier consultation (see below), as there is some degree of overlap.

We also set out that:

  • priorities for the planning system reforms must hinge around  acknowledging and addressing the existential threats of climate emergency and ecological collapse
  • the planning recommendations in the Glover Review should be implemented
  • the level of protection for protected landscapes, heritage assets (including World Heritage Sites), and their settings, should be strengthened or at least maintained
  • environmental assessments that inform local plan preparation and decisions on planning applications must be strengthened not watered down
  • we have concerns about the proposed zoning approach and how this, in combination with other proposals, will impact on Cumbria and its protected landscapes
  • we have concerns about over-reliance on generic, nationally-set policies and design-codes, rather than local approaches
  • we have concerns about the Government’s definition of ‘sustainable development’ and how this underpins the whole planning system
  • speed in the planning system must not be at the expense of quality, properly informed decision-making or genuine public engagement
  • Neighbourhood Planning should continue to be supported
  • we welcome proposals such as improved enforcement powers, enhanced data provision and increased use of technology but we also highlighted that these measures would require carefully thinking through, significant resource input and support for local authorities in order to secure the benefits. 

We continue to share many of the views expressed on the proposed reforms by other organisations such as CPRE – The Countryside Charity. 

There will be further opportunities to comment on the detail of the reforms. 

Read our full response here


2nd October 2020

We have now submitted our response to the first of the Government’s consultations regarding the national planning reforms. This consultation seeks views on the prposed new approach for calculating the number of houses needed and several proposals for short-terms changes to the planning system aimed at supporting the development sector’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

Our response sets out our concerns about:

  • the new method proposed for calculating the amount of housing that should be built in each area. The new approach will see an increase in housing numbers of 178% across Cumbria compared with the previous model;
  • the principles on which the planning reforms and the proposed method for calculating the amount of housing are based, which assume that just building lots more houses is, in itself, the primary or sole solution to the ‘housing crisis’, without consideration of measures such as controlling second homes, bringing empty homes back into use or ensuring that new housing meets genuine local needs;
  • the raising of the threshold beyond which affordable housing can be required on a new development;
  • the use of rural exception sites for the Government’s ‘First Homes’ scheme, rather than for affordable housing more generally;
  • allowing Permission in Principle to apply to major development sites.

We also made clear that we share many of the views expressed on these issues by other organisations such as CPRE – The Countryside Charity.

You can read our full response here.

6th August 2020

We are carefully considering the Government’s announcements regarding changes to the planning system. The changes proposed are significant and will affect many aspects including the way designated landscapes are treated, the role of local planning authorities, how the public can engage with the system and the means by which developers contribute to delivering affordable housing and infrastructure. There are certainly some areas of concern but others that have scope to be positive, depending on detail yet to be published and which will be the subject of further consultations.

We will be issuing a fuller statement in due course, as well as preparing a response to the consultation.  You can find out more about the proposals and respond to the consultation here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future