Issue date: 15th February 2013
27th March marks the first anniversary of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and signifies the end of the period of grace when Local Authorities can give full weight to policies and proposals in their Development Plans which conflict with the NPPF – even if the conflict is only slight.
There is now a surge of consultation exercises relating to these new Development Plans which are being examined by independent Planning Inspectors. There will be opportunities to influence the contents of these Plans, (including the new Neighbourhood Plans prepared at the local level by approved groups), through participation in consultation exercises and at the Examination. This represents a golden opportunity to ensure that emerging Plans not only safeguard the line of all waterway restoration projects, but also promote wider waterway interests.
Whilst major national projects like HS2 receive widespread publicity, IWA relies heavily on local intelligence to monitor potentially harmful policies and proposals in Development Plans and to ensure that the lines of restoration projects are protected through local participation. Local authorities have a duty to cooperate which means that where restoration projects cross administrative boundaries, there should be “joined up thinking”! The NPPF makes clear that Development Plans will be found to be ‘unsound’ if there is insufficient consultation and collaboration between neighbouring local authorities.
IWA regards the current round of new Development Plans as a positive opportunity to promote and safeguard waterway interests and is able to provide advice on any Development Plan matter affecting the waterways through its Honorary Planning Consultants.