Printable version E-mail this to a friend

PPS4 - CRC response to final version

The CRC welcomes the government’s recent updating of PPS4: Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth. The new Planning Policy Statement (PPS) contains some positive adjustments to encourage planning decisions and local policies to support sustainable economic development in rural areas, for example that allowing development even though it may not be readily accessible by public transport (EC12.1b).

In our earlier advice to the Department of Communities and Local Government we expressed concern about the application of the policy presumption for protection of open countryside. We continue to be concerned by reference in the new PPS4 to protecting the countryside ‘for the sake of its intrinsic character and beauty....’. The CRC remains of the view that this should not be read as a blanket restriction on  development in the countryside, as this would run counter to  the other positive messages within the PPS. Similarly it is occasionally important for planning authorities to accept that sustainable rural communities and economies need development that is not small scale, which is the form favoured in the new PPS 4.

Both these issues however illustrate the need for planning authorities to link their policies and decisions to in rural areas to the new Local Economic Assessments that local authorities will be expected to undertake from April. Rural economies need to be fully assessed and profiled in these LEAs, to inform spatial and other policies and decisions.

During 2009 CRC and RDAs held four rural summits to explore ways of releasing the economic potential of rural areas. Participants and examples for these summits regularly described how planning decisions had made it difficult for rural businesses to start or expand in some rural areas. This has had a  limiting impact on entrepreneurship, jobs and economic opportunities for several rural communities.

The CRC hopes that this new Planning Policy Statement will provide more proactive and positive opportunities for the development of rural businesses. We stand willing to advise CLG and planning bodies to help local authorities implementing this policy response in an equally positive manner.

Distributed Energy Future Trends