NEW PLANNING POLICY: KEY FACTS

■ There is now an automatic presumption in favour of development, as long as it is “sustainable”. This is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

■ Councils will develop “local plans” that identify possible development sites which fit with this sustainability agenda.

■ Local authorities will have the freedom to interpret the sustainable planning principles of “living within the planet’s environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.”
■ Housebuilders will be encouraged to plan large scale developments that follow the principles of garden cities rather than indulge in piecemeal construction.

■ Councils will be told to prioritise the development of brownfield sites before they allow building elsewhere.

■ Planners must “ensure the vitality of town centres” by requiring new retail development to be in the city centre rather than on the edge of settlements.

■ Following the recommendations of shopping czar Mary Portas, councils will be allowed to provide parking facilities in town centres to help them compete with shopping centres and supermarkets.

■ Ordinary countryside that is not designated as a National Park, green belt or equivalent will still enjoy a level of protection.

■ Playing fields and public leisure facilities will be protected from development.

■ The “inappropriate development of residential gardens” will be discouraged under the new planning framework.

■ The original proposal, contained in last July’s draft, that “decision takers at every level should assume that the default answer to development proposals is yes” has been dropped in favour of a more nuanced approach.