The Planning Officers Society (POS) strongly supports the need for England's rural communities to be able to appropriately benefit from a vibrant and sustainable economy.
POS also welcomes the joint working being undertaken by DCLG and DEFRA with regard to these important issues. There is also a clear need to ensure that any related current thinking with regard to the implementation of the Rural Productivity Plan, and in respect of the current technical consultation regarding the implementation of planning changes, are appropriately aligned.
However POS is strongly of the view that all proposals for economic growth in rural areas should always demonstrate that they have paid particular regard to the essential character and form of our countryside. Therefore both policies and proposals need to ensure that they will stimulate and support a sustainable rural economy whilst also respecting and safeguarding the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside (as per the core planning principles set out in Paragraphs 17 and 28 of the NPPF). Evidence shows that the planning system readily supports sustainable development proposals - but it should also rightly be used to resist the unsustainable ones.