The Planning Officers Society (POS) has welcomed the opportunity to replace a relatively outdated part of Government planning policy. However, it says the new draft PPS4 comes as something of a disappointment. Whilst there is not a lot in it to disagree with, there also seems to be little that could not have been said about the approach to economic development of any government of the past twenty years.
The main impact is likely to be felt in the new requirement for an enhanced evidence base. POS says we must await the detailed guidance to see how high the evidential bar will be set, and what this will mean for the cost and timing of LDF production. It hopes that the evidence requirements will be proportionate to the added value that the evidence-gathering brings to the plans based on it.
Whilst POS supports the new emphasis on the economic aspects of development, it will watch with interest to see what the consequences of this are for environmental and quality of life considerations. These are also important decisions for the business community to invest and remain in a location, and a short-term rush for economic growth at all costs could be just as damaging to our long-term economic welfare as an approach that is unduly restrictive.
Stuart Hylton, for the Society, said “We would hope that the final version of PPS4 will give clearer guidance about how the tensions which often exist between economic, social and environmental considerations are to be reconciled”.