Suffolk County Council warns new planning framework will create additional burden on councils

Suffolk County Council's cabinet raised concerns over the burden the new proposals would put on loca

Suffolk County Council's cabinet raised concerns over the burden the new proposals would put on local authorities. Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

Councillors in Suffolk have warned that Government proposals for a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will create a greater burden on local authorities.

The Government launched a consultation on revisions to the NPPF, which will lay out guidelines for local council planning committees to follow.

As part of the consultation, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday agreed its response to send to the Government.

A report prepared for the meeting said that many of the proposals were welcomed, but raised some concerns over what some of the measures would mean.

The proposed NPPF states that local plans produced by each planning authority should detail contributions expected for schools, affordable housing, health, public transport, highways and digital infrastructure, and should be supported by evidence.

Currently these are considered in detail when applications are lodged, but Suffolk County Council has warned that it places a “considerable burden of proof on plans” and that in supporting district and borough council planning teams the county council will “need to have considered, in detail, the various infrastructure requirements, whether these can be implemented, and the costs associated.”

Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment, public protection and broadband said: “There is not much clarity on how Suffolk County Council should be involved.”

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The report also raised concerns that more cautious assessments will be produced which could have an impact on the amount in contributions towards roads, schools and other infrastructure developers would have to pay.

Jane Storey, the county council’s cabinet member for highways added: “We need to make sure that when developers put across a project that we know we have got all the funds we need for infrastructure.

“That’s not just schools but making sure we have taken into account all the implications for the road network, rail network and public transport generally. Sometimes the planning authority can miss that.”

The consultation closes on May 10, after which the responses will be collated and analysed and any necessary changes made.

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