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SUITABLE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE COUNTRYSIDE

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Securing rural development that is sensitive to local distinctiveness and ...
Securing rural development that is sensitive to local distinctiveness and

provides for the needs of local communities is essential for the future of

a sustainable countryside, according to the Countryside Agency at the

launch today of their new planning guidance for local

planning authorities, Concept Statements and Local Development Documents*.

Concept statements are a new tool to help planners ensure more care is

taken in the way development is sited, designed and fitted into the

surrounding context. The tool has been developed with the help of some

pioneering local authorities. For many years those involved in the

planning process have been frustrated by the difficulty in securing high

quality, sustainable development on the right sites within the formal

planning system. This guidance will also assist planners everywhere

deliver the new ideas proposed by government in the Planning Bill.

Richard Wakeford, Countryside Agency chief executive said: 'A healthy and

diverse countryside often needs new development but for new planning

applications to succeed they must be good enough to approve. We have all

seen our fair share of unsuitable developments - those that are insensitive

to the character of an area, or fail to cater for the needs of the local

community.

'Unsurprisingly, so much inappropriate development has led to

a lack of confidence in the planning process. Communities need to be

reassured, and planners want to save time in negotiation and appeals. Our

concept statements provide a simple planning tool and an effective way of

tackling both problems. The outcome should be communities that future

generations can look back on with pride.'

Case study: Concept statements have been pioneered by South Hams DC where they were prepared for every development site proposed in the draft local plan - the council faced major housing growth targets and the aim was that this should have as little impact as possible on the c haracter of the local countryside.

'Concept statements are the best planning tool that I've come across. They

demonstrate the holistic nature of planning and encourage meaningful

participation between the community, the developer and the local planning

authority.' Lee Bray, South Hams DC.

The Countryside Agency is using concept statements as a catalyst to

encourage future projects and to disseminate examples of good practice via

their website www.countryside.gov.uk

* The Countryside Agency's Concept Statements and Local Development Documents

- practical guidance for local planning authorities was launched today

at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) conference

exploring the theme of 'Implementing the new Planning Bill: getting the

right development on the right site.'

Copies can be obtained online at www.countryside.gov.uk or from Countryside

Agency publications PO Box 125, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 7EP, Tel 0870

120 6466.

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