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
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
'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