In praise of sprawl

Since the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010, the British populace has been given the unusual, if often dubious, privilege of hearing significant public discourse on the subject of land use planning policy. Even more unusually, the planning system has been subject to changes that may well prove to be more than semantic; the Localism Act 2011 and the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) of April 2012 have both resulted in material changes, albeit with the caveat that the full effects, especially of the former, will probably take some time to become apparent.

In the meantime, the Government’s interest in planning policy has clearly not waned. The Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have both issued a stream of announcements and comments on the subject, with a particular emphasis on the effects of planning policy on economic performance. In addition, it is worth noting that the Prime Minister commented on the subject in his speech at the 2012 Conservative Party conference, referring to the need to construct additional homes, and to ameliorate the planning impediments encountered by businesses.

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