Key figures in the planning and delivery of sustainable development, infrastructure and transport services have called for changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to improve the availability of transport links.
In a joint letter to ministers, the leaders of professional bodies, charities and other organisations have outlined 'vital' changes that they say would significantly improve the pace at which development proposals clear the planning process and result in 'high-quality, genuinely sustainable development'.
The proposed changes aim to address the problem of homes being built in the ‘wrong’ locations without enough integrated transport by addressing transport issues from the start of the planning process.
- The need for the NPPF to provide clear criteria for the siting of development – 'limiting a number of the objections that are made to development proposals on transport and environmental grounds'
- Making the accessibility of a development location by a range of sustainable transport options a key factor in determining a development's suitability
- Involving transport authorities and operators throughout the planning process, 'making transport provision part of the solution rather than a hurdle to be overcome'
- The site layout for developments should make appropriate provision for buses, cycling and walking – 'reducing car dependency carries the added benefit of reducing the traffic impact of new development on existing infrastructure'
Sue Percy, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), said: ‘CIHT has worked with fellow professionals to highlight some key improvements that can be made to the NPPF and the system of planning in England and Wales to create more sustainable and economically prosperous places. For too long, too many homes have been built in the wrong locations with insufficient integrated transport. CIHT believes we can, and must, do better.'
‘We believe that our current planning system needs to change and by improving the integration between planning and transport we can deliver improved outcomes for all.’
The letter to housing secretary James Brokenshire, transport secretary Chris Grayling, and others, is in support of responses to the formal NPPF consultation that closed last week.
Other signatories to the letter are: Lynda Addison, chair, TPS; Victoria Hills, chief executive, RTPI; Joe Irvin, chief executive, Living Streets; Jonathan Bray, director, Urban Transport Group; Hugh Ellis, head of policy, TCPA; Phil Southall, managing director, Oxford Bus Company; Stephen Joseph, chief executive, Campaign for Better Transport; and Michael Bach, chairman: Planning, Environment and Transport Committee, London Forum of Amenity & Civic Societies.