Planning Reform

One of the first acts of the Coalition was an announcement that national planning policy would be reduced from in excess of 1,000 pages to just 50. This new document, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), requires councils to have a local plan (or core strategy) or to accept development where it was considered sustainable.

Unfortunately, in Stratford we were behind delivering our core strategy which meant that planning decisions became dominated by the NPPF rather than our own local plan. 

As the representative for the people of Stratford, I lobbied the Government on individual planning decisions taken by the Secretary of State (such as the Shottery decision) and even called the Planning Minister to the House of Commons chamber to account for his decision.

I also lobbied the government to change the NPPF to ensure that rapacious developers aren't able to exploit loopholes in the document to obtain planning permission on unsuitable sites. I was delighted when the government announced it was making changes to the guidance that accompanies the NPPF. Amongst other changes, these will:

  • Ensure that core strategies that have been submitted but not adopted are given weight in planning decisions
  • Ensure that any infrastructure required for the development is fully funded and deliverable in the timescales of the development.


  • In October 2010, the Secretary of State approved an application to build 800 houses in Shottery. I called an adjournment debate to force the Planning Minister to come before the House to explain his decision. You can read my statement here.
  • Throughout 2013, I continued to lobby the Planning Minister and the Government to make changes to the NPPF having been contacted by an overwhelming number of local residents and campaign groups that were fighting unsuitable developments in their areas.
  • In January 2014, I took part in a Westminster Hall Debate on the NPPF. You can read my proposed speech here. It was picked up by the Telegraph and formed the bases of a new campaign to changes the NPPF.
  • In March 2014, the Government published changes to the guidance notes that accompany the NPPF in response to lobbying

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