|Retail property organisation BCSC has welcomed support for town centres in the new National Planning Policy Framework announced today (27 March) and called for councils to now ensure that local plans enforce sustainable development.
BCSC had campaigned for a strengthening of the town centres first mechanism in the 52 page document, which condenses thousands of pages of existing guidance.
BCSC President and Chief Executive of Architects BDP Peter Drummond said: “We have consistently called for a clear and strong vision for growth that recognises city and town centres as the key driver of prosperous economies and that will inspire confidence from the private sector to invest in town centre developments.”
BCSC had previously expressed concern that other town centre uses were not included in the application of the sequential test in the draft, and therefore welcomes the fact Government has listened to its arguments for reinstating those uses, such as offices and hotels.
Mr Drummond continued: “We are pleased the government has listened to many of BCSCs recommendations, which go some way to strengthening its commitment to town centres first.
“The next step is to make sure that local authorities identify what sustainable development means for them – environmentally, socially and economically and that town centres are central to this process. It’s critical that local plans are robust enough to avoid uncertainty in the development market.
“Private sector experience will be invaluable to this next phase, and we will be working closely with local authorities as they embark on interpreting and implementing this framework.”