Select Committee recommendation leaves door open for the countryside, says CLA

24 October 2013

The CLA said today (21 December) the economic well-being of the countryside has been given a fighting chance of survival following the recommendation that  the "presumption in favour of sustainable development" should be "like a golden thread" running through the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The Association said the recommendation, made in a report by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, keeps the door open for change that would allow sustainable development in rural communities.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "The English countryside is not Disney World; it is a place where rural people live and work. Without sensible and well-designed sustainable development, the countryside and those who manage it will not be able to offer the jobs, housing and services that are vital for rural communities to survive.

"Our rural areas have real potential to become an economic powerhouse of creativity, enterprise and opportunity through the balanced use of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. This is the only way forward if our rural areas are to be truly sustainable and help power national economic growth."

Mr Cotterell added: "There are strong concerns from the people who live and work in rural areas that their needs for jobs, homes and services are being ignored at a national level.  It is therefore unfortunate the Select Committee took evidence from organisations opposed to all change in the countryside. The report fails to acknowledge the needs of rural businesses and communities. 

"A more balanced approach would have been to take evidence from organisations that actually represent those who live and work in the countryside. The CLA has never advocated concreting over the countryside but the delivery of landscape, biodiversity, jobs, homes and services must be underpinned by economic reality."