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National Trust sets out planning demands

National Trust director general Dame Fiona Reynolds has called on the government to make a series of changes to the draft National Planning Policy Framework in a new letter to the Telegraph.

The move comes in response to a letter from the Prime Minister yesterday which helped soothe the Trust’s hard-line stance that it would not negotiate with planning minister Greg Clark until it had received assurances from the highest levels of government.

Dame Fiona welcomed Mr Cameron’s letter and said a “true consultation” could now begin.

Among the areas the letter called on to be addressed were Clause 130 of the Localism Bill which, according to  Dame Fiona “elevates financial considerations above all others in the planning process”.

“The Bill also fails to provide a right of appeal against developments that are inconsistent with development plans,” she said.

She warned the “default yes” to developments where there is no-up-to-date local plan must be tweaked.

She said:  “We need sensible transition arrangements to manage the risk of speculative development proposals.”

And she called on the government to reconsider plans to scrap the “brownfield first” policy that considers previously developed land before green field sites.

“Now that the Prime Minister has made clear that this is also his aim, the debate can move on to the question of detailed drafting. The proof of the pudding will be nothing less than a properly balanced planning framework,” she added.

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