Glover “Landscapes Review”

Below is a digest of key quotes from the Glover “Landscapes Review” of AONBs and National Parks. While we still, of course, await the Government’s response, and any legislation stemming from the report’s findings, it is notable that the report both echoes and supports almost all the arguments that we have been strongly making to Shropshire Council over the direction of development in Church Stretton

Glover "Landscapes Review“ - Key Statements

  • “We also think what are now AONBs should be strengthened, with increased funding, governance reform, new shared purposes with National Parks, and a greater voice on development”

 

  • “The ability to control and/or influence development that would have an adverse impact on our national landscapes is crucial. We feel a number of areas of planning need addressing” .

 

  • “We heard in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB how two local authorities came together to support a single Development Plan for the AONB…….This is a good model. We want AONBs to work with local authorities to develop local plans and policies which set out a vision, explain how conservation and recreational purposes will be implemented and how the needs and requirements of the local community will be met within the broader context of achieving sustainable development appropriate to these nationally important landscapes.”

 

  • We welcome the recent revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which have strengthened the place of National Parks and AONBs…..We think that the NPPF should make a reality of its promise that ‘great weight’ should be given to national landscapes by issuing new advice that will secure confident delivery of this aim by both public and private sector players…..They should not be the place for major intrusive developments unless, as is stated in the NPPF,34 they are truly in the national interest without any possible alternative locations being available.

 

  • “national landscapes should have the flexibility to use funds collected through Section 106 agreements and, where relevant, the New Homes Bonus raised by the constituent authorities, to support locally needed affordable housing, services or community infrastructure”

 

  • “we hope they [national landscapes] will be encouraged to apply to become tourism zones under the new Tourism Sector Deal. Such areas would see destination management organisations, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, and local businesses working together to develop solutions that address local market failures in relation to tourism. For areas that are successful in their bid to become a Tourism Zone, a package of support would be offered and they would create a sustainable development plan to reduce environmental impacts. Some of our national landscapes should be at the forefront of these initiatives, with others able to benefit from lessons learnt”

 

  • “Some national landscapes – the Chilterns for instance – risk changing very fast as a result [of the pressure of development] and mostly not for the better. We shouldn’t just accept this as sadly unavoidable. It should shame our generation to leave uglier, less liveable human settlements than those left for us by the generations which came before”

 

  • “But national landscapes face a particular pressure. Because of their success and natural beauty, they have more visitors, more people who want to come and live in them”

 

  • “Second homes and holiday lets are particularly widespread across national landscapes and limit the supply of homes for local people. The number of second and holiday homes has increased significantly since 2001 “

 

  • “The dilemma is to build the right sort of homes; ones that suit the places in which they are built, which do not ruin the settings of national landscapes and which people can actually afford”

 

  • “But we also heard in other areas that although there are many sites which could potentially take small numbers of affordable homes, developers are not coming forward to use them. The main reason for not bringing small sites forward for development is that they are not commercially viable (too few units on highly priced land)”

 

  • “This report highlights the risk that the ‘exceptional circumstances’ provision in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was intended to limit development in national landscapes is being used to argue for major development instead, on the grounds that no other sites outside AONBs are available. We believe strongly that this is in contravention of the purpose of designation”

 

  • “Proposal 18: A new National Landscapes Housing Association to build affordable homes”

 

  • “There is a clear need for a steady supply of a small number of affordable homes to rent in many national landscapes. More sites are available which could be granted planning permission than there are being utilised to build affordable homes in some areas”

 

  • “We want to see a National Landscapes Affordable Rural Housing Association formed to help meet the need. It should have clear, well-designed purposes and a defined scope (and in particular ‘rural’ should mean ‘rural’) with leadership from the new National Landscapes Service”

 

  • “We also recommend that the NPPF is amended to allow National Parks and local authorities more flexibility to deliver affordable homes in national landscapes generally. Infilling should count towards new build targets in AONBs and local planning authorities in AONBs should also make use of the provision that allows them to demand on-site affordable housing contributions on all sites, including developments of five homes or fewer. We hope government will work with national landscape bodies and rural housing providers to help them deliver the affordable homes they need”

 

  • “The separation of landscapes into two distinct families of National Parks and AONBs is unhelpful and we would like to see them part of one family, “

 

  • “At present, AONBs work as part of local government, but have no independent statutory status of their own. We have heard repeatedly how their planning officers play a role and give advice but the extent to which their advice is listened to varies extensively. With so few resources of their own, they rely on Natural England as a statutory consultee, but it too lacks the resources or the local expertise to express an opinion in many cases. We heard how Natural England’s silence, or reference to the importance of hearing the views of AONBs, is often taken as consent. This system leaves AONBs incredibly vulnerable.”

 

  • “we think the purposes for our national landscapes should be updated and apply equally to National Parks and AONBs – there is no reasonable basis for the currently unhelpful distinction and people and nature need more from our landscapes”

 

  • “Proposal 23: Stronger purposes in law for our national landscapes:

    1. Recover, conserve and enhance natural beauty, biodiversity and natural capital, and cultural heritage.

    2. Actively connect all parts of society with these special places to support understanding, enjoyment and the nation’s health and wellbeing.

    3. Foster the economic and community vitality of their area in support of the first two purposes.

  • “Where there is a conflict between any of the three purposes, …..then greater weight must be given to the first of these purposes under an updated ‘Sandford Principle’ that applies to all our national landscapes and not just to National Parks as it does currently”

 

  • “Management Plans... must be given stronger weight in law

 

  • “AONBs should be strengthened in law, policy and resources”

 

  • “To properly strengthen AONBs, we propose: −

Giving them the same reformed statutory purposes (and ensuring that the ‘Sandford Principle’ also applies) as for National Parks (proposal 23). This reflects the reality that AONBs deliver the same purposes as National Parks. −

Increasing their funding (proposal 27). − Giving them statutory consultee status to strengthen their role in the planning system (proposal 6). −

Renaming them ‘National Landscapes’. Their national importance should be properly reflected by something much less unwieldy that elevates them alongside National Parks.

 

  • Proposal 25: A new National Landscapes Service bringing our 44 national landscapes together to achieve more than the sum of their parts :

to inspire, join-up and look out, drive action, and hold each other to account”.

 

  • “A new National Landscapes Service should: −

Set the vision and strategy for England’s 44 national landscapes from which their own Management Plans will evolve”.

Ensure best practices become common everywhere”

 

There should be a new and larger settlement for AONBs and this should include new resources to reflect their enhanced purposes, responsibilities and activities”

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