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NPPF: Clark hints at 'brownfield first' policy u-turn

Planning minister Greg Clark has suggested the government may be willing to make concessions around the wording of brownfield development in the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Speaking at a British Property Federation event yesterday, Clark said the proposed watering down of the ‘brownfield first’ development presumption currently in the planning system could be revisited.

Sister-title Construction News reported on 14 September that the brownfield wording would be the likely ‘olive branch’ offered to the stringent opposition from conservation groups including the National Trust.

The draft NPPF - currently out for consultation - proposes scrapping the rule which prioritises development on previously developed land.

The impact assessment into the document says the removal of national brownfield targets would mean councils ‘will have greater flexibility in allocating and bringing forward land’.

Some of the NPPF’s most vocal supporters - including the British Property Federation - have previously said they support a policy of developing brownfield sites first.

And speaking at the BPF event National Trust director general Dame Fiona Reynolds said brownfield first was a ‘really helpful policy’.

Clark said: ‘The question of brownfield sites has been an issue of debate. One of the things that we express in the document is the requirement that sites of the lowest environmental value should be brought forward first, that seems to me to be very sensible. If in so doing people think that there is come desire not to prioritise the re-use of derelict land then that is something the consultation can address.’

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