National Planning Policy Framework debate
George Hollingbery calls some of our more iconic small towns - in very specific circumstances - to be able to block edge-of-centre and out-of-centre retail developments.
George Hollingbery (Meon Valley) (Con): I would like to develop a little further the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds (Mr Ruffley). The Minister knows that I submitted a suggestion to the consultation that communities should in very specific circumstances be able to say an absolute no to edge-of-centre and out-of-centre retail development. That was also recommended by the Communities and Local Government Committee. Can he explain why that measure was not adopted and how some of our more iconic small towns might prepare their neighbourhood plans to afford themselves some measure of protection from such development?
Greg Clark: My hon. Friend is an ingenious policy maker and submitted that suggestion to the consultation. Unfortunately, it was found to be illegal. The framework that we are publishing is guidance, and it is open to anyone to submit a planning application and have it considered against the local plan and other material considerations. It is not possible to do what he requests through guidance.