Business backs reforms to ‘creaking’ planning system

A group of leading businessmen and industrialists has written to The Times blaming a ‘creaking planning system’ for deterring inward investment and stalling the ability of UK businesses seeking to expand.
The 22 signatories – who include Dragons Den tycoon Duncan Bannatyne, BT chief exec Ian Livingstone, and former Marks and Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose – support changes proposed in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and complain seven out of ten businesses are currently locked out of local planning debates.

Arguing for an overhaul of the system for the sake of jobs and growth, the letter, co-signed by bosses from GlaxoSmithKline, Fujitsu, Next and Westfield declares, ‘we must tackle head on the sluggish pace and disproportionate costs of planning.’

But in parallel with the businessmen’s letter supporting a presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes has joined forces with opposition to the NPPF spearheaded by the National Trust.

Ruth Bond, chairwoman of the NFWI has advised the 207,000 members of the UK’s largest women’s voluntary organisation to embark on a national letter writing campaign to MPs and newspapers. Mrs Bond said: ‘See what is happening in your area, whether they have got development plans in place, if not see what can be done about that. ‘Don’t give up until you get the answer that you feel is what the country needs.’

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