Planning advisors in the region have welcomed the government's announcement of presumption in favour of sustainable development, confirmed on Wednesday.
Decentralisation minister Greg Clark published the government's presumption in favour of sustainable development, which it is hoped will help developers negotiate the current planning system.
Graham Stock, partner at Drivers Jonas Deloitte Manchester, said: "This is the latest evidence of the government's energy and enthusiasm for planning reform – a determination to get the development industry building again.
"As is well known, many local plans have been unable to keep up with changes in the economy, the environment and business. The concept of being able to secure permission for development in the short term, rather than having to wait for plan reviews to be completed, is a very practical way to deal with this long standing difficulty. I'm sure this will have a positive effect on development in the North West."
The presumption in favour of sustainable development is designed to create a planning system where the default answer is 'yes'. The presumption states that for local authorities that do not have a local plan in place the default answer to an application is yes, provided that the proposed scheme supports the principles of the National Planning Policy Framework, in that it supports sustainable development.
Colin Morrison, head of sustainability at planning and urban design consultancy Turley Associates, who acts for house builders and developers across the country, said: "I welcome this announcement as it provides a mechanism for good development to secure consents where there is no local plan in place or where there is unwarranted negative local opposition.
"The publication of the National Planning Policy Framework next month will provide the detail on what may constitute 'Sustainable Development', but based on the draft NPPF from the Practioners Advisory Group it is clear that development should clearly demonstrate its benefits to the local community and economy and how it mitigates and adapts to climate change."
The presumption in favour of sustainable development appears to support the Government's pro-growth agenda and counter-acts some of the potential consequences of its Localism agenda.
Morrison explained: "Local communities who object to development in their neighbourhood might find that this new presumption in favour of sustainable development overrides any unwarranted objection to good development. The onus will be on the opposing bodies or local authorities to support their negative claims with evidence. Perhaps the appeal route has now become more attractive."