Blears publishes new draft of PPS6

July 23, 2008

The recent RIBA best practice bulletin ( no 455, 17th July 2008 ) contains details of Community Secretary Hazel Blears’ draft for changes to Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6) for town centres. It makes the following points:

  • The sequential test regime that protects town centres by requiring major retailers to show that their plans cannot either be accommodated within existing town centres or affect them adversely, will be maintained.
  • An ‘impact test’ will provide more scope for planners seeking to protect the character and diversity of town centres. This is intended to replace the ‘need test’ based on an assessment of local demand in relation to retail floorspace. Since this test included out-of-town retail it tended to facilitate against retail investment in town centres.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) commented that “The proposed changes favour competitiveness and diversity in a way that should give planners greater freedom to make special places, avoiding the inadvertent development of “clone towns”. There is also scope for planners to test for design quality.

The important question of whether large supermarkets will be put to a ‘competition test’ – as called for by the Competition Commission – has not been addressed; the CLG says it a response will be forthcoming.

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