On 28 August 2013 DCLG launched for comment their all-singing all-dancing their national planning practice guidance web-based resource. Deadline is 9 October.
As to the effect of the guidance while in Beta, DCLG say:
"The Government considers that where the planning practice guidance published in draft on this web-based resource during Beta is a material consideration, it is likely to have limited weight. However, it is for the decision taker to determine the weight of this guidance in any individual decisions."
'Ensuring Effective Enforcement' is part of the package of guidance. It basically summarises legislation and doesn't really add anything new. We should be pleased to at least have guidance- up to recently, all we had was Paragraph 207 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
However, the pages are hard to read and requires excessive scrolling down. It's hard to know when you've read the entire document because there is no real index to speak of. I have suggested to DCLG that a sidebar with a Table of Contents would be a helpful addition. A well-considered Q&A section could also add value.
As to the substance of the guidance document, it's a shame there is not much in the form of guidance. Clearer guidance in this complicated area of Planning law would have been really helpful.
Maybe next time round...