There was a great deal of consensus in the debate up to the point when the hon. Member for Birmingham,
Erdington (Jack Dromey) said that he was hearing voices. I welcome this opportunity to debate the Government’s proposals. The new national planning policy framework is an important document and we have had a positive and constructive debate on it, covering not just the NPPF but the broader context of the Localism Bill. Debate on this subject has been carried on outside the House as well as inside it not just today but for the last three or four months—and we are all the better for it. The Government are making time available for further discussions in the House of Lords on
As of this morning, 13,700 responses have been received to the consultation, of which some 3,700 are substantive individual ones. The debates in the two Houses will be taken into consideration. Indeed, if any hon. Members felt that their contributions were cramped by today’s limitation on time, we will hold that door open for a few more days for them to submit written representations on the document. Quite a number of today’s speakers have already sent in representations, which are also welcome.
We have heard contributions from 35 Back Benchers and interventions from quite a number more. That shows how important this issue is as a fundamental development in the way we approach the creation and safeguarding of communities in this country. This planning system is the way we make communities work. We create places we are proud of and proud to live in; we lay the foundations for businesses to grow; and, as has been a constant theme today, we develop a system that not only protects but enhances our green spaces, our parks and our countryside for our enjoyment, and for generations to come.