Proposed changes to planning policy should make it easier for leisure sector businesses to gain planning permission, although a number of barriers are likely to remain. That’s the view of Adam Pyrke, director of planning at Colliers International, in response to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) announcement that it wants to switch the presumption in favour of “sustainable development” as part of a new National Planning Policy Framework. DCLG said the under the proposal, permission would be granted without delay if they are deemed to be sustainable and in accordance with so-called Local Plans devised by councils. Planning minister Greg Clark said: ”This change to planning policy will speed up development, while placing a strong emphasis on the protection of the environment and local communities’ interests. By insisting on sustainable growth we can help make sure that what we build today leaves a positive legacy for future generations.” Pyrke said: “In practice, I anticipate it will shift the balance in favour of permission being granted but this will not always be sufficient to persuade council’s to grant permission when the development industry thinks they should. There is too much room to argue whether a proposal is ‘sustainable’ or whether a plan is out of date.” The Government is also proposing reducing the planning policy guidance to one 50-page document, encompassing a number of different sectors. Pyrke said that on the one hand, less guidance could lead to a more “positive approach” to granting permission by reducing bureaucratic barriers. However, he feared the possibility that it could leave the guidance “vague” about the leisure sector and “could have the reverse affect”. A formal consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework is due in July. “I would see this coming into place by the end of the year,” said Pyrke.