Ministers 'give in' to superstore developers

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THE GOVERNMENT was accused of caving in to the supermarket giants yesterday as green groups claimed new planning rules would allow more "mega-developments" in the countryside.

THE GOVERNMENT was accused of caving in to the supermarket giants yesterday as green groups claimed new planning rules would allow more "mega-developments" in the countryside.

The campaign group Friends of the Earth described as "disastrous" the long-awaited guidelines unveiled by the planning minister, Nick Raynsford, pointing out that they failed to clamp down on out-of-town shopping centres.

The draft guidelines do address car use by advocating maximum car-parking limits for all urban developments. They also call for the first time for detailed transport assessments, to analyse access by public transport, walking and cycling, to be submitted alongside all major developments.

However, the nationwide parking standards will not apply to smaller developments nor to "most developments in rural areas", according to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Regional planning authorities are even advised to be "cautious" about setting demanding standards.

Mr Raynsford said that the guidelines, which will now go out to consultation, were not "anti-car" but would enable the public to reduce their reliance on their vehicles.

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