The Revised NPPF published by the Government

The new revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published on 24th July 2018 following a consultation which took place earlier this year on the draft version of the document (March 2018).

There has been some significant changes since the consultation including a new the Housing Secretary (The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP) and Housing Minister (Kit Malthouse MP).

The wider impact and implications of the changes to the document will become more apparent over time, however we note some important changes which we set out briefly below:

  • Achieving sustainable development –  When it comes to plan- making it is the role of strategic policies to provide for objectively assessed needs for housing and other uses, as well as any needs that can not be met within neighbouring areas. This should be established through statements of common ground.
  • Delivering a sufficient supply of homes – To support the Government’s objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes, it is important that a sufficient amount and variety of land can come forward where it is needed, that the needs of groups with specific housing requirements are addressed and that land with permission is developed without unnecessary delay. The requirement for strategic plans to be based upon the new standard method of calculation of local housing need assessment (unless exceptional circumstances justify an alternative approach). Small and medium sized sites can make an important contribution to meeting the housing requirement of an area. Local authorities should identify land to accommodate at least 10% of their housing requirement on sites no larger that one hectare.
  • Housing delivery test – Is to be introduced in November 2018. Delivery of housing which was substantially below the housing requirement means where the Housing Delivery Test results published in:
  1. November 2018 indicate that delivery was below 25% of housing required over the previous 3 years;
  2. November 2019 indicate that delivery was below 45% of housing required over the previous 3 years;
  3. November 2020 and in subsequent years indicate that delivery was below 75% of housing required over the previous 3 years.
  • Making effective use of land – Planning policy and decisions should promote an effective use of land in meeting the need for homes and other uses. There should be a clear strategy for accommodating objectively assessed needs, in a way that makes as much use as possible of previously-developed or ‘brownfield’ land. Planning policy and decisions will promote and support the development of under-utilised land and buildings (for example car parks, lock-ups, above shops and railway infrastructure) and support opportunities to use airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes, i.e., upward extensions. In areas where there is an existing or anticipated shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, policy and decisions should avoid homes being built at low densities and ensure developments make optimal use of the potential of each site, this will include minimum density standards. Local authorities should refuse applications which they consider fail to make effective use of land.
  • Achieving well-designed places – Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development. Plans should, at the most appropriate level, set out a clear design vision and expectations, so applicants have as much certainty as possible about what is likely to be acceptable. Increased emphasis is also placed on early discussions between applicants, the local authority and local communities in order to secure good design.
  • Protecting Green Belt land – The continued commitment to protect Green Belt land from development is maintained with the Local Plan policies establishing whether there should be any changes to Green Belt boundaries. Local Authorities will have to identify exceptional circumstances exist to justify boundary changes including examining fully all other reasonable options for meeting its identified need for development. Where it has been concluded that it is necessary to release Green Belt land for development, plans should give first consideration to land which has been previously-developed and/or is well-served by public transport.
  • Implementation – Policies in the previous framework (NPPF 2012) will apply for the purpose of examining plan, where those plans are submitted on or before 24th January 2019.

The Government maintain the NPPF’s aim of significantly boosting housing supply and therefore we consider the above changes will have a substantial impact on both how applications are determined and the development of local plans.

If you have any land and would like to discuss the potential for development, please contact a member of our team.

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