Getting to know the new Planning Practice Guidance

Accompanying updates to existing sections of the guidance are five new sections:

  • Green belt: this identifies a number of matters that need to be taken into account when assessing openness, including visual impact of a development, its duration and remediability, as well as the degree of activity, for example traffic, that would be generated
  • Housing supply and delivery: focuses on the requirement to produce and maintain a five year land supply and sets out the evidence needed to demonstrate a site’s deliverability so it can be included in a local authority’s five year housing land supply
  • Effective use of land: the section includes advice on how to assess when land should be “reallocated for a more deliverable use” including planning for higher densities and reallocating land that has not yet been developed
  • Housing needs of different groups: advice on how plan-making authorities should identify and plan for the housing needs of particular groups of people, including students, self-builders, the elderly, travellers, those living in rural areas and those using private rented sector homes
  • Appropriate assessment: this section deals with what the Habitats Regulations Assessment really is and what applications must contain as well as the impact of the ‘People Over Wind’ judgment on neighbour plans, permission in principle, development orders and planning zones.

A number of other key changes include:

  • An update to the section on housing and economic land availability assessment to include new wording on how planners should consider constraints, such as the green belt, in assessing the suitability of sites and broad locations for development
  • New guidance on the housing delivery test
  • An update to the plan-making section, allowing for local authorities to update specific policies within plans “on an individual basis” and clarifying what is required when updating a development plan
  • Amended guidance on planning for the natural environment, setting out new details on how planners can implement "net environmental gain" requirements when assessing development proposals, including new advice on protecting wildlife
  • Updated guidance on the use of planning conditions and noise.

A full copy of the newly updated PPG can be found here.

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