Government publishes new National Planning Policy Framework

Whilst substantially similar to March’s consultation draft, there have been some changes made to the NPPF to reflect the responses that were received, particularly around small sites, and the use of viability arguments at application stage.

The new NPPF includes a focus on design, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said, promising that building "attractive and better-designed homes in areas where they are needed" is at "the centre" of the new NPPF.

"The new rules will also make it easier for councils to challenge poor quality and unattractive development, and give communities a greater voice about how developments should look and feel," the statement said.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, said: "Fundamental to building the homes our country needs is ensuring that our planning system is fit for the future.

"This revised planning framework sets out our vision of a planning system that delivers the homes we need. I am clear that quantity must never compromise the quality of what is built, and this is reflected in the new rules.”

From November 2018 councils will be subject to a Housing Delivery Test, which is focused on the numbers of homes delivered in their area, rather than how many are planned for. This will penalise councils that under-deliver over three years by triggering the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The framework also aims to provide further protection for biodiversity by aligning the planning system more closely with Defra’s 25-year environment plan. It stresses greater importance on air quality when deciding applications and offers more protection for ancient woodland and trees.

In addition, revised Planning Practice Guidance, details on the Housing Delivery Test, and the government’s approach to viability testing were published.

The revised document replaces the previous NPPF (published in March 2012). The policies in the new NPPF are material considerations which should be taken into account in dealing with any live planning applications from the day of its publication.

The full NPPF document can be accessed here.

For further commentary on how changes to the NPPF may affect you, or to discuss any planning-related issue, please contact Fred Quartermain or another member of Thrings’ Planning team.

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