Planning policy – influencing change?

Publication March 2018

Revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) were published for consultation by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government on 5 March 2018.

The NPPF sets out a national framework for planning policy in England which must be taken into account by local planning authorities (LPAs) when setting local planning policy for their area and when making decisions on whether to grant planning permission.

The primary intention of the draft revised NPPF is to speed up the delivery of housing development in England, with a target of increasing housing supply to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

The changes proposed are numerous, although many have been raised and debated previously. Insofar as housing is concerned, amongst other things:

  • The amended presumption in favour of sustainable development means that local strategic plans should meet the need for housing and other development, as well as providing for any needs that cannot be met in neighbouring areas;
  • A new housing delivery test is introduced to measure each council’s performance in delivering new houses, with developers to be held to account for delivering their commitments;
  • A standardised approach to calculating “housing need” is introduced;
  • LPAs are encouraged to consider transport issues at an early stage of the plan-making process and development proposals;
  • There are new quality standards to encourage well designed new homes.

To support the draft NPPF and housing delivery, the government is also undertaking a separate consultation on reforming developer contributions towards affordable housing and infrastructure. It is also considering changes to the Community Infrastructure Levy and the developer contributions required by planning and highway legal agreements.

The deadline for comments on the draft NPPF is 10 May, with the aim of adopting the final amended framework sometime in the summer of 2018.


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