The Government recently published its long-awaited proposed revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Recognising that the number of new homes in the UK has not kept pace with rising demand, the Government is taking steps to rebalance the market, introducing measures to help kick-start housebuilding.
The housing White Paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ set out the Government’s strategy to tackle the housing problem. Announcements in last year’s Budget took things a step further, with additional proposals to change planning policy and legislation to bring forward more land in the right places, invest in infrastructure and a more active Homes England to diversify the market.
Now, the Government has announced further progress on turning this strategy into reality with a new draft National Planning Policy Framework, building on the first NPPF published in 2012.
- The consultation document includes the following new or amended measures:
- Housing need – confirmation of a new standard method for the calculation of local housing need.
- Affordable housing – an expectation that at least ten per cent of new homes on major sites (those of 10 units or more) be made available for affordable home ownership.
- Planning contributions – commitment to reforming developer contributions through regulation and stated intention to standardise the approach to viability assessments.
- Small sites – Local Planning Authorities to ensure that at least 20 per cent of the sites allocated for housing in their plans are of 0.5ha or less, to help diversify opportunities for housebuilders.
- Housing delivery test – the presumption in favour of sustainable development will apply from 2020 where housing delivery is below 75 per cent of an authority’s requirement.
- Commencement of development – encouragement for local planning authorities to impose planning conditions to bring forward development within two years.
- Redevelopment of retail and employment land – encourage redevelopment for other uses, such as housing where this would be a more effective use and help to meet identified development needs.
- Green Belt – remains protected but redevelopment of previously developed land in the Green Belt for affordable housing encouraged, where there is no substantial harm to openness.
- Plan progress – introduction of a legal requirement to review the Local Plan every five years and confirmation of special measures where local authorities fail to make timely progress.
The Government is also considering further planning reforms, including a new permitted development right for upwards extensions and more effective ways of bringing agricultural land forward for housing.
The consultation period for the NPPF revisions runs until 10th May 2018. Subject to this consultation, the Government intends to publish a final Framework before the summer.