The revised National Planning Policy Framework was published on 24th July 2018. The final document is more or less as drafted in the version consulted on in March this year with a few minor changes, mainly wording clarifications.
The first change in national planning policy since adoption of the Framework in 2012, the document is evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. The early reaction from the industry is generally positive with many of the changes from the previous Framework clarifying wording in response to the various high court judgements.
The key changes from the March draft are outlined below:
- There is still uncertainty surrounding implementation of the standardised methodology. The Government has stated it will consider modifying the Standardised Methodology calculation once the new household projections are published. These projections are expected to see reductions in many authorities across the country and the Government is considering a response to ensure consistency with its continued ambition to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s.
- The new housing delivery test will be introduced from November this year with modified transitional arrangements. Housing needs established from the standardised methodology will not be applied to the test in full until 2021.
- Paragraph 177 (175 in the draft), which disapplies the presumption where appropriate assessment is needed, remains relatively unchanged whilst the Government consider the implications of the ECJ People vs Wind Judgement.
- The Neighbourhood Planning Written Ministerial Statement is now solidified into the Framework offering additional protection to neighbourhood planners who allocate sites to meet the needs of the neighbourhood area.
- The small site requirement in Local Plans has been watered down so that at least 10% of sites in plans should be a hectare or less.
In implementing the new Framework, local authorities and neighbourhood planners have until 24th January 2019 to submit their plans for examination under the previous Framework.
More updates will follow once the Government issues further guidance.