Last month, the promised consultation draft of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was delayed. Melanie Dawes of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) told a committee of MPs that the consultation draft would appear “just before Easter or thereabouts”. The draft was previously scheduled to appear “early” in 2018.
The delay jeopardises the timetable for the introduction of the new standard method for assessing housing need which the government hopes will end lingering disputes on the topic.
Kevin Gibbs, head of strategic planning at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, said while he understands revisions to the NPPF will be subject to a shortened consultation period, the earliest date on which the final version could come into effect is 1st June this year. The postponement could have big implications for local authorities rushing to prepare local plans under existing rules before the initial 31st March deadline for introducing the standard method.
Planning Director at consultant Lichfields, Matthew Spry, said the delay would mean some authorities could slightly delay plan submission without having to conform to new rules; whilst other authorities that might previously have given up on the prospect of submitting a plan before the standard method kicked in “might after all have a chance to submit plans under the existing approach”, he added.