The Government has begun consulting on a raft of proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It is seeking views on proposed changes in relation to affordable housing, density, new settlements and starter homes.
These changes will involve the following areas:
- Broadening the definition of affordable housing
- Increasing the density of development around commuter hubs
- Supporting sustainable new settlements and helping development on brownfield land and small sites
- Helping the delivery of housing allocated in plans
- Promoting and aiding the delivery of starter homes.
The document sets out the Government’s plans to extend the current exception site policy and strengthen the presumption in favour of ‘starter home’ developments.
The consultation clarifies the proposal to change policy to support the regeneration of previously developed brownfield sites in the green belt provided this contributes to the delivery of starter homes. This will be “subject to local consultation”.
Key highlights of the consultation include:
1. Sanctions for under-delivering on housing targets
Local planning authorities that fail to deliver the homes set out in their local plans could be required to identify ‘additional sustainable sites’, which could include new settlements.
2. Affordable housing definition broadened
A proposal to amend the definition of affordable housing “so that it encompasses a fuller range of products that can support people to access home ownership.
3. Councils must plan for those who aspire to home ownership
The consultation will make clearer in policy the requirement to plan for the housing needs of “those who aspire to home ownership alongside those whose needs are best met through rented homes, subject as now to the overall viability of individual sites”.
4. Push for higher densities around commuter hubs
The consultation “would expect local planning authorities, in both plan-making and in taking planning decisions, to require higher density development around commuter hubs wherever feasible”.
5. Fresh policy backing for new settlements
The government proposes to “provide a more supportive approach for new settlements, within locally-led plans… taking account of the need to provide an adequate supply of new homes”.
6. Presumption in favour of brownfield housing development
The government will give “substantial weight to the benefits of using brownfield land for housing. They propose to make it clear that development proposals for housing on brownfield sites should be supported, unless overriding conflicts with the local plan or the National Planning Policy Framework can be demonstrated.
7. Call for release of unviable employment land
An amendment to paragraph 22 of the NPPF “to make clear that unviable or underused employment land should be released unless there is significant and compelling evidence to justify why such land should be retained for employment use”.
8. Scope of Starter Homes initiative widened further
The scope could be widened to incorporate other forms of unviable or underused brownfield land, such as previously used for retail, leisure and non-residential institutional uses (such as former health and educational sites)
9. Neighbourhood planners to identify green belt Starter Home sites
The government proposes to amend policy so that neighbourhood plans can allocate appropriate small-scale sites in the green belt specifically for Starter Homes.
10. Green belt brownfield policy test faces revision
A proposal to amend paragraph 89 of the NPPF that prevents development of brownfield land where there is any additional impact on the openness of the green belt to “give more flexibility and enable suitable, sensitively designed redevelopment to come forward”
The document has proposed there will only be transitional arrangements, for a period of six to twelve months, in respect of local authorities accommodating the new definition of affordable housing because this may need the development of new policy and possibly a partial review of their local plan. View the consultation
A Changed Future Landscape – Wherever Your Client Is.
It is clear that this radical shake up of the Framework will create far more change at a local level across our urban areas, but also existing brownfield plots in the countryside.
As the Government continues to seek change to the planning process to satisfy housing demand from our growing population, development pressures will grow ever greater.
Make sure you and your client are clear on how the planning landscape is changing. A professionally interpreted report, like our DevAssess report is the best way to protect your client’s financial future. For more information, call us on 01342 890010 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org