Government hopes to publish draft NPPF revisions by the end of March

The government hopes to consult on the new revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) by the end of March, a senior civil servant at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has said.

17 January 2018 by Michael Donnelly

Jan 2018 Parliament: MHCLG chief appeared before committee on Monday The department consulted on changes to the NPPF in December 2015, but the timescale for revising the document has slipped. 

In July 2016, the former planning minister Gavin Barwell said that he expected to publish revisions to the framework in the autumn, after the government had previously indicated that the changes would be made in the summer. 

Speaking on Monday at a session of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, Melanie Dawes, permanent secretary Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), said that she wanted a consultation version of the revised document to be published before Easter. Good Friday falls on 30 March this year. 

Asked by committee chair Clive Betts how the government intended to bring together all of its planning policy changes "in a coherent sensible way", Dawes said that the department would "brigade as much of [the proposed changes] as possible in the new National Planning Policy Framework". 

Dawes said that she expected the document to be "ready for consultation in the next few months - I hope just before Easter or thereabouts". 

The civil servant said that the consultation would "include measures on which we have already consulted on as individual measures ... and also some measures announced in the Budget which are yet to be consulted on". 

"Following that final consultation we will publish and implement the new framework in one piece", she said. 

Measures announced in the Budget yet to be consulted on include a proposal to take allocated sites out of local plans where "there is no prospect" of a planning application being made for their intended use; and new policy whereby local authorities would be expected to grant housing permissions for land outside development plans on condition that a "high proportion" of the homes built are offered for discounted sale for first time buyers or for affordable rent.

Neighbourhood plan advice requirement to come into effect in July

Councils will be obliged to set out their policies on the provision of advice and assistance to neighbourhood planning groups from the end of July, under regulations made by Parliament yesterday

16 January 2018 by Bryan Johnston.

Parliament: fresh planning regulations made Regulation 4(a) of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (Commencement No 3) Regulations brings section 6 of the act into force on 31 July. 

This requires local planning authorities to set out their policy for discharging their duty to give advice or assistance to qualifying bodies to facilitate proposals for neighbourhood development plans (NDPs) or neighbourhood development orders (NDOs), including proposals for the modification of NDPs. 

Also from 31 July, regulation 4(b) brings into effect the requirement under section 13(2) of the act for local planning authorities to set out policies for involving interested parties in the preliminary stages of plan-making in their statements of community involvement. 

As of today (16 January), the commencement order brings into effect provisions under sections 8(1) and 8(3) requiring local planning authorities to identify the strategic priorities for the development and use of land in their area. 

Under this provision, according to the explanatory memorandum, councils’ monitoring reports must "make clear the extent to which they are relying on policies in a spatial development strategy to deliver their strategic priorities, and where the relevant policies are to be found". 

The regulations also give full force to powers under sections 9 and 10 of the act for the secretary of state to direct pairs or groups of councils to prepare joint development plans and to invite county councils to take over plan-making functions from districts. This measure also comes into effect today. 

Regulation 3, meanwhile, which will come into force on 31 January, formally brings into effect the requirement for councils or the secretary of state to notify neighbourhood planning bodies of planning applications or alterations to applications in their area where an NDP has been adopted or examined, unless the neighbourhood planning group has opted out. 

Further provisions in force from the end of this month allow councils to amend NDPs or NDOs where they consider that the modification does not materially affect any planning permission granted by the order or policies in the plan.

Care village falls foul of neighbourhood plan

An outline proposal for a care village comprising 54 dwellings for the over 55s and a 40 bed space care home on farmland outside a Herefordshire village was rejected by an inspector due to conflict with a neighbourhood plan.

The inspector found that although core strategy policies guiding the broad level and distribution of housing in the district were out of date in the light of a five-year housing land supply shortfall, a neighbourhood plan had been adopted within the previous two years, and made an allocation of 90 dwellings. In accordance with the written ministerial statement, the neighbourhood plan policies were found by the inspector to be up to date. The site lay outside the settlement boundary defined in the plan and with regard to a recent court judgment in Richborough Estates and others and the SSCLG 2018, he attached significant weight to the policies of the plan and dismissed the appeal despite an acknowledged shortage of specialised homes and care for the elderly across the county.

 

Inspector: David Richards; Written representations