The Government has issued a revised national planning policy framework (NPPF) and a written ministerial statement (WMS) “The Next Stage in Our Long Term Plan for Housing Update” . Both include policies or proposed policies that also affect non-residential development.
To launch both, the Secretary of State (SoS) gave a 30 minute speech, in which he promoted the reasoning behind the changes made, those still to come, his desire for the nation to be “building, growing, daring” and “falling back in love with the future”.
The Government’s response to the December 2022 consultation of reforms to planning policy, published on the same day, includes a detailed explanation of the changes made to the NPPF, as well as consultation outcomes that will take effect or be consulted upon further in due course.
The Housing Delivery Test 2022 results were also published (having been expected in January 2023 based on the year ending March 2022).
The revised NPPF updates the previous September 2023 NPPF, which was the July 2021 NPPF plus the changes to onshore wind energy policy.
The changes to the NPPF are outlined in this blog
and discussed in more detail in these blogs
Changes to 5YHLS under the revised NPPF: Not Great, Not Terrible by Harry Bennett
Housing need cannot be ignored like an unwanted Christmas present by Simon Coop
No Excuses: Unlocking Local-Plan Making? by Isabella Tidswell
The WMS summarises (in the Government’s words, of course) the key changes to the NPPF and the reasoning behind them.
This is followed by reference to a variety of new performance measures, including, local plan interventions, and an independent review of the London Plan. Planning application performance measures include changes to extension of time policy and the designation of two new s62A planning authorities
(Chorley and Fareham).
The WMS also announces a Cambridge Development Corporation, a new traveller policy (following a court judgment) and intended new building regulations relating to water efficiency in new homes and an interim approach to agree tighter standards, in areas under water stress.
In addition, the WMS makes reference to immediate changes and to proposals for the future, including introducing provisions in the LURA, notably enforcement provisions, in the short term. And there will be “a consultation on measures to improve build out rates once the Competition and Markets Authority has published its final report as part of their housebuilding market study in 2024".
The WMS also reminds councils that “development should proceed on sites that are allocated in an adopted local plan with full input from the local community unless there are strong reasons why it cannot; councils should be open and pragmatic in agreeing changes to developments where conditions mean that the original plan may no longer be viable, rather than losing the development wholesale or seeing development mothballed; and better use should be made of small pockets of brownfield land by being more permissive, so more homes can be built more quickly, where and how it makes sense, giving more confidence and certainty to SME builders”.
Some of the announcements in the WMS that will take effect immediately or imminently are discussed in these blogs:
All stick and no carrot - New planning performance measures and a crackdown on the extension of time by Sean Farrissey
Khan you do it like that? Or Cam you do it like this? Gove’s targeted housebuilding armament by Paddy Hynes
Overall, the 20 December 2023 planning announcements and publications are wide ranging and have more than a housing focus. However, the most immediately impactful are those relating to planning for housing.
Lichfields will undertake more analysis on the revised NPPF in the coming weeks. Subscribe to our blog for updates.