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Government sets out proposed changes for national planning policy

by on December 10, 2015

The Government has begun consulting on a slew of proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

These changes to English planning policy 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.

In respect of broadening the definition of affordable housing to include a wider range of low-cost homes ministers are also already introducing a statutory requirement for a proportion of ‘starter homes’ to be delivered on all reasonably-sized housing developments. There will be separate consultation on the level at which this will be set.

The consultation explains government thinking on the introduction of a so-called housing delivery test and possible action where there has been a significant under-delivery of new homes over a sustained period.

The document also sets out the Government’s plans to extend the current exception site policy and strengthen the presumption in favour of ‘starter home’ developments. “We propose to amend 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”.

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”.

Ministers have also said they will amend the existing policy test on the impact on the openness of the green belt to make this more flexible to “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 documents

Roger Milne

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