By Ian Anderson, Partner, Development & Planning, UK
Following on from my post on Friday: What Will The New National Planning Policy Framework Include? today’s draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out how the Government plans to step in and ‘turn up the heat’ on both local authorities and developers to account for the number of homes being delivered.
The Housing Delivery Test is the most significant change – it will put councils under pressure to deliver more homes or face the prospect of developers getting the right to ‘build anytime anywhere’. But local councils will also be under added pressure too as the government takes local house prices into account for the first time when setting local housebuilding targets. This will put very significant pressure on fast-growing but expensive cities like Oxford and Cambridge.
The government’s focus on good design and the importance of town planning is very positive, but there was no mention today of more money for local planning departments to deliver the very significant numbers of homes required in many areas across the country. One of the big delays housebuilders face is the capacity of the planning system to deliver new local plans and assess applications, and without more resources many local authorities will struggle to meet the challenges the Government has set for them.
Although an ambitious and streamlined approach is to be welcomed, there is certainly a great deal of ‘stick’ and perhaps not enough ‘carrot’ for councils to get more planning permissions delivered. The big opportunity for planning reform is to increase housing density, particularly around train stations, and to make it as easy as possible for brownfield sites in town and city centres to be converted to residential.
The draft NPPF is subject to full consultation, with a deadline for any comments by 10th May 2018. The final framework is anticipated during the summer.
Ian Anderson, Partner, Planning and Development
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