Interpretation of Paragraph 226 of the December 2023 revision of NPPF
On February 5th, 2024, the Government made important revisions to the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) in an effort to bring much-needed clarity to the interpretation of Paragraph 226 within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The NPPF, which was published in December 2023, left some ambiguity regarding whether the calculation of the four-year housing supply should be based on a four-year or five-year requirement. Responding to feedback from the planning sector, the Government has now definitively stated that the four-year supply will be evaluated against a five-year requirement.
However, it is notable that applications submitted prior to December 19th will still be subject to transitional arrangements. The trigger favouring sustainable development (the tilted balance) will remain in cases where Local Authorities (LA’s) cannot demonstrate a deliverable five-year housing and land supply, plus buffer (where appropriate).
While the revised practice guidance does offer some insights into the housing land supply calculation, it's important to highlight that it hasn't entirely resolved the clarity issue. In practice, it appears that even for applications submitted before December 19th, the assessment, particularly concerning housing land supply, may consider a four-year supply if a compliant Regulation 18 or 19 consultation has been published.
The Government has also hinted at further updates in the pipeline concerning housing supply calculations, specifically regarding how past oversupply can factor into the calculation of housing land supply.
Further updates will be provided as and when guidance is issued.