National Planning Policy Framework 2021 Consultation

In response to the Government’s Building Better Building Beautiful Commission ‘Living with Beauty’ report, The Government have published draft revisions to the NPPF.

In response to the Government’s Building Better Building Beautiful Commission ‘Living with Beauty’ report, The Government have published draft revisions to the NPPF.  The revisions are currently subject to consultation until 27th March 2021.  

Design Principles

The main changes proposed in the revised NPPF relate to design elements, enshrining the social objective of planning to be for “well-designed, beautiful and safe places”.

Proposed changes introduce a new test requiring that development that is not well designed should be refused. Conversely development which reflects local or national design guidance including planting and retention of trees within development sites, will be afforded greater positive weight.

Environmental Considerations

The revisions confirm that infrastructure provision, climate change and environmental requirements are key to sustainable development and that development should manage residual flood risk through improvements in green and other infrastructure to reduce the causes and impacts of flooding.

For new development in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the revisions require that the extent and scale of development should be sensitively located and designed in order to avoid adverse impacts.


A requirement for 10% of all major housing schemes to be affordable housing. ,

The scope for allocation of sites within Neighbourhood Plans has been extended to allow for the allocation of large sites.

Proposed changes to Paragraph 79 (which currently allows exception OR innovative homes to be built in the countryside) will see the importance of design strengthened. This change is designed to close the loophole which allowed poorly designed innovative homes in the countryside.   This amended wording does not rule out innovative homes, but ensures that outstanding is always a prerequisite to allowing isolated homes in the countryside.

Sustainable Transport

The revisions promote  sustainable transport. Paragraph 104(d) has been amended to support the Building Better Building Beautiful commission’s recommendations to encourage walking and cycling, ensuring that  that large scale developments are supported by the necessary infrastructure and facilities, including a genuine choice of transport modes.


In direct response to the unauthorised removal of statues in our towns and cities there is renewed focus on explaining the statues historical context in preference to removal.


The draft revisions echo many recent Government pronouncements seeking to improve the quality of design in new buildings, the public realm and our built environment more generally.

The proposed changes only ‘scratch the surface’ whilst we await the outcome of the  ‘Planning for the Future’ consultation.  It thus remains unclear as to the extent of future changes.  The draft revisions do however represent the first step in enshrining a new planning regime putting good design very much front and centre within the mind of the decision maker when applying the planning balance.

David Jones is MD/Head of Planning at Evans Jones. If you would like any further information on the above article or other planning matters, contact David on 0800 0014090 or email