NPPF review: Our guide to the proposed changes

House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee publishes review of the NPPF

In December 2014 a select committee of MPs Chaired by Mr Clive Betts MP (Labour MP for Sheffield South-East) published a report into how effectively the NPPF has been operating in practice since its publication on 27th March 2012.

This report sought the views of amongst others, local authorities, parish councils. house builders, planning consultants and the planning inspectorate. The committee sets out 43 recommendations to the Government as a result of the feedback they received.

Evans Jones Planning team considers the following to be the most significant recommendations of the report.

  • Streamlining of Local Plans

The report recommends amending the NPPF to make clear to local authorities that they should be looking to reduce the complexity, content and increase the accessibility of their local plans.

  • Partial Adoption of Local Plans

The report recommends that Government consults on the partial adoption of local plans, if necessary through a change in statute. In the meantime, the Planning Inspectorate should do what it can within the existing framework to ensure local authorities do not find themselves in the frustrating position of having their plans found unsound.

  • Statutory Requirement for Plans to be in place

The report recommends that, before the end of the parliament, the Government start consultation on proposals to place a statutory requirement on councils to have an adopted local plan in place within three years of the legislation coming into force.

  • Neighbourhood Planning

The report recommends that the Government consult on how the relationship between neighbourhood plans and local plans could be clarified. The consultation should include the option that neighbourhood plans should not be adopted until an adopted local plan is in place.

  • The Duty To Cooperate

The report recommends that the Government, by March 2015, issues clearer guidance on what constitutes co-operation.

  • All Sites with Planning Permission to Count towards 5 Year Housing Supply

The report recommends amending the NPPF to make clear that all sites with planning permission should be counted towards the five year supply of housing land.

  • Clearer Guidance on Site Viability

The report recommends clearer guidance on site viability assessments which should consider not only current prices and costs but projections of prices and costs over the next five years.

  • Clearer Guidance on Strategic Housing Market Assessments

The report recommends the Government work with local government and the house building industry to revise its guidance on strategic housing market assessments and produce an agreed methodology. Inspectors should then be required to test SHMAs against this methodology.

  • Revoke Permitted Development Rights for Shops

The report recommends that the Government revoke the permitted development rights allowing change from classes A1 and A2 to C3.

Our view at Evans Jones is that these recommendations, if introduced to the NPPF will result in substantial changes to the planning system in England for both developers, local planning authorities, and other stakeholders.

Please contact our planning team if you would like more help in finding your way through these proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.