The Government has this week published the final revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
LSH’s Planning & Development Consultancy team is well placed to advise on the challenges arising and welcomes any enquiries from colleagues and clients.
The document represents both an important opportunity and challenge to LSH and its clients. A key opportunity is presented by the tough new housing targets, which have left many local authorities searching for more housing land. The biggest challenge is presented by the new approach to affordable housing, which seems likely to decrease the profitability of housing developments and potentially impact on residential land values.
The new document represents the first change to National planning policy since the original NPPF was published in 2012. It is similar to the draft published in March and contains important changes aimed at increasing housing supply. The top five most interesting measures are:
- Standard housing methodology, increasing housing delivery significantly in most local authority areas. This means that housing targets for each local area are now decided by central Government and largely imposed.
- Emphasis for viability testing is shifted from individual sites and development control into plan making. The emphasis is firmly place on house builders, when buying land for development, to take into account the need to deliver policy compliant schemes in line with Local Plan targets for affordable housing.
- Housing delivery test whereby Local Planning Authorities will be judged on the extent to which they have met their targets for housing delivery in the Local Plan. Failure to deliver on housing targets will be met by a need to justify why they have failed and measures to be adopted to ensure better delivery in the future. Failure could also lead to planning applications for residential development being allowed on appeal.
- New settlements or large urban extensions are noted as the best means of delivering larger numbers of dwellings. In areas where housing targets have risen substantially, these may be the only means of delivering on the requirements.
- Specific recognition of Build to Rent and greater flexibility over how affordable housing is provided. The general requirement for major developments under the draft NPPF expects at least 10% of the overall affordable housing contribution to be affordable homes for sale. BTR schemes are exempt from this requirement and instead have flexibility in their affordable housing offering.