As expected, the new revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published this week as Parliament broke for the summer recess. The full document can be found here on the Govt website.
No doubt there will be further commentary and opinion pieces on this over the coming weeks.
So far the following commentary from The Planner Magazine seems an appropriate summary. We have highlighted in red the important points for BNG:
The much-anticipated revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has finally been published with an increased emphasis on high-quality design - but there are concerns the new framework will put planners under 'significant pressure'.
Housing secretary James Brokenshire said the latest framework will make it easier for planning authorities to challenge poor quality and unattractive development. In particular, it stresses that councils “have the confidence and tools” to refuse applications when the development does not prioritise design quality or complement its surroundings.
The new framework also aims to give communities a greater say in the design of developments. Councils are encouraged to make use of “innovative visual tools” to promote better design and quality and allow residents to see schemes before they are built.
Adopted neighbourhood plans should “demonstrate clear local leadership in design quality, with the framework allowing groups seeking such plans to truly reflect the community’s expectations on how new development will visually contribute to their area”.
Councils will have to apply design policies “in the most appropriate way in their area, recognising that they are well placed to know their area’s unique character and setting”.
“I am clear that quantity must never compromise the quality of what is built, and this is reflected in the new rules,” said Brokenshire.
Local authorities are urged to “exhaust all other reasonable options for development” before considering altering a green belt boundary. It stresses that “considerable evidence” would be needed to alter any such boundary. The framework confirms the housing need methodology set out last year for calculating housing need across different forms and tenures based on a wide range of factors including affordability.
From November 2018 councils will have a Housing Delivery Test focused on driving up the numbers of homes delivered in their area, rather than how many are planned for. This will penalise councils that under-deliver over three years. The frameworks also aims to provide further protection for biodiversity by aligning the planning system more closely with Defra’s 25-year environment plan. It stresses greater importance on air quality when deciding applications and offers more protection for ancient woodland and trees. The revised document replaces the previous NPPF published in March 2012.
The full NPPF document can be accessed here.
The full Planner Magazine article and subsequent comment can be found here
It would appear that the revised NPPF makes it more difficult for councils to change Greenbelt boundaries than previously which is good news but concerns have also been aired around the new “housing delivery test” notably in this article by Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
All that said, we should now see the wheels start turning again in the BNG campaign and, indeed, in the Council’s Planning Processes although at the time of writing the Chiltern District Council’s planning website shows no further updates or mention of the revised NPPF and, indeed, now appears out of date.
Watch this space.