Secretary of State James Brokenshire has demolished the rules and started again, claiming the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has been built with better-designed homes in areas where they are needed as its foundations.
If we send the rhetoric to landfill, it boils down to these fundamental changes:
- Councils are being encouraged to make use of new visual tools, i.e. VR and AR, to promote better design and quality, which will also make sure new homes fit in with their surroundings.
- It will be up to local councils to apply the new polices in the most, as they know their area’s unique character and setting.
- Councils will be encouraged to refuse applications that don’t provide enough homes.
- Changes to the framework see the planning system align more closely with Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan, including more protection for habitats, and places greater importance on air quality when deciding development proposals.
- The new rules provide strengthened protection for ancient woodland and ancient and veteran trees across England.
- Councils are asked to make the most of their existing brownfield land, and they must exhaust all other reasonable options for development before looking to alter a Green Belt boundary.
- The government has more explicitly outlined the protection of the Green Belt in England, explaining the high expectations and considerable evidence that would be needed to alter any boundary.
- The framework sets out a new way for councils to calculate the housing need of their local community; this new methodology is based on factors including the affordability of existing homes for people on lower and medium incomes.
- From November 2018 councils will have a Housing Delivery Test focused on driving up the numbers of homes actually delivered in their area, rather than how many are planned for.
- In addition, to make sure that the necessary infrastructure and affordable housing is delivered to support communities, clearer guidance for both developers and councils will also be published.
Brokenshire said, “Fundamental to building the homes our country needs is ensuring that our planning system is fit for the future.
“This revised planning framework sets out our vision of a planning system that delivers the homes we need. I am clear that quantity must never compromise the quality of what is built, and this is reflected in the new rules.
We have listened to the tens of thousands of people who told us their views, making this a shared strategy for development in England.”
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