The revised National Planning Policy Framework has now been published with a number of significant changes which include the following:
- Local Authorities must accommodate 10% of their housing requirement on small sites;
- Local Authorities must provide a disaggregation of housing need (including recognition of the Build to Rent sector);
- Local housing needs to be accommodated, unless strong reasons for not doing so, and agreements expected by local authorities regarding meeting unmet needs from neighbouring areas;
- Encouragement for Strategic Plans being produced by local authorities working together;
- A requirement for Local Plan reviews to be undertaken at least once every Five years;
- Clearer Plan content regarding expected developer contributions, taking account of viability;
- The introduction of the housing delivery test from November 2018;
- Promoting more intensive use of existing land and buildings;
- Increased emphasis on design quality;
- Parking standard policies should take into account provision of spaces for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles;
- Green Belt boundary amendments can be made through Neighbourhood Plans.
The full impact of the changes set out will only become fully apparent over time, when they have become established and tested in the Courts.
JB Planning Associates see the introduction of the Housing Delivery test to be particularly noteworthy amongst the changes. This, together with the forthcoming changes expected to the proposed standard methodology for assessing local authority housing needs, seem likely to exert significantly increased pressure on local authorities to deliver increased annual housing delivery rates.