Futures Forum: The new National Policy Planning Framework is "closing the viability loophole"
Futures Forum: The new National Policy Planning Framework "is a developers' charter"
This is also the case in Devon:
New planning policy framework slammed as ‘speculative developers’ charter’ while council questions contradictory aims
The Campaign to Protect Rural England is not happy
Daniel Clark Local Democracy Reporter
13 AUG 2018
The revised National Planning Policy Framework has been slammed as a ‘speculative developers’ charter’ by The Campaign to Protect Rural England, while concerns about the contradictory aims of quality and quantity have been raised by Teignbridge District Council.
The policy changes, announced at the end of July, will place a greater responsibility on local planning authorities to drive up the actual volume of homes built in their area, rather than simply planning for them.
The new rules will also make it easier for councils to challenge poor quality and unattractive development, and give communities a greater voice about how developments should look and feel, the Government have said.
The revised National Planning Policy Framework follows a public consultation, with the new rule book will focusing on promoting high quality design of new homes and places, stronger protection for the environment, building the right number of homes in the right places and a greater responsibility and accountability for housing delivery from councils and developers
But the Campaign to Protect Rural England have said that the new NPPF will continue to favour the delivery of any development, rather than development that meets communities’ needs, respects the environment, and adheres to policies in the NPPF other than those which deal with housing delivery.
Matt Thomson, Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “ Rather than delivering ‘what communities want’ as it claims to promise, the new planning rulebook and its new ‘housing delivery test’ will result in almost all local plans becoming out of date within two years. It is a speculative developers’ charter and will lead to the death of the plan-led system.
“Without a local plan, councils and communities have little control over the location and type of developments that take place. This results in the wrong developments in the wrong places - local communities’ needs are ignored and valued countryside destroyed for no good reason.”
The CPRE’s key concern is the new ‘housing delivery test’ as the NPPF continues to encourage councils to set high targets for housing delivery. However, the ‘housing delivery test’ will penalise councils when house builders fail to deliver homes in their areas by removing local control over planning decisions. This in turn will leave them and the countryside open to speculative development, a CRPE spokesman said.
They added that they have a number of other concerns, including:
> a failure to provide an effective brownfield first policy
> the continuing failure to support provision of affordable housing in rural areas
> the discouragement of neighbourhood planning because of uncertainty over the validity of plans older than two years
> continued implicit support for hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas, despite massive public opposition and little evidence of need
However, the CPRE said that they were pleased to see that government has taken some positive actions.
> National Parks and AONBs reinstated as having the ‘highest status of protection’
> maintaining Green Belt protections and an improved definition ‘exceptional circumstances’ for releasing land from Green Belts
> improved clarity and focus for policies on making better use of land
> clearer guidance for viability assessment and that price paid for land should never be a justification for viability revisions
> excluding National Parks, AONBs and Green Belts from the Entry Level Exceptions Sites policy
> ‘Social housing’ being reinstated in the definition of affordable housing.
Commenting on the policy, a Teignbridge District Council spokesman said that it appeared to have potentially contradictory aims of quality and quantity.
They said: “The Housing Secretary’s announcement places emphasis on high quality design and a greater ability for communities to have their say on new developments in their area. He is quoted as saying ‘ I am clear that quantity must never compromise the quality of what is built, and this is reflected in the new rules’.
“However it is also clear that the revised guidance is largely focused on delivering quantity. 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.
“It will be interesting to see how the potentially contradictory aims of quality and quantity play out – if both can be achieved then the new National Planning Policy Framework will be beneficial.”
A Mid Devon District Council spokesman said: “We are not in a position to provide comment at this time other than that we welcome the clarity the publication of the revised NPPF brings following the period of uncertainty after the Government consulted on its draft proposals.”
A North Devon council spokesman said: “We are not looking to make any comment on the revised national planning policy framework. We are still in the process of reading through it and trying to identify relevant implications.”
Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, South Hams District Council, West Devon Borough Council, Torridge District Council, Torbay Council and Plymouth City Council did not respond to a request for comment.
The Rural Town Planning Institute have said the tightened expectations embedded in the new NPPF would put local authority planners under significant pressure and council leaders and senior managers should recognise this by increasing the resources available to planning teams.
The Local Government Association also have expressed doubts about the impact of the housing delivery test on local planning, but welcomed the retention of social rent in the definition of social housing.
Announcing the changes, Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP 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.”
New planning policy framework slammed as ‘speculative developers’ charter’ while council questions contradictory aims - Devon Live