The Government recently published a consultation on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The proposed revisions to the NPPF were published alongside a draft National Model Design Code and is part of the Government’s response to the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission’s report – Living with Beauty. Therefore, most of the changes relate to policy on the quality of design of new development.
In addition to the clear emphasis on design the review also makes a number of environment-related changes, including amendments on flood risk and climate change. The amendments also include a small number of very minor changes which clarify policy and reflect finding of recent case law.
A number of the key changes are set out below:
- Amending the presumption in favour of sustainable development Paragraph 11, to require plan-makers to “align growth and infrastructure; improve the environment; mitigate climate change (including by making effective use of land in urban areas) and adapt to its effects”.
- Limiting the use of Article 4 directions to small geographical areas, as opposed to blanket directions (Paragraph 53).
- Expecting at least ten per cent of the “total number” of homes in major developments to be available for affordable home ownership (Paragraph 65).
- An amendment to Paragraph 69 which removes the suggestion that neighbourhood plans can only allocate small or medium sites. The amended wording clarifies that neighbourhood planning groups should also give particular consideration to the opportunities for allocating small and medium-sized sites.
- Paragraph 79e) has also been amended to remove the words ‘or innovative’ in respect of isolated homes in the countryside. Although, the change is not proposed to rule out innovative homes, rather that it will ensure that outstanding quality can always be demanded, even if an innovative approach is taken.
However, these proposed revisions do not reflect the proposals for wider planning reform which were set out in the Planning for the Future consultation document which was published in August 2020 and the Government state that a fuller review of the NPPF will be required in due course to reflect these proposed reforms.
The consultation on both the changes to the NPPF and National Model Design Code is open until 27 March 2021 and if you would like to discuss how the changes make impact on you or your business please do not hesitate to contact one of our planning team.