The Draft Revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is expected before Easter.
The NPPF is being revised to include planning reforms outlined in the housing White Paper, the Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places consultation and the announcements at Autumn Budget. The final revised framework is expected to be published in the summer as Steve Quartermain, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Chief Planner stated on his letter to England’s local authorities.
The letter contained details on Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations, as regulations amending Regulation 218A of Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations were considered by Parliament on 24th January. The new regulations, if finally accepted, will come into force in February.
Communities and other interested parties’ involvement in the preliminary stages of planning will also be promoted. New arrangement for the production of Statements of Community Involvement will come into force on 31 July 2018.
In addition, new streamlined procedures for modifying neighbourhood plans and areas will be introduced by the reforms commenced on 31 January 2018.
The revised draft of the National Planning Policy Framework will also include a policy concerning the new generation of town houses in cities, which was an important part of the government’s housing white paper proposals. Housing Secretary Sajid Javid supported that this is a government’s attempt to ease pressure on ‘valuable’ open spaces and to help “growing families who want more space but do not want to spend money on stamp duty and the costs of moving”.
The new generation of town houses will include taller buildings while building upwards on existing shops, offices, houses and blocks of flats will become easier. Javid, asking for more creativity and efficiency in the use of space that we already have, argues potential development land is not only an empty plot or a derelict site. As housing demand is increasing, new housing solutions must be applied with “radical” moves. He states:
“That’s why we are looking to strengthen planning rules to encourage developers to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible when delivering the homes the country needs.”
New schemes could include up to two additional levels to a property. The “only” (strikingly significant) requirement for such proposals will be they will have to be in keeping with roofline of other buildings in the area and with the character of the local area in general. By this measure and its restrictions, the government aims at protecting the ‘valuable open space’ in inner city areas while maintaining the residential character and the preservation of listed buildings and conservation areas. The government added that this policy aims at safeguarding people’s privacy and stopping unwanted garden grabbing. This is contrary to the Mayor’s Draft London Plan policy changes regarding ‘housing in our backyards’.
Landowners would still need planning permission but there will be relaxed planning guidance to local council allowing such extensions to go ahead.
One could argue this is still tweaking round the edges without doing anything truly bold and radical!
Authored by Michaela Kekeri.