FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Questions about the NPPF and NPPG
  2. FAQs about Local Plans
  3. FAQs about SHMAs, housing need and 5 year land supply
  4. FAQs about Sustainability
  5. FAQ’s about Green Belt, AONB, Local Green Spaces
  6. FAQs about Affordable Housing
  7. FAQs about Neighbourhood Plans
  8. FAQs about the Planning Process
  9. FAQs about planning appeals
  10. Miscellaneous FAQs


What is the Planning System?

The Town and Country Planning Act, which was passed in 1947, established the principles that land use was a matter for whole communities and the public realm. No longer should landowners have the right to build on their land at will. The idea was that some of the worst excesses of change in the environment should be curtailed and to bring this about the powers of local authorities were extended. They now had the right to control land use and the built environment through planning permissions and development plans. The act has been changed and amended over time and, in an attempt to simplify the system, the Government introduced the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in March 2012.
The statutory regulations are clarified or modified by case law which is established through processes such as planning appeals and judicial review. Local input into the system is, in theory, brought into play through the making of Local and Neighbourhood Plans, but the effectiveness of these can also be challenged through appeals and the judicial process. Although the system was supposed to be simplified by the NPPF, in practice it is still difficult to understand and planning remains an expensive and time-consuming process.
The Government has also introduced the National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG.)

Planning Regulations
The principal sets of rules and regulations that currently govern the planning process are:
• Town and Country Planning Acts
• Planning Guidance – NPPF, PPG
• Case Law
• Local Plans
• Neighbourhood Plans
The planning changes introduced through the NPPF were designed to stimulate house-building and increase the housing supply. There was a perception that Local Authorities and communities were dragging their feet and blocking development and the NPPF was a tool for changing this situation round. In theory, it was also supportive of the Localism Act of 2011. The sting in the tail is that the need for development almost always take precedence.

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