National Policy Planning Framework

Updates to the NPPF (February 2016)

Paragraph 009 of the NPPG was updated in February 2016 to make it clear that housing needs evidence produced to support an emerging local plan is likely to be relevant in determining whether a neighbourhood plan “contributes to the achievement of sustainable development”. Further changes to this paragraph recommend that, in order to ensure that their policies are not “overridden by a new local plan”, neighbourhood plans should “consider providing indicative timetables, and allocating reserve sites to ensure that emerging evidence of housing need is addressed”.

Additions to paragraph 040 of the NPPG say that neighbourhood plan policies relevant to housing supply “should take account of latest and up-to-date evidence of housing need” and that local authorities should “share relevant evidence on housing need gathered to support [their] own plan-making” with groups preparing a neighbourhood plan.

New paragraphs 082 and 083 direct decision makers to the parts of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the NPPG that can provide further guidance on how much weight to give to housing supply policies in such circumstances. The new guidance also says evidence produced during the preparation of the relevant neighbourhood plan may provide assistance in coming to a decision.

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Key components of the National Planning Policy Framework

All of the following are extracts taken directly from Securing the Future – delivering UK sustainable development strategy (2005) and from the National Planning Policy Framework

At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking.

For plan-making this means that:

  1. local planning authorities should positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area;
  2. Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change, unless:
    1. any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this framework taken as a whole; or
    2. specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted.
    3. Achieving sustainable development

The Framework states that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

What is meant by sustainable development?
The Framework contains sections which, taken as a whole, constitute the Government’s view of what sustainable development means in practice for the planning system. These are:
1. Building a strong, competitive economy
2. Ensuring the vitality of town centres
3. Supporting a prosperous rural economy
4. Promoting sustainable transport
5. Supporting high quality communications infrastructure
6. Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes
7. Requiring good design
8. Promoting healthy communities
9. Protecting Green Belt land
10. Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change
11. Conserving and enhancing the natural environment
12. Conserving and enhancing the historic environment
13. Faciltating the sustainable use of minerals

BUT: Planning Authorities must have Core Strategies and Local Plans in place to achieve a 5 year housing land supply otherwise all of this can be ignored by the presumption in favour of development.

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