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Briefing NPPF 2.2

On 26 October, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government [MHCLG] published a consultation document proposing potential changes to the revised 2018 NPPF and accompanying PPG.

The document is available here, with comments invited by 7 December 2018.

The headline changes proposed are as follows:

  • Amendments to the standard methodology for calculating housing need. Whilst this element of the consultation will be subject to separate comment from Turley, it is of importance to note that the MHCLG make clear that in the short term, planning practitioners should rely on the 2014-based household projections for the calculation of housing need, and that the recently published 2016-based projections are not a justification for presenting lower housing need figures.
  • Clarification on when the standard method should be used in the calculation of five year supply. The consultation includes a proposed amendment to footnote 37 and the NPPF glossary, to clarify that the standard methodology should be used as the basis for calculating five year supply in the absence of an up to date Plan (unless exceptional circumstances exist).
  • Clarification on the test of what constitutes a ‘deliverable’ site. This proposed amendment splits the published Annex 2 definition into a more logical order and includes text to clarify that any non-major sites with planning permission (including outline) should be considered deliverable. The consultation alludes to additional PPG being published on what constitutes a deliverable site.
  • U-turn on the intention of paragraph 177. Following the People Over Wind judgment earlier in 2018, in most cases paragraph 177 has been interpreted to preclude the presumption in favour of sustainable development on applications and appeals where an Appropriate Assessment (AA) has been required. Contrary to this interpretation (and recent appeal case law), the proposed amended wording states clearly that the tilted balance will not be precluded on a site where AA is required, if the AA has concluded there will be no adverse effect on the habitat's site.

The proposed amendments provide some clarity on the MHCLG’s intention of these elements of the Framework, and indicate the direction of travel for their interpretation.

It is encouraging to see MHCLG’s willingness to revise the NPPF so soon following its publication, acknowledge its ambiguities and seek to provide clarity in decision taking.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your local Turley office for advice or guidance on how these proposed changes may affect projects.

2 November 2018

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