What the draft NPPF means for... housing policy

By: Jamie Carpenter
Source: www.planningresource.co.uk
Published: 02 August 2011

In the first of a new series of pieces examining the implications of the draft National Planning Policy Framework, Jamie Carpenter examines what the document means for planning policy on housing.

What does it say? The draft NPPF, which includes three pages of policy on housing, says that the Government’s key housing objective is to "increase significantly the delivery of new homes". "Everyone should have the opportunity to live in high quality, well designed homes, which they can afford, in a community where they want to live," the document says.

Planning permission for housing developments should be granted, the document says, "where relevant policies are out of date, for example where a local authority cannot demonstrate an up-to-date five-year supply of deliverable housing sites".

How does it change existing planning policy? Local planning authorities are currently required to identify and allocate five years’ worth of land for housing. The draft NPPF says that, in addition, the supply should "include an additional allowance of at least 20 per cent to ensure choice and competition in the market for land".

The draft NPPF would also remove a rule requiring councils to negotiate over affordable housing contributions, through section 106 planning gain agreements, with the developers of any scheme of more than 15 homes.

What are the implications? Membership body the Home Builders Federation says that the draft NPPF is the "basis for a more pro growth planning system and could support a desperately needed increase in house building".

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at the HBF, said: "The emphasis in the NPPF on achieving an improved housing supply is positive. But how local authorities implement the policy remains critical and will require a change of culture across the board if it is to be transformational."

Umbrella body the National Housing Federation has also welcomed the document. Chief executive David Orr said that it could "achieve a long overdue step-change in building more affordable and market homes". However, the NHF has also cautioned the Government against removing the rule requiring councils to negotiate over affordable housing contributions with the developers of any scheme of more than 15 homes