An Overview Lecture (November 2011)

The National Planning Policy
Framework – An Overview
It’s All About Localism
• “Our ambition is …. real change driven by local
people working together in their communities”
• “A radical shift of power from Westminster to local
people … particularly neighbourhoods, the building
blocks of localism, will be re-energised and
empowered, and innovation and ideas will flow from
local people and enterprises”.
Determining Development
• Section 38(6) of Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act
– “….determination must be made in accordance
with the plan (the Development Plan) unless
material considerations indicate otherwise.”
Spatial Planning Failed?
• The planning system introduced in 2004 lost its way
in too much red tape
• Demonstrably failed to deliver at either regional or
local level
• Plan production proved cumbersome and time
• After 7 years only 30% of LPA’s had Core Strategies
• “failed soviet tractor-style top-down planning
targets” (Eric Pickles MP)
The Planning System
Planning Policy Statements
National Policy Statements
Regional Plans
Adopted Local Plans
Local Plans (LDF Renamed)
Local Development
Neighbourhood Plans
The Current PPS’s
Planning Policy Statement 1:
Delivering Sustainable Development
(Including Planning and Climate Change supplement to PPS1)
Planning Policy Guidance 2:
Green Belts
Planning Policy Statement 3:
Planning Policy Statement 4:
Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth
Planning Policy Statement 5:
Planning for the Historic Environment ( & Planning Practice Guide)
Planning Policy Statement 7:
Sustainable Development in Rural Areas
Planning Policy Statement 8:
Planning Policy Statement 9:
Nature Conservation
Planning Policy Statement 10: Planning & Waste Management
Planning Policy Statement 11: Regional Spatial Strategies
Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Spatial Planning
Planning Policy Guidance 13:
Planning Policy Guidance 14:
Development on Unstable Land
Planning Policy Guidance 17:
Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation
Planning Policy Guidance 18:
Enforcing Planning Control
Planning Policy Guidance 20:
Coastal Planning
Planning Policy Guidance 19:
Outdoor Advertisement Control
Planning Policy Statement 22: Renewable energy
Planning Policy Statement 23: Planning and Pollution Control
Planning Policy Guidance 24:
Planning & Noise
Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk (Including Development and Coastal Change)
Good Practice Guide on Planning for Tourism (2006)
Draft Planning Policy Statement: Eco-towns – Consultation
1000+ pages into just 58 ‘user friendly’ pages
What is the NPPF All About?
“The National Planning Policy Framework sets out
the Government’s economic, environmental, and
social planning policies for England. Taken together,
these policies articulate the Government’s vision of
sustainable development, which should be
interpreted and applied locally to meet local
What is the NPPF All About?
“The National Planning Policy Framework sets out
the Government’s requirements for the planning
system only to the extent that it is relevant,
proportionate and necessary to do so. It provides a
framework within which local people and their
accountable councils can produce their own
distinctive local and neighbourhood plans, which
reflect the needs and priorities of their communities”.
What do we mean by
Sustainable Development?
According to the NPPF it means:
“..development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs”
What do we mean by
Sustainable Development?
For the Planning System, delivering sustainable development
• Planning for Prosperity (an economic role)
• Planning for people (a social role)
• Planning for places (an environmental role)
Presumption in favour of
sustainable development
• The default answer to development proposals is yes
• Significant weight should be placed on the need to
support economic growth
• Grant permission where the plan is absent, silent,
indeterminate or out of date
• …unless the adverse impacts of allowing development would significantly and
demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the
NPPF when taken as a whole
The Process
• Presumption in favour means LPA’s must move
quickly toward adopting plans – Certificate of
• Need for Local Plans to be founded on sound
evidence base
• Plans to cover a 15 year timeframe and.. “reflect the
vision and aspirations of the local community”
• The ‘Town Centre First’ approach is strengthened
• Less rigid approach regarding location of affordable
NPPF - Plan-Making
Planning System will remain plan-led
Strategic priorities should be set out in the Local Plan
Local Plans should be aspirational but realistic
Additional development plan documents should only be
used where clearly justified
5. Supplementary Planning Documents must not be used to
add to the financial burdens of development
6. In the absence of an up-to-date local plan, planning
applications should be determined in accordance with
the NPPF
7. Neighbourhood plans must conform to Local Plans and
they must conform to the NPPF
NPPF – Development Management
1. Development management and plan-making should be
2. The aim is to foster delivery, not to hinder or prevent
3. Local Development Orders should relax planning controls
for particular areas or categories of development
4. Neighbourhoods can use a Neighbourhood Development
Order to grant planning permission
5. A Community Right to Build Order can be used, this
requires the support of the local community through a
6. Where Plans are absent or silent, permission should be
granted in accordance with the NPPF
Other Key Messages
• The key housing objective is to increase significantly the
delivery of new homes
• A requirement to provide a rolling 5 year supply of
deliverable housing sites plus 20% to ensure choice and
• Requirement to set affordable housing targets is not
• No longer a requirement for a sequential approach for
office development
• Plans should be prepared to meet unmet requirements
from neighbouring authorities
• Provides much less detail than the current system
• Is the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable
development just a developers charter?
• Is neighbourhood planning just a cynical way
of passing the buck on politically sensitive
local development issues?
• Will the Localism approach really deliver much
needed housing?
• Are you a NIMBY or a YIMBY?
“Reforms could lead to unchecked
and damaging development on a
scale not seen since the 1930’s”…
”green-light for poor quality or
development in the wrong place”
Delivering sustainable economic growth in in
everyone’s interest whether it is badly
needed employment or equally important
affordable housing
“…we want to make localism work. What is being
proposed will be bad for the countryside, bad for
towns and cities, and will not win public consent. If
the Government does not think again, it can look
forward to battles against development up and down
the country.
How Local Authorities interpret the definition for ‘sustainable
development’ will be vital. The economic and social benefits of housing
provision simply must be prioritised and Local Authorities need to find
ways of accommodating them – consistent with the environmental
Neighbourhood Planning
Neighbourhoods should:
• develop plans that support the strategic development needs….including
policies for housing and economic development
• Plan positively…power to promote MORE development than …in local
plan (but not less)
Neighbourhood planning aims
Empower communities
Neighbourhood led
Light-touch but robust
Flexible - inspire innovation and creativity
Pro-growth - exploring ways of enabling community
supported development
• Critical role for local plan in setting strategic context
• New basis for partnership work with local authority
The Localism Act 2011
• Given Government Approval - 15th November 2011
• Implementation uncertain - but main planning issues
expected by April 2012
• Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies
• Removal of Pre-determination concerns
• Duty to Co-operate between authorities
• Introduction of neighbourhood planning
• Community right to bid, build, challenge
• Strengthening enforcement rules
• Reforming Community Infrastructure Levy
• Defining a new format for Local Plans
“It’s Planning Jim but not as we know it…”
Thank You