Radical planning reform to ‘boost housing’

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
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Planning minister Greg Clark unveiled the National Planning Policy Framework which comes into force today to boost growth and simplify the planning system.

It includes the central presumption in favour of sustainable development and enshrines a brownfield and town centre first policy.

Clark predicted that new planning guidelines for England will “help build the homes the next generation needs”.

The new planning framework hands control of housing plans to local authorities. Authorities with a local plan will be given a year to up date it to reflect the spirit of the new planning framework.

Clark added that around half the country’s councils which had failed to get a local plan in place since the system was reformed in 2004, would be subject to the NPPF from today.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “The new framework hands the responsibility back to local communities to decide where new homes, businesses and infrastructure to support them should be built.

“So the onus is on local authorities to work with people and businesses in their area to develop suitable plans as quickly as possible.

The success of the planning reforms still depends upon both its interpretation by local authorities and how central Government ensures it does actually deliver more homes.

Paul Smith, director of Apex Planning Consultants,said: the arrival of the pared down Planning Policy Framework is no guarantee that things will get simpler.

“Much of the ire vented so far has focused on the “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.

“The problem is that the definition of “sustainable” is notoriously woolly, and different local authorities will inevitably interpret it in different ways. Once conflicting precedents are set, the waters will quickly be muddied.”

The Home Builders Federation said the onus is now on councils to deliver and address the country’s acute housing crisis.

It called on Government to monitor the process closely to ensure local authorities meet their obligations as the radically different system beds in.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of HBF said: “The proposals are sensible and will balance a community’s housing needs against environmental and other considerations.

“We now need to see the policies implemented quickly so we can start to tackle the country’s acute housing crisis.

“The new planning system transfers power to local authorities for development in their areas.”

Richard Tamayo, commercial director at NHBC said: “We welcome the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework.

“Our own registration figures reflect the drastic need for more new homes; under 115,000 new homes were registered with NHBC last year – a fall of more than 40% since the height of the market in 2007 (200,700).

“The new planning framework and recently-announced first time buyers’ mortgage initiative are both important steps in empowering the private sector – the current engine of growth for housing numbers – to produce the volume of homes the country urgently needs.”

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