Although few changes have been made to the latest edition, these changes do offer some clarity on issues that arose out of the previous revision. Following the publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in July 2018, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a further amended version of the NPPF on 19th February 2019.
The NPPF is the central policy document, which sets out the Government’s economic, environmental and social planning policies for England. It is therefore a key material consideration for Local Planning Authorities when determining planning applications.
Possibly the most significant update relates to the issuing of the long-awaited Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results, which come alongside the revised NPPF. The HDT measures the total number of homes required against the total number of homes delivered in each District Council area, using a standardised methodology. National statistics and Local Authority data have been used to calculate the figures.
In future, the HDT will play a key role in calculating housing delivery and supply. Paragraph 75 states the following:
‘Where the Housing Delivery Test indicates that delivery has fallen below 95% of the local planning authority’s housing requirement over the previous three years, the authority should prepare an action plan in line with national planning guidance, to assess the causes of under delivery and identify actions to increase delivery in future years.’
Paragraph 73c and footnote 39 state that where housing delivery has dropped below 85% of the calculated housing requirement over the past 3-years, then a buffer of 20% is to be applied to the supply of specific deliverable sites. This change aims to improve the likelihood of achieving the planned supply of housing.
Other changes to the NPPF in the latest revision include the following: -
- Clarification on the methodology when calculating Local Housing Need. Standardised methodology is to be used to calculate the Local Housing Need where strategic policies are more than five-years old.
- The definition of ‘Deliverable’ has been altered slightly. This clarifies that non-major development sites with outline planning consent are to be considered deliverable unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.
- The requirement for Habitats Regulation Assessment in Paragraph 117 has been amended. This now means that the presumption in favour of sustainable development will not apply where the development is likely to have significant effect on a habitats site. This is unless an appropriate assessment has concluded that the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of the habitats site.