Government set to introduce changes to national planning policy

Strengthening the presumption in favour of ‘starter home’ developments is one of a raft of changes to be implemented as part of a new national planning policy, writes Development Specialist Richard Carr.

Changes

Richard Carr Planning Permission s106

Richard Carr supports the NPPF changes

Ministers will soon being consultations on a number of proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), with the following areas set to be discussed:

  • Broadening the definition of affordable housing
  • Increasing the density of development around commuter hubs
  • Supporting sustainable new settlements and helping development on brownfield land and small sites
  • Helping the delivery of housing allocated in plans
  • Promoting and aiding the delivery of starter homes

Starter Homes

If Ministers get the go-ahead, they plan on introducing a statutory requirement which would see a number of ‘starter homes’ delivered on all reasonably-sized housing developments. Another change would see the widening of low-cost homes to fall within the definition of affordable housing.

Further amendments would see the current exception site policy extended, whilst the presumption in favour of ‘starter home’ developments would be strengthened.

“We propose to amend the NPPF to make clear that unviable or underused employment land should be released unless there is significant and compelling evidence to justify why such land should be retained for employment use”.

Brownfield Land

Policy amendments will also support the regeneration of previously developed brownfield sites in the green belt, as long as this contributes to the delivery of starter homes, which will be decided at a local level.

Furthermore, ministers will also amend current policy on the openness of the green belt to make this more flexible to “enable suitable, sensitively designed redevelopment to come forward.”

Support

Richard Carr is in support of the changes, but does believe more could be done to assist developers and building firms who will have to do the work to meet the government’s house building target.

As he has spoken about previously, a relaxation of development tax (CIL) would encourage developers to take on more projects and help the government achieve its ambitious target.