Is it time for the National Planning Policy Framework to be reviewed?

The government is being called upon by MPs to carry out a detailed review of the current national planning policy before the end of this parliament, writes property developer Richard Carr.

Evaluation

Richard Carr National Planning Policy review

Is it time for a National Planning Policy review?

Since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012, there has been little review and now an all-party group of MPs has voiced their concerns that there has been “no robust, objective or evidence-based monitoring, evaluation or review.

The group of MPs are part of the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, which published a report in early April considering the government’s latest proposed changes to the NPPF.

Frustration

As well as requesting a review, the committee also expressed disappointing and frustration that four years on from the publication of the NPPF, close to 17% of local authorities haven’t published an up to date local plan, whilst some 34% were without an adopted plan.

The committee’s predecessors have long argued that local authorities should have a statutory duty to produce and maintain local plans, and this opinion was also reiterated in the report.

In the report, the MPs also urged:

  • Greater clarity about the definition of brownfield sites and how the current presumption in favour of development with work with the recently announced brownfield site registers and the new permission in principle regime.
  • A review into the powers local authorities have in order to require or encourage developers to build out sites in their area.

Confidence

The committee of the group, Clive Betts MP, has called upon the government to improve confidence in the country’s planning system.

“At a time of significant change for the planning and housing sectors, it’s important that people are reassured that the NPPF works effectively and that it supports sustainable development in their communities.

“The government needs to ensure there is confidence in the planning system by carrying out a comprehensive review of the NPPF by the end of this Parliament”.