National Planning Policy Framework Update

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National Planning Policy Framework update

March 2012

NPPF update

The final version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published yesterday (27 March 2012). Our planning team has reviewed the document and pulled out relevant areas of interest for Fisher German's rural clients.

The NPPF replaces all Planning Policy Guidance Notes and Planning Policy Statements previously issued by the Government and is a material consideration in local level plan making and in the determination of planning applications; effective immediately.
Overarching principles of the NPPF include:
  • Maintaining the presumption in favour of sustainable development focusing on the three interrelated dimensions of sustainable development; economic, social and environmental.
  • Encouraging the re-use of existing resources including the conversion of existing buildings and renewable energy development.
  • Seeking to address potential barriers to investment including lack of infrastructure, services and housing.
  • The requirement to review existing land allocations, particularly employment allocations, on a regular basis with consideration being given to alternative land uses.
Implications for the rural economy include:

  • The sequential approach to commercial development (applied in built up areas) will not be applicable to small scale rural office or other small scale rural development.
  • All planning policies should support economic development in rural areas to create jobs and prosperity in developing a strong rural economy including: the promotion and diversification of agriculture and other land based rural businesses; growth and expansion of all rural enterprise through the conversion of existing buildings and/or well designed new buildings; sustainable rural tourism and leisure development; retention of local services and community facilities.
Transport related matters include:

  • Acknowledgement that sustainable transport solutions will vary between urban and rural areas including consideration of local context.
  • The provision of sustainable transport including large scale facilities such as rail freight interchanges, road side facilities for motorists and other transport hubs.
Promotion of Communications including the development of high speed broadband technology and other communication networks.
General Housing matters require: 

  • LPAs to identify and update annually a supply of deliverable site ie 5 year housing land supply.
  • Housing numbers to be identified through an objectively assessed evidence base for both market and affordable housing.
  • LPAs to set out their own approach to housing density.
  • Empty houses and buildings to be identified and brought back into use as residential.
  • LPAs to approve change of use for residential use from commercial use where there is an identified housing need in that area.
  • LPAs to be responsive to local circumstances to be reflected through affordable housing including rural exception sites.
  • An awareness that affordable housing in the rural areas may need to be facilitated by some market housing.
  • Housing to be located where it will enhance or maintain the viability of rural communities (acknowledgement that development in one village that development may support services in a nearby community).
  • Isolated homes in the countryside to provide justification for: rural workers; ‘enabling development’ to secure heritage assets; re-use of redundant buildings which lead to the enhancement of their immediate setting; exceptional quality or innovative design
Renewable Energy policies include:

  • Specific identification of renewable energy development in the Green Belt as inappropriate development unless “very special circumstances” are identified.
  • General principles supporting the move to a low carbon future including the increased use and supply of renewable and low carbon energy.
  • Applicants no longer required to demonstrate overall need for renewable or low carbon development with acknowledgement that even small scale projects provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Pre-application discussions - early engagement with the LPA is encouraged for all planning applications. Consideration to be given to undertaking local community engagement for large scale and/or locally contentious schemes.
Land Promotion

  • As set out previously, LPAs are required to demonstrate a deliverable supply of housing and employment land (annual review of the deliverable sites will provide an opportunity for ongoing site promotion)
  • Neighbourhood Plans to be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
For further information, contact Alan Hardwick on 01530 410859 email
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