The redesign of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has given councils greater powers to promote housing. However, the Government can now punish councils if they don’t deliver the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
The reality is most authorities, cashstrapped by cuts, have severely downsized planning teams. Few have the resources to process the number of applications needed to deliver the new homes needed – and yet are still expected to have a Local Plan in place.
The new housing delivery test means that if councils don’t meet their housing targets, they are likely to be shut out of the decision-making process entirely.
This will put even greater pressure on councils to approve developments of increasing density or risk without hesitation, leaving the door open to even more resource-hungry appeals.
Where the NPPF lacks ambition and foresight is on the structural changes occurring to our town centres, commerce and industry and doesn’t address the future-proofing or flexibility required to adapt to the changes in how we shop and work.
My colleague Jonathan Lee has a few thoughts on a recently launched consultation, and it is welcome news that the Government now appears open to reviewing the use and flexibility of certain buildings. Click here to read the article.