The National Planning Policy Framework: Steve Miller DipTP MRTPI Head of Planning Ipswich Borough Council
National Planning Policy Framework Steve Miller Dip TP MRTPI Town Planning Manager Ipswich Borough Council
Background The long awaited simplified National Planning Policy Framework (NPP has finally arrived. It is immediately in force. All existing national Planning Policy Statements and Planning Policy Guidance documents have now become redundant and planning applications should no longer refer to them.
Headlines Simplified – 65 pages long c.f. vast library of advice before Less legal scrutiny Many of the most controversial ideas removed Status Quo but with some loosening of policies Paramount provisions discussed below
12 Core Planning Principles (1) Plan –led Creative exercise to improve areas Drive sustainable development Seek high quality design Take account of different roles/character of areas Support transition to low carbon future
12 Core Planning Principles(2) Conserve natural environment and reduce pollution- avoid significant harm ( noise, air quality etc) Re-use of brownfield land Mixed use developments Conserve heritage assets- substantial harm test Manage growth patterns to reduce car use Improve social health and cultural well being
Default “yes” to developmentremoved Focus in NPPF on a presumption in favour of development and positive growth but…... Clause in draft requiring all decision makers to assume the default answer to proposals is “yes” has been removed Fundamentally, the law requires all planning applications to be determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless there are overrriding material considerations.
More meat in the definition ofsustainable development Poor definition was one of main weaknesses of the DNPPF Brundtland definition restated- meeting needs of present without compromising future generations’ ability to meet own needs 5 guiding principles- living within planet’s environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; sustainable economy; good governance; + using sound science responsibly
Pursuit of sustainabledevelopment in planning. Job creation Increasing biodiversity Replacing poor design with better design Improving conditions for live, work, travel and play Widening of choice of high quality homes Protection of open space, sports provision
Flooding and sustainability Flooding policies same as before – restrictions on development in flood plain, sequential test, exception test etc Carbon reduction policies must be compatible with national policies
Transitional arrangements andimplications for decision making Local Plans need to be up to date Until 27 March 2013 LPAs can give full weight to existing Local Plans adopted since 2004 ( even where some limited conflict with NPPF) After then NPPF takes precedence where there is conflict between it and local policies
More emphasis on brownfieldland The draft NPPF dropped all references to the need to develop brownfield sites- led to public outcry Now a preference to develop land of lesser environmental value and encourages effective use of brownfield land LPAs can set own targets
Vitality of town centres (1) Stresses that needs of retail, leisure, office and other “town centre” uses are met in full, if necessary by expanding town centres and allocating suitable sites Recognises that residential can play a part in town centres
Vitality of town centres New policy almost “Town centre first” as before NPPF now promotes “positive and competitive town centre environments.” Sequential test required Impact test required for all town centre uses ( retail, leisuire) over 2,500m2
Change of use from offices toresidential Was mooted last year as possible change not requiring planning permission Now dropped but some support for principle, viz:- Local planning authorities should identify and bring back into residential use empty housing and buildings in line with local housing and empty homes strategies...normally approve applications for change to residential use and any associated development from commercial buildings (currently the B use classes) where there is an identified need for additional housing in that area...”. Avoid long term protection of employment land
Less onerous provisions onhousing supply LPAs to identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites to provide 5 years of housing against their housing requirements with an additional buffer of 5% to ensure choice and competition in the market for land. (The draft NPPF suggested an additional 20% of sites – this provision was dropped). However, if local authorities have a record of ‘persistent under delivery of housing’ 20% of additional sites should be identified.
Parking standards Local standards encouraged but must take account of the accessibility of development, the type, mix and use of development; the availability of and opportunities for public transport; local car ownership levels and an overall need to reduce the use of high-emission vehicles one of the key ‘core planning principles’ of the NPPF is “to make the fullest use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development in locations which are or can be made sustainable”
Good design- touchstone Development must improve areas Local and neighbourhood plans should “develop robust and comprehensive policies that set out the quality of development that will be expected in the area” although should not attempt to “impose architectural styles or particular tastes” Local planning authorities are encouraged to use design codes (Paragraph 59) and to have local design review arrangements in place (Paragraph 62).
Public engagement in design Applicants will be expected to work closely with those directly affected by their proposals to evolve designs that take account of the views of the community. Proposals that can demonstrate this in developing the design of the new development should be looked on more favourably.
Section 106 contributions Proscribed- must be closely related to development. Days of communal pot are over All contributions subject to viability test – 106 costs ( affordable housing etc) should when taking account of normal cost of development and mitigation, make competitive returns to a willing landowner and developer
What it means for IBC In Ipswich, not much will be different in the way planning applications are processed. The NPPF is undeniably growth orientated and we will review the supply of sites suitable for housing development to ensure that there is adequate supply ( the extra 5%). Otherwise our Core Strategy is NPPF compliant Community Infrastructure Levy will eventually come in.
What it means for you- not muchchange It will be important that design proposals have the support of local residents and therefore public engagement in the cases of major development proposals will have to be carefully thought through. Must be clear viability justification for 106 get out