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New planning policy revealed

New planning rules published by Secretary of State Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP will lead to better quality, well-designed homes, to be built where they are needed.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework also covers rules for councils to challenge poor quality and unattractive development, giving communities a greater voice in the look and feel of new developments in their area.

The revised rules have been developed following a public consultation launched by the Prime Minister earlier this year to provide a comprehensive approach for planners, developers and councils to build more homes, more quickly and in the places where people want to live.

The new rule book will provide a greater focus on high quality design, stronger protection of the environment, and housing density, while providing greater responsibility and accountability for housing delivery from councils and developers.

Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “Fundamental to building the homes our country needs is ensuring that our planning system is fit for the future.

“This revised planning framework sets out our vision of a planning system that delivers the homes we need. I am clear that quantity must never compromise the quality of what is built, and this is reflected in the new rules.

“We have listened to the tens of thousands of people who told us their views, making this a shared strategy for development in England.”

The revised planning rules come as the government pushes its housebuilding agenda, with 300,000 new homes a year to be built to address the current housing crisis.

The publication has received mixed reviews across the industry, while most acknowledge the good intentions implemented, application of the methodology has been questioned, particularly in addressing the housing crisis.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The Government has proven to be much less ambitious than it had originally aspired to. Cutting the small sites requirement to 10% is a clear sign that the revised NPPF is not radical thinking but ponderous progress. Despite some positives, 99% of the construction industry has been overlooked. The Government has missed a golden opportunity to put this country on the road to addressing its housing crisis and solving the broken housing market.”

Matt Thomson, Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Rather than delivering ‘what communities want’ as it claims to promise, the new planning rulebook and its new ‘housing delivery test’ will result in almost all local plans becoming out of date within two years. It is a speculative developers’ charter and will lead to the death of the plan-led system.

“Without a local plan, councils and communities have little control over the location and type of developments that take place. This results in the wrong developments in the wrong places – local communities’ needs are ignored and valued countryside destroyed for no good reason.”

While Ian Fletcher, Director of Real Estate Policy, British Property Federation commented: “The Government’s NPPF gives formal recognition to the build-to-rent sector, which will give the sector a much-needed boost to deliver more high-quality rental homes across the country.

“With a target of 1.5 million new homes by 2022, the Government has rightly acknowledged that all housing tenures, including both homes-for-sale and build-to-rent, must be firing on all cylinders.

“Now, local authorities across the country must understand the sector’s benefits including its commitment to offering family-friendly tenancies, such as for three years, to those customers who want or need security.

“Currently, methods employed to calculate housing need vary significantly across the country and result in significant time and cost burdens, fundamental flaws that will impede an ambitious housebuilding programme if not resolved.

“We strongly support the standardised approach to assessing housing need without exception. Equally, we support the housing delivery test – this will provide a consistent measure against which different local authorities’ performances can be compared.

“This is the way that the Government will deliver on its housing promises, and as importantly, cater for a generation that wants to have a home to call their own.”

See the National Planning Policy Framework.

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