The Planning Post: They're here! NPPF 2019 and updated PPG land

Tue, 26 Feb 2019

On 19th February 2019 the Government published its updates to the revised National Planning Policy Framework ("NPPF”) for England, giving us NPPF 2019. The revised NPPF (or NPPF 2018) replaced the initial NPPF (NPPF 2012), which was published on 27th March 2012.

This followed the Government’s Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance, which was published on 26th October 2018 and closed on 7th December 2018.

In less than 7 years, we have gone from having no NPPF to now being on its third iteration, NPPF 2019.

Paragraph 212 of Annex 1, Implementation of the NPPF 2019 confirms:

212. The policies in this Framework are material considerations which should be taken into account in dealing with applications from the day of its publication.

Revisions to the accompanying Planning Practice Guidance ("PPG”), to put into effect the Government’s response to the Technical consultation arrived a day later than NPPF 2019.

The updated PPG entitled ‘Housing and economic needs assessment’ was published on 20th February 2019.

HABITAS DIRECTIVE

Paragraph 177 of the NPPF 2019 has been amended following the Court of Justice of the European Union case of People Over Wind and Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta (C323/17).

Paragraph 177 NPPF 2019 now reads:

"The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on a habitats site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), unless an appropriate assessment has
concluded that the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of the
habitats site.

PARAGRAPH 214 AMENDMENT

Paragraph 214 of NPPF 2019 confirms that when considering the ‘previous framework’ for the purposes of examining plans that were submitted on or before 24th January 2019, the reference is to the initial NPPF 2012 and not to NPPF 2018.

HOUSEHOLD PROJECTIONS

The Government announced at the 2017 Budget its aim to deliver 300,000 homes a year on average by mid-2020 and enshrined within the NPPF paragraph 59 (unchanged from version 2018 to 2019) its aim to significantly boost the supply of homes.

In 2017, 217,350 homes were delivered (net additional dwellings). Utilising data published in September 2017, part of the Planning for the right homes in the right places consultation estimated that use of the standard methodology coupled with 2014 household projections would plan for around 266,000 homes across England.

The ONS published the 2016 household projections on 20th September 2018 and when coupled with the standard methodology, these would plan for a much lower 213,000 homes across England.

Following its technical consultation, the Government on 20th February 2019 updated the PPG entitled ‘Housing and economic needs assessment’ to confirm that the Step 1 - setting the baseline using national growth projections of the standard methodology calculation, should be done using a reversion back to the 2014 household projections (PPG paragraph 004).

Paragraph 5 of the PPG has been updated to confirm that the 2014-based household projections are used within the standard method "to provide stability for planning authorities and communities, ensure that historic under-delivery and declining affordability are reflected, and to be consistent with the Government’s objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes.”

‘DELIVERABLE’

Paragraph 73 of the NPPF expects LPAs to identify and update annually a supply of specific ‘deliverable’ sites sufficient to provide a minimum of five years’ worth of housing against their housing requirement.

Since its publication in the 2018 NPPF, the definition of ‘deliverable’ within the glossary has been a hotly debated inquiry topic.

The matter was first considered by Inspector Stephens at the Woolpit inquiry (APP/W3520/W/18/3194926) and shortly after Inspector Baird at the Woolmer Green inquiry (APP/C1950/W/17/3190821 at para 30) found the lists within the definition of ‘deliverable’ to be closed.

The changes mooted in the technical consultation (question 5) have been implemented into the revised definition of ‘deliverable’ within NPPF 2019. The words ‘in particular’ have been inserted after the first sentence of the definition (which sets out general considerations in terms of deliverability) and before the remainder of the definition, which explains how particular circumstances should be approached.

This makes it clearer that non-major sites with outline consent should benefit from the deliverability presumption unless or until clear evidence is adduced to the contrary. 

HOUSING DELIVERY TEST ("HDT")

The 19th February 2019 also brought into play the HDT 2018 and the publication of the HDT: 2018 measurement technical note.

The HDT 2018 measurement is an annual measurement of housing delivery in the area of relevant plan-making authorities and covers the previous three financial years; 15/16, 16/17 and 17/18. 
 
The HDT compares the net homes delivered over three years to the homes that should have built over the same period (their housing requirement). The LPA is required to prepare an action plan where its delivery falls below 95% of its housing requirement over the previous three years. Where this falls below 75%, the titled balance in paragraph 11 d) is engaged.

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