05 Mar 2018

Revised National Planning Policy Framework calls for small sites evidence

Revised National Planning Policy Framework calls for small sites evidence

On 5 March Theresa May introduced the Government’s new draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), with a new consultation that covers, among other things, small sites.

The NPPF brings forward proposals announced in the Housing White Paper last year and Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places, which identified the need for local authorities to evidence a range of types and tenure of homes, including self-build and custom build developments.

During her speech, May highlighted the plight of young people, saying they had a “right to be angry” at not being able to buy a home. However, Shadow Housing Minister John Healey responded, saying, “The housing crisis is made in Downing Street.”

The focus of the planning review is Government ambition to deliver more solutions to the housing crisis through a streamlined plan-led system. The overhaul of the planning system, pending consultation, sees 80 proposals being implemented from last year’s papers.

The key measures to help Government meet its target of 300,000 homes a year, include:

  • the right to penalise property developers that fail to build homes quickly enough,
  • the threat of sanctions for councils not building fast enough or in sufficient quantities,
  • commitment to protecting the Green Belt,
  • the densification of cities,
  • providing more housing, faster, evidenced through the new standardised methodology for calculating local housing need,
  • affordability is an imperative, with 10% of homes on major sites being required for affordable home ownership.

Custom and self-build failed to get a mention in the latest release, but are already provided for in previous drafts, which require that councils must plan for them.

This features in paragraphs 62 which states that councils must address the housing requirements of groups, including “…people wishing to commission or build their own homes,” and paragraph 65, which refers to Self-build in terms of affordability.

Small sites consultation – have your say

However, in the new NPPF Consultation Proposals, Government is seeking input on the provision of small sites. Specifically, “proposals to encourage greater use of small sites, to help diversify opportunities for builders and increase the number of schemes that can be built out quickly.”

This follows the 2017 Budget proposal for local authorities to include at least 20% of sites allocated for housing for small sites of a half hectare or less.

The NPPF consultation wants to find out if this is an appropriate threshold for ensuring a good supply of smalls sites while not slowing production.

You can have you say by answering the following question, part of the longer survey:

Q11 What are your views on the most appropriate combination of policy requirements to ensure that a suitable proportion of land for homes comes forward as small or medium sized sites?

In particular, Government is interested in:

  • the proportion of allocations should relate to the number of sites allocated as currently proposed, the number of sites identified in these and other ways (such as through brownfield registers), or the overall number of homes to be provided for;
  • the most appropriate size threshold to ensure that a suitable mix of small and medium sized sites comes forward; and
  • the most appropriate percentages to apply.

The full consultation document can be found here, with responses requested primarily via an online survey, here.

Check out Savills’ useful Briefing Note about what Policy Response: Housing White Paper proposals made it into the latest NPPF revision, here.

Leave a Comment

To comment you need to login or register