The NPPF supports the phasing of housing

At the examination of the Rotherham Core Strategy, which has just closed, much of the debate focused on the issue of the phasing of housing land supply.

The Inspector asked participants to highlight which aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) provided for phasing, and we directed him to paragraph 47, which is crystal clear: it divides supply into three phases - years one to five, six to ten and 11 to 15. On the vexed issue of requiring local authorities with less than five years' supply to provide a buffer of a further 20 per cent, much vaunted by developers, NPPF in fact says "20 per cent brought forward from later in the plan period". It is obvious that you cannot bring allocations forward if they are not initially placed in a later phase.

Curiously, although Rotherham Council does have a phasing policy in its draft core strategy, it did not cite NPPF para 47 as the basis of its rationale. More disturbingly, the developer representatives were adamant that NPPF contained no reference to phasing and that any attempt to phase supply would be contrary to the framework. We concluded they were using a different version of the framework from the one we had in front of us.

Developers' opposition to phasing is understandable, if scurrilous, but their assertion that it constrains housing land supply is simply wrong, by any reading. It does nothing to limit total supply, but just directs earlier development towards sites that better fit the spatial objectives.

To argue that NPPF does not provide for phasing is akin to arguing that black is white.

Andrew Wood, CPRE South Yorkshire.

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