Betts launches 'quick' inquiry into NPPF changes

MPs on the communities and local government select committee are to run a quick-turnaround inquiry on the government's controversial proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), its chair Clive Betts has announced.

Parliament: NPPF changes on the way
Parliament: NPPF changes on the way

Betts said the probe would examine not only the details of ministers’ planned changes to the NPPF - which include a new housing delivery test and a redefinition of affordable housing, but also question why the government had chosen to consult on the proposals over Christmas with a narrow window for responses.

Betts has already written to communities secretary Greg Clark, calling on him to extend the 25 January deadline for the consultation, voicing concern that it does not provide an acceptable window for public debate. No announcement has yet been made about whether the request has been granted.

"The government’s consultation represents the first changes to the NPPF," Betts said.

"As a committee, we want to examine the proposed changes to the green belt, the definition of affordable housing, and the impact on local decision-making from proposed measures such as the housing delivery test. Decisions about local development should be taken at local level – this short inquiry will be examining whether the government’s proposals damage this principle. 

"We also want to explore why the government’s deadline for replies to the consultation is so short, leaving us little time for our inquiry, and potentially insufficient time for many interested parties to reply to the government and provide evidence to ourselves."

The select committee said it would be taking written submissions of evidence for its inquiry until 11 January. The consultation document can be seen here.

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