Quartermain: work on NPPF changes expected 'towards back end of the year'

The government is likely to be working on revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 'towards the back end of the year', the Department for Communities and Local Government's chief planner Steve Quartermain said today.

Chief planner Steve Quartermain
Chief planner Steve Quartermain

Speaking in central London at the Country Land and Business Association (CLA)’s rural housing summit, Quartermain said that the NPPF would need to change to reflect changes to the process for assessing local areas’ housing needs.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said yesterday that a consultation to set out options for introducing a proposed standardised approach to assessing housing requirements would be launched this month.

Quartermain told the CLA’s conference: "The results of that consultation, which will be no later than the summer, will then lead in to what will … be a review of the NPPF."

He said that the changes to the framework would also incorporate "half a dozen" written ministerial statements, which have been published following the publication of the NPPF in 2012, but added that the "scope" of the revisions has yet to be finalised.

"I think that, towards the back end of the year, we will be working on a revised NPPF," the chief planner said.

The DCLG consulted on changes to the NPPF in December 2015, but the timescale for revising the document has slipped.

Last July, the former planning minister Gavin Barwell said that he expected to publish revisions to the framework in the autumn, after the government had previously indicated that the changes would be made in the summer.

Quartermain also told the conference that the government wants to see greater use made of neighbourhood development orders, which can be used to grant planning permission for specified developments in a neighbourhood area.

He said that while around 340 neighbourhood plans have so far come through the process, there have only been five neighbourhood development orders.

"We think there’s a greater opportunity for neighbourhood development orders to be used to actually bring forward sites in rural communities," Quartermain said.

He added that only around half of neighbourhood plans allocate sites for housing.

"It is a real opportunity for rural communities to have a real say in making sure that planning delivers the outcomes that they want," he said.

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