In a consultation published this afternoon, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has also announced proposed revisions to its new standard method of assessing housing need and a response to a landmark European Court of Justice ruling on habitats earlier this year.
It said it intends to publish a new version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to accommodate the proposed changes.
The consultation document says that "early experience" of applying the revised definition, set out in paragraph 73 of this July’s revised NPPF, "has suggested that it would benefit from some clarification of the wording".
"In particular," it says, "the existing text could be clearer that sites that are not major development, and which have only an outline planning consent, are in principle considered to be deliverable."
The July framework said: "Sites that are not major development, and sites with detailed planning permission, should be considered deliverable until permission expires, unless there is clear evidence that homes will not be delivered within five years (eg they are no longer viable, there is no longer a demand for the type of units or sites have long term phasing plans)."
The proposed revision says: "Sites which do not involve major development and have planning permission, and all sites with detailed planning permission, should be considered deliverable until permission expires", subject to the same prescribed exceptions.
The ministry said that, if this revised formula is written into national policy, it will produce additional national planning guidance "on the way that sites with different degrees of planning certainty may be counted when calculating housing land availability".
The definition in the July NPPF was itself revised from the definition in the 2012 framework.
The consultation closes on Friday 7 December 2018. The Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance can be found here.