Strategic Planning

Town planning best practice and news covering planning system changes, NPPF and local & neighbourhood development plans for strategic planners.

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Strategic Planning News

Michael Gove in Westminster, October 2023. Image: Peter Nicholls/Getty

Gove ‘hopes’ revised NPPF will publish next week making it easier for councils to diverge from local housing needs

Housing secretary Michael Gove yesterday told MPs that the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be published next week and would include “a clearer basis on which a local authority can argue for a divergence from objectively assessed housing need in specific circumstances”.

Guildhall entrance of Wrexham County Borough Council offices. Image: Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

High Court orders council to adopt local plan it twice refused to pass

A High Court judge has ordered a local authority to adopt its draft local plan that it has twice tried to reject, despite being found sound by a planning inspector.

Bedford Borough Council (Pic: David Howard CC BY-SA 2.0)

Inspector says local plan’s infrastructure provision and ‘stepped’ housing trajectory raise ‘fundamental soundness issues’

An examining inspector has said he is “unable to conclude” that a council’s local plan “meets the tests of soundness” due to uncertainty around its proposed infrastructure provision and its approach to housing delivery.

Strategic Planning In Depth

Michael Gove cut out in front of calendars and a building in the background (credit Getty Images)

When we can expect the levelling up act’s measures to come into effect

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act has just gained Royal Assent. While a few of its planning provisions will come into effect within the next few months, most of them will require much further work before implementation.

Lee Rowley

The planning track record of new housing minister Lee Rowley

During his previous tenure in the role, Rowley was supportive of former prime minister Liz Truss’s plans to scrap what she described as centrally-set housebuilding ‘targets’. He has also been outspoken in opposing green belt development within his own constituency, and previously called for a “regional approach” to planning.

Pic: Emma Austin/Getty Images

The fallout from Gove’s letter to council chiefs urging them to get on with plan-making

A letter sent by the housing secretary to council chiefs and leaders urging them to carry on plan-making has prompted a degree of confusion among practitioners. Some say the document may be cited as a material consideration in planning decisions and could lead to the loss of affordable housing if misinterpreted.

Green belt. Pic: Emma Austin/Getty Images

Why England’s green belt is getting bigger

Despite long-standing concerns from campaigners, England’s green belt is actually at a 20-year high. A closer look at the figures reveals that just two councils' local plans can account for its growth in the past two years.

Info Maps

Mapped: core strategy progress data (updated 12.04.2023)

Use our interactive map to view English councils' progress in adopting local plans and view a spreadsheet containing the latest data on local plan coverage from the Planning Inspectorate.

Mapped: neighbourhood plans (updated 14/04/2023)

Use our new interactive map to view how many applications for neighbourhood planning powers have been received by English councils and the names of the groups that have submitted them.

Strategic Planning Comment

How I’d change planning if I was Prime Minister, by Catriona Riddell

The next government must speed up local plan-making, draw up a national plan and reintroduce formal sub-regional plans, says our columnist

Legal Viewpoint: Case highlights role of punctuation and accurate interpretation of planning policies

The High Court has reminded policy drafters and decision makers of the importance of ensuring policies are accurately drafted and, in turn, properly interpreted to help avoid the quashing of planning decisions.

The experts say strategic planning will help meet housing targets. When will governments listen? by Catriona Riddell

Two new reports, like many before, have highlighted the need for an overview to direct housing to the right places. Why have they been ignored, asks our columnist.