The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Select Committee Report

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee report about the NPPF, published on the 16th December 2014, is pretty damning of the NPPF and the loopholes in the drafting that are being exploited by speculative developments. Click here to view the report on the NPPF.

“The Government’s flagship planning policy, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), needs to do more to protect against unsustainable development in England and ensure communities aren’t subject to unwanted housing development”
CLG Committee

The NPPF was introduced in 2012 with the aim to simplify the planning process by streamlining the current national policy documents. The idea was that by having one document, it would make the planning system more accessible to communities and thereby creating a system which can involve more of the people affected by the decisions in their area.

The report states that various organisations suggest it may be too soon to evaluate how successful the framework has been and therefore no substantial changes should be made yet. This was in stark contrast to local resident groups, who stated that the framework was not providing sustainable development or stopping unwanted housing. They felt that there should be more clarity over the definition of sustainable development because economic issues were still being given too much weight in decision-making.

One of the major comments about the NPPF and unsustainable development was that permission for large unwanted housing developments on outskirts were being granted. Developers were using the lack of a Local Authority (LA) local plan in order to submit speculative applications (in conjunction with the NPPF) for parcels of land which communities had already considered inappropriate for development.

Having a local plan gives the LA substantial decision making over the what, where and when of development. Local plans favour sustainable development and having one in place increases the access to the planning system and opportunity for rebuttal by residents.

The report concludes that for the NPPF to be successful, all local planning authorities need to have a current local plan.

For more information about planning – Plain English guide to the planning system