NPPF and HOUSING WHITE PAPER
The Government has produced a series of White Papers linked to planning reform and the overarching planning document, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF first came out in 2012, with its presumption in favour of (sustainable) development. The latest version is dated July 2021 but a consultation on further revisions closed in early March 2023 and we await the eventual revisions. This latest consultation and proposed revisions arose out of Michael Gove's announcements in early December 2022.
Other recent White Papers have been the August 2020 Planning for the Future White Paper. This was Boris Johnson's Build, Build, Build agenda, Its controversial zoning proposals were lambasted by back-bench MPs and resulted in the Conservatives' Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat. The February 2022 Levelling-Up White Paper, abandoned these zoning proposals. Then, of course, there was the Truss/Kwarteng "The Growth Plan" of September 2022, which swiftly vanished.
A previous February 2017 Housing White Paper was entitled “Fixing our broken housing market” which tells you its thrust. But there is no silver bullet to “fix” the crisis. The Letwin Review concluded that, as well as there being land banks, developers dribble out houses to the market to stop a slump in prices. And anyway, some people think the housing market is not broken in the way the Government claims. The graph below (showing housing completions since World War II) shows that much of the blame is because of the lack of council housing.
This February 2017 White Paper preceded revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in July 2018 (see here). It was also accompanied by another one, Changes to the Current Planning System, which proposed a new Standard Method for housing need. The Government has been contorting itself to come up with a method that backs up its mantra for 300,000 new homes a year. Various iterations of that have been heavily criticised, including the infamous "rogue algorithm". The latest attempt involves reverting to 2014-based figures (2020-based figures are imminent!), but with a 35% uplift for certain urban centres. This would affect Shropshire via offloading of Black Country "unmet need". In one of the iterations, Shropshire's existing requirement of 1,177 dwellings per annum would have gone up by an astonishing 81%, to 2,129 dpa, which is frankly ludicrous.
National CPRE lobbying continues to try to tone down the worst elements of the latest proposals.
Updated April 2023
The graph is derived from DCLG Live Table 241: Permanent dwellings completed, by tenure, UK historical calendar year series