NPPF and HOUSING WHITE PAPER

The Government announced in September 2021 that it would be looking again at the proposals within its August 2020 Planning for the Future White Paper (which is Boris's Build, Build, Build agenda, promising the biggest shakeup of the planning system since the war). Its controversial zoning proposals were lambasted by back-bench MPs and resulted in the Conservatives' Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat. We await Michael Gove's re-write of this; he is the new Secretary of State (since mid-September 2021) for the Ministry of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (a name George Orwell might have been proud to think of). 

The 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 October 2020

The graph is derived from DCLG Live Table 241: Permanent dwellings completed, by tenure, UK historical calendar year series