NPPF and HOUSING WHITE PAPER
The Government issued a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in July 2018 (see here). It incorporated a new two-step Standard Method for calculating "objectively assessed" housing need which Local Authorities are obliged to use. But when new 2016-based figures came out they fell a long way short of the Government's mantra that 300,000 new homes a year are needed, so the Government insists that the old 2014-based figures be used still.
The original February 2017 Housing White Paper that preceded the revision to the NPPF 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.
We now have the new 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 most controversial proposal is for zoning, where some development would be allowed in principle. One worry is that this halves democratic involvement, by cutting out one of the two opportunities to comment on plans.
This White Paper is accompanied by another one, Changes to the Current Planning System, which proposes a new Standard Method for housing need. CPRE analysis shows that, although the results for England as a whole are much the same as for the previous 2016-based figures, that masks some dramatic changes for individual local authorities, Shropshire being one of them. The existing requirement of 1,177 dwellings per annum would go up by an astonishing 81% to 2,129 dpa, which is frankly ludicrous.
We hope that national CPRE lobbying will be able to help tone down the worst elements of these new proposals.
Updated September 2020
The graph is derived from DCLG Live Table 241: Permanent dwellings completed, by tenure, UK historical calendar year series