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The NPPF – does it deliver?

The long-awaited revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is here. After much speculation, discussion and consultation, ‘NPPF2’ hones in on the key themes of design, sustainability, accessibilityand deliverability. Jonathan Dyke, Strategic Land Director at IM Land, reflects on the published document.

The Government has released the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) after months sifting through 30,000 consultation comments. Given this backdrop the document offers clarity on most issues.

The principles are simple enough. A focus on ‘the right homes in the right places’ is the cornerstone of the framework and it outlines broad principles to guide developers and local authorities on delivery of the houses which are needed. In fact, it’s not too much of a departure from the published draft earlier this year. In June, I spoke about what I’d like to see from the framework and, encouragingly, many of those observations have been in some form accommodated.

One aspect we welcome, that cuts through the NPPF, is the added weight given to the design of new communities – more significantly that design should not be eroded at the expense of delivery. Quality, it seems, can be a bedfellow of quantity and this relates not just the design of the new homes but to the design of new communities.

We’ve also talked about deliverability and the inclusion of the Housing Delivery Test. seeks to marry the guidance with the reality of the scale of the UK’s housing challenge and a recognition that policy is – should support housing delivery.

The role of master developer supports housing delivery by bringing forward large sites, and investing upfront in the infrastructure needed, we can then work with numerous housebuilders and boost delivery rates compared to a traditional, single owner site. The final draft of the NPPF reduces the reliance on smaller sites and points to larger sites and new settlements as being major drivers for delivery.

Ultimately, the presumption in favour of sustainable development holds fast, as does the protection of the Green Belt. As such, this sequel is more of a gentle progression of a story we know well, rather than a radical re-write.