Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to National Planning Policy consultation response

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities' consultation sought for views on their proposals to update the National Planning Policy Framework, and the effectiveness of other policies in relation to the wider aims of government.

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) sought feedback on proposals relating to:

  • changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
  • preparing National Development Management Policies

The proposals aim to tackle problems including:

  • slow build out
  • promoting ‘beautiful’ homes and gentle density
  • improve housing delivery and land supply tests
  • demonstrating local support for onshore wind development

Our view

Our response is informed by the stated policy objectives of the consultation paper, which includes:

  • sustainable development
  • a plan-led system which addresses housing need, and
  • the target of delivering 300,000 homes a year

Our response comments upon the likelihood of the proposals in reaching the ambition set out by the consultation paper.

Our recommendations

Overall, our key concerns relate to proposals that relate to:

  • the predictability of outcomes within the planning process, for example, the inclusion of the requirement of “beauty”. This will not only cause problems for local authorities and the planning process, but may also create access to justice issues for the public and introduce more opportunities for challenge, thereby slowing down the planning system and courts
  • the past behaviour of an applicant as an inappropriate form of evidence which raises rule of law concerns
  • the requirement for justified evidence by “an appropriate strategy, taking into account the reasonable alternatives, and based on proportionate evidence”, which goes against general good civil evidence procedure
  • fewer homes being delivered, due to the proposals removing requirements, such as objectively assessed need, five-year housing land supply (5YHLS), and duty to cooperate. This is contrary to the stated policy objective of the consultation paper (paragraph 6) to deliver 300,000 houses a year

Next steps

The consultation closed on 2 March 2023.

Once DLUHC has analysed the responses, it will publish its own response to the consultation aspects.

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