Councils to be set house building targets

LOCAL authority leaders and senior managers must now recognise the ‘significant pressure’ facing planning teams as a result of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The revised framework, published on Tuesday, tightens definitions on the presumption in favour of sustainable development, increases the emphasis on high-quality design and place-making, while stressing the importance of digital technology and recognising the role of planning in creating healthy and safe communities.

The revised NPPF also reinstates the reference to the Climate Change Act 2008 and emphasises a greater variety of small sites coming through the planning system.

But the framework crucially says that from November 2018 councils will have a Housing Delivery Test focused on driving up the numbers of homes delivered in their area, rather than how many are planned for. This will penalise those which under-deliver over three years.

The RTPI welcomed these changes but argued that local authorities must now acknowledge the major challenges facing planners.

“We must recognise the significant pressure the new NPPF requirements will put on local authority planning teams,” said RTPI president John Acres.

“It is imperative that chief executives, council leaders and politicians resource planning departments sufficiently, particularly as they will now be held more accountable for delivery under the housing delivery test and are expected to carry out more regular reviews of their plans.

“Our members will be vital to making the most of the new measures in the NPPF to encourage joint plan making and help different parts of the country rise up to the immense economic, social and environmental challenges ahead.

“The NPPF should support them in their professional ambition to make great places for the benefit of the public, and we look forward to seeing their ambitions realised under the new framework.”

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