The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how they are expected to be applied. The final version of the revised NPPF was published before Parliament’s summer recess on 24th July. What opportunities could this present for our rural clients?
The proof will be in the pudding but we’re not expecting a major shift from the consultation version issued earlier this year. This made a clear reference to rural housing and its importance in boosting the supply of new homes across the country.
Smaller housing sites gained a new prominence in the draft. It highlights that such sites can make an important contribution to meeting housing requirements as they are often built out relatively quickly. The draft NPPF proposes that up to 20% of a council’s housing land supply is made up of sites of half a hectare or less. This is significant and should deliver opportunities for housing growth in smaller towns and villages. This is good news for our clients looking to diversify into residential development. The essence of paragraph 55 (new homes in the countryside) is retained in paragraph 81(e) with the addition of support for the subdivision of existing dwellings.
A new paragraph outlines the Government’s support of rural business. This positive move in paragraph 85 recognises that sites to meet local business and community needs in rural areas may have to be found outside existing settlements, and in locations that are not well served by public transport.
The section on green belt development remains largely unchanged save for the reintroduction of ‘material change of use’. Material changes in the use of land that would preserve the openness of the Green Belt and not conflict with the purposes of including land within it (such as changes of use for outdoor sport or recreation, or for cemeteries and burial grounds, so long as the development would preserve openness) would be supported.
If you are in need of advice regarding planning and development, please contact our Planning Department on: 01788 564676
Click here to see a comparison of the old and new NPPF documents.