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Summary

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) took full effect from 27 March 2013:

• The framework is based on a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’. From now, the NPPF takes precedence where the local plan is ‘absent, silent or relevant policies are out-of-date’. An up-to-date adopted local plan is therefore critical for local planning authorities (LPAs) – but 51 per cent do not have one.

• There is a concern that LPAs without a plan cannot demonstrate a 5-year ‘deliverable’ supply of specific housing sites (plus a 5 or 20 per cent buffer) – as set out in the NPPF – and will be vulnerable to applications for housing development on land where the community does not want it, especially on greenfield sites where development costs are lower.

• Robust evidence, especially on housing need and market housing, is vital – planning inspectors are looking for a ‘compelling link between what the evidence states and what the plan says’.

• There remains a tension between the pressure to significantly increase the development of new housing nationally, and the rhetoric of localism and the right of communities to shape where they live.

• This briefing will be useful for elected members, planning portfolio holders or executive members, policy and development management planners, and neighbourhood planning officers and forums.

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