The publication of the original National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 represented a step change in the Government’s approach to planning guidance –thousands of pages of guidance was reduced to one manageable document, and a definite ‘pro-development’ stance was adopted.
If I were to summarise the old NPPF in one sentence, it would be “an emphasis on building more houses and supporting businesses but with strong protection for the Green Belt and heritage assets”.
The document has certainly proved to be effective since its publication in 2012. One criticism however has been that the wording is in places slightly ambiguous. This has led to much debate and litigation over how the text should be interpreted.
The Government’s replacement NPPF, currently out for consultation, contains much of the same content as the old one, but there appears to be a deliberate attempt to make the language clearer.
A few other changes which jumped out at me were:
It will be interesting to see what effect the new document, once adopted, will have in practice.
Jon Millhouse, Director at Planning & Design Practice
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