Briefing Note: Planning Policy Update

No sign of rush to adopt plans before NPPF revisions

The Housing White Paper (HWP) published earlier this year stated that all areas need to be covered by a plan and that local authorities without a plan in place are failing their communities. The paper specified that the government will intervene where necessary to ensure plans are put in place, with a March 2018 (or revised NPPF – whichever is later) deadline applying to many of the proposals. Since then, 15 authorities have been put under special measures to ensure they are successful in producing an up-to-date plan (figure 1).

Despite this, only 46% of local authorities across England have adopted a local plan since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). But 5% of local authorities (15 in total) have post-NPPF plans that are now at least five years old. These plans will require updating to reflect changes in their objectively assessed need – through a new standardised approach or otherwise.

The remaining local authorities are at various stages of the plan-making process, with 7% yet to begin even initial preparation of a post-NPPF plan. These authorities are facing significant barriers to plan-making, most notably the necessity to adopt housing targets which will sufficiently meet need.

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