A draft of the new National Planning Policy Statement (NPPF) has been issued for consultation. 

The presumption in favour of sustainable development is at the heart of the NPPF. The revised changes for plan making are in bold below

For plan-making this means that: 

a) plans should positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area, and be sufficiently flexible to adapt to rapid change

b) strategic plans should, as a minimum, provide for objectively assessed needs for housing and other development, as well as any needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas, unless: 

  •  the application of policies in this Framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a strong reason for restricting the overall scale, type or distribution of development in the plan area; or 
  • any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole. 

This represents a significant widening of the matters that must be considered by Local Planning Authorities (LPA) and will facilitate more development. It also reflects Ministerial announcements. 

The inclusions of "needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas" will encourage LPAs to plan strategically on a regional and sub regional basis. This is likely to conflict with Neighbourhood Plans and Localism so expect some tension in this area.

The consultation closes on Thursday 10 May 2018, with the NPPF being adopted in the summer.