Delays to the launch of a consultation on a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) are threatening to delay the introduction of the Government’s new standardised housing need methodology.
In December, Melanie Dawes from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told MPs that the promised consultation draft of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) would appear “just before Easter or thereabouts”. This updated previous guidance from the Ministry, which said that a draft would appear early in 2018.
The delay will have a knock on effect on the adoption timeline for the Government’s standardised housing need methodology, which was launched for consultation last year. In this consultation, it was proposed that the new methodology would apply from 31 March 2018. However this was dependent on the new NPPF being finalised by this date. The September consultation said that, if publication of the revised framework occurred later, then so too would application of the new method.
Changes in the timeline of the new methodology will have big implications for councils up and down the country. Some which had been rushing to have a Local Plan in place before the 31 March deadline now find they have unexpected breathing room. Those which had given up on having a Plan submitted before the deadline may now decide that they have time after all.
In response to the updated timeline, Simon Ricketts from law firm Town Legal said there was “no excuse” for the setback. “It is ironic that progress on a measure designed to counter perceived delays on the part of local planning authorities in publishing their policies is currently being frustrated by delays on the part of government in publishing its policies,” he said.