Reviewed and revised planning guidance on England’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has been issued as an online suite of documents, cancelling previous planning practice guidance documents and providing a consolidated set of policies.
Nick Boles,said: ‘I would particularly note that we are:
• explaining how student housing, housing for older people and the re-use of empty homes can be included when assessing housing need
• stressing the importance of bringing brownfield land into use and made clear that authorities do not have to allocate sites on the basis of providing the maximum possible return for landowners and developers
• noting that councils should also be able to consider the delivery record (or lack of) of developers or landowners, including a history of unimplemented permissions; this will also serve to encourage developers to deliver on their planning permissions
• incorporating the guidance on renewable energy (including heritage and amenity) published during last summer and making it clearer in relation to solar farms, that visual impact is a particular factor for consideration
• clarifying when councils can consider refusing permission on the grounds of prematurity in relation to draft plans
Outside key shopping areas, such as town centres, we want under-used shops to be brought back into productive use to help breathe new life into areas that are declining due to changing shopping habits. This will not only provide more homes, but increase the resident population near town centres, thereby increasing footfall and supporting the main high street. Reforms will allow change of use from shops (A1) and financial and professional services (A2) to houses (C3). This change of use will not apply to land protected by Article 1(5) of the General Permitted Development Order (National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservations areas, World Heritage Sites)’
Up to 450 square metres of agricultural buildings on a farm will be able to change to provide a maximum of 3 houses.
We recognise the importance to the public of safeguarding environmentally protected areas, so this change of use will not apply in Article 1(5) land, for example national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty. However, we expect national parks and other local planning authorities to take a positive and proactive approach to sustainable development, balancing the protection of the landscape with the social and economic wellbeing of the area. National parks and other protected areas are living communities whose young people and families need access to housing if their communities are to grow and prosper. I would note that a prior approval process will allow for flooding issues to be addressed’