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National Planning Policy Framework - Part Two

The Government has recognised the acute lack of new housing across the country.  Greg Clark MP stated that, ‘during the last decade – starting long before the financial crisis – we built fewer homes than in any peacetime decade for 100 years’.

A number of Authorities have clearly failed to meet the challenge of planning positively for the identified housing need and have been described by many as a part of the problem.  Others will argue that it is the format of the planning system that has created complexity and unnecessary cost, which in turn has led to a level of distrust and lack of confidence in the process.

Whatever the cause for the undersupply, the NPPF is clearly intended to be viewed as a route to increased building rates and to easing the ‘blockages’ in the system.  The lack of supply has given Authorities a dilemma in terms of how to meet the need.  Years of urban capacity studies and more recently Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments may have identified sites, but clearly has failed to deliver these in sufficient numbers.  Identification does not always mean true deliverability.

The NPPF identifies that meeting the demand, ‘can sometimes be best achieved through planning for large scale development’ (Para 52).  This may be in the form of new settlements or extensions to existing villages and towns.  The Government is moving forward from the ‘Ecotowns’ concept to the ‘principles of Garden Cities’.  This was not identified in the draft NPPF, although the potential for large-scale developments as building blocks for future housing supply have a long pedigree. The message is really that large scale can work, but must be properly planned and justified to be demonstrably deliverable.

At Spawforths, we do not see this as a new concept and have been working on large scale sustainable urban extensions for many years.  We have an exceptional track record in promoting, justifying and then setting up the framework for delivery.  We are currently working on a number of sustainable urban extensions that are been promoted as a key part of various emerging plans.  Our approach is comprehensive and has included working closely with the Authority and the local community as well as developer partners and a wide range of disciplines.  This approach has promoted sites that are demonstrably sustainable, viable and ultimately deliverable and therefore allow Authorities to understand the reasoning for supporting a site and ultimately allocating it.

Posted in National Planning Policy

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