Editor: Proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will not only lead to fewer homes being built, they will also destroy the UK’s plan-led approach to development and deliver a significant hit to the economy (‘BPF warns of “clear contradictions” in NPPF consultation’).
I had hoped that the NPPF reforms would boost the levelling-up agenda and lay the ground for significant regional and national growth. However, this once-in-a-generation opportunity has been missed, with new planning policies more likely to thwart than facilitate development.
The numbers are chilling: £20bn less economic activity and over £3bn less investment in affordable housing, according to the Home Builders Federation, which also predicts the loss of nearly 400,000 jobs, including 4,000 apprenticeships.
I have submitted an open letter to the Planning Policy Consultation team to raise major concerns with the proposals.
As has already been demonstrated across several local councils, the proposed changes have given local authorities the green light to delay on both reviewing and delivering housing targets.
The NPPF must retain the requirement for local planning authorities to meet their objectively assessed housing need in full, working with their neighbouring authorities to achieve this.
Failure to do so will lead to a reduction in the housing supply, with affordable housing provision likely to drop at the same pace.
The housebuilding industry needs a firm signal that the creation of sustainable developments in suitable locations is a government priority. Alongside the watering down of terminology in favour of Nimbyism, this consultation has failed to explain how the Infrastructure Levy will work, or how changes to the NPPF will affect net-zero ambitions.
Thus far, it has served only to create greater uncertainty, delaying developments and negatively impacting the already challenging housebuilding climate.
Colin Muller, chief executive, Muller Property Group
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