National Planning Policy Framework

Date added: 20 September 2011

On the 25 July 2011 the Department for Communities and Local Government published a draft version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which takes account of self build in planning policy for the first time ever.

The National Planning Policy Framework will replace Planning Policy Statements (PPS), Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) and other official documents which currently provide direction for local authorities in the preparation of their Local Development Frameworks.

National planning policy documents have grown into an extensive and complex set of guidelines and the Government is seeking to revise and condense them in order to make the "planning system less complex, more accessible and to promote growth".

The draft NPPF is proving controversial with weighting in favour of developers and threats to greenbelt land and areas of outstanding natural beauty topping public concerns. It does however contain a small but significant point for self builders.

Paragraph 28 reads as follows:

Housing requirements

28. Local planning authorities should have a clear understanding of housing requirements in their area. They should:

  • prepare a Strategic Housing Market Assessment to assess their full housing requirements, working with neighbouring authorities where housing market areas cross administrative boundaries. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment should identify the scale and mix of housing and the range of tenures that the local population is likely to require over the plan period which:
    • meets household and population projections, taking account of migration and demographic change
    • addresses the need for all types of housing, including affordable housing and the needs of different groups in the community (such as families with children, older people, disabled people, service families and people wishing to build their own homes); and
    • caters for housing demand and the scale of housing supply necessary to meet this demand
  • prepare a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment to establish realistic assumptions about the availability, suitability and the likely economic viability of land to meet the identified requirement for housing over the plan period.

How this inclusion translates into the final document and how it will be interpreted and implemented remains to be seen but the fact is that for the first time ever there is an inclusion in National Planning Policy for the needs of "people wishing to build their own homes."

As we know, finding a plot of land is often the biggest hurdle for many self builders and this inclusion looks to put the onus on Local Authorities to assess demand and to develop strategies to meet it.

The draft report was released as part of the consultation process which will close on 17 October 2011.

To view the full document visit: National Planning Policy Framework - Draft

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