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Have Local Planning Authorities risen to the challenge of the NPPF?

It has now been 12 months since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The policies and guidance of the Framework applied immediately from the day of its publication (27th March 2012) and transitional implementation arrangements allowed Local Planning Authorities to continue to give full weight to the policies of development plans that had been adopted after 2004.

This was for an initial period of 12 months, even if there was a limited degree of conflict with the NPPF.

Following the expiry of this initial 12 month period, Local Planning Authorities must now only afford due weight to adopted policies according to their consistency with the policies and guidance of the NPPF. Emerging policy can also be afforded weight on the same basis and in consideration of the extent of consultation conducted; and objections or support expressed.

As the initial 12 month transitional period approached expiry, Planning Magazine reported that around half of all English planning authorities would remain ‘plan-less’. This led to calls from the National Trust and CPRE for the extension of this period to give Local Planning Authorities more time to prepare and adopt updated development plan policy.

Planning consultant and Director of Summit Planning Associates, Amanda Olley, spoke to Property Aspects on this matter. “Plan-making has always been a painfully slow and cumbersome process and a significant proportion of local authorities were always going to struggle to update and adopt new development plan policy within the initial 12 months of the NPPF being published. That said, it is highly unlikely that extending the transitional period in the short term would make a lot of difference.”

She continued; “The NPPF is the baseline position for local authorities when preparing new development plan policy. Therefore not extending the transitional period is a better way of keeping the pressure on plan-making teams across the country, to prepare and adopt up-to-date policy that accords with the principles of the NPPF in the best way to address the development needs of their local area.”

Amanda Olley has been a Chartered Town Planner for 12 years and is an expert in her field. For more information, contact Summit Planning Associates via Tel: 01625 801800 or E-Mail: