A quick summary of the NPPF

The below article was written in March 2012. Click here for the latest NPPF commentary


Below are  a selection of some key quotes from the National Planning Policy Framework released today:

Material considerations

Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The National Planning Policy Framework must be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans, and is a material consideration in planning decisions.

Importantly, the crux of decision making in planning remains the same. Material considerations such as personal circumstances, or housing/economic need etc can still hold weight in decision making if appropriate.


Out of date development plans

It is highly desirable that local planning authorities should have an up-to-date plan in place

We already knew this, but further clarification is included in Annex 1

For the purposes of decision-taking, the policies in the Local Plan (and the London Plan) should not be considered out-of-date simply because they were adopted prior to the publication of this Framework….

For 12 months from the day of publication, decision-takers may continue to give full weight to relevant policies adopted since 2004 even if there is a limited degree of conflict with this Framework.

Weight is also given to emerging plans. So, these are the transitional arrangements everyone was wondering about. LPAs have 12 months to get their policies in place…. on your marks, get-set, GO.


Green belt and previously developed land

A local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in Green Belt. Exceptions to this are: ….limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development.

The NPPF definition of ‘previously developed land’ includes curtilages again:

Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure….

but excludes private residential gardens ‘in built-up areas’. It will be interesting to see how this impacts upon dwellings not in a ‘built-up area’.



Most of these remain in force according to Annex 3 of the NPPF,  much to our relief. We like our Circulars!

On first reading, we think that the NPPF is a fairly positive document but still with plenty of uncertainty that will no doubt lead to an increase in appeals over the coming months. We will publish more analysis over the coming days.

Click here for the latest planning policy and NPPF commentary