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News Release

London

Jones Lang LaSalle reaction to National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)


Philip Robin, director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Planning team, commented; “The government’s presumption in favour of sustainable development, without delay, is welcomed. I am encouraged by the statement that planning authorities should look towards solutions, rather than problems and also welcome the desire to lessen the burden of the planning system – investment in business should not be overcomplicated by the combined requirements of planning policy expectations and the information required to accompany a planning application should be proportionate to the nature and scale of development proposals.”
 
Philip continued; “Especially pleasing is the recognition that planning should be a creative exercise, rather than simply about scrutiny, and this should help to improve the image of the planning system.  Recognising the benefits of the garden city movement is a significant change to the town cramming policies that have existed in the last few years.  Linked to this is the welcome removal of density standards for housing – now to be set by local planning authorities to reflect local circumstances.  The streamlining of the Local Plan system is also welcome with the norm being for an area with additional documents only used where clearly justified. Far too much time and resource has been spent in producing a raft of development plan documents and this should help to improve efficiency and make the plan making system more understandable to local people.  The lack of any regional level guidance could lead to major issues when Local Plans are prepared.  Planned new housing allocations should be based on objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area. Focusing on housing market needs together with population projections will mean enormous pressure in the south-east to accommodate significant levels of new housing would destroying the countryside plus the issues of adequate infrastructure provision, yet at the same there may be limited justification for additional housing to be provided elsewhere in the country.”
 
Philip concluded; “The UK is a small island, and the lack of inclusion of any form of regional planning guidance will not assist the underlying objective to promote sustainable economic development, much needed to help the country emerge from the current economic situation and to protect and promote the UK longer term position in the world economy. This policy vacuum needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
 
Jon Neale, director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Residential Research team, added; “It is increasingly clear that the government believes that the planning system is the major reason why this country has consistently failed to deliver the numbers of houses that the country needs, resulting in high house prices and many young people locked out of the market.”
 
“The National Planning Policy Framework could unlock the system and allow more homes to be built where there is demand. However, it is too early to say how this will function in practice. The government’s decision to abolish the regional planning framework means that local authorities will have to carry out their own research and produce their own policies as to how much land needs to be released for housing and how many homes need to be built.”
 
“This will be a very difficult area for them to address, particularly with lower budgets and fewer resources as spending cuts bite. Their plans will be open to challenge if not based on sound evidence, so we could see a lot of developers challenging local housing figures and land allocations. Together with any appeals based on individual decisions, this could lead to a huge amount of work heading towards planning inspectors and lawyers, leading to an even more expensive and time-consuming system than at present.”