New research by the TCPA has highlighted concerns raised by councils about the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the delivery of affordable housing.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government’s policy for local planning and has a major impact on the content of plans and the outcomes of planning decisions. The draft revised NPPF was published on 5th March for a consultation period of ten weeks, which ended on Thursday 10th May. 

The government now has the epic task of digesting thousands of responses to the draft revised NPPF. In doing so, it must listen to the concerns of local government about their ability to secure good outcomes for people from the new planning framework. 

During the consultation period, the TCPA undertook a survey of councils in England about the challenges faced in delivering affordable housing, and their reaction to the draft revised NPPF. Some of the key findings of the survey are:

  • 70% of councils say that they rely "substantially" on the planning system to deliver the affordable housing required in their area.
  • However, just 2% of councils report that developments delivered in their local authority currently meet local affordable housing policy all the time
  • Only 21% of councils agree that the new definition of affordable housing in the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework will help to meet the need for affordable housing in their area. Councils in particular expressed concern about the omission of social rented homes - those available for people on lowest incomes - from the revised definition.
  • Councils raised questions about the implementation of changes to the viability test - while welcoming the greater move towards transparency on this important issue.

A briefing paper on the survey results with more information is available here

Next steps

The briefing paper was submitted to the government in response to the consultation on the draft revised NPPF. The final revised NPPF is expected to be published by government in July 2018.

Background to the project

The planning system is not delivering the level of affordable homes that we need. Planning has been one of the key tools for delivering social and affordable housing - but there has been a dramatic decline in the amount of affordable homes being secured through planning in recent years. 

The TCPA is undertaking a 18-month long project, funded by the Nationwide Foundation, aimed at increasing the numbers of affordable housing delivered through the planning system. The overall objective of the project is to change the way that councils use their planning powers and to empower officers and councillors to secure much greater investment in affordable homes in new development, through raising awareness of good practice models and influencing national planning policy.

A report will be launched in autumn 2018, followed by production of guidance and training sessions for councils on the final revised NPPF.

If you are interested in the project please contact Henry Smith, Projects and Policy Manager at [email protected] for more details. 

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Picture credit

Architect: Peter Barber Architects

Photographer: Morley von Sternberg