Hastoe comments on New Planning Framework

Hastoe Chief Executive, Sue Chalkley, comments on the Government publishing a new draft of the National Planning Policy Framework


Sue Chalkley, Hastoe's Chief Executive, has commented on the publication of a new draft of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Sue said:

“The new draft NPPF is an encouraging read. It is good that rural communities are given proper consideration and that communities everywhere are being empowered to make their own decisions about quality. It would be good to see more about energy efficient design - if this could be prioritised for all new homes, the supply chain would improve and the cost of land and materials would come down.

“Entry Level Exception Sites are an interesting new concept, which build on the success of Rural Exception Sites. RESs build community confidence and trust so, if a site is to be used for this purpose, it is vital that the local community remain in the driving seat – on the location, design, tenures and who lives in the homes. ELESs will need to be carefully designed so that they complement rather than undermine Rural Exception Sites. I am sure this will be possible.”

“I welcome the ambition to reform the viability assessment loophole, which has been used to prevent delivery of thousands of new rural affordable homes. Ideally though, viability would be removed as a planning consideration altogether and Homes England be given funds to help with unforeseen site costs. This would deal with the abuse most effectively. I am not convinced that publishing assessments will achieve that much, as only the developer will know which cost headings have been overegged. If viability is to be retained, then there needs to be redress in the form of some overage where a scheme makes more profit than the assessment anticipated.

“It is very positive that, in designated rural areas, there is more flexibility for Local Authorities to make their own decisions about the size of the S106 affordable quota, rather than the current blanket top down ban on small sites.”

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