Government published a raft of new updates to its Planning Policy Guidance
Following updates made on 22nd July 2019, the Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) now includes 5 new sections. The detail of these are summarised briefly below:
Effective use of land
This section supports the effective use of land and planning for high-density development. It outlines what evidence can be put forward to support the effective use of land such as demonstrating planning history, marketing information and unmet need. In terms of delivering higher density development, the section outlines methods for measuring density and important details relating to where it’s appropriate.
This section identifies a number of matters that may need to be taken into account when assessing the openness of the Green Belt, including the visual impact of a development, its duration and remediability, and the degree of activity, such as traffic, that would be generated.
Where a decision has been made for sites to be released, councils are required to take steps to improve the “environmental quality and accessibility” of the remaining Green Belt land.
The new planning guidance advises that the nature of improvements may be informed by “supporting evidence of landscape, biodiversity or recreational needs and opportunities” and could include green infrastructure, woodland planting, walking and cycling routes and improvements to biodiversity.
Housing needs of different groups
This section looked into the standard method for assessing local housing need, noting that although it outlines housing need this cannot be broken down into need for specific groups. It, therefore, suggests that policy makers draw these conclusions. The section outlines methods that can be enforced to assess need by housing tenure including private rent, self-build, student, affordable and rural. The document also emphasises the need to “support sustainable rural communities”.
Housing supply and delivery
The primary focus of this section is 5-year housing land supply (5YHLS), including methods for local authority to produce a 5YHLS and implications of not demonstrating a 5YHLS.
This section refers to various assessments relating to habitats and wildlife conservation, highlighting what they are, when they may be required and what they should contain. Its key focus is Habitats Regulation Assessment, outlining the key assessments that need to produced in order to determine if a plan or project may effect protected features or habitats.
There are also updates to existing sections including: housing and economic needs assessment; town centres and retail; strategic environmental assessment and sustainability appraisal; and “When is permission required?”.