Revised NPPF: Effective Use of Land

Following the release of the revised NPPF in July 2018, the Planning Team at Optimis has been reviewing the document as to the changes the document has undergone.

Section 11 appears to be a new chapter and builds on some of the core principles in the original NPPF with regard to effective use and sets a range of requirements that policies should include in order to:

• promote and support development of land and buildings that are under-utilised,

• support opportunities to use airspace above existing residential and commercial premises (therefore allowing upward extensions), and

• give substantial weight to the value of using suitable brownfield land within settlements with opportunities for remediation.

There is furthermore a segment within this chapter regarding the achievement of appropriate densities, expecting proposals to support higher density housing where it is required. Paragraph 123 explains that in areas where an existing or anticipated shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs exists, policies and decisions should “avoid homes being built at low densities, and ensure that developments make optimal use of the potential of each site”.

The original NPPF required authorities to set out their own approach to housing density to reflect local circumstances. The new NPPF (Paragraph 122) requires that policies and decisions should support development that makes efficient use of land, taking into account the following:

• identified need and availability of suitable land,

• local market conditions and viability,

• availability and capacity of infrastructure and services,

• desirability to maintain prevailing character and setting of the area, or desirability to promote regeneration and change, and

• the importance of securing of well-designed, attractive and healthy places.

  • Whilst these requirements place great importance on the wider goal of achieving optimum efficiency of land use, development at higher densities will undoubtedly provide less on-site infrastructure and therefore could place greater pressure on existing infrastructure.Author: Natasha Abbott

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