The revised NPPF definition of ‘deliverable’ is challenging councils in their attempt to demonstrate a five-year housing supply

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was revised by the government in February 2019.

Since the NPPF was first published in 2012, the government have continued their commitment to significantly boosting housing supply. However, recent changes to the definition of ‘deliverable’ requires that, in order for certain sites to be included in an authority’s five-year supply, there must be ‘clear evidence’ to demonstrate that development will begin within five years.

The amendment certainly raises the bar for the test of deliverability when councils determine their five-year housing supply. In fact, the first wave of appeal decisions following this change suggest that inspectors are adopting a much stricter approach, firmly rejecting any unsupported assertions in relation to supply.

Inspectors also appear to be treating the type of sites that are referenced in the new definition of deliverable as a ‘closed list’. This means that inspectors no longer include emerging allocations on the basis that these types of sites are not mentioned in the new definition of deliverable, even if they initially received planning permission by the time of inquiry. The idea that these should not be included is likely to influence the ability of many local planning authorities to demonstrate a five-year housing supply.

In the future it is anticipated that this challenge for councils will enable increased housing delivery and encourage the submission of more speculative planning applications.

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