Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Announcement

“Big city councils must prioritise brownfield development, building new homes in right places and protecting the Green Belt.”

DLUCH has today published a Consultation on changes to national planning policy to support brownfield development and reviewing the threshold for referral of applications to the Mayor of London. The consultation runs until 26th March 2024 and can be found here: Strengthening planning policy for brownfield development – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

  • Changes to national planning policy to give significant weight to the benefits of delivering as many homes as possible and take a flexible approach in applying planning policies or guidance relating to the internal layout of development:

It is proposed that additional wording could be added to paragraph 129c) of the NPPF as follows:

local planning authorities should refuse applications which they consider fail to make efficient use of land, taking into account the policies in this Framework, especially where this involves land which is previously developed. In this context, when considering applications for housing, authorities should give significant weight to the benefits of delivering as many homes as possible and take a flexible approach in applying planning policies or guidance relating to daylight and sunlight and internal layouts of development, where they would otherwise inhibit making the most efficient use of a site (as long as the resulting scheme would provide acceptable living standards).

  • Changes to the way the Housing Delivery Test operates in the 20 towns and cities subject to the uplift in the standard method. This would introduce an additional presumption trigger where their Housing Delivery Test score falls below 95%. In these circumstances the presumption in favour of sustainable development would apply to applications on previously developed land. Currently, the presumption in favour of sustainable development is triggered where the score falls below 75% and this would continue to apply to all other land.
  • Reviewing the threshold for referral of applications to the Mayor of London. This is currently set at 150 dwellings and the consultation notes that this is considered in some instances to be too low requiring what may amount to duplicative interactions by developers with the relevant London Borough and with the Greater London Authority which is not always considered proportionate to the nature of the development in question. The consultation asks for suggestions for a new (higher) threshold.

These proposals were inspired by the recommendations of the London Plan Review (carried out by Christopher Katkowski KC, Cllr. James Jamieson, Dr. Paul Monaghan and Dr. Wei Yang between 19th December 2023 and 15th January 2024) which has been published here: Housebuilding in London: London Plan Review – report of expert advisers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Michael Gove has written a letter to Sadiq Khan in response to this review: Housebuilding in London: Letter from the DLUHC Secretary of State – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The letter summarises the three issues in the consultation set out above. It notes that “on the 2022 HDT results, fewer than half of the London Boroughs and Development Corporations delivered more than 95% of their appropriate housing requirement for the test over the three-year monitoring period. Therefore, 17 London boroughs would be required to apply the presumption if it were based on the 2022 HDT results.”

It also states that the Government is announcing £50 million of new investment in London to unlock new homes through estate regeneration.

The Government has also announced a Consultation on Changes to various permitted development rights: Changes to various permitted development rights: consultation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

This covers the following areas:

  • Changes to certain permitted development rights which enable householders to improve and enlarge their homes.
  • Changes to the building upwards permitted development rights which enable the upward extension of a range of existing buildings.
  • Changes to the permitted development right which allows for the demolition of certain buildings and rebuild as homes.
  • Changes to the permitted development rights which enable the installation of electrical outlets and upstands for recharging electric vehicles.
  • Changes to the permitted development right for the installation of air source heat pumps.

This consultation will last for 8 weeks from 13 February 2024 to 9 April 2024.

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