• Just one council has revised its Local Plan in line with NPPF

    25th January 2013 | News | Claire
  • When it was published last year, the Government gave councils one year to get their plans up-to-date.

    The 27 March is NPPF d-day.  After this date, all those authorities who have not got an up-to-date Local Plan must use the NPPF as the primary document when determining planning applications, thus undermining local planning policies, built-up area boundaries and the ability to refuse inappropriate development.

    As someone who feels that EDDC is now in a deep mire thanks in large part to the NPPF, the news that just one council is ready for action following 27 March, is further proof that this wretched document set councils up to fail.

    The Government asked a team of developers to write the NPPF, of course.

    See the full story in Planning here – http://www.planningresource.co.uk/news/1167975/authorities-go-down-wire-plan-revisions/

    And below: …………………………………………………………………………….

    Only one local planning authority with a local plan already adopted has so far successfully revised the document to bring it in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) following its publication last spring, it has emerged.

    Under transitional arrangements set out when the framework was published in March 2012, authorities with local plans adopted since 2004 were told that they could continue to give full weight to relevant policies “even if there is a limited degree of conflict” for 12 months.

    But following the 12-month transition period, which ends on 27 March, decision-takers must give due weight to relevant policies in existing plans “according to their degree of consistency” with the NPPF, the framework says.

    Latest figures from the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) reveal that only seven local planning authorities with core strategies adopted after 2004 have formally published revised local plans for consultation since the publication of the NPPF last year.

    Of these, only one authority – Mid Suffolk District Council – has adopted a revised strategy.

    The findings follow a survey by Planning last year which revealed that nearly three-quarters of the councils that say they need to revise their local plans to bring them in line with the NPPF do not expect to be able to do so before the end of the transitional arrangements (Planning, 14 December 2012, p4).

    According to the PINS figures the proportion of planning authorities in England – comprising 336 councils and national park authorities – with an adopted local plan in place has increased by 13.8 per cent following the publication of the NPPF.

    The figures show 46.4 per cent of authorities now have an adopted plan – up from 40.8 per cent in March 2012. An analysis of the figures shows 29 local plans have been submitted for examination between April 2012 and January 2013, while 20 have been adopted over this period.

    John Hoad, head of planning at pressure group the Campaign to Protect Rural England, expected most plans adopted after 2004 to be “out of date in one form or another” after 27 March.

    Peter Wilks, director at consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, said that the timescale of “a year to get your plan in place probably wasn’t long enough”.

    Robin Shepherd, partner at consultancy Barton Willmore, said that local politics has been a “major barrier” to the progress of some plans. “Some have had to look at objectively assessed needs and haven’t liked the answer that came back.”

    Richard McCarthy, executive director at consultancy Capita Symonds, said that decision-takers would still be able to give weight to relevant policies in emerging plans following the end of the transitional arrangements. This would ensure local planning authorities are not “heavily penalised if they had all but completed the process”, he said.

    Planning minister Nick Boles told the communities and local government select committee in December that he would be having a “weekly chasing meeting for the priority areas” without plans in place and that these authorities would be offered “extra special support”.

    A Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said: “Comprehensive figures from the inspectorate show nearly 70 per cent of all local planning authorities have now published a draft plan, and nearly half have adopted plans.”