Developing Consensus has submitted a response to the government’s Reforms to National Planning Policy Consultation on behalf of the North East’s property and development sector.

Collated by members of the membership organisation, the response was led by Pegasus Group with input from Ryder Architecture and Barratt Homes as part of the planning steering group’s mission to tackle barriers within planning and create the right conditions for growth within the regional economy.

Key themes raised within the Developing Consensus consultation response include:

        Whilst the proposed changes seek to incentivise Local Planning Authorities to deliver housing, there is concern that any relaxation of targets will mean that there is less accountability in housing delivery and the commitment to deliver 300,000 homes will be even more challenging. 

        Many other changes/ adjustments remove flexibility from existing tests, which also potentially reduce the ability to again achieve the national annual target, which the Government is committed to.

      The Standard Method should include stronger mechanisms for ensuring that housing and employment growth is aligned, as well as recognise the need in locations where Devolutions Deals have been agreed, such as in the North East, to understand any additional housing growth requirements as a result of the additional investment. 

      The Government’s suggestion that Green Belt boundaries are not required to be reviewed if this would be the only means of meeting housing needs will further constrain opportunities for housing need to be met, particularly in those urban locations, such as Newcastle upon Tyne, where they have been afforded a 35% uplit in housing requirements. 

      It is important that there remains a commitment, such as the Duty to Co-operate, for Local Planning Authorities to work together to ensure the local housing need is delivered.

      Whilst it is agreed that a more proportionate approach to the examination of plans is welcomed, Developing Consensus disagrees with the proposed change to remove the test for Local Plans to not be justified. 

      Finally, in terms of transitional arrangements, in implementing any changes, the Government should be doing everything it can to ensure Local Plans are in place, a process with timescales for each stage is suggested to delivery this.

Download a copy of the full response below.

R001v1 RESPONSE TO NPPF March 2023(1)