Agenda item

National Planning Changes

The report of the Chief Planning Officer outlines that on 19 December 2023, the Government published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) document.  On 26 October the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) became law.



The report of the Chief Planning Officer outlined that on 19 December 2023, the Government published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) document. On 26 October the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) became law.


The Head of Strategic Planning, presented the report, providing Members with the following information:

·  The Government had opened a consultation in December 2022 regarding proposed changes to the NPPF, which received over 26,000 responses. The responses had been taken into account and reflected in the revised NPPF document published in December 2023.

·  Paragraphs 5 to 15 of the report detailed the changes made to the NPPF, which predominantly focused on housing need with flexibility for local housing need, clarification of the standard method with an advisory position and that assessments were subject to examination.

·  The framework gave Local Authorities the ability to review green belt boundaries, but without a requirement to do so, when addressing local housing needs.

·  Design code evidence was required as proof that additional housing was inappropriate in areas with existing high housing density. Housing need targets may not be met for locations that were deemed out of character.

·  The 5 year housing land supply model had been relaxed, not requiring a Local Authority to demonstrate whether there was a 5 year deliverable supply of homes to meet the planned housing requirement in the same way as previous

·  Plans in preparation that were seeking to widen the 5 year housing land supply were no longer to be penalised and were subject to the development of a 4 year supply plan. Clarity on the details of the new requirements were to be requested as it had been a topic of discussion for planning authorities.

·  The 5-10% buffers previously applied to the 5 year housing land supply had been removed but a 20% buffer was required for low scoring authorities in terms of housing delivery.

·  There was increased protection for neighbourhood plans for 2 to 5 years post adoption, with the condition of providing a plan of identified sites.

·  Additional support was offered for self, custom and community built housing projects. The delivery for older people’s housing model was similar to the Leeds Local Plan 2040 (LLP2040) and the ongoing work with the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).

·  Wording of the NPPF for polices related to beauty and place making had been revised, which was also emphasized in LPU and LLP2040.

·  Extra protection for farmland and food production had been implemented, where food production land was required to be considered as part of the plan making process.

·  Greater support for energy efficiency for existing buildings was included, placing weight on energy needs and improvements.

·  The Secretary of State had also set out ambitions for plan performances for Local Authorities with the intention of creating a league table to rank performance in relation to decision granting, meeting time frames and delivery of targets. In 2022 there were around 20 Local Authorities that were subject to consequences given their poor housing delivery standards. Two Local Authorities were under special measures in response to too many planning decisions overturned at appeal. There was also a clamp down on time extension agreements.

·  The LURA became law on the 26th of October 2023, understood as framing legislation for changes to Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), abolition of the duty to cooperate, environmental impact assessments replacing strategic environmental assessments, which were EU legislation, and improved timeframes for neighborhood plan production. 


Members discussed the following key matters:

  • Leeds’s performance within the proposed league table was expected to be good with strong conduct in housing delivery and approvals, but there was need for resourcing for the continued determination of applications.
  • There were some contradictions within the league table model if an authority was considered to be performing badly when refusing poor applications.
  • The move from extension of time agreements was an issue as decision making required in depth analysis of a vast amount of information, amended plans or additionally requested information that may be submitted. It was suggested that this issue should be lobbied for to seek a resolution for navigating these circumstances.
  • Although there was no requirement to do so, more direction for developers to submit pre-applications was planned to get relevant information correct the first time round and address new requirements such as bio-diversity net gain.
  • Extension of criteria for documents required for validation were suggested as the point of validation was the start of the time deadline for determination. This was to be communicated to the relevant Minister.
  • The Council’s planning decision makers were considered to be good at negotiating with developers and time extensions had been mutually beneficial, deferrals caused delays and were sometimes due to omission of sound plans or evidence from a developer and were thus sometimes necessary.


RESOLVED That the report, along with Members comments be noted.


Supporting documents: