The National Federation of Builders (NFB) regrets the Government rolling back on several of its more radical approaches, which were laid out in the draft proposal of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The Government has published the revised NPPF, which replaces the previous framework from 2012. However, the inclusion of social rent and starter homes in the definition of affordable housing is very welcome, says the NFB, along with the standard methodology for assessing housing need.
Key elements in the revised NPPF include:
- redefining the small sites policy into a small and medium-sized sites policy;
- doubling the size of small and medium sites to one hectare;
- allocating 10% of a local plan exclusively to small and medium sites – down from the initial proposal of 20%;
- retaining protections for the green belt from development;
- updating viability assessments, which require local authorities to use more up-to-date cost statistics and comparable case studies.
Small and medium-sized sites are normally delivered by non-volume developers such as SMEs, housing associations and community land trusts. The NFB says that the Government has missed an opportunity to fix the broken housing market – as set out in the Housing White Paper – by not defining them separately and giving them increased emphasis.