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The NPPF heralds a new era for planning

Richborough Estates welcomes the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was issued Tuesday 27 March 2012.  This publishing of a revised planning system replaces cumbersome Planning Policy Guidelines and Statements which should now help the country deal with the accommodation crisis which is seeing new home building at its lowest level for decades.

Giving more control to local authorities and communities, the National Planning and Policy Framework attempts to strike a balance between economic growth, social need and environmental considerations when assessing proposed development.  It also provides landowners, developers and land promoters with simplified set of rules and guidance which should pave the way for more investment.

Mike Jones of Richborough Estates, says: "The proposals are sensible and will balance a community's housing needs against environmental and other considerations. "We now need to see the policies implemented quickly so we can start to tackle the country's acute housing crisis”.

"The new planning system transfers power to local authorities for development in their areas. With that power comes responsibility and authorities need to demonstrate they are meeting their communities' housing needs. The NPPF places the emphasis upon delivery.  Those local planning authorities who are deemed to have a record of persistent under delivery of housing, will have to increase their housing requirements by 20%”.

The NPPF comes at a time when planning permissions are running at record low levels and around half what is needed. HBF's latest Housing Pipeline report, released last month, showed that just 115,000 housing permissions were granted in 2011, half the required level and half the number in 2006. The number of new homes completed in England in 2010 slumped 13 per cent on the previous year, itself the lowest peacetime number on record since 1923.

The number of households is projected to grow from 21.7 million in 2008 to 27.5 million in 2033, a rise of 5.8 million.

Over the last three years, home builders have invested almost £1billion in shared equity schemes to help maintain housing construction, and support almost 30,000 first time buyers in getting a foot on the ladder.