“Although the starting point for considering whether any proposed development or change of use is compliant with planning policy is the Local Planning Authority’s (LPA’s) adopted local plan (or the relevant neighbourhood plan), national planning policy is always a material consideration that LPAs have to take into account when considering a planning application”, says Mark Sanders of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
“National planning policy is reviewed from time to time to reflect the Government’s agenda and to take account of changes in the law and is set out in a published document – the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF was revised on 20 July 2021 and sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied by LPAs and Planning Inspectors”, reports Sanders.
“One of the changes that is likely to be significant for some of our clients is a change in the definition of sustainable development which has been strengthened to emphasise the role of planning in protecting and enhancing the natural, built and historic environment. Over time, the change in emphasis may result in LPAs being more pro-active in requiring developers to secure biodiversity net gains or to offset carbon and phosphates that will be generated by new developments and that may create opportunities via the planning system for our clients to provide what could loosely be termed the “environmental goods” that will be required to allow development to go ahead. This is an area that we are already watching very closely”, comments Sanders.
“Another impact of the change in emphasis is that it could provide additional support in obtaining planning permission for development that protects and enhances heritage assets, such as traditional farm buildings. Paragraph 80 of the NPPF, which sets out the circumstances where new isolated homes in the countryside may be permitted, continues to allow the conversion of heritage assets to residential use where that would represent the optimum viable use and/or where development for a residential use would re-use redundant or disused buildings and enhance its immediate setting. There is a clear link between the stronger emphasis on protecting and enhancing the built and historic environment and the policies in paragraph 80 of the NPPF that allow the redevelopment of heritage assets and/or redundant or disused buildings for residential use”, concludes Sanders.
For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380.