14th December 2016
Gavin Barwell’s written ministerial statement on 12th December 2016 gives further support to the Neighbourhood Planning process, reducing the housing land supply requirement to three years in Neighbourhood Plan areas.
Mr Barwell’s statement makes clear that “…where communities plan for housing in their area in a neighbourhood plan, those plans should not be deemed to be out-of-date unless there is a significant lack of land supply for housing in the wider local authority area.”
The statement has implications for potential unallocated development sites within areas with adopted Neighbourhood Plans in place.
Where Local Planning Authorities cannot demonstrate a five-year land supply of deliverable housing sites, normally policies for the supply of housing are considered to be out-of-date in line with para 49 of the NPPF. Previously, sites would be seen in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development (NPPF Para 14) in a neighbourhood plan area if the wider Local Planning Authority cannot demonstrate a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites. Due weight would be given by the decision taker on the relevant housing supply polices within the Authority’s adopted Development Plan.
With immediate effect from this Ministerial Statement, policies for supply of housing will not be considered ‘out-of-date’ in line with NPPF para 49 in areas with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan, subject to the following caveats:
The Ministerial Statement is clear that all of the above caveats have to be met “…at the time the decision is made.”
Obviously this gives fresh impetus to the Neighbourhood Plan process and will no doubt provide a level of comfort to communities with a Neighbourhood Plan in Place.