Implications to Cornwall from Government’s Planning Announcements
Implications to Cornwall from Government’s planning announcements are being pondered by officers but these are the headlines.
1 A quicker and simpler standard formula for housing need
By today’s’ calculations, the CC target likely to go up 10% to around 2,900 new homes per year from November 2021. We will be required to review this every 5 years and it will drive other strategic policies in the Plan.
Changes also give a greater role for allocations in Local Plans to meet strategic objectives. Cornwall’s site Allocations Development Plan Document, currently at examination, is important to set out our current plan. Without it we cannot demonstrate our targets will be met. The NPPF keeps the option to provide strategic solutions to growth through new communities. This is a potential solution to Cornwall’s growth against continued incremental growth of towns.
2 The new Housing Delivery Test is confirmed
The new emphasis and test is about delivery not permissions and quantifies acceptable levels for the first time. If we don’t deliver our housing targets we will likely lose control of our policies, maintaining 5 year land supply will get harder and more allocations will be necessary unless we keep granting permissions and can show reliable delivery or use other tools like our investment programme. We must continue to support the delivery of our existing stock of 26,000 residential planning permission, continue to grant new permissions and intervene in important sites.
Ahead of the outcome of the Letwin Review there are currently limited proposals to penalise developers who don’t deliver, proposals are essential to prevent developers using this as a loophole to promote speculative development.
3 Local Plans will be expected to provide more robust viability assessment
The proposal aims to reduce the case by case viability negotiations to make planning permissions quicker, where they follow policy. However incorporating this level of assessment in the Local Plan is likely to slow the Local Plan process down and requires considerable collaboration with agencies, land owners and developers.
4 Neighbourhood Development Plans remain important and get some safeguard
Newly adopted NDPs will be safeguarded against changes, particularly uplifts in housing targets, in strategic policies. In addition –Local Plans are to provide housing targets for NDP , these would not need re-testing at neighbourhood plan examination.
Other points of difference include
Infrastructure is recognised as important to everyone and the proposals aim to provide easier arrangements between Section 106 agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy.
At least 20% of housing sites to be 0.5ha or less and encouragement for the NDPs to allocate small sites.
Viability assessment are expected to be publically available.
There is a new expectation of digital infrastructure into new homes.
Proposals refer to preparing communities, rather than just places, for climate change.
Introduction of policy for ‘entry-level’ homes suitable for first time buyers and use of exceptions sites for these in addition to affordable housing and self build ‘exceptions’ too.
Stronger promotion of social interaction and healthier lifestyles through planning outcomes.
Focus on brownfield land and increasing density.
Shift in emphasis so new development would have to mitigate against existing neighbouring businesses and community
facilities with potentially nuisance uses.
Proposals aim to secure a net gain for the environment as well as protection for old trees and woodland.
More engaging consultation particularly at the pre-application stage, similar to our PACE forums.