The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), replacing the earlier version of February 2019, following a consultation on proposed amendments to the NPPF. In his Written Ministerial Statement, Robert Jenrick claims that the government is putting “beauty and design, for the first time, at the heart of the local planning system”. The changes made to the NPPF bring forward the recommendations of the “Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission”, that recommended a stronger focus on the creation of beautiful buildings and beautiful places. The key changes to the framework are:
- Making beauty and place-making a strategic theme.
- Local authorities will be expected to produce their own design codes and guides setting out the principles which new development should reflect.
- More streets to be tree lined.
- Improving biodiversity and access to nature through design.
- Placing an emphasis on approving good design and refusing poor quality schemes.
It also tunes into environmental issues such as flood risk and climate change, steering new development towards areas with the lowest risk of flooding. Changes to the guidance on the retention of historic statues, plaques, memorials and monuments are also included in the new version as well as a tighter hold on the use of Article 4 Directions, discouraging authority-wide Directions being made.
The revisions are not said to be a wholesale changes to the planning system and further changes are expected following the wider recommendations in the White Paper. The new NPPF is more of a tweak than a turnaround. The document can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-planning-policy-framework--2