Summer flurry of policy updates and consultation

21st July 2021

There has been a summer flurry of policy updates and consultation in the past two days, with the release of a revised National Planning Policy Framework, the publication of the National Model Design Code and a new Oxford Cambridge Arc consultation being launched.

National Planning Policy Framework July 2021 Version

This new version of the document contains several changes, including:

  • Paragraphs aimed at improving the design of new developments such as outlining that development that is not well designed should be refused and that significant weight should be given to developments that reflect local design policies and govern guidance on design.
  • The new Paragraph 131 which emphasises the importance of incorporating trees in new developments, retaining existing trees where possible and working with Local Planning Authorities to ensure that “the right trees are planted in the right places”.
  • The new Paragraph 53 outlines the use of Article 4 directions to remove permitted development rights should be limited to situations where an Article 4 direction is necessary to avoid “wholly unacceptable adverse impacts”. This notion is reinforced by the new Paragraph 54 which states that planning conditions should not be used to restrict national permitted development rights unless there is a clear justification to do so.
  • The introduction of a new Paragraph 96 which emphasises that Local Planning Authorities should work proactively and positively with promoters, delivery partners and statutory bodies to ensure faster delivery of other public service infrastructure such as further education colleges, hospitals and criminal justice accommodation.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government commented in a statement accompanying the launch of the revised National Planning Policy Framework that it is being amended so that “the Building Beautiful Places plan will mean residents and planners will find it easier to embrace beautiful, practical design while rejecting the ugly, unsustainable or poor quality”. Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP outlined that it “will ensure that communities are more meaningfully engaged in how new development happens”, emphasising the Government’s plans to give the people more power in planning decisions.

National Model Design Guide

The National Model Design Guide was published alongside the revised National Planning Policy Framework and provides detailed guidance on the production of design codes, guides and policies to promote successful design. This, alongside the new paragraphs in the National Planning Policy Framework which are aimed at improving the design of new developments, provides local authorities and communities with clear guidance to help them decide what good quality design looks like in their area.

Oxford Cambridge Arc Consultation

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have launched a public consultation on the OxCam Arc which will be open for 12 weeks. The consultation covers a wide range of topics including the proposed scope of Sustainability Appraisal, climate change resilience and locations of growth but is overall aiming to create a vision for the Arc.

This marks the last planned consultation prior to the publication of the Spatial Framework Policy Options & Sustainability Appraisal ‘Issues and Options’ reports being published for consultation next Spring.

Should you wish to discuss any of the above policy updates or OxCam Arc consultation and what this could mean for you, please feel free to contact Edgars. Our staff members would be glad to discuss your enquiry, options and next steps.

Back to news