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Barwell clarifies policy on neighbourhood plans and lack of housing land

Words: Laura Edgar
Gavin Barwell

In a ministerial statement, Gavin Barwell has said that when neighbourhood plans make provision for housing, the plans should not be deemed out of date.

The housing and planning minister has said that such plans can only be considered out of date if there is a significant lack of land for housing in the wider local authority area.

According to the ministerial statement, as more communities produce neighbourhood plans it needs to be made sure that “planning policy is suitable for a system with growing neighbourhood plan coverage”.

The statement is intended to build on proposals in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2016-17.

The direction states that relevant policies for the supply of housing in a neighbourhood plan that is part of a development plan “should not be deemed ‘out of date’ under paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework”.

This applies where the following three circumstances arise at the time the decision is made:

  • This written ministerial statement is less than two years old, or the neighbourhood plan has been part of the development plan for two years or less;

  • The neighbourhood plan allocates sites for housing; and

  • The local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

Barwell also said the government is offering the chance to those communities who brought forward their plans before the publication of this statement to review their plans.

The statement applies to decisions made on planning applications and appeals going forward. It can be found here.

Image credit | Cabinet Office