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Guidance for housing and NSIPs published

Words: Laura Edgar
New House 1

The government has published guidance confirming the details of measures that will see major infrastructure projects that include up to 500 homes considered as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

This follows regulations about such schemes being laid before Parliament earlier this month.

The guidance covers changes to the Planning Act 2008 made by section 160 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which received Royal Assent in May last year.

The guidance states that the government wants to ensure that the flexibility being provided to allow an element of housing to be consented under the 2008 Act “does not undermine the local planning process and the wider responsibilities for local authorities to plan for housing needs in their area”.

Therefore, the guidance sets out a maximum number of houses that can be given consent through a Development Consent Order (DCO).

The maximum number of homes that can be granted through a DCO when permanent housing is being provided based on geographical proximity to an infrastructure project should be 500. The secretary of state is “very unlikely” to consent to more than this for a single NSIP.

The figure is the same when housing is being provided based on functional need. The guidance notes that there may be some situations where a developer chooses to provide housing for construction workers which is of a quality that will see the housing retained as, or converted to, permanent dwellings once the project is complete. In this case, “accommodation for more than 500 workers may be consented for the construction phase of the project as long as this is subsequently converted so that the number of permanent dwellings after any conversion is 500 or less”.

Additionally, a DCO application might include associated local infrastructure. This should be “integral” to the housing proposed and be proportionate to the scale of housing in the application.

Guidance on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and Housing can be found here (pdf).

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