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Jenrick writes to PINs over planning changes 

Words: Laura Edgar
Robert Jenrick / Stuart Graham

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has urged planning inspectors to be ‘alive’ to changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) announced in July.

After consultation, the NPPF was amended to enhance the role of high-quality design and beauty in decisions about development. Also, paragraph 22 will be changed to encourage local authorities to employ long-term thinking in developing local plans to enable sustainable development.

What does paragraph 22 of the NPPF say?

“Strategic policies should look ahead over a minimum 15-year period from adoption, to anticipate and respond to long-term requirements and opportunities, such as those arising from major improvements in infrastructure. Where larger-scale developments such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns form part of the strategy for the area, policies should be set within a vision that looks further ahead (at least 30 years), to take into account the likely timescale for delivery.”

Writing to Sarah Richards, chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate, which examines local plans, Jenrick acknowledges that some local authorities have expressed concerns about the implication of the changes to paragraph 22 for their emerging local plans.

He says the change does not affect plans that have already been published or ones that were submitted for examination before 21 July. Planning inspectors will, however, need to take it into account for plans published after this date.

“Given the feedback we have received, in line with our commitment in our consultation response, I have asked my officials to prepare a planning practice guidance update on the way local authorities should reflect the recent NPPF paragraph 22 changes in their local plans to ensure that plan preparation can continue at pace whilst also ensuring that the government’s objectives are delivered.”

He concludes his letter by urging inspectors to be “alive to these policy changes and forthcoming guidance”.

The letter can be read here on the UK Government website.

Image credit | Stuart Graham