By Director of Planning, Duncan Hartley

The Government’s much valued National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is up for its first review.The key messages coming out of the draft for RURAL AREAS and are likely to be affecting our clients, we believe are:

1.RURAL HOUSING – first specific reference by title to ‘Rural Housing’ in NPPF and new carrot and stick proposals to assist in housing delivery:

  • Small sites to play a greater role in housing allocations in Plans – allocated rural sites will make a more significant contribution to aid delivery
  • Acknowledgment of need for rural areas to play greater role in finding extra land to deliver homes – more work being done by the Government on greater flexibilities in the system – could this mean agricultural buildings becoming previously developed land? We shall see in the further review of permitted development rights to come very soon.
  • More exceptions to allowing isolated homes in the countryside
  • Penalties to councils for under delivery of housing; two year planning permissions.

2. RURAL ECONOMY – new more flexible policy recognising that sites to meet local business and community needs in rural areas may have to be found outside existing settlements, and in locations that are not well served by public transport

3. GREEN BELT – the Government should be going for a step further on Green Belt policy – but we may just have to satisfy ourselves for now in a concession for affordable housing in Green Belt.

4. RURAL ACCESSIBILITY – further policy emphasis of the needed policy differentiation between rural and urban areas in decision taking on matters of locational sustainability.

The draft NPPF is out for consultation with a deadline for response 10th May 2018. We welcome your views – contact me at We will be continuing to promote greater planning flexibilities and freedoms to aid enhanced economic and social vitality of our rural communities.

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