On Monday 6 December, Gavin Barwell MP (Minister of State for Housing & Planning & Minister for London) released a Written Ministerial Statement in respect of neighbourhood plans.
The Statement is available here and sets out that communities are frustrated by paragraph 49 of the NPPF which states that relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date where there is no five year housing land supply. As such, neighbourhood plans are undermined due to their local planning authority being unable to demonstrate sufficient supply.
Gavin Barwell MP has set out that, from 6 December, relevant policies for the supply of housing in a neighbourhood plan should not be deemed out-of-date under paragraph 49 where at the time the decision is made:
- This written ministerial statement is less than 2 years old, or the neighbourhood plan has been part of the development plan for 2 years or less; and
- the neighbourhood plan allocates sites for housing; and
- the local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites.
This is the latest Government move to add weight to neighbourhood plans and we can expect further provisions to come forward after the release of the impending White Paper on Housing (due in the New Year).
Furthermore, the Statement further extends for 6 months the criteria for recovery of planning appeals where over 25 dwellings are proposed in an area where a qualified body has submitted a neighbourhood plan but it has not been made.