The Government are consulting on a revised national planning policy framework and reforms to developer contributions.
The National Planning Policy Framework is six years old and the revised framework focuses on proposals to speed up the delivery of new homes. Overall, the revised policy framework is more prescriptive requiring local authorities to plan positively and quickly to meet housing needs, review policies every five years, agree plans with neighbouring authorities and make more effective use of brownfield land. A housing delivery test to scrutinise local authority performance and a proposal to shorten the time limit to implement planning permissions to less than three years aims to ensure that more planned homes are built.
The revised policy framework proposes:
- minimum densities for housing development in town and city centres and around transport hubs
- to require local authorities to allocate at least 20% of their housing supply from small sites of 0.5ha or less
- broaden the definition of affordable housing to include 10% of homes on major sites as affordable home ownership. Housing for essential local workers, including NHS staff, is also added to the definition.
- to make best use of land by permitting housing on retail and employment land and, in future, upwards extensions on existing sites to create new homes, but bypassing a requirement for developer contributions for infrastructure
- to include both non-statutory and statutory consultees in pre-application consultation to resolve issues, such as affordable housing and infrastructure requirements and to secure good design
- to deliver a range of housing, but no extra emphasis on the need for housing for older people.
- to continue to promote healthy and safe communities proposing that policies and decisions should consider the social and economic benefits of estate regeneration and additional recognition of the role that planning can play in promoting social interaction and healthy lifestyles.
- to promote sustainable transport and require authorities to identify additional development opportunities arising from strategic transport infrastructure investment.
- that plans should set out a clear design vision and expectations, supported by tools and checklists, including Building For Life.
The Government is also consulting on changes to developer contributions in response to an independent review of the Community Infrastructure Levy which was published in February 2017.
In the short term, it proposes to:
- simplify consultation requirements for setting and revising a CIL charging schedule and to align it with the local plan process when assessing infrastructure needs and development viability.
- remove the section 106 pooling restriction in areas that have adopted CIL or where significant development is planned on several large strategic sites
- allow CIL charging schedules to be set based on the existing use of land to capture increases in land value
- remove regulatory requirements for Regulation 123 lists and require the publication of Infrastructure Funding Statements
- allow strategic local authorities to introduce a Strategic Infrastructure Tariff to help fund or mitigate strategic infrastructure, citing the success of the Mayoral CIL in London to help fund Crossrail.
In the longer term, the Government will explore the option of a national, non-negotiable developer contribution tariff for affordable housing and infrastructure. The independent CIL Review recommended that the Government should replace CIL with a low level Local Infrastructure Tariff (LIT) with section 106 agreements for larger developments.
The consultation ends on 10 May 2018 and the Government intends to produce a final version of the policy framework this summer. Further details on the consultation can be found here.
The Mayor of London has launched a consultation on his new London Plan which sets the planning policy framework to shape how London evolves and develops over the next 20-25 years.
The population of London is projected to increase by 70,000 each year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041. In response to this population growth, the draft plan aims to increase the supply of new housing from 42,000 to 65,000 new homes each year and sets a strategic target of 50 per cent of all new homes being affordable. It introduces new borough housing targets. Most boroughs will see their targets increase, but the largest increases are in outer London which, if delivered, will place additional pressure of existing infrastructure.
Underpinning the draft plan are six ‘Good Growth’ policies which seek to ensure that growth is sustainable, is supported by sufficient infrastructure and benefits all Londoners. One of the Good Growth policies aims to create a healthy city which will improve Londoners’ health and reduce health inequalities. It advocates the use the Healthy Streets Approach to prioritise health in all planning decisions and requires that the potential impact of development on the health and wellbeing of communities is assessed, for example through the use of Health Impact Assessments.
Other key policy requirements include:
- Support for NHS service and estate transformation and the delivery of new or enhanced infrastructure, advocating the use of the HUDU Model to help calculate costs and developer contributions.
- Introducing polices for new growth corridors (Crossrail 2, Elizabeth Line, HS2, Trams Triangle in South London) which extend beyond London’s boundaries
- Making better use of land by maximising housing density, with new minimum housing space standards
- Annual borough benchmarks for specialist older persons housing
- Guidelines for increasing green infrastructure, delivering 50 per cent green cover across London
- Promoting active travel, including doubling the current amount of cycling provision in many new developments
- Commitment to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050
- Restricting new takeaways within 400 metres walking distance of an existing or proposed school
HUDU has contributed to the drafting of the new policies during the informal consultation stage and will be responding to the draft Plan on behalf of London CCGs. Further details on the consultation can be found here.
The HUDU Planning Contributions Model (the HUDU Model) provides a standardised and transparent approach to help calculate potential developer contributions and plan for future health infrastructure requirements. Its use is advocated in the draft London Plan.
We have refreshed the model by updating the default data on population projections, housing completions, health activity and build costs. The model can be used to assess the impact of single developments and the cumulative impact of housing and population growth in an area. In addition to GLA and ONS population projections, users are now able to manually add a population projection profile.
More information on the model can be found here
The Mayor of London has launched a consultation on his draft Health Inequalities Strategy ‘Better Health For All Londoners’ which aims to help create a healthier and fairer society and to make the healthier choice easier for everyone, including the most disadvantaged.
The draft strategy has five goals:
- Every London child to have the best possible start in life
- All Londoners share in a city with the best mental health in the world
- A society, environment and economy that promotes good mental and physical health
- London’s diverse communities to be healthy and thriving
- To make the ‘healthy choice’ the easy choice for all Londoners
The London Plan commits the Mayor to working in partnership with other key stakeholders to reduce health inequalities by supporting the spatial implications of the Health Inequalities Strategy. In particular, the planning system has a key role to support the aims of the strategy to create healthy places, healthy communities and promote healthy habits.
The consultation runs until 30 November 2017 and further details can be found here.
Public Health England have published a review of evidence examining the links and strength of evidence between health and the built and natural environment. It provides key messages illustrated in diagrams for five aspects of the built and natural environment to help improve communication and engagement between public health and spatial planning practitioners and help shape local planning policy and decisions.
The study identifies gaps in the evidence and make recommendations for further research. However, it notes that the causal links between built environment and health are often complex and difficult to demonstrate, but a lack of evidence reviews and quantitative research does not mean that the link does not exist. Instead, a ‘whole system’ approach is needed combining different interventions based on the ‘precautionary principle’.
The report can be found here
Public Health England have produced a guide to help Directors of Public Health and local public health teams engage in the Environmental Impact Assessment process. Recent changes to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations clarify that ‘population and human health’ is a topic that should be considered when assessing the impact of large scale development and infrastructure projects.
There is an opportunity for public health professionals to be more engaged in the process from the screening and scoping stages onwards, and to work closely with planners and EIA professionals. It is also important for local public health professionals to work with environmental health officers when engaging in the EIA process and for the relationship between EIA and Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to be clarified, as HIA involves a wider assessment of health issues and impacts. At a national level, Public Health England has a role to comment on scoping reports and Environmental Statements linked to nationally significant infrastructure projects.
The briefing can be found here.