The requested block type of 'article-builder' does not exist. Please re-activate the block plugin or child theme if you wish to use this block again.

Category Archives: News

Everything will become clear this summer with the new NPPF

Everything will become clear this summer with the new NPPF

The planning world is awaiting the publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework with bated breath…

Did you submit a response to the consultation draft NPPF? Then look to the end of July, when the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), is expected to be published, to see if the Government listened to you.

The NPPF is expected to address a number of key issues raised through consultation responses:

  1. Green Belt land protection and release for development – the Government must demonstrate its continued support for the protection of the Green Belt, but also be realistic about the value of some land that is currently designated and which may no longer satisfy the objectives of such land. There is also a need to meet the competing demand where some local planning authorities cannot meet their own housing land requirements without the release of some Green Belt land. For instance, a letter organised by Siobhain McDonagh MP and more than 50 signatories (planners and non-planners) suggests there should be a presumption in favour of development on land within one kilometre of a train station providing access to London’s Zone 1 in less than 45 minutes, whether part of the Green Belt or not.
  2. The definition of affordable housing – this includes social rented housing and affordable rented housing merged into one definition of ‘affordable housing for rent’. The consultation indicated a significant shift towards housing for sale, rather than for rent, and reference to the inclusion of discounted market sales housing and starter homes as affordable housing. These combined are likely to be welcomed by developers, but it could spell further problems for those who are unable to afford to buy a property and are reliant on social rented housing.
  3. A standard methodology for assessing housing need – this would be used to determine the minimum number of homes needed in strategic plans, “unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify an alternative approach which also reflects current and future demographic trends and market signals”. In establishing the figure, it adds, “any needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas should also be taken into account”. Details of the methodology are to be set out in revised guidance.
  4. The requirement for 20% of housing need to come forward through small sites of less than 0.5 hectares – this is great news for SME house builders and could see increases in the delivery of housing sites. However, it could cause headaches for LPA planners who, with limited resources, will need to try to identify sufficient sites, while addressing residents’ objections and concerns (NIMBY) and subject to housing proposals, and political interference, too.
  5. Planning authorities will have six months from publication of the new NPPF to submit local plans for examination under the old framework – this will be a struggle for those LPAs that are far behind the curve, have resource issues and long-standing problems juggling land constraints (Green Belt, AONB etc). However, the emphasis on the creation of a Local Plan will be welcomed by developers seeking clarity.

Some commentators have suggested that James Brokenshire, the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, is viewed as a safe pair of hands in Government circles and will not rock the boat, however, it is possible that the consultation draft NPPF already started to do that and he should be prepared to man the pumps. Of course, he arguably has the support of others in Government, notably Dominic Raab (Housing Minister) and Gavin Barwell (the former Housing Minister and now Theresa May’s Chief of Staff).

But there is such a strong demand for change and clarity, as well as progress, particularly in 5YHLS (five year housing land supply) calculations and the adoption of Local Plans, that if the revised NPPF does not deliver, the outcry in the planning and development industry could be deafening. On the other hand it could be a truly welcomed document that delivers stability which, because of the aforementioned appeals, High Court and Supreme Court decisions and Written Ministerial Statements, has been lacking for a long time.

So if you submitted a response to the consultation draft NPPF by 10 May, keep your fingers crossed that the Government listens to you, and sticks to its apparent urgent end of July publication date so that you get your new-found clarity.

If you would like to discuss this subject or your own project with us, or just find out more about what we do, please continue to browse the website or drop us an email to: info@apexplanning.co.uk without obligation.

The butterfly effect of government changes

The butterfly effect of government changes

Planning and development will be affected by a number of recent political moves… Recent changes within the Government could have seismic consequences, even when they appear at first to be seemingly unrelated to planning and development. For instance, after Sajid Javid’s promotion to Home Secretary we have a new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities… Read more

A greener and more pleasant land

A greener and more pleasant land

Could technological advances in auto engineering change the face of planning? The increase of cars on our roads has changed the places we live in. Just take a look at a road lined with Victorian terraces – not a driveway in sight – and compare it with modern housing estates, with drives instead of gardens… Read more

Housing Provision for the Elderly

Housing Provision for the Elderly

Care needs to be taken to ensure there are residences for older residents – and it is a particular issue for retiring farmers… We have heard that the Communities and Local Government Committee (CLGC) has called for a review of the provision of housing for older people. Over past years, the number of bungalows being… Read more

Awaiting the National Planning Policy Framework

Awaiting the National Planning Policy Framework

The planning industry is waiting for the draft of the National Planning Policy Framework to appear before Easter… Those of us in the planning and development industry are waiting with bated breath for the Government to publish the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which is expected before Easter (according to a letter from… Read more

A successful year for Apex Planning Consultants

A successful year for Apex Planning Consultants

Getting the right result for our clients is always very satisfying – and this year we have had some particularly pleasing outcomes for both domestic and commercial customers.Our work below includes examples for Change of Use, Residential Development, Listed Buildings, Planning Appraisal and Planning Appeals, for both domestic, commercial and industrial clients. Read on to… Read more

Planning Industry Developments

Planning Industry Developments

There are a number of developments in the pipeline that will impact the planning industry from last month’s budget… Following on from our blog in November and the recent budget announcement, there are more impending changes that will affect the industry: Planning application fees One of the other notable changes that appears close to fruition is… Read more

Budget looms large over planning issues

Budget looms large over planning issues

Planning hits the headlines at this crucial time… With the Budget looming, the world of planning has again hit the headlines for several reasons. Of course, there is the usual abuse directed toward the delivery of housing – it’s the fault of the greedy developers / incompetent local planning authorities (*delete as applicable!) – which… Read more

Changes to planning policies could speed up housing delivery

Changes to planning policies could speed up housing delivery

Two recent Government announcements could help developers get homes built with fewer delays… There have been a couple of major developments in the planning world recently. Statement of Common Ground The first is the requirement for councils to produce a Statement of Common Ground with neighbouring authorities. This initiative is one of several consultation proposals… Read more

Housing crisis – is it the developers fault?

Housing crisis – is it the developers fault?

Are greedy developers at fault for the lack of land for housing, or are there other factors contributing to the UK’s housing crisis? An article in The Guardian earlier this year claims that the housing crisis is being worsened by greedy developers, who are hoarding land in a bid to sell it on at a… Read more

Our Pledge To You

The primary aim of Apex Planning Consultants is to establish a clear and precise strategy that tackles the hurdles presented by the increasing complexities of the planning process and associated legislation.

This must be provided to retain our credibility and client trust, and this is achieved through our reliability to deliver, how well we keep our promise, and the expedient delivery of projects.

Important to this is our ability to be accessible to all clients and to communicate information quickly and as simply as possible.  A key focus of Apex Planning Consultants is to help clients find the solution that is right for them.

To learn more about individual projects, please take a look at our blog.

This is what just two of our clients have said:

“I contacted Apex Planning Consultants when my application to change the use of my rental property from a single dwelling household to a HiMO was refused by local authority planners.  Apex Planning Consultants launched an appeal with the planning inspectorate on behalf.  They demonstrated high standards of professionalism and great attention to detail in preparing and responding to submissions.  This led to a recent decision in my favour, which now allows me to operate the property as a HiMO.  In addition, they successfully negotiated to avoid the potentially expensive and crippling conditions which the local authority planners were seeking to impose with the inspectorate’s decision.  That is a result!”
George Bandasoah – Property Landlord – Milton Keyes

 “I used Apex Planning recently on a project, following a recommendation from my architect.  They provided planning advice, influencing the design of a large extension and additionally a planning statement to support the planning application.  I found them to be efficient, knowledgeable and very professional.  Their costs were very reasonable, given the result of achieving full planning permission on first application.  I would thoroughly recommend them.”
Darren Bishop – Homeowner – Aylesbury

Apex Planning Consultants Limited t /a Apex Planning Consultants. Company number: 8091611. Registered in England & Wales.

Registered office: 1 Hillbeck Grove, Middleton, Milton Keynes, MK10 9JJ. VAT Registration Number 210735054.