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New NPPF now in effect for submitted plans

A new version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published in July 2018, replacing the previous version published in 2012.

The NPPF 2018 includes 'transitional arrangements' to avoid causing too much disruption for those who are in the advanced stages of plan making. Neighbourhood Plans (and Local Plans) submitted on or before 24 January 2019, will be examined against the old NPPF 2012 version.

If you are preparing to submit your Neighbourhood Plan for examination, from today onward you must ensure your plan has regard to the national policies contained in the new NPPF 2018, and not the previous version.

What does this mean for existing plans?

The policies contained in the NPPF 2018 are 'material considerations', meaning they are a matter to be taken into account by the decision-maker when dealing with planning applications.

The NPPF 2018 explains that, for existing 'made' Neighbourhood Plans (and adopted Local Plans),  existing policies should not be considered out-of-date simply because they were made prior to the publication of the NPPF 2018. Due weight should be given to them, according to their degree of consistency with the NPPF 2018. It will therefore be a matter for the decision-maker to decide to what extent a plan's policies accord with the NPPF 2018.

The NPPF 2018 notes that some plans may need to be revised to reflect changes to national policy.

I will no doubt return to the issue of a Neighbourhood Plans being 'out-of-date', and the matter of reviewing a Neighbourhood Plan, in future blog posts.

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