Government Admits NPPG is Policy and not just Guidance – But wont be Quoted on It

Here on the PAS Website

Changes to government policy: November 2014

PAS has put these questions and answers together to help local authorities implement the Ministerial Statement and guidance released on the 28 November 2014 [Thresholds Affordable Housing]. Some of these answers reflect the verbal responses of DCLG and PINs representatives to questions relating to these changes at POS and PAS events.These policy and guidance changes are the subject of a judicial review by several councils. Please note that this note is PAS’s opinion only and DCLG have not endorsed or commented on these answers below. [Ah that makes things clear so DCLG official have said this but cant say how publicly because its dodgy and has been JR’d -I see]

As this is just guidance does that mean the authority can ignore it and follow its evidence based recently adopted local plan policy? 

This is more than guidance. It is Government policy as it was announced by Brandon Lewis, Housing and Planning Minister in the ‘House’ on 28th November 2014. So it is just like the NPPF and has as much weight as the NPPF. It is a material consideration and it is up to the decision makers how much weight to give the material consideration – that said if it goes to appeal the Planning Inspector would base his decision on the new government policy.

Aha so is a distinction to be made between NPPG changes announced in the House or not?  If this is a change in approach why was this never announced in the house?  Is there now a distinction now between policy changes subject to consultation under the Wakford principal and those that are not?  Why are nopt thse paras highlighted in the NPPG as policy, mopre importantly why are they not in the NPPF?

This webpage is totally legally kafkesque on what a mess the DCLG has gotten itself into on its attempts to micromanage S106, including the (correct) reference to how LPAs cant update SPD because the regulations require them to hang off a local plan policy (which is now out of date).

As for the reference of what the legal definition of ‘vacant’ is

There is no definition given for this – it could potentially be any of these and local authorities will have to decide on a definition and await case law.

And ‘abandoned’

it is not the same as the CIL requirement – there is no reference to time period in this affordable housing financial credit policy or the guidance. The case law on abandonment should be used to assess whether or not the financial credit applies.

If you placed 100 planner in a room 0.25 of them would understand the caselaw on abandonment.


One thought on “Government Admits NPPG is Policy and not just Guidance – But wont be Quoted on It

  1. Pingback: Ministers – A Dozen Reasons Why Local Plans Take Geological Time | Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

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