#NPPF – Small Sites arn’t created with a Policy Magic Wand

There are aspects of the new NPPF which are flawed but only one which is totally misconceived.  That being a proposed requirement that a minimum of 20% of sites are under 0.5ha.

Small sites don’t arrive by magic they derive from patterns of enclosure, land use and land use change, subdivision and development.

0.5ha is small in land use terms.  Its about the size of 20 tennis courts, which seems large, but in fact the average UK field is 24 times larger than this. This mean that outside places like the Scilly isles you will get almost no sites outside settlements of less than 0.5 ha unless they are within residential plots.  Small sites are a good thing but continental countries that deliver through small sites do it through zoning, land acquisition by public bodies, masterplanning and subdivision.  One common theme on this blog.  There are no shortcuts to this process whatsoever.

This fact leads to a number of perverse effects of a % rule:

-Plans could include too few very large sites to reduce the required number of sites to hit the target

-Plans will be delayed as sites discarded through SHLAAs s as too small will have to be trawled through again.

-LPAs will artificially reduce fields to sites of less than 0.5ha just to hit the target.

-Lots of small sites mean old style long plan inquiries.

-Sites in settlements will be identified which would probably come forward as windfalls anyway – useless as no net gain

-That leaves gardens in the countryside, not protected in the NPPF following caselaw creating scattered unsutainable development.



One thought on “#NPPF – Small Sites arn’t created with a Policy Magic Wand

  1. …the degree to which an urban spatial system allows for self-organization is highly influenced by its particular configuration of accessibility and land division… For example, it has been shown in both social and natural systems that division of land into discrete plots or parcels (in cities) or patches (in nature) can increase both social and biological diversity…
    (Lars Marcus, “Towards an integrated theory of spatial morphology and resilient urban systems”, 2014 )

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