More broadly, we heard suggestions in the consultation that in some places the numbers produced by the standard method pose a risk to protected landscapes and Green Belt. We should be clear that meeting housing need is never a reason to cause unacceptable harm to such places.
Within the current planning system the standard method does not present a ‘target’ in plan-making, but instead provides a starting point for determining the level of need for the area, and it is only after consideration of this, alongside what constraints areas face, such as the Green Belt, and the land that is actually available for development, that the decision on how many homes should be planned for is made. It does not override other planning policies, including the protections set out in Paragraph 11b of the NPPF or our strong protections for the Green Belt. It is for local authorities to determine precisely how many homes to plan for and where those homes most appropriately located. In doing this they should take into account their local circumstances and constraints. In order to make this policy position as clear as possible, we will explore how we can make changes through future revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework, including whether a renaming of the policy could provide additional clarity.
This is clumsily worded. The dictum that housing need was not a very special circumstance (only applying to dm decisions) was DROPPED from PPG several years ago. Precedent and caselaw is clear that ‘exceptional circumstances’ can be met by high housing need Gallagher Estates v Solihull Ltd, IM Properties V Lichfield
There is a mistake also in treating Green Belt as an environmental designation. It isnt. It is there to stop sprawl, something that a strategic review might better accomplish than building beyond the Green Belt