Under the NPPF, areas without local plans are in limbo

The National Planning Policy Framework promised to simplify planning, but one area that has become less clear since it was launched on Tuesday is the effect on areas that do not currently have a core strategy or local plan adopted since 2004.

Only 38% of English local authorities have adopted core strategies in place at the moment and we expect a further 20-30 to be adopted in the next few months

The transitional arrangements announced on Tuesday do provide some clarity for areas that have adopted plans. 

For areas that do not have a local plan and are unlikely to have one adopted in the next year - effectively half the country - the situation is much less clear.

Despite being offered more than one opportunity to explain further in the House of Commons, the minister was not forthcoming on how these areas should proceed.

This lack of definition provides a genuine opportunity for developers to push forward projects outside the development plan process.

In many ways there has never been a better time to put in planning applications.

Authorities that have poor delivery rates are likely to be under greater threat of applications and appeals. In any case, given the potential conflicts between the NPPF and localism, we anticipate an increase in the number of appeals.

But the property industry needs to take the lead here - it is through applications and negotiations on a case by case basis, setting precedent and putting forward creative solutions that we will be able to deliver growth through the NPPF process.

Simon Neate is chairman at Indigo Planning