Committee argues NPPF allows too many speculative planning applications and out-of-town housing schemes

Planning Houses

Developers are taking advantage of loopholes in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to launch ‘speculative’ planning applications that are unwanted by local communities, MPs have argued.

In a House of Commons communities and local government select committee report on the how the NPPF is working - published today - MPs say it should be rejigged to help protect against unsustainable development.

The committee welcomes the government’s efforts to simplify the planning system via the NPPF. However the MPs raise concerns that communities are at risk of unsustainable development due to planning permission being granted for substantial housing development on the edge of towns and villages as a result of speculative applications.

The committee also recommends that councils should be encouraged to review their green belts as part of the local planning process and that they need clearer guidance about how housing need should be assessed.

In addition, the MPs urge the Department for Communities and Local Government to establish a remediation fund for brownfield sites in order to help bring forward such sites.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the committee, said: “The NPPF has brought welcome simplification to the planning system but the Government must strengthen the planning framework to tackle emerging concerns about inappropriate and unsustainable development. The same weight needs to be given to environmental and social factors as to the economic dimension to ensure the planning system delivers the sustainable development promised by the NPPF.”