Budget fine print hints at transitional arrangements for planning reforms

The government’s wide ranging reforms to the planning system will be published and come into effect next week, the chancellor has said.

George Osborne said the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) would be published on Tuesday 27 March and would come into effect on that same day.

Osborne said the reforms would come into effect immediately and did not mention the possibility of transitional arrangements - something that has been widely called for by councils and campaigners -  but the fine print of the budget said the NPPF would be accompanied “with appropriate implementation arrangements for local authorities with pro-growth policies in local plans”.

“There will be support to help local authorities get plans up to date quickly,” it added

Richard Ford, head of planning at law firm Pinsent Masons, said it wasn’t clear if the chancellor had ruled out transitional arrangements.

He said: “Clearly we await to see the detail of what ‘coming into force immediately’ means. The presumption in favour of sustainable development and large parts of the NPPF may come into force immediately, but other parts could be subject to transitional provisions to give local authority local plans and neighbourhood plans a little breathing space.

“We will have to see if this is a bit of spin or not”.