NPPF fails to bite with Local Planning Authorities says Turley research

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) introduced by the Government two years ago (March 2012) has failed to make a significant impact on the percentage of planning permissions granted by local authorities, says research published by independent planning consultancy Turley.

The research paper, The impact of the National Planning Policy Framework on decision making, reviews statistics on over 1.7 million planning applications and 16,000 appeals over a four-year period – two years either side of the introduction of the NPPF.

It shows that the percentage of applications being refused by LPAs remains largely unchanged at approximately 20% with approvals at 80%.

The research does show, however, that the rate of success on appeal has increased by as much as 50 per cent for public inquiries since the introduction of the NPPF.

Rob Peters, Executive Director, Turley, said:

“There are a range of factors that can influence planning outcomes, and the decision to approve or refuse applications is not solely related to national policy. However, it is a reasonable assumption that the combination of less guidance and a strong presumption in favour of sustainable development would result in more planning applications being approved. This has not been the case.”

One of the key findings of the research is the difference in outcomes between appeals by written representations, informal hearings and public inquiries.

Rob Peters said:

“There has been a marked increase in success by inquiry with only a modest increase by hearing and virtually no change in written representations. This could be explained, in part, by the failure of local authorities to formulate and adopt local plans to the timescale envisaged in the NPPF.”

Rob Peters adds:

“To date, the Planning Inspectorate reports that just 14.6 per cent of development plans have been found sound and adopted since the NPPF was published. Given the importance of having an up-to-date local plan, especially one that deals with an area’s objectively assessed housing needs and the duty-to-cooperate with adjoining authorities, it is perhaps not surprising that major residential schemes are enjoying greater success at appeal.”

A copy of the full research report can be found here.