RETAIL & ECONOMICS
SECOND FIDDLE TO HOUSING

Economic growth now second fiddle to housing

Supporting economic growth remains an important consideration in plan-making and decision-taking, but this section remains largely unchanged.

The revised NPPF places slightly less emphasis on securing growth than the current version. Perhaps this reflects the change in political priorities and the improvement in the economy since 2012?

Whereas supporting economic growth was the first priority previously, it now plays second fiddle to housing as a priority, being less prominent in the revised document and with the guidance slightly reduced in length and scope.

Thus, whilst the current NPPF emphasised the Government’s commitment to securing economic growth and ensuring that the planning system “does everything it can to support economic growth” the revised NPPF merely gives significant weight to the need to support economic growth. 

References to planning "encouraging and not acting as an impediment to sustainable growth" and for business "not to be over-burdened by the combined requirements of planning policy expectations" have been removed.

 

Industrial Strategy link

Following the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy last year, the document seeks to ensure that planning policies have regard to this and other local economic strategies to help deliver economic objectives.

Building on the Industrial Strategy, and of particular relevance for the Golden Triangle, the revised document still specifically seeks to ensure that provision is made for clusters or networks of knowledge-driven, creative, or high technology clusters to meet future needs.

The requirement for local authorities to regularly review their employment allocations and avoid their long-term protection, where there is no prospect of delivery, has been removed, potentially making it harder to bring forward alternative use of employment sites.

 

Ensuring the vitality of town centres

There are relatively few changes in terms of planning policies for retail and town centres within the revised NPPF and it is essentially business as usual. The fundamental principles of encouraging a 'town centre first' approach through the application of the sequential and impact tests remain unchanged.

Aside from some minor abbreviations to the text, there appears slightly more emphasis on the need to manage change within centres, reflecting ongoing changes on the high street, but it is otherwise business as usual.

 

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