2018 NPPF: Neighbourhood Plans Transitional Arrangements
Friday 27th July 2018
Following the publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on 24 July 2018, we have received a number of queries about how neighbourhood plan examinations currently in progress are affected. Current examinations are not affected and will continue to be considered against the national policy set out in the March 2012 NPPF. There is no requirement to refer back to interested parties to seek views on the implications of the revised 2018 NPPF.
The transitional arrangements for local plans and neighbourhood plans are set out in paragraph 214 of the revised 2018 NPPF, which provides 'The policies in the previous Framework will apply for the purpose of examining plans, where those plans are submitted on or before 24 January 2019'. Footnote 69 clarifies that for neighbourhood plans, 'submission' in this context means where a qualifying body submits a neighbourhood plan to the local planning authority under Regulation 15 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended).
In practice this will provide a significant window for neighbourhood plans to continue to be considered against the 2012 NPPF. For example, if a neighbourhood plan is submitted under Regulation 15 of to the local planning authority in mid January 2019; is subject to Regulation 16 public consultation during February - March 2019; and examined in the spring/summer of 2019, the 2012 NPPF will continue to apply.
Conversely it should be noted that, given transitional arrangements are expressly set out in national policy, there would appear to be no discretion to enable examiners, as part of the statutory assessment, to consider a neighbourhood plan under the revised 2018 NPPF where it falls within the scope of the transitional provisions. Any qualifying body that wishes to have their statutory examination considered having regard to the terms of the revised 2018 NPPF, will need to submit their plan to the local authority after 24 January 2019.
Where your neighbourhood plan is considered under the transitional arrangements, there may nonetheless be practical ways to demonstrate that your plan has taken into account the revised 2018 NPPF. For example, you might add an addendum to your Basic Conditions Statement setting out how your plan has had regard to the revised 2018 NPPF. Whilst this will not form part of the examiner's statutory consideration, it may be a useful way of formally recording in a public document the qualifying body's view of the plan's relationship with the revised 2018 NPPF.
Should you have any queries about the how the transitional arrangements will operate in relation to your neighbourhood plan examination, please do not hesitate to contact the IPe office team.