Planning: Timing is everything…

When an application is submitted can in some cases be the most important factor when looking to achieve a planning permission for housing development. The importance of timing has been clear for all to see within the boundaries of Shropshire over the past few years. A seemingly ever changing planning policy backdrop has led to periods of opportunity, and these opportunities are set to continue to present themselves over the coming months and years.

It doesn’t seem long ago that a shortage of 5 year housing supply was the main focus in Shropshire.

To help with boosting the supply of housing, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local planning authorities to identify and keep up-to-date a deliverable five year housing land supply. Without this, even recently adopted planning policies for the supply of housing will be considered out of date (NPPF para 49).

This is particularly important given that the NPPF states that where relevant policies are out-of-date, permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts outweigh the benefits, or other policies indicate otherwise, when assessed against the NPPF (paragraph 10).

At times when a council is unable to offer a five year housing land supply sustainable housing development located outside of settlement boundaries, and sometimes within settlements not allocated for development can be approved contrary to an adopted local plan.

A couple of years ago this was certainly the case in Shropshire and many of Berrys clients achieved great success and added significant value through housing approvals gained outside of settlement boundaries. Shropshire Council now demonstrates a five year housing land supply and as such housing development proposals must be consistent with their Local Plan. You can keep up to date with the housing supply situation in Shropshire using this link

In December 2015 Shropshire Council adopted its Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) Plan. Landowners were able to promote their land for inclusion within the plan during the preparation consultations and many of our clients achieved successful housing site allocations within the plan. The SAMDev Plan covers the period 2006-2026 so you might be forgiven for thinking that the policy situation is set firm for the foreseeable. This however is not the case.

Shropshire Council have recently committed to undertaking a partial review of the local plan. The purpose of this review is to update those elements of the plan that it considers necessary, and to ensure that the Council can respond flexibly to changing circumstances in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The review will include, but is not necessarily limited to, consideration of housing requirements (including objectively assessed need), employment land requirements, the distribution of development and a review of green belt boundaries, as part of the consideration of strategic options to deliver new development. The plan period for the partial review will likely be 2016 to 2036. You can keep up to date with the progress of the plan via the following link

The upcoming review will again provide landowners with sustainably sited land the opportunity to promote their land for development. Over the coming months we will be working hard for our clients promoting their land for development and inclusion within the SAMDev Plan Review. Given this upcoming review now is most definitely the time for landowners with land in settlements allocated for housing development in the extant SAMDev Plan 2006-2026 to be submitting planning applications as there is no guarantee that all settlements will remain allocated for development following the plan review, this is particularly relevant to the smaller settlements currently allocated.

With changing policy comes changing chances of success for housing proposals and as such it is important that landowners and their agents keep their fingers on the pulse to provide best advice and to take advantage of windows of opportunity.