Implications of the new NPPF for Development Management

27 Jul 2021

Planning and Environment

As stated at paragraph 218 of the new NPPF:


“The policies in this Framework are material considerations which should be taken into account in dealing with applications from the day of its publication.”


This accords with the principle of law that in general (subject to any transitional provisions) a newly promulgated policy applies to all applications pending at the time it is published (Odelola v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] UKHL 25). The new NPPF does not contain any transition provisions relating to extant applications.


Therefore planning officers and planning inspectors will need to apply the new NPPF policies even where an application has been designed with the 2019 NPPF in mind and where the application is addressed to the 2019 NPPF.


If there are any changes relevant to the application scheme then it would normally be appropriate as a matter of fairness for the applicant (or if the matter is at appeal the appellant and the council) to have an opportunity to comment on those changes.


Although the new NPPF does not contain any transitional provisions, like previous versions of the Framework it makes clear that “existing policies should not be considered out-of-date simply because they were adopted or made prior to the publication of this Framework” (paragraph 219). There will be a need to consider the substance existing policies against the provisions of the new NPPF to determine the degree of consistency (or otherwise).


Whilst the new NPPF applies to all extant applications, like its predecessors the new Framework is a material consideration which is capable of being departed from where there are cogent reasons for doing so. That an application scheme at an advanced stage was designed to meet the standards of the previous NPPF may in some circumstances provide a cogent reason for placing reduced weight on the provisions of the new NPPF.



Clare Parry