Planning Policy Statement 3 was finally issued on the 29 November 2006, replacing PPG3 issued in 2000. It is to be read with the new Affordable Housing Policy Statement issued on the same day.

The overall objective is to provide a new national planning policy framework, for housing at local and regional levels, and some of the important changes include:

  • The exclusion of “low cost” market housing from the definition of “affordable housing”.
  • The introduction of a new national minimum site threshold level of 15 units (previously 25 units in the now cancelled Circular 6/98 for sites outside London) before affordable housing provisions are triggered (the minimum site area requirements are also revoked). LPA’s are now permitted to set their own housing density ranges (a guidance figure of 30 dwellings per hectare is used as an indicative national figure)
  • A continuous supply of land for housing for at least 15 years must be identified by the LPA, i.e. a rolling five year supply of sites that are immediately available with other sites being identified for years 6-15.
  • Windfall sites are to be excluded in most cases from the calculation of the first ten years housing land supply figures.
  • Sites need to achieve a “mix” of housing based on tenure, price and composition of the household eg single person/family households.
  • PPS3 retains the national annual target of 60% of new housing on previously developed land.

Many of the changes in PPS3 (which effectively comes into force on the 1 April 2007) will, it is hoped lead to an increase in housing delivery while at the same time allowing for a more managed approach to the release of land. LPA’s will also, of course, need to revisit their current Development Plan documents to ensure that these are consistent with the stated objectives in PPS3. To assist with this the Government proposes to issue separate guidance on strategic housing market and land availability assessments and we will issue a further update once this guidance is available.