The Government has today launched a test version of the online resource where all national planning practice guidance can be viewed and downloaded.

The database can be viewed at http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk (at the time of writing the link was not working).

National Planning Policy and Guidance

The launch of the website is the next step in the Government’s efforts to clarify and reduce planning policy and guidance following the National Planning Policy Framework in March 2012 and the Taylor Review in December 2012.

The full website is due to be launched in the autumn and existing guidance will not be cancelled until then. The stated aim is that only material on the government planning practice guidance website can be considered as government planning guidance. This should streamline guidance between different local authority areas but will also reduce flexibility and the ability to respond to local circumstances.

The launch is said to include new national practice guidance on a new affordability test to determine how many homes should be built; encouraging town centre car parking spaces and housing for older people; allowing planning appeal hearings to be filmed; discouraging any restrictions on people letting out their car parking spaces; and further guidance on neighbourhood planning and local green space designations.

More detailed guidance is expected shortly from the Government on other issues such as the retail sequential test, flood risk, housing standards, and waste amongst others and it is likely that any new guidance will be published on the website with bulletins of any changes.

The launch actively encourages feedback in order to improve the website during the first six weeks of the test stage.