John Howell MP (parliamentary private secretary to Greg Clark) has just spoken at a Savills seminar on the NPPF. He has made it clear that the NPPF is not intended to alter the plan led system. This follows the points made by Greg Clark at the recent debate with the National Trust. Development in accordance with an up to date plan will be taken to be sustainable and, as such, the main debate over what amounts to 'sustainable development' is likely to be at local plan stage.

In answer to concerns over what impact the NPPF's approach on viability will have on affordable housing, Mr Howell stated that the government will shortly be publishing its 'housing strategy'.  We'll keep our eye out for that.

A question was also put to Mr Howell about whether the government still intends to allow planning authorities to set their own planning fees (which we believe developers would generally welcome, if they got the service they pay for). Mr Howell made no response other than to say that any planning fee structure must demonstrate value for money. So, we still must wait and see on that one too.