Localism and National Planning Policy Framework

The Government has been working to make the planning system simpler to understand and more responsive to development opportunities, rather than potentially acting as a barrier.

This page highlights some of these key changes that have taken place to the planning system and provides links to other websites where you can find out more information on particular issues. The topics covered on this webpage include:

The Localism Act

The Localism Act aims to take power from central government and hands it back to local authorities and communities - giving people at the local level freedom and flexibility to achieve their own ambitions for their areas.

The Localism Bill was given Royal Assent on 15th November 2011. From this date it became a formal Act – the Localism Act.

In summary, the Localism Act seeks to:

  • Give new freedoms and flexibilities to local government 
  • Give new rights and powers for local communities and individuals 
  • Reform the planning system to make it clearer, more democratic and more effective 
  • Make reforms to ensure that decisions about housing are taken locally

The Localism Act is being taken forward through detailed Regulations and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which put in place the detailed guidance and procedures in support of these changes within the planning system, such as the Duty to Cooperate and Neighbourhood Planning. Some of these changes are covered in the NPPF section below.

You can view The Localism Act here. A plain English guide to the Localism Act can be found on the Communities and Local Government website (PDF).

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The Government published the National Planning Policy Framework or ‘NPPF’ on 27th March 2012. This is a key part of Government reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, to protect the environment and to promote sustainable growth.

The NPPF replaces previous national guidance contained in 44 separate Planning Policy Guidance (PPG’s) and Planning Policy Statements (PPS’s). The supporting good practice guidance is still in place but is being reviewed by government

Aim of the NPPF:

At the heart of the new NPPF is the key phrase 'presumption in favour of sustainable development'. This means that development should not be prevented, provided that it is sustainable and does not affect vital local environmental protections.

The Government believes that sustainable development can play three critical roles in England:

  1. An economic role – in contributing to a strong, responsive, competitive economy; 
  2. A social role – in supporting vibrant and healthy communities; and 
  3. An environmental role - protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment.

PPF - 12 Core Planning Principles:

  1. Plan led – empowering local communities 
  2. Creatively find ways to enhance and improve places where people live 
  3. Support economic development - objectively identify and meet development needs 
  4. Secure high quality design 
  5. Promote vitality of urban areas, protect greenbelt, recognise special character and beauty of country side and support thriving rural communities. 
  6. Support the transition to a low-carbon future 
  7. Conserve and enhance the natural environment 
  8. Encourage the re-use of previously developed land 
  9. Promote mixed use developments 
  10. Conserve heritage assets "in a manner appropriate to their significance
  11. Manage patterns of growth to make full use of public transport, walking and cycling 
  12. Take account of local strategies to improve health, social, and cultural well being.

The NPPF makes clear that the need for local authorities to have in place up to date development plans for their district. Development plans are now known as a ‘Local Plan’ which will from now on be the term used to describe the family of documents previously called the Local Development Framework (LDF).

NPPF - Bradford’s Replacement Unitary Development Plan (RUDP)

Since the RUDP was adopted in 2005, there have been many changes in planning policy. Until the Local Plan (formerly known as the LDF) Core Strategy and other development plan documents are adopted the RUDP remains as the statutory development plan for the Bradford District.

The National Planning Policy Framework (2012) is now a material consideration in the determination of all planning applications.

NPPF - The Local Plan and Core Strategy

In terms of the Local Plan (formally known as the LDF), and in particular the Core Strategy, the Council must take account of the NPPF in the plans that it is preparing to ensure that they are in accordance with national planning policies. The next stage of the Core Strategy, the Publication Draft, will take account of these changes.

Useful Links:

  • The National Planning Policy Framework can be downloaded from the GOV.UK website.

Further information

If you would like further information about any of these changes or would like to get in touch, please email planning.policy@bradford.gov.uk

Page last updated: July 2013