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NPPF: More focus needed on brownfield and affordable homes, we say

19th December 2023

The government has published revisions to the long-awaited National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which sets out planning policies for England.

There’s much to welcome in the revised NPPF published today, but we don’t think it goes far enough to provide rural communities with affordable homes, nor does it sufficiently tackle the climate and nature crises.

Some positives, and some missed opportunities

Commenting on the revised NPPF published today, Roger Mortlock, CEO of CPRE, said:

We welcome the changes to policy on five-year land supply as current policies have done little or nothing to provide the genuinely affordable homes needed to tackle the housing crisis. Speculative development has wreaked havoc in our countryside, bypassed local democracy and led to unsustainable, unaffordable, car-dependent executive homes. It’s right to say that we can build the homes we need and protect the countryside and valuable farmland and nature around our cities at the same time.  

We need a brownfield-first policy with teeth, coupled with targets on social-rent homes to deliver genuinely affordable homes close to where people live, work and go to school. Our research shows that 1.2 million new homes could be built on brownfield land. We believe at least 60% of all new housing should be targeted on brownfield land and the government has missed the opportunity to set a meaningful target to deliver this. 

If we want the right development in the right place, we need to stop planning for land use in separate boxes and introduce an integrated, spatial framework that tackles climate change, nature’s recovery, housing, energy, roads and other infrastructure. The long-awaited Land Use Framework from Defra should be introduced and scaled across government departments. It makes no sense to build new homes in Cambridge for example, unless the issues around water stress are also addressed.’

Full response to come

We broadly welcome the more balanced National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) announced today – but check back soon for our full response.

View of new build houses on an affordbale housing site
Affordable housing is still lacking in rural areas CPRE and English Rural by Kerry Harrison


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