Deadline for examination of plans under the old NPPF – 24 or 25 January 2019?

This Thursday is 24 January 2019, a hotly anticipated date in the planning world because this is the date referred to in the revised National Planning Policy Framework (“NPPF”) as the date after which the policies in the revised NPPF will apply for the purposes of examining local plans. Paragraph 214 of the NPPF states that the policies in the old 2012 NPPF will continue to apply to the examination of plans submitted “on or before 24 January 2019“.

However, a technical consultation (‘Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance’) published by the government in October 2018 states at paragraph 20 that:

… The use of the standard method applies to plan-making for plans submitted on or after the 24 January 2019 [our emphasis]. Any period specified for using the 2014-based projections would use this as the start date.

Paragraph 21 of the technical consultation goes on to say that:

… there are approximately 50 plans that will be submitted for examination in 2019. Any of these plans that are submitted on or after the 25 January 2019 [our emphasis] will be required to use the standard method to inform strategic housing policy.

Our view is that the adopted NPPF must take precedence over a consultation document, even one published after the NPPF, and therefore it is clear that the policies in the old 2012 NPPF will continue to apply to the examination of plans submitted on 24 January 2019, notwithstanding the inconsistency in the dates referred to in the technical consultation. However, local authorities who want to be absolutely sure should submit their plans for examination before Thursday if possible, ie tomorrow. Continue reading