Planning Policy Considerations


Planning Authorities normally make decisions on planning applications on the basis of the relevant Local Plan.  However, because Darlington Borough Council was unable to demonstrate a five year supply of land to meet objectively assessed housing needs, the Darlington Local Plan policies relating to the supply of housing are now considered to be out of date.

This means that Darlington Borough Council's Planning Committee has to make decisions on planning applications for housing development on the basis of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

If you'd like to read the National Planning Policy Framework document, you can download a copy from the Government web site.

For people intending to comment on the planning application for 25 houses to the east of Middleton Road, here are some notes on the policies in the NPPF:-


Paragraph 14 of the NPPF states that "At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a goldenthread running through both plan-making and decision-taking."

It goes on to say that when planning applications are being determined on the basis of the National Planning Policy Framework, permission should be granted unless "any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole, or specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted."

Objections to a planning application should therefore seek to show that the adverse impacts of the development would outweight the benefits from the perspective of the policies in the NPPF and/or that the development would be contrary to one or more of the policies in the NPPF.

>> The core planning principles in the NPPF say that plans and development should:-
  • always seek to secure high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings
  • take account of the different roles and character of different areas ..... supporting thriving rural communities
  • support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate
  • contribute to conserving and enhancing the natural environment and reducing pollution
  • encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value
  • conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance, so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to the quality of life of this and future generations
  • actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development in locations which are or can be made sustainable
>> Paragraph 28 states that planning policies should "promote the retention and development of local services and community facilities in villages, such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship".
>> Paragraph 30 says that "encouragement should be given to solutions which support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion".
>> Paragraph 32 says that decisions on planning applications should take account of "whether opportunities for sustainable transport modes have been taken up" and "whether safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all people", but goes on to say that "development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe".
>> Paragraph 35 says that "developments should be located and designed where practical to
  • give priority to pedestrian and cycle movements, and have access to high quality public transport facilities
  • create safe and secure layouts which minimise conflicts between trafficand cyclists or pedestrians
  • incorporate facilities for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles"
>> Paragraph 55 says that "to promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities".
>> Paragraph 128 says that the applicant should be required to "describe the significance of any heritage assets affected. ..... The level of detail should be proportionate to the assets' importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal."
>> Paragraph 187 says "Local planning authorities should look for solutions rather than problems, and decision-takers at every level should seek to approve applications for sustainable development where possible.  Local planning authorities should work proactively with applicants to secure developments that improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area."
>> Paragraph 197 says "In assessing and determining development proposals, local planning authorities should apply the presumption in favour of sustainable development."

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