The main thrust of changes to the NPPF seems to be to encourage the release of more land for housing, especially low-cost and social housing. These are some of the main changes in the new NPPF18:
Councils should now ensure at least 10 per cent of the sites allocated for housing in their local plans are 1.0ha or smaller (68a). This is great news for land owners who have smaller sites and developers who wish to only develop a small number of units, which don’t require as much financing and can be delivered much more quickly. (68a)
The new NPPF also includes direct support for the development of windfall sites (68c). These are defined as “sites not specifically identified in the development plan". This is a useful clarification given that so many developers are looking to make use of windfall sites.
New local authority planning policies and decisions should allow upward extensions to create new homes (118e).
There is a new a policy to make it easier to convert retail and employment land to housing where this would be a more effective use and proposes a policy for making more effective use of empty space above shops and in other situations where land and buildings could be used more effectively (121a).
The new NPPF seeks a significant uplift in prevailing densities, unless this would be inappropriate, it seeks to ensure that applications make effective use of land and maximise its potential (123a).
The full document can be downloaded at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-planning-policy-framework--2