Following lobbying by the Community Land Trust Network, the latest revision of the National Planning Policy Framework, published in December 2023, includes a new ‘community-led exception site’ policy.
This gives Community Land Trusts (CLTs) a new route to obtaining planning permission on sites not allocated for housing.
Specifically, Paragraph 73 of the NPPF calls for local authorities to be supportive of exception sites for community-led development on land that is otherwise unsuitable for rural exception sites, as long as it includes an element of affordable housing and is adjacent, and relates to, existing settlements.
The NPPF also qualifies that such sites should be one hectare or smaller in size or not exceed 5% of
the size of the existing settlement. It also includes a new definition of ‘community-led development’ to give councils more confidence in supporting local policy for CLTs.
The CLT Network welcomes the reference, a significant ask in its three-point campaign for growth, that includes:
- Amending the National Planning Policy Framework
- Extending the Neighbourhood Share of the Infrastructure Levy to unparished areas
- Reinstating the Community Housing Fund or reform the Affordable Homes Programme
The new NPPF also requires local policy and planners to be generally supportive of rural community-led development when it meets local needs, as well as a requirement for councils to seek opportunities for small sites to support community-led development and custom and self build (Paragraph 70 (b)).
The CLT Network is also lobbying for an exemption for community land trusts from leasehold reform, as leases remain a core feature of the model. The latest update is that Housing Minister Lee Rowley has tabled amendments to the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill support this.