DCLG have issued updates to the NPPG aimed at ensuring that neighbourhood plans address housing need. The updates include that the National Planning Policy Framework is clear that "relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up to date if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply". It adds that this also applies to "policies in the statutory development plan documents which have been adopted or approved in relation to a local planning authority area. It also applies to policies in made neighbourhood plans".
Stephen Tapper, the POS local and neighbourhood planning subject specialist, told a Planning magazine reporter that many neighbourhood plans have been adopted in a context where a local authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites. "This makes it clear that it is still up for grabs," he said. "Developers could still be successful with proposals outside those neighbourhood plan policies."
Tapper suggested that some communities could respond by choosing not to address housing numbers and site allocations in their neighbourhood plans. "If you are a neighbourhood thinking about doing a neighbourhood plan in this context, you might say we'll leave housing alone," Tapper said. He added that some neighbourhood groups may feel that leaving these decisions to the local council would give them a chance to be "much more objective" about proposals for housing. "They might say we are better off politically opposing ... applications," he said.