Local planning authorities must determine planning applications in accordance with the statutory Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Government national statements of planning policy, such as the policies on housing set out in Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3), are capable of being material considerations to be taken into account by local planning authorities.
PPS3 has strengthened the ability that local planning authorities have always had to turn down applications for inappropriate housing development in back gardens. In particular, local authorities could put in place local policies that place restrictions on development on residential brownfield land and set separate targets for different kinds of brownfield land, for example, promoting development on industrial sites. Local planning authorities could also develop their own design policies that set out the quality of development that will be expected in their local area, so that local authorities should feel able to reject proposals which are inappropriate in their context, or which fail to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions.
Local planning authorities should make decisions on planning applications having robust and appropriate policies up front in plans, working with their local communities.