The Planning Inspectorate is now three times as likely to back local authority rejections of housing developments for poor design following last year’s revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

A University College London (UCL) study reveals a “sea change” since the NPPF was amended last July to allow refusals for housing schemes that are “not well designed”. Previous guidance called for only “poorly designed” schemes to be refused.

The study, published by the UCL-based Place Alliance and using appeals reported in The Planner magazine, compares decisions after the July 2021 revision to those before. Appealing Design reveals that the odds in favour of planning authorities winning cases on design grounds have shifted from just 5:7 against to 13:7 in favour, meaning that when previously there were more losses than wins for councils, and now there are close to two times more wins than losses.