December has always been a popular time for public consultations, so it did not come as a particular surprise to many of us that the government's consultation on proposed changes to the NPPF opened in the run up to Christmas.
The timing does, however, appear to have raised a few eyebrows amongst the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, who have announced that they will be conducting a 'quick' inquiry into the consultation.
The inquiry will look at the proposed changes to the NPPF, which include amendments to the definition of affordable housing and the introduction of a 'delivery test' to see councils are meeting their locally set housing targets.
It will also, however, consider the timing of the consultation - which runs over Christmas - and it's relatively short duration.
The Select Committee has expressed concerns that the timing and duration of the consultation will limit the ability of interested parties to respond. A criticism which suggests that DCLG may end up on the Committee's naughty list this year.
Betts said the probe would examine not only the details of ministers’ planned changes to the NPPF .. but also .. why the government had chosen to consult on the proposals over Christmas... "The government’s consultation represents the first changes to the NPPF," "As a committee, we want to examine the proposed changes to the green belt, the definition of affordable housing, and the impact on local decision-making from proposed measures such as the housing delivery test. Decisions about local development should be taken at local level – this short inquiry will be examining whether the government’s proposals damage this principle. "We also want to explore why the government’s deadline for replies to the consultation is so short, leaving us little time for our inquiry, and potentially insufficient time for many interested parties to reply..."