Responding to the Planning magazine findings that having an up-to-date local plan appears to make little difference to how many of a council's decisions are overturned at appeal Stepehen Tapper, former President of POS and the Society's current Local & Neighbourhood Planning Subject Specialist, said that more research is needed to ascertain why appeal success rates are similar between councils with local plans and those without.
Tapper suggests that windfall sites outside a local plan can become available, prompting applications refused by a council but accepted by the secretary of state.
Tapper, currently advising East Herts DC which does not have an up-to-date plan, said he uses the NPPF, along with the recent NPPG, to assess major applications. tapper commented "It's been an effective set of policies to judge those applications. But the fundamental issue for councils is that, without an up-to-date local plan, you are much more vulnerable in terms of sites coming forward in a structured way."