In relation to brownfield land, the NPPF, if amended to reflect the current consultation, will support the regeneration of previously developed brownfield sites in the Green Belt by allowing them to be developed in the same way as other brownfield land, providing this contributes to the delivery of starter homes, and subject to local consultation.
The current policy test in paragraph 89 of the NPPF prevents development of brownfield land in the Green Belt where there is any additional impact on the openness of the Green Belt. This, very loosely, might mean that if a former factory, for example, had 50,000m2 of buildings then it might be possible to argue that 50,000m2 of new homes would have no additional impact on the Green Belt. The proposed policy test would be that redevelopment may not be considered inappropriate development where any harm to openness is "not substantial", which might provide a basis for more than 50,000m2 of new homes in the example above. Given though that, as the consultation document itself states, only 0.1% of land in the Green Belt is previously developed brownfield land, this is hardly a fundamental change.
In relation to greenfield land, the NPPF, if amended to reflect the current consultation, will support the allocation in neighbourhood plans of starter homes on 'small-scale' sites in the Green Belt.
No, the significance of this policy reform is more likely to be the fact that the need for housing on greenfield sites, albeit small scale and locally-led, will be held to be of greater importance than a Green Belt designation. Maybe, just maybe, it is a step towards the Government accepting that the absence of a five year housing supply, or the need to accommodate full, objectively assessed housing needs, is of greater importance than a Green Belt designation. Such a move might legitimately be said to represent the biggest relaxation to planning protections for 30 years, but the current consultation really is not.