Proposals to speed up and simplify the process of making Local Plans were presented to ministers on 16 March 2016 and are now open for representations.
The Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) was established by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark MP and the Minister of Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP, in September 2015, to consider how local plan making can be made more efficient and effective. They published their report recently.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is inviting comments on the recommendations by 27 April 2016. We are concerned that this is yet another manifesto written by developers and property investors and does not reflect the needs and desires of the residents of our green and pleasant land.
Responses can be sent via https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WRN6HHV and representations can also be sent to LocalPlansExpertGroupReport@communities.gsi.gov.uk
+ + + +
A significant judgement by the Court of Appeal in relation to two cases, one in Suffolk and one in Cheshire East, has implications for applications in the Green Belt.
Does this decision open the door for housing applications in the Green Belt development?
Not entirely. What it does confirm, however, is that when determining a housing application in an area where there isn’t a five-year housing supply, there is a need to balance the benefits of a proposal against the impacts even if the site is currently protected. This does not mean the site’s current designation/protection should be disregarded. Indeed, the weight to be attached to the policies is still down to the decision maker and their accordance with the NPPF and, in most instances, Green Belt policies in Local Plans are generally consistent with the NPPF.
– See more at: https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/…/comment-what-court-of-a…/
+ + + +
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) consultation on proposed changes to the NPPF.
This Consultation is mainly around changes arising from elements of the Housing and Planning Bill. It is seeking views on some specific changes to National Planning Policy in the following areas:
- broadening the definition of affordable housing, to expand the range of low cost housing opportunities for those aspiring to own their new home
- increasing residential density around commuter hubs, to make more efficient use of land in suitable locations
- supporting sustainable new settlements, development on brownfield land and small sites, and delivery of housing allocated in plans
- supporting delivery of starter homes.
They are now analysing all the feedback and latest updates are available here.
+ + + +
The Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16 is working its way through the House of Lords.
+ + + +
The Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry on DCLG’s consultation on National Planning Policy
+ + + +
CLG Committee is a select committee of Parliament, and they monitor the policy, administration and spending of DCLG and its associated bodies. The inquiry into the timing and content of the Department’s consultation is now producing its report. For the latest update see here
+ + + +
The Inquiry into the Economics of the UK Housing Market is still taking oral evidence.
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into the economics of the UK housing market is investigating the supply and affordability of housing across the housing market and reviews the effectiveness of the Government’s policies to provide low cost housing to rent and to buy. More details are available here.
+ + + +
We are concerned about what is happening in Hook Norton, in Oxfordshire.
The Cherwell District Local Plan has been approved, as has the Hook Norton Neighbourhood Plan and they have the required 5 year land supply but this hasn’t stopped the Secretary of State from overruling both plans and approving a development of 54 homes in the Village.
The Villagers have started a petition to get the Cherwell Council to challenge the decision in the High Court, so please add your name to it and ask members of your group to do the same. I know there are a lot of petitions around but this judgement could mean a lot to planning law in the future.
Hook Norton Petition
+ + + +
Given the housing bill currently making it’s way through Parliament we felt it was time for a reminder about the Glasgow Report on housing provision. It explains how developers manage their land supplies to maximise their profits and manipulate the system. If the Government has read this, then they are complicit, if they have not read it, then they are fools.
+ + + +
Some of our groups are finding that environmental issues can help gain traction in a planning campaign and we would like to draw your attention to http://elflaw.org This is the Environmental Law Foundation and is a charity which provides free information and advice on environmental issues to individuals and communities via their in-house and university based law clinics, and via their network of specialist environmental lawyers and technical experts.
+ + + +
CoVoP workshop on the Planning System & Local Communities, Environment & Sustainability through Community Eyes
The workshop took place on Saturday 10 October 2015 near Exeter and was a resounding success, we are now looking for other venues in other parts of the country.
+ + + +
“Listen to the People’s Voice on Planning”
Thank you for supporting our DAY OF ACTION on 12 APRIL. The weather was against us in some parts of the country but most venues had a strong turnout – see here
+ + + +
See other News stories
+ + + +
NPPF fails to protect against unsustainable development, reports CLG committee –
The report is out. The CLG committee said “while the NPPF had “brought a welcome simplification and consolidation of planning policy” on its introduction in 2012 and would require “several years to ‘bed in’ fully”, there were significant concerns about the framework’s operation.” The committee found that it would be “ill-advised at such an early stage to consider tearing up the document and starting again”, but suggested several changes to the NPPF and to the way it was applied.
- It called for the environmental and social aspects of development proposals to be given the same weight as economic aspects; permission to be granted for development only if the necessary supporting infrastructure was included; and increased emphasis on protection of the natural environment in the planning process.
- They recommend that the Government amend the NPPF to make clear that all sites with planning permission should be counted towards the five year supply of housing land. Taking this approach would stop speculative developers challenging the validity of the five year supply on the grounds of viability or because sites with permission would take longer than five years to build out.
- They expressed concern about the widespread unease surrounding the results of SHMAs. Communities need to have confidence that the figures on which their local plans are based are accurate. They propose that Government should work with local government and the house building industry to revise its guidance on strategic housing market assessments and produce an agreed methodology. Inspectors should then be required to test SHMAs against this methodology.
- They agreed with the government that brownfield land should be used for housing development, but it was “not convinced the chancellor’s local development orders policy will do enough to stimulate activity”. It, therefore, recommended that a remediation fund be established to make brownfield sites suitable for development.
- They were critical of the government’s approach to the protection of town centres and call for an end to permitted development rights which allow buildings in other uses to be redeveloped into homes without planning permission. The committee’s chair, Clive Betts MP, said in a statement that permitted development “is too random and is hollowing out the commercial heart of our town centres”.
- The inquiry found that developers were taking advantage of an absence of local plans and councils’ inability to demonstrate a five year supply of housing land to “seek planning permission in areas that local communities do not consider suitable for development”. They recommended that the government set a deadline for councils to adopt local plans and called for “clearer guidance about how housing need should be assessed”. It also called for councils to be encouraged to review their green belt boundaries and for the closure of a loophole allowing developers to challenge the inclusion of sites in local plans on viability grounds.
+ + + +
The Lyons Housing Review, which was commissioned by the Labour Party as part of its housing policy review, was finally published. It is a long document at 180 pages and can be seen in its entirety through the link below. For those who don’t wish to undertake a full read, the 39 Recommendations can be viewed in the final section at page 161.
The Review sets out how the Labour Party would attempt to increase the number of houses built every year, how many it believes should be built and the recommendations show how it believes this can be achieved.
+ + + +
An affliate is creating a new website which maps developments across England with details of the constituency in which they lie http://constituencydevelopments.org.uk Its purpose is to make the public and politicians aware visually of just how much development is going on across the country It also looks at the issues of the NPPF, press reports on what’s going on by county and the position of the political parties on the subject as the 2015 General Election approaches.
It is politically orientated and it exists to inform and influence – there are links to contact MPs and details of their political parties and majorities (2010).
If you would like your development sites added to the map simply go to the website and complete the form at the “Add to Our Map” page.
Once the map is fully up to date we can draw local and national politicians’ attention to the damage the NPPF is causing, mainly to green fields everywhere.
+ + + +
There is a move to consolidate Housing Standards
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has begun consulting on proposed changes to the existing housing standards regime. The changes will involve consolidating existing regulations into five covering: home security, space, accessibility, water efficiency and waste storage. This is a 8 week consultation which will close on 7th November 2014. You must respond through Survey Monkey. According to “SMOKING OUT RED HERRINGS: The cost of living debate“, a new report by the Institute of Economic Affairs, we have the lowest residential floor space per household in Western Europe.
Please see our Ode to John Betjeman
+ + + + +
Proud NIMBYS not BEGGERS
The acronym NIMBY was popularised by Nicholas Ridley, Secretary of State for the Environment in the late 80s, who turned out to be one of the first. Nowadays the term is exploited by politicians and developers as a means of dismissing local people who object to contentious developments on green spaces. But what if groups like The National Trust, Civic Voice, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the recently formed Community Voice on Planning, who together represent the views of many many millions of people across the country, object to the very same thing? Is the whole country now a “nimby” when so many are standing up for it? What about the BEGGERS (Build on Every Green Glade and Every Rural Space)?