Community Voice on Planning National Conference
NIMBY – reality or slur?

The National Conference took place in Leeds in October and attracted many delegates from Yorshire and Cheshire as well as those from further south as far away as Devon.
Speakers included representatives from the Campaign for Protection of Rural England (CPRE) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Paula Sherriff and Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney joined Parliamentary colleague Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) to answer questions on community involvement in the planning process.
To answer the headline NIMBY – reality or slur?
There are people who just don’t want anything built near them; we don’t represent those people, we want to see the sustainable development in the right places. Most communities aren’t anti-development – they’re anti-bad development, and rightly so.
The main cause of NIMBYism is bad development in the wrong place, so if we want to reduce NIMBYism we need to start building the houses people need and want to live in, in sustainable places. That means building the right types of homes in the right places, and they must be affordable to the people who need them. The government is failing to do this, and in fact most of its housing initiatives are boosting the demand without addressing supply.
The total Objectively Assessed Need across the country comes to much more than the 200,000 homes per year advocated by the government and targets should be realistic not aspirational if 5 year land supply figures can be achieved and development planned effectively.
To hear the presentations from the conference, please go to http://covop.org/conference/

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Sajid Javid replaces Clark as Communities Secretary and Gavin Barwell takes over from Lewis as planning and housing minister in the new Cabinet and ministerial team

New PM Teresa May has announced her first Cabinet and ministerial team which means the new Communities Secretary is former Business Secretary Sajid Javid while Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell, has become planning and housing minister as well taking responsibility for issues in the capital.During oral questions to Communities and Local Government ministers in the Commons recently Barwell said the administration was “still committed to building a million new homes.”

He added: “Across this House, I hope, there is a consensus that we need to increase the level of house building. We are looking at a mixed programme, including investment in affordable and intermediate rent, as well as shared ownership and helping people to own their homes.”

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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…/

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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:

  1. broadening the definition of affordable housing, to expand the range of low cost housing opportunities for those aspiring to own their new home
  2. increasing residential density around commuter hubs, to make more efficient use of land in suitable locations
  3. supporting sustainable new settlements, development on brownfield land and small sites, and delivery of housing allocated in plans
  4. supporting delivery of starter homes.

They are now analysing all the feedback and latest updates are available here.
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The Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16 is now law.

For details see here.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Please see our Ode to John Betjeman
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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)?

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