Conference Leeds 2016

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.
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 request the audio of the presentations from the conference, please send an email




Andrew Wood, Campaign to Protect Rural England



Andrew is a planning and sustainability consultant. He trained in architecture and planning before specialising in sustainability and environmental policy. Starting out at CPRE in 1999, he went on to manage the Yorkshire & Humber Environment Forum, a network of over 200 individuals from 20 environmental organisations, and was heavily involved in influencing Regional Spatial Strategies and Regional Economic Strategies. Self-employed since 2008, he has undertaken research and policy analysis for several public and voluntary sector clients, and managed the UK element of an EU project developing biodiversity training for planners.

In 2012 Andrew returned to his CPRE roots and now provides planning consultancy for their branches in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire. This includes working on up to 14 Local Plans, influencing major planning applications, as well as running training workshops for local communities and contributing to CPRE national perspectives on English devolution, high-speed rail and housing supply.


The UK has a housing shortage, and we must work together to solve it. 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 housing shortage can’t really be tackled without a strong, plan-led planning system, and without a focus on quality and affordability. By contrast, the government has catastrophically weakened the planning system and provided very little incentive for good, instead of mediocre, development. By allowing volume housebuilders to dominate the agenda and monopolise land supply, they have also put edge-of-town, Greenfield sites under unnecessary threat without addressing the underlying problems. Green Belt is one of the last policy tools that local authorities have to control the pattern of development, but that too is under threat. I argue that Green Belt is not threatened by the need for housing, but by a combination of arbitrary number-crunching, flawed methodologies and destructive competition between neighbouring districts that should be co-operating with each other. The new Combined Authorities have the potential to fix these problems, but there’s also a risk of them making matters worse. Neighbourhood Plans could be a big help, but they need strengthening. So we need to be working together to put forward strong ideas and to help re-invent the planning system.

My talk will explore some of these issues and illustrate them with examples from my work with CPRE.


Jenny Unsworth, CoVoP



Jenny Unsworth is vice-chairman of Protect Congleton -Civic Society and leads the housing group on Congleton’s Neighbourhood Plan. She has worked in the Civil Service but has also spent many years involved in community and voluntary activities as disparate as twinning schemes, building a community sports hall, and cross-sector initiatives such as the Community Compact. She has been a school governor and is a dedicated volunteer in a National Trust property in her area. Brought up in the Peak District, and having lived for many years in Cheshire, she is passionate about preservation and conservation of the countryside, and national heritage, and believes firmly that communities should be at the heart of the planning system.


Like many communities ac cross England, especially those in rural areas, our Local Authority (LA) does not yet have a Development Plan in place despite spending thousands of pounds and man hours on the project. We find ourselves in a position where many planning decisions are made through the appeal process or because of the threat of it: we have lost faith in the planning system.

Whilst the NPPF was intended to simplify the planning system and places great emphasis on the need for a development plan, it also provides for and encourages an alternative system that under-mines the principle of plan-led growth and through this is effectively reducing the long-term sustainability of our communities.

In addition, this systematic erosion of the principles that originally underpinned our national planning system has failed to provide the housing it was meant to supply and at the same time alienated those communities who understand the implications of this free-for-all.

I will argue that evidence at both local and national level supports my argument and justifies the view that the NPPF is a seriously under-performing system that needs urgent, meaningful and effective reform. Only by working together can we hope to bring this about.


Julie Mabberley, Chairman of CoVoP



Julie Mabberley is Managing Director of Global FS Ltd. She is an Accountant and Management Consultant working in the Financial Services Industry. She is also Chairman of CoVoP, Campaign Manager of the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group and Chairman of the Wantage Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. Her interest in planning issues dates back to the effects of the 2008 Banking Crisis and the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012.


Since the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework and the requirement to produce Strategic Housing Market Assessments which define the objectively assessed need for housing, there have been many campaign groups arguing that the targets produced are based on very shaky ground.

In this talk I aim to explain what the policy and associated guidelines actually require and how the rules are being applied in practice with the help of examples from around the country.

I will focus on the impact of employment forecasts and the difference between the Objectively Assessed need and the Housing Target, with particular reference to the Duty to Co-operate and the need for sustainability.


Dr Quintin Bradley, Senior Lecturer in Hosuing and Planning, Leeds Beckett University



Dr Quintin Bradley is a Senior Lecturer in Planning and Housing at Leeds Beckett University, and leads post-graduate study in planning, housing and regeneration at the School of Built Environment & Engineering. He leads research in the fields of community planning, housing studies, and social policy. His latest book on neighbourhood planning will be published by Policy Press in January next year and a previous book on the tenants’ movement was published by Routledge in 2015. His research has been published extensively in peer reviewed international journals. As a practitioner he has extensive experience in community involvement and has worked for resident-led organisations, as well as local housing authorities and housing associations. He is active in campaigns and social movements and has a background as an investigative journalist.


Structural problems in the land and housing markets contribute to the acute shortage of affordable homes in this country. This means that building more homes by itself will not solve the crisis. This presentation identifies injustices in housing distribution, inequities in the land market, and failures in the house-building industry as key causes of our housing problems. It points to the solutions to these problems devised by local communities in neighbourhood plans, and discusses what change is needed in a housing market dominated by speculation and hoarding.


Dr Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy, Town and Country Planning Association



Dr. Hugh Ellis is Head of Policy at the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). He is responsible for leading the Association’s efforts to shape and advocate planning policies that put social justice and the environment at the heart of the planning debate. Hugh was closely involved in the passage of the 2004 and 2008 Planning Acts, including providing evidence to select committees and working closely with parliamentarians on both the Commons and Lords committee stages of both Bills. He has delivered parliamentary briefings on the Localism Bill and the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, and provided evidence to the CLG and Environment Audit Select Committees on the National Planning Policy Framework.


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