Recent press articles of interest:

  • 4 March 2016 – Planning process needing overhaul – See the Leicester Mercury
    The NPPF strives at all costs to promote what it calls “sustainable development”, but with the emphasis on “development”, it sees this as a key engine for the growth it so desperately seeks. This has led to plans for vast developments in many parts of the country. The only way to deal with these sorts of things properly is a major overhaul of the current planning systems, much tighter and better resourced control and either a major overhaul or total abolition of the NPPF.
  • 3 March 2016 – London has over 36,000 brownfield sites, says report – See the article on
    According to the Estates Gazette’s analysis of the data the LLC has identified 39,589 brownfield sites in London. Of these sites, 93% are owned by local councils and the remainder are owned by public bodies, such as the NHS or Transport for London.
  • 2 March 2016 – NPPF changes due in the summer as Lewis defends temporary nature of starter homes discount – See the article on
    UK planning and housing minister Brandon Lewis has told the Communities and Local Government Committee that proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) are likely to be introduced “over the course of the summer”.
  • 2 March 2016 – UK construction industry output at 10-month low – See the Guardian
    The UK’s construction industry put in its worst performance for 10 months in February after the slowest rise in housebuilding since the summer of 2013. Concerns that the economy is slowing, difficulties in finding skilled staff and the prospect of Britain leaving the EU helped restrict activity across the sector last month.
  • 1 March 2016 – UK housebuilders ‘restricting the supply of new houses to keep prices unnecessarily high’– See the Independent
    Latest figures reveal that a record half a million homes in England now have planning permission granted but have yet to be built. The length of time it takes for developers to complete a house has jumped from 24 to 32 weeks.
  • 1 March 2016 – Most councils would not class starter homes as affordable, survey finds – See the Guardian
    Only 7% of local authorities in England say discounted starter homes will address need for affordable housing, TCPA poll reveals.
  • 22 February 2016 – The local people kicking up a storm against billion-pound developments – See the Guardian
    They are often kept in the dark and run their campaigns on a shoestring, but these activists are determined to hold big developers to account.
  • 20 February 2016 – What would George Orwell say to what the planners are doing to his village? – See the Telegraph
    The main street flooded with sewage – just one consequence of David Camerons wish to see hundreds of thousands of new homes built across southern England, many of them in villages like Sutton Courtenay with its 1,000 homes (and where George Orwell, rather appropriately it seems, is buried in the churchyard).
  • 19 February 2016 – Housing and Planning Bill consultation: 10 things you need to know – See the Article on Planning Resource
    Ten things you need to know about this week’s consultation on the Housing and Planning Bill, including further details on the government’s permission in principle plans, proposals to intervene in local plan making and a new section 106 dispute resolution mechanism.
  • 19 February 2016 – The desperate councils buying back homes they were forced to sell – See the Guardian
    Faced with dwindling housing stocks and growing waiting lists, councils are buying back properties sold under the damaging right-to-buy scheme.
  • 19 February 2016 – Peers in warning to Government over housebuilding policy – See the Daily Mail
    Looser planning laws aimed at increasing house building risk heaping “misery” on communities, a parliamentary committee has said. The Government will fail to meet targets to deliver 200,000 new homes a year if it relies on the private sector, according to peers.
  • 19 February 2016 – Lords urge more power for councils over viability – See the article on
    National planning policy should be re-written so viability assessments cannot be used to ‘compromise the ability of local authorities to meet housing need’, a report by a House of Lords committee has recommended.
  • 18 February 2016 – Technical consultation on implementation of planning changes – See the RTPI Briefing
    The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has today launched a wide ranging technical consultation on the implementation on planning changes in England and Wales.
  • 16 February 2016 – New planning guidance emphasises importance of housing evidence to neighbourhood planning – See the article on
    New paragraphs were added to the UK government’s National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) last week clarifying that, in areas with a neighbourhood plan in place but without a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, neighbourhood plan policies relating to housing should not be considered up-to-date.
  • 16 February 2016 – Peers, planners, house builders and council representatives demonstrate unease over starter homes proposals – See the article on
    Proposed UK government policies on the provision of starter homes at a temporary 20% discount from market value were criticised by representatives of the planning profession, councils and house builders at a meeting of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee last week.
  • 10 February 2016 – Right to buy puts 40% of ex-council homes in private rental – MPs’ report – See the Guardian
    Forcing councils to sell off homes and extending right to buy will further profit private landlords, Commons’ committee finds
  • 21 January 2016 – The UK doesn’t need more social housing – but we do need to build more homes – See the Telegraph
    We’ve got more social housing than anywhere in Europe – it just needs to be cheaper. Relaxing planning laws would be a step in the right direction.
  • 19 January 2016 – Britain’s first garden town: housing crisis solution or ‘dog’s breakfast’? – See the Guardian
    How the development of old market town Bicester turned ugly. The fate of beautiful, flower-rich Gavray Meadows on the southern edge of Bicester now hangs in the balance.
  • 16 January 2016 – Forever renters: when the home ownership dream fades – See the Telegraph
    An increasing number of people who are making the lifestyle choice to become tenants, rather than buy their own house.
  • 13 January 2016 – The Housing and Planning Bill reveals how little Tory MPs think of the public – See the Blog on
    While the nation’s eyes have been fixed firmly on the Junior Doctors Strike, the Tories have managed to pull-off a seismic coup de grâce under the radar – the “Housing and Planning Bill” has been passed, by 309 to 216.
  • 7 January 2016 – 475,000 homes with planning permission still waiting to be built – See the press release at Local Government Association
    Numbers continue to rise… In 2012/13, the total of unimplemented planning permissions was 381,390 and in 2013/14 it was 443,265.
  • 6 January 2016 – Developers can circumvent planning departments that take too long to clear approvals – See the Telegraph
    Planning minister Brandon Lewis said this would ‘test the benefits of introducing competition’ while local authorities will still make decisions on the applications
  • 5 January 2016 – A wholesale power grab: how the UK government is handing housing over to private developers – See the Guardian
    The new housing and planning bill is a raft of dangerous measures that will increase inequality and solely benefit the private sector.
  • 4 January 2016 – Thousands of new homes to be built by smaller builders – See the Telegraph
    The Government is to step in to help ensure that thousands of new homes are built after apparently running out of patience with the housebuilding industry.
  • 4 January 2016 – What will it take to build George Osborne’s 400,000 homes? – See the Guardian
    The chancellor has promised a major housebuilding programme, but Britain may not have enough bricks and bricklayers
  • 30 December – Revealed: housebuilders sitting on 600,000 plots of land – See the Guardian
    Britain’s biggest housebuilders possess enough land to create more than 600,000 new homes, an analysis by the Guardian has found, raising questions about whether they are doing enough to solve the housing crisis facing Britain.
  • 19 May 2014 – Is the deep-seated problem of housing supply really just about planning? – See the Blog on
    Does constraint on planning approvals restrict the supply of homes or does the demand for homes determine the level of planning approvals? Perhaps both work in tandem or parallel.
  • 17 December – Housing policy can’t be fixed until we treat houses as homes and not as stores of wealth – This Blog by Stewart Smyth on the LSE site
    argues that lack of access, not lack of housing itself, is a crucial problem. He further highlights how the issue runs deeper still; until we treat houses as homes, and not as stores of wealth, the contradictions in housing policy cannot be solved.
  • 8 December – New towns and villages to be imposed on rural communities that fight development – See the Telegraph
    New Whitehall consultation proposes a “housing delivery test” to rank how areas are delivering local homes. The Government will impose “new settlements” on councils they consider to be failing to build enough new housing.
  • 7 December – Thousands of new homes on Green Belt in biggest shake-up for 30 years – See the Telegraph
    Councils will be allowed ‘to allocate appropriate small-scale sites in the Green Belt specifically for starter homes’, which are designed for young families.
  • 1 December – Why are so many British homes empty? – See the BBC
    Hundreds of thousands of homes across the UK are unoccupied, despite widespread concern about a housing shortage. Why would someone own a property and leave it vacant?
  • 23 November – Here’s how developers wriggle out of building enough affordable housing – See the article from CityMetric
    Just as more affordable homes are needed, fewer and fewer are being provided by developers. In 2007-08, 1,560 homes were funded entirely through planning obligations. Since then the totals have significantly declined, and last year, only 300 new affordable homes were funded entirely without grant.
  • 21 November – Is it time to close the door to foreign buyers of British property? – See the Guardian
    A global super-rich elite, some of them criminal, are snapping up property in Britain, pushing up costs for all of us and throwing the poor to the edge of the cities.
  • 19 November – National Trust sounds the alarm over coastal development – See the Planning Portal
    Over the last decade 12,500 new homes and businesses have been built in coastal areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which are at risk of significant erosion or flooding, according to a report compiled for conservation charity National Trust (NT).
  • 19 November – Restore sanity to the residential housing market – See the article by the Bow Group
    The Bow Group (the United Kingdom’s oldest conservative think tank) has published a new report on the UK housing market, proposing radical restrictions on the foreign purchase of UK homes in order to restrain price inflation.
  • 17 November – Sussex Councils face “Mission Impossible” as developers stockpile thousands of unbuilt homes – See the article from CPRE Sussex
    Local councils struggling to meet government housing targets are caught in an impossible ‘catch 22’ under existing planning laws, warns CPRE Sussex.
  • 12 November – Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside – See the article from CPRE
    new research has found that housing assessments produced by local authorities (SHMAs) are inaccurate, inflated and unreliable. The housing figures produced by SHMAs are not being balanced with sensible planning for infrastructure, consideration of environmental constraints, and realistic assessments of what housebuilders will be able to deliver.
  • 12 November – Research identifies out-of-date employment land requirements – See the Planning Portal
    Much of the evidence base for employment land requirements in local development plans and used for planning determinations is out of date, research by consultancy Turley has shown.
  • 12 November – Smarter SHMAs: A Review of Objectively Assessed Need in England – See the article from CPRE
    This report by Housing Vision with Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design reviews the methodologies used to determine Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for housing and the problems caused by unclear and unhelpful guidance. It provides solid evidence and recommendations for the CPRE report “Set up to fail”.
  • 11 November – David Cameron hasn’t the faintest idea how deep his cuts go. This letter proves it – See the Guardian
    In leaked correspondence with the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire county council (which covers his own constituency), David Cameron expresses his horror at the cuts being made to local services. This is the point at which you realise that he has no conception of what he has done.
  • 10 November – Housing is the next target in David Cameron’s dismantling of the welfare state – See the Guardian
    For the many people who can’t afford to own a home, the new housing bill will have a devastating impact, as social rented properties are lost.
  • 5 November – How has England fared in building affordable homes for rent? – See the Guardian
    The government is to scrap section 106, which forced developers to build affordable homes – but it was already marred by missed targets and segregation.
  • 3 November – Inquiry into the economics of the UK housing market launches – See the Parliamentary briefing
    The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee launches a new inquiry into the economics of the UK housing market. The Committee investigates 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.
  • 1 November – The new housing and planning bill is a disaster for affordable homes – See the Guardian
    When the Commons debates the government’s new housing and planning bill tomorrow, people will start to see that the Tories’ housing plans are driven by the politics of the Conservative party, not by the housing needs of the country.
  • 11 October – Revive Britain’s railways to improve capacity – See the article by the Bow Group
    This new report, Reviving Britain’s Railways, sets out the potential benefits of these less expensive schemes, against major projects such as High Speed 2. Recommendations include evaluation of closed routes, and match-funding when private sector investment could help to revive lines which have been closed for years – reconnecting towns and villages across the country with the rail network.
  • 9 October – Living in a steel box: are shipping containers really the future of housing? – See the Guardian
    From London to Amsterdam to Mumbai, shipping containers have been celebrated as a cheap and easy way to provide pre-fab housing. But what is it like to live in one – and can they transcend pop-up status to be a permanent solution?
  • 8 October – Housing: Why David Cameron May Have Got it Wrong – See the Huffington Post
    At the moment my kids’ best chances of graduating from Gen Rent to Gen Buy are as a result of a major housing market crash – one that would damage my financial security considerably. And Cameron’s promises this week will do little to help the millions already looking for a way out of the expensive private rental sector.
  • 8 October – David Cameron’s starter homes will make life even harder for the poor – See the article at International Business Times
    Britain has a shortage of homes and, in particular, a shortage of affordable homes. This makes it extremely unfortunate that David Cameron’s flagship announcement on housing was to divert investment away from the little social housing that is being built and replace it with starter homes that ordinary families cannot afford.
  • 7 October – National Housing federation pleased that the Government has accepted their offer to independently deliver an extension to the Right to Buy – See the press release at National Housing Federation
    This is a better and more flexible Right to Buy for residents, for housing associations and the nation’s housing supply. Residents will get the opportunity to realise their dreams of homeownership and housing associations will be able to replace the homes sold, boosting the nation’s housing supply.
  • 7 October – Affordable housing: David Cameron’s starter homes plan is not the solution – See the Guardian
    A proposal to create ‘starter homes’ selling for 20% below market rate may be good news for developers, but is unlikely to make them build more houses
  • 11 March – Further evidence that building more houses is not enough to make them more affordable – See the article at Conservative Home
    Why are houses so expensive? Well, supply and demand, innit. Build more houses and the price comes down. Job done. Only it’s not that simple.
  • 1 October – England’s natural beauty areas at risk, says National Trust – See the Guardian
    Conservation organisation claims that local planners are not always applying law correctly in AONBs, citing example of solar farm in Dorset
  • 1 October – Almost 5,000 acres of green belt land lost in just one year – See the Daily Mail
    Almost 5,000 acres of green belt have been lost in the past year – despite David Cameron’s pledge to protect it. And thousands more acres of countryside are under threat because of covert reductions in the size of green belt.
  • 1 October – AONB protection policies ignored – See the article at Brownfield Briefing
    A new report has demonstrated how national policies to protect AONBs from inappropriate development are widely ignored.
  • 1 October – Why we must fight tooth and claw against social housing sell-off – See the Guardian
    In a sector already ravaged by right to buy, millions more homes may now be at risk of privatisation
  • 1 October – Government public land programme under fire from MPs – See the blog from the Planning Portal Director
    Backbench MPs have heavily criticised the Government over its high-profile public sector land disposal programme. The influential Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report which accuses the administration of failing to collect information on the actual number of houses built or under construction as a result of the programme.
  • 1 October – Why we’re voting against the social housing right-to-buy deal – See the Guardian
    Here at Red Kite community housing, we think the ballot to extend right to buy could be another bedroom tax moment in the making
  • 30 September – How did regeneration become a dirty word in Boris Johnson’s London? – See CityMetric
    In Boris Johnson’s London, argues Labour assembly member Nicky Gavron, regeneration is just a synonym for redevelopment. In the capital today, long-standing communities are being bulldozed to make way for luxury developments that most Londoners could never dream of affording.
  • 30 September – Deprivation in England and the impact on housing – See National Housing Federation
    The Index of Multiple Deprivation shows the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods have remained largely the same over the last five years
  • 25 September – Bank of England concerns over buy-to-let boom – See the BBC
    The growing buy-to-let property market in the UK could post a threat to wider financial stability, a Bank of England committee has said.
  • 25 September – Why Labour must become the party of home ownership – See the Guardian
    The number of people owning homes has plummeted. The left must surprise with a fresh strategy to attract low- and middle-income Britons.
  • 24 September – Government urged to treat major housing schemes as key infrastructure projects – See the blog from the Planning Portal Director
    Ministers should consult on bringing large-scale housing schemes within the Planning Act 2008 regime for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), a report commissioned by law firm Bond Dickinson and planning consultants Quod has urged.
  • 24 September – Housing targets is fantasy worthy of Carroll’s stories – See the Oxford Mail
    Take the agricultural industry, for example. In the Vale of the White Horse, the Government statistics show that in 2011 there were about 600 people working in agriculture. Cambridge Econometrics says that by 2031 there will be about 1,500 people working in agriculture. Even the National Farmers’ Union says that agricultural employment is actually declining.
  • 28 July – Five urban design mistakes that create unhealthy and inactive communities – See the Guardian
    Suburbia has long been plagued with bad architecture that discourages exercise, but similar mistakes are blighting neighbourhoods for city dwellers too
  • 16 July – Osborne unveils package of planning reforms – See the blog fro.m the Planning Portal Director
    The government has unveiled a further package of radical planning reforms as part of a wide-ranging Productivity Plan drawn up by the Treasury and Chancellor George Osborne.
  • 7 July – Planning inspector grants permission for residential scheme in Dorset AONB – See the summary at
    A planning inspector has decided that a residential scheme could be regarded as sustainable development despite its setting in countryside within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • 7 July – High Court dismisses challenge to refusal for 320-home greenfield scheme – See the summary at
    The High Court has found that a planning inspector did not make errors of law in his decision to dismiss an appeal that would have permitted a 320-home development on a greenfield site to the south of Stafford.
  • 1 July – State of our countryside: Land use map of the United Kingdom reveals large-scale changes in environment – See the research from Leicester University
    Over 7,000 hectares were converted from forest to artificial surfaces between 2006 and 2012, and over 14,000 hectares changed from agricultural areas to artificial surfaces. Over 1,000 hectares were converted from wetlands to artificial surfaces
  • 25 June – Revealed: how developers exploit flawed planning system to minimise affordable housing – See the Guardian
    The release of a ‘viability assessment’ for one of London’s most high-profile developments – seen exclusively by the Guardian – sheds new light on how developers are taking advantage of planning laws to ramp up their returns
  • 26 June – Britain’s newest property problem child – and it’s no longer London – See the Telegraph
    Rocketing house prices and not enough homes – welcome to the UK’s hottest housing market – Oxford
  • 23 June – Campaign group to challenge development in protected Kent area – See the article on
    The Kent branch of countryside campaign group the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Kent) will seek a judicial review of a local authority’s decision to grant planning permission for a major development in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • 16 June – Court of Appeal confirms green belt development does not require amendment to local plan – See the article on
    Development within the green belt can be permitted in “very special circumstances”, without green belt boundaries first being altered in a council’s local development plan, the Court of Appeal has confirmed.
  • 12 June – Pipe down? We aren’t shouting loudly enough about the housing crisis – See the Guardian
    Housing associations have been accused of scaremongering over the impact of further cuts, but the risks posed to our tenants are real
  • 7 June – When did houses stop being homes? – See the Guardian
    New-build buyers tweeting @myhousesucks; newspapers offering buy-to-let prizes; a nation of renters in expensive, shoddy accommodation. Our housing is in a state…
  • 1 May – A Planning Summary of the Manifestos – See the Planning Portal
    We are strictly non-party-political but this provides a balanced view…
  • 30 April – How much of the housing market is affordable? – See the Report from Shelter
    Shelter has carried out research which looks at how affordable homes on the open market are for three different types of households. Across England, only one in six properties are listed at an affordable price. In 35 areas, there were no affordable homes for families who need at least two bedrooms.
    While eventual sale prices will differ somewhat from advertised prices, the very low proportions of affordable listings found in our analysis reveals the stark housing marketplace faced by the average first-time buyer. For those struggling on even lower incomes, owning a home will seem little more than a dream.
  • 21 April – Landmark victory for residents in the battle against building sprawl – See the Times
    Gladman Developments has withdrawn its legal challenge against a “neighbourhood plan” drawn up by the residents of Winslow, in Buckinghamshire, who wanted to determine where new homes should be built in the town. The residents’ victory over Gladman is expected to encourage many other communities to fight proposals by developers by adopting their own neighbourhood plans.
  • 21 April – Future shape of planning policy uncertain ahead of UK general election, says expert – See the analysis by OutLaw
    The future shape of the country’s planning policy may still depend on which parties are involved in what is likely to be a coalition government following the 7 May election. Both the Green Party and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) released general election manifestos last week calling for the NPPF to be scrapped. However, planning expert Ben Arrowsmith of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said neither party was likely to have enough members of parliament following the general election to insist on such sweeping reforms. None of the three biggest parties, the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, has indicated an intention to dispense with the NPPF.
  • 9 April – Local plan progress ‘marginal’ claims report – See the analysis by Planning Portal
    Local plan progress over the last three years since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published has been “marginal”, according to an assessment by Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners. The consultancy pointed out that only a quarter of English local authorities have a NPPF-compliant up-to-date adopted plan. Around a fifth have a plan submitted and an examination underway or forthcoming. Some 62 plans have been found sound. But 21 have been withdrawn because of concerns over soundness while 32 per cent of adopted plans require an immediate or early review.
  • 6 April – New SUDS requirements Implemented – See the analysis by Specification Online
    Under the new arrangements, from mid-April ‘Lead Local Flood Authorities’ (at county or unitary level) will become statutory consultees on surface water management for planning applications. LPAs must satisfy themselves of minimum operational standards and ensure that maintenance is provided for the lifetime of the development using planning conditions or other obligations such as Section 106 agreements. SuDS designs must also be ‘economically proportionate’ in terms of operation and maintenance.
  • 14 April – Pickles dismisses 90% of housing applications ahead of election – See the analysis by Bilfinger GVA
    Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), has dismissed 18 out of 20 housing applications in the first months of 2015, according to the latest data collated by leading commercial property adviser Bilfinger GVA. The stark shift in the number of dismissed applications in 2015 has led to calls of party political bias as the Conservative Mr Pickles is accused of quashing applications in key marginal ahead of the election.
  • 14 April – Housing industry lacks confidence in NPPF, fears planning process threatens delivery of homes, survey finds – See the article at Out-Law
    94% of respondents were not optimistic that the UK’s demand for new homes could be met in the next two years. Only 29% of participants felt that the NPPF was helping to deliver new homes, with nearly 19% saying delivery was being inhibited by the Framework and 52% claiming it had made no difference.
  • 12 April – Planners tell politicians to stop obstructing new garden cities – See the Financial Times
    Some of Britain’s most prestigious urban planners and housing campaigners have called on politicians to stop blocking new garden cities which, they say, could help solve the housing shortage.
  • 7 April – Vital Cities not Garden Cities: the answer to the nation’s housing shortage? – See the report by the Future Spaces Foundation
    In its report, Vital Cities not Garden Cities: the answer to the nation’s housing shortage?, the FSF critically examines the Government’s policy of building new Garden Cities in response to the current housing crisis, suggesting instead that the focus should be on densifying existing settlements.
    “Before we even consider bulldozing greenfield sites we must explore every option possible to densify what we’ve already got. Dense, or vital cities, are efficient environmentally and economically and by incorporating smart design, can enable communities to thrive in a sustainable way.”
  • 31 March – Concerns raised over ‘draconian’ brownfield site proposals – See the Local Government Chronicle
    Proposals to make local planning authorities place local development orders on almost all brownfield land suitable for housing by 2020 have been described as “draconian”, “unnecessary”, and “contrary to the spirit of localism” by councils.
  • 27 March – Decisions should recognise the ‘intrinsic character and beauty’ of the countryside – See the letter from Brandon Lewis
    In a letter to Simon Ridley, sent recently, Mr Lewis writes that these cases are a reminder of “one of the 12 core principles at paragraph 17 of the National Planning Policy Framework – that plans and decisions should take into account the different roles and character of different areas, and recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside – to ensure that development is suitable for the local context”.
  • 26 March – Destruction of green belt land rockets despite David Cameron’s ‘lowest level for 25 years’ claim – See the Mirror
    The Prime Minister recently claimed that development on Green Belt was at its lowest rate for 25 years and declared that preserving it is “paramount”. But research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England has found that 219,000 houses are planned for Green Belt sites.
    This is 60,000 more than in 2013 and more than before the introduction three years ago of the Government’s flagship planning reform, the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • 26 March – Revised guidance on housing provision for elderly – See the Planning Portal
    Revised planning guidance requires Councils to ensure a wide range of different properties are built in their area to meet the diverse housing needs of people as they get older – including bungalows where they are needed.
  • 25 March – National planning policy to further support the provision of car parking spaces – See the announcement from Eric Pickles
    The following text now needs to be read alongside the National Planning Policy Framework: “Local planning authorities should only impose local parking standards for residential and non-residential development where there is clear and compelling justification that it is necessary to manage their local road network.”
  • 25 March – Action to protect the Green Belt may come… – See the announcement from Eric Pickles
    The statement says that the government “will be seeking to introduce a new evidence-based planning and recovery policy for the green belt early in the next Parliament to strengthen protection against unauthorised development”.
  • 19 March – Britain’s obsession with ownership has turned housing into a pyramid scheme – See the Guardian
    George Osborne’s budget offered a ‘lifeline’ for first-time buyers. But in the long term, the market is unsustainable.
  • 15 March – A defining and shameful legacy – See the West Sussex County Times
    Trustee of CPRE Sussex Roger Smith says “Contrary to misleading statements made variously by the Prime Minister David Cameron, and Ministers Eric Pickles , Nick Boles and the latter’s successor Brendan Lewis, it is developers, not communities, who have been empowered by the Government’s policies.”
  • 14 March – New powerful national community alliance calls for ‘new right of appeal on planning’ – See the the National Association of Local Councils
    A new powerful alliance of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Civic Voice has called on all political parties to make a firm manifesto commitment to introduce a “community right of appeal” into the planning system.
  • 10 March – BBC Radio 4 Costing the Earth – Listen to the Podcast
    The UK’s housing crisis is acute. We need to build but where? Many critics point to the ample green space which surrounds some of our most overcrowded cities and towns. How Green is the Green Belt?
  • 5 March – What the Government rejection of NPPF recommendations means – See the Estates Gazette
    Gary Halman, Managing Partner of Manchester based HOW Planning says “With an election only weeks away the Government’s response was never going to be ground breaking. At best, certainly in the area of Local Plans, it’s pretty anodyne and is unlikely to satisfy local communities, many of which have been feeling the underdog since the NPPF emerged. For developers there’s some clear messages that the system isn’t likely to be changed or even tinkered with, and its “steady as she goes” in terms of national policy. That might all change after May 7th of course.”
  • 3 March – Government rejects most recommendations of NPPF review – See the
    The UK government has rejected most of the recommendations made by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee following its inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
  • 23 February – High Court Decision supports the Secretary of State – See the High Court Decision
    To quote the Judge “There was, in my view, nothing legally wrong with the Secretary of State’s conclusion that although the policies for the supply of housing in the development plan were not up to date, and although this development would add to the supply of housing in the district, the proposal’s conflict with the neighbourhood plan was in itself a powerful and decisive factor against granting planning permission.” Also it was reasonable “for the Secretary of State to conclude that the “adverse impacts” of the appeal proposal, and especially its conflict with the Broughton Astley Neighbourhood Plan, would “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits in terms of increasing housing supply”. This was, in my view, a wholly unimpeachable planning judgment.”
  • 23 February – Gladman gives up in the Slad Valley – See the article in Coxwold Life
    See the article below from 2 February about planning in the Cotswolds, focusing in particular on the impact of land agents such as Gladman Developments on rural communities in the region. Now, local people in Stroud and Slad are celebrating a victory over the developers.
  • 19 February – The Secretary of State disagreed with the Inspector’s recommendation, dismisses the appeal and refused planning permission to Gladmans in Faringdon – See the letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government
    Though the benefits in this case are considerable, the Secretary of State concludes that the adverse impacts in regard to landscape and amenity, together, would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole. He concludes that there are no material considerations that indicate the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan.
  • 2 February – Planning in the Cotswolds: Deal or no deal? – See the article in Coxwold Life
    So here’s the pitch to struggling farmers from Gladman Developments: ‘Let us try to make you a few million pounds by getting planning permission on your land and you pay nothing unless we succeed – which we do nine times out of ten.’ So who’s going to say no to that? And it’s a loophole in our barmy planning laws that allow this to happen
  • 1 February – Property developers allowed to reduce affordable housing commitments – See the Telegraph
    Housing developers in the UK could gain hundreds of millions of pounds in windfall profits under a new policy that lets them reduce contributions to building affordable housing or even avoid paying altogether, a council has claimed.
  • 24 January – ROAR Rally, Saturday 24 January – See the ROAR website
    Join the ROAR Rally to say ‘NO to unsustainable development in Oxfordshire’! Rural Oxfordshire Action Rally (ROAR) is calling all action groups, parish councils and residents to join them as they present a united front opposed to the senseless concreting over of green fields surrounding our towns, villages and hamlets in the name of economic progress.
  • 19 January 2015 – Infrastructure Bill missing opportunity to put accessibility at the heart of place-making – See lifetime homes website
    The Public Bill Committee meeting on the Infrastructure Bill brought forward a proposed amendment which was tabled by Roberta Blackman Woods MP, and suggested inserting a clause stating that local development plans must include policies designed to secure inclusive design and accessibility for the maximum number of people. Following a short debate, the Committee voted against including the amendment by nine votes to six. TCPA and Habinteg have expressed disappointment.
  • 16 January 2015 – West Berkshire and Reading Councils Join Forces to Challenge Government Changes to Planning System – See the press release
    The Councils are challenging changes to the planning system that will restrict the use of section 106 agreements to developments of 10 dwellings and above in urban areas and five dwellings and above in rural areas. The guidance, introduced last year by Eric Pickles, was intended to stop small builders and developers being “hammered” by section 106 agreements. The councils, which are Labour and Tory controlled respectively, are claiming that the changes mean they would miss out on contributions for community improvements including highways and education and to provide affordable housing.
  • 16 January 2015 – Oxfordshire fires: Did planning row send local council headquarters up in smoke? – See the Independent
    An arson attack that has destroyed an Oxfordshire planning department may have been prompted by a row over a planning application, according to reports.
  • 15 January 2015 – Lewisham Council to meet their housing need with pop-up homes – See the press release
    The Council are investing £4.3m to provide ‘pop-up’ council housing that will sit temporarily on a vacant site of a former leisure centre which is awaiting development in the borough. They have applied for planning permission for the 24-home scheme which will be largely built off-site. The proposed development will be on-site for between 1-4 years, providing 24 homes for local people in housing need, as well as eight ground-floor non-residential units for community and/or business use.
  • 14 January 2015 – Persimmon: Election must not derail NPPF ‘momentum’ – See Construction News
    Group finance director Mike Kiloran said that the government’s National Planning Policy Framework had delivered “more land, in more locations” over the last two years and called for this “momentum to continue”.
  • 13 January 2015 – Nearly 70% of the public do not think that politicians care about affordable housing in rural areas. – See the CPRE press release
    The UK public have little faith in Westminster to deliver positive change for people living in rural communities, according to a YouGov survey published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and leading rural housing association Hastoe. Just 4% think that May’s general election will have a positive effect on people living in rural communities; almost half of the 2,110 respondents thought that the election would have no impact.
  • 5 January 2015 – Lewis launches plain speaking planning guide – See
    A ‘plain English’ guide to the planning system has been published by the Government in a bid to get more communities involved in the planning process.
  • 1 January 2015 – The developers must be made to show their sums – See the the Guardian view on affordable housing
    Hiding behind commercial confidentiality to keep viability assessments secret is a public betrayal
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