Old News

Older press articles of interest:

  • Dec 2014 – NPPF School Report: 48% – Could do much better – See the Blog by Alister Scott
    The NPPF can do much better and needs to improve the cooperation across local planning authorities on all matters; not just those dealing with housing and employment land.
  • 28 December 2014 – Top 10 housebuilders to rake in £2.1bn in 2014 – See the Guardian
    Collective pretax profits up 34% on last year while number of affordable homes built in England falls to eight-year low
  • 20 December – This housing free-for-all is scarring our most precious countryside – See the Telegraph
    The Coalition’s planning reforms have permitted grotesquely inappropriate development to flourish.
  • 16 December – NPPF fails to protect against unsustainable development, reports CLG committee – See the Article on Outlaw.com
    The communities and local government (CLG) committee has published the results of its inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), warning that the framework “needs to do more to protect against unsustainable development in England”.
  • 15 December – Villagers ‘under siege’ from aggressive developers after planning reforms, say MPs – See the Telegraph
    Towns and villages are caught in a “battleground between developers and local authorities” over “speculative” developments in the wake of controversial planning reforms, MPs say.
  • 13 December – ‘Lasting harm’ warning over Harwell homes – See the Oxford Mail
    Building 1,400 homes at Harwell would cause “long-lasting harm” to an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB), custodians have warned. North Wessex Downs AONB made the warning in a letter to the leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, Matt Barber.
  • 13 December – ‘Streetwise’ builders fighting planning protections to build in two thirds of rural areas, says National Trust – See the Telegraph
    16 out of 27 local authorities in the National Trust’s survey had seen their local plans, which set out where building can and cannot take place, challenged by house-builders.
  • 8 December – Great Western Park residents angry over lack of facilities – See the BBC
    Residents of a 3,300-home development in Oxfordshire claim they have been “cut off” after promised community facilities did not materialise.
  • 6 December – Scrapping affordable housing requirements a ‘huge blow’ to rural villages – See the Western Daily Press
    Villages in rural areas will be especially hard hit by rules abandoning requirements for affordable homes in housing developments, it has been claimed.
  • 2 December – Bicester announced as new garden city – See the Telegraph
    A garden city in the Home Counties to provide thousands of houses for young families is to be announced in the Autumn Statement. Plans for a new settlement in Bicester, Oxfordshire, containing up to 13,000 homes, will be funded with nearly £100?million of public spending and loans.
  • 1 December – Social housing in crisis as right-to-buy depletes stock – See the Independent
    A flagship housing scheme which allows tenants to buy their council house at a discount is eroding Britain’s stock of affordable housing – with only one home being built for every four sold off.
  • 1 December – Cutting clutter is common sense – See the Civic Voice
    A powerful coalition of civic, transport and heritage bodies have today launched updated guidance by calling on the Government to consider conducting research into the safety impact of cutting street clutter in our towns, cities and villages.
  • 1 December – £15 billion ‘Road investment strategy’ will increase the capacity and improve the condition of England’s roads – See the Government statement
    The government is investing in over 100 new road schemes over this parliament and next, 84 of which are brand new today.
    This major reform will add over 1,300 extra lane miles on motorways and trunk roads and fix some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas on the strategic road network. These plans are published today in the first ever ‘Road investment strategy’, which has been developed to keep the population connected and the economy growing.
  • 29 November – Why even an old ruin can be so elevating for the human spirit – See the Observer
    Cooke says “good and lovely buildings gladden the heart; their aesthetic pleasures make people feel substantively better. More than that, they provide a healthy sense of perspective. By connecting us subtly to the past, they somehow lighten the load of the present. And which of us doesn’t sometimes desperately need that?”.
  • 29 November – Young Londoners flee capital for the regions – See the Guardian
    Ambitious thirty somethings are leaving London in droves. Record numbers are turning their backs on the capital and flocking to England’s regional cities, according to an analysis of official data that suggests a significant exodus from London is under way.
  • 28 November – Changes to housing policy announced by the Government will have a devastating effect on affordable homes for rural families, says ACRE – See the ACRE Press release
    Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)’s Head of Rural Insight Nick Chase said: “This decision by the Housing Minister will have a devastating effect on affordable housing for rural communities up and down the country.
    “Despite warnings from housing associations and other rural organisations, the Minister has gone ahead with a policy change that could reduce the number of rural affordable housing on small sites to nil over the coming years.
    “This decision takes power away from local communities who should have the right to say what type of housing they want in their area. This is a real slap in the face for hard-working families on low incomes. They will now find it almost impossible to afford a house in their community and may be forced to move if rents continue to rise.”
  • 28 November – “Section 106” charges should not be sought from sites of 10 homes or fewer” says Pickles – See the DCLG Press release
    “Section 106” charges should not be sought from the smallest housebuilders – specifically on sites of 10 homes or fewer, including self-build, extensions and annexes. Mr Pickles also confirmed that in very rural areas, sites of 5 homes or fewer should not face the charge.
  • 25 November 2014 – Build one million homes on brownfield sites to ‘save countryside’ say the Campaign to Protect Rural England – See the Daily Mail
    Building on disused industrial sites and empty housing plots could dramatically ease pressure on the countryside, a study has found. There is space for more than one million homes on derelict land, vacant plots and disused ground, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. And 400,000 of them would be able to be built without delay, because the sites already have planning permission.
  • 24 November – England has space for at least 1 million homes on brownfield land – See the article at CPRE
    Amidst new political focus on the potential of brownfield land, a report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published today shows that local authorities have identified the capacity for at least 1 million new homes on suitable brownfield land in England. The report also makes a series of recommendations that would make brownfield land more attractive to developers and encourage local authorities to do more to identify suitable sites.
  • 19 November – No-win, no-fee lawyers ruining our countryside: They bankroll farmers seeking permission to build on their fields – See the Daily Mail
    Speculators are offering ‘no-win, no-fee’ deals as they try to exploit a planning loophole to win permission to build houses on open fields. In a damning indictment of the Government’s relaxed planning laws, one successful land agent is now so confident it can bulldoze past local objections that it does not charge farmers an upfront fee for its services. A Daily Mail investigation has revealed that Gladman Developments, a ‘strategic land promoter’, offers them the chance to increase the value of their land by a multiple of 50 or 60 by transforming agricultural land into development sites.
  • 19 November – Parliamentary Debate on the 5 Year Housing Targets – See the Love Goostrey summary of Hansard
    The MP “requested this debate specifically about housing land supply and local authorities’ difficulties in seeking to uphold robust and well-considered planning policies in the face of repeated and determined speculative applications by developers, who are consistently using the requirement for a five-year housing land supply to their own advantage, rather than to the advantage of local residents and would-be home owners.”
  • 19 November – Planning law change ‘catastrophic’ for rural areas – See the BBC News
    The government wants to scrap the requirement for developers to provide affordable housing on smaller developments. Campaign groups say that supplies of affordable housing would “dry up”. The government argues that the change would remove red tape and encourage more house building.
  • 19 November – Property developers ‘let off the leash’ in rural Britain: Countryside bible in war on ‘predatory’ house builders – See the Daily Mail
    Charities warn countryside is under threat from relaxed planning laws as developers build on greenbelt sites. Buntingford in Hertfordshire, Leintwardine in Herefordshire, and Castle Cary, Somerset, are identified as most at risk. Magazine blames developers ‘let off the leash’ by David Cameron for ‘ugly, poorly conceived housing sprawl’
  • 16 November – Concerns as ancient graves ‘dig’ is ended – See the Newmarket Journal
    Councillors and residents in Exning are concerned that an archaeological dig, which has already revealed more than 20 ancient graves, may have been ended prematurely.
  • 15 November – Desecration! In a ferocious parting blast, the outgoing chairman of the National Trust accuses an arrogant and philistine political class of ruining some of our loveliest countryside – See the Daily Mail
    – Outgoing National Trust chairman said English countryside is threatened
    – Simon Jenkins said we should grade countryside as with historic houses
    – Farmland has been replaced by warehouses, estates and wind turbines
    – HS2 railway line will crash through the Chilterns and parts of Derbyshire
  • 12 November – Now we’re not alone in saying politicians ignore countryside – See the Western Morning News
    We have warned, cajoled and focused on the idea that the countryside is under attack from a government which puts short-term profit and gain above the concept of long-term sustainability, then what has puzzled me is why national newspapers and celebrity media commentators aren’t leaping on the same bandwagon.
  • 13 March 2013 – Scrap the planning inspectors – See the Local Government Blog
    If ever an organisation was so often criticised and found wanting by so many local authorities, aligned to a feeling of utter amazement and helplessness, it is the Planning Inspectorate.
  • 4 November – Civic Voice calls for changes to the “Localism Act” at Government select committee – See the Civic Voice
    Dr Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, said;
    “Civic Voice was pleased to be asked by the Select Committee to give evidence at the first inquiry session on the success of community rights legislation. Over 1,500 communities have instigated neighbourhood plans and similar numbers have nominated sites as Assets of Community Value. These figures demonstrate that, whilst there is progress being made in take up of the powers available to communities, there is still some way to go before we see full widespread participation”.
  • 4 November – The right to buy is an unfair lottery that needs winding down – not speeding up – See the Guardian
    The right-to-buy scheme is one of those policies that, even 35 years later, is still seen as game changing. Even today, the House of Lords is debating reducing the amount of time a resident needs to have lived in their home before they can buy it to just three years. But we need to be realistic and recognise that these huge discounts means housing associations are not receiving enough money from the sale of properties to build the new homes to replace them.
  • 4 November – Ukip is only party that recognises rural threat, head of National Trust warns – See the Telegraph
    Sir Simon Jenkins says grassroots Tories understand the problem but the national party ‘does not get the point’
  • 2 November – A line in the soil – See the Independent
    Three years ago Watford Council announced plans to build new flats and a car park on allotments at Farm Terrace. Surrendering allotment land would have given up an important principle, enshrined in law in the 1925 Allotments Act, that plots should be protected. Eric Pickles approved Watford Council’s plans. Farm Terrace took their case to the High Court, which was heard over the summer. On Friday, Mr Justice Ouseley ruled in the allotment holders’ favour, and Farm Terrace has been saved. This ruling is not just about one site, it reinforces, through case law, what should be cast iron protection, under the 1925 Act, for allotment land that has been dug in the same place for centuries.
  • 2 November – Great council house sell-off scandal: Right-to-buy council houses leave nowhere for poor to live – See the Independent
    Councils who have been forced to sell properties to tenants on the cheap are then having to rent them back at extortionate rates to house those in need
  • 28 December – Top 10 housebuilders to rake in £2.1bn in 2014 – See the Guardian
    Collective pretax profits up 34% on last year while number of affordable homes built in England falls to eight-year low
  • 20 December – This housing free-for-all is scarring our most precious countryside – See the Telegraph
    The Coalition’s planning reforms have permitted grotesquely inappropriate development to flourish.
  • 16 December – NPPF fails to protect against unsustainable development, reports CLG committee – See the Article on Outlaw.com
    The communities and local government (CLG) committee has published the results of its inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), warning that the framework “needs to do more to protect against unsustainable development in England”.
  • 15 December – Villagers ‘under siege’ from aggressive developers after planning reforms, say MPs – See the Telegraph
    Towns and villages are caught in a “battleground between developers and local authorities” over “speculative” developments in the wake of controversial planning reforms, MPs say.
  • 13 December – ‘Lasting harm’ warning over Harwell homes – See the Oxford Mail
    Building 1,400 homes at Harwell would cause “long-lasting harm” to an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB), custodians have warned. North Wessex Downs AONB made the warning in a letter to the leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, Matt Barber.
  • 13 December – ‘Streetwise’ builders fighting planning protections to build in two thirds of rural areas, says National Trust – See the Telegraph
    16 out of 27 local authorities in the National Trust’s survey had seen their local plans, which set out where building can and cannot take place, challenged by house-builders.
  • 8 December – Great Western Park residents angry over lack of facilities – See the BBC
    Residents of a 3,300-home development in Oxfordshire claim they have been “cut off” after promised community facilities did not materialise.
  • 6 December – Scrapping affordable housing requirements a ‘huge blow’ to rural villages – See the Western Daily Press
    Villages in rural areas will be especially hard hit by rules abandoning requirements for affordable homes in housing developments, it has been claimed.
  • 2 December – Bicester announced as new garden city – See the Telegraph
    A garden city in the Home Counties to provide thousands of houses for young families is to be announced in the Autumn Statement. Plans for a new settlement in Bicester, Oxfordshire, containing up to 13,000 homes, will be funded with nearly £100?million of public spending and loans.
  • 1 December – Social housing in crisis as right-to-buy depletes stock – See the Independent
    A flagship housing scheme which allows tenants to buy their council house at a discount is eroding Britain’s stock of affordable housing – with only one home being built for every four sold off.
  • 1 December – Cutting clutter is common sense – See the Civic Voice
    A powerful coalition of civic, transport and heritage bodies have today launched updated guidance by calling on the Government to consider conducting research into the safety impact of cutting street clutter in our towns, cities and villages.
  • 1 December – £15 billion ‘Road investment strategy’ will increase the capacity and improve the condition of England’s roads – See the Government statement
    The government is investing in over 100 new road schemes over this parliament and next, 84 of which are brand new today.
    This major reform will add over 1,300 extra lane miles on motorways and trunk roads and fix some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas on the strategic road network. These plans are published today in the first ever ‘Road investment strategy’, which has been developed to keep the population connected and the economy growing.
  • 29 November – Why even an old ruin can be so elevating for the human spirit – See the Observer
    Cooke says “good and lovely buildings gladden the heart; their aesthetic pleasures make people feel substantively better. More than that, they provide a healthy sense of perspective. By connecting us subtly to the past, they somehow lighten the load of the present. And which of us doesn’t sometimes desperately need that?”.
  • 29 November – Young Londoners flee capital for the regions – See the Guardian
    Ambitious thirty somethings are leaving London in droves. Record numbers are turning their backs on the capital and flocking to England’s regional cities, according to an analysis of official data that suggests a significant exodus from London is under way.
  • 28 November – Changes to housing policy announced by the Government will have a devastating effect on affordable homes for rural families, says ACRE – See the ACRE Press release
    Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)’s Head of Rural Insight Nick Chase said: “This decision by the Housing Minister will have a devastating effect on affordable housing for rural communities up and down the country.
    “Despite warnings from housing associations and other rural organisations, the Minister has gone ahead with a policy change that could reduce the number of rural affordable housing on small sites to nil over the coming years.
    “This decision takes power away from local communities who should have the right to say what type of housing they want in their area. This is a real slap in the face for hard-working families on low incomes. They will now find it almost impossible to afford a house in their community and may be forced to move if rents continue to rise.”
  • 28 November – “Section 106” charges should not be sought from sites of 10 homes or fewer” says Pickles – See the DCLG Press release
    “Section 106” charges should not be sought from the smallest housebuilders – specifically on sites of 10 homes or fewer, including self-build, extensions and annexes. Mr Pickles also confirmed that in very rural areas, sites of 5 homes or fewer should not face the charge.
  • 25 November 2014 – Build one million homes on brownfield sites to ‘save countryside’ say the Campaign to Protect Rural England – See the Daily Mail
    Building on disused industrial sites and empty housing plots could dramatically ease pressure on the countryside, a study has found. There is space for more than one million homes on derelict land, vacant plots and disused ground, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. And 400,000 of them would be able to be built without delay, because the sites already have planning permission.
  • 24 November – England has space for at least 1 million homes on brownfield land – See the article at CPRE
    Amidst new political focus on the potential of brownfield land, a report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published today shows that local authorities have identified the capacity for at least 1 million new homes on suitable brownfield land in England. The report also makes a series of recommendations that would make brownfield land more attractive to developers and encourage local authorities to do more to identify suitable sites.
  • 19 November – No-win, no-fee lawyers ruining our countryside: They bankroll farmers seeking permission to build on their fields – See the Daily Mail
    Speculators are offering ‘no-win, no-fee’ deals as they try to exploit a planning loophole to win permission to build houses on open fields. In a damning indictment of the Government’s relaxed planning laws, one successful land agent is now so confident it can bulldoze past local objections that it does not charge farmers an upfront fee for its services. A Daily Mail investigation has revealed that Gladman Developments, a ‘strategic land promoter’, offers them the chance to increase the value of their land by a multiple of 50 or 60 by transforming agricultural land into development sites.
  • 19 November – Parliamentary Debate on the 5 Year Housing Targets – See the Love Goostrey summary of Hansard
    The MP “requested this debate specifically about housing land supply and local authorities’ difficulties in seeking to uphold robust and well-considered planning policies in the face of repeated and determined speculative applications by developers, who are consistently using the requirement for a five-year housing land supply to their own advantage, rather than to the advantage of local residents and would-be home owners.”
  • 19 November – Planning law change ‘catastrophic’ for rural areas – See the BBC News
    The government wants to scrap the requirement for developers to provide affordable housing on smaller developments. Campaign groups say that supplies of affordable housing would “dry up”. The government argues that the change would remove red tape and encourage more house building.
  • 19 November – Property developers ‘let off the leash’ in rural Britain: Countryside bible in war on ‘predatory’ house builders – See the Daily Mail
    Charities warn countryside is under threat from relaxed planning laws as developers build on greenbelt sites. Buntingford in Hertfordshire, Leintwardine in Herefordshire, and Castle Cary, Somerset, are identified as most at risk. Magazine blames developers ‘let off the leash’ by David Cameron for ‘ugly, poorly conceived housing sprawl’
  • 16 November – Concerns as ancient graves ‘dig’ is ended – See the Newmarket Journal
    Councillors and residents in Exning are concerned that an archaeological dig, which has already revealed more than 20 ancient graves, may have been ended prematurely.
  • 15 November – Desecration! In a ferocious parting blast, the outgoing chairman of the National Trust accuses an arrogant and philistine political class of ruining some of our loveliest countryside – See the Daily Mail
    – Outgoing National Trust chairman said English countryside is threatened
    – Simon Jenkins said we should grade countryside as with historic houses
    – Farmland has been replaced by warehouses, estates and wind turbines
    – HS2 railway line will crash through the Chilterns and parts of Derbyshire
  • 12 November – Now we’re not alone in saying politicians ignore countryside – See the Western Morning News
    We have warned, cajoled and focused on the idea that the countryside is under attack from a government which puts short-term profit and gain above the concept of long-term sustainability, then what has puzzled me is why national newspapers and celebrity media commentators aren’t leaping on the same bandwagon.
  • 13 March 2013 – Scrap the planning inspectors – See the Local Government Blog
    If ever an organisation was so often criticised and found wanting by so many local authorities, aligned to a feeling of utter amazement and helplessness, it is the Planning Inspectorate.
  • 4 November – Civic Voice calls for changes to the “Localism Act” at Government select committee – See the Civic Voice
    Dr Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, said;
    “Civic Voice was pleased to be asked by the Select Committee to give evidence at the first inquiry session on the success of community rights legislation. Over 1,500 communities have instigated neighbourhood plans and similar numbers have nominated sites as Assets of Community Value. These figures demonstrate that, whilst there is progress being made in take up of the powers available to communities, there is still some way to go before we see full widespread participation”.
  • 4 November – The right to buy is an unfair lottery that needs winding down – not speeding up – See the Guardian
    The right-to-buy scheme is one of those policies that, even 35 years later, is still seen as game changing. Even today, the House of Lords is debating reducing the amount of time a resident needs to have lived in their home before they can buy it to just three years. But we need to be realistic and recognise that these huge discounts means housing associations are not receiving enough money from the sale of properties to build the new homes to replace them.
  • 4 November – Ukip is only party that recognises rural threat, head of National Trust warns – See the Telegraph
    Sir Simon Jenkins says grassroots Tories understand the problem but the national party ‘does not get the point’
  • 2 November – A line in the soil – See the Independent
    Three years ago Watford Council announced plans to build new flats and a car park on allotments at Farm Terrace. Surrendering allotment land would have given up an important principle, enshrined in law in the 1925 Allotments Act, that plots should be protected. Eric Pickles approved Watford Council’s plans. Farm Terrace took their case to the High Court, which was heard over the summer. On Friday, Mr Justice Ouseley ruled in the allotment holders’ favour, and Farm Terrace has been saved. This ruling is not just about one site, it reinforces, through case law, what should be cast iron protection, under the 1925 Act, for allotment land that has been dug in the same place for centuries.
  • 2 November – Great council house sell-off scandal: Right-to-buy council houses leave nowhere for poor to live – See the Independent
    Councils who have been forced to sell properties to tenants on the cheap are then having to rent them back at extortionate rates to house those in need
  • 31 October 2014- Planning blamed over ‘chronic shortage’ of land to build glass – See the Horticultural Week
    Glasshouse areas lost to housing developments but little land available to build new glass.
  • 28 October 2014- EXCLUSIVE: Private meetings with developer to be investigated – See the Stratford Herald
    AN independent investigation has been ordered by Stratford District Council’s chief legal officer into meetings between the authority’s political leader and a well-known local property developer
  • 25 October 2014- Quarry plans for ancient woodland – See the Telegraph
    Lafarge Tarmac has registered an interest in quarrying at Hopwas Woods, in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The woods cover more than 170 hectares and date back to the 11th Century, when they were recorded in the Domesday Book.
  • 24 October 2014- Give local communities the powers they need – See the Civic Voice Manifesto
    If the Government is serious about Localism, they have to listen to the concerns coming forward from civic groups, resident associations and local councils. Government mut give local communities the powers they need to enable their town and city centres to prosper
  • 22 October – Three ways to improve Labour’s housing review – See the Guardian
    Labour’s plan to increase housebuilding to 200,000 new homes a year needs more teeth if it is going to make a difference.
  • 20 October – “Unreasonable” council ordered to pay costs after refusing to remove affordable housing requirement from planning obligation – See the article on Out-Law.com
    A planning inspector has decided that the affordable homes requirement in a planning obligation for a stalled residential development in Lancashire should be entirely removed, and awarded costs against a local authority that “acted unreasonably” in refusing to delete it.
  • 19 October – Is it time to rethink Britain’s green belt? – See the Observer
    It’s meant to curb sprawl and give city dwellers the benefits of the country. But some feel it protects the rich, stops houses being built and encourages commuting.
  • 19 October – Is regeneration bringing slums back to London? – See the article on OpenDemocracy
    At a time when millions of Londoners need affordable housing, local authorities are knocking it down and replacing it with luxury flats.
  • 17 October – Revealed: Labour plans to build on the Green Belt if it wins election – See the Telegraph
    The Lyons report singles out the Green Belt around cities like Oxford, Cambridge, York and Bristol as ripe for development.
  • 16 October – TCPA welcomes Lyons Review calls on Government to immediately promote programme of Garden Cities – See the Press release from the The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)
    “The Lyons Review has rightly placed the housing crisis and the need to deliver more homes at the top of the political agenda. The TCPA strongly supports the recommendation in the report that a new generation of Garden Cities should be promoted immediately by an incoming Government.”
  • 16 October – Lyons review for Labour urges new powers to boost housebuilding – See the Guardian
    Housing industry welcomes 180-page review calling for 200,000 new homes to be built each year.
  • 12 October – Britain’s elderly face retirement home shortage – See the Telegraph
    Britain’s growing elderly population is facing a chronic shortage of homes with retirement villages and assisted living accommodation making up just 2.8pc of all new property being built in the UK.
  • 10 October – Forget the seaside: it’s the rural vote, stupid – See the New Stateman
    Perhaps the idea of a new “green shield” to protect the countryside is an unfortunate starting point to win back Tory voters. It makes the Tories look as if they are resorting to the political equivalent of free “garage glasses” to win back the rural vote.
  • 10 October – Councillors vote against proposed City of York local plan – See the Yorkshire Post
    Controversial plans to make land available for thousands of new homes in York look set to undergo major changes after the resignation of two councillors from the ruling Labour group. The resignations mean Labour is now running the council as a minority administration with opposition parties able to block its measures if they work together.
  • 9 October – Oxfordshire council mulls garden city bid for eco town scheme – See Planning Resource (Subscription required)
    Cherwell council has confirmed it is considering making a bid for a major housing scheme in the Bicester area to be designated as a garden city.
  • 7 October – Local needs must be put first in housing – See the letter in the Oxford Mail
    There are very real fears that, unless a lot of thinking goes into how Wantage can sustainably integrate large increases in its local population, it will become yet another ‘dormitory town’ serving the ever-growing London economy.
    We must put local needs first in developing housing, infrastructure and jobs. It is also vital we don’t let development occur unplanned – creeping sprawl eating up green field sites – the green belt – with endless increases in the numbers of vehicles on the roads.
  • 6 October – Councils must protect our precious green belt land – See the Government Press Release
    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said that thousands of brownfield sites are available for development, and should be prioritised.
  • 5 October – Grassroots rebellion over arrogant leadership in Devon and Cornwall – See the Western Morning News
    Westcountry councils face a growing rebellion from a grassroots movement weary at being ruled by an out-of-touch and “arrogant” leadership, the Western Morning News on Sunday reports today.
  • 4 October – William Cash: I’m fighting for what I believe in, Dad – See the Telegraph
    My cause happens to be about saving England from rural vandalism.
  • 3 October – Market towns may be forced to treble in size – See the Telegraph
    Market towns could be forced to treble in size with “huge slabs of identikit” housing developments after the election in the “biggest and most worrying threat” of our time, the chief executive of a English Heritage has warned.
  • 27 September – David Cameron offers 20% discount on new homes – See the Guardian
    Prime minister commits to building 100,000 homes in England, highlighting affordable housing as a key election issue
  • 26 September – Cut-price homes for the under-40s through David Cameron’s new help-to-buy scheme – See the Telegraph
    Brownfield homes to give under 40s a foothold on the property ladder.
  • 26 September – ‘It’s the end of the green belt – and a way of life’ – See the Portsmouth News
    People fed up with a housing boom that is eating up the countryside have said: ‘Enough is enough.’ With schools and doctors’ surgeries full to the brim and more and more congestion on the roads, people are worried that the scale of new development is out of control.
  • 22 September – Rabbit hutch Britain: Draconian building rules mean homes are the smallest in Western Europe – half the size of those in Ireland – See the Daily Mail
    Residential floor space in Britain is on average just 66 square metres (710 square feet) per household, compared to a spacious 118 square metres (1,270 sq ft) in Ireland, 115 square metres (1,238 sq ft) in Denmark or 110 square metres (1,184 sq ft) in Italy, according to data compiled by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
  • 17 September – The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities – See the Guardian
    Affordable housing quotas get waived and the interests of residents trampled as toothless authorities bow to the dazzling wealth of investors from Russia, China and the Middle East
  • 10 September – Planning inspector reduces affordable homes requirement for 1,100-home Gloucestershire scheme– See the Planning Portal
    A planning inspector has decided that the affordable homes requirements in planning obligations for a 1,100-home residential scheme in Gloucestershire should be reduced, after determining that it rendered the proposed scheme unviable.
  • 18 September – Move to consolidate housing standards – See the Planning Portal
    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.
  • 17 September – The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities – See the Guardian
    Affordable housing quotas get waived and the interests of residents trampled as toothless authorities bow to the dazzling wealth of investors from Russia, China and the Middle East
  • 10 September – No rollback on NPPF say builders – See the Central Lobby
    Ahead of the National Federation of Builders’ events at the party conferences, chief executive Richard Beresford tells Central Lobby that the next government must stay the course on house building.
  • 8 September –New home surge is ‘catastrophic’: Face of rural England could change forever – See the Daily Mail
    The CPRE demanded a shake-up of the reforms claiming there were problems with how the targets for housing were set, including a lack of guidance for councils and a system which overstates demand.
  • 8 September – Labour architect peer says building on greenbelt ‘a ridiculous idea’ – See the Guardian
    Lord Rogers of Riverside has attacked proposals to build up to 40 new garden cities on the greenbelt as “a ridiculous concept” and has called instead for the developments to be stitched into existing cities using derelict sites.
  • 7 September – Planning rules ‘risking the countryside’ – See the Telegraph
    Nearly 30,000 homes have been built in valuable areas of countryside despite local opposition because of confusion caused by the Coalition’s planning reforms, a report suggests.
  • 8 September – Planning loophole causing glut of house building in the countryside – See the Report from CPRE
    A new research paper from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows that steep targets for the amount of land councils must allocate for housing are opening the door to major housing developments in the countryside.
  • 6 September – Oxford could rival the strategy adopted by Cambridge for growth and expansion – See the comment from David Cowans, Chief Executive of Places for People
    The personal and human nature of the vision was particularly impressive, with the proposal offering improvements to residents in existing cities in terms of better services, facilities and transport links plus quality homes for their children who otherwise, may be forced out into other locations.
  • 4 September – Housing Minister Brandon Lewis’ response to Wolfson Prize – See the Government Response
    We are committed to protecting the green belt from development as an important protection against urban sprawl – today’s proposal from Lord Wolfson’s competition is not government policy and will not be taken up.
  • 4 September – Prize-winning designer says double size of 40 English towns – See the Guardian
    Britain’s housing crisis could be largely solved by doubling the size of 40 towns and cities including Oxford, Norwich, Reading and Stratford-on-Avon using garden city extensions, according to the winner of a £250,000 economics prize awarded on Wednesday night
  • 4 September – We need 40 garden cities across England, says economics prize winner – See the Telegraph
    David Rudlin, from the design consultancy Urbed, said the homes would be enough to provide new homes for 150,000 people in each town over the next three decades.
  • 3 September – Deputy Prime Minister announces plans for a new map of accessible green space for England and Wales – See the
    Ordnance SurveyThe Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, today announced that Ordnance Survey would compile and release data to allow for a new map of every publicly accessible green space in England and Wales to be developed, and will allow anyone with access to the internet to find the location of their nearest park instantly.
  • 1 September – Conservative publishes Manifesto with major changes to housing policies – See the www.conservativehome.com
    Britain doesn’t just need more homes, it also needs better, more affordable homes. A building boom that sucks in cheap money looking for a quick return will not deliver affordability. We must therefore freeze out the property speculators with an ownership first condition on the development of new housing. Councils would be given the power to reserve the sale of new homes to those intending to live in them.
  • 1 September – Enfield tears up rules in radical attempt to ease housing problem– See the Guardian
    Pushed into a corner by soaring prices, greedy landlords and a cap on benefits, one London council has embarked on a daring set of untested policies to provide more public housing.
  • 26 August – More parking for new homes will end ‘vicious cycle of clogged up streets’ – See the Government Press Release
    The government is proposing further action is taken to rein back in arbitrary ‘maximum parking standards’, which have previously prevented and restricted house builders from providing homes with car parking spaces that families want and need.
  • 3 September – Housing developers divided on need for broadband in new homes – See theCable.co.uk
    UK housing developers are taking inconsistent approaches to the installation of broadband infrastructure in new homes
  • 1 September – Council set to do battle with builder over planning policy – See the Hampshire Chronicle
    Linden Homes are contesting Winchester’s planning policy in a controversial bid to promote its latest site. The company says the council cannot show it has a five-year supply in housing to meet needs. But the city council has hit back and said the proposed site off Romsey Road is outside the city’s settlement boundary and so would be rejected.
  • 28 August – Rippon bungalows selling off plan – See the Nottingham Post
    BUNGALOWS have always been sought after – their single level living appealing to a variety of home buyers. And yet builders steer away from them, often deterred by the amount of land they take up. The builder says the high level of interest is also due to the spacious design and opportunity to personalise these homes, which may be reserved off-plan
  • 18 August – Planning Minister “absolutely right” to promote bungalows as part of the solution to the housing crisis, says CLA – See the Country Land and Business Association
    The CLA today (18 August) backed Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis’ calls to prioritise the building of bungalows for older people, freeing up larger family homes. The organisation said for a number of years it has highlighted the lack of housing available in rural areas for older generations, leaving many with no choice but to relocate to towns.
  • 18 August – The ‘quintessentially British’ bungalow can help solve the housing crisis – See the Daily Mail
    We must learn to love the ‘quintessentially British’ bungalow again if we want to solve the housing crisis, says minister

    • Empty-nesters ‘should be able to downsize without being forced into flats’
    • Housing minister Brandon Lewis called them ‘an important part of the mix’
    • Only 2% of English homes are bungalows and only 300 were built in 2009
  • 13 August – Smoke and mirrors get in the way of rural housing debate – See the Western Morning News
    I do not know many people in the Westcountry who would welcome a politician saying: “We are going to build all these new houses – and just building them is going to create so many new jobs we will have to bring workers in from Eastern Europe to help – then they can live in some of the few affordable homes that have gone up and look for new jobs once the last slate has been put on the last bijou, unaffordable, home.” But it is exactly the kind of crazy scenario we are looking at when we smash through the smoke-and-mirrors surrounding magic catchphrases like “cut-red-tape” and “seeding economic opportunity”.
  • 12 August – Nick Clegg to hold economic summit for the North – See the Star
    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to hold an economic summit on ways northern cities can work together to grow the region’s economy. The Sheffield Hallam MP, pictured right, is supporting the Northern Futures project and calling for people to come forward with ideas about how the North can grow.
  • 11 August – No, Minister – we do not want our fields to be full of houses – See the Western Morning News
    It seems Brandon Lewis’s belief that citizens are now happy and at one with the way planning matters are dealt with could be nothing more than wishful thinking. A great many Westcountry residents see the “developer’s charter” as something that lines the pockets of the few while leaving fast-changing communities with existing infrastructures that cannot possibly cope. Others, far from being Nimbys, are wondering why the region’s precious open countryside – which fuels tourism, the South West’s biggest income driver – is being treated with all the respect and regard planners used to give redundant Second World War aerodromes.
  • 7 August – Planning reform package unveiled for consultation – See the Planning Portal
    The Government has published proposals to make the planning system more streamlined and effective. A-100 page document, now out for consultation, highlights plans to change the neighbourhood planning regime, amend planning regulations and planning conditions, as well as modifying the planning application process and introducing new thresholds for environmental impact assessments.
  • 7 August – Why most planning decisions should be taken out of the hands of councillors – See the Guardian
    Unlike councillors, planners have the skills and experience to make these decisions. It’s not undemocratic – it’s giving power to those most qualified, says Redbridge council leader
  • 6 August – UK homeowners start to panic sell in the face of house price uncertainty – See the Telegraph
    Panic selling is expected to sweep Britain as homeowners try to cash in on record high house prices before the market starts to cool, new data finds.
  • 3 August – Government could buy homes blighted by developments or offer owners council tax cuts while building takes place. – See the BBC News
    Homeowners could be compensated if the value of their property falls when new garden cities are built, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has suggested.
  • 1 August – Is localism preventing the development of new homes? – See the Guardian
    They are both government priorities, but involving communities in planning decisions appears incompatible with housebuilding
  • 29 July – Why is housing policy such a mess? – See the RSA Blog by Anthony Painter
    One of the lesser noted aspects of the last few years is a soaring housing benefit bill. This has been pretty striking feature of the last decade or so. In fairness to the current Government the rate of increase has slowed somewhat in the last four years. Yet, the increase is still £4billion per annum or so. This is despite the initiation of policies such as the benefits cap that were intended to reduce the outlay. What on earth is going on?
  • 28 July – How UK housing can step up its green energy efforts – See the Guardian
    A housing trust director explains how improving insulation and ventilation can contribute to energy efficiency in homes.
  • 28 July – London’s employers warn of economic effect of soaring housing costs – See the FT
    London’s employers say that soaring housing costs are making it harder to find staff and pushing up wages, damaging the capital’s economy.
  • 25 July – New planning minister suggests Nimbys have had their day – See the Telegraph
    Brandon Lewis appears to suggest that Nimbyism is on the wane as he hails official figures showing a big jump in the proportion of Britons wanting new houses built near their homes.
  • 24 July – Housing plan campaigners tell Government committee: The numbers have always been wrong – See the Gloucestershire Echo
    With less than three weeks to go until the final stage of consultation on a controversial housing blueprint comes to a close, campaigners have put their arguments against the plan to the Government.
  • 21 July – You’d be crazy to buy a home right now – See the Telegraph
    Wrong move not Rightmove: First-time buyers will get burnt if they pile into the overheated London market.
  • 9 July – Can we stop the countryside becoming a retreat for the rich and retired? – See the Guardian
    Young families and the low paid are being priced out of rural England, but this can be reversed if tackled at a local level.
  • 9 July – Lyon’s proposals to ‘turn screw’ on Councils to ensure Houses get Built – See the blog from Andrew Lainton
    Speaking to the LGA in Bournemouth, Sir Michael Lyons said a Labour government would not be abandoning the current national planning policy framework that requires councils to make land available, and if anything it would be turning the screw on councils.
  • 8 July – It is up to councils like Cheltenham and Tewkesbury to arm themselves against opportunistic developers, top planning MP suggests – See the Gloucestershire Echo
    Mr Betts does not believe the NPPF is a “developer’s charter”. “With a local plan in place, it shouldn’t be,” he said. “The NPPF really underpins that local plan and development will take place in accordance with the local plan. “So if developers put in applications on sites that haven’t been allocated for that purpose then they should be refused.”
  • 7 July – Cameron and Clegg announce £2bn Heseltine growth deal winners – See the Local Government Chronicle
    Manchester, London and the north-east have emerged as the big winners from a £2bn fund for local growth deals announced today. The fund, to be spent on housebuilding, transport links and skills and employment projects in 2015-16, was set up following a call from Conservative peer Lord Heseltine for a devolved budget for local growth in 2012.
  • 7 July – Local authorities to choose sites for local development orders, says DCLG – See the article on Out-law.com
    The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has said that local planning authorities will take the lead in deciding which brownfield sites will be effectively pre-approved for residential development under proposals announced by the chancellor of the exchequer in June.
  • 7 July – UK regional investment plans revealed – See the Guardian
    Lord Heseltine hails £5bn investment in new homes, transport and training as ‘giant step in the rebalancing of our economy’
  • 2 July – Application approvals unchanged since NPPF, says report – See the article at Planning resource(Subscription)
    The government’s major shake-up of planning policies two years ago has not resulted in councils granting more planning permissions, new research claims.
  • 2 July – Construction activity surges in Britain to meet housebuilding demand – See the Guardian
    Building companies hire staff at the fastest ever rate as construction industry data for June beats City’s growth forecasts
  • 2 July – London house prices leap by 25% in rise unequalled since 1987, new data shows – See the Guardian
    Average house price in capital breaks through £400,000 barrier – double UK average – reports Nationwide
  • 26 June – The fields of old England are being lost – See the Guardian
    We need to recapture the postwar vision that preserved our countryside and gave us our sense of Englishness
  • 25 June – UK faces ‘significant’ shortage of farmland by 2030 – See the BBC News
    Britain is running out of land for food and faces a potential shortfall of two million hectares by 2030 according to new research
  • 20 June – George Osborne’s planning U-turn spells hope for countryside – See the Telegraph
    Daily Telegraph campaign has helped forge a decision to force councils to ‘pre-approve’ building on over 90 per cent of brownfield sites suitable for housing.
  • 17 June – Social landlords could build 100,000 new homes a year, says campaign – See the Guardian
    “Through increased grant, better planning, lifting of borrowing caps and new towns and garden cities, we could build 100,000 social rented homes a year.”
  • 16 June – Politicians just don’t understand what it’s like to be a renter – See the Guardian
    MPs who rent a second home on expenses have access to luxury properties just a short walk from their workplace. It’s a far cry from most private renters’ lives.
  • 14 June – Eric Pickles unveils plans to help protect Britain’s ‘green and pleasant land’ – See the Express
    Derelict warehouses and factories will be used to help meet the demand for houses so Britain can remain a “green and pleasant land”, a cabinet minister had said.
  • 9 June – U.K. Home Shortage Seen Everywhere But Not Proven – See the article at Bloomberg
    What if there is no housing shortage after all? That would undermine the conventional wisdom. It’s the case made by Andrew Brigden, chief economist at Fathom Consulting in London and a former Bank of England economist.
  • 12 June – Towns are targeted for new housing: – See the Daily Mail
    Planning restrictions on disused urban sites to be swept away to reduce impact on the countryside.
    – George Osborne will unveil further details of the proposals tonight
    – As part of the deal the Green Belt will be protected
    – Eric Pickles said Government will find ‘practical ways of removing red tape’.
  • 10 June – Shortage of available housing land may cause 250,000-home shortfall in England and Wales by 2018, says report – See the article at Out-Law.com
    A lack of available sites for housing development may cause a deficit of over 250,000 homes in England and Wales in the next four years, according to a report from planning consultancy Turley.
  • 9 June – Councils warn of planning by appeal – See the article at LocalGov.co.uk
    Cllr Tony Newman, of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) environment and housing board, is expected to tell members of the communities and local government (CLG) committee there is a ‘risk that national policy could be reinvented through planning by appeal’.
  • 8 June – Good news for the green belt as George Osborne plots ways to encourage building on brownfield sites – See the Telegraph
    The Chancellor will use Mansion House speech this week to offer new ways to persuade developers to build more homes on derelict sites in towns and cities
  • 3 June – TCPA launches new garden cities document after questioning Government commitment to model – See the Horticulture Week
    The Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) is today launching a new set of garden city standards after questioning if the Coalition Government is serious about creating new garden cities.
    The standards consolidate the key lessons learned from the TCPA’s previous research into the challenges of delivering garden cities and detail what each of the garden cities principles entails as well as provide guidance on what it believes the principles should deliver to new communities.
  • 2 June – Queen’s speech: Infrastructure bill to let developers off zero-carbon pledge – See the Guardian
    Bill would exempt all small housing developments from new green standards and allow builders to pay their way out of full obligations.
  • 31 May – Restoring brownfield sites in our inner towns and cities – See the Article in the Civitas Magazine
    Restoring brownfield sites in our inner towns and cities should receive more tax breaks and the pressure for new roads, schools, public transport, shops, hospitals and other costly infrastructure to support new developments in greenfield areas would be eased; much of our countryside would be preserved for food production and, crucially, we would be investing in a thriving future for our town and city centres and their communities.
  • 30 May –Developers able to demolish affordable housing provision – See the New Statesman
    A new law is allowing property developers to wriggle out of their affordable housing obligations
  • 28 May – England’s unaffordable countryside risks becoming an old people’s home – See the Guardian
    Scrapping affordable housing requirements in rural areas will see young people and those on low incomes priced further out.
  • 3 February (but still current) – Affordable housing does not mean what you think it means – See the Guardian Blog
    Beware of politicians talking about affordable homes. New ‘affordable’ housing is not actually that affordable
  • 28 May – England’s unaffordable countryside risks becoming an old people’s home – See the Guardian
    Scrapping affordable housing requirements in rural areas will see young people and those on low incomes priced further out. The latest government policy change proposes that a developer’s obligation to build affordable homes should be waived if they are building 10 homes or fewer.
  • 27 May – 200,000 New Homes a Year is an “Unachievable” Figure – Building Momentum, Housebuilding Report 2014 – See the report from Knight Frank
    Only 6% of housebuilders believe that the key target of 200,000 homes to be built every year is deliverable, according to Knight Frank’s Housebuilding Report “Building Momentum”
  • 22 May – Don’t turn countryside to concrete: Cameron ally attacks fellow minister on planning reform – See the Daily Mail
    Ed Vaizey claims countryside could be swamped with unwanted homes
    Planning law reform could cost votes among supporters, he said
  • 20 May – Embarrassment for David Cameron as his own election agent fights new homes in PM’s back yard – See the Telegraph
    David Cameron’s own election agent and one of his ministers [Ed Vaizey] are fighting plans to build more than 100,000 new homes on Oxfordshire
  • 18 May – Labour: let councils decide on green belt developments – See the Telegraph
    Hilary Benn, shadow communities secretary, promises the most radical devolution of power from London to English councils for 120 years, if Labour win next general election
  • 15 May – Labour drops plans to axe national planning rulebook – See the Telegraph
    Labour drops plans to reform controversial planning rules which are allowing builders to push through new housing schemes across the country.
  • 13 May – Stop unnecessarily threatening the green belt, Nick Boles tells councils – See the Telegraph
    MPs have complained that councils are needlessly earmarking sites on the green belt for development.
  • 9 May – Horrid housing is spreading across the land? – See the Telegraph
    All over the country, villages are under seige from developers. Where will it end?
  • 5 May – Are the government‘s planning reforms releasing more land for housing? – See the Telegraph
    The rise in planning approval rates indicates that the National Planning Policy Framework has begun to release more sites for development
  • 4 May – Number of new housing estates jumps by a quarter since planning reforms – See the TelegraphNew figures reveal extent to which Government’s relaxation of planning rules has seen a significant rise in the number of large scale developments being pushed through
  • 4 May – We need to build on hundreds of square miles of green fields, says Lord Wolfson – See the Telegraph
    Let’s build on green fields, and review of green belt rules, say Conservative peer
  • 2 May – Failure to include affordable housing in new garden cities is big disappointment – See the Guardian
    Ignoring the need for social housing betrays one of the fundamental principles of garden cities
  • 1 May – Time to give communities a real say in the planning process – See the National Planning Policy Framework (Community Involvement) Bill – Ten Minute Rule Motion – 30th Apr 2014 by Greg Mulholland
    It is time to get the balance right between the need for more housing – but it has to be the right sort of housing in the right areas – and the right of local communities to have a genuine say over how their local area is developed and changed. It is time communities were given a real voice and that voice must listened to.
  • 25 April – William Wordsworth would be in ‘fits’ about planning reforms, says Sir Andrew Motion – See the Telegraph
    The former Poet Laureate launches scathing critique of scale of development being allowed in the countryside, claiming that William Wordsworth would be appalled
  • 24 April – PM calls for planning changes to deliver infrastructure – See the Planning Portal
    David Cameron has stressed the need for further measures to streamline the planning system as he and the Chancellor highlighted that more than 200 projects in rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management are due to start construction in 2014 to 2015.
  • 23 April – Rethinking Housing Infrastructure – See the Comment at Places for People
    Housing quality doesn’t just impact quality of life, it affects economic growth as well. But high-quality housing isn’t just about design and architecture, it’s about creating neighbourhoods. New homes have to be supported by facilities that make people’s lives easier and more fulfilling – in turn, helping to attract and retain people that will make communities, villages and towns prosper.
    To achieve that, there needs to be change.
    We need to recast planning policy so that infrastructure provision forms a key part of the permission. Any plans for new housing developments must include a range of services and facilities that will help that development thrive and make it attractive to existing communities. And those potential benefits need to be tabled, discussed and debated right at the start of the process.
  • 23 April – Locally-led housing developments to receive funding boost – See the Information Daily
    New funding will help local areas ‘unlock’ locally-led housing developments and accelerate local growth. Local leaders will be able to bid for a share of £50 million to invest in infrastructure that can support new homes. The money will be made available throughout 2015-2016, through the Local Growth Fund, to allow locally-led housing developments to move forward.
  • 22 April – Builders use red-tape reforms to duck deals on affordable homes – See the Independent
    Developers are using a new law intended to cut bureaucracy and kick-start the economy to challenge their obligation to contribute to the building of affordable new homes.
  • 21 April – New garden cities not required to include low-cost homes, minister says – See Guardian
    Nick Boles says no stipulation would be imposed on schemes, despite Nick Clegg’s pledge that they would help solve housing crisis
  • 16 April – Planning reforms: room for improvement
    – See Adjacent Government
    Michael Carnuccio, Policy Officer at the National Housing Federation examines how, 2 years on from the NPPF, affordable housing delivery is addressed…
  • 16 April – Local planning authorities are being set unattainable building targets
    – See the letter in the Telegraph
    The National Trust again warns that many English councils must accept building on protected countryside. This often arises because the National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to plan for unattainable 20-year housing targets, based on population growth projections from the Office of National Statistics
  • 15 April – Three garden cities to be built, Nick Clegg announces – See the BBC
    Mr Clegg, speaking at his monthly media conference, sought to invoke the same spirit as 1940s politicians when he issued a “call-to-arms for visionaries” to set out plans for schemes and published a prospectus inviting bids from councils.
  • 14 April – Planning wars strangle new housing – See the Guardian
    Two years since a new policy was meant to speed up housebuilding, councils and developers are still at loggerheads
  • 14 April – Planning reforms leave villages ‘under siege’ from builders with ‘horrendous’ schemes given green light – See the Daily Mail
    Reforms are forcing local officials to approve ‘horrendous’ developments
    Villagers in most picturesque parts of England say they feel under siege
    Meanwhile, councillors claim they are no longer free to make decisions
  • 13 April – Local authorities ‘hustled’ into passing greenfield planning permissions – See the Telegraph
    Pressurised councils mean greenfield sites ‘no longer sacrosanct’, says National Trust director Dame Helen Ghosh
  • 8 April – Breckland approved Thetford urban extension – See the summary at Out-law.com
    Breckland District Council’s planning committee has resolved to grant outline permission for a 5,000-home scheme to the north of Thetford in Norfolk. The development is projected to take around 15 years to complete.
  • 7 April – Three Appeals Refused – See the Feniton Parish Council Site
    The dismissal of three appeals (for up to 203 houses) has been a vindication of the Parish Council opposition to the Developers who have targeted Feniton in recent years. The site for 32 homes at Feniton Park has been allowed but with significant conditions attached and the proviso that the Development must be started within two years. The full text of the Planning Decision can be viewed HERE.
  • 4 April – MPs launch inquiry after research questions ineffective Government planning targets – See parliament.uk
    The Communities and Local Government Committee today launches an inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • 4 April – Shropshire Council to lobby for planning rule change – See the Shropshire Star
    Council bosses will meet with planning minister Nick Boles next week to call for changes in Government policies which are allowing “speculative” housing developments to be approved in Shropshire.
  • 31 March – Planning champions for every area of country to fight unsightly developments – See the Telegraph
    Planning ‘champions’ should be appointed in every community in the country to oppose unsightly unpopular developments, an independent report for the Government says today.
    The 200-page review by leading architect Sir Terry Farrell said every council should nominate a “civic champion” to “improve design quality”.
  • 30 March – Builders ‘churning out same old boxes’, says Kevin McCloud – See the Telegraph
    Builders are using relaxed planning rules to construct “enormous slabs of thousands of boxlike” homes in towns and villages as though they were “dropped out of a C130 Hercules”, according to the presenter of the television programme Grand Designs.
  • 28 March – Sir Simon Jenkins: ‘We are creating Detroits in the north while we are eating up the countryside’ – See the Telegraph
    “People are seriously angry. They feel that the Government has betrayed something they love and they feel confident that what they love is loved by most English people and the evidence supports that view. And there is no necessity for this massive development. The idea that we need 250,000 new homes and therefore they must be in the countryside is a daft statement.”
  • 26 March – Britain is facing a housing disaster as it is one million homes short, warns new report – See the Daily Mail
    Exactly a decade on from the Barker Review of Housing Supply that warned that at least 210,000 private homes a year were needed in England to avert a housing crisis, the scale of the housing shortage has become apparent says the Home Builders Federation (HBF).
  • 24 March – We do not want rabbit hutches and boxes to be built – See John Howell MP Hansard 24 Mar 2014: Column 66
    “A key element of Ebbsfleet must be an emphasis on design. It is essential that it is an attractive place where people want to live. Design must play a key role because of the importance that the project will have in the minds of other people who are thinking about having a garden city. We do not just want rabbit hutches and boxes to be built. All eyes will be on this city in determining whether communities are willing to participate.”
  • 24 March – Planning reforms putting rural England under siege – see CPRE
    The Government’s planning reforms are unnecessarily damaging the countryside and undermining local democracy while failing to prioritise the regeneration of urban areas, concludes a new report launched by CPRE.
  • 23 March – New planning guidance – See the West Sussex Gazette
    Changes to the planning system that discourage development on sites at risk of flooding, or which lack sufficient infrastructure, have been welcomed.
  • 22 March – Government planning experts pave the way for building on Gloucestershire’s greenbelt – See the Gloucestershire Echo
    Government planning experts have paved the way for thousands of homes to be built on Gloucestershire’s precious countryside.
  • 21 March – Budget 2014: Plans for new generation of garden cities – See the Telegraph
    Ministers will publish a “prospectus” on garden cities allowing local councils to start developing plans for new towns across the country, the Chancellor says.
  • 21 March – Budget effects on development – See the blog at the Community Voice of the People
    A “prospectus” on garden cities allowing local councils to start developing plans for new towns across the country and a review of “permitted development rights”
  • 20 March – Letter to PINS did not signal green belt policy change, says Boles – See the article at Out-Law.com
    A letter sent by UK planning minister Nick Boles to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) earlier this month raising concerns over a planning inspector’s wording regarding a local authority’s green belt policy in a local plan examination did not “signal a change of policy or approach”, Boles has confirmed.
  • 19 March – It’s the ‘duty to cooperate’ and the ‘right to grow’, stupid! – See the blog by David Marlow
    Is there a potential disconnect between Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in their leadership of local growth and development?
  • 16 March – 15,000-home garden city to be built at Ebbsfleet – See the BBC News
    A garden city with an initial 15,000 homes will be built at Ebbsfleet in Kent, George Osborne has announced. The chancellor told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the site was chosen because there was “fantastic” infrastructure and it was in south-east England where pressure on housing has been high.
  • 14 March – Bampton: infamy in the Prime Minister’s back yard – See the Telegraph
    Housebuilding in David Cameron’s Witney consituency appears to contradict his stated position on planning.
  • 14 March – Plans rejected for 970 new homes on Louth’s Legbourne Road – See the BBC
    Plans have been rejected for what would have been the largest ever single residential development for a Lincolnshire market town. East Lindsey District Council rejected plans for 970 homes and a school to be built on the outskirts of Louth. The 150 acre Legbourne Road site would have also included community facilities and open spaces. The authority said the scale of the housing scheme was too large for the town to sustain.
  • 13 March – North Devon Council leader demands answers from planning minister – See the North Devon Gazette
    NORTH Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade has asked planning minister Nick Boles for more clarity over a ‘disgraceful’ response to planning concerns. Cllr Greenslade claimed Mr Boles had avoided the main points put forward in a face-to face meeting and a letter from the district council in February.
  • 10 March – Goverment steps in over rejected Vale of Aylesbury Plan – See the Bucks Herald
    A government planning tsar will step in to help make sure that council chiefs don’t have another Vale of Aylesbury Plan rejected.
  • 10 March – Our policies are absurd and my colleagues are hated, says minister – See the Telegraph
    Stephen Williams, local government minister launches attack on his boss, his colleagues and his own department’s policies
  • 9 March – National park bosses pleased at government u-turn over planning laws in New Forest – See the Southern Daily Echo
    NATIONAL park bosses have told of their delight after the Government bowed to pressure and left the New Forest out of new planning laws.
    Campaigners had feared the relaxing of planning rules would have led to “ghost villages” where people only lived at the weekends and allowed barns to be turned into homes without the need for permission.
  • 9 March – The English Housing Survey 2012-13 Headline Report was published on 26 February. – See the Government report
    The report covers a range of topics related to the physical condition of homes and the circumstances of the people that live in them. This was the first release of data from the 2012-13 survey.
    Of the estimated 22.0 million households in England, 65% (14.3 million) were owner occupiers, 18% (4.0 million) were private renters and 17% (3.7 million) were social renters.
  • 8 March – Councils should plan for more bungalows to cope with OAP boom – See the Telegraph
    Councils will be forced to make sure that there are enough bungalows for pensioners when approving new housing schemes, under new planning rules.
  • 7 March – DCLG publishes final version of National Planning Practice Guidance – See the Local Government Lawyer
    A good summary of the points covered in the new Guidance
  • 7 March – Boles launches Planning Practice Guidance – See the article at Out-Law.com
    Local plans in the UK can pass the test of soundness even where housing supply land cannot be identified for years 11 to 15 of the plan period and windfalls can be counted over the whole plan period under new planning guidance published today.
  • 6 March – Pickles blocks 99 Somerset green belt homes – See the article at Out-Law.com
    Secretary of State (SoS) Eric Pickles has rejected proposals by developer Crest Nicholson for a residential development on green belt land in Saltford after concluding that the harm caused to the green belt would outweigh the benefits the scheme would bring.
  • 6 March – Developers to get incentives to build new homes in towns and cities – See the Telegraph
    Developers are to be given cash incentives to encourage them to build more homes in towns and cities instead of the countryside.
    Developers of brownfield sites will no longer have to pay tens of thousands of pounds of fees under the Community Infrastructure Levy, under changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • 6 March – Easier neighbourhood planning on way? – See the Planning Portal
    Planning Minister Nick Boles has told Parliament that the Coalition is keen to develop a neighbourhood planning regime tailored – and more suitable – for smaller than average communities.
    His comments came during oral questions in the Commons to Department for Communities and Local Government ministers on 3 March.
  • 5 March – Pickles hails Cheshire East’s local plan in letter to council – See the Middlewich Guardian
    Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has written a personal letter to the leader of Cheshire East Council, praising the authority and urging developers to work with the council.
  • 4 March – An opportunity to build new London suburbs? – See the paper entitled “Home Truths” at London First
    London boroughs should be set ‘hard targets’ for housing delivery, the construction of new transport infrastructure such as Crossrail and the proposed north-east to south-west London rail link, Crossrail 2, should be used as an opportunity by London government, in consultation with local communities, to build new suburbs and a review of the capital’s green belt should be launched to consider re-designating some sites for residential development, a new report into solving the city’s housing crisis has recommended.
  • 3 March – We want to make it harder to build on flood plains, says Nick Boles – See the Telegraph
    Developers will have to pass stringent tests if they want to build on flood plains, a minister has said..
  • 1 March – Tories must change policy – See the Telegraph
    The leader of 34 Tory councillors in Guildford accused Mr Cameron of undermining the party’s chances of winning the next election.
    Stephen Mansbridge told Mr Cameron that the Tories were being “placed in an impossible electoral position through your government’s policies”. The letter was backed by councillors and was being passed to No 10 by Anne Milton, a local MP and government whip.
  • 27 February – Campaign victory to quash the penalties of self-build – See the Retford Times
    It is quite unusual for a Government Minister to praise an opposition MP for forcing the Government to change its own law. That did happen last week however when Planning Minister Nick Boles congratulated me for my 18 month, one-man campaign to reverse excessive Government taxes on people building their own homes.
  • 26 February – National park barn conversion plans to be scaled back – See the Yorkshire Post
    THE Government is preparing to scale back controversial plans to allow the mass redevelopment of thousands of old farm buildings across Yorkshire’s national parks following an outcry.
  • 26 February – Griff Rhys Jones denounces interpretation of national planning system – See the Press release from Civic Voice
    Griff Rhys Jones, the President of Civic Voice, has (25th February) spoken on BBC Daily Politics out about the ambiguity of the National Planning Policy Framework.
    Griff added ““To have a presumption in favour of brownfield sites is not the same as having a policy that brownfield sites should be built on first. It is obvious that housing on ‘greenfield sites” generate much more profit for developers, but planning policy should not be about helping developers to profiteer. But to the man in the street, this is exactly what the National Planning Policy Framework is doing”.
  • 26 February – Has crash made us a developer’s paradise? – See the Banbury Guardian
    Cherwell may have lost the power to control housing development in Banburyshire over the next 17 years, it is feared.
  • 26 February – Henley population could increase by 20% – See the Stratford-on-Avon Herald
    The railway line has previously been a boundary for the town and with a population around 3,000, residents are concerned that nearly 200 new homes would increase the size of Henley by up to 20 per cent. – See more at: http://www.stratford-herald.com/local-news/7775-henley-population-could-increase-20.html#sthash.gjrk8DVD.dpuf
  • 26 February – Ancient woodland losses ‘not accounted for’, say campaigners – See the BBC
    The scale of ancient woodland being lost to development in Britain is being made worse because of a lack of accurate data.
    The Woodland Trust says that systems are so poor, the government cannot say how much ancient forest has disappeared in the last 10 years.
  • 25 February – Planning officers urge improvement to development plans regime – See the article on localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk
    The current system of development plans is “essentially sound” but there are a number of areas where it could be improved, the Planning Officers Society has said.
  • 24 February – Pickles approves 500-home Lancashire scheme – See Out-law.com
    Secretary of State (SoS) Eric Pickles has granted outline planning permission on appeal for a major housing scheme after finding that Ribble Valley Borough Council could not demonstrate a five year housing land supply
  • 21 February – The UK needs an effective policy on rural development to safeguard affordable housing, says Peter Moore – See Inside Housing
    The Rural Alliance and the Rural Services Network are forming an alliance to ensure the rural voice remains heard and carries influence.
  • 21 February – Barrow Parish Council fails in High Court bid to stop development – See the Leicester Mercury
    A parish council has failed in its High Court bid to stop 300 homes being built near a village.
  • 18 February – Minister lobbied over village homes – See the Blackpool Gazette
    Mark Menzies has written to the Planning Minister, Nick Boles, after meeting anti-development pressure group –the Community Association for the Protection of Wrea Green (CAPOW) to discuss its concerns over the number of possible new housing estates being earmarked for the picturesque village.
  • 15 February – Flood-hit areas earmarked for more homes – See the Telegraph
    Councils have issued plans to build hundreds of new homes in some of the areas worst affected by the country’s flooding crisis
  • 15 February – The scale of flooding is not just a misfortune for which no one is to blame – See the Telegraph letters
    Sympathy .. quickly eroded when the Chairman of the Environment Agency blamed householders for choosing to live in flood-risk areas
  • 15 February – Problems created by the relaxation of development control – See the Telegraph letters
    Given that this development has been permitted by careless local planning authorities (despite their being in possession of rigorous planning controls), does the Prime Minister realise how many more such problems will be created by the relaxation of development control?
  • 13 February – Beware politicians trying to be armchair hydrologists – See the Guardian
    “politicians seek to become “armchair hydrologists” or reach for the easy option of looking for scapegoats in the middle of a national crisis”
  • 11 February 2014- 600-home scheme refused in Yorkshire despite lack of five-year land supply – See the Harrogate News
    Harrogate Borough Council has refused the planning application for housing on an greenfield area of land off Penny Pot Lane. Following 90 minutes of questions and debate, councillors voted with 10 supporting a refusal, 6 abstentions and none supporting the development.
    The validity of the traffic modelling was questioned. Local residents had undertaken their own actual studies and thought that traffic volumes would be much more than the standardised model used by Highways and the developer.
  • 6 February 2014- New Homes Bonus payments top £900m mark – See the government Planning Portal
    Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has confirmed the final allocations for this year’s New Homes Bonus payments – totalling over £900m – which will be shared among England’s 353 councils. The minister said: “The New Homes Bonus lets local people share in the benefits of development, with councils free to spend the money to benefit their local area.
  • 29 January 2014- High Court to decide meaning of ‘deliverability’ in the NPPF – See the Out-law.com
    The High Court will this week hear arguments about the meaning of ‘deliverability’ in planning policy in a case involving a challenge to an outline planning permission for a 300-home development at Barrow on Soar
  • 19 December 2013 – Government planning policy puts England’s green belts at risk, suggests new research – See the LGiU (Local Government information Unit)
    Half of the councils in England with green belt land are preparing to allocate some of it for development whilst brownfield sites throughout the country are overlooked, suggests research published by the National Trust.
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