Monthly Archives: February 2017

 

The Urbanissta Legal Beagle is on the case!

 

Welcome to the Urbanissta Legal Beagle’s case law reviews – we’re tracking the decisions on proposed developments to see what precedents have been set in recent judgements and decisions that might be useful to you, day to day.

We provide a summary of recent decisions for your reference below and via the links, or you can download the full decision letters should you wish. We’ll be giving you an updated review each month so remember to keep any eye out for our updates in the weeks to come!

Housing shortfall leads to approval

Land to the west of Mill Road, Over, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Appeal Ref: APP/W0530/W/16/3148949

Appeal Decision Date: 18.01.17 

Appellant: Bloor Homes

Respondent: South Cambridgeshire District Council

The appeal was made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a failure to give notice within the prescribed period of a decision on an application for outline planning permission.

Background 

Bloor Homes (Eastern) made an application for the development of 55 dwellings with associated access, infrastructure and open space at Land to the west of Mill Road in South Cambridgeshire.

The Council refused the application on the following basis:

  • The scale of development in the group village was not considered to be sustainable. Furthermore, future occupants would need access to a private car in order to access basic social and community facilities, employment and schools
  • Site is located at a gateway to a village in the Countryside. The Council raised concern that the development could not accommodate the quantum of development proposed without materially detracting from the rural character of the setting of the village

Note: The Council also raised issue in respect of the achievement of the minimum separation distances between dwellings sought by the District Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document. However, this concern was later dropped as the master plan demonstrated that this could be achieved.

The main issues raised at the inquiry were:

  • Access to shops, employment, and community facilities for proposed developments
  • The effect on the rural character and village settings

Sustainable development and access to employment, shops and services

It was agreed that as the Council fall short of their 5 year supply of land, the blanket application of the existing settlement hierarchy would significantly restrict the achievement of boosting the supply of housing. Limited weight was attached to Policies DP/1a and DP/7, furthermore, due to the draft status of the emerging policies, these were considered to have little bearing on the matter.

Turning to the access to the school (Swavesey Village College) and shops, it was held that the school was within an accessible distance to the Site on the basis that the school is approximately 4.5km from the site and the average trip in the National Travel Survey is 5.2km – 7.3 km for rural or fringe locations and 12.2 km for rural villages and as such there were available means of transport that could be utilised other than the use of a private car.

In terms of shopping and employment there would be likely to be a need to travel outside the village, however, this would be no different to general population who rely on private vehicles. The inspector was satisfied that there were means of realistic and reasonable opportunities for the use of transport other than the private car (bicycle & bus). It was therefore concluded that there was limited harm arising from the access to facilities, due to the limited access to shops.

Rural Character and village setting

As the application was an outline with only matters of access to be considered, appearance was reserved for future consideration and therefore the detail and assessment of layout was not considered at inquiry and was not considered determinative of a future scheme. The development was found to be acceptable in visual terms and was considered not to conflict with policies DP/2 and DP/3 in the DCP. The Inspector was satisfied that the proposal would not have a detrimental impact and would outweigh the benefits of the scheme when assessed against the relevant policies. On this basis the scheme was considered to be sustainable and decided that it should be allowed.

It was agreed that the Council was unable to demonstrate a 5 year supply of land for housing and the policy restricting housing development outside the village boundary was considered ‘out of date’. The inspector was satisfied that the quantum of development could be acceptably accommodated and details in respect of appearance would be subject of future reserved matters application, allowing for detailed consideration of the “finer grain effects of any development” be reviewed at a later stage.

Conclusion 

South Cambridgeshire was unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing and policies ST/6, DP/1 and DP/7 were considered out of date. Inspector therefore gave limited weight to them. Moreover, the proposed development was deemed to be acceptable in visual terms, with reasonable access to most services and facilities. Reliance on private cars was considered to give rise.

Considering the above, the Inspector was satisfied that any adverse impacts would not significantly outweigh the benefits of the scheme when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole.

Based on the above, the appeal was successful.

Download Decision PDF here

2 A significant and a serious shortfall of housing leads to approval

Land west of Shilton Road, Burford

The application Ref 15/00166/OUT

Appeal Decision Date: 17.01.17 

Appellant: Hallam Land Management Ltd

Respondent: West Oxfordshire District Council

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant outline planning permission.

Background

Hallam Land Management Ltd made an outline application for the development of up to 91 dwellings (50% affordable) and 5.2 acres of care provision comprising of up to 78 assisted/supported living apartments and up to a 90-bed care home; new accesses onto Shilton Road (B4020), local infrastructure improvements including new crossings on the Shilton Road and A40, and open space; landscaping and biodiversity enhancements.

The inspector considered the main issues to be: 

  • The effect on the character and appearance of the area having particular regard to its landscape setting, local distinctiveness and the established settlement pattern
  • Accessibility to services and facilities and choice of modes of transport
  • The effect of the proposed development on local services and facilities
  • The effect of the proposed development on biodiversity
  • Whether the development proposed represents sustainable development which ought to be permitted

Character and appearance

The Inspector noted that harm would be experienced, albeit, temporarily through the visibility of massed building on elevated ground within a vista characterised by a wooded fringe to Burford. This harm however, could be mitigated by reducing the building heights along the southern margin and by implementing a robust planting scheme to completely screen or potentially assimilate the buildings within the perceived woodland environment.

The inspector considered that the harmful conflict with the Development Plan and Framework could be overcome and as such, the proposal would not have a material effect on the character or appearance of the Burford Conservation Area or on the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB.

Accessibility

It was held that the proposed development would be sufficiently accessible to services and facilities and the inspector was satisfied that the development would allow realistic modes of transport with the less mobile elderly having limited choice as this is the case in many care situations.

Services and facilities

The Council also raised concern in respect of the lack of any agreed mitigation package on its impact on the local community and facilities. It was considered that the conflict with policy BE1 could be resolved as the development could be adequately mitigated, as

evidenced by the Council’s stated contentment with the scope and content of the bi-lateral agreements entered into”.

Biodiversity

The Inspector considered that a revised layout could conserve or retain the species rich area. The Inspector was satisfied that, in principle, the proposed development not have a detrimental effect on biodiversity which would harmfully conflict with the development plan, the Framework, or the relevant protective legislation.

Conclusion 

The Inspector concluded that the policies within the West Oxfordshire District Council Local Plan were not up to date and the Council could not demonstrate a five-year land supply. As the Council could only demonstrate between 2 and 3 years of housing land supply, this was considered significant and a serious shortfall to which significant weight was given.

On the basis of the above, the appeal was allowed.

Download Decision PDF here

3 Doubt cast over the status of policies leads to approvals

Land at and to the rear of 9 Church Road, Wickham Bishops, Essex CM8 3LA

Appeal Ref: APP/X1545/W/16/3152640

Appeal Decision Date: 1 February 2017

Appellant: MAZ Dev Ltd

Respondent: Maldon District Council

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant outline planning permission.

Background

MAZ Dev Ltd made an application for the demolition of an existing dwelling and erection of up to 52 residential dwellings with associated vehicular access at land at and to the rear of 9 Church Road, Wickham Bishops, Essex CM8 3LA.

The Inspector considered the main issues to be:

  • The effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area
  • The accessibility to services and facilities by sustainable means of transport
  • The amount of affordable housing to be provided

Policy Position

The Development Plan for Maldon consists of the Maldon District Replacement Local Plan saved policies (RLP) (2005). It was noted that the housing policies only covered the period up to 2011 and therefore have now expired. However, the Council were making some headway in the development of a new Local Development Plan (LDP) which has been submitted for Examination and is at an advanced stage.

Character of area

Majority of the site falls outside the development boundary however, policies for the provision of housing covered the period up to 2011 and have expired. Furthermore, the site fell within a Special Landscape Area and Policy CC7 presumed against development in Special Landscape Areas, unless the character of the area was conserved. The Council admitted that it had no particular landscape value and therefore, it was agreed that the impact of the proposal on the landscape would be limited.

The Inspector also noted that saved Policy CC7 conflicts with paragraph 113 of the Framework which requires that policies for development on protected landscape areas should be criteria-based. Based on the above, limited weight was given to that policy. In respect of the harm to the character and appearance of the area, moderate to significant weight was given to the harm. Although the development did not comply with Policy CC6 (permits development in the countryside which would not harm landscape character), the development complied with BE1 of the RLP, D1 of the LDP and Policy H4 of the LDP as the proposal would retain existing landscape features and would be in keeping with the adjacent residential areas.

Housing Supply

The Inspector noted that the housing supply policies are out-of date notwithstanding the existence of a 5 year supply. Saved policy H1 of the RLP, Saved policy H1 of the RLP, Policy S2 of the RLP and policy CC6 of the RLP restrict development outside the development boundaries which constrain the supply of new and carry limited weight as they are considered ‘out of date’.

Accessibility

The village was considered to be in a sustainable location for new development given that it has local facilities and good public transport connections. It was established that in principle, further development of the larger village would be sustainable. The Inspector concluded that Policies D1, H4, T1 and T2 require developments to be well connected to local services and facilities and that there are safe and attractive routes for walking and cycling. The proposal would accord with those draft policies.

Affordable Housing

The SHMA indicates a general need in the district for affordable housing. Given the out of date nature of the housing policies, some weight albeit limited was given to the emerging policy H1 as it has not been examined. The Inspector concluded that 40% affordable housing provision as stipulated in emerging policy H1 of the LDP would be justified.

Conclusion

The Inspector found that despite the Council being able to demonstrate a greater than 5 years housing land supply, the NPPF requires local authorities to give  significant boost to the supply of housing, This was given significant weight in favour of the proposals, in addition to the 40% affordable housing proposed. The proposed development was reasonably sustainable. In considering the planning balance the Inspector considered that the benefits of the proposals outweighed the identified harms

In light of the above, the appeal was allowed.

Download Decision PDF here

4 Countryside site has been given approval due to land supply shortfall

Land off Dowbridge Kirkham

Appeal Ref: APP/M2325/W/16/3144925

Appeal Decision Date: 23 January 2017

Appellant: Hollins Strategic Land

Respondent: Fylde Borough Council

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a failure to give notice within the prescribed period of a decision on an application for outline planning permission.

Background

An appeal was made by Hollins Strategic Land against the non determination of a planning application for an outline development of 170 units in Dowbridge Kirkham. The development involved the loss of 11.3 hectares of grade 3a best and most versatile land (13ha in total).

In allowing the appeal and granting permission the Inspector gave consideration to the three main issues:

  • The effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape and on the setting of Kirkham
  • Flood risk considerations
  • The effect of the proposal on highway safety

Character and appearance of the surrounding landscape and on the setting of Kirkham

The Inspector was satisfied that the appeal scheme would be viewed as an extension of the existing urban area and that the appeal proposal would result in a modest erosion of the landscape character of this part of the open countryside contrary to LP housing policy HL2. This requires, amongst other things, that housing proposals are in keeping with the character of the locality.

The Council’s own assessment was that the site only has a moderate sensitivity to development. The Appellant provided evidence that other sites of high sensitivity had been granted planning permission.

Whilst it was identified that there would be some moderate harm to the setting of Kirkham, it would still read as a historic settlement on higher land surrounded by lower lying farmland.

The proposal was identified as contrary to LP Policy HL2 and Policies EP10 and EP11. Whilst the Council cited paragraph 109 of the Framework in its reason for refusal, it could not be seen as forming part of a ‘valued landscape’.

Flood Risk

Development would be located in flood zone 1 and The Environment Agency and Council were satisfied with the strategy in the FRA. The FRA set out an approach to the technical solutions which would be used to control the additional surface water run-off so as not to increase the risk of flooding elsewhere. The Inspector concluded that if such measures were adopted the risk of flooding elsewhere would not be materially increased and the flood risk to on-site development would be acceptable provided the dwellings were all located within flood zone 1.

Highway

The proposals have been subject to a road safety audit and two separate traffic speed surveys have been undertaken. Subject to the measures proposed being adopted the appeal scheme would not compromise highway safety in the vicinity of the site. In terms of highway safety, the proposal would not materially compromise the safety of pedestrians and other road users.

The Council has a deliverable supply of 4.8 years. As a result the Council has conceded that it did not have a 5YHLS which means that relevant policies for the supply of housing will not be considered up-to-date.

The proposal would be contrary to LP policies SP1 and SP2 in that it would be in the open countryside and outside a settlement boundary. It would also result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land and there would be a modest erosion of landscape character. However, relevant policies for the supply of housing are out of date.

“There is a serious and significant shortfall in the housing supply and more particularly a substantial need for affordable homes. The homes would be located in an accessible location and would bring economic activity and other benefits in terms of construction work…..The balancing exercise to be carried out in the first limb of paragraph 14 is not a straight balance; it is often referred to as a tilted balance because planning permission must be granted unless the adverse impact of the development significantly and demonstrably outweighs the benefits. In this case, I am satisfied that the adverse impacts which I have identified do not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

Conclusion

The Inspector highlighted that the proposal would be contrary to LP policies SP1 and SP2 in that it would be in the open countryside and outside a settlement boundary. There would also be a loss of agricultural land and a modest erosion of landscape character, moderate amount of visual and moderate amount to the setting of Kirkham, all of which are contrary to the development plan when viewed as a whole, however, as the policies related to supply of housing were out of date, and there was a significant shortfall in housing supply and a need for affordable housing, less weight was given to Policies SP1 and SP2.

The Inspector concluded that on balance, the adverse impacts identified did not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal.

On the basis of the above, the appeal was allowed.

Download Decision PDF here

5 Development of rural site allowed after mitigation to protect rural setting agreed

Land off Sturton Road, Saxilby, Lincoln, Lincolnshire

Appellant: S Myers on behalf of Leverton Farms Ltd

Respondent: West Lindsey District Council

Appeal Ref: APP/N2535/W/16/3142445

Appeal Decision Date: 20 January 2017

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant outline & full planning permission.

Background

An appeal was made by Mr S Myers on behalf of Leverton Farms Ltd against the decision of West Lindsey District Council to refuse outline and full planning permission for up to 133 dwellings with all matters reserved and the change of use of agricultural land to a cemetery.

The site occupies approximately 5.75 hectares of agricultural land to the north of Saxilby, and to the west of Sturton Road. The appeal was allowed and Outline/full planning permission was granted.

The main issues for consideration were:

  • The effect of the proposed development on the rural character and appearance of the landscape
  • The effect of the proposed development on the setting of the nearby Grade I listed Church of St. Botolph. The Inspector also took into consideration comments raised during the hearings regarding amenity of future occupiers and the need for a cemetery

Note: Housing land supply was also a consideration in determining the appeal.

Rural character and appearance of the landscape

The Inspector noted that the site, whilst being in the countryside, was well related to the existing settlement. Development of this site would not lead to the loss of rural character to the north of the village. It would be possible to incorporate a layout and design of development which would not result in an overall unacceptable impact on the wider landscape character of the rural area.

Effect on Grade I listed Church of St. Botolph

The appellant incorporated open space within the layout in such a manner as to preserve a clear vista from north of Saxilby towards the tower of the church, and maintain a degree of spatial relationship with the medieval heritage assets to the north. The Inspector concluded that the proposal would lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset.

The appellant has sought to address the impact on schools and healthcare within the application as raised during the application process. Contributions proposed towards open space provision on the site, and a MUGA within the village to address the increased demand on existing facilities.

Access

The Inspector expressed satisfaction that the existing footpath network allows good access to the village, with the various services and facilities all within reasonable walking distance and that whilst the final quantum of development was to be agreed, the inspector had not been provided with any compelling evidence which demonstrates that it would not be possible to provide access to the appeal site without an adverse impact on highway safety.

Drainage

On the matter of drainage, the Inspector gave regard to the approval in principle to the use of on SUDS on the site which has been provided by the lead drainage authority, Anglian Water, and the Environment Agency.

Housing supply

On the matter of housing land supply, the Council maintained that they had 5.26 years of supply, but the appellant stated that this figure was based on a low range of OAN and dependant on sites proposed for allocation in an emerging plan which had a number of objections outstanding.  It has conceded that as a consequence of its inability to currently demonstrate sufficient allocations within the spatial strategy of the current Local Plan to meet supply, its housing supply policies should be considered to be out of date.

The proposals were therefore assessed against the presumption in favour of sustainable development including the provision of 133 homes and affordable housing. It was also identified as an accessible and sustainable location for new development as well as limited social provision for Saxilby in the form of the extension to the cemetery and additional footpath links, as well as the economic benefits related to the construction and future occupation.

Conclusion

The inspector noted that the proposal would result in there being less than substantial harm to the setting of the listed church. The public benefit in respect of the provision of additional housing including affordable units, the extension to the cemetery, and the economic benefits attached to the proposals, would outweigh the harm to the setting of the listed building and in allowing the appeal, the Inspector stated that:

“I am satisfied that the benefits of the proposed development would clearly outweigh the identified harm, and that having regard to all other matters raised and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development set out in paragraph 7 of the Framework, the scheme does represent sustainable development. For the reasons given above, and subject to the conditions attached, the appeal should be allowed.”

Download Decision PDF here

6 Residential development did not constitute the very special circumstances to justify development in the Green Belt

Land at Harlow Road, Moreton Ongar, Essex CM5 0DL.

Appeal Ref: APP/J1535/W/16/3158086

Appeal Decision Date: 23 January 2017

Appellant: Mr Allen Neville

Respondent: Epping Forest District Council

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant outline planning permission.

Background

An appeal was submitted by Mr Allen Neville against the decision of Epping Forest District Council to refuse new housing development at Harlow Road, Moreton Ongar, Essex CM5 0DL. Details of the development were that ‘is a new housing development’.

In dismissing the appeal, the Inspector highlighted the following issues:

  • Whether the proposal would be inappropriate development within the Green Belt and the effect on the openness of the Green Belt
  • The effect on highway safety under Article 5(2) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015
  • If the development is inappropriate, whether the harm, by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations. If so would this amount to the very special circumstances necessary to justify the proposal

In dismissing the appeal, the Inspector made the following comments:

Green Belt

Policy GB2A of the Epping Forest District Local Plan Alterations (‘LP’) adopted in July 2006 does allow for development that is in accordance with another Green Belt policy, Policy GB16. Affordable housing within smaller settlement in the district may be acceptable if there is demonstrable local need.

The proposal would therefore not be inappropriate development in the Green Belt if it can be shown to be limited affordable housing for local needs and in accordance with the policies in the development plan. However, the application was not supported by a proper appraisal of local housing need, nor is it supported by the Parish Council as required by Policy GB16. In 2013, the Parish Council completed a full Housing Needs Survey for the Parish (completed by the Rural Community Council of Essex) but there is no reference to this in the appellant’s evidence. There is no legal agreement or any other mechanism before me to secure affordable housing on the site to meet local needs.

On the evidence before the inspector this application did not fall within a category which would be considered appropriate or defined as a very special circumstance. Substantial weight was attached to paragraph 88 of the Framework in terms of inappropriateness and harm to openness of the green belt from the development. The Inspector also referenced the Government’s Planning Practice Guidance which states that:

‘Unmet housing need is unlikely to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and other harm to constitute the “very special circumstances” justifying inappropriate development on a site within the Green Belt’.

Highway

The Inspector further noted that the proposals failed to demonstrate that there would not be harm to highway safety and such would conflict with Policies ST4 and GB16 (iii) of the LP:

“which supports new development subject to it not being detrimental to highway safety.”

Land supply

In terms of land supply and paragraph 49, the Council does not have a five-year supply of housing land. Policy GB2 should (not) (Urbanissta included) be regarded as a relevant policy for the supply of housing in this case. However, it was noted that the Government attaches great importance to the Green Belt and because it is broadly consistent with the Framework and the Inspector therefore attached significant weight to it. In light of this, the site was not regarded as a sustainable location and the Appeal was dismissed.

Conclusion

The Inspector only attached moderate weight to the considerations that weighed in favour of the proposal, however, concluded that, the considerations do not outweigh the substantial weight given to the harm to the Green Belt. As such, a very special circumstance could not be established.

Download Decision PDF here

7 Appeal dismissed as the proposal failed to take into consideration the impact on living conditions of existing and future occupiers

Former KSS Factory Site, Off Constable Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, Cumbria CA2 6AB

Appeal Ref: APP/E0915/W/16/3158612

Appeal Decision Date: 23 January 2017

Appellant: Citadel Estates Ltd

Respondent: Carlisle City Council

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant planning permission.

Background

An appeal was submitted by Citadel Estates Ltd against the decision of Carlisle City Council for the refusal of permission for the demolition of redundant factory buildings and replacement with 50 new terraced dwellings.

The Inspector identified the three main issues for consideration as:

  • Whether the site is appropriate for housing development having regard to local and national policies relating to development in areas at risk of flooding
  • Whether the proposal would represent good, accessible and inclusive design with particular reference to its effect on existing and future occupiers’ living conditions
  • The effect the proposal would have on the habitats and biodiversity of the River Eden

In dismissing the appeal, the Inspector made the following points:

Flood Risk

The appellant had not provided appropriate evidence in the Flood Risk Assessment to show that the Robert Ferguson School catchment area is an appropriate one over which to conclude that there are no sequentially preferable sites, particularly in light of the Council’s evidence to show that there are sites of lower risk of flooding within the district.

Design

The overall design approach of the site would create a more contained arrangement contrary to the arrangement of the adjoining streets. In reviewing separation distances, there were clearly issues of overlooking and loss of outlook and privacy. The Inspector also noted that the orientation of the proposed building would limit opportunities for daylight and the overall development would create an oppressive scheme.

The proposed layout was identified as failing to create an accessible and inclusive development which would be well integrated into its surroundings nor avoid adverse effects on the living conditions of existing and future occupiers.

The cumulative harmful effects arising from the layout of the development would result in poor design that fails to take the opportunities for improving the character and quality of the area and the way it functions, circumstances in which the Framework indicates that permission should be refused.

Habitats and Biodiversity

With regards to the third point for consideration, the Carlisle City Council advised that they no longer wish to pursue an objection. On the basis of their third refusal reason in light of evidence to show that there would be no significant effects subject to mitigation measures during construction and in the design of the surface water drainage scheme, on the River Eden Special Area of Conservation and the River Eden and Tributaries Site of Special Scientific Interest. The inspector stated that in this case the avoidance of harm does not amount to a positive consideration.

The proposal would result in the redevelopment of previously developed land in an accessible location and would deliver a considerable number of new houses.  This is supported in principle by policies in the CDLP and by the Framework’s core planning principle of encouraging the effective use of land and its aim to boost significantly the supply of housing.  These are matters which carry considerable weight in favour of the proposal. The benefits however, are significantly outweighed by the harm of locating housing within an area at risk of flooding unsupported by a Sequential Test. It was therefore held that, the development was not sustainable development and contrary to the environmental role the Framework.

Conclusion

The Inspector noted that although there were benefits to the Scheme proposed, it did not display the high quality of design and layout required by development plan and national policies. The benefits were therefore significantly outweighed by the harm of locating housing within an area at risk of flooding unsupported by a Sequential Test. It was therefore held that, the development was not sustainable development and contrary to the environmental role the Framework.

Download Decision PDF here

8 Appellant failed to provide evidence to demonstrate that the proposal would not impact archaeological assets

Creedwell Orchard, Milverton, Somerset TA4 1PL

Appeal Ref: APP/D3315/W/16/3148085

Appeal Decision Date: 20 January 2017

Appellant: S Notaro Limited

Respondent: Taunton Deane Borough Council.

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant planning permission.

An appeal was made by S. Notaro Limited against the refusal of permission for 70 new homes at Creedwell Orchard, Milverton replacing extant permission for 72 homes.

The appeal was dismissed by the planning inspectorate and in considering the application the issues were:

  • Whether the proposed development would provide a suitable site for housing, having regard to development plan policies
  • The effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the surrounding area including the setting of the Milverton Conservation Area
  • The effect of the proposed development on potential archaeological interests
  • Whether appropriate provision is made for affordable housing
  • Whether future occupiers of the development proposed would be provided with adequate opportunities to travel by means other than the private car, so contributing to sustainable travel patterns
  • Whether appropriate provision is made for children’s play spaces

In dismissing the appeal, the inspector made the following pertinent comments.

Character and appearance of the surrounding area including the setting of the Milverton Conservation Area

The appeal site was outside of the defined settlement boundary and as such contrary to policies SP1 and SADMP Policy SB1 which seek to prevent residential development outside of settlement boundaries. The appeal site whilst not within the Conservation Area but was closely related to it. Development on the site was considered to conflict with the Conservation Area and the wider countryside.

Archaeological Interest

Taunton Deane Borough Council had asked for additional evaluation to assess the potential for archaeological remains, which was not addressed by the appellant and could not be dealt with through condition, and as such was identified as being the key to the acceptability of the scheme.

Affordable housing

The appellant proposed to provide contributions in lieu of on site affordable housing and indicted that on site provision was not viable. No evidence was provided to support this claim.

Travel Plan

The Travel Plan would not provide appropriate measures to reduce the need to travel by car as reliance on a car park is not a sustainable option.

Children’s Play Space

The open space provision proposed falls below policy requirements would not be in an accessible location. An extant permission exists on the site which the inspector considered in terms of whether a fallback position existed. The inspector took into account the impact of both proposals:

“Consequently, I find that the proposed development would result in very significant conflict with the up to date development plan and that the extant permission as a fallback does not carry such weight as to justify granting planning permission contrary to the development plan.”

Conclusion

Proposals for 70 dwellings at Creedwell Orchard, Somerset were dismissed due to the impact of development on the adjacent Conservation Area. The Appellants did not provide the evidence to show that the development did not impact on remaining archaeological assets. The Inspector indicated that the proposals did not justify a reduction in affordable housing and would not implement measures to reduce the need to travel by car through a Travel Plan.

Download Decision PDF here

9 Through the application of Article 3(4), a condition set out by Epping Forest District Council excludes rights under Class Q of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO

Greensted Wood Farm, Greensted Road, Ongar, Essex CM5 9LE

Appeal ref: APP/J1535/W/16/3146745

Appeal Decision Date: 20 January 2017

Appellant: Mr Robert J Cameron

Respondent: Epping Forest District Council

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant planning permission.

Background

An appeal was submitted by Mr Robert J Cameron against the decision of Epping Forest District Council to refuse approval for change of use and conversion of agricultural storage barn and curtilage to single dwelling house and curtilage at Greenstead Wood Farm in Ongar.

This appeal related to an application made under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class Q of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) (the GPDO).

In dismissing the appeal, the main issue in this application was whether the proposals met the criterion of the permitted development.

The application form was not specific in detailing the proposed development. The appellant argued that a determination was not made within the statutory time frame. However evidence was produced which showed that the Council advised the appellant that the proposed application falls outside the remit of the prior approval process.

The main issue therefore for the inspector to consider was whether Condition 1 was sufficient to exclude permitted development under Class Q:

  • Whether the proposal would be inappropriate development within the Green Belt and the effect on the openness of the Green Belt
  • The effect on highway safety under Article 5(2) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015
  • If the development is inappropriate, whether the harm, by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations. If so would this amount to the very special circumstances necessary to justify the proposal

This condition was imposed due to the site’s location within the Green Belt.

The building the subject of the appeal being granted planning permission in 2011 was subject to a number of conditions, including No 1 which required the barn building to be used only for agricultural purposes.  The condition also stated that the building shall not be used for ‘any other purpose’ including a dwelling or domestic storage:

The barn building hereby approved shall only be used for agricultural purposes in connection with the agricultural use of the unit at Greensted Wood Farm.  It shall not be used for any other purpose, including as a dwelling or as an annexe to the existing dwelling on this unit or for domestic storage.”

Article 3(4) of the GPDO states:

“Nothing in this Order permits development contrary to any condition imposed by any planning permission granted or deemed to be granted under Part 3 of the Act otherwise than by this Order.”

The Appellant’s argument was that because the GDPO post-dates the 2011 permission, the details of the 2011 permission does not exclude any permission granted by the GDPO, therefore the proposals represented permitted development. It was also contended that as Article 3(4) makes no reference to restrictions in respect of planning permissions granted after/before the relevant provision of the GPDO came into force, it could equlisly apply o permissions granted before that date.

The Inspector noted that it was not necessary for the GPDO to be specifically referred to – a condition can prevent something which is not ‘development’, such as landscaping even though it does not necessarily require planning permission. The issue in question was whether, objectively, the condition would restrict the use of the building so that the rights under the GPDO did not apply.

Conclusion

The Inspector concluded that through the application of Article 3(4), the condition excludes the rights under Class Q of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO and as a result the development would be contrary to the condition in question and therefore the proposed change of use was not permitted development.

The condition in stating that the building can only be used for agricultural use and “shall not be used for any other purpose” results in the exclusion of the use as a dwelling given the duty to protect the green belt. As such the appeal was dismissed.

Download Decision PDF here

The Legal Beagle will be back soon with more valuable information and analytics…

Any questions? Ask our Legal Beagle (here) – fetching facts and sitting down to analyse and advise.

Or do you have an industry related topic you would be interested in reading about on our site? If so, contact us (here) today.

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – the final proposal!

 

Part 4 of 4:  ‘Helping People Now’

The White Paper set out a broad range of reforms and alongside the document, the government published supporting technical documents which provided the evidence underpinning many of the white paper proposals.

What considerations were taken and what questions were asked?

Here are 5 key consultation documents which provided the evidence…

  1. Response to changes to the National Planning Policy Framework Consultations.

National Planning Policy: consultation on proposed changes (read more)

  1. Response to the starter homes regulations: technical consultation.

Starter home regulations: technical consultation (read more)

  1. Report of the Local Plans Expert Group – summary of representations and government response to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

 Report of the Local Plans Expert Group: government response to the CLG select committee inquiry (read more)

  1. Summary of responses to the technical consultation on implementation of planning changes, consultation on upward extensions and Rural Planning Review call for evidence.

Implementation of planning changes technical consultation (read more)

Upward extensions in London (read more)

Rural planning review: call for evidence (read more)

  1. Community infrastructure levy review and Three Dragon and University of Reading research report.

Community infrastructure levy review: report to government (read more)

So, how are the government going to ‘Help People Now’?

 They have proposed the following…

A – Continuing to support people to buy their own home – through ‘Help to Buy’ and ‘Starter Homes’:

  • In April 2017, the government will introduce the Lifetime ISA
  • They have committed £8.6 billion for the scheme to 2021, ensuring it continues to support homebuyers and stimulate housing supply. They also recognise the need to create certainty for prospective home owners and developers beyond 2021, so will work with the sector to consider the future of the scheme
  • They intend to make clear through the NPPF that starter homes, like shared ownership homes, should be available to households that need them most, with an income of less than £80,000 (£90,000 for London). Eligible first time buyers will also be required to have a mortgage
  • There will also be a 15 year repayment period for a starter home

The government will also change the NPPF to allow more brownfield land to be released for developments with a higher proportion of starter homes by:

  • Clarifying that starter homes, with appropriate local connection tests, can be acceptable on rural exception sites
  • The £1.2 billion Starter Home Land Fund will be invested to support the preparation of brownfield sites to support these developments
  • Through this wider range of government programmes, they expect to help over 200,000 people become homeowners by the end of the Parliament

B – Helping households who are priced out of the market to afford a decent home that is right for them through our investment in the Affordable Homes Programme:

  • In the Autumn Statement the government announced an extra £1.4bn for the Affordable Homes Programme, taking total investment in this programme to over £7bn to build around 225,000 affordable homes in this Parliament
  • Now they have opened up the programme, relaxing restrictions on funding so providers can build a range of homes including for affordable rent
  • They remain supportive of institutional investment in shared ownership and welcome suggestions for how they could assist the growth of this sector

C – Making renting fairer for tenants:

  • The government will consult early this year, ahead of bringing forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows, to ban letting agent fees to tenants
  • They will implement measures introduced in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which will introduce banning orders to remove the worst landlords or agents from operating, and enable local councils to issue fines as well as prosecute
  • In addition to that, they are proposing to make the private rented sector more family-friendly by taking steps to promote longer tenancies on new build rental homes, as set out in Part: 3

D – Taking action to promote transparency and fairness for the growing number of leaseholders:

  • The government will therefore consult on a range of measures to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold

E – Improving neighbourhoods by continuing to crack down on empty homes, and supporting areas most affected by second homes:

  • The new Community Housing Fund, which is supporting communities to take the lead in developing homes, including in areas particularly affected by second homes, they will consider whether any additional measures are needed
  • The government will also continue to support local authorities to encourage efficient use of the existing stock, making best use of homes that are long-term empty

F – Encouraging the development of housing that meets the needs of our future population:

  • The government is introducing a new statutory duty through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill on the Secretary of State to produce guidance for local planning authorities on how their local development documents should meet the housing needs of older and disabled people
  • They want to build on the evidence that already exists to help deliver outcomes that are best for older people.

G – Helping the most vulnerable who need support with their housing, developing a sustainable and workable approach to funding supported housing in the future:

  • The detailed arrangements for implementing the new model and approach to short term accommodation will be set out in a subsequent Green Paper which we will publish this Spring

H – Doing more to prevent homelessness by supporting households at risk before they reach crisis point as well as reducing rough sleeping:

  • The government is supporting Bob Blackman MP’s Homelessness Reduction Bill
  • Doubling the size of the Rough Sleeping Fund
  • Establishing a network of expert advisors to work closely with all local authorities to help bring them to the standard of the best
  • Exploring new models to support those that are the hardest to help
  • Want to consider whether social lettings agencies can be an effective tool

Sustainable Development and environment Proposals:

  • Together constitute its view of what sustainable development means for the planning system in England
  • The government propose to amend the list of climate change factors set out in the policy itself to include rising temperatures
  • They propose to make clear that local planning policies should support measures for the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change
  • They will make some amendments to clarify the application of the Exception Test
  • Clarify that planning applications for minor developments and changes of use are expected to meet the requirements of paragraph 103 of the document
  • Planning policies to manage flood risk should, where relevant, also address cumulative flood risks which could result from the combined impacts of a number of new but separate developments in (or affecting) areas identified as susceptible to flooding
  • Planning policies and decisions should take account of existing businesses and other organisations. Where necessary, to mitigate the impact of noise and other potential nuisances arising from existing development
  • The government proposes to amend the wording of paragraph 98 of the Framework

We listened to the debate on the White Paper, here are some high-lights:

  • Nicolas Soames “Neighbourhood plans are being undermined by rogue developers.”

Nicholas Soames MP is a British Conservative Party Member of Parliament for the constituency of Mid Sussex. Soames is a former Defence minister having served in the government of John Major.

  • John Healey – “Is this it?” and later added, “This is not a plan to fix the housing crisis!”

John Healey is a British Labour Party politician and former trade union and charity campaigner, who has been the Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne since 1997, and Minister of State for Housing. In 2010 he was elected to the shadow cabinet and appointed shadow health secretary. He stood down from the role in October 2011 and was succeeded by Andy Burnham.

  • Tim Baron called the White Paper an unambitious paper and that where the paper states ‘an average household annual wage was £80,000’, in his constituency average annual wage was £28,000! He called for more genuinely affordable homes and for the borrowing cap to be lifted. In response, Sajid Javid said that this was an opportunity for a cross party approach, but John Healey chose to use party politics
  • Whilst the SOS said that supply is the key to resolving the housing crisis, both Lucy Powell and Tracy Brabin criticized the SOS as supply is not the only reason, it is the rogue landlords within the Private Rented Sector that have properties which are unfit for human habitation which also plays a key part
  • One MP called for the house to address the elephant in the room which was the ideological pursuance of the Right to Buy scheme and the impact on Home Ownership and called for the SOS to confirm this was being removed – he would not confirm this
  • Many MPs asked the SOS to respond to Local Authorities requests to raise the cap so that they can build more affordable homes. Desmond Swayne MP called for greater empowerment of the public sector

Other notable points raised in the debate…

  • Capacity of planning departments – planning departments can increase their fees by 20%
  • Fees are being introduced for planning appeals
  • More measures introduced to speed up delivery including greater CPO powers through auction of sites, more straight forward completion notice processes and expiry of permissions
  • A developer’s track record can now be taken into account when reviewing development proposals
  • There is a requirement for all local authorities to show that they have exhausted all brownfield land first and have looked at density.  Density is a key area within this white paper
  • For the first time, the white paper sets out the steps that local authorities must take to show that they have looked at all other reasonable alternatives before releasing Green Belt sites

Here’s an interesting read…

Take a step back in time to when “Most people in Britain were well housed”.

The Housing Green Paper 2000 (read more)

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

The consultation will begin on 7th February 2017. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 2 May 2017. All responses should be received by no later than 23:45 on 2 May 2017.

This consultation is open to everyone. The government are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties from across the public and private sectors, as well as from the general public.

During the consultation, if you have any enquiries, please contact: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

You may respond by completing an online survey here

Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to: Planning Policy Consultation Team Department for Communities and Local Government Third Floor, South East Fry Building 2 Marsham Street SW1P 4DF

When you reply it would be very useful if you confirm whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include:

  • Your name
  • Your position (if applicable)
  • The name of organisation (if applicable)
  • An address (including post-code)
  • An email address
  • A contact telephone number

Sustainable Development and Environment Questions:

Question 34

Do you agree with the proposals to amend national policy to make clear that the reference to the three dimensions of sustainable development, together with the core planning principles and policies at paragraphs 18-219 of the National Planning Policy Framework, together constitute the Government’s view of what sustainable development means for the planning system in England?

Question 35

Do you agree with the proposals to amend national policy to:

  1. Amend the list of climate change factors to be considered during plan-making, to include reference to rising temperatures?
  2. Make clear that local planning policies should support measures for the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change?

Question 36

Do you agree with these proposals to clarify flood risk policy in the National Planning Policy Framework?

Question 37

Do you agree with the proposal to amend national policy to emphasise that planning policies and decisions should take account of existing businesses when locating new development nearby and, where necessary, to mitigate the impact of noise and other potential nuisances arising from existing development?

Question 38

Do you agree that in incorporating the Written Ministerial Statement on wind energy development into paragraph 98 of the National Planning Policy Framework, no transition period should be included?

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

We hope you found our 4 part review of the Housing White Paper 2017 useful. If you have any comments or questions please contact us. We would be happy to advise you on planning or anything else you wish to discuss.

If there is a particular topic that you would like covered in one of our blog posts, do let us know.

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – round three

 

Part 3: Diversifying the market

Ding, ding… round 3 of 4!

So, what else are people saying about the Housing White Paper which was presented to Parliament on the 7th February 2017?

The good…

“The White Paper represents a sensible smoothing of the rough edges of the planning system.”

Matthew Spry

Senior director and head of economics at planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners

The bad…

“Traditional methods of construction can no longer deliver the modern housing the UK needs. Our industry must radically transform.”

Andrew Richards

Managing director of Laing O’Rourke’s residential arm Explore Living

And the ugly…

“The modest proposals in the white paper will do little to address the housing crisis which has grown exponentially in the last few years.”

Jeremy Beecham

Labour, House of Lords

How are the government proposing to diversify the housing market?

Here it is in a nutshell…

A – Backing small and medium-sized builders to grow, including through the Home Building Fund:

  • Not to introduce a requirement for local authorities to keep a small sites register at this time, following the consultation last year
  • Launched the £3 billion Home Building Fund
  • New Accelerated Construction programme will support us in diversifying the market through partnering with small and medium-sized rms and others as development partners and contractors
  • Publicise our Help to Buy equity loan scheme to small and medium-sized builders
  • Promote the National Custom and Self Build Association’s portal for Right to Build, ensure the exemption from the Community Infrastructure Levy for self build remains
  • Support custom build through our Accelerated Construction programme
  • Work with lenders crease their lending in line with consumer demand. We are delighted that Virgin Money plans to start lending on custom build projects in the summer

B – Supporting custom-build homes with greater access to land and finance, giving more people more choice over the design of their home:

  • Change the National Planning Policy Framework so authorities know they should plan proactively for Build to Rent where there is a need, and to make it easier for Build to Rent developers to offer affordable private rental homes instead of other types of affordable housing
  • Ensure that family-friendly tenancies of three or more years are available

C – Bringing in new contractors through our Accelerated Construction programme that can build homes more quickly than traditional builders:

  • Set out, in due course, a rent policy for social housing landlords (housing associations
    and local authority landlords) for the period beyond 2020 to help them to borrow against future income, and will undertake further discussions with the sector before doing so

D – Encouraging more institutional investors into housing, including for building more homes for private rent, and encouraging family friendly tenancies:

  • Put social housing regulation on a more independent footing
  • Housing associations belong in the private sector
  • Urge housing associations to explore every avenue for building more homes
  • Expect housing associations to make every effort to improve their efficiency, in order
    to release additional resources for house- building

E – Supporting housing associations and local authorities to build more homes:

  • With local authorities to understand all the options for increasing the supply of affordable housing
  • explore scope for bespoke housing deals with authorities in high demand areas, which have a genuine ambition
  • The Homes and Communities Agency will be relaunched as Homes England

F – Boosting productivity and innovation by encouraging modern methods of construction in house building:

  • Stimulate the growth of this sector through our Accelerated Construction programme and the Home Builders’ Fund.
  • Support a joint working group with lenders, valuers and the industry
  • Consider how the operation of the planning system is working for modern methods of construction (MMC) developments
  • Work with local areas
  • Alongside the Home Building Fund, consider the opportunities for offsite rms to access innovation and growth funding and support for them to grow

Affordable Housing Proposals:

  • Introduce a household income eligibility cap of £80,000 (£90,000 for London) on starter homes
  • Introduce a definition of affordable private rented housing
  • We intend to publish a revised definition of affordable housing
  • Make it clear in national planning policy that local authorities should seek to ensure that a minimum of 10% of all homes on individual sites are affordable home ownership products
  • Whether these or any other types of residential development should be exempt from this policy

What did the HBF have to say about the Housing White Paper?

The White Paper reflects the key role private house builders have in addressing the broken housing market. They believe measures in the White Paper to ensure Local Authorities abide by responsibilities to bring greater volumes of land for development forward more quickly and to assist SME builders, could tackle some of the biggest barriers to further increasing housing supply.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation made the following key comments:

“The White Paper recognises that the private sector house building industry is key to addressing the chronic housing shortage we face and outlines steps to assist it deliver more homes. The industry is a major part of the solution and is committed to continued growth.”

“Huge progress has been made in recent years in terms of increasing housing supply. If we are to build more homes and meet the country’s acute needs, all parties involved in housing supply must up their game.”

“The industry is determined to meet the challenges laid down by Government and help deliver more homes more quickly. We will look to work with Government on the detail of the measures announced today to ensure they will lead to many more new homes being built in the coming years.”

“Plans to speed up the planning process, bring forward more developable land and make Local Authorities abide by their responsibilities are key. If we are to build more homes, we need more land coming through the system more quickly. Measures that will allow SME builders to build more homes will increase the capacity of the industry and result in increases in overall supply.”

Read the full article here

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

The consultation will begin on 7th February 2017. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 2 May 2017. All responses should be received by no later than 23:45 on 2 May 2017.

This consultation is open to everyone. The government are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties from across the public and private sectors, as well as from the general public.

During the consultation, if you have any enquiries, please contact: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

You may respond by completing an online survey here

Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to: Planning Policy Consultation Team Department for Communities and Local Government Third Floor, South East Fry Building 2 Marsham Street SW1P 4DF

When you reply it would be very useful if you confirm whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include:

  • Your name
  • Your position (if applicable)
  • The name of organisation (if applicable)
  • An address (including post-code)
  • An email address
  • A contact telephone number

Question 31

Do you agree with our proposals to: 018)?

  1. Amend national policy to revise the definition of affordable housing as set out in Box 4?
  2. Introduce an income cap for starter homes?
  3. Incorporate a definition of affordable private rent housing?
  4. Allow for a transitional period that aligns with other proposals in the White Paper (April 2

Question 32

Do you agree that:

  1. National planning policy should expect local planning authorities to seek a minimum of 10% of all homes on individual sites for affordable home ownership products?
  2. That this policy should only apply to developments of over 10 units or 0.5ha?

Question 33

Should any particular types of residential development be excluded from this policy?

Further questions relating to parts 4 will be issued for your consideration so hold your response until you have reviewed all the questions. Use this opportunity to have your say.

Tomorrow we will return to Part: 4 of our review of the Housing White Paper 2017…

The fourth proposal – ‘Helping people now’.

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – Part: 2

 

Building homes faster!

We are revisiting the Housing White Paper that was presented to Parliament on the 7th February 2017.

Stepping into the front door once more, looking at the 2nd proposal listed in the document.

But first, we are going to hurdle the shoes at that front door… Where people were very quick to put the boot in the White Paper!

“We were promised a white paper but got a white flag!” Harsh words from the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing – John Healey.

More interesting comments and headlines to follow…

You may be asking yourselves, how will the housing white paper affect you or those around you? Here is some basic information to fast track you to the answers – with more details further on in this article.

  • I want to downsize – there was no mention about cutting stamp duty or providing other incentives for last-time movers to help free up family homes
  • I want to buy my first home – there wasn’t a lot of news for first-time buyers, the government just reiterated what it’s already doing. In the shape of ‘Help to Buy’ equity loans, Isas, shared ownership and ‘Rent to Buy’ schemes
  • I’m a renter – more than four million households rent their home from a private landlord, nearly twice as many as 10 years ago, according to the housing white paper. Some of these households have to put up with below standard accommodation, but things are improving the government suggests
  • I’m a landlord – landlords have been on the government’s radar for several years and there appears to be no let-up in the white paper. Already having to contend with tax relief reductions and stamp duty rises, landlords may soon have to add extra layers of red tape to their list of woes
  • I’m a leaseholder – the government also announced in the white paper that it will act to promote fairness and transparency for the growing number of leaseholders, claiming there are currently around four million leasehold homes in England

Part: 2  The review of the Housing White Paper 2017 – Building homes faster

The Government will be:

A – Providing greater certainty for authorities that have planned for new homes and reducing the scope for local and neighbourhood plans to be undermined by changing the way that land supply for housing is assessed:

  • Amend the National Planning Policy Framework to give local authorities the opportunity to have their housing land supply agreed on an annual basis, and fixed for a one- year period
  • Where communities plan for housing through a neighbourhood plan, these plans should not be deemed out-of-date unless there is a significant lack of land supply for housing in the wider local authority area

B – Boosting local authority capacity and capability to deliver, improving the speed and quality with which planning cases are handled, while deterring unnecessary appeals:

  • Increase nationally set planning fees. Local authorities will be able to increase fees by 20% from July 2017
  • Make available £25m of new funding to help ambitious authorities in areas
    of high housing need to plan for new homes and infrastructure
  • Consult on introducing a fee for making a planning appeal

C – Ensuring infrastructure is provided in the right place at the right time by coordinating government investment and through the targeting of the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund:

  • Target the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund at the areas of greatest housing need

D – Securing timely connections to utilities so that this does not hold up getting homes built:

  • amend national policy so that local planning authorities are expected to identify the development opportunities that such investment offers at the time funding is committed
  • consulting on requiring local authorities to have planning policies setting out how high quality digital infrastructure will be delivered in their area
  • In assessing bids for these trials from local authorities, take account of which areas can demonstrate that they have policies setting out how high quality digital infrastructure will be delivered in their area
  • Work together across the government

Government will review what more we could do to ensure that utilities planning and delivery keeps pace with house building and supports development across the country:

  • Government will closely monitor performance to ensure house building is not being delayed and, if necessary, will consider obligating utility companies to take account of proposed development

E – Supporting developers to build out more quickly by tackling unnecessary delays caused by planning conditions, facilitating the strategic licensing of protected species and exploring a new approach to how developers contribute to infrastructure:

  • tackle unnecessary delays caused by planning conditions by taking forward proposals, through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, to allow the Secretary of State to prohibit conditions that do not meet the national policy tests, and to ensure that pre-commencement conditions can only be used with the agreement of the applicant. A new deemed discharge mechanism for planning conditions was introduced in 2015 and we are keen to hear more from developers, local authorities and other interested parties about how this is working and if we can streamline the process further
  • The government will roll out this approach to help other local authorities speed up the delivery of housing and other development
  • The government will examine the options for reforming the system of developer contributions including ensuring direct benefit for communities, and will respond to the independent review and make an announcement at the Autumn Budget 2017
  • Woking Borough Council and Natural England have piloted a new strategic approach to streamline licencing which focuses conservation where it will bring maximum benefits to great crested newts

F – Taking steps to address skills shortages by growing the construction workforce:

  • Launch a new route into construction in September 2019
  • Work across government, with the Construction Leadership Council
  • Explore whether this successful approach can be applied more broadly in the construction sector

G – Holding developers to account for the delivery of new homes through better and more transparent data and sharper tools to drive up delivery:

  • Holding local authorities to account through a new housing delivery test
  • Require more information to be provided about the timing and pace of delivery of new housing
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government will increase the transparency and quality of data
  • Subject to further consultation, large housebuilders may be required to publish aggregate information on build out rates
  • Amend national planning policy to encourage local authorities to consider how realistic it is that a site will be developed, when deciding whether to grant planning permission for housing development, on sites where previous permissions have not been implemented
  • Seeking views on whether an applicant’s track record of delivering previous, similar housing schemes should be taken into account by local authorities when determining planning applications for housing development
  • Considering the implications of amending national planning policy to encourage local authorities to shorten the timescales for developers to implement a permission for housing development from the default period of three years to two years, except where a shorter timescale could hinder the viability or deliverability of a scheme. We would particularly welcome views on what such a change would mean for SME developers
  • Simplify and speed up the completion notice process
  • Prepare new guidance to local planning authorities following separate consultation, encouraging the use of their compulsory purchase powers to support the build out of stalled sites
  • Keep compulsory purchase under review and welcome any representations for how it can be reformed further to support development
  • A new housing delivery test to ensure that local authorities and wider interests are held accountable for their role in ensuring new homes are delivered in their area
  • From November 2017, if delivery of housing falls below 95% of the authority’s annual housing requirement, we propose that the local authority should publish an action plan
  • From November 2017, if delivery of housing falls below 85% of the housing requirement, authorities would in addition be expected to plan for a 20% buffer on their five-year land supply
  • From November 2018, if delivery of housing falls below 25% of the housing requirement, the presumption in favour of sustainable development in the National Planning Policy Framework would apply automatically
  • From November 2019, if delivery falls below 45% the presumption would apply
  • From November 2020, if delivery falls below 65% the presumption would apply
  • Monitor the situation closely, and will not hesitate to take further action if required

Part: 2 – Proposals

NPPF Amendments & Applications

  • To give local authorities the opportunity to have their housing land supply agreed on an annual basis, and axed for a one-year period
  • LPAs who wish to take advantage of this policy will need to provide for a 10% buffer on their 5 year land supply A new housing delivery test through changes to the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance

Consultation

  • Consulting on requiring local authorities to have planning policies setting out how high quality digital infrastructure will be delivered in their area, and accessible from a range of providers

Information Collation & Analysis

  • Further to improve the quality and analysis of information on housing delivery
    • Better information on delivery
    • Better information on build out rates by builders
    • Better information on the development pipeline
  • We propose to put in place a duty on developers to provide local authorities
    with basic information (in terms of actual and projected build out) on progress in delivering the permitted number of homes, after planning permission has been granted
  • New requirements for the Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) produced by local planning authorities
  • Measure housing delivery using net annual housing additions
  • Rate of housing delivery in each area would be assessed as the average over a three-year rolling period
  • Support authorities experiencing significant under-delivery in addressing the challenges identified in their action plans

Regulation & Legislation

  • Amend  legislation to remove the requirement for the Secretary of State to confirm a completion notice before it can take effect
  • Amend legislation, subject to consultation, to allow a local authority to serve a completion notice on a site before the commencement deadline has elapsed, but only where works have begun
  • The government proposes a tiered approach to addressing the situation that would be set out in national policy and guidance

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

The consultation will begin on 7th February 2017. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 2 May 2017. All responses should be received by no later than 23:45 on 2 May 2017.

This consultation is open to everyone. The government are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties from across the public and private sectors, as well as from the general public.

During the consultation, if you have any enquiries, please contact: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

You may respond by completing an online survey here 

Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to: Planning Policy Consultation Team Department for Communities and Local Government Third Floor, South East Fry Building 2 Marsham Street SW1P 4DF

When you reply it would be very useful if you confirm whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include:

  • Your name
  • Your position (if applicable)
  • The name of organisation (if applicable)
  • An address (including post-code)
  • An email address
  • A contact telephone number

Consultation questions for Part: 2  

Question 16

Do you agree that:

  1. Where local planning authorities wish to agree their housing land supply for a one- year period, national policy should require those authorities to maintain a 10% buffer on their 5 year housing land supply?
  2. The Planning Inspectorate should consider and agree an authority’s assessment of its housing supply for the purpose of this policy?
  3. If so, should the Inspectorate’s consideration focus on whether the approach pursued by the authority in establishing the land supply position is robust, or should the Inspectorate make and assessment of the supply figure?

Question 17

In taking forward the protection for neighbourhood plans as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 12 December 2016 into the revised NPPF, do you agree that it should include the following amendments:

  1. A requirement for the neighbourhood plan to meet its share of local housing need?
  2. That it is subject to the local planning authority being able to demonstrate through the housing delivery test that, from 2020, delivery has been over 65% (25% in 2018; 45% in 2019) for the wider authority area?
  3. Should it remain a requirement to have site allocations in the plan or should the protection apply as long as housing supply policies will meet their share of local housing need?

Question 18

What are your views on the merits of introducing a fee for making a planning appeal? We would welcome views on:

  1. How the fee could be designed in such a way that it did not discourage developers, particularly smaller and medium sized rms, from bringing forward legitimate appeals.
  2. The level of the fee and whether it could be refunded in certain circumstances, such as when an appeal is successful.
  3. Whether there could be lower fees for less complex cases.

Question 19

Do you agree with the proposal to amend national policy so that local planning authorities are expected to have planning policies setting out how high quality digital infrastructure will be delivered in their area, and accessible from a range of providers?

Question 20

Do you agree with the proposals to amend national policy so that:

  • The status of endorsed recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission is made clear?
  • Authorities are expected to identify the additional development opportunities which strategic infrastructure improvements offer for making additional land available for housing?

Question 21

Do you agree that:

  1. The planning application form should be amended to include a request for the estimated start date and build out rate for proposals for housing?
  2. That developers should be required to provide local authorities with basic information (in terms of actual and projected build out) on progress in delivering the permitted number of homes, after planning permission has been granted?
  3. The basic information (above) should be published as part of Authority Monitoring Reports?
  4. That large house builders should be required to provide aggregate information on build out rates?

Question 22

Do you agree that the realistic prospect that housing will be built on a site should be taken into account in the determination of planning applications for housing on sites where there is evidence of non-implementation of earlier permissions for housing development?

Question 23

We would welcome views on whether an applicant’s track record of delivering previous, similar housing schemes should be taken into account by local authorities when determining planning applications for housing development.

Question 24

If this proposal were taken forward, do you agree that the track record of an applicant should
only be taken into account when considering proposals for large scale sites, so as not to deter new entrants to the market?

Question 25

What are your views on whether local authorities should be encouraged to shorten the timescales for developers to implement permission for housing development from three years to two years, except where a shorter timescale could hinder the viability or deliverability of a scheme? We would particularly welcome views on what such a change would mean for SME developers

Question 26

Do you agree with the proposals to amend legislation to simplify and speed up the process of serving a completion notice by removing the requirement for the Secretary of State to con rm a completion notice before it can take effect?

Question 27

What are your views on whether we should allow local authorities to serve a completion notice on a site before the commencement deadline has elapsed, but only where works have begun? What impact do you think this will have on lenders’ willingness to lend to developers?

Question 28

Do you agree that for the purposes of introducing a housing delivery test, national guidance should make clear that:

  1. The baseline for assessing housing delivery should be a local planning authority’s annual housing requirement where this is set out in an up-to-date plan?
  2. The baseline where no local plan is in place should be the published household projections until 2018/19, with the new standard methodology for assessing housing requirements providing the baseline thereafter?
  3. Net annual housing additions should be used to measure housing delivery?
  4. Delivery will be assessed over a rolling three year period, starting with 2014/15 – 2016/17?

Question 29

Do you agree that the consequences for under- delivery should be:

  1. From November 2017, an expectation that local planning authorities prepare an action plan where delivery falls below 95% of the authority’s annual housing requirement?
  2. From November 2017, a 20% buffer on top of the requirement to maintain a five year housing land supply where delivery falls below 85%?
  3. From November 2018, application of the presumption in favour of sustainable development where delivery falls below 25%?
  4. From November 2019, application of the presumption in favour of sustainable development where delivery falls below 45%?
  5. From November 2020, application of the presumption in favour of sustainable development where delivery falls below 65%?

Question 30

What support would be most helpful to local planning authorities in increasing housing delivery in their areas?

In the papers today…

Housing white paper an ‘encouraging signal’ (read more)

Housing white paper makes more questions than answers (read more)

Tomorrow we will return to Part: 3 of our review of the Housing White Paper 2017…

The third proposal – ‘Diversifying the market’.

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – out now!

 

Part 1: Fixing our broken housing market

The Housing White Paper was presented to Parliament yesterday (7th February 2017) by the Secretary of State for communities and local government, Sajid Javid.

We know that you are probably aware that it has been released, but we thought that we would provide you with a 4 part summary of the White Paper.

Today, we bring you part: 1 of 4.

The document, ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ published yesterday, presented a clear vision as to how the government can tackle the housing crisis.

Let’s be totally honest, we have a housing market that is broken in so many ways.

However, the UK have been presented with a plan, a direction, a solution and given us hope whilst we also negotiate our exit from, and a new partnership with, the European Union. Our government want to give the future generation affordable measures so they can rent homes, own homes and the UK can flourish as a country.  This can only be welcomed!

In the much-anticipated White Paper, the Prime Minister Theresa May began her foreword by acknowledging the challenges that the government face…

  • The broken housing market is one of the greatest barriers to progress in Britain today
  • Whether renting or buying, housing is increasingly unaffordable
  • The average house costs almost eight times the average earnings
  • In total, more than 2.2 million working households with below-average incomes spend a third or more of their disposable income on housing
  • We need to build many more houses, of the type people want to live in, in the places they want to live
  • More land is required for homes where people want to live
  • Up-to-date plans need to be in place
  • Ensure that homes are built quickly once planning permissions are granted
  • We’re giving councils and developers the tools they need to build more swiftly
  • We will encourage housing associations and local authorities to build more
  • Improving safeguards in the private rented sector, and doing more to prevent homelessness and to help households currently priced out of the market
  • By building the homes Britain needs and giving those renting a fairer deal

The foreword from the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP was straight to the point…

“This country doesn’t have enough homes. That’s not a personal opinion or a political calculation. It’s a simple statement of fact. For decades, the pace of house building has been sluggish at best. As a result, the number of new homes has not kept pace with our growing population.”

According to the Secretary of State, the White Paper explains how the government will fix the broken housing marketing. It covers the whole house building process, from finding sites to securing local support and permission as well as getting homes built quickly and sold on fair terms. But it also goes further, seeking to build consensus for a new, positive, mind-set to house building. A can-do approach that simply does not tolerate failure. The housing market has taken decades to reach the state it’s now in. Turning it around won’t be quick or easy. But it can be done. It must be done. And, as this White Paper shows, this government is determined to do it.

When the Housing White Paper was released yesterday, we studied it, listened about it and wanted to share our findings.

Here is our synopsis of the Housing White Paper 2017…

Part 1:

The government identifies three key challenges:

  • Firstly, over 40% of local planning authorities do not have a plan that meets the projected growth in households in their area… but some duck difficult decisions and don’t plan for the homes their area needs. The uncertainty this creates about when and where new homes will be built is both unpopular and affects the entire house building process – slowing it right down. Without an adequate plan, homes can end up being built on a speculative basis, with no co-ordination and limited buy-in from local people
  • Secondly, the pace of development is too slow – This government’s reforms have led to a large increase in the number of homes being given planning permission. But there is a large gap between permissions granted and new homes built
  • Finally, the very structure of the housing market makes it harder to increase supply. Housing associations have been doing well – they’re behind around a third of all new housing completed over the past five years 17 but the commercial developers still dominate the market. And within that sector, a handful of very big companies are responsible for most new building

The cause of our housing shortage is simple enough – not enough homes are being built. Fixing it is more complex.

The government indicates that it will do the following:

  • Firstly, we need to plan for the right homes in the right places. This is critical to the success of our modern industrial strategy. Growing businesses need a skilled workforce living nearby, and employees should be able to move easily to where jobs are without being forced into long commutes. But at the moment, some local authorities can duck potentially difficult decisions, because they are free to come up with their own methodology for calculating ‘objectively assessed need’. So, we are going to consult on a new standard methodology for calculating ‘objectively assessed need’, and encourage councils to plan on this basis. We will insist that every area has an up-to-date plan. And we will increase transparency around land ownership, so it is clear where land is available for housing and where individuals or organisations are buying land suitable for housing but not building on it
  • Secondly, build homes faster. We will invest in making the planning system more open and accessible, and tackle unnecessary delays. Development is about far more than just building homes. Communities need roads, rail links, schools, shops, GP surgeries, parks, playgrounds and a sustainable natural environment. Without the right infrastructure, no new community will thrive – and no existing community will welcome new housing if it places further strain on already stretched local resources. We’re giving councils and developers the tools they need to build more swiftly, and we expect them to use them. Local authorities should not put up with applicants who secure planning permission but don’t use it
  • Finally, diversify the housing market, opening it up to smaller builders and those who embrace innovative and efficient methods. We set out how we will support housing associations to build more, explore options to encourage local authorities to build again, encourage institutional investment in the private rented sector and promote more modular and factory built homes. We will also make it easier for people who want to build their own homes

The government acknowledges that the shortage in supply will not solve itself. They note that the housing shortage isn’t a looming crisis, a distant threat that will become a problem if we fail to act. We’re already living in it. Our population could stop growing and net migration could fall to zero, but people would still be living in overcrowded, unaffordable accommodation. Infrastructure would still be overstretched. This problem is not going to go away by itself. If we fail to build more homes, it will get ever harder for ordinary working people to afford a roof over their head, and the damage to the wider economy will get worse. They acknowledge that tackling the housing shortage won’t be easy. It will inevitably require some tough decisions.

The proposals in this White Paper set out how the government intends to boost housing supply and, over the long term, create a more efficient housing market whose outcomes more closely match the needs and aspirations of all households and which supports wider economic prosperity.

The list of proposals are summarised as:

  1. Right Homes in the Right Places.
  2. Building Homes Faster.
  3. Diversifying the market.
  4. Helping People now.

We address each of these proposals in detail.

Summary of proposals from Part: 1

The Government intends to:

NPPF Amendments:

  • Plans and policies should not duplicate one another
  • Tighten the definition of what evidence is required to support a ‘sound’ plan
  • Amend the tests of what is expected of a ‘sound’ plan, to make clear that it should set out ‘an’ appropriate strategy for the area
  • From April 2018 the new methodology for calculating housing requirements would apply as the baseline for assessing 5 year housing land supply and housing delivery in the absence of an up-to-date plan
  • Local planning authorities are expected to have clear policies for addressing the housing requirements of groups with particular needs
  • Identified housing requirement should be accommodated unless there are policies elsewhere in the National Planning Policy Framework that provide strong reasons for restricting development
  • Provide a strong reason to restrict development when preparing plans
  • The presumption in favour of sustainable development could be clarified further through some additional adjustments
  • Indicate that great weight should be attached to the value of using suitable brownfield land within settlements for homes
  • Encourage local planning authorities to consider the social and economic benefits of estate regeneration
  • Encourage a more proactive approach by authorities to bringing forward new settlements
  • Make clear that authorities should amend Green Belt boundaries only when they can demonstrate that they have examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development requirements
  • Make efficient use of land and avoid building homes at low densities
  • Address the particular scope for higher-density housing in urban locations
  • Ensure that the density and form of development reflect the character, accessibility and infrastructure capacity of an area
  • Make a flexible approach in adopting and applying policy and guidance that could inhibit  these objectives
  • Amend national planning guidance to highlight planning approaches that can be used to help support higher densities
  • Review the Nationally Described Space Standard and how it is used in planning

Regulations

  • They will set out in Regulations a requirement for these documents to be reviewed at least once every five years
  • Authorities are expected to prepare a Statement of Common Ground
  • Strategies require unanimous agreement of the members of the combined authority, regulations will allow them to allocate strategic sites
  • Local planning authorities are able to dispose of land with the benefit of planning consent which they have granted to themselves

Consultations

  • Make decisions on intervention on the basis of criteria, as set out in the consultation – making use of its existing powers and those proposed in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill
  • Consult on options for introducing a more standardised approach to assessing housing requirements
  • Consult on using powers in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 to issue a new General Disposal Consent, which would enable authorities to dispose of land held for planning purposes at less than best consideration without the need for specific consent from the Secretary of State

General Proposals

  • Allow spatial development strategies to allocate strategic sites
  • Increase the amount of planning data that is easily available to individuals, groups, entrepreneurs and businesses
  • Pilot programme  for data presentation
  • Local planning authorities should be able to demonstrate that they have a clear strategy to maximise the use of suitable land in their area
  • Local planning authorities are expected to provide neighbourhood planning groups with a housing requirement figure
  • Expect local planning authorities to have policies that support the development of small ‘windfall’ sites
  • Indicate that great weight should be given to using small undeveloped sites within settlements for homes
  • Highlight the opportunities that neighbourhood plans present for identifying and allocating small sites that are suitable for housing
  • Encourage local planning authorities to identify opportunities for villages to thrive
  • Give much stronger support for ‘rural exception’ sites that provide affordable homes for local people
  • At least 10% of the sites allocated for residential development in local plans should be sites of half a hectare or less
  • Work with developers to encourage the sub-division of large sites

Funding & Infrastructure

  • Use the new £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to encourage and support collaboration
  • Decisions on infrastructure investment take better account of the opportunities to support new and existing communities

Power of Direction

  • Allow the Secretary of State to direct a group of authorities to work together
  • Remove the policy expectation that each local planning authority should produce a single local plan
  • Set out in policy the key strategic priorities that every area is expected to plan for

HM Land Registry & Land Control

  • Government will collate and make openly available a complete list of all unregistered publicly held land by April 2018
  • Government will ensure completion of the Land Register
  • Government will ensure completion of the Land Register
  • Publicly-held land in the areas of greatest housing need will be registered by 2020
  • Improve the availability of data about wider interests in land
  • Will consult on improving the transparency of contractual arrangements used to control land
  • HM Land Registry will be modernised to become a digital and data-driven registration business
  • Examine how HM Land Registry and the Ordnance Survey can work more closely together
  • Government will ensure completion of the Land Register
  • HM Land Registry will make available, free of charge, its commercial and corporate ownership data set, and the overseas ownership data set
  • Consult on how the Land Register can better reflect wider interests in land
  • HM Land Registry will make available, free of charge, its commercial and corporate ownership data set, and the overseas ownership data set
  • Simplify the current restrictive covenant regime

Green Belt & New Towns

  • Legislate to enable the creation of locally accountable New Town Development Corporations
  • Amend policy to encourage a more proactive approach by authorities to bringing forward new settlements
  • Amend national policy to make clear that authorities should amend Green Belt boundaries only when they can demonstrate that they have examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development requirements
  • Where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require the impact to be offset
  • National policy to make clear that when carrying out a Green Belt review, local planning authorities should look first at using any Green Belt land which has been previously developed and/or which surrounds transport hubs
  • Appropriate facilities for existing cemeteries are not to be regarded as ‘inappropriate development’
  • Development brought forward under a Neighbourhood Development Order should also not be regarded as ‘inappropriate’
  • Where a local or strategic plan has demonstrated the need for Green Belt boundaries to be amended, the detailed boundary may be determined through
    a neighbourhood plan
  • Legislate to enable the creation of locally accountable New Town Development Corporations
  • Where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require the impact to be offset
  • When carrying out a Green Belt review, local planning authorities should look first at using any Green Belt land which has been previously developed and/or which surrounds transport hubs
  • Appropriate facilities for existing cemeteries are not to be regarded as ‘inappropriate development’
  • Development brought forward under a Neighbourhood Development Order should also not be regarded as inappropriate
  • Where a local or strategic plan has demonstrated the need for Green Belt boundaries to be amended, the detailed boundary may be determined through
    a neighbourhood plan
  • Local planning authorities are expected to provide neighbourhood planning groups with a housing requirement figure

Local & Neighbourhood

  • Local and neighbourhood plans (at the most appropriate level) and more detailed development plan documents (such as action area plans) are expected to set out clear design expectations
  • Strengthens the importance of early pre-application discussions
  • Design should not be used as a valid reason to object to development where it accords with clear design expectations set out in statutory plans
  • Recognizes the value of using a widely accepted design standard

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

The consultation will begin on 7 February 2017. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 2 May 2017. All responses should be received by no later than 23:45 on 2 May 2017.

This consultation is open to everyone. The government are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties from across the public and private sectors, as well as from the general public.

During the consultation, if you have any enquiries, please contact: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

You may respond by completing an online survey here:

Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to: planningpolicyconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to:

Planning Policy Consultation Team Department for Communities and Local Government

Third Floor, South East Fry Building 2 Marsham Street

SW1P 4DF

When you reply it would be very useful if you confirm whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include:

  • Your name
  • Your position (if applicable)
  • The name of organisation (if applicable)
  • An address (including post-code)
  • An email address
  • A contact telephone number

Consultation questions for Part: 1 

Question 1

Do you agree with the proposals to:

  1. a) Make clear in the National Planning Policy Framework that the key strategic policies that each local planning authority should maintain are those set out currently at paragraph

156 of the Framework, with an additional requirement to plan for the allocations needed to deliver the area’s housing requirement?

  1. b) Use regulations to allow Spatial Development Strategies to allocate strategic sites,
    where these strategies require unanimous agreement of the members of the combined authority?
  2. c) Revise the National Planning Policy Framework to tighten the definition of what evidence is required to support a ‘sound’ plan?

Question 2

What changes do you think would support more proportionate consultation and examination procedures for different types of plan and to ensure that different levels of plans work together?

Question 3

Do you agree with the proposals to:

  1. a) Amend national policy so that local planning authorities are expected to have clear policies for addressing the housing requirements of groups with particular needs, such as older and disabled people?
  2. b) From early 2018, use a standardised approach to assessing housing requirements as
    the baseline for every year housing supply calculations and monitoring housing delivery, in the absence of an up-to-date plan?

Question 4

Do you agree with the proposals to amend the presumption in favour of sustainable development so that:

  1. a)  Authorities are expected to have a clear strategy for maximising the use of suitable land in their areas?
  2. b)  It makes clear that identified development needs should be accommodated unless there are strong reasons for not doing so set out in the NPPF?
  3. c)  The list of policies which the Government regards as providing reasons to restrict development is limited to those set out currently in footnote 9 of the National Planning Policy Framework (so these are no longer presented as examples), with the addition of Ancient Woodland and aged or veteran trees?
  4. d) Its considerations are re-ordered and numbered, the opening text is simplified and specific references to local plans are removed?

Question 5

Do you agree that regulations should be amended so that all local planning authorities are able to dispose of land with the benefit of planning consent which they have granted to them?

Question 6

How could land pooling make a more effective contribution to assembling land, and what additional powers or capacity would allow local authorities to play a more active role in land assembly (such as where ‘ransom strips’ delay or prevent development)?

Question 7

Do you agree that national policy should be amended to encourage local planning authorities to consider the social and economic benefits of estate regeneration when preparing their plans and in decisions on applications, and use their planning powers to help deliver estate regeneration to a high standard?

Question 8

Do you agree with the proposals to amend the National Planning Policy Framework to:

  1. a) Highlight the opportunities that neighbourhood plans present for identifying and allocating small sites that are suitable for housing?
  2. b) Encourage local planning authorities to identify opportunities for villages to thrive, especially where this would support services and help meet the authority’s housing needs?
  3. c) Give stronger support for‘rural exception’ sites – to make clear that these should
    be considered positively where they can contribute to meeting identified local housing needs, even if this relies on an element of general market housing to ensure that homes are genuinely affordable for local people?
  4. d) Make clear that on top of the allowance made for windfall sites, at least 10% of sites allocated for residential development in local plans should be sites of half a hectare or less?
  5. e) Expect local planning authorities to work with developers to encourage the sub-division of large sites? and encourage greater use of Local Development Orders and area-wide design codes so that small sites may be brought forward for development more quickly?

Question 9

How could streamlined planning procedures support innovation and high-quality development in new garden towns and villages?

Question 10

Do you agree with the proposals to amend the National Planning Policy Framework to make clear that:

  1. a)  Authorities should amend Green Belt boundaries only when they can demonstrate that they have examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development requirements?
  2. b)  Where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require compensatory improvements to the environmental quality or accessibility of remaining Green Belt land?
  3. c)  Appropriate facilities for existing cemeteries should not to be regarded as ‘inappropriate development’ in the Green Belt?
  4. d)  Development brought forward under a Neighbourhood Development Order should not be regarded as inappropriate in the Green Belt, provided it preserves openness and does not conflict with the purposes of the Green Belt?
  5. e)  Where a local or strategic plan has demonstrated the need for Green Belt boundaries to be amended, the detailed boundary may be determined through a neighbourhood plan (or plans) for the area in question?
  6. f)  When carrying out a Green Belt review, local planning authorities should look first at using any Green Belt land which has been previously developed and/or which surrounds transport hubs?

Question 11

Are there particular options for accommodating development that national policy should expect authorities to have explored fully before Green Belt boundaries are amended, in addition to the ones set out above?

Question 12

Do you agree with the proposals to amend the National Planning Policy Framework to:

  1. a)  Indicate that local planning authorities should provide neighbourhood planning groups with a housing requirement figure, where this is sought?
  2. b)  Make clear that local and neighbourhood plans (at the most appropriate level) and more detailed development plan documents (such as action area plans) are expected to set out clear design expectations; and that visual tools such as design codes can help provide a clear basis for making decisions on development proposals?
  3. c) Emphasise the importance of early pre- application discussions between applicants, authorities and the local community about design and the types of homes to be provided?
  4. d) Makes clear that design should not be used as a valid reason to object to development where it accords with clear design expectations set out in statutory plans?
  5. e) Recognise the value of using a widely accepted design standard, such as Building for Life, in shaping and assessing basic design principles – and make clear that this should be reflected in plans and given weight in the planning process?

Question 13

Do you agree with the proposals to amend national policy to make clear that plans and individual development proposals should:

  1. a)  Make efficient use of land and avoid building homes at low densities where there is a shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs?
  2. b)  Address the particular scope for higher- density housing in urban locations that are well served by public transport, that provide opportunities to replace low-density uses in areas of high housing demand, or which offer scope to extend buildings upwards in urban areas?
  3. c)  Ensure that in doing so the density and form of development reflect the character, accessibility and infrastructure capacity of an area, and the nature of local housing needs?
  4. d)  Take a flexible approach in adopting and applying policy and guidance that
    could inhibit these objectives in particular circumstances, such as open space provision in areas with good access to facilities nearby?

Question 14

In what types of location would indicative minimum density standards be helpful, and what should those standards be?

Question 15

What are your views on the potential for delivering additional homes through more intensive use of existing public sector sites, or in urban locations more generally, and how this can best be supported through planning (using tools such as policy, local development orders, and permitted development rights)?

Further questions relating to parts 2, 3 and 4 will be issued for your consideration so hold your response until you have reviewed all the questions. Use this opportunity to have your say.

In the papers today…

There are some interesting comments in the news today with regards to the White Paper.

“Housing experts find more to criticise than praise in the government’s plan and is branded beyond feeble by Labour to solve the housing crisis.”

“Home ownership is a distant dream.”

Tomorrow we will return to Part: 2 of our review of the Housing White Paper 2017…

The second proposal – ‘Building Homes Faster’.

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

 

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Heathrow Airport third runway plans revealed

 

Heathrow Airport third runway plans revealed today!

Plans for the third runway at Heathrow Airport are to be published today (2nd February 2017) as the Government begins a four-month public consultation on its decision to expand Britain’s biggest airport.

We scheduled a return flight to this hot topic back in November with our very popular article on The Heathrow Expansion click here.

The government decided to expand Heathrow Airport rather than Gatwick, more than a year after the Airports Commission endorsed the third runway proposal and six years after the coalition government scrapped the idea.

We at Urbanissta are on the planning runway once more and ready to take off!

Here’s the latest Heathrow Expansion update…

  • The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, is expected to announce the launch as a sign that Britain will be open for business after Brexit!

 “Aviation expansion is important for the UK both in boosting our economy and jobs and promoting us on the world stage. Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world.”

  • The first step in enacting the decision about the third runway is putting in place the conditions for planning consent which will be outlined in a national policy statement. MPs will have to vote on the statement for it to become law. Chris Grayling said: “We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow us to build a more global Britain. By backing the north-west runway atHeathrow airport and publishing our proposals, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, we are open for business.”
  • There will be pledges and conditions for the expansion including more domestic routes, noise mitigation for local homes and schools, legally binding targets on noise, and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights
  • The airport must also implement measures to ensure road traffic to the airport does not grow, and will be obliged to compensate homeowners at a rate of 25% above market value plus costs for any compulsory purchases needed. About 900 homes are expected to be demolished, including much of the village of Harmondsworth
  • The consultation will run across the UK, including communities that may be directly affected and people who could benefit from connections. Following the consultation and parliamentary scrutiny, the finalised statement is expected to go to a vote in around a year’s time
  • The government said the runway, which it claims will be worth £61bn to the economy over 60 years and will create tens of thousands of jobs, will only go ahead if it can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations. John Stewart, chair of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise, a local anti-expansion campaign, said: “The government will argue that a new runway is particularly important in a post-Brexit world but the stark fact remains that a third runway will mean almost a quarter of a million extra planes using Heathrow each year. That will turn countless lives upside down.”
  • A separate consultation on changes to airspace, potentially bringing new communities under flight paths, is also being launched

Once all is revealed we will refuel and return to this topic, watch this space!

For a more in depth look at The Heathrow Expansion, read more here.

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