Category Archives: Local

 

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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Housing by the numbers and what’s hot?

 

  • We love statistics, analytics and staying in the know – Let’s talk housing numbers…
  • Hot topic news – latest on the housing whitepaper

Let’s talk housing numbers…

  • £5.6tn – estimated total value of the housing stock in England since 2015
  • £1tn – estimated increase in the value of the housing stock in England since 2010
  • £28bn – estimated total public sector spending on housing in 2015-16
  • £20.9bn – spending in England on housing benefit in 2015-16
  • 23.5m – total number of homes in England in 2015
  • 4.1m – housing benefit claimants in England 2015-2016
  • 1m – the number of new homes that the government aims to deliver in 2015-2020
  • 189,650 – net additions to the housing stock in 2015-2016. Including 164,000 newly-built properties
  • 174,000 – net additions needed to deliver a million net additions by 2020
  • 144,000 – number of new homes that were completed annually between 2001-2010 100,000 fewer per year than in the 1970s
  • 71,500 – number of homeless households in England in temporary accommodation at 31st March 2016
  • 62% of homes in England are owner-occupied
  • 40% to 19% drop in the proportion of owner-occupiers that spend at least a quarter of their disposable income on their mortgage
  • 20% of homes in England that are privately rented
  • 20% of homes in England that were non-decent in 2014, down from 35% in 2006
  • 17% of homes in England that are socially rented

Housing in England overview (read more here)

  • 1.61 m – total dwellings owned by local authorities in England on 1st April 2016
  • 1.18m – number of households on local authority waiting lists on 1st April 2016
  • 120,500 – local authority lettings during 2015-16
  • 79,000 – non-decent local authority owned dwellings across England on 1st April 2016
  • 6,430 – number of evictions were carried out by court bailiffs in between 2015-2016
  • £87.81pw – average local authority social rent in England 2015-2016

Housing statistics (read more here)  

Want to know more interesting facts and figures? We can tell you where to get them.

A landscape review of the housing system in England, with a high-level overview of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s housing strategy and its interaction with various public bodies.

Housing in England overview 2017 (read more here)

National Statistics on new build dwellings in England up to 30th September 2016. The figures show the numbers of starts and completions for new build dwellings in England in each quarter.

Building Release September 2016 (read more here)

National statistics on the projected number of households in England and its local authority districts up to 2039. The figures in this release are based upon the 2014-based sub-national population projections, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in May 2016. They replace the 2012-based household projections released in 2015.

Household projections (read more here) 

Live tables on housing market and house prices (Read more here)

National statistics on social housing lettings in England during 2015 to 2016 provided by local authorities and private registered providers.

Social housing lettings in England (read more here) 

All documents relating to dwelling stock (including vacants).

Dwelling stock (read more here) 

All documents relating to homelessness and rough sleeping statistics.

Statutory homelessness and homelessness prevention and relief, England: July to September 2016 (read more here)

All documents relating to Household characteristics.

Live tables on household characteristics (read more here) 

All documents relating to Housing finance and household expenditure (social housing).

Housing finance and household expenditure (social housing) (read more here)

All documents relating to social housing sales (including Right to Buy and transfers).

Social housing sales including right to buy and transfers (read more here) 

Definitions for local authorities compiling data.

Definitions of general housing terms (read more here) 

**Hot topic news**

Housing white paper delayed for the second time!

Downing Street has pushed back the publication of the government’s landmark housing white paper, Property Week understands.

London’s Mayor and Communities secretary Sajid Javid informed MPs back in November that the housing whitepaper, which was initially supposed to be published before the end of last year, was “due to be published in January”. It’s not looking promising…

The government proposed a release date of January 30th but the word on the housing grapevine is the document won’t be ready until February. The housing whitepaper is set to lay out the government’s housing strategy for the foreseeable future, and is expected to contain corrective measures for developers aimed at speeding up delivery. In addition, it will encourage local authorities to deliver more detailed plans for housing in their area and speed up the local planning process.

House white paper delayed for second time (read more here)

The National Audit Office published a review of the housing system in England

On 19th January 2017 the National Audit Office published a review of the housing system in England, with an overview of the DCLG’s housing strategy and interaction with various public bodies.

The most significant points it makes are that:

  • The DCLG could be more transparent in publishing information on performance against the strategic objectives of “driving up housing supply” and “increasing home ownership” in its Single Departmental Plan
  • That the Department measures the delivery of “a million new homes by 2020” not new builds but as net additions to the housing stock. This includes both new build homes and conversions
  • 189,650 net additions to the housing stock were achieved in 2015-16, including 164,000 newly-built properties.   To deliver a million net additions by 2020, 174,000 p.a would be needed, some 10,000 dwelling per annum more. Economic conditions need to remain settled for such to be sustained over the 5 year period however.
  • Departmental Plan does not indicate that its timescale for adding one million homes is to be achieved over five years and nine months

Housing in England overview 2017 (read more here) 

We hope you found this article informative and valuable. If you have any planning or housing questions that you need answering – contact us here

Have a specific topic you want to discuss? You can always ‘step into my office’Read more here 

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‘Step into my office’ – with Jo Hanslip

 

‘Step into my office’ – with Jo Hanslip

Hello 2017!

I start the New Year with a spring in my step and high hopes for the year ahead.

2016 has been an interesting and unexpected year. We no doubt will have an array of surprises and new challenges to look forward to in 2017 and beyond!

Sitting here, coffee in hand and working through my emails. Literally 100s! Christmas good tidings, New Year best wishes and a mix of planning predictions, developments and suggestions from my team here at Urbanissta.

Feeling enthused and positive I’ve decided to take the input from my team and deliver our predictions for planning in 2017. It’s a useful thinking exercise and a great way to see new opportunities.

Brexit has brought uncertainties but given the highly documented need for housing, we hope that the market and need for housing will continue. We look optimistically to 2017 and beyond. The implications for environment legislation will be important to our sector and proposals for transitional arrangements will be monitored with interest.

I’ve decided to touch on National Planning and Local Planning predictions. This time next year I will reflect back on 2017 and see if we predicted correctly.

So, here we go…

National Planning

  • Housing and Planning Act – new regulations bringing the Act into force, will be published during 2017
  • The publication of the Housing White Paper which was anticipated in December and delayed until January could be delayed until February. Whilst a bold approach to housing supply is needed, we don’t anticipate that the government’s approach to green belt release will change
  • CIL review anticipated
  • Following the call for evidence for basement developments and the planning system, in November 2016, the national policy could be amended to include specific regulations on the amount of basement development
  • The legal wrangles over Heathrow expansion will continue
  • NPPF is likely to be amended and might include a new definition for affordable housing
  • Public land for the housing programme 2015 to 2020: handbook – we expect this handbook to establish aims and objectives of the public land for housing programme and to indicate how progress will be monitored
  • Successful use of “permission in principle” after it was established in the Housing and Planning Act 2016

Local Planning Predictions 2017:

  • We await with interest to see which Local Authority Local Plans will be found unsound – such as St Albans, MSDC Local Plans
  • Will 22 Local authorities go into special measures as they do not have an adopted plan in place?
  • LPEG advice on a standard methodology for OAN to be applied – we watch with interest
  • Increase in appeals for sites outside of Neighbourhood Plan areas (following Secretary of State decision in Newick)
  • Estate renewal programme to get underway after additional funding added to the pot (read more here)
  • New skyscrapers to be built in London, and review of the London Plan protected views policies

We all love to hear success stories and I enjoy seeing new developments – good or bad. Admiring the good and learning from the bad.

I am looking forwards to the results of the London Planning Awards on February 27th 2017 (read the event summary here).

The London Planning Awards is organised in partnership with the Mayor of London, London First, RTPI, Planning Officers Society and London Councils, to recognise and reward best practice in planning in the capital. The Awards are launched in the summer of each year with judging in the autumn. The awards ceremony will take place at City Hall and is attended by over 300 senior representatives from the boroughs (officers and members), City Hall, developers, planners and community groups.

Here are some of the success stories found in the 2016/17 Shortlist:

Best Community Led Project

  • Hoxton Hall
  • Peckham Coal Line
  • Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Plan
  • Vaudeville Court

Best Conceptual Project

  • 21st Century Mansion Blocks
  • Autonomous Vehicles and Future Placemaking
  • Chapter Lewisham, Thurston Road
  • West End Public Realm
  • Wind Modelling of the Eastern Cluster

Best Heritage Led Project

  • The Deptford Project
  • Devonshire House
  • Hoxton Hall
  • Proactive use of the s.215 notices to secure significant improvements to the Historic Environment
  • Thrale Almshouses

Best New Place to Live

  • Abbeville Apartments
  • Corner House
  • Fitzrovia
  • The Eagle
  • Erith Park Phase 1
  • Kew Bridge
  • London City Island
  • Plaistow Hospital
  • PLACE/Ladywell

Other awards:

  • Best New Place to Work
  • Best New Public Space
  • Best Planning Authority
  • Best Project Five Years On
  • Best Town Centre Project

During the Christmas break, I had time to reflect on Urbanissta’s achievements throughout 2016…

Thankfully, we have had a successful year. We have secured planning permission or a favourable resolution for several major developments within Maidstone, Mid Sussex, Thurrock, Basildon, Babergh – totalling almost 600 dwellings within the calendar year!

I have to say a big thank you to the team here at Urbanissta. Their expertise, dedication and professional approach have been very much appreciated. I look forward to another successful year working together.

It’s time for another coffee. So it’s a goodbye 2016 and a hello 2017!

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The 5 stages of planning appeals

 

5 stages of planning appeals

Knowledge and advice from our very own Legal Beagle,

In this article, we are going to take you through the 5 key stages of planning appeals.

We are going to give you a breakdown of two appeals which have been unsuccessful due to the failure to comply with the Local Plans. Urbanissta has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field and can offer you expert advice.

This topic is one that we cover on a regular basis. There are ongoing changes in planning appeals and we want to keep you in the know. Watch this space!

Planning appeals

If an application for planning permission is refused by the Local Authority or it is granted with conditions, an appeal can be lodged to the Secretary of State in order to challenge the decision made. Appeals are not always successful and the merits of the case need to be fully considered before an appeal is lodged.

1. When you can appeal

Your local planning authority makes decisions on planning applications. You can appeal for the following reasons:

  1. You disagree with it.
  2. The decision wasn’t made within 8 weeks. However, it is 13 weeks for a major development, such as 10 or more dwellings or a building of more than 1,000 square metres and 16 weeks for EiA development (known as the statutory period).

Key facts:

  • There’s a different process to appeal a householder planning decision for a smaller project like an extension, conservatory or loft conversion
  • There’s no fee for appealing
  • Only the person who made the application can appeal. If you didn’t apply, you can comment on an appeal instead
  • If you disagree with a decision, you must appeal within 6 months of the date on the decision notice from your local planning authority
  • If they didn’t make a decision within the statutory period, you can appeal up to 6 months after the decision was due
  • The deadline’s earlier if you’ve received an enforcement notice– you must appeal within 28 days of the notice
  • Once your appeal has been validated, you’ll normally get a decision within 11 – 44 weeks (written representations – inquiry)

Find out the latest timescales here:

2. How to appeal

You need to make your appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and if you want to appeal more than one decision you must make a separate appeal for each. You need to send a copy of your appeal, including all the supporting documents, to your local planning authority. The Planning Inspectorate will tell the correct procedure.

These are the documents you must provide:

  • A copy of your original application
  • A copy of the site ownership certificate
  • A copy of the local planning authority’s decision notice – if they didn’t make a decision, send a copy of the letter acknowledging your application
  • A map of the surrounding area
  • Copies of all plans, drawings and documents you sent to the local planning authority
  • Any other documents that directly support your appeal, e.g your full statement of case

You can upload these documents when you appeal online or post them to the Planning Inspectorate.

3. Comment on an appeal

Anyone can comment on a planning appeal and you can find the case on the appeals casework portal. The deadline for comments is 5 weeks after the start date of the appeal, or 6 weeks after the date on the local planning authority’s enforcement notice. Your local planning authority must tell anyone who has commented on the original application (‘interested parties’) that there’s an appeal. They have to do this within a week of the appeal being validated by the Planning Inspectorate.

4. After you appeal

The Planning Inspectorate will check your appeal to make sure it’s valid. They will explain to you what happens next and how long your appeal may take. The Planning Inspectorate will then consider your appeal. You’ll normally get a decision within 11-44 weeks, but it can take longer.

If anyone behaves unreasonably

  • You can apply for an ‘award of costs’if anyone involved in your appeal has cost you money by behaving unreasonably, eg missing deadlines. You can have costs awarded against you too
  • You can complain about how the Planning Inspectorate handled your appeal. There’s no time limit for complaints

5. If you disagree with the appeal decision

You can challenge the decision in the High Court if you think the Planning Inspectorate made a legal mistake. If you are unsure, get advice from a lawyer.

Find out more information here

Print the entire guide here:

Planning appeal case studies

We have decided to give you a breakdown of a couple of appeals which have been unsuccessful due to the failure to comply with the Local Plans.

Gladman appeal fails as Secretary of State backs neighbourhood plan.
Appeal: 26.10.16

Background 

Gladman Developments made an application the development of up to 100 dwellings, with associated open space and community orchard in Longworth Lane, Bartestree, Herefordshire.

The Secretary of State considered the main issues to be:

  • The effect on the settings of designated heritage assets and on non-designated heritage assets
  • The effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area
  • The effect on areas of ecological or nature conservation interest
  • The weight to be given to policies for the supply of housing

Conclusion 

It was agreed that the Council was unable to demonstrate a 5 year supply of land for housing, however the Secretary of State (“SoS”) was satisfied that poor delivery of housing is the root cause of the shortfall but this could be addressed through existing policies (IR419). The SoS considered that the Council were working towards resolving the difficulties surrounding the delivery of sustainable urban extensions and thus, considered that the effects of the heritage far outweighed the housing supply demand. Although Policies SS2, SS3, RA1, RA2 and RA3 were considered to be outdated they still carried a substantial degree of weight in the Appeal.

It was held that the appeal scheme was not in accordance with Policies LD1 to LD4, SD1, SS1, SS6, RA1 and RA2. Furthermore, it was considered that pursuant to NPPF, development should be plan led and the proposed development was not in compliance with the neighbourhood plan and thus could not be considered sustainable development.

A copy of the decision can be downloaded here.

Appeal dismissed as the proposed development was considered to affect the character of the area

Background 

The proposed development consisted of the construction of a new car park for Jefferson Hotel.

Issues 

  • Would the proposed development preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Central Barrow Conservation Area (the CA)

Conclusion 

It was held that the proposal would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the CA. The site is located just outside the CA, however given the scale of the fencing and its modern character, it was considered to be an uncharacteristic intrusion and therefore an unsympathetic addition to the CA. When weighed against the public benefits of the proposal, it was considered that the harm that would be caused to the CA would outweigh the benefits. As such, it was held that the proposed development failed to comply with Policy D15 of the Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council Local Plan Review 2001 which intends to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas.

An interesting read:

The Royal Town Planning Institute (read more here)

The examination of local planning (read more here)

Relevant links:

Make your appeal (read more here)

Find a case (read more here)

Taking part in an appeal (read more here)

Apply for an award of costs https://www.gov.uk/claim-planning-appeal-costs

Complaints procedure (read more here)

Local Planning Authority (read more here)

Appeal a house holder planning decision (read more here)

Enforcement notice (read more here)

Validation (read more here)

The High Court (read more here)

Get advice from a lawyer (read more here)

Planning in Scotland (read more here)

Planning in Wales (read more here)

Planning in Northern Ireland (read more here)

Do you have a question about appeal planning decisions? Contact our Legal Beagle for advice here.

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Development allowed! The Neighbourhood Planning Bill

 

Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood plans can be a nightmare, raising a whole lot of controversy, decision changes and even resignations!

We regularly follow neighbourhood planning cases to keep up with developments and changes in government responses to consultations on neighbourhood planning.

Four cases of interest were recently brought to our attention:

We also track planning cases in different areas of the country. We are always looking at the initial planning discussions, designations, referendums and current status.

Read more> http://www.ourneighbourhoodplanning.org.uk/about/npa_area_list

On 16th December 2016 the government responded to consultations on the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

The DCLG has published the Government response to two consultations on measures contained in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill. These are:

1. Implementation of neighbourhood planning provisions in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Government response: read here>
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/implementation-of-neighbourhood-planning-provisions-in-the-neighbourhood-planning-bill#history

2. Improving the use of planning conditions: Government response read here>
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-the-use-of-planning-conditions#history

Here is a summary of the Bill:

  • Contains provisions to strengthen neighbourhood planning
  • The government wishes to take account of well-advanced neighbourhood plans by giving neighbourhood plans full force as soon as they have passed referendum
  • The Bill introduces a process to allow the modification of neighbourhood plans and facilitates the modification of neighbourhood areas where a neighbourhood plan has already been made in relation to that area

The government consulted on these proposed regulations covering four areas:

The government decided to put into action all four proposals as set out in the consultation.

  • The detailed procedures for modifying neighbourhood plans
  • Modifying designated neighbourhood areas where a neighbourhood plan has already been made in relation to that area
  • A requirement for local planning authorities to review their Statements of Community involvement at regular intervals
  • A requirement for local planning authorities to publish their policies on the advice and assistance they will give to neighbourhood planning groups

The main interest to house builders will be the decision by the government that significant modifications to a made neighbourhood plan may now be made through a streamlined procedure involving an examiner considering paper-based submissions.

A made neighbourhood plan will also remain in force even where the boundaries of the neighbourhood area are amended or a new neighbourhood area is designated.

In addition to that, the government has re-stated its commitment to financially resource any additional costs to local authorities that result from the new statutory obligations.

Improving the use of planning conditions

The government has responded to its consultation on improving the use of planning conditions. It was concerned that too many overly restrictive and unnecessary conditions are nearly always attached to planning permissions, with little regard given to the additional costs and delays. The government has decided to implement all its proposals, with some amendments, despite opposition from local authorities.

Pre-commencement conditions

The government said that pre-commencement conditions can only be used with the agreement of the applicant. This clarifies existing best practice already articulated in the Planning Practice Guidance. By introducing a requirement for the local authority to seek the agreement of the applicant the government is placing best-practice on a statutory footing.

The government has rejected the proposal of a dispute resolution service as an alternative. It concluded that this would be ineffective as local authorities might only rely on this to avoid meaningful engagement early in the application process.

Default period after which an applicant’s agreement would be deemed to be given

If the local authority communicates to the applicant its intention to impose a pre-commencement condition, a set period of time needs to be established to allow the applicant to agree to that proposed pre-commencement condition. The government will set the default period to 10 working days.

Prohibiting specific types of planning conditions

The government has decided that six types of conditions (referred to in Table 1 of the consultation document) will be prohibited by legislation. These conditions do not meet the six policy tests set out in paragraph 206 of the NPPF. These are:

1. Conditions which unreasonably impact on the deliverability of a development – e.g. disproportionate financial burden;

2. Conditions which reserve outline application details;

3. Conditions which require the development to be carried out in its entirety;

4. Conditions which duplicate a requirement for compliance with other regulatory requirements – e.g. building regulations;

5. Conditions requiring land to be given up;

6. Positively worded conditions requiring payment of money or other consideration.

There are various exceptions and exemptions under these six headings that members will need to be aware of.


We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers, clients and friends a Happy Christmas and much success in the New Year.

Any feedback you may have on our articles is always welcome. We value opinions, updates and appreciate you sharing our content.

Here is a little recap of our articles from 2016…

News bulletin: Government’s crisis plan delayed! Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/news-bulletin-governments-crisis-plan-delayed/

The white paper that will tackle the housing crisis and give details on the one million new homes that will be built by 2020 has been delayed. The much- anticipated document won’t be under the Christmas tree this year. Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/news-bulletin-governments-crisis-plan-delayed/

The RTPI’s 16 ways to address the housing crisis. Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/the-rtpis-16-ways-to-address-the-housing-crisis/

From start to finish – How quickly do large-scale housing sites deliver? Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/from-start-to-finish-how-quickly-do-large-scale-housing-sites-deliver/

Hammond on housing – The Autumn Statement Summary Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/hammond-on-housing-the-autumn-statement-summary/

10 top tips about the Community Infrastructure Levy Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/10-top-tips-about-the-community-infrastructure-levy-cil/

The examination of local planning Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/the-examination-of-local-planning/

What does Sadiq Khan’s victory mean for housing in London? Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/what-does-sadiq-khans-victory-mean-for-housing-in-london/

Let’s get Britain building Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/lets-get-britain-building/

‘Step into my office’ – with Jo Hanslip Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/step-into-my-office-with-jo-hanslip/

Sadiq Khan reveals a city for all Londoners Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/sadiq-khan-reveals-a-city-for-all-londoners/

The Heathrow Expansion Read more>
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/the-heathrow-expansion/

Look out for our housing predictions for 2017 coming soon!

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The examination of local planning

 

 

St. Albans is in Chaos!  Archaic plans, political challenges and excruciating progress.

This article provides an insight into Local Plans progress – or lack of it!. Our case study reveals just how things don’t always go to plan when you haven’t got a good plan in place!

We start with the preparation, process and progress of planning…

A Local Plan defines local planning policies and identifies how land is used, determining what will be built and where. The Planning Inspectorate supports the Government’s goal for every area in England to have an adopted Local Plan. Adopted Local Plans create the framework for development across England. The views of the local people are vital in shaping a Local Plan, helping to decide how their community develops. Development should be consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Local Plans have to be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with National Policy in accordance with section 20 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended). The NPPF gives guidance to local authorities in drawing up their Local Plans. The Examining Development Plan Documents: Procedural Guidance published in December 2013 has been updated to take account of more recent refinements in practice and the update to the Planning Practice Guidance published on 19 May 2016.

The Procedural Practice in the Examination of Local Plans sets out what happens once a Local Plan has been submitted for Examination, including information about estimated timelines and delivery of the inspector’s final report. It includes advice for local planning authorities about how to carry out a fast track review of specific policies within their Local Plan. Policies include, for example, car parking standards or provision of open space and recreation, larger issues such as housing or employment strategies are not covered by the fast track procedure. The fast track procedure takes around six months. There are costs, fees and Planning Inspectors who play an important role in examining Local Plans impartially and publicly. They look at all Local Plan documents that local authorities in England prepare for an Examination. They decide whether a plan is sound or not.

Considering the above it is vital that there are good planning resources. The lack of those resources is a topic Jo discusses in her article, Step Into My Office.

 

The case study

St. Albans Plan in Chaos…

On the 22nd August 2016, an inspector was appointed to examine the Strategic Local Plan (2011-2031) for St. Albans. A historical Roman City in Hertfordshire. We know St. Albans well and will use it as a prime example where an inspector has expressed a series of concerns.

The St. Albans current local plan is pretty archaic being based upon saved policies of the District Local Plan Reviews of 1994 and from experience, when seeking to secure permission for minor works (albeit in an Article 4 area to a listed building) the Authority moved at an excruciating snail’s pace.

The Planning Inspector (David Hogger) found in relation to the St. Albans plan that:

  • At this early stage in the Examination process, there was a significant issue relating to legal compliance and the duty to co-operate that needed to be addressed immediately. He indicated that it was questionable as to whether the duty had been met and whether it was based on an inappropriate assessment of cross-boundary issues not least regarding overall housing (and jobs) provision
  • Effective cooperation was considered essential via sustained joint working with actual actions and outcomes identified. He indicated Examination evidence should be robust, providing details as to who the authority cooperated with, the nature and timing of co-operation and how it had influenced the plan formulation. He noted that this was not evident from the St. Albans submissions
  • Hogger indicated that if an authority could not demonstrate that it had fully exercised its duty to cooperate that is should not proceed further with Examination and that a Local Plan should be withdrawn
  • He also noted that whilst the duty to cooperate was largely separate from Local Plan requirements regarding soundness, the two were considered to be related because cooperation was needed for a number of strategic matters, including homes and jobs and the provision of infrastructure
  • To be sound, a plan should be based on effective joint working on cross- boundary strategic priorities, it should provide clear policies against which a decision can be taken and provide adequate information and he therefore indicated that it was reasonable to highlight initial concerns about soundness at this early stage
  • Finally with regards to overall housing provision, the reasons for identifying a housing figure of 436 dwelling a year, the relationship between that figure and the full objectively assessed housing need and the value of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment were all similarly questioned

St Albans Council is not the first and will not be the last authority which had failed to rigorously pursue its duty to cooperate and ‘under deliver’ in terms of the required housing (and jobs) targets. The question that we consistently ask ourselves, in relation to many authority areas, is when will our planning system ensure that we start adequately planning where cross boundary considerations need to be addressed, to ensure that we deliver houses and jobs much needed to support our social and economic needs. It is now a well-known fact that for decades (since 1924) we have been planning for the lowest common denominator in many Authority areas – St.  Albans not having prepared a plan since 1994! Yes, that’s 22 years in case you were wondering. This is a perfect case in point, not only do we wonder what the Authority has been doing for all those years, but more widely, we wonder how we manage to plan positively for the need of existing and our future generations.

Really, these issues are not hard to address technically by a suitably qualified planner. We appreciate that planning resources are tight (the subject of our next blog post where we also make reference to St. Albans). However they are of course often eternally politically challenging. There are sufficient good examples of positively prepared, sound plans, even with extensive cross-boundary considerations. We just wonder about what will happen in our rather sleepy Local Authority area and in areas such as Birmingham and Bradford where Local Plan holding directions are in place, due to MP interventions which now places even the more proactive of authorities, in limbo.

Anyway, hopefully before another 22 years pass, St. Albans will get a sound new Local Plan in place, or if not, maybe we will have retired to somewhere in the sunshine and it won’t seem so bad.

Find out more about the background of the St. Albans Strategic Local Plan 2016 here

Want to know more about the beautiful city of St. Albans? Visit: www.allaboutstalbans.com

 

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What does Sadiq Khan’s victory mean for housing in London?

 

What Sadiq Khan's victory means for London housing

 

Sadiq Khan pledged that if he was victorious and became the Mayor of London, he would tackle the housing crisis by building thousands more homes for Londoners each year and would set a target of 50% affordable housing in the new developments.

He made pledges…  Now he is Mayor, has he kept to his word six months down the line?

He is tackling the housing crisis…

On 6th September 2016 the Mayor of London approved a masterplan for the first large housing development on Old Oak Common and the Park Royal site as well as approving the masterplan for Barking Riverside regeneration. Making way for the redevelopment of a 180 hectare brownfield site for up to 10,000 new homes with 50% of these being affordable.  Mr Khan intervened in the Old Oak Common depot scheme in August by investing public funding to increase the overall provision of 33% affordable housing to 40% affordable housing.  Affordable homes to rent and those for first-time buyers, across a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom homes. It is clear that Mayor’s office will be taking a tough stance on the provision of affordable housing in new developments through the production of supplementary planning guidance to be published later this autumn.

We believe that so far, Mr Khan appears to be on track and this is what we can expect from him in the coming months…

  • Draft SPG on affordable housing to be published in Autumn 2016 which will set clear guidance on the provision of affordable housing within developments
  • Further clarification on the London Living Rent scheme as a form of affordable housing
  • Tough stance on maximum affordable housing provision on all sites
  • Continued preference for development on brownfield locations in favour of Green Belt
  • Refinements to the London Plan to set guidance on the protection of leisure uses

What other pledges did the Mayor make?

Pre- Mayorship and Post – Mayorship

  • Work in partnership with industry to deliver on skills, infrastructure, and growth within the Capital

He is working in partnership with industry to deliver on skills, infrastructure, and growth.

One of Sadiq Khan’s first decisions as mayor was to lift the previous Mayor’s objection to the proposed expansion of London City Airport. While he has been called reckless by Green Party counterparts and he has been questioned on his promises regarding air quality, he is sticking to the promise to deliver on infrastructure and growth. London City Airport estimates the scheme will create 1,600 jobs for staff, together with 500 construction jobs. In addition to that, he has urged Theresa May to support expansion at Gatwick Airport, stating that to do so would bring substantial economic benefits to London. On October 10th the Mayor, with Barking and Dagenham Council announced that they are exploring plans to create the capitals largest film studios in Dagenham. Resulting in the creation of employment and investment opportunities in the city

 

  • Make cycling and walking safer with more segregated cycle routes

There are currently plans for six further Quietways to be completed by spring 2017. Sadiq Khan has said that it is important that we make it safer and easier for Londoners to cycle across our city and we want the first of the Quietways to make a significant contribution towards that aim. He is looking at what works best from the existing cycle schemes to ensure we deliver the best and safest road cycling network possible. Cycling leads to healthier lifestyle, it helps to cut pollution and is a key part of his vision of the type of greener more modern and affordable transport network we need in our city.

  • Restore air quality in the city to safe levels

A consultation has been conducted on proposals for reducing the number of polluting vehicles driving in London which has serious air quality problems. Khan has already been bolder than Johnson, producing plans that include extending and bringing forward implementation of the Central London ultra-low emission zone. This has pleased environmentalists, though they will watch carefully to see how far he eventually goes

  • Protect the Green Belt

Khan voted the construction of a football stadium and two blocks of flats on Green Belt land in Chislehurst, after the plan had already been supported by Bromley Council.

  • Make London safer by restoring neighbourhood policing, tackling gangs, knife crime and extremism

Khan has welcomed the forthcoming increase in armed police patrolling London. In line with a pledge to strengthen community policing, he has vowed to introduce a second dedicated beat constable to each of London’s 629 electoral wards by the end of 2017.

  • Work with employers to make London a living wage city

Khan is committed to championing the living wage campaign and will be announcing the new London Living Wage rate on 31st October for Living Wage Week 2016. We are looking forward to Mr Khan supporting our work to tackle low pay by pledging to bring together major employers in the capital to them to increase the wages of their lowest paid and he has supported the work of the Living Wage Commission. We’re really excited about continuing to work with him during Living Wage Week 2016 and beyond.

We remain positive and look forward to further announcements.

Further reading


Housing

Read more about the approval of the masterplan here: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-approves-up-to-10000-new-homes-in-barking

Infrastructure and growth

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36901644

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/07/nimby-sadiq-khan-and-his-mate-stewart-wingate-tell-theresa-may-to-get-on-and-back-gatwick/

https://www.bipsolutions.com/news/mayor-to-explore-potential-for-londons-largest-film-studios/

Cycling

https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/quietways

Pollution

https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-unveils-action-plan-to-battle-toxic-air

Green belt

https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/sadiq-khan-vetoes-greenbelt-stadium-scheme/10007891.article

Make London safer

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/16/sadiq-khans-first-100-days-as-london-mayor-how-is-he-doing

Living wage

https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/news-and-events/news-and-comments/100-days-of-sadiq-khans-mayoralty/

 

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