Category Archives: Planning

 

Planning for the right homes in the right places

 

On Thursday 14th September 2017, Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government published a consultation – ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places: Consultation proposals’.

The document covers six specific subjects reflecting proposals raised through the Housing White Paper published in February 2017. These are:

  • Proposed approach to calculating the local housing need
  • Statements of Common Ground
  • Planning for a mix of housing needs
  • Neighbourhood Planning
  • Proposed approach to viability assessment
  • Planning fees

The consultation period runs until 9th November 2017. The full consultation and associated annexes can be found here.

In the consultation, Sajid Javid made the following points:

  • The housing market in this country is dysfunctional
  • For too long, there hasn’t been enough homes being built, “The damaging financial crisis ten years ago compounded this problem”
  • Due to the action that has been taken over the past seven years, the situation is improving. Last year saw more planning permissions granted than ever before, while the number of new building starts is at its highest level in nearly a decade
  • The housing White Paper, published earlier this year, set out how the government are going to get England building. That they are delivering their 2015 commitment of a million new homes by 2020, and want to supply a further half a million by 2022
  • The measures in the consultation will help ensure that local authorities plan for the right homes in the right places. This means creating a system that is clear and transparent so that every community and local area understands the scale of the housing challenge they face
  • Local authorities must not waste time and money on complex, inconsistent and expensive processes. This only creates lengthy bureaucratic arguments, often behind closed doors, and isolates local communities
  • The new approach proposed will give local communities greater control so they can make informed decisions about exactly where much-needed new homes should be built. In doing so it will help to tackle the lack of affordability of housing in this country, and support those families who want the security of owning their own home

Javid said, “The proposals in this consultation provide a more robust starting point for making these important decisions. Without the right starting point, we can’t make the wider reforms to the housing market that will ensure homes are built faster, by a more diverse housing market, to meet the needs of ordinary households and communities now and in the future. Nor is this consultation just about the numbers. It’s also about how areas can work together where communities’ needs cannot be met locally. And it’s about putting the right resources into local planning authorities so their plans can be delivered and communities can see the benefit of high quality, well-planned homes. We recognise that this is not easy.”

The consultation also sets out the government’s ambition to publish a revised National Planning Policy Framework in Spring 2018. This will ensure that they not only plan for the right homes in the right places, but that they turn existing and future planning permissions quickly into homes through reforms such as the Housing Delivery Test.

Javid concluded, “Nobody likes indiscriminate, unplanned and unwelcome development. But most of us are willing to welcome new homes if they’re well-designed, built in the right places, and are planned with the co-operation of the local community. To win the support of local residents, we have to build homes people want to live alongside as well as in. This consultation is the first step in making sure all that happens – and making sure our children and grandchildren can access the safe, secure, affordable housing they need and deserve.”

The government launched their £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund earlier this year to ensure essential physical infrastructure, such as schools and roads, is built alongside the new homes we so badly need. They are going to explore bespoke housing deals with authorities in high demand areas with genuine ambition to build. The government will also provide further support to local authority planning departments with a £25 million capacity fund.

We will be doing a further blog on the details of the elements of the guidance shortly, so keep an eye out!

Click here to read the whole consultation – ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places: Consultation proposals’.

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How can you protect against unplanned development?

 

You can’t, not yet.

You don’t need to be an expert to understand what goes on in Parliament. It’s easy to access information about debates that take place.

‘They work for you’ https://www.theyworkforyou.com/ is a website where you can find information about debates and other interesting facts about politicians. Do you want to know more about what’s going on in Parliament? Do you know who represents you in your area?

Most recently, the Conservative MP John Howell called for a debate concerning unplanned development for housebuilding.

The debate took place on the 4th July 2017. Mr Howell wanted a moratorium on any new housebuilding in an area where a neighbourhood plan was being produced.

John Howell, MP for Henley made the following points:

  • Developers are targeting villages that have just started the process of putting a neighbourhood plan together, so that they can get in before the community can decide where it wants the housing to go
  • A neighbourhood plan can normally take up to two years to put together but in reality, this can often be longer
  • Mr Howell suggested that DCLG considered a moratorium on new housebuilding where a neighbourhood plan was being prepared
  • To prevent communities from cheating and claiming that they were producing a neighbourhood plan when they were not, Howell said rules would be needed that show that the plan was genuine, making sure that communities are allocating sites for development, not using the plan as a nimby charter
  • It could be done by strengthening the guidance to the Planning Inspectorate and ensuring that neighbourhood plans were given more weight when, for example, they included a list of sites or initial consultation had taken place
  • He also wanted a more radical, ultra-localist approach, ensuring neighbourhood planning groups could and should have much more say over the type of housing they allocated in terms of the number of bedrooms, and have some say over affordability

At the debate, the Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said, “The best protection against unplanned development is to get a local plan in place. A local plan provided certainty for communities, developers and neighbourhood planning groups and removed the pressure on neighbourhood planning groups to fill the vacuum created by the failure of local planning authorities to keep their local plans up to date.” 

Sharma said he recognised concerns about those who sought to game the system and understood the frustrations felt by communities when plans were undermined, this was why the Government issued a written ministerial statement in December 2016 concerning an important policy for recently produced neighbourhood plans that plan for housing.

This set out the relevant policies for the supply of housing in a made neighbourhood plan should not be deemed to be out of date under paragraph 49 of the national planning policy framework where all of the following circumstances arise at the time the decision is made:

  • The neighbourhood plan has been made within the past two years
  • The neighbourhood plan allocates sites for housing, and the local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites

Sharma added, “When the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 comes into force…it will ensure that neighbourhood plans have full effect straight after a successful referendum. That is earlier than at present, when neighbourhood plans only have full effect after they have been made by the local planning authority.”

He had asked officials to prepare the necessary orders to start this provision as soon as possible.

It was important the right balance was struck so delays in planning for needed homes were not inadvertently created delays. These matters would be kept under review.

The Housing White Paper sought views on what changes were needed to ensure that all forms of plan making were appropriate and proportionate. DCLG would consider how it could further speed up the neighbourhood plan process so that communities got the plans they wanted in place as quickly as possible.

He noted that more than 2,100 groups have started the neighbourhood planning process since 2012 and there had been more than 360 successful neighbourhood plan referendums.

For a bigger picture about this topic, you can visit the website ‘Planning Resource’ http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1438723/neighbourhood-watch-call-moratorium-development-during-parish-plan-gestation – Independent intelligence for planning professionals.

Remember, you don’t need to be an expert to understand what goes on in Parliament.

The politicians work for you. https://www.theyworkforyou.com/  Think otherwise? Contact us http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/contact-urbanissta.html if you wish to discuss any of the topics that we cover on our website.

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PIP- The Newest Acronym to the Planning Dictionary

 

Brownfield development planning article

Permission in principle (PIP) was first established in planning law when Section 150 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 inserted sections 58A, 59A and 70(2ZZA) to (2ZZC) into the 1990 Act.

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Permission in Principle etc.) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2017 was made on March 6th 2017. This instrument makes a number of consequential or miscellaneous amendments to four Acts of Parliament.

In our planning reforms blog, we set out a number of statutory instruments that would need to be made before the implementation of PIP. These include the Permission in Principle Regulations and the Brownfield Land Register Regulations which have now been made and came into force in the middle of April 2017.

There are three options for PIP:

  1. A qualifying body or local authority chose to allocate the site within an emerging plan
  2. The site is identified on a brownfield register. “brownfield land register” means a register kept under regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017(b);
  3. An application to the authority for PIP

A PIP in itself does not constitute a permission, a technical details submission in required in accordance with the amended Development Management Procedure Order. A technical details consent would be required within 5 years of receiving the PIP.

We set out below the regulations for option 2- Brownfield Land Register

Brownfield Land Register

The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 were made on 20th March 2017, Laid before Parliament 23rd March 2017 and came into force on 16th April 2017.

Article 4 of the Permission in Principle Order states that:

“Permission in principle is hereby granted for development of land allocated in Part 2 of a brownfield land register consisting of—

(a) housing development for the provision of a number of dwellings falling within the range specified in the relevant entry in the brownfield land register; and

(b) Where the relevant entry in the brownfield land register specifies non-housing development of the land, non-housing development of a description falling within the description in that entry

 

The regulations place a duty on local authorities to prepare a register of previously developed land (Brownfield Land Register) within their area and meets criteria of paragraph 1 of regulation 4, i.e. suitable for housing development. This register must be published by December 31st and it must be in 2 parts.

Part 1

To be within part 1 of the register, the following criteria applies in accordance with article 4.—(1):

  • The land has an area of at least 0.25 hectares or is capable of supporting at least 5 dwellings;
  • The land is
    1. Suitable,
    2. Available

Suitable meaning

  • allocated in a local development plan document
  • planning permission for residential development
  • has a grant of permission in principle for residential development
  • Appropriate for residential development with regards to natural environment and local built environment.

Available meaning

  • the owner expressed an intention to sell or develop the land, or
  • the local authority believe there to be no issues relating to ownership and legal impediments which might prevent residential development

Achievable meaning

  • The development is likely to take place within 15 years.

Note that this is different to deliverable which is taken to mean that there is a reasonable prospect that residential development will take place on the land within 5 years beginning with the entry date;

The part 1 register must include:

  • the local authority’s own reference for the land;
  • the name and address of the land;
  • a plan which identifies the land;
  • site co-ordinate and co-ordinate reference system used
  • the area of the land in hectares;
  • the name of the local authority;
  • the uniform resource identifier “URI”
  • the ownership status of the land
  • where the land is “deliverable” a note to that effect;
  • the planning status of the land, expressed as—
    • “permissioned”,( including full, outline or reserved matters, or permission in principle or technical details consent)
    • “not permissioned”, or
    • “pending decision”;
  • a description of any proposed housing development; or
  • the minimum and maximum net number of dwellings, given as a range, which, in the authority’s opinion, the land is capable of supporting;
  • the minimum net number of dwellings which, in the authority’s opinion, the land is capable of supporting;
  • where the development includes non-housing development, the scale of any such development and the use to which it is to be put;
  • the date that the land was first entered in the register; and
  • where applicable, the date that information about the land was last updated in the register.

 

The LPA must also show that they have undertaken the publication of the site in part 1 in accordance with the regulations. They must also show that they have given requisite notice of their intention to enter that land in Part 2,

Part 2

In accordance with article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017, sites that are within part 2 of the register are allocated for Permission in Principle.

The site has to meet all of the requirements of part 1, and the Local Authority have decided to allocate the site for residential purposes and have undertaken consultation as required. This includes giving requisite notice in at least one place on or near the land for not less than 21 days stating the date in which representations may be made, where and when to view the information and how to submit representations. Spefic information must be published on a website maintained by the local planning authority.

In relation to each entry of land in Part 2, the register must contain—

  • the minimum net number of dwellings, and the maximum net number of dwellings, given as a range
  • where the development includes non-housing development, the scale of any such development and the use to which it is to be put.

The register must contain the information required by paragraph (3) of regulation 26 of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015(a) where—

  • development of that land would, in the opinion of the local planning authority, be a relevant project for the purpose of that regulation; and
  • The local planning authority is the competent authority for the purpose of that regulation.

 

The register must, in relation to that land, contain the statement “allocated for residential development for the purposes of section 59A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (permission in principle)” and the statement in Part 1, required by paragraph 1(2), if any, must be removed.

The regulations place a duty on local authorities to notify parishes or neighbourhood forums where they have requested notification of a proposed entry of land into part 2.

The regulations also set the requirements for undertaking consultation with neighbouring authorities, the Mayor of London and procedures for consulting other bodies.

Exemptions for certain types of land

Schedule 1 EIA development is excluded from entry into part 2 of the Register.  Schedule 2 development may be included within part 2 if the authority have the information available in accordance with the EIA regulations to be able to adopt a screening opinion that development on the site would not constitute EIA development.

Review and revision

Review must be undertaken at least once within each register year. Where land no longer meets the criteria, it must be removed. The local planning authority must not update the information required under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 in relation to an entry of land in Part 2.

Where the land no longer meets criteria of paragraph 1 of regulation 4, it must be removed from part 1 and where applicable part 2

The local authority will need to consult as necessary and make updates to the entry

The LPA must not update the information relating to the minimum and maximum no of units and scale of non-housing development (paragraph 2).

Where an update to the minimum and maximum no of units and scale of non-housing development is required, or development of that land has been granted permission in principle under Section 59 of the TCPA

The land must be removed from part 2 and information amended in part 1. They must consult before making changes.

Where PIP has expired (5 years) the site must also be removed from part 2.

If you are looking for sites, come and talk to us. We can support your land acquisition activities using the brownfield land register and prepare a schedule that suits you to provide the greatest exposure to identify viable opportunities within any number of Local Authority areas.

 

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The UK population statistics and housing

 

UK Population on housing article

The national statistics population estimates mid-2016   revealed that the population of the UK was estimated to be 65,648,000 as of 30th June 2016.

The number of people that are resident in the UK including migrants has increased by 0.8% (538,000). That is a growth rate similar to the average annual growth rate since 2005.

Has the population growth rate with the influx of migrants been responsible for the housing crisis in the UK?

According to an article on theguardian.com, Theresa May claimed that more than a third of all new housing demand in Britain was caused by immigration.

 “And there is evidence that without the demand caused by mass immigration, house prices could be 10% lower over a 20-year period,” she said.

The London School of Economics report that May cited as the source for her claim also says: “In the early years even better off migrants tend to form fewer households as compared to the indigenous population; to live disproportionately in private renting; and to live at higher densities. However, the longer they stay, the more their housing consumption resembles that of similar indigenous households.”

This reduces the likelihood that immigration is the biggest strain on housing – the new migrants tend to live in denser households and take up less living space. Migrants are more likely to rent in the private sector in preference to buying homes or living in social housing.

The National statistic show that the effects felt from immigration on housing is mixed, and location specific. Due to the fact that the UK has a lack of social housing stock, an increase in life expectancy, and more households choosing not to get married or forgoing cohabitation resulting in an increased number of smaller households – any caps on immigration could potentially harm house building rates. Not enough British-born nationals are either trained or interested in construction careers, and migrants have been filling the void.

The overview of the UK Population, March 2017 revealed how the UK population compares with the other 32 member states of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association. It showed that, using a 1st January 2016 population estimate, the UK was estimated to have the third largest population and the fourth highest population density.

The population increase of the UK reflected increases of 193,000 people through natural change (35.8% of the total increase), 336,000 through net international migration (62.4% of the total increase) and an increase of 9,500 people in the armed forces population based in the UK.

The annual population growth varied across the UK. In England it was 0.9%, Wales 0.5%, Scotland 0.6% and Northern Ireland 0.6%. The UK population continues to age, but at a slower rate than recent years with only a small change to the proportion aged 65 and over (18.0% in mid-2016 compared with 17.9% in mid-2015) and an unchanged median age of 40.
While the population in England grew faster than the rest of the UK, population growth at regional level ranged from 1.3% in London to 0.5% in the North East.

Comparing the mid-2016 and mid-2015 population estimates at the local authority level showed that:

  • The total population grew in 364 local authorities in the year to mid-2016, compared with 350 to mid-2015
  • While the 26 local authorities showing population decreases to mid-2016 were spread throughout England, Wales and Scotland, 17 of these were in coastal areas
  • Of the 14 authorities showing population increases of 2% or above, 8 of these were in London

Five of these local authorities were in Inner London:

  • Westminster
  • Camden
  • City of London
  • Islington and Haringey
  • The other three a block in East London – Tower Hamlets, Newham, and Barking and Dagenham

 

Altogether, there were 223 local authorities with more people moving in than out, of which 93 had a net inflow of more than 5 per 1,000 population (mid-2015) and 25 had a net inflow of more than 10 per 1,000 population. Many of those were in areas that also had a higher net inflow: South West, East of England, South East and East Midlands.

There were still local authorities within these regions that had a net outflow, showing that there is considerable within-region variation.

Equally, there were 125 local authorities with more people moving out than in, of which 50 had a net outflow of more than 5 per 1,000 population (mid-2015) and 25 had a net outflow of more than 10 per 1,000 population. London had a specific concentration of local authorities with high net outflows, reflecting the high net outflow for the London region overall. An important explanation for this is that many parents with young children move out of London.

London was the most common region of first residence for international migrants to the UK and some of these may later move to other regions, potentially also with children. Similar factors may also contribute to the high net outflows from many provincial cities.
Immigration is a major factor in the demand for housing. We found some interesting statistics from Migration Watch UK (full report here):

  • To meet overall demand it is estimated that the UK needs to build 300,000 homes a year
  • In England alone, 240,000 homes will need to be built every year for the next 25 years, 45% of which will be due to migration
  • This means we will need to build one home every four minutes for the next 25 years just to house future migrants and their children
  • Official data shows that over the last ten years, 90% of the additional households created in England were headed by a person born abroad.
  • In London all of the additional households formed in the last ten years were headed up by someone born overseas
  • In the short term the UK needs to build more homes. In the longer term any housing strategy must also address demand
  • Reducing net migration will reduce the demand for housing

All said and done, we need to build more homes so let’s get Britain building!

 

 

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Girl on the Tube (May-June’17 part 5)

 

Urbanissta - Girl on the Tube

13th June 2017-

We’ve had a busy few weeks here at Urbanissta-planning application preparation and submissions, team meetings, due diligence work and networking.

Today was no different as we started the morning in Stratford and ended in Old Street.

tube map

 

All Saints to Stratford

The journey from home to Stratford takes less than half an hour, and I love the view as the train pulls into Stratford as you see the stadium to the far left and the aquatics centre. Its also lovely taking in the view of the allotments on the right of the tracks and the parkland on the left.

I keep meaning to get up the Acellor Mittal, but something is stopping me!

Stratford Station

 

Stratford  has become a destination in London in itself with work leisure and housing opportunities within close proximity to the city and its regeneration continues five years after the Olympics.

I have spent quite a bit of time around the Olympic park watching the hockey over the past few weeks. I’ve also come here to watch my team play at the London Stadium. Whilst some critics view the stadium as the most unsustainable asset of the Olympics, it has become a well used round year location. The swimming pool, velo park, copper box and hockey tennis centre are also open to the public.

Green infrastructure connects all of these landmark sporting venues with the retail opportunities at Westfield through a structured landscape setting and opened up connections to the River Lea.

From the park, views of the city creep up.

view from the olympic Park

One main aspect of the Olympic village is the housing, and this was opened up shortly after the close of the games. The development continues apace at both the east village and out towards…

Pudding Mill Lane and Bow

 

Stratford to Old Street

Onto meeting number 2, and onto “ tech city”.  Getting out of Old Street station we never know which exit to take. I have since learnt that using the silicon roundabout as a guide, we want to face away from the Brezier apartments ( which was nominated in  the  Carbuncle Cup in for looking like someone’s posterior) and face towards the expanding hub around the Atla which is being marketed as the tallest building in tech city.

Stratford to Old Street

 

The 40 storey residential tower and 9 storey office building sits in a prominent location on the axis of Shoreditch, Islington, Farringdon and the City. It is in contrast to the red brick Moorfields Eye Hopsital in the foreground, but somehow it works.

Farringdon & Moorfields Eye Hospital

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How will the reshuffle affect housing?

 

Cabinet reshuffle article

There is good news…

Theresa May has announced that Sajid Javid will remain in post as the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. His understanding of the housing sector, combined with the continuity of his reappointment, will be of reassurance to the sector. 

The RTPI (Royal Town Planning Association) said it will write to the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to discuss planning’s role in delivery and the implementation of the measures contained within the housing white paper 2017.

Stephen Wilkinson, president of the RTPI, said: “We will continue to work constructively with the secretary of state (Javid) to ensure the homes, jobs and infrastructure communities across the UK are delivered through the planning system. Developing and implementing a way to capture the rise in land value following public investment is critical to this delivery to ensure everyone benefits from development. I hope to discuss this and the other priorities outlined in our manifestos as soon as possible.”

Furthermore, Greg Clark will also be staying on as Secretary of State for the business, energy and industrial strategy. However, former Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell, who lost his 165 majority in Croydon Central, has been appointed as May’s chief of staff.

Alok Sharma MP will now take on the role of Housing and Planning Minister. He will be the 15th Housing Minister since 2000. Alok Sharma is MP for Reading West and is a chartered accountant. In his constituency, his campaigns show a lot of emphasis on transport and infrastructure – including improvements to local stations and the extension to Crossrail Reading.

Plans to build more homes could be delayed as the new housing minister gets to grips with the property agenda. Gavin Barwell could be a hard act to follow, he was one of the most proactive and successful housing ministers. He faced up to the vested interest groups, challenged house builders to actually build, and told letting agents to their faces that he was going to scrap tenant fees. He had a real determination to get things done.

We will follow the changes and progression as Theresa May strives to achieve stability under her leadership. Let’s hope she’s not leading a sinking ship with the reshuffle.

Watch this space…

Do you have an opinion? We would be interested to hear.

Relevant articles:

The Manifesto 2017:
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/manifesto-2017-conservatives-labour-housing/

Election results 2017:
http://www.urbanissta.co.uk/news/election-results-2017-a-hung-parliament/

About the RTPI

The Royal Town Planning Institute is the UK’s leading planning body for spatial, sustainable and inclusive planning and is the largest planning institute in Europe with over 23,000 members. It is an organisation and chartered institute responsible for maintaining professional standards and accrediting world class planning courses nationally and internationally.

A charity whose charitable purpose is to advance the science and art of planning (including town and country and spatial planning) for benefit of the public. A Learned society.

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The Manifesto 2017 – The Conservatives and Labour on housing

 

General Election 2017 planning policy

The Conservatives and Labour both agree that Britain has a housing crisis – a crisis of supply and a crisis of affordability. We have read through both Manifestos and extracted key proposals for housing.

Labour’s Manifesto proposed the following:

1. Promised to invest into building over a million new homes.
2. Build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes per year by the end of the next parliament.
3. Set up a new Department for Housing. The Department would have to improve the number, standards and affordability and overhaul the Homes and Communities Agency to be its housing delivery body and give councils new powers to build homes.
4. Through the National Transformation Fund, it would prioritise the building of new homes, including council homes.
5. Prioritise brownfield sites, protect the Green Belt and start work on a new generation of new towns to avoid urban sprawl.
6. Consult on new rules on minimum space standards to prevent rabbit hutch properties and on new standards for building ‘zero carbon homes’.
7. Ensure local plans addressed the need for older people’s housing, ensuring that choice and downsizing options were readily available.
8. Land registry would stay in public sector and ownership of land would become more transparent.
9. Pledged to build thousands more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers and guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027, giving local first time buyers ‘first choice’ for new homes built in their area.
10. Give leaseholders security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments.
11. Suspend right-to-buy with councils only able to resume sales if they could prove they had a plan to replace homes sold like of like basis.
12. For the rental market, it would make new three year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent increases and look at giving the Mayor the power to give renters in London additional security.
13. Would legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants.

Read the Labour Manifesto here. 

Conservative’s Manifesto proposed the following:

1. Meet their 2015 commitment to deliver a million new homes by the end of 2022.
2. Will deliver the reforms proposed in the Housing White Paper 2017.
3. Continue to maintain strong protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and areas of outstanding beauty.
4. Building 160,000 homes on the Government’s own land.
5. Enter into new council housing deals with ambitious pre-development Local Authorities to help them build more housing, using low cost capital funding.
6. Ensure more private capital is invested in more productive investments to help the economy to grown faster and securely.
7. Build new fixed term social housing sold privately after 10-15yrs with automatic right to buy for tenants.
8. Reform Compulsory Purchase order to make them easier and less expensive for councils to use and make it easier to determine the true market value of sites.
9. Continue the £2.5bn flood defence program put in place for 300,000 existing homes by 2021.
10. Encourage modern methods of construction and give councils the powers to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions.
11. Not just in the South East, rebalancing housing growth across the country in line with modern industrial strategy.
12. Work with private and public sector house builders to capture the increase in land value.
13. Helping housing associations increase their specialist housing stock.

Read the Conservative Manifesto here.

It is evident that both parties are placing great emphasis on the need for the delivery of new homes, which can only be positive for the development industry and country as whole, the key challenge will be whichever party gets into power, will be to ensure that the resources needed to deliver on such aspirations are available…be that in Local Authorities, on site and sales offices…… We will also need the planning system to operate in a far more responsive manner than it currently occurs. The challenge is on……!

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Planning reform to fix the broken housing market

 

Planning review delayed

Planning reform to fix the broken housing market-delayed by the General Election

In March 2017, the Government set out its intention to reform planning with the publication of the Housing White Paper. It was a mixture of green and white and sets out the Government’s four-point plan to fix the broken housing market.

In trying to understand and explain all of the proposed changes to national planning policy and legislation, we thought we’d got our head around what was potentially happening and when.
However, with the announcement of the General Election of 8th June 2017, we may well be back to square one.

Here is a summary of the changes we were expecting over 2017 prior to the announcement of the General Election.

What’s happened so far?
The Housing and Planning Act received royal assent on the 12th May 2016.
The following sections of the Act on planning came into force from the day the Act received Royal Assent:
• Local planning authority duty to keep a register of particular kinds of land
• The setting of fees for planning applications
• Processing of planning applications by alternative providers
• Urban Development Corporations

A number of the other planning provisions in the Act have since come into force with a commencement date yet to be confirmed:

Sections 158 and 159 on planning obligations
Section 160 on development consent for projects that involve housing
Sections 180 and 181 on compulsory purchase order confirmation and time limits
Sections 192-198 on compulsory purchase compensation

The Neighbourhood Planning Bill had its third reading and will receive Royal Assent in due course. Clause 6-11 of the Bill sets out Local Planning and the powers for intervention.

Starter Homes and Small sites register
The Act put into legislation the Government’s intention to provide a number of Starter Homes. The Government will commence the general duty on local authorities to promote the supply of starter homes and will bring forward regulations to finalise the starter homes definition and monitoring provisions. The Government have previously proposed that local authorities should keep a register of “small sites” in their areas and have since confirmed that it would not go ahead with the requirement for local authorities to keep a small sites register at this time.

Local Plans
The Secretary of State is given powers to intervene where Local Authorities are failing. This is through the Neighbourhood Plan Bill which has had its third reading.
The Government confirmed that following a previous proposal to incentivize preparation of a Local Plan and reduce New Homes Bonus in areas where this is not happening, they will not be taking this forward in 2017/2018.
Press release: Priminister Minister – Councils must deliver local plans for new homes by 2017

Permission in Principle
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Permission in Principle etc.) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2017 was made on March 6th 2017 which clarifies a number of points on permission in principle in England.
Competition in the system
The act gave the SOS through regulation the power to introduce pilot schemes for competition in processing applications.
Developer Contributions
Clauses have been added into the Act to deal with dispute resolution in order to speed up the process of negotiation.

Further changes are coming!
Here’s a summary of the changes in planning that were being considered before the General Election announcement:
Housing land supply and standardized requirement- Government’s priority 
The Government’s priority is to consult on options for introducing a standard methodology for calculating OAN and housing requirement. There will be criteria for moving away from the standard methodology which would require justification. Options are being explored within this consultation for local authorities have to set a housing requirement for Neighbourhood Plans.
The Government are considering whether local authorities will be able to have land supply agreed on an annual basis and for this figure to be fixed on a one year basis. This figure will undergo independent examination, however there are rumblings of concern from local authorities that the time to undergo local plan examination will impact on the date in which the housing figure is adopted.
We were anticipating the consultation in spring 2017, so any time now. Depending on the general election result the incoming government may continue to progress with this priority.

Local Plans
The Government are consulting on the intention to make changes to the NPPF to introduce a housing delivery test and considering consequences for under delivery (fall below the 95% threshold over a 5 year period).
Changes to the NPPF
We were anticipating a revised NPPF in the summer with the following changes:
Duty to Co-operate to be amended so that authorities will be expected to prepare a statement of Common Ground.

  • CLG and the Government are keen for joint planning and will encourage
    Amendments to paragraph 14 and the presumption in favour of sustainable development
    Paragraph 156 and strategic priorities
  • Principle of upward extensions  to be included
  • Stronger support for rural exception sites
  • Allowance for more brownfield land to be released for development with higher proportion of starter homes
  • Definition of affordable housing to be amended to encompass a wider range of products
  • NPPF to be amended to include support for and increased number of new build to rent homes
  • Introduce presumption that brownfield land within settlements is suitable for housing
  • The government have set out their intention to strengthen planning policy to support higher densities in urban locations with a review of the Nationally Described Space Standard
  • Clarification to be made to Green Belt Policy to make the tests for release more transparent
  • Clarification of flood risk policy to ensure that policies for managing flood risk also address cumulative flood risk
  • Amend policy on noise to take into account existing business and adjacent uses
    It is unclear at the present time whether any incoming Government will continue with preparing a revised NPPF

Developer Contributions
The Government were proposing to review the process for developer contributions following publication of the CIL Experts Group findings. This will be reported in the autumn statement 2017.

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects
The act will change so that a development consent order could grant consent for housing that is linked to a NSIP.
Permission in principle
The following statutory instruments were to be made in order to implement the permission in principle policy.

  • The Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017
  • The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017
  • The Town and Country Planning (Register of Previously Developed Land) Regulations 2017
  • Permitted development rights for state funded schools to be extended

Fees and Capacity
Government were considering increasing planning fees with further allowance for authorities who are delivering to increase fees up to 20%. This additional funding would be ring-fenced and would have to be spent within the Planning Department. Thurrock for example, could gain an additional £200,000 Consideration also being given to setting up fees for submitting planning Appeals.

Better information on Build out and Developer Track record
A September consultation was anticipating to deal with issues surrounding developer’s delivery rates, whether the start date of development should be included in a planning application, changes the legislation for secretary of State Sign off and the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders.
The Government have asked the question as to whether Local Authorities should be able to take into account a developer’s track record and delivery rates in considering applications. We are of the opinion that each site is different and on site constraints as well timely discharge of Conditions impacts on meeting targets. Developers already provide information on delivery rates to local authorities when they are preparing SHLAA documents and calculating supply.

Secretary of State Call in period
A statutory period of 3 months is proposed in which the SOS can call in applications.

Prior to the general Election announcement on April 18th, The Government were proposing a raft of consultations over the spring and summer of 2017 to amend national planning policy to improve delivery of much needed homes. Housing is sure to be top of all parties’ manifestos as in 2015 when all parties pledged to increase housing numbers:

Labour- least 200,000 new homes a year are built by 2020,
Conservatives- 200,000 new Starter Homes exclusively for first-time buyers under 40
Liberal Democrats- 300,000 a year

No matter the outcome of the general election, we all have a role to play in meeting the aims of the Housing White Paper and Urbanissta looks forward to working with the housebuilders in this time of change to secure the houses that Britain needs.

Do you need to speak to a planner? Contact us today.

Read the Planning Reform Proposals here.

The Housing White Paper:
Part: 1
Part: 2
Part: 3
Part: 4

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Handbrake turn on development plans for new homes

 

Dunsfold Airfield development public inquiry

Development plans to build 1,800 homes at the Dunsfold Aerodrome have been pulled over and questioned by the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

The plans to redevelop the Top Gear test track in Surrey to make way for new homes will now have to go to public inquiry.

The track is currently appearing in the 25th series of Top Gear, hosted by Friends star Matt Le Blanc alongside motoring journalists Chris Harris and Rory Reid.

The Dunsfold Aerodrome has been home to numerous celebrities and many of the world’s fastest cars due to its presence on the popular BBC motoring show since 2001.

The campaigners who opposed the development have taken the fight to the next level after securing that Communities Secretary Sajid Javid opted to ‘call-in’ the plans for a public inquiry. The plans to demolish the site as part of a move to build new homes were approved by Waverley Borough Council in December 2016, but campaigners have continued to fight over claims the local infrastructure cannot handle the extra population.

Julia Potts, leader of Waverley Borough Council, said she was “somewhat surprised and a little disappointed” at the setback, particularly given infrastructure commitments recently secured via negotiations with the applicant.

She added: “We need homes and we are going to need to look at developing near communities. This one ticks all the boxes.”

Supporters of the proposal said the 1,800 homes due to be built at Dunsfold, which make up the largest development planned in the borough for 100 years, are an essential part of the local plan for the area.

The planning proposal includes the following:

  • Around 50% of the 1,800 homes already planned for could be built in five years. If approved, it is intended that construction work could bring the first homes in 2017 with the new village finally completed in 10 years
  • The planning documents state that the main access to the site would be taken from the A281 via a new junction and access road with a bridge over the Wey and Arun Canal
  • The majority of homes proposed are two-bed, making up 40.6% of the development. This is followed by 31.1% being three-bed homes, 19.4% four-bed, and 8.9% one-bed
  • By 2019 it is projected that 332 homes would be built, as well as a one-form entry primary school
  • A year later in 2020 it is planned to have a further 221 homes, as well as a medical and community centre
  • A care home is planned to be built in 2022, with the primary school being extended in the same year
  • More homes and employment/business space would continue to be built over the following years
  • It is envisaged that the village centre would provide for the day-to-day needs of residents and local employees, minimizing the need to travel
  • The planning application states: ‘This village centre is within a 10-minute walk of all residential properties ensuring that it is accessible by walking and cycling’
  • Enhanced bus routes and a cycle route to Cranleigh will be provided for the development to encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport
  • The new development will become a sustainable location given the mix of uses proposed and improvements to transport infrastructure that will be delivered
  • Improvements to three local bus routes are also planned from Dunsfold Park-Guildford, Godalming-Dunsfold Park-Cranleigh and Cranleigh-Dunsfold-Horsham
  • Dunsfold Park is substantially a previously developed site, which is not at risk of flooding and is not physically constrained by archaeological, environmental, landscape or ecological issues, nor designated as green belt or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • The site contains the borough’s largest employment area and represents a unique opportunity to co-locate a sustainable new settlement with a significantly enhanced employment site
  • Physically the site is large enough to comfortably accommodate the proposal and the Land Use Parameter Plan demonstrates how key assets such as the 250-acre country park will form an integral part of the scheme

The decision to call-in the application has been welcomed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is MP for South West Surrey, and Anne Milton, MP for Guildford.

Mrs Milton said: “I remain concerned that local infrastructure cannot support a development of this scale in this location.” She added, “I am very aware that we need new homes and in particular for those on lower incomes. However, those homes need to be situated in the right locations where the infrastructure, or anticipated infrastructure improvements can support them.”

Bob Lees, Chairman of Protect Our Waverley, said: “We, and the thousands who protested against this proposal, are delighted. It is absolutely right that an independent view be taken of this application.”

When the development was approved in December, Top Gear fans were upset that the country was set to lose one of its most recognisable motoring venues.

There are over 250 airfields in the UK and some are used as motoring venues. Many of them have been re-purposed as housing, there are very few remaining for motorsport.

The Dunsfold development is parked up for now and we are happy to keep watching Matt Le Blanc on our TV screens until further notice! We will make a return journey to this article in due course…

If you need advice on planning or want to discuss anything that you have read on our website, please contact us today.

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Heathrow Expansion – The Debate

 

The government has got the ball rolling with the Heathrow Plan by developing a National Policy Statement (NPS) framework to assess applications despite the on-going legal challenge.

Our very own Legal Beagle Farhana Hussain invites you to have your say. Are you for or against a 3rd runway for Heathrow Airport?

  • Should we have a 3rd runway for Heathrow Airport?
  • If in a year’s time, the development of a 3rd runway cannot pass a simple legal test, where will we be? What do you think? We present you with the facts

Source – NPS – additional runway boundary

The Heathrow Expansion – if allowed, it could be completed by 2020.

 Let the debate commence… 

For the development of the third runway:

  • The expansion could potentially create £60 billion of economic benefits
  • We need more capacity! London is growing, we need to meet the requirements now for the future
  • It would give the UK and economic boost. Improving connectivity with the rest of the world. Supporting exports, trade and job opportunities
  • There would be an allocated £700 million for noise insulation. It’s worth noting that there have been 84,000 noise complaints since January 2016…

Have your say!

Against the development of the third runway:

  • The expansion would cost approximately £18.6 Billion
  • It might hamper the UK’s efforts in tackling climate change
  • The GLA suggests that Heathrow Airport would breach the EU regulations on levels of Nitrous Oxide
  • There would be a destruction of communities – potentially the village of Sipson could be destroyed, that would include 700 houses and 10,000 people might need to be re-homed. Richmond Upon Thames and Twickenham noise levels are already over 50 decibels – the level that the world health organisations considers to be problematic. Solutions to which would need to be found.

Have your say!

This isn’t an Urbanissta opinion article. Planning is our business, customers are important to us and we are always interested in your thoughts.

Here’s an interesting question…

Not long after the High Court decision to delay the appeal for a judicial review of the expansion, the government have issued a draft National Policy Statement. The decision to delay the appeal doesn’t halt the development of the scheme – so where will we be in a year’s time? What do you think?

Only time will tell…

The government considered the NPS to be the most appropriate method to put into place the planning framework for the 3rd runway. As the schemes are regarded as nationally significant infrastructure projects pursuant to the Planning Act 1998, the government have decided that a development consent application is the best way forward to deliver the appropriate scheme.

We provide a summary of the NPS below:

Purpose and scope of the Airport NPS

The NPS is an important tool in providing a primary basis for decision making on development consent applications (DCA) and any future airport infrastructure plans going forward. It sets out planning policy which will need to be considered in conjunction with any application made for a significant infrastructure project. The airport NPS sets out the following:

  1. Government policy on the requirement of a third runway
  2. The preferred location and scheme to deliver the development
  3. Considerations given to particular DCA in respect of Airport NPS

Compliance

Compliance with the NPS is crucial – the SoS in making a decision would expect any proposed development to have regard to a number of components including design, implementation and delivery. In some cases, other NPSs may be relevant to the proposal, however, if a conflict arises, significant weight would be given to the recently designated NPS.

Section 104 (Planning Act 2008)

Similarly, to housing and the consideration of local plans, the SoS will give regard to the relevant NPS when assessing an application for significant infrastructure projects unless they decide that doing so would:

  1. Breach international obligations (eg. Kyoto Protocol)
  2. Be unlawful
  3. Lead the SoS into a breach of duty under any legislation
  4. Adverse impacts outweigh the benefits
  5. Contrary to legislations how decisions are to be taken

It must be noted that there is no provision in the Planning Act 2008 for the requirement of an outline application, followed by reserved matters approval unlike the Town Country Planning Act 1990. Despite this, developments can be phased.

Source; NPS Draft Masterplan of Scheme proposals

Brexit

Until exit negotiations are complete, the UK remain a full member of the EU and therefore the EU legislation applies to the development of the policy and decision making in respect of the preferred scheme. This may need to be revised once negotiations are complete.

Establishing the need for additional airport capacity

The Airport Commission, in their report dated December 2013 noted that there was a need for an additional runway in the South East of England by 2030.

The following shortlisted schemes were also considered: Gatwick Second Runway scheme, Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme, and Heathrow Extended Northern Runway scheme as well as the option of a new airport in the inner Thames Estuary (this was later dismissed as… “The proposal of a new airport in the inner Thames Estuary as it was did not perform sufficiently well to warrant consideration alongside the three schemes that it decided to shortlist.”)

The Airport Commission concluded their Final Report in July 2015 that the NW Runway at Heathrow presented the strongest case in respect of expansion and was considered to offer the greatest strategic and economic benefits to the UK.

Assessment Principles

General Principle

The NPS covering NW Heathrow scheme establishes the needs case provided that it adheres to the detailed policies set out in the NPS and the legal constraints posed by the PA 2008. Furthermore, the following must be taken into account by the examining authority and SoS:

  • Potential benefits are economic, job creation and environmental improvement
  • Potential adverse impacts and mitigation measures to compensate for such (national, regional and local levels)

Scheme variation

Although the preferred scheme has been identified – NW Runway – variations can still be made to the scheme. It is noted that the NPS does not prejudice the viability or merits of an application, but rather governs the location and limits and nature of such schemes.

EIA

The examining authority determining the application will assess significant effects at all stages.

Habitats Regulations Assessment

Before granting consent, the SoS must have regard to the Conservations of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. If the relevant authority conclude, that the development is likely to have a significant effect on a European site and how it is not directly linked to the management of the site, an appropriate assessment must be carried out to assess the implications.

Equalities

An objective identified by the Airport Commissions (AC) was to: “Reduce or avoid disproportionate impacts on any social groups.” At the consultation stage, the AC must carry out an equality impact assessment.

Alternative requirements

The applicant must comply with the following legal requirements:

  • EIA Directive
  • Consideration of alternatives e.g Habitats and Water Framework
  • Flood risk sequential test

Criteria for ‘good design’ for airports infrastructure

Good design is an integral consideration. Visual appearance, costs and sustainability all play a significant part in considering the scheme design.

Good design must meet the principle objectives of mitigating or eliminating any issues that may arise from an adverse impact. The scheme must also be functional and fit for purpose.

Costs

The scheme must be cost efficient and sustainable and seek to minimise costs to airlines passengers and freight owners.

Climate change adaption

The development must plan to avoid increased vulnerability to the impacts rising from climate change. Any risks must be managed through suitable adaptation measures. Green infrastructure is encouraged.

Pollution control

The SoS will assess whether the development is an acceptable use of land and impacts of the use. The Environmental Agency who issue environmental permits (EP) will review the application to check whether the scheme meets the relevant EP requirements. Pre-applications can be conducted prior to making the application.

Common Law Nuisance

When an application is submitted, the examining authority will assess how the sources of nuisance might be mitigated so that appropriate recommendations are put to the SoS before granting permission.

Security considerations

Proportionate and protective security measures must be designed into new infrastructure projects at an early stage in the development.

Health

Measures to avoid, reduce or compensate for adverse health impacts must be considered.

Accessibility

The development must, in accordance with the legal requirements and best practice, satisfy the following:

  • Include clear details on how plans improve access, address accessibility and need
  • Ensure all bus/train fleets comply with legal access standards by 2020
  • Easy access and car parking provisions for the disabled

Specific impacts requirements

Any application put forward would also need to have regard to the following specific impacts requirements:

  • Surface access
  • Air quality
  • Noise
  • Carbon emissions
  • Biodiversity
  • Land use
  • Resource and waste management
  • Flood Risk
  • Water quality and resources
  • Historic environment
  • Landscape and visual impacts
  • Land instability
  • Dust, odour, artificial light
  • Community compensation
  • Community engagement
  • Skills
  • Ruling out a fourth runway

 What happens next?

  • Following consultation and adoption of the NPS, and assuming any legal challenges are unsuccessful, the NPS will form the basis for the application for the DCO which is required to permit the necessary development of the construction of the new runway
  • The critical aspect will be the impact of increased noise and air pollution and whether the government and Heathrow Airport Ltd are able to demonstrate that they can put together, and rely upon, “A comprehensive package of mitigation measures.” to overcome any harmful impacts
  • If it cannot be demonstrated that an effective and legally binding set of restrictions can be put in place, it may jeopardise the whole project as the government have made it clear that it will be a condition of approval, that the air quality legal requirements will be met

 The residents who will be affected by the expansion want to hear your views! (Read more)

The government want to hear your views! (Read more)

Relevant dates for the expansion (read more)

What’s next? 

Read the planning process (here)

Housing and planning act – changes to legislation (read more) 

The town and country planning act 1990, section 215 – Best practice guide (read more)

That’s a lot of information for you to absorb but we are interested in your opinion. What do you think should happen?

Are you for or against The Heathrow Expansion?

Have your say!

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