Monthly Archives: January 2017


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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Theresa May’s 10 point action plan unveiled!


Teresa May’s 10 point action plan unveiled

The Prime Minister has launched a green paper on the Industrial Strategy for consultation.

A ten point action plan with the biggest investment in transport, broadband and energy for a generation.

On 23rd January 2017 Theresa May revealed her long term vision for delivering a more resource efficient and resilient economy. This will be supported by the government’s 25 year environment plan.

The proposed action plan will focus on these 10 important issues:

  1. Investing in science, research and innovation
  2. Developing skills
  3. Upgrading infrastructure
  4. Supporting business to start and grow
  5. Improving government procurement
  6. Encouraging trade and inward investment
  7. Delivering affordable energy and clean growth
  8. Cultivating world-leading sectors
  9. Driving growth across the whole country
  10. Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places

What has prevented the government moving forwards in the past?

  • There has been a distinct lack of clear long-term plans and budgets
  • Progress hindered by a complex planning system
  • A failure to align planning for infrastructure with planning for housing and industry

What is needed now to help achieve their goals?

Energy, transport, water, flood defence and digital infrastructure must be upgraded across the whole country. This will allow businesses to thrive and enable higher rates of house-building, making houses more affordable.

Here is a brief outline of what has been noted in the green paper:

  • House building – there will be new funding made available to enable central investment to support local growth and will fund the infrastructure needed to enable house-building on sites with marginal viability in locations with an acute housing need
  • A Housing Infrastructure fund will allow joined up planning for housing and infrastructure in areas in severe need
  • An Accelerated Construction programme will support new entrants and developers, innovative private sector partners and offsite manufacturers to ensure homes are built up to double the speed of traditional house builders
  • A total of £1.1 billion of funding for local roads and public transport networks will allow communities to fix local travel bottlenecks that hold back growth
  • The creation of new funding like the Housing Infrastructure Fund and funding for local roads and public transport networks will enable infrastructure decisions to be matched more effectively with local economic plans
  • The government will work with local government to review how to bring more business expertise into local government, for example through the creation of a modern “Alderman” type of role within local government; and work with Local Enterprise Partnership (LEPs) to review their role in delivering local growth, examining how we best practice can be spread and strengthening LEPs,  including extending the support they receive from the What Works centre for Local Economic Growth
  • On climate change, the settled policy position was reflected in the government’s commitment to meeting its legally-binding targets under the Climate Change Act. How it will continue to meet its legal obligations would be set out, as required, in the forthcoming Emissions Reduction Plan
  • This year the government will set out a long-term roadmap to minimise business energy costs. To inform this it will commission a review of the opportunities to reduce the cost of achieving its decarbonisation goals in the power and industrial sectors
  • It will work with stakeholders to explore opportunities to reduce raw material demand and waste in our energy and resource systems, and to promote well-functioning markets for secondary materials, and new disruptive business models that challenge inefficient practice

This work will be supported by the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan which will set out a long term vision for delivering a more resource efficient and resilient economy.

The Prime Minister noted that last summer’s referendum was not just a vote to exit the European Union, it was a directive to the government to change the way our country works for us, the people – forever.

The plan is to shape a new future, to build a stronger, fairer Britain. Our modern industrial strategy is a critical part of our plan for post-Brexit Britain. It will back Britain for the long term: creating the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and backing them to invest in the long-term future of Britain.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “This active government will build on Britain’s strategic strengths and tackle our underlying weaknesses, like low productivity. This is vital because if we want to increase our overall prosperity, if we want more people to share in that prosperity, if we want higher real wages, and if we want more opportunities for young people to get on – we have to raise our productivity.”

Do you have an opinion about the points raised in the green paper?

Have your say…

Below is a sample of questions from the green paper, being posed to the general public:

  1. Does this document identity the right areas of focus: extending our strengths; closing the gaps and making the UK one of the most competitive places to start or grow a business?
  2. Are the ten pillars suggested the right ones to tackle low productivity and unbalanced growth? If not, which areas are missing?
  3. Are the right central government and local institutions in place to deliver an effective industrial strategy? If not, how should they be reformed? Are the types of measures to strengthen local institutions set out here and below the right ones?
  4. Are there important lessons we can learn from the industrial policies of other countries which are not reflected in these ten pillars?
  5. What should be the priority areas for science, research and innovation investment?
  6. Which challenge areas should the Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund focus on to drive maximum economic impact?
  7. What else can the UK do to create an environment that supports the commercialisation of ideas?
  8. How can we best support the next generation of research leaders and entrepreneurs?
  9. How can we best support research and innovation strengths in local areas?
  10. What more can we do to improve basic skills? How can we make a success of the new transition year? Should we change the way that those resitting basic qualifications study, to focus more on basic skills excellence?


Do you want to give your opinion? Send an email to:

The consultation closes on 17th April 2017.

To read the Green Paper go to:

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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


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


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


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


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


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

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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