Author Archives: Jo Hanslip


Ways to prevent planning permissions expiring via non primary legislation


“Eight suggestions have been made by the Law Society of England and Wales Planning & Environmental Law Committee and the City of London Law Society Planning & Environmental Law Committee in writing to the housing secretary Robert Jenrick. They include measures to ensure delivery in the housing sector in planning for recovery from the current crisis.

The measure include expiring routes for temporary development changes via secondary or non-legislative guidance to ensure the expiry of planning permissions and NSIP projects are abated whilst MP’s are working under restrictions making the use of primary legislation challenging. Measures addressed, remote council meetings, hot food take aways, temporary development the appeal process, determination periods s106 and CIL matters”

View the letter here (PDF)

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Stafford New Local Plan 2020 – 2040


Map image of Stafford

Stafford Borough Council is currently consulting on its issues and options document for the new Local Plan which will cover the period 2020 – 2040. Given the COV 19 outbreak the deadline had been extended and was due to expire at 12 noon on 21st April 2020. The document includes the level of housing and employment land that will be required for the Borough over the next 20 years. The purpose of the new Local Plan is as follows:

  • Set out a refreshed vision for the development of Stafford
  • Highlight the key issues to be addressed;
  • Provide objectives to guide continued growth and policies so that new development meets local needs in line with national policy set out through the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF);
  • Provide a strategy and policy framework for the delivery of development and the decision-making process for future planning applications in the Borough;
  • Identify the scale and location of development;
  • Describe how the development will be implemented.

When complete the new plan will update the existing plan for Stafford Borough which runs from 2011 -2031. The plan will include policies for the development and protection of land and will provide site allocations for new development. It is currently anticipated that following the consultation period, the information gathered will be considered and reflected upon with a preferred options report being available by 2021. The timescales moving forward as set out in the Council’s local development scheme are as follows:

  • Preferred Options Report – January 2021
  • Formal Publication of the Proposed New Plan – June 2021
  • Submission of the proposed new plan to the planning inspectorate – December 2021
  • Examination of the proposed new plan – March 2022
  • Adoption of the new local plan – October 2022

Whilst the new Local Plan is being prepared planning decisions will be taken on the basis of existing statutory development plan documents i.e. the Plan for Stafford Borough 2011-2031 (June 2014) the Plan for Stafford Borough Part 2 (January 2017) and relevant neighbourhood plans within the borough.

The issues and options document recognises the importance of introducing measures to combat climate change and includes options as follows:

  • Energy Efficiency – it is recognised that there is an increased requirement for buildings to be more energy efficient, the document asks if the Local Plan should require development to built to a standard in excess of the current statutory building regulations and asks what further policies could be introduced
  • Renewable Energy – it is identified that the Local Plan should make suitable provision for the transition to a low carbon and renewable energy network. Significantly the document asks which renewable energy technologies should be utilised? And also whether the Council should introduce a policy requiring larger developments to source a certain percentage of their energy supply from on-site renewables
  • Water Efficiency – the document asks the question as to if the Council should implement a higher water standard than the Building Regulations standard of  a maximum 110 litres a day consumption

The documents also raises significant questions in respect of the Development Strategy for the borough significantly which of the annual housing requirement figures best meets Stafford housing need and if the proposed settlement hierarchy is suitable.  Detailed sections on Economic prosperity, the delivery of town centres, housing delivery, the quality of development, environmental quality, and health and wellbeing are all included within the document with opportunities to comment upon the suitability of identified proposals.

The full document is available at (PDF):

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Boris Johnson has a new look for housing


Boris Johnson began his attempt to energise the country with a significant government reshuffle and that included a new look for housing.

Take a look…

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Robert Jenrick MP has replaced James Brokenshire in his role as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The Rt.Hon Esther McVey MP has replaced Kit Malthouse in her role as Minister of State.

Who is Robert Jenrick MP?

Robert Jenrick is the MP for Newark, East Midlands and was first elected in 2014. His most recent role was as Exchequer Secretary at HM treasury having served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Energy, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Justice. Jenrick voted to remain in the EU but in a free vote in March 2019, he was one of 188 Conservative MPs who voted against the government to oppose extending Article 50.

Previous to becoming an MP, Jenrick was a solicitor.

Jenrick on housing…

In June 2019 Jenrick vowed to campaign for stronger protections for owners of freehold properties managed on estates. In 2017 he wrote an article in The Times stating the housing crisis was a ‘supply-side problem, so the policies must primarily focus on building more good homes.’ He also wrote that it was time to ‘offer support’ to SME housebuilders.

Who is Esther McVey?

Esther McVey is the MP for Tatton, North West and was first elected in 2010 as a representative for the Wiral West constituency but lost her seat at the 2015 General Election. However, she made a comeback in 2017 in Tatton. Her most recent role was as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2018. McVey resigned over the EU Withdrawal Agreement saying that the deal did not honour the result of the referendum.

Previous to becoming an MP McVey had a career in broadcasting.

McVey on housing…

In May 2019 Andrew Lewer MP, Chair of the SME Housebuilders All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) wrote an article in The Telegraph commenting that McVey had taken an interest in the APPG’s work as part of her commitment to ‘Blue-Collar Conservatism’. Lewer added that ‘Esther’s social mobility housing ideas could ensure that our hard-working taxpayer’s money not only goes on supporting the housing needs of the least well-off in our communities but that it is also used to build houses.’

Other changes…

Sajid Javid MP, former Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Jake Berry MP will remain as a Minister with a brief spanning both MHCLG and Cabinet Office. The role includes Northern Powerhouse.

Contact us today for more information about our services.

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Prime Minister lays down in front of bulldozers in an attempt to stop third runway…


Will we see headlines like this soon?

‘Prime Minister lays down in front of bulldozers in an attempt to stop third runway…’

Boris Johnson has now ‘landed’ the role of Prime Minister. Having ‘taken off’ for Afganistan back in June, he missed the day of the government’s key vote on a third runway at Heathrow. With a strong standpoint on the new development could we see Boris be a man of his word?

These words?

“I will lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway… Heathrow is just undeliverable, and the sooner we face that the sooner our salvation.”

Boris Johnson – London Mayor, 2015.

The Heathrow expansion…

Over 80 million passengers flew in and out of Heathrow Airport last year, if the third runway goes ahead that number could rise to a staggering 130 million.

Originally a small airfield built in 1929 and developed into an airport in 1946, Heathrow now covers nearly 5 square miles. The airport is used by multiple airlines travelling to 200 destinations in 84 countries with an average 1300 flight movements a day.

The third runway at Heathrow was proposed back in July 2015 when the Airports Commission examined various options to increase UK airport capacity and the Heathrow expansion became their final destination. Suggestions, objections and decisions were made and now the development for a third runway at Heathrow has gone to public consultation until the 13th September 2019.

Development, demolition and blight

At a potential cost of £14 billion, privately financed not through taxpayer’s money, the new runway will bring 180,000 new jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships across the UK. That is great news for people looking for a job but what about those people whose property and homes are affected by the development?

Considerations and compensations have been discussed about the demolition of homes and villages. Most of the homes in the village of Harmondsworth will be demolished and how close properties are to the location of the new runway will determine how much compensation will be given to the owners. The owners of 750 properties will be covered by the ‘compulsory purchase area scheme’ which offer the owners 25% above market value plus legal fees, stamp duty and moving costs. A further 3,750 homeowners will be offered 25% above market value once the runway is built. The government has said that people who choose to remain in affected areas can have their homes or other buildings insulated against noise.

The Secretary of State for Transport designated the Airports National Policy Statement (Airports NPS) on the 26th June 2018. This policy will allow property owners within a certain distance from the potential third runway to ask the Secretary of State for Transport to buy their property, this can be done by the owner serving a ‘blight notice’.

What would a property owner be entitled to if a blight notice is accepted?

  • The market value of the property
  • A property loss payment which could be:

– 10% of the unaffected market value for homes subject to a cap of £63K

– 10% of the unaffected market value for commercial properties subject to a cap of £100K

– 7.5% of the unaffected market value for properties operated by private landlords subject to a cap of £75K

  • Stamp duty costs associated with the purchase of an equivalent value property
  • Reimbursement of reasonable legal fees and removal or other disturbance costs in accordance with the statutory compensation code

Will the third runway affect you and your home?

The Heathrow Expansion website offers all the information a property owner needs to know if they will be affected by the development of the third runway.

Find out how more here.

The Heathrow airport plans and boundaries:

Heathrow expansion plans. Read more.

Airports National Policy Statement (NPS). Read more.

Airports NPS Annex A red line boundary around the runway. Read more.

Find out more about the public consultation here.

How to respond to the public consultation. Read more.


Related articles:

How will the Heathrow expansion be affected by a hung parliament?

Return flight to Heathrow 2017 

The Heathrow expansion debate

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The Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting 1st edition 2019


The Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting professional statement (1st edition) sets out 14 mandatory requirements which chartered surveyors must comply to when carrying out financial viability assessments in planning. The effective date when those processes need to be conducted by will be the 1st of September 2019.

Download: The Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting (28th May 2019)

What is the aim of the new professional statement?

  • To demonstrate how a reasonable, objective and impartial outcome without interference should be achieved
  • To support the statutory planning decision process
  • To support and complement the government’s reforms to the planning process announced in July 2018 and further updates. This will include an overhaul of the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance on viability and related matters
  • To ensure that chartered surveyors and regulated firms recognise and adhere to their professional duties when working whilst working with significant public interest obligation mixed with commercial pressure

Surveyors and regulated firms

Surveyors and regulated firms will have to make sure that the terms and conditions of their instructions can accommodate compliance.

Chartered surveyors and viability

Chartered surveyors have had a key role in assessing viability in the planning system, most importantly, in negotiating planning obligations in planning applications.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

RICS created the  ‘Financial viability in planning’ guidance notes in 2012 to allow the viability policy contained in the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 to be applied in practice.

This guidance was extensively relied upon in the sector. Government has now revised its planning policy through the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018 and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) 2018 (and further updates in 2019). The RICS is in the process of revising their 2012 guidance to align with the new government planning policy and practice statements which seek to address viability much earlier in the process, at the plan-making stage.

Download the: National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018

Download the: Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) 2018

Delivering development

Delivering 300,000 dwellings a year is the government’s priority. However, it has proven to be a tough target to meet. This is creating pressure on local planning authorities to build more affordable housing. To make sure that the appropriate balance is achieved between the planning policy ambitions and retaining the business case for development, government policy requires a viability assessment to be carried out to ensure the cumulative impact of planning obligations does not restrict delivering the plan objectives.

Stakeholder engagement and concerns

The RICS engaged extensively with stakeholders in the sector and obtained some valuable feedback. Some were dissatisfied about the standards to which viability assessments are being produced. The concerns extend from public representatives, the development sector, community groups and decision makers all of whom rely on viability assessments in a key public interest area. Questions about objectivity, conflicts of interest, transparency and contingency fees among others have been raised about those working for both the private and public sectors.

Individual appeal cases

The professional statement does not reference individual appeal cases. This is because the issues relating to them are often specific to each case, which makes an objective analysis difficult and subject to caveats.

The new professional statement focuses on reporting and process requirements, more explicit detail on development viability in planning and providing greater clarity on reporting will be dealt with in the forthcoming second edition of the RICS guidance note Financial viability in planning.

If you have any questions about the articles that we share with you or require information about our services, contact us today.

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The housing and zero emissions report


Is it possible to achieve zero carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses by 2050?

Time will tell…

The Committee on Climate Change(CCC) recently issued its widely publicised report, ‘Net Zero – the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming”, recommending a new emissions target of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

The report responds to a request from the governments of the UK, Wales and Scotland, asking the Committee to reassess the UK’s long-term emissions targets. The CCC’s new emissions scenarios draw on new research projects, three expert advisory groups, and reviews of the work of the IPCC and others.

Whilst the CCC have no legislative or policy-making powers, they will be influential on government policies.

Read the report here.

Housing and zero emissions…

The Government have said that from 2025 all new builds will not be connected to the gas grid. The CCC has said that by 2035 almost all replacement heating systems for existing homes must be low-carbon or ready for hydrogen. That will be the main consideration for housebuilders and their supply chains. Low-cost heating systems will be in high demand.

Decarbonisation of homes…

The CCC report sets out various scenarios including the decarbonisation of some of the remaining 20% of homes not decarbonised in the central scenario. It said these were mainly homes on the gas grid with limited space and homes that were more difficult to retrofit. However, 10% of homes still did not have low carbon heating under this new scenario. This might prove to be a conservative assumption, depending on progress with decarbonisation of heat.

In the CCC report, there was a lot of uncertainty about which heat decarbonisation pathway(s) would be the most technically, economically and socially feasible but the further ambition scenario made it more likely that hydrogen would play a role– for example in homes with space constraints and decarbonise the demand for peak heating. Technically speaking, the further ambition scenario is feasible but heat decarbonisation, in particular, had a long way to go and required policy action to demonstrate, test and scale up the supply and demand side technologies required.

An advisory group…

The CCC created a net zero advisory group to advise how the UK could reduce emissions to net-zero. The advisory group noted that CCC’s analysis suggested that there should be a reduction in UK GHG emissions of more than 95% by 2050. Based on this analysis and the need to maintain UK leadership, the advisory group’s view was that a net zero GHG target should be set for 2050.

It will all come at a cost…

The report said that action was needed to manage the transition for communities that could be exposed to high economic and social costs because of the need to phase out some industries or infrastructures.

Business Green said,To transition homes and industry to use low-carbon gas, Government needs to provide a long-term vision and joined-up policy framework for heat, industry and transport. But more than anything, we must now continue moving forward; as the Committee makes clear, adopting a ‘net zero’ target means an action is needed urgently. Energy network investment and innovation incentives for decarbonisation, set by the energy regulator Ofgem, should be more ambitious over the next decade, and should work with other government initiatives to support large-scale trials on options for decarbonising gas.”

How will the land be affected?

The rate of which CO2 would be removed from the atmosphere was predicted at a rate of 30,000 hectares per year, similar to the rate of afforestation achieved in the 1980s. The main challenge was whether the land for this would be available, which partly depended on improvements in agricultural productivity and dietary trends.

Other considerations to achieve the zero emission’s goal would be longer policy timetables with a consistent and stable framework and power supplies using a flexible gas plant with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for ‘mid-merit’ power and burning hydrogen to cover peak demand. This depended on CCS being fully commercialised and hydrogen being produced using zero-carbon energy sources. The amount of flexible generation required would depend on the extent of other sources of flexibility which might be cheaper, including demand-side response, storage and interconnectors.

We recently saw the passionate demonstrations in London about the environment, roads were closed and arrests were made. Whether you agree or not with the protestor’s methods, one thing is clear – there needs to be a behavioural change on our part too. Our approach to saving the environment is really important and steps can be taken in your home or with the cars you drive.

You can use the government’s ‘Pathways’ analysis calculator for 2050 to give you key insights into how you can make a difference. Find out about the analysis calculator. 

Urbanissta offers a commercial service, specialising in securing implementable planning permissions and delivering high quality landscaping schemes. For more information about our services, contact us today.


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The Planning Directorate newsletter


Surveys, tests, schemes and guidance…

In March 2019, MHCLG Chief Planner Steve Quartermain published the Planning Directorate newsletter.

You can read the full newsletter here.

What did we learn from the newsletter?

LPAs get a firm reminder about keeping LDSs up to date…

  • Quatermain took some LPAs to task for not keeping LDSs up to date and failing to advise the Inspectorate of the dates of proposed Local Plan publication and submission dates
  • The LPAs were reminded that they could not refuse to validate planning applications made electronically without paper copies or vice versa
  • Quartermain briefed planners on the Spring Statement and updates to national planning policy and guidance

Survey of planning departments begins…

  • On the 28th February 2019, a survey began of planning departments on behalf of the LGA and MHCLG. The survey was to understand long term resourcing pressures and skills gaps for local authorities
  • The topic of the 20% increase in planning fees for local authorities and what improvements it has facilitated was discussed
  • Local authorities were asked to respond to the survey which was provided on the 5th March, the closing date was the 20th March 2019

The housing delivery test measurement published…

  • On the 19th February 2019, the housing delivery test measurement for 2018 was published and a technical note setting out how the housing delivery test was calculated
  • The housing delivery test provides transparency about where housing is or is not being delivered in relation to the number of homes communities require
  • If a new plan containing a new housing requirement has been adopted, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are encouraged to contact to have their result recalculated

Read the 2018 Housing delivery test measurement by the local planning authority and a technical note on the process used in its calculation.

Local development schemes and local plan submission dates reviewed…

  • Local development schemes and plan submission dates Section 15 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires every LPA to put in place a local development scheme (LDS) which should set out the documents which will comprise the local plan for the area
  • The scheme was developed so local communities and interested parties can keep track of plan progress. In addition, the NPPF sets out that plans should be reviewed every 5 years potentially leading to an update. This should be reflected in the LDS
  • In practice, some LPAs are not keeping LDSs up to date which could impact on the ability of the community and key stakeholders to take part in the plan process  

Planning application validations…

  • Quartermain stressed that LPAs could not refuse to validate an application if an applicant who had made an application electronically and did not provide paper copies
  • LPAs could not refuse to validate an application if an applicant did not provide an electronic copy of the application
  • LPAs could not insist that a planning application was only made via the planning portal or any route

Read about planning guidance letters to planning officers.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework was updated on the 19th February 2019 and sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

This revised Framework replaces the previous National Planning Policy Framework published in March 2012 and revised in July 2018.

Find out more here. 


Who is Steve Quatermain? 

Urbanissta offers a commercial service, specialising in securing implementable planning permissions and delivering high quality landscaping schemes. For more information about our services, contact us today.


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Welcome to the team Dean!



We have a new member of the Urbanissta team who we would like to introduce.

Dean joined Urbanissta as an Associate in January 2019 following 14 years working in a Local Planning Authority.  He has extensive experience of dealing with a wide range of large scale planning projects both commercial and residential. Dean who has been a member of the RTPI since 2009 is based in our Birmingham office. Dean has a particular passion for planning law and enjoys the challenges associated with its practical application.

Outside of work Dean likes to keep active and loves the great outdoors and can be found hiking various mountains or teaching martial arts. Dean also enjoys ‘big band’ music and has on occasion performed some crooning classics.

Dean joined the private sector as he needed a fresh challenge and he chose Urbanissta because he was impressed by our approach. His goal is to gain a broad range of experience of the planning profession from a commercial standpoint.

Welcome to the team Dean.




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