Category Archives: Local

 

Legal Beagle November Edition

 

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

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

Our guest barrister, Giles Atkinson of 6 Pump Court provides a commentary on a recent decision; Catesby Estates Ltd v Peter Steer.

Here are 10 recent planning appeals, giving you insights into the latest precedents:

1. Reasons for Planning Approvals

Appeal Ref: C1/2017/1840 and C1/2017/1934
Appeal Decision Date: 18th July 2018
Appellant: Catesby Estates Ltd
Council: Amber Valley District Council

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Catesby Estates[1] is an interesting and important one about how to determine the extent of the ‘setting’ of a heritage asset.

‘Setting’ is defined in the glossary to the NPPF, July 2018, although the definition is unchanged from the 2012 version:

Setting of a heritage asset:  The surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced.  Its extent is not fixed and may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve.  Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset, may affect the ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral.

The development at the heart of the case is a proposed 400 homes in Allestree, Derbyshire.  The application was refused by the LPA (Amber Valley) essentially because of harm to the setting of the nearby Grade 1 listed Kedlestone Hall.  The land on which the housing was proposed had formerly formed part of the estate for the Hall.  Catesby appealed successfully to the Secretary of State, the Inspector deciding that the development was not within the setting of the Hall because there was no visual connection between the development site and the Hall, but the Inspector’s decision granting outline permission for the development was quashed in the High Court following a section 288 challenge.

The Inspector was found by the High Court to have wrongly assessed the impact of the proposal on the setting of Kedlestone Hall as being determined by the absence of physical or visual connection between the Hall and the land on which the housing was proposed to be built, notwithstanding the historic, social and economic connections between them.  The Inspector had found that without a physical or visual connection the appeal site was not within the setting of the Hall; in the Inspector’s judgment it was necessary for there to be a physical or visual connection for the development site to come within the setting of the Hall.

Lang J concluded that the Inspector’s interpretation of setting, requiring there to be a physical or visual connection between heritage asset and development, was too narrow.

The reason why this decision raised so many eyebrows was that it appeared to be at odds with a CA decision in Williams[2] made a few weeks before Lang J’s judgment in which Lindblom LJ (like the Inspector at Kedleston Hall) appeared to rely on the need for there to be a distinct visual relationship between heritage asset and development for the latter to affect the setting of the former.

Catesby appealed to the Court of Appeal against the judgment of Lang J and the case came before LJs McFarlane, Asplin and Lindblom who, not surprisingly, gave the leading judgment with which the others agreed.

Essentially it was argued in the CA on behalf of Catesby and the Secretary of State that the Inspector had not disregarded the other non-visual and physical considerations necessary to consider when identifying the extent of the setting of the Hall.  On behalf of Mr Steer and Heritage England, it was said, on the contrary, that the Inspector had indeed taken too narrow a view, focusing on views and visual impacts alone and that a visual connection is not necessary in every case.

In his judgment, Lindblom LJ reminded us first that ‘setting’ is not statutorily defined and does not lend itself to precise definition but it is implicit in section 66 of the Listed Buildings Act[3] that the setting of a listed building is capable of being affected in some discernible way by development, whether within the setting or outside.

Importantly, and in accordance with much of what the CA has been saying recently, he went on to make clear that the identification of the extent of the setting of a heritage asset is always a matter of fact and planning judgment for the decision maker, not the court.

Addressing the apparent conflict with his own decision in Williams Lindblom J followed what he had said in that case to the effect that for a proposed development to affect the setting of a listed building there must be a distinct visual relationship between the two which is more than remote or ephemeral and which bears on one’s experience of the asset in its surroundings.  However, that does not mean that when considering the extent of an asset’s setting the decision maker should ignore the factors other than the visual or physical, such as the economic, social and historical.

Noting that the CA in another case had acknowledged that smell could harm the setting of a listed building, Lindblom drew together three general points.

First, that it is important that the decision maker understand what the setting of a listed building is, otherwise it would be difficult for an assessment to be made of how development affects it.  Second, although this is never a purely subjective exercise there is not, and nor could there be, a single approach which would apply to every case; this must always be a matter of applying planning judgment to the particular facts of a case with relevant policy, guidance and advice in mind.  Third, the effect of a particular development on the setting of a listed building is a matter for the decision maker.

In light of these points Lindblom agreed with the submissions made on behalf of Catesby and the SoS that the Inspector had not taken too narrow a view of setting, and had not concentrated on the visual and physical effect of the development, to the exclusion of all else.  The Inspector, as a matter of planning judgment, was not saying that land could only fall within the setting of the Hall if there was a physical or visual connection, he was saying the extent of the setting in this case could not be determined by the historical, social and economic connections.

The appeal was therefore allowed and the decision of the High Court overturned.

That may not be the end of the matter however.  At the time of writing Mr Steer has applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against Lindblom LJ’s decision, that permission having been refused by the CA itself[4].  The appeal is essentially on the basis that there is confusion still about the correct approach because of the Willia

Download Decision Here.

[1] In fact 2 appeals joined: Catesby Estates Ltd v Peter Steer, Historic England and SoS for CLG v Peter Steer, Historic England [2018] EWCA Civ 1697

[2] R (oao Williams) v Powys CC [2017] EWCA Civ 427

[3] In considering whether to grant planning permission…for development which affects a listed building or its setting, the local planning authority or, as the case may be, the Secretary of State shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.

[4] On the 22nd August 2018

 

2. Benefits of the proposal are insufficient to outweigh the impact on Landscape and Setting of Listed Building.

Appeal ref: APP/X1545/W/17/3185429
Appeal Decision Date: 29 August 2018
Appellant: Endurance Estates Strategic Land Ltd
Council: Maldon District Council

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant outline planning permission. The applicant appealed against the refusal of for planning permission for an outline application for the construction of up to 45 dwellings with associated garaging, parking, public open space, landscaping, access, highways drainage and infrastructure works.

Background
An appeal was made by Endurance Estates Strategic Land Ltd against the decision to refuse planning permission for 45 dwellings and associated works by Maldon District Council

 In dismissing the appeal the Inspector gave consideration to the following main issues.

  • Whether the Council demonstrates a suitable supply of housing land;
  • The effects of the proposal on the landscape/visual character of the area; and
  • The effects of the proposal on the setting of the nearby listed building.

 Land Supply
The Inspector decided that the Council can be considered to have a five year supply of housing sites, with an appropriate buffer, for the purposes of this appeal.

Landscape/Visual Character
The Inspector acknowledged that the land is not covered by any specific landscape designation. However its value is derived from the fact that it would form the immediate rural setting at the edge of the Garden Suburb; its intrinsic value is its openness.  As such, the proposed development would undermine the Policy S4 which places emphasis on the protection of open space.

Setting of the Listed Building
Taking account of the low level of contribution to the significance of the historic asset that the appeal site makes, The Inspector considered that it would result in ‘less than substantial harm’ to its significance, as set out in paragraph 196 of the NPPF.  Within this level of harm the Council suggested that it should be seen as ‘moderate’ and the appellant suggests that it would be ‘minor’. The Inspector decided that minor harm that would arise.

 Conclusion
The proposal put forward a number of benefits which is considered to carry significant weight. However, the due to the harm identified in respect of landscape and visual character and the impact on the setting of the listed building, the benefits of the proposal are insufficient to outweigh this conflict and the harm arising.

In light of the above, the Inspector refused planning permission.

Download Decision Here.

3. Proposal for 2,600 units refused permission by SoS due to the less than substantial harm to the significance of a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Appeal Ref: APP/U3935/W/16/3154437
Appeal Decision Date: 13 June 2018
Appellant: Ainscough Strategic Land Ltd
Council: Swindon Borough Council

The appeal was recommended dismissal by the Inspector. On 19th August 2016 , the appeal was recovered for the Secretary of State’s determination. The applicant appealed against the refusal of for planning permission for an outline application (with all matters reserved save the detailed access off Wanborough Road) for demolition and/or conversion of the existing buildings on the site and redevelopment to provide:

  • “Up to 2,600 residential units (Use Class C3); – Up to 1,765 sq m of community/retail uses (Use Classes D1/D2/A1/A2/A3/A4)
  • Up to 3,000 sq m of business/employment use (Use Class B1);
  • A Primary School (2.2 ha); – Open space, strategic landscaping and other green infrastructure (including SUDs and areas for nature conservation);
  • Other associated road and drainage infrastructure;
  • Indicative primary access road corridors to the A420; and
  • Improvements and widening of existing route off Wanborough Road to provide pedestrian, cycle and bus access. In accordance with application ref: S/OUT/15/0753/KICO dated 30 April 2015 (“the masterplan scheme”)”

Background
An appeal was made by Ainscough Strategic Land Ltd against the decision to refuse planning permission for 2,600 dwellings and associated works by Swindon Borough Council.

In dismissing the appeal the SoS gave consideration to the following main issues.

Heritage;
Open space;
Trees;
Transport; and
Sustainable Development

Heritage
The SoS has carefully analysed the impact on the Schedule Ancient Monument and agreed with the Inspector that to achieve development of the Masterplan Site inevitably, this would involve the permanent loss of much of the remaining rural setting to the SM. The identified harm to the SM has considerable importance and weight. He further agrees that in the terms of the Framework, the proposal would lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of the SM and, as required by paragraph 134, this harm should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal. The proposal puts forward significant public benefits such as affordable housing, employment and biodiversity gains, however the less than substantial harm to the significance of the SM is not outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal.

Open Space
The SoS agreed with the Inspector that “the proposals do not demonstrate the quantity and quality of open space sought by the open space standards would be achievable within the proposed parameters and environmental constraints of the site. He further agrees that the GI parameter plans are not of a standard to be approved. He further agrees that to leave all matters to be resolved through planning condition(s) and/or a planning obligation would not be reasonable taking into account the inadequacy of the GI parameter plans. As such the masterplan proposals fail to comply with Policy EN3”.

Trees
The scheme proposed the removal of protected trees on the western side of the internal road in order to widen the access route to serve the development Site. The SoS considered that the scheme is not in accordance with a requirement of Policy EN1 criterion (a).

Transport
The SoS agreed with the Inspector in that the proposals would not achieve good connectivity within the development and to the surrounding area and not provide highway infrastructure in accordance with an acceptable strategy. He further agrees that the proposal conflicts with Policies TR1(a), DE1 and NC3(b).

Sustainable development
The SoS agreed with the Inspector that the development of the site is in accordance with the sustainable development strategy of Policy SD2 and would secure a better balance between housing demand and supply. However, the proposals do not meet a range of principles in Policy SD1 to ensure the creation of a high quality and sustainable community. As such, for the reasons given above, the Secretary of State concludes that the scheme is not sustainable development and is not supported by Policy SD3”

Conclusion
It was considered that the proposal conflicts with a number of policies, namely, Policies NC3, EN10, CM1, EN1, TR1, DE1, EN3, EN4, EN6, EN11, SD1 and SD3 of the development plan, and is not in accordance with the development plan overall.

The proposal puts forward a number of benefits including affordable housing, as such this carries significant weight in favour of the proposal. However, the proposal would lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of the SM. He considers that the proposal would not conserve the setting to Lotmead Farmhouse and would adversely affect the significance of this non-designated heritage asset.  Having regard to s66(1) of the LBCA he affords these harms substantial weight.

In light of the above, the SOS refused planning permission.

Download Decision Here

4.SoS disagrees with Inspector and rejects proposal for 120 dwellings due to conflict with Neighbourhood Plan

Appeal Ref: APP/Q3115/W/17/3180400
Appeal Decision Date: 20 July 2018
Appellant: R J & S STYLES
Council: South Oxfordshire District Council

The appeal was recommended approval by the Inspector. On 26th February 2018 , the appeal was recovered for the Secretary of State’s determination. The applicant appealed against the refusal of for planning permission for up to 120 dwellings (40% affordable) with associated access, public open space, landscaping and play space, in accordance with application ref: P16/S3441/O, dated 14 October 2016.

Background
An appeal was made by RJ & S Styles against the decision to refuse planning permission for 120 dwellings and associated works by Oxford District Council

In dismissing the appeal the Inspector gave consideration to the following main issues.

  • Housing land supply;
  • Whether tilted balance applies;
  • Location of housing;
  • Effects on character and appearance;
  • Integration with Benson village
  • Loss of agricultural land

Housing Land Supply
The Council and the Appellant agreed in their Statement of Common Ground that the Council had 4.1 years of deliverable housing, based on the Council’s published assessment dated May 2017. In April 2018 the Council published a revised housing land supply figure of 5.4 years, this figure was disputed by the Appellant and it was argued that there would only be a 4.8 year housing supply based on a recent appeal decision. The SoS accepted the appellants argument and decided the calculation should be based on 2017 and 2018 midpoint figure. As such, it was decided that the Council can demonstrate a 5 year land supply.

Whether tilted balance applies
As the Council could demonstrate a 5-year land supply, it was considered by the the Secretary of State that the relevant policies in the development plan were not silent or absent or out of date on the matter of housing allocations in respect of Benson. A such, the tilted balance did not apply.

Location of housing
The SoS agreed with the Inspector in that the proposals would not protect the countryside. Policy NP1 seeks to resists development where a site is not allocated and outside a built-up area. It was further agreed that SOCS policies CSS1, CSH1 and CSR1 do not rule out allocations being made on sites outside existing villages, nor does it allow development on an ad hoc basis. It was decided that the appeal proposal would not accord with the development plan, considered as a whole. The conflict with Policy NP1 was given significant weight.

 Effects on character and appearance
With regards to the character and appearance of the village, the SoS agreed with the inspector that the proposed development would not cause any significant harm to the character or appearance of the landscape, or to the village setting.

Integration with Benson village
The SoS agreed with the Inspector in that the proposed development would be a natural extension of the village and would be accessible for pedestrians, cyclist and motor vehicles. It was decided that there would be no conflict with any relevant policies, including SOLP Policy T1 or BNhP Policies NP10 and NP11.

Loss of agricultural land
The development proposals do not conflict with the advice in NPPF paragraphs 109 and 112 relating to the protection of agricultural land and soils, or with any other national or local policies.

Conclusion
It was considered that the proposal carries many benefits, particularly the provision of additional housing, including affordable housing, which carries significant weight in favour of the development. Moderate weight was given to the benefits to the local economy that would come from the proposal and limited weight was given to the provision of on-site open space and play areas, and the enhancement to the public transport facilities. The proposal however conflicts with Policies G2, G4 and NP1 of the development plan, and is not in accordance with the development plan overall.

As such, when taking into account the advice in paragraph 198 of the Framework that where a planning application conflicts with a neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted, the SoS gave very significant weight to the conflict with the BNhP.

In light of the above, the SOS refused planning permission.

Download Decision Here.

5. Housing figures in Emerging Local Plan (Regulation 22) given limited weight

Appeal Ref: APP/P0240/W/16/3164961 Appeal Decision Date: 16 August 2018
Appellant: Gladman Developments Limited
Council: Central Bedfordshire

Land between 103 and 27 Langford Road, Henlow, Bedfordshire SG16 6AF
The appeal was mad under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant outline planning permission. The Inspector dismissed the appeal on 16 August 2018.

Background
An appeal was made by Gladman Developments against the decision to refuse 135 residential dwellings (including up to 35% affordable housing), introduction of structural planting and landscaping, informal public open space and children’s play area, surface water flood mitigation and attenuation, vehicular access points from Langford Road and associated ancillary works.

Preliminary Matters
When refusing permission, the Council originally put forward two reasons for refusal.  One of these reasons related to the absence of a legal agreement which  was later supplied prior to the Inquiry as such, the second refusal had been overcome.  The remaining issue relates to the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area.

In dismissing the Appeal the Inspector gave consideration to the following main issue:

  • The effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area

Landscape
The Site lies within the Bedfordshire and Cambridge Claylands National Character Area (CCNCA).  The local character the site falls within Landscape Character Type 4C, the Upper Ivel Clay Valley. The characteristics are mixed land use predominately of arable farmland and large and medium scale geometric arable fields bounded by hedgerows. The submitted LVIA concludes that the impact would be negligible which the inspector agreed with. The proposed development would replace an open arable field with built development as such, would be completely different nature to that which currently exists this was considered a major effect.

Visual
The Inspector analysed each view point and stated that views of the site would also be available from several nearby properties.  In terms of views of the Site, the most affected residents would be those living in the dwelling directly to the south of the Site.  At present they have a rural view from the first floor windows over an arable field to the woods to the north.  This would be replaced by a view of a housing estate.  Neighbouring properties would have more oblique views of the Site. The LVA rates the overall effect of this for the properties south of the site at ten years as major adverse to minor adverse and the Inspector agreed with this and considered that residents of the two northernmost properties would

suffer the major adverse effect. The inspector concluded that the development would have a major adverse landscape effect on the Site and its immediate context as well as major adverse effects on several visual receptors as well as moderate adverse on others.

Five year land supply
It was agreed by both parties that the Council have a five-year land supply. However, the Council submitted Draft Local Plan (DLP) for examination and the housing need figure of 1967 dpa is put forward.  If this figure is taken as the housing need then the appellant considers that the Council would be unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply. However, as the DLP is yet to be examined and has significant objections it was agreed between the parties that the emerging policies in the DLP should be given limited weight. However, the Appellant argued that the Housing figure of 1967 should be given material weight as the DLP has now been submitted for examination. The Inspector disagreed with this approach as the policies and figures should not be treated differently and states that until the DLP becomes adopted, the figure within the SHMA of 1600 dpa should be taken as the Council’s housing need.  Therefore the Council can demonstrate a five-year land supply.

Conclusion
The inspector concluded that the development would have an adverse impact on the landscape and its immediate context as well as major adverse effects on several visual receptors and moderate adverse on others.  The proposed development could also be seen as a small incremental change that if continued, could result in the blurring of the identities of Henlow, Clifton and Langford. Despite the economic and social benefits of the proposals, they were not individually or in combination enough to outweigh the harm that identified to the character and appearance of the area

In light of the above, the SOS refused planning permission.

Download Decision here

6.140 dwelling allowed in a village of around 700 dwellings.

Appeal Ref: APP/P0240/W/17/3190584 Appeal Decision Date: 22 May 2018
Appellant: Gladman Developments Limited
Council: Central Bedfordshire

The appeal is allowed and outline planning permission is granted for demolition of 59 Shefford Road and associated buildings and the erection of up to 145 dwellings with public open space, landscaping and sustainable drainage system (SuDS) and vehicle access from Shefford Road at 59 Shefford Road, Meppershall, Shefford SG17 5LL.

Background
A
n appeal was made by Gladman Developments against the decision to refuse outline planning permission for 145 dwellings and associated works by Central Bedfordshire Council. All maters except for access were reserved for future consideration.

Preliminary Matters
The application was refused for two reasons including development located outside of the settlement boundary and with the absence of a completed legal agreement securing financial contributions to offset infrastructure impact, including education, recreation and the provision of affordable housing, the development would have an unmitigated and unacceptable impact on existing local infrastructure. The development would therefore not amount to sustainable development

At the inquiry, the appellant questioned the validity of the council’s evidence to suggest a five year supply of land and suggested a 20% buffer should be applied. However recent case law suggested that there was not a persistent under delivery and a 5% buffer should be applied. The Inspector concluded that a 5 year HLS has been demonstrated using an OAN of 32,000 homes over a 20 year period from 2015 and a 5% buffer and that the Luton unmet need should not be included in the supply calculation.

The Inspector also referenced that a new local plan was being prepared and at an early stage of preparation and had limited bearing on his consideration of the appeal.

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

  • The suitability of the site for the development proposed in terms of its relationship with the existing settlement of Meppershall and its accessibility to shops and services; and
  • The effect on the character and appearance of the site and its surroundings.

Suitability of The Site For The Development
The Inspector referred to other decisions including Gladman v Daventry that revolved around Policy DM4 that seeks to protect the countryside for its own sake and this blanket protection applies to all areas outside of settlement envelopes irrespective of their landscape value or sensitivity.

The Inspector identified a conflict between Policy DM4 and the NPPF and identified that policy DM4 would frustrate the Council’s ability to achieve a 5 year HLS and that the policy is, therefore, not consistent with paragraph 47 of the Framework.

The inspector identified that a development of 150 dwellings would result in a material increase in the size of the existing village of around 700 homes. However, other than in respect of the effect on character and appearance, the Council has not identified any harm that would flow from that increase. No substantive evidence was submitted to show an unacceptable impact on local services. Accordingly, the Inspector found find no reason to conclude that the site would be unsuitable for the form or level of development proposed and find no conflict with the development plan in this regard.

Character and Appearance
The Inspector found that there is no risk that the proposal would lead to the village merging with any other settlement. The proposed areas of built development indicated on the Development Framework Plan would be some distance from the unsettled hill slopes and, in this respect, the proposal can be distinguished from new development being built. There were only limited views of the site from a distance and the proposal was identified as in keeping with landscape character guidelines.

The Planning Balance
The inspector concluded that the appeal site was not in an unsustainable location and there would not be a conflict with policies CS16 or SADP Policies DM3 or DM14. A conflict with Policy DM4 was identified but this was only given limited weight. the site does not fall within an designated area and the inspector identified a number of benefits arising from the provision of additional market housing including 51 affordable homes.

Conclusion
The inspector concluded that the adverse impacts of development on the landscape do not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits identified and that the tilted balance in favour of a grant of planning permission therefore applies.

Download Decision her

7. Lack of 5-year land supply has lead to the approval of 123 houses in Longridge.

Appeal Ref: APP/T2350/W/17/3186969 Appeal Decision Date: 22nd May 2018
Appellant: VH Land Partnership
Council: Ribble Valley Borough Council

Background
An appeal was made by VH Land Partnership against the decision to refuse outline permission for up to 123 houses; demolition of an existing house (74 Higher Road) and formation of access to Higher Road at Land at Higher Road, Longridge.

In granting permission, the Inspector gave consideration to the main issue being whether the development proposed would be consistent with the objectives of policies relating to the location and supply of housing.

Housing Land Supply in Ribble Valley
During the course of the Inquiry, it was identified that there were a number of disputed sites within the Council’s land supply, reducing the council’s figures by 136 dwellings. This reduction led to the Council’s supply amounting to 4.5 years including a 20% buffer. The Inspector identified that even if the Council’s predictions relating to some of the sites prove to be more accurate, it would not significantly alter the housing land supply position and would only marginally reduce the shortfall within the range of 4.5 years and a maximum of 4.7 years of deliverable housing land supply. In that respect, to conclude on the compliance of the proposal with the development plan and the Framework as a whole as part of the planning balance, it is necessary to firstly consider any other matters that are relevant to the proposal. The other matters are set out below:

Highway and Pedestrian Safety
The development would not increase the demand for on-street parking or increase traffic flows on Higher Road to an extent that existing highway conditions and parking arrangements would be significantly altered or worsened. The development would not have a detrimental impact upon highway safety or preclude access for emergency vehicles.

Living Conditions
The masterplan and illustrative material submitted with the planning application demonstrate that adequate separation distances to neighbouring properties

The Inspector did not consider that the extent of those effects would result in significant harm or disturbance to their existing living conditions.

Ecology, Trees and Open Space
The Inspector was satisfied that detailed submissions could suitably incorporate existing high and moderate quality trees within the site, together with the trees and hedgerows along the site boundary and those located on neighbouring land with crown overhangs or root protection areas within the site. Public open space within the site, including useable spaces, natural play spaces, pedestrian footpath links and cycle routes, can be secured as part of the reserved matters and conditions in accordance with the illustrative details within the masterplan

Drainage and Flood Risk
The development would not be at unacceptable risk of flooding or increase the risk of flooding to surrounding properties, subject to the suitability of the detailed site layout as part of the reserved matters.

Conclusion
For the reasons given above, the Inspector concluded that the appeal should be allowed and planning permission granted subject to the conditions set out in the attached schedule.

Download Decision here.

8. Compliance with Extant Code for Sustainable Homes Condition Removed

Appeal Ref: APP/E5900/W/18/3199690 Appeal Decision Date: 17 August 2018
A
ppellant: Mr Peter Magri
Council: London Borough of Tower Hamlets

 The appeal was made under Section 78 of the TCPA 1990 against a refusal to grant permission under Section 73.

Background
An appeal was made by Mr Peter Magri against the decision to refuse permission for a variation to the Code for Sustainable Homes condition attached to a permission PA/11/01818 granted on the 5th July 2013 for 57 apartments and 970sqm of commercial space for A1, B1/D1 use as a part 7, part 8 storey development without complying with a condition attached to planning permission Ref PA/11/01818, dated 5 July 2013.

In allowing the appeal, the Inspector gave consideration to:

  • Whether the condition is reasonable and necessary in the interests of addressing climate change and achieving sustainable development.

Changes to the planning practice guidance in 2015 saw the removal of Code for Sustainable Homes(CSH)from national policy with the exception of legacy cases. The Council contended that the withdrawal of the CSH relates to planning conditions for new approvals only and that the development  in this case was a legacy case. Legacy cases are defined as residential development that are legally contracted to apply a code policy such as affordable housing through the National Affordable Housing Programme 2015 to 2018 or earlier programme, or where planning permission has been granted subject to a condition stipulating discharge of a code level which a developer is not appealing or seeking to have removed or varied.

.As the developer is appealing the condition and seeking to have it removed, it cannot be considered a legacy case.

The inspector noted that Based on the PPG, the proposal would not be required to be built to zero carbon. Nonetheless, there would be an element of conflict with development plan policies. However, in the context of Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act and Section 70 (2) of the Act, the great weight I attribute to the PPG outweighs the weight I afford to the conflict with the above noted development plan policies. The inspector also recognised that owing to Building Regulations Part L (2013) requirements, despite the removal of the condition, the proposal would still address climate change and achieve sustainable development.

Other Matters
The Inspector also noted that the PPG makes it clear that decision notices for the grant of planning permission under section 73 of the Act should also repeat the relevant conditions from the original planning permission, unless they have already been discharged.

It was also cited that Section 73 (5) the Act and the PPG5 are clear that planning permission cannot be granted under this section of the Act to extend the time limit within which a development must be started or an application for approval of reserved matters must be made.

Conclusion
The Inspector concluded that the condition is not reasonable or necessary in the interests of addressing climate change and achieving sustainable development. Condition 11 was subsequently removed and the appeal succeeded.

Download Decision here.

9. 5-year housing supply shortfall lead to successful Appeal for 100 dwellings.

Appeal Ref: APP/U3935/W/17/3192234 Appeal Decision Date: 18th October 2018
Appellant: Ainscough Strategic Land Limited
Council: Swindon Borough Council

Background
An appeal was made by Ainscough Strategic Land Limited against the decision of Swindon Borough Council to refuse “outline planning application (with means of access off Ermin Street/Blunsdon Hill not reserved) for the demolition of the existing Hill Cottage for the development of approximately 100 dwellings (Use Class C3), on-site recreational space, landscaping and associated road and drainage infrastructure.”.

In allowing the appeal, the Inspector considered the following main issues:

  • The relationship of the proposal to the development plan for the area;
  • The effect on the character and appearance of the area;
  • Whether the location of the site is such that the need to travel would be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes maximised;
  • Whether the proposal makes appropriate provision for affordable housing, infrastructure and similar matters; and
  • Whether there are any other material considerations, including the housing land supply situation and benefits of the proposals, which would indicate that the proposals should be determined otherwise than in accordance with the terms of the development plan

Development plan for the area
In summary, Policy SD2 of the Local Plan notes that development in rural and in countryside locations outside of rural settlement boundaries will be permitted if it is in accordance with the other policies in the Local Plan which permitted specific development in the countryside. No other policies were identified to justify why development outside a settlement boundary should be permitted. Therefore, for the purposes of assessing the proposal against the terms of the development plan, as the proposal lies in the countryside it would be contrary to this part of Policy SD2 of the Local Plan.

It was considered common ground that the Council cannot demonstrate a five-year land supply and that relevant policies were therefore out of date. Although the appeal site lies outside the settlement boundary of Broad Blunsdon the Council conceded that it considered that this, of itself, was not a reason to dismiss the appeal due to the land supply position.

Character and Appearance
The Site lies within Upper Thames Clay Vale National Character Area. The Inspector identified the proposals would result in a landscape harm rather than heritage harm. As the Site has a reasonable separation distance from Lower Blunsdon and the Conservation Area, it would therefore be preserved.

In terms of harm to the landscape and visual qualities of the area, it would be contrary to Policy EN5 of the Local Plan.  It would also be contrary to Policy SD1 of the Local Plan in that it would not respect, conserve or enhance the natural environment and the unavoidable impacts would not be wholly mitigated as such would be contrary to paragraph 170 of the Framework

Overall, it was concluded that the Site would be harmful to the landscape and would have harmful visual effects.  The impacts however would be limited and would be mitigated to some extent, but not wholly, by the additional planting that would form part of this development.

Accessible location
The Site was not considered as being well related for the use of non-car modes, however is not poorly located given the proximity to the main built up area of Swindon.

Due to the location of the Site, the need for travel will not be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes maximised when compared with sites with better access for non-car modes. This is contrary to Policy TR2 and to paragraph 103 of the Framework as there would not be a genuine choice of transport modes.  This weighs against the development, but as there are alternatives that may be used by residents which gives some choice, although less likely than not, this was given limited weight.

Affordable housing
Policy HA2 of the Local Plan indicates that all developments of 15 homes or more should provide 30% of the dwellings as affordable housing.  The Planning Obligation provides this proportion and would thus complies with development plan policy.  However, the proposal would only provide 9% of the dwellings for affordable home ownership rather than the 10% set out in paragraph 64 of the Framework. Significant weight was attached to the provision of AH.

5YHLS
The appellants and the Council set out various figures as to the land supply that could be demonstrated, given an agreed base date of 1 April 2017.  These varied from between 1.9 years and 2.1 years for the appellants and 2.5 years and 2.7 years for the Council depending on the varying analyses of deliverability and the appropriate buffer. The inspector decided that which ever the figure, the shortfall is significant.

Conclusion
In bringing all the above together in the final balance, the Inspector considered that the adverse impacts of the development would not significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits. The Inspector attached significant weight to the fact that the Site fell outside of the development boundary. Furthermore, the proposals would have harmful visual effect on Broad Blunsdon and would result in the loss of a golf course and community facility – these were all given limited weight. The inspector highlighted that there are significant benefits of the proposal from the provision of the additional dwellings both themselves and through the provision of affordable housing.

The 5YHLS was considered a serious matter which resulted in the Policies for the supply of housing in the development plan to be considered to be out-of-date. The factors above provide the material considerations to grant planning permission other than in accordance with the development plan.

Based on the above, the appeal was allowed.
Download Decision here

10. Improvements to affordable housing leads to approval by Secretary of State

Appeal Ref: APPJ2210/W/15/3141444 Appeal Decision Date: 6th August 2018
Appellant: Hollamby Estates Ltd
Respondent: Canterbury City Council

 Background
An appeal was made by Hollamby Estates against the non determination of a hybrid application by Canterbury City Council.

The hybrid application sought in detail the demolition of existing dwelling house in conservation area and two other dwellings, change of use of lagoon to allotments, ecological habitat and footpath link and improvements along Bullockstone Road. The outline elements were related to provision of 800 dwellings commercial and community development with pedestrian and cycle links, drainage sustainable drainage and open space as well as highways infrastructure.

The Council confirmed on 1st March that they would have refused the application for seven reasons comprising severe adverse impact on the highway, inadequate and unsafe works, absence of planning obligations to mitigate the impacts on the local highway network, failure to justify the 4% affordable housing provision, failure to demonstrate an acceptable impact on air quality, conflict with the Habitat Regulations and non-compliance with the development plan.

The appeal was recovered by the secretary of State on the 27th June 2016 on the basis that the appeal involves proposals for residential development of over 150 units or on sites of over 5 hectares.

The inquiry was held in January and April 2017 with the inquiry closed in writing on the 31st July 2017.

The site is subject to EIA with an ES submitted with the application in 2015. In March 2017, three addendums were submitted and in May 2017 the EIA regulations 2017 came into force. Regulation 76 of the EIA regulations allow for transitional arrangements which the inspector considered this site would fall within.

The main areas of concern were affordable housing and highways impacts. In March 2016, the appellants submitted a varied highways improvement scheme which was granted permission in April 2017.

On the matter of affordable housing the application proposed 4% affordable housing, which was contrary to the emerging 30% requirement. At the start of the inquiry, the appellant proposed an increase of affordable housing to 15% with a split of 30% rent and 70% shared ownership. This was contrary to policy which required 70% rent and 30% shared ownership.

The matters as agreed were:

  • The Kent BRIS would provide an appropriate technical solution to the requirement to improve Bullockstone Road
  • Air Quality. The ES Addendum No 2 included further assessment using updated traffic data flow.
  • The appellant agreed that the requested contribution towards strategic access management at the Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay SPA would be met in full.
  • The appellant agreed to provide obligations to secure additional secondary education capacity
  • All parties agreed that using the Liverpool method of calculating 5 year supply, there is a surplus of land whereas there is a deficit using the Sedgefield approach.
  • There were no outstanding technical highways and transportation issues that would prevent a grant of outline permission. However there was disagreement regarding the timing of completion of the Spine Road which KCC contended should be completed and available for use prior to the completion of the 410th

The main matters in dispute were development viability and affordable housing.

In January 2018, a revised viability assessment was submitted showing that 30% affordable housing could be provided with a 30% rent and 70% shared ownership mix. The tenure remained unacceptable.

In March 2018, the secretary of state wrote to the appellants confirming that the main issue was meeting local housing needs and that the scheme was not in accordance with Policy SP3, that the proposal would not deliver the Herne Relief Road at the appropriate time, the proposed land use content would not meet the primary objective for the SSA, there would be a net gain in biodiversity/nature conservation, the loss of some 15ha of BMV land does not weight significantly against the development, there would be less than substantial harm to the Herne Conservation Area.

The Secretary of State advised that before making his final decision he would give the appellants six weeks to address the concerns on affordable housing and highways via submission of a revised and agreed planning conditions.

The appellants confirmed that a bi-lateral agreement between all parties addresses affordable housing provision and a unilateral undertaking with Kent County council secures developer contributions towards the Kent Bullockstone Road Improvement Scheme.

Based on the above, the appeal was subsequently allowed by the secretary of State.

Download Decision here.

 

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12 things you need to know about the Revised NPPF

 

As you may be aware, the government published the revised National Planning Policy Framework on 24th July 2018. This means that the NPPF 2018 is a material consideration in determining planning applications. If you have not had a chance to read the document, you can download the NPPF 2018 here. We have analysed the changes made since the draft was consulted upon in Spring and here are 12 things you need to know:

  • Implementation
  • Viability
  • Design standards
  • Green Belt
  • Housing delivery test
  • Standardised method of calculating housing need
  • Inclusion of social rent in definition of affordable housing
  • Small sites
  • Neighbourhood development plans
  • Voluntary PPAs
  • Storage and distribution operations
  • Ancient Woodland and veteran trees

Implementation
NPPF 2018 is now a material consideration which means that the policies come into effect straight away. However, the NPPF 2018 states that, Local Plans submitted before 24 January 2018 will be Examined against the 2012 NPPF. Any Plans submitted after this date will be examined under the new 2018 policies. This could mean that part of a Council’s newly prepared Plan could be immediately out of date which may contribute to penalties/interventions.

Viability
There is a significant shift in the role of viability assessments. The 2018 Framework now requires viability to be dealt with at the plan making stage, thus shifting responsibility on LPAs as opposed to developers. Essentially, LPAs will now be required to set strategic site allocations, infrastructure requirements and a minimum level of affordable housing which they consider viable. The draft NPPF stated  that “where proposals for development accord with all the relevant policies in an up-to-date development plan, no viability assessment should be required to accompany the application”. The revised 2018 Framework removes this measure and states at paragraph 57: “Where up-to-date policies have set out the contributions expected from development, planning applications that comply with them should be assumed to be viable. It is up to the applicant to demonstrate whether particular circumstances justify the need for a viability assessment at the application stage”. This provides decision makers more power in deciding whether a viability assessment is required.

Design Standards
The 2018 Framework places emphasis on the importance of design standards and contains requirements that planning policies set out clear design and vision expectations in SPDs and design codes. It states that “being clear about design expectations, and how these will be tested, is essential for achieving this. So too is effective engagement between applicants, communities, local planning authorities and other interests throughout the process…” Councils should try to “ensure that the quality of approved development is not materially diminished between permission and completion, as a result of changes being made to the permitted scheme”. The policies should however be flexible and allow variety, however, as with design there may be an element of subjectivity.

Green Belt
The draft Framework published in March 2018 stated that “once established, green belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or updating of plans.” The 2018 Framework however requires greenbelt reviews to be ‘fully evidenced and justified’. Paragraph 136 of the 2018 Framework states that “Once established, green belt boundaries should only be altered where exceptional circumstances are fully evidenced and justified, through the preparation or updating of plans“. LPA are required to fully examine all reasonable options to meet its identified need for development. However, this amendment appears to tighten the already restrictive Green Belt release policy.

Housing Delivery Test
No significant amendments have been made to the government’s new Housing Delivery Test. Where delivery is below 75% of the housing requirement from 2020, the Government intends to apply the presumption in favour of sustainable development

Standardised Method of Calculating Housing Need
The 2018 Framework implements a standard methodology for assessing housing need. This method is intended to simplify Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) calculations to provide a centrally-based figure. This is done by taking the Government’s household growth projections and applying an affordability ratio, and comparing local house prices with workplace earnings to identify a need figure. The 2018 Framework states that “strategic policies should, as a minimum, provide for objectively assessed needs for housing and other uses, as well as any needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas , unless the application of policies in this Framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a strong reason for restricting the overall scale, type or distribution of development in the plan area… ; or  any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole”. This strengthens the requirement for LPAs to cooperate with each other in meeting unmet housing requirements.

Social Rent in Definition of Affordable Housing
The term which had been omitted from March’s draft version prompting concerns from some sector bodies has now been reinstated.

Small Sites
The policy encouraging the use of small sites has now been altered to include sites of up to 1ha and medium sized sites. Development plans are now required to identify land to accommodate at least 10% of housing requirement on small sites.

Neighbourhood Development Plans
Paragraph 14 of the 2018 Framework states that presumption in favour of sustainable would apply in the absence of an up to date plan – however by allowing housing schemes that conflict with NDP it is likely to “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits“. It is suggested that where a plan has been adopted two years or less before the decision, it contains policies and allocations to meet its identified housing requirement. As such, the LPA would have at least a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites against its five-year requirement.

Voluntary PPAs
Paragraph 46 of the 2018 Framework states that Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) are likely to be needed for applications which are large or complex to determine. The suggestion of potential of voluntary PPAs were excluded from the March draft NPPF.

Storage and distribution operations
Paragraph 82 of the 2018 Framework refers to the provision for storage and distribution operations “at a variety of scales and in suitably accessible locations“. This provision requires the specific locational requirements of storage operations to be recognised in planning policies and decisions.  This was omitted from the March 2018 draft.

Ancient Woodland and veteran trees
Paragraph 175(c) offers protection to woodland and ancient veteran trees. It states that development which result in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats such as ancient woodland and veteran trees should be refused unless there are exceptional reasons and mitigation in place. Veteran trees in the ancient woodland were excluded from the definition of ‘irreplaceable habitat’ in the draft Framework published in March 2018.

What do we think about the NPPF?
As highlighted in James Brockenshire’s Written Ministerial Statement, 85 of the proposals set out in the housing white paper and the Budget, are implemented in the new National Planning Policy Framework. The new rules require greater responsibility, transparency and accountability from both LPAs and developers. The amendments to Viability Assessments are ambitious and only time will how successful this approach will be. We are also disappointed to see the amendment to the already restrictive Green Belt Release Policy appears being tightened. The Housing Crisis is multifaceted in nature, exacerbated by other factors such as the shortage of construction workers, reduced LPA powers, a lack of transparency, increased demand brought on by decades of deregulation, and lax policies – the revisions to the NPPF alone cannot solve the Housing Crisis and therefore, other central government reforms will be necessary.

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Local Plan Updates and Progression August 2018

 

Local Plan Updates – Tracking and Progression

We have been tracking and following the progress of Local Plans in the different regions of England.

A Local Plan sets out planning policies and identifies how land is used – determining what will be built where. We’ve developed this Local Plan Schedule which we hope will keep you up to date on what Local Authorities are doing on their Plans and if you have any questions contact us today.

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Greater Birmingham HMA Strategic Growth Study

 

In February 2018, the Greater Birmingham HMA Strategic Growth Study prepared by GL Hearn and Wood Plc was published. We provide a summary of the key findings of the report.

Birmingham’s functional HMA covers more than Birmingham and includes the Black Country and parts of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire. It also covers authorities which are within the Greater Birmigham and Solihull LEP and the Black Country LEP. North Warwickshire and Stratford-on-Avon Districts  are authorities with an area of overlap between the Birmingham and Coventry/Warwickshire HMA.

 

The study’s  four main aims are:

  1. Review of existing identified supply to consider whether, by positively applying policies that are consistent for each type of site across the HMA, more dwellings could be provided through increased densities.
  2. Consider the potential additional supply on other land outside of the Green Belt that has not been previously considered for housing development
  3. If a shortfall remains after aim 1 & 2, to then consider the development potential and suitability of any large previously developed sites within the Green Belt that may lie in sustainable locations.
  4. Should a shortfall remain after undertaking tasks (1) to (3), undertake a full strategic review of the Green Belt within the HMA utilising a consistent Green Belt Review methodology, which assesses Green Belt against its five purposes.

”Whilst a single plan is not being prepared, housing need is a strategic issue which the HMA authorities need to collaborate in addressing through the Duty to Cooperate”.

Objectively Assessed Need

Existing Evidence Base

The report looks at the findings already published by local authorities as follows and also reviews the housing requirements within the adopted plans There is a 38,000 dwelling unmet need arising from the Birmingham Development Plan to 2031. In addition, there is an unmet need from Tamworth (1,825 dwellings to 2031) and Cannock Chase (500 dwellings to 2028).

Local Authority OAN Plan period Housing requirement Shortfall
Birmingham 89,000 2011-2031 51000 -38,00
Bromsgrove 6,648 (2011-2030) 7000 0
Cannock Chase 5300 2006-2028 5300 -500
Lichfield 8600 2008-2029 10,030 0
Redditch 6400 2011-2030 6400 0
Solihull 14,277 2014-2033 15029
Tamworth 6250 2006-2031 4425 -1,825
Warwickshire 3150 2011-2029 9070
Stratford on Avon 14,600 2011-2031 14600
Black Country 78,190 2014-2036 63000
South Staffordshire 5933 2014-2036 3850
HMA total 11,500

Projections

The GL Hearn assessment of OAN has been considered using four projections:

Economic Projections

Economy Plus Scenario

The Economy plus is a scenario modelled in the Strategic Economic Plan for further and faster growth than predicted in the three LEP Strategic Economic Plans. This is an aspirational ‘policy on’ scenario based on a policy aspiration to improve economic performance.

The West Midland Strategic Economic Plan is based on the economy plus scenario( as set out in the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Strategic Economic Plan) up to 2036 this scenario suggests a requirements for 310,188 dwellings.

Baseline Economic Growth

The baseline economic growth projection is based on a continuation of past trends, but takes into account how different economic sectors are expected to perform in the future (relative to the past). It should be regarded as ‘policy neutral’. Up to 2036 this projection suggests a need for 240,012 dwellings

Demographic Projections

There are three demographic projections that the report considers:

2014 Based Subnational Population Projections

These were the latest official, 2014-based, Household Projections, which Government’s Planning Practice Guidance identifies as the ‘starting point’ for quantifying OAN and suggests 255,533 dwellings required to 2036. 

Rebased Sub National Population Projections

The rebased SNPP rebases the 2014-based Population and Household Projections to take account of population growth between 2014-15 shown in ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates. This projection suggests a requirement for  254,873 dwellings to 2036 .

10 year Migration

The 10 year migration projection considers the difference between the trends in migration over the input period to the SNPP (the 5 years to 2014 for domestic and 6 years for international migration) and those over a 10 year period (2005-15), and then adjusts future trends in migration based on the difference between these. This projection shows a requirement for 251, 647 dwellings up to 2036. 

Government Standardised Approach

The report also considers the Governments standardised approach to OAN which is to use latest official projections, with adjustments then applied based on the degree to which the affordability ratio is over 4, with a 1% increase in the ratio of median house prices to earnings over.

The report envisages a cap which is 40% above existing local plan figures where the local plan was adopted in the previous 5 years; or 40% above either the latest local plan or the household projections (whichever is the higher) where there is not an up-to-date local plan.

The uncapped need figures arising from this approach align broadly with the demographic baseline position to 2031, showing a need for 207,000 homes. To 2036 the uncapped need is for 265,000 homes which is around 4% above the demographic need shown by the projections within the report.

 Unmet Needs

North Warwickshire and Stratford-on-Avon have agreed to make provision for Coventry’s unmet housing needs. North Warwickshire is contributing 860 dwellings to meeting Coventry’s unmet needs to 2031 and 2,020 dwellings from Stratford-on-Avon, totalling 2,880 dwellings. If this was rolled forward to 2036 on a pro-rata basis, this would be 3,600 dwellings.

“GL Hearn conclude that on the basis of the current evidence provision of between 205,000 – 246,000 homes is needed across the Birmingham HMA to 2031; and provision of between 256,000 – 310,000 homes to 2036 (from a 2011 baseline) to meet the Birmingham HMA’s housing needs and taking account of Coventry’s unmet need of 208,000 dwellings to 2031 and 258,500 homes to 2036”. 

Land Supply

Shortfall

GL Hearn’s initial information submitted indicated a land supply of around 203,000 dwellings to 2036, of which 200,000 dwellings could be delivered over the period to 2031.

This is made up of

  • Completions –
  • Sites with Planning Permissions (i.e. Commitments) –
  • Extant Allocations without Planning Consent
  • Allocations in Emerging Plans
  • Additional Urban Supply
  • Windfalls

Land supply by Authority

Birmingham (April 2016):A total land supply for 51,458 dwellings is identified to 2031 and 59,858 to 2036.

Bromsgrove (April 2017): A total land supply of 5,099 dwellings is identified to 2031 and 5,299 dwellings to 2036.

Cannock Chase (April 2016): A total land supply of 4,615 dwellings is identified to 2031 and 4,685 dwellings to 2036.

Dudley (April 2016): A total land supply of 17,918 dwellings is identified to 2031 and 18,668 dwellings to 2036.

Lichfield( August 2017): A total land supply of 10,973 dwellings is identified to 2031 and 11,248 dwellings to 2036.

North Warkwickshir(April 2017): A total land supply of 9,060 dwellings is identified to 2031 and 9,360 dwellings to 2036. This includes making specific provision to meet an unmet need for 4,410 dwellings from other parts of the Birmingham HMA, as identified in Section 3 as well as 860 dwellings unmet need from Coventry.

Redditch (April 2017): 7,488 dwellings to 2031 and 7,543 dwellings to 2036.

Sandwell (April 2016): 19,930 dwellings is identified to 2031 and 20,813 dwellings to 2036. The land supply has been assessed to 2036.

Solihull (April 2016): 5,717 dwellings  to 2031 and 16,945 dwellings to 2036 including specific provision for a contribution of 2,000 dwellings to meeting unmet needs of the Birmingham HMA.

South Staffordshire (April 2017): 3,493 dwellings to 2031 and 3,643 dwellings to 2036

Stratford-on-Avon (April 2016):16,713 dwellings to 2031 and 19,358 dwellings to 2036

Tamworth (April 2017): 4,495 dwellings to 2031 and 4,680 dwellings to 2036.

Walsall (April 2017): 10,879 dwellings to 2031 and 11,284 dwellings to 2036.

Wolverhampton (April 2016):13,816 dwellings to 2031 and 16,495 dwellings to 2036.

Following the submission of the initial information, adjustments were made to ensure consistency with the windfall approach and non implementation discounts.

Approaches to Delivery

Existing Sites

The report explores in detail approaches to be taken to providing additional land to be identified within urban areas including brownfield land, disposing of surplus public sector land, estate regeneration, town centre regeneration and disposing of surplus open space.  The report also assesses in detail the potential to increase densities across the HMA and concludes that  it would be reasonable to assume minimum densities of 40 dph are achieved in the conurbation (Birmingham and the Black Country urban area), with minimum densities of 35 dph in other parts of  the HMA. This approach would yield additional supply of 13,000 dwellings, principally over the period to 2031.

Identifying and Allocating Additional Land

Taking into account the potential housing supply which could be achieved by increasing densities, there remains a need to identify capable of supporting delivery of over 15,000 homes to 2031, and a total of over 47,800 homes to 2036. Additional land needs to be identified and allocated to meet this. This provides a clear basis for progressing a strategic review of the Birmingham Green Belt.

Given the scale of unmet need, the report focuses on strategic development options as follows:

  • Urban Extensions (1,500 – 7,500 dwellings);
  • Employment-led Strategic Development (1,500 – 7,500 dwellings); and
  • New Settlements (10,000+ dwellings). –

Potential Areas of Search for Strategic Development beyond the Green Belt

South Staffordshire

  • Urban Extension: North of Penkridge
  • Urban Extension: South of Stafford
  • New Settlement: Around Dunston

Lichfield

The Study initially identifies three potential Areas of Search for Strategic Development:

  • Urban Extension: East of Lichfield
  • Urban Extension: North of Tamworth
  • New Settlement: Around Fradley and Alrewas

North Warwickshire

One potential Area of Search for Strategic Development is identified to be tested:  Urban Extension: East of Polesworth

Within the HMA, the only location which has been identified by Government for new strategic development is Long Marston, which is designated a Garden Village. Consideration has therefore been given to the potential for enhanced strategic development in this broad area.

The potential Areas of Search for strategic development identified to be tested are thus:

  • Urban Extension: South of Stratford-upon-Avon town
  • New Settlement: Around Wellesbourne
  • New Settlement: South-West of Stratford-upon-Avon District

Potential Areas of Search in the Green Belt

The Study undertook a Strategic Green Belt Review, assessing the form and strategic function of the Green Belt against the purposes of Green Belt policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (Para 80).

Four spatial development models were created:

  • New settlements
    • Scale attracts greater opportunity for central government investment
  • Urban Extensions
    • Lead in times of typically 5+ years
    • Larger and more costly infrastructure requirements
  • Employment focus
    • Lead in times of 3-5 years
    • Larger infrastructure requirements
  • Proportionate Dispersal
    • These have the shortest lead in times and have typically lower requirements for strategic infrastructure

Six Areas of Search for new settlements and six for urban extensions are identified; together with three Areas of Search for employment-led development.

Recommended Areas of Search for Strategic Development

Employment-Led

  • I54
  • East of Birmingham
  • Birmingham Airport/ NEC

These Areas of Search have the following characteristics:

  • Strategic employment areas with a key employer and/or clustering of employers
  • Likely to be located adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, a Motorway junction.
  • Potential to support some housing provision as part of mixed-use development (1,500 to 7,500 dwellings).

Urban Extensions

The Study concludes that the strongest performing Urban Extension options which should be taken forward for more detailed consideration by the HMA authorities are:

  • South of Dudley
  • North of Tamworth
  • East of Lichfield
  • North of Penkridge.

New Settlements

The report recommends the following areas of search should be taken forward:

  • South of Birmingham
  • Between Birmingham and Bromsgrove/Redditch
  • Around Shenstone
  • Around Balsall Common

Summary

There is a minimum housing need for 205000 up to 2031 and 255,000 up to 2036. Taking into account shortfalls this increases to 208,000 up to 2031 and 258,00 to 2036.

The current evidence suggests provision of between 205,000 – 246,000 homes across the Birmingham HMA to 2031; and 256,000 – 310,000 homes to 2036.

There is a developable land supply of 180,000 to 2031 and 197,000 to 2036. Bringing together the need and currently identified supply, there is an outstanding minimum shortfall of 28,150 dwellings to 2031 and 60,900 dwellings to 2036 across the Birmingham HMA.

New strategic allocations will be required to address this shortfall across the whole HMA.

Next Steps

It is envisaged that further technical and feasibility work will be underway to assess the suitability of the areas of search as identified by the report along with a process of iterative Masterplanning and consultation with local residents.

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – the final proposal!

 

Part 4 of 4:  ‘Helping People Now’

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

What considerations were taken and what questions were asked?

Here are 5 key consultation documents which provided the evidence…

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

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

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

Starter home regulations: technical consultation (read more)

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

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

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

Implementation of planning changes technical consultation (read more)

Upward extensions in London (read more)

Rural planning review: call for evidence (read more)

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

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

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

 They have proposed the following…

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

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

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

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

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

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

C – Making renting fairer for tenants:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sustainable Development and environment Proposals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other notable points raised in the debate…

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

Here’s an interesting read…

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

The Housing Green Paper 2000 (read more)

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

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

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

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

You may respond by completing an online survey here

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

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

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

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

Sustainable Development and Environment Questions:

Question 34

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

Question 35

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

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

Question 36

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

Question 37

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

Question 38

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

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

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

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

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – round three

 

Part 3: Diversifying the market

Ding, ding… round 3 of 4!

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

The good…

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

Matthew Spry

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

The bad…

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

Andrew Richards

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

And the ugly…

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

Jeremy Beecham

Labour, House of Lords

How are the government proposing to diversify the housing market?

Here it is in a nutshell…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Affordable Housing Proposals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article here

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

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

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

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

You may respond by completing an online survey here

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

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

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

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

Question 31

Do you agree with our proposals to: 018)?

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

Question 32

Do you agree that:

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

Question 33

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

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

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

The fourth proposal – ‘Helping people now’.

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – Part: 2

 

Building homes faster!

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

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

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

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

More interesting comments and headlines to follow…

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

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

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

The Government will be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part: 2 – Proposals

NPPF Amendments & Applications

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

Consultation

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

Information Collation & Analysis

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

Regulation & Legislation

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

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

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

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

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

You may respond by completing an online survey here 

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

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

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

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

Consultation questions for Part: 2  

Question 16

Do you agree that:

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

Question 17

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

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

Question 18

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

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

Question 19

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

Question 20

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

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

Question 21

Do you agree that:

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

Question 22

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

Question 23

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

Question 24

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

Question 25

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

Question 26

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

Question 27

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

Question 28

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

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

Question 29

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

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

Question 30

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

In the papers today…

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

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

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

The third proposal – ‘Diversifying the market’.

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

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The Housing White Paper 2017 – out now!

 

Part 1: Fixing our broken housing market

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

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

Today, we bring you part: 1 of 4.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is our synopsis of the Housing White Paper 2017…

Part 1:

The government identifies three key challenges:

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

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

The government indicates that it will do the following:

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

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

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

The list of proposals are summarised as:

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

We address each of these proposals in detail.

Summary of proposals from Part: 1

The Government intends to:

NPPF Amendments:

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

Regulations

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

Consultations

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

General Proposals

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

Funding & Infrastructure

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

Power of Direction

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

HM Land Registry & Land Control

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

Green Belt & New Towns

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

Local & Neighbourhood

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

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

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

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

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

You may respond by completing an online survey here:

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

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

Planning Policy Consultation Team Department for Communities and Local Government

Third Floor, South East Fry Building 2 Marsham Street

SW1P 4DF

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

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

Consultation questions for Part: 1 

Question 1

Do you agree with the proposals to:

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

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

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

Question 2

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

Question 3

Do you agree with the proposals to:

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

Question 4

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

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

Question 5

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

Question 6

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

Question 7

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

Question 8

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

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

Question 9

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

Question 10

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

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

Question 11

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

Question 12

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

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

Question 13

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

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

Question 14

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

Question 15

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

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

In the papers today…

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

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

“Home ownership is a distant dream.”

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

The second proposal – ‘Building Homes Faster’.

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

 

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Housing by the numbers and what’s hot?

 

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

Let’s talk housing numbers…

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

Housing in England overview (read more here)

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

Housing statistics (read more here)  

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

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

Housing in England overview 2017 (read more here)

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

Building Release September 2016 (read more here)

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

Household projections (read more here) 

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

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

Social housing lettings in England (read more here) 

All documents relating to dwelling stock (including vacants).

Dwelling stock (read more here) 

All documents relating to homelessness and rough sleeping statistics.

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

All documents relating to Household characteristics.

Live tables on household characteristics (read more here) 

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

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

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

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

Definitions for local authorities compiling data.

Definitions of general housing terms (read more here) 

**Hot topic news**

Housing white paper delayed for the second time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most significant points it makes are that:

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

Housing in England overview 2017 (read more here) 

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

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

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‘Step into my office’ – with Jo Hanslip

 

‘Step into my office’ – with Jo Hanslip

Hello 2017!

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, here we go…

National Planning

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

Local Planning Predictions 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

Best Community Led Project

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

Best Conceptual Project

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

Best Heritage Led Project

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

Best New Place to Live

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

Other awards:

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

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

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

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

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

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