The Suns Take on Housing White Paper – Build Up Up UP

If true, there seems to be no end in sight to the constant flow of corrosive tinkering this government wishes to impose on the planning system all in the name of increasing the housing supply.
All such extensions are likely to do in many places, is create fertile ground for a rash of HMOs. In other areas, ‘castellation’ of the street scene, as every other property gets an extra bit added, could easily give us our own versions of the Brazilian slums we all saw during the Olympics.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Add a storey PD rights? Its not the law that fixes building heights- rather than a discretionary DC based system that doesnt permit ‘as of right’ upzoning – possibly this is what they mean – further shifts to a zoning based system.

The Sun

MINISTERS want to throw out height limits to erect a new generation of tall houses and flats in the biggest planning overhaul in 70 years.

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid wants a major relaxation of strict practices that stop new homes being built higher than their surrounding buildings.

The communities secretary wants to scrap some old rules on heights of houses

In another controversial move, the Cabinet minister also wants to review rules on light that stop building if neighbouring homes are cast in shadow.

The moves are part of “a very radical” new planning blueprint being drawn up to solve Britain’s spiralling housing crisis “once…

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Reforming the HCA – Learning from International Success in Increasing Affordable House Building

We are of course, seeing these self same tower blocks being razed to the ground in the uk, because we do not have the will or the resources to properly manage the social behaviours of those who are required to live in them. I wouldn’t however put it past the politicians of today to make the same mistake of their predecessors, as they will always look for headline grabbing short term solutions that only generate problems for those that take their place – and so shall it ever be it seems – or will it? I wonder?
We are moving towards, potentially, maybe, possibly, eventually, at some point, a post EU future in the UK, or is it just England, who knows? Globally, president elect Trump, is about to disrupt the financial markets again, maybe, who knows, certainly not any of the pundits, or experts it seems. All these financial whiz kids, seem about as clueless as the pollsters these days, when it come to predicting the outcome of anything other than a one horse race.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Pangyo – a Second Generation New Town in Korea

What countries have broadly succeeded in removing the gap between supply and demand?

Ill give you three

  • Turkey
  • Korea
  • Singapore

What do all three have in common?

They have set up powerful national agencies to purchase land, drive procurement and undertake housebuilding.

By contrast is a funder and regulator which arguably in periods in the past had funding policies which drove up land prices.

In England we have a large independent HA sector which has many benefits but which has not had a primary political goal of building, and it has had to live through a period where various government policies discouraged it building such as HA RTB.

The lessons from the three agencies set up in Turkey, Korea and Singapore are:

  1. In undertaking very large scale land purchases they can drive land prices down and undertake projects at the new…

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One of the Four Horsemen returns!

Having been one of the four so called experts responsible for wreaking havoc across the development management process, with the creation of the NPPF, John Rhodes has now turned his attention to the development policy making process, by becoming a member of the expert group looking at the plan making process.

It seems that the hundreds of thousands of pounds and thousands of hours councils have spent producing new local plans, has been wasted.

According to John Rhodes, one line of perfect wording in the NPPF, does the job – who’d have thought it?  What a clever chap he must be, what a bunch of muppets we’ve all been over the last five plus years.  We didn’t need the SHMA, SHLAA, SCI, EIA, OAN, SA, WPVA, oh and let’s not forget the other appparently unnecessary document, the strategic flood risk assessment.

So providing the developers get the message, that one line of text means don’t built houses that are too small, too close togeather, too expensive to live in, likely to flood, overshadow the neighbours, all look the same, are ugly to look at and provide community benefits where appropriate, job done.  Do you think we can trust developers to do all this, based on one line of text in the NPPF?

Simplify plan-making to make NPPF work, says NPPF creator
Copied from The Planner – by Simon Wicks

Simplified local planning and consistent application of policy are needed for the plan-led system to work, one of the architects of the NPPF has argued.

Politicians also need to simply let planners do their jobs, said John Rhodes, a member of the four-person team that wrote the National Planning Policy Framework.
“What we really require is consistent application of policy rather than planning reform,” the founder of Quod told an audience of solicitors and barristers at the Cornerstone Barristers annual planning day on Monday (7 November).
Indeed, he said, the NPPF could almost be boiled down to the single statement in paragraph 14, that spells out the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
“It’s a single paragraph national planning policy and it contains everything you need to know about determining a planning application,” he said, adding: “Or at least it did until the government added a footnote.”
Reviewing the process of distilling thousands of pages of planning policy into the NPPF, Rhodes stressed that its strength was in its simplicity. “Planning policy doesn’t need to be that complicated,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean planning decisions aren’t enormously sophisticated.”
The progress of local planning, however, was held back by the sheer weight of material that resource-starved planning authorities were expected to compile as evidence. As a member of the Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG), Rhodes has also been part of an inquiry into methods for making local planning more efficient and effective.
Some inspectors, the panel had found, had to hire storage units to keep all the paperwork relating to local plan inspections. And, because only 31 per cent of local authorities had a post-NPPF approved plan, many were relying on out of date figures to underpin their housing projections.
Added to this, said Rhodes, the interventions of politicians had created uncertainty around the application of policy. This was particularly evident in ministerial interference with green belt reviews which, he said, sent the message to local authorities that the government wasn’t serious about applying NPPF stipulations around green belt development.
Rhodes echoed the recommendations of the LPEG inquiry with a variety of ways in which to make plan-making more efficient and effective and to restore the integrity of the plan-led system, including:
Make it a statutory duty to create a post-NPPF local plan. “If you don’t produce a plan your existing [pre-NPPF] plan will dissolve and others will come in and write your plan for you.”
Streamline the process of assessing objectively assessed need (OAN) for housing. “There must be a simpler way of doing this. Why don’t you just have a formula that that tells you how to work out your OAN at the touch of a button?”
Reduce environmental impact assessments to a short “assessment of environmental capacity” and a statement of how environmental considerations have been incorporated into the plan
Enforce the duty to co-operate. “The duty to cooperate is useless. A duty to chat is what most people called it [during the LPEG inquiry]. It’s not being properly enforced.”
Limit policy change and alterations to the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG), to let the NPPF properly establish itself. “Could we have less change please and simply more application of policy and stop fiddling with the NPPG? It’s not there for politicians, it’s there for us lot as practical guidance on policy.”
Ease the soundness test by altering the phrase “most appropriate strategy” in paragraph 182 of the NPPG to “an appropriate strategy” to allow for greater flexiblity in approving plans and greater speed in plan-making.
Impose a statutory schedule on creating a local plan, which Rhodes suggested should be two years.
“You can’t expect the NPPF to be successful if it’s not fully reflected in local plans,” Rhodes stressed. “Imagine a world in which we had a full suite of local plans consistent with the NPPF planning to meet housing needs. You could not make a more serious statement about the intention to meet housing needs. That’s the way the national crisis would be addressed.”

Britains worst Nimbys Claim Empty Mersea Island is Full

This is a very good example of the sort of anti-housing hysteria that is gripping the south east of England and that has impacted the planning as a whole nationally. Eric Pickles started the rot by pandering to this NIMBYism when he became the minister, by his botched scrapping of regional plans. This meant housing numbers were now determined and set locally, making local police and the supposed villains of the piece. If those same politicians had done their jobs properly in the first place, they would have made sure that their electorate better understood the evidence base upon which the housing numbers were based and that this hadn’t changed just because regional plans had been scrapped.
The island referred to in this report, is a perfect example of what is happening in many affluent residential locations across the south east and beyond.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Colchester Gazette

COLCHESTER Council is “not listening” to the strong opposition to building 350 homes on Mersea Island, campaigners say.

About 130 protestors from the island’s STOP 350 group made their voices heard at a Colchester Local Plan committee meeting last night.

The meeting was the first since the total number of objections to, and comments in support of, the borough’s new draft local plan were published.

In total the figures show 1,884 objections were lodged, compared to 286 supportive representations and 825 general comments.

John Akker MBE, chairman of the STOP 350 group, said: “The impression I want to leave you with is, the borough is not listening.

“The proposals are flawed and fly in the face of everything.

“The big issue is that Mersea is already full.”

Speaking directly to the committee, he added: “Why can’t you see the proposals will damage the tourist industry and employment?”


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Guildford Local Plan Delayed for a Year

This is why the south of England and the shire areas around London, otherwise known as the Home Counties, and in particular their weak political leaders, have made the planning system a nightmare for the whole of the country.
Planning in any area populated by the well heeled, well connected professional classes, is always a politically toxic issue. It must surely be one such area that the term NIMBY was invented for when it came to describing their reaction to any type of development proposed within their privileged bubble.
All the pent up frustration felt in these areas with what they saw as the unfair imposition of large swaths of housing on their lovely English villages, was directed at their local Conservative MP whenever the opportunity arose. Worst still, they would no doubt say, much of this housing was, in their view, going to be occupied by the wrong types of people.
Imagine their joy then, when the Conservative’s manifesto document, open source planning, became national policy and Eric Pickles its champion. Pickles managed to demonstrate his ineptitude in all things planning, with his false start at scrapping everybody’s regional plan. The rest as they say, is history and the result of all this mess is playing out in the story below, with others not far behind no doubt.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions


A delay in Guildford’s local plan could threaten the borough’s countryside with the council being in danger of “planning by appeal”, according to an opposition councillor.

Councillor Caroline Reeves, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said she welcomed the decision by Guildford Borough Council to consult the public on changes to the plan, but added that she feared several significant planning applications could be decided on appeal due to the delay.

Last Thursday (October 27), the borough council said the new local plan would not be submitted to a planning inspector until late next year and revealed there would be a further consultation with “substantial changes” to some of the strategic sites outlined.

Cllr Reeves said: “The Liberal Democrats welcome the proposal to reconsult on some parts of the local plan, in line with the Lib Dem amendment agreed by council back in May.

“As we said then…

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