Planning Portal News – 26th November 2015 – Research identifies most promising locations for housing growth.

The following is report is by the  on November 26 2015

New research from Knight Frank and planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore has identified local authority areas where economic and planning data, combined with regional knowledge, suggest good fundamentals for residential development in the short to medium term.

Factors taken into account include forecast economic and employment growth, as well as future housing supply and demand. Sales to stock ratios, social environment, infrastructure and affordability were also measured.

Local planning knowledge was then added, examining which planning authorities had a five-year land supply and where a local plan was in place, as well as looking at policy support for housing and economic growth.

This, along with input from Knight Frank land agents, resulted in a list of areas where the fundamentals suggested development opportunities.

Key findings highlighted that:

  • Manchester and Leeds are expected to be among the councils which will experience the strongest rates of household growth over the next ten years
  • In the Midlands, Warwick scores highly on “liveability”, and also has strong employment growth forecasts, while robust household growth is projected in Leicester
  • Brentwood is one of the hotspots with the strongest forecasts for future employment increases, as well as showing one of the largest imbalances between pipeline supply and household growth over the next five years
  • South Cambridgeshire also has a particularly strong forecast for employment growth and has been rated highest in an independent survey of rural locations across the UK
  • Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset local authorities have a local plan and a five-year housing supply, and the determination to step up development
  • Guildford and Reigate & Banstead in Surrey are well positioned to take advantage of the housing need generated by the capital.

Iain Painting, Senior Planning Partner, Barton Wilmore, said: “Our shortlist of development opportunities is aligned with an increased emphasis on urbanisation, focusing on many of England’s key cities both in and well beyond the South East.

“Opportunities exist where local authorities are struggling to source a five-year land supply through the local plan system, such as York, but also where councils have a positive appetite for growth, supported by policy, such as Leeds and Bath.”

Planning Portal News – 19th November 2015 – CPRE Challenge to Housing Targets

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has called for an overhaul of the way local authorities set housing targets after claiming the present system led to countryside being lost unnecessarily.

The pressure group claimed in a report that research it has commissioned showed that local authorities were being asked to base their plans on aspiration rather than need. This resulted in ever higher housing targets and the consequent unnecessary release of countryside for development without an increase in overall house building.

(The above is an extract from the Planning Portal News 19th November 2015).

What is – the Government Housing & Planning Bill 2015-2016 ?

The Housing & Planning Bill 2015-2016 is currently before Parliament and is at the final stage. To read about the Bill in more detail go to:

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/housingandplanning/documents.html

The Impact Assessment (from which the following is extracted) relates to clauses within the Bill and poses two questions:

  • What is the problem under consideration?
  • Why is government intervention necessary?

Explanatory Notes are provided as follows:

In the year to June 2015, 131,000 new homes were completed. Although housing starts are at their highest annual level since 2007, and there are now almost 800,000 more homes in England than there were in 2009, we are still not fully meeting the demands of over 200,000 households formed every year.

In addition, not enough people who want to own their own home have the opportunity to do so.

The rate of homeownership in England has been falling since its peak in 2003, despite the aspiration for home ownership remaining strong. Although over 230,000 households have been helped by government-backed schemes to buy a home since spring 2010, younger households, in particular, are now less likely to own their own home than a decade ago.

The public need to have confidence that housing policy in our country is fair and fit for the future. Social housing needs to work as efficiently as it can. Private tenants need additional reassurance that rogue landlords will be driven out of business. Further government intervention is required to ensure this happens.

(The Impact Assessment proceeds to pose questions about the policy objectives and the intended effects, i.e. getting the nation building homes faster, helping more people buy their own home, ensuring the way housing is managed is fair and fit for the purpose).

Planning Portal News – 14th October 2015 – Local Plans shrinking the Green Belt

Planning Portal News: 8 October 2015

Green belt figures

New figures show that there has been a decrease of around 2,000 hectares overall of green belt in England between April 2013 and the end of March 2015 largely because of new local plans adopted by 11 local authorities.

These latest figures show that the extent of the designated green belt in England as at 31st March 2015 was estimated at 1,636,620 hectares, around 13 per cent of the land area of England.

Since these statistics were first compiled for 1997, there has been an increase of 32,000 hectares in the area of green belt after taking account of the re-designation of some green belt as part of the New Forest National Park in 2005.

(The above is an extract from Planning Portal News)

Planning Portal – 24th September 2015 – Large Scale Housing Schemes

(The following is an extract from the Planning Portal Content Team, reporting on 24th September 2015).

Ministers should consult on bringing large-scale housing schemes within the Planning Act 2008 regime for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), a report commissioned by law firm Bond Dickinson and planning consultants Quod has urged.

The report, based on the views of housing and planning experts in both the public and private sectors, claimed that use of the NSIP regime could harness the power of the private sector and “relieve hard-pressed local authority budgets”.

Less than half the estimated 240,000 new homes needed each year were completed in 2014, and the last six years had seen the lowest level of house building since the Second World War, it added.

The report insisted that there was widespread support for creating new settlements on the scale of the post-war New Towns to address the housing crisis.

However, it argued that this was unlikely to happen without policy and legislation that overcame the current barriers to bringing forward large-scale housing and mixed use projects within the current planning system.

The report noted recent research suggesting that only 25 per cent of local planning authorities had a local plan which had been adopted as sound since the publication of the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012.

For the full report go to Planning Portal Content Team report).

Planning Portal News 23rd July 2015 – Local Plan ‘deadline’

Government announces local plan ‘deadline’ and urges more Inspectorate pragmatism

 

Planning Minister Brandon Lewis told Parliament this week that the government would intervene where local authorities had failed to produce a local plan by “early 2017”.

In a written Commons statement he said: “We will intervene to arrange for the plan to be written, in consultation with local people, to accelerate production of a Local Plan.”

The minister’s comments came as Lewis’s colleague Communities Secretary Greg Clark wrote to the Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate Simon Ridley voicing concern that some inspectors were taking too tough a line on shortcomings in some strategies.

The Secretary of State said: “We have recently seen significant positive plan-making progress: 82 per cent of authorities have now published local plans and 64 per cent adopted plans compared with 32 and 17 per cent in May 2010 respectively.

For the full report go to 

 

Planning Portal – 10 September 2015 – Housing Projections

The following is extracted form a Planning Round-up published by the Government Planning Portal on 10th September 2015.

Official figures showing a surge in net migration to the UK cast further doubt on the robustness of key household projections used by councils to assess their area’s housing need, Planning Magazine reported last week. 2013-P1060312

Concerns have resurfaced about the reliability of the government projections used by councils to help assess housing need, with recent official figures showing that net international migration to the UK has hit record levels.

Commentators say the new figures are evidence that the housing shortfall is worsening more quickly than expected, and some councils may need to look to increase their housing numbers locally.

Simon Coop, planning director at consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners is reported as warning that councils who relied on the projections risked an under-provision of housing need in their area.

Planning Portal News – 20th August 2015 – St Albans Green Belt Appeals Dismissed

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed two re-opened appeals, one for 116 dwellings and a care home and the other for 85 dwellings at a green belt location – largely open farmland – on the northern edge of St Albans in Hertfordshire. The site is located between the mainline railway and the A1081.

Both schemes had been refused by the local planning authority, St Albans City and District Council and dismissed on appeal by a planning inspector in 2013. However developer Hunston Properties mounted a successful High Court challenge which quashed the inspector’s decision. Subsequently the council went to the Court of Appeal which resulted in a ruling that the appeals should be reheard and redetermined.

The SoS agreed with the inspector that, despite the council having less than 3.7 years of housing land supply “the very special circumstances do not exist to justify allowing the inappropriate development”.

Clark’s decision letter concluded that the schemes represented “substantial green belt harm”. He also agreed with the inspector that the schemes posed “significant harm to the character and appearance of the area, diminishing its intrinsic character and beauty, causing real and serious harm with a lasting effect on the nature of the countryside”.

Ed: Go to the Government Planning Portal on the Links Page for more information about central Government planning news..

Planning Portal News – 3rd September 2015 – redefinition of traveller sites regime

The Government has revised its special planning policy for travellers. From this week it will only apply to those “who lead a genuine travelling lifestyle”.

Ministers insisted this would mean that any application for a permanent site, including caravan sites, by someone who does not travel will be considered in the same way as an application from the so-called settled population.

The policy, drawn up by the Department for Communities and Local Government stated that if a local planning authority cannot demonstrate an up–to-date five-year supply of deliverable sites, this should be a significant material consideration in any subsequent planning decision when considering applications for the grant of temporary planning permission for traveller pitches.

However, there will be exceptions, designed to buttress the protection of green belt land and sites in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and land designated as local green space or protected under the EC’s Birds and Habitat directives.

The policy states that inappropriate development is harmful to the green belt and should not be approved, except in very special circumstances.

DCLG claims the new policy made clear the need to ensure fairness in the system, with planning policy reflecting the requirement that caravan sites should be made available for those who travel permanently.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “I’m determined to ensure fairness in the planning system, so everyone abides by the same rules.

“This new policy strengthens the hand of councils to tackle unauthorised development in their area, ensures all communities are treated equally and that the protection of the green belt is enforceable.”

Planning minister Brandon Lewis added: “Unauthorised traveller sites can blight communities, causing misery for their neighbours and creating resentment that planning rules don’t seem to be applied fairly.”

(Ed: the Government Planning Portal can be reached on the  Links Page )

Planning Portal News – 27th August 2015 – Proposals for starter homes on rural exception sites

Relaxed planning rules covering the construction of low cost ‘starter homes’ for local residents could be extended to rural towns and villages in England as part of plans to boost the rural economy which also include moves to make neighbourhood planning more straightforward.

Last week the Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs unveiled a package of proposals aimed at boosting rural productivity.

A key element would involve amending planning rules to allow so-called ‘starter homes’ to be built on Rural Exception Sites for the first time.

According to the policy paper, the government intends to make it easier for local areas to establish their own neighbourhood plans. They could then use these to allocate land for new homes, including starter homes on rural exception sites. The government also intends to review the existing threshold for the conversion of agricultural buildings into residential buildings.

(The Links Page provides easy access to the Government Planning Portal)