Monthly Archives: July 2011

So you Want to be an Urban Planner

Not suitable for work

Chinese Banks Stress Test for 50% Fall in Property Prices

A report from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (BRC) has tried to paint a rosy picture. But the results are dramatic.

  • The stress testing has assumed up to 50% NPL.
  • the BRC has a 1.3 trillion yuan ($200 billion) provision for the real estate loan sector in 2011.
  • Now Dave lets Boris Act Unreasonably – Official

    The consultation document on the NPPF proposes to scrap GOL Circular 1/2008.  This contains in Annex 4 aditions to Circular 8/93 enacting the will of Parliament through new adding 322B into the Town and Country  Planning Act 1990

    This deals with

    with cost situations where an local planning authority has refused an application in compliance with a direction from the Mayor (see Section 6.(v) above).These provisions are designed to ensure that the Mayor is fully embraced by the costs regime. They largely replicate the existing position under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, although they go further in one respect – they provide for the Mayor to pay costs in certain circumstances where he or she is not a party to the relevant inquiry or hearing.

    In simple terms if the Mayor unreasonably causes or delays an inquiry by unreasonable behaviour he/she can have costs awarded against them.  This has occurred in the past.

    The effect of this proposed change is that, despite the will of Parlaiment, the Mayor of London can act as unreasonably as they like in exercising their planning powers.  Given Dave’s paranoia about Boris wanting his job I wonder if he realises what he has done.

    List of Proposed National Policy to be Cancelled by the NPPF – what stays and what goes?

    This is from the consultation document and I have added hyperlinks to the original.

    Documents to be cancelled Date of publication
    Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development 31 January 2005
    Planning Policy Statement: Planning and Climate Change – Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1 17 December 2007
    Planning Policy Guidance 2: Green Belts 24 January 1995
    Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing 9 June 2010
    Planning Policy Statement 4: Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth 29 December 2009
    Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment 23 March 2010
    Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas 3 August 2004
    Planning Policy Guidance 8: Telecommunications 23 August 2001
    Planning Policy Statement 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation 16 August 2005
    Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Spatial Planning  4 June 2008
    Planning Policy Guidance 13: Transport  3 January 2011
    Planning Policy Guidance 14: Development on Unstable Land   30 April 1990
    Planning Policy Guidance 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation 24 July 2002
    Planning Policy Guidance 18: Enforcing Planning Control 20 December 1991
    Planning Policy Guidance 19: Outdoor Advertisement Control 23 March 1992
    Planning Policy Guidance 20: Coastal Planning 1 October 1992
    Planning Policy Statement 22: Renewable Energy  10 August 2004
    Planning Policy Statement 23: Planning and Pollution Control 3 November 2004
    Planning Policy Guidance 24: Planning and Noise 3 October 1994
    Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk 29 March 2010
    Planning Policy Statement 25 Supplement: Development and Coastal Change 9 March 2010
    Minerals Policy Statement 1: Planning and Minerals  
    Minerals Policy Statement 2: Controlling and Mitigating the Environmental Effects of Minerals Extraction In England. (This includes its Annex 1: Dust and Annex 2: Noise)  
    Minerals Planning Guidance 2: Applications, permissions and conditions  
    Minerals Planning Guidance 3: Coal Mining and Colliery Spoil Disposal 30 March 1999
    Minerals Planning Guidance 5: Stability in surface mineral workings and tips 28 January 2000
    Minerals Planning Guidance 7: Reclamation of minerals workings 29 November 1996
    Minerals Planning Guidance 10: Provision of raw material for the cement industry 20 november 1991
    Minerals Planning Guidance 13: Guidance for peat provision in England 13 July 1995
    Minerals Planning Guidance 15: Provision of silica sand in England 23 September 1996
    Circular 05/2005: Planning Obligations 18 July 2005
    Government Office London Circular 1/2008: Strategic Planning in London 4 April 2008
    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Addition of the Forestry Commission to the List of Non-Statutory Consultees  15 March 1999
    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Town and Country Planning  (Electronic Communications) (England) Order 2003
    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Planning Obligations and Planning Registers 3 April 2002
    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Model Planning Conditions for development on land affected by contamination 30 May 2008
    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: National Policy Statements  9 November 2009
    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Local authorities’ role in new consenting process for nationally significant infrastructure projects 16 July 2009
    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Planning for Housing and Economic Recovery 12 May 2009

    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Development and Flood Risk –  Update to the Practice Guide to Planning Policy Statement 25

     

    14 December 2009

     

    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Implementation of Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25) – Development and Flood Risk

     

    7 May 2009

     

    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: The Planning Bill – delivering  well designed homes and high quality places

     

    23 February 2009

     

    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Planning and Climate Change – Update

     

     

    20 January 2009

     

    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: New powers for local authorities to stop ‘garden- grabbing’

     

    15 June 2010

     

    Letter to Chief Planning Officer: Area Based Grant: Climate  Change New Burdens

     

    14 January 2010

     

    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: The Localism Bill 15 December 2010

    Letter to Chief Planning Officers: Planning policy on residential parking standards, parking charges, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure

     

    14 January 2011

     

    So MPS would stay, as would the conditions and costs circulars and many other procedural circulars.  The fate of some annexes, such as to PPS22, remains unclear.

    It would seem the government has sensibily decided it would be unwise to try and replace one whole volume of the planning encylopedia in a few days.

    Why keep the conditions circular and withdraw the 30th May 2008 annex to it replacing para 56 to 59?

    Critically The Planning System 2004:General Principles – Still applies.

    The Justification for National Policy Changes – The NPPF Impact Statement

    Impact Statements have become an ex-poste exercise in justifying the changes wanted by ministers rather than a rigorous evidence base, and the figures within them often do not stand up to rigorous examination.

    To give one example Greg Clark was asked in the day of the NPPF launch what % of LPAs had adopted plans.  He said to the interviewer he did not have the latest figures.  In fact the latest figures were prominently published in the impact assessment with a map and large table.  This indicated to me the impact assessment was not even read by the Planning Minister.  Indeed it could not have been as anyone who had read it would have immediately seen a large error and that the figures do not add (see below).

     

    1. Plan Making

    It states the problem as:

    The presumption is a key tool in addressing the Government’s ambitions for economic recovery. The planning system can be a barrier to growth if:

    • Development plans are not in place or not up-to-date, resulting in inadequate land identified for development and uncertainty for developers and investors;

    • Plans do not plan adequately for the development which their areas need, with inadequate land made available for housing, business and other uses;

    • Individual planning decisions do not respond to development needs and take into account the benefits of growth, especially where plans are not up-to-date or make adequate provision for development.

    There is evidence that the planning system is not performing effectively against these tests at present. The table and map below show the number and proportion of local councils with Core Strategies according to the status of those strategies. Around half of local councils do not have a published Core Strategy, and fewer than a third have one adopted.

    The table though is all over the place.  

    There are about 100 adopted core strategies (though one only count as 1/2 because of LG re-organisation).  There are 338 UK lower tier LPAs for development control purposes (327 local authorities, 10 English National Parks, +1 development corporation).  The corporation has no plan making powers so that leaves 337.  Of the 100 adopted core startegies some are joint. Correct me if im wrong there are currently 3 adopted joint core startegies covering 11 authorities – so that by my calculation leaves around 107 of the 338 DC LPAs with adopted coverage of about 31.6 % , 68.4% non-coverage.

    The figures in the table make no sense and dont add up, either in numerical or % terms (even accounting for rounding).  But it is apprarent from the 145 submitted core strategies that the coverage of adopted plans is could double over the next 12 months – though quite a few examinations have become enormously extended because of CALA II and some are likley to be recommended for withdrawl and found unsound.

    It expects to see:

    Greater efforts by local councils to prepare up-to-date plans, so that they can exert control over development in their areas (as a ‘carrot’ the presumption strengthens the role of plans as a basis for decisions where they are up-to-date; but the ‘stick’ is that if they are not, national policy will be the principal basis for making decisions);

    It goes on

    we are removing the terms ‘local development framework’, ‘core strategy’ and ‘area action plan’ and referring to Development Plan Documents as a whole as ‘local plans’.

    2.  Business

    It specifically states as a key policy change ‘Removing office development from ‘Town Centre First’ policy’

    Government considers that this requirement places undue burdens on office development and that the policy objective of ensuring development takes place in sustainable and accessible locations can be achieved through other policy mechanisms….

    However office development would still need to meet the requirements of local and national policy on the location of major generators of people movement and to locate where the need to travel will be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes can be maximised….Such locations tend to be in urban areas

    Well if national policy did actually say this then many of the concerns about this change would have been alleiviated, but it is actively misrepresenting policy.  Para 88 of the NPPF draft talks of movement, not people movement, and adds at the end ‘However this needs to take account of policies set out elsewhere in this Framework, particularly in rural areas.’  read in conjection with para. 74 and 81 of the draft it implies allowing offices in almost all locations in almost all circumstances.  

    3.  Transport

    It states that the one major change is to remove the maximum non-residential car parking standard for major developments.

    A centrally set national maximum parking standard for major non-residential developments may be too high or too low for reasons specific to an individual local council. In some cases, they may wish to lower the maximum (i.e. restrict parking numbers)

    This is nonsence, it is a maximum standard and local authorities often have lower standards, expecially in major cities such as London, and this is quite clear in PPG13.  The threshold also means that most development in rural areas is excluded anyway and PPS4 makews it clear that a pragmatic approach should be applied in rural areas.

    The impact statement also deliberately ignore the raft of research that shows that after the cost of fuel the availability of trip end work parking is the single biggest influence of communiting mode of choice after fuel costs.  

    4.  Housing

    It states the main changes are:

    • give local councils the freedom to choose the most suitable locations for development by removing the national target for development of housing on previously developed land;
    •  increase choice and competition in the market for housing land by requiring identification of at least an extra 20 per cent of sites against their housing target in the first five years;
    • give local councils the impetus to optimise the delivery of affordable housing according to 

      local circumstances by removing the national site size threshold for requiring affordable 

      housing to be delivered; and

       

    • introduce greater flexibility for rural local councils to respond to the need for affordable 

      additional affordable housing.

    It states

    There are strong environmental grounds for seeking to re-use previously developed land for the provision of new housing where possible locally; however, a nationally set target to achieve this is a blunt tool.

    Agreed.  But why then remove the national policy preference for doing so?

    the amount of brownfield land available is dwindling. Internal analysis gives an illustration that, under plausible assumptions, the brownfield land target would cease to be sustainable in the (highdemand) southern regions by 2015-16. Therefore, keeping the target beyond that point would result in a reduction in the overall level of development in these areas.

    Quite correct, but surely it is suatinable to have a preference in national policy where there are viable brownfield sites, which in some parts of the country will last many years?  The impact assessment decries the rise in densities on brownfield sites as a bad thing, when surely it is a good thing?

    By removing the national priority for brownfield development, local councils will not be constrained by the 60 per cent target. They will have greater flexibility in allocating and bringing forward land.

    But the true benefit will be to developers on appeal who will not have to argue whether there are alternative brownfield sites, even if there are far more preferable sites available.  

    On the 5 year supply issue it states:

    The current provision of a five-year land supply in some cases has not been as ambitious as it could have been in bringing forward enough land that delivers housing on the ground. It has provided insufficient choice and competition in the land market. Furthermore, research indicates that some local councils’ assessments of sites have not been fully robust; and some are failing to identify five year’s worth of land that is actually available, suitable and viable for development.

    On the removal of exceptions sites policy it states

    currently, the rigid requirement for sites to be only for affordable housing limits local councils’ options for meeting the full range of housing needs, that local councils should have greater flexibility to decide the best approach to delivering housing, particularly affordable housing, in rural areas,…For example, Cornwall’s innovative draft affordable housing policy is an example of an emerging policy that takes a more flexible approach to rural housing than would normally be considered compliant with the rigid Rural Exception Sites policy. It states the Council will consider proposals to include an element of market housing on exception sites if it was satisfied that that the development had community support and reflected local need in terms of scale, dwelling type and tenure mix. The applicant would need to demonstrate to the Council’s satisfaction that a mixed tenure scheme was essential to the delivery of the development. The majority of the development would need to be provided as affordable housing with value generated from open market sales cross subsidising the delivery of the affordable housing, removing the need for public subsidy and ensuring affordable homes for sale were delivered at the lowest possible price.

    This is a sensible change, however there is a risk of a drying up of land coming forward from exceptions sites until adiopted local plans are in place.

    5.  Community Facilities

     

    The impact assessment stresses 

    the proposed policy strengthens the current policy by asking local councils to consider the availability and viability of community facilities as part of the plan making process and to develop policies to safeguard against their unnecessary loss. This policy is applied to all community facilities and not just those within defined local centres and villages.

    This policy will help communities prevent the loss existing buildings and developments, which are used by locally important, valued and viable community facilities and services, to alternative higher value developments such as private housing and business. Planning policies could identify specific buildings or developments and/or set out criteria for assessing planning applications. Criteria could require applicants demonstrating the current building or development is no longer required or viable for use by a community facility of service.

    This was an area where national policy was limited but where development plans frequently have such policies.  Para 126 of the draft NPPG though does not mention viability.  There is also great confusion between the term community assett, valued service and community use.  They are not the same.

    6. Green Belt

    Four changes to Green Belt policy are identified:

    I. Development on previously-developed Green Belt land is already permissible if the site is identified in the local plan as a major developed site – it is proposed to extend this policy to similar sites not already identified in a local plan;

    ii. Park and Ride schemes are already permissible – it is proposed to extend this to a wider range of local transport infrastructure;

    iii. Community Right to Build schemes will be permissible if backed by the local community;

    iv. The alteration or replacement of dwellings is already permissible – it is proposed to extend this to include all buildings.

    It omits though assessment of the major change.  The deletion of infill only villages allowing infill on all green belt villages however inaccessible.  

    On community right to build it states

    these are envisaged to be small-scale, approximately 5 to 10 units per scheme. Without a specific policy in Green Belt, these schemes are likely to be considered inappropriate development.

    Why not then restrict this to small scale developments only?

    7. Local Greenspace

    It States

    Current policy discourages the use of local designations to protect locally important landscapes, and this has fuelled a growing concern that local people cannot adequately protect those green spaces that are cherished by their communities for landscape but also other reasons. The only available route is to try to register land as a town or village green.

    8. Decentralised Energy Targets

    It States

    The Government expects local councils to continue to support decentralised energy but does not need to require local councils through national planning policy to set council wide decentralised energy targets.

     

    Strikingly low the document does not consider at all the impacts of the major changes in policy, which the government has not wished to draw too much attention to, for example the removal of protection of the countryside for its own sake, the removal of the strict protection of the undeveloped coast, the removal of protection of viable employment land. 

    PINS Advice to Inspectors on NPPF

    Here

    1. DCLG published the consultation draft of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), together with its associated consultation document, Impact Assessment and media summary on 25 July 2011. The NPPF is intended to bring together Planning Policy Statements, Planning Policy Guidance Notes and some Circulars into a single consolidated document.

    2. The draft NPPF contains a number of references to the presumption in favour of sustainable development, and the need to support economic growth through the planning system. These have previously been trailed in the Written Ministerial Statement on `Planning for Growth’. It states that local planning authorities should:
    – prepare local plans on the basis that objectively assessed development needs should be met, and with sufficient flexibility to respond to rapid shifts in demand or other economic changes;
    – approve development proposals that accord with statutory plans without delay; and
    – grant permission where the plan is absent, silent, indeterminate or where relevant policies are out of date.

    3. The draft NPPF is likely to be referred to by the parties in current appeal and development plan casework. Whilst it is a consultation document and, therefore, subject to potential amendment, nevertheless it gives a clear indication of the Government’s `direction of travel’ in planning policy. Therefore, the draft National Planning Policy Framework is capable of being a material consideration, although the weight to be given to it will be a matter for the decision maker’s planning judgment in each particular case. The current Planning Policy Statements, Guidance notes and Circulars remain in place until cancelled.

    4. Inspectors are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the draft NPPF and also with Part B of the Impact Assessment (`Changes to National Planning Policy’). Annex B sets out the policy changes noted in Part B. When conducting casework you should have regard to the consultation draft guidance and to the general advice in Annex A.

    Cricket Centred MCC New Towns

    Broadway Malyan is designing cricket centred new communities in India for developer Anglo Indian.

    The project follows an historical brand licence agreement, signed between MCC Overseas Limited (MCCO), a newly incorporated subsidiary of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and Anglo Indian, with MCCO licensing Anglo Indian the right to use some of MCC’s marks in India in connection with a range of cricket-themed facilities – each branded and inspired by MCC and Lord’s – to be built in up to twelve new communities with residential sites.

    The project follows an historical brand licence agreement, signed between MCC Overseas Limited (MCCO), a newly incorporated subsidiary of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and Anglo Indian, with MCCO licensing Anglo Indian the right to use some of MCC’s marks in India in connection with a range of cricket-themed facilities – each branded and inspired by MCC and Lord’s – to be built in up to twelve new communities with residential sites.

    World’s Ugliest Statue Too Expensive to Move

    Moscow News

    Peter the Great is going nowhere, despite repeated suggestions that the nautical statue of the tsar renowned for his dislike of Moscow should sail out of the capital.
    Peter famously shifted his court to St. Petersburg, and kick-started an on-going rivalry between the two cities.
    And it’s fair to say the antipathy has been mutual – many Muscovites have called for the giant 98-meter statue on the river to be cut down to size.
    But now hopes of seeing the statue leave – encouraged by Yury Luzhkov’s sacking as mayor last year – have been totally crashed by Sergei Baidakov, prefect of capital’s central district.

    “Peter the Great will stay on the tip as it has been doing,” Baidakov told journalists, RIA Novosti reported. “I’m against moving the monument.”
    Last year, Vladimir Resin, then acting mayor, said the place for the monument hadn’t been chosen properly – and many Russian cities offered to host the monument in response…and finances ultimately seem to be the deciding factor in leaving the monument where it is.

    Controversial artist Zurab Tsereteli is well known for touting his monstrous creations to cities around the world.

    No 10 Policy Chief backing Boris Island?

    Intriguing story in the Daily Mail

    David Cameron’s ‘blue sky thinker’ Steve Hilton is secretly plotting with London Mayor Boris Johnson to force the Prime Minister to drop his opposition to plans for a £40 billion airport in the Thames estuary.

    The provocative move follows reports that Mr Hilton is on the brink of walking out of No 10 because he thinks Mr Cameron is ‘losing his nerve’.

    Mr Cameron believes Tory rival Mr Johnson’s plan for the airport, dubbed ‘Boris Island’, is a non-starter.

    The disclosure that Mr Hilton has thrown his weight behind the idea is a big boost to Mr Johnson – and a snub to Mr Cameron. Friends of Mr Cameron are convinced Mr Johnson is trying to exploit policy differences in a campaign to succeed him as Tory leader. Any suggestion that Mr Hilton could ‘defect’ to Mr Johnson would send shockwaves through No 10.

    Probably another leak against Mr Hilton by civil servants fed up with his tongue lashings and the ‘enemies of enterprise’ speech (which he wrote).

    As we reported on the Boris Island approach is an impractical solution to airport capacity – taking 30 years, but there are alternatives which can be constructed in much less time – at the same time as the first phase of HS2 from Old Oak Common.

    ATM Fails








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