Daily Archives: February 10, 2012

Legal issues by the s*****d in mega pig farm application

In South Debyshire

Was deemed a county matter because of the amount of pig waste and biogas generation from it.

An objection by the Soil Association solicited a letter from notories libel lawyers Carter Ruck

Now because the application is less than 150 from a prison it is claimed the human rights of the prisoners is being breached

Of course when the main reason for objection is not material planning consideration lawyers will trawl for and against reason to object.

Planning gets it wrong – Leeds is proposing LESS housing than RSS

A Planning report suggesting that Leeds was proposing to set is submission core strategy higher than RSS, which would have made this I belive only the seocnd to do so after Dover.

I double checked the numbers as I couldnt believe as Leeds has fought and lost no less than three appeals on various proposals to massage the numbers down.

Indeed the story is wrong, they failed to take into account demolitions, which means that less housing than the Yorkshire and Humber side Plan is proposed.

Even more troubling is than, despite losing three appeals all of which stated that the special circumstances for allowing windfall in the first 10 years , it underallocates 6,000 or so dwellings by including a windfall allowance.

Planning should not swallow press releases undigested, especially when dealing with the housing numbers game.

Having said this the Leeds Plan is quite good, in a different league than Bradford’s.

Most Important building of 20C badly damaged in fire

Guardian

One of France’s most important landmarks of modernist architecture, La Cité Radieuse housing estate in Marseille, built by the architect Le Corbusier, has been damaged by fire.

Fire services fought for over 12 hours to put out a blaze that began on Thursday afternoon in a first floor flat in the nine-storey concrete complex which is protected by special heritage status in France.

The fire was brought under control at around 7am on Friday morning as authorities began to assess the damage to what is deemed a monument to postwar communal housing. Three apartments had been gutted and many others seriously damaged.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, the Swiss-born architect better known as Le Corbusier, built what was hailed as the vertical village between 1947 and 1951.

The building was inspired by travel, and was designed to look like a giant steamboat anchored in a park. Affectionately known as “la maison du fada” (the crackpot’s house), around 1,600 people live in its 334 famously sound-proofed duplex apartments with functional 1950s interior design in a grid of modernist lines of exposed unsurfaced concrete.

Envisaged as social housing, the building was quickly sold by the state. Some residents have lived there since its inauguration, while many recent inhabitants of the now sought-after apartments are middle-class teachers and architects.

All residents were evacuated late on Thursday night as fire services struggled to keep the blaze under control and five people were treated in hospital. It was not clear how the fire started.

 

For Mash Smash a Guitar – Pete Townsend Battles to Save Mod Haunt

Standard

Rock star Pete Townshend has joined the campaign to save one of west London’s last surviving traditional pie and mash shops from demolition.

The Who guitarist called it “inconceivable” that Cooke’s in Shepherd’s Bush could be built over by a £150 million “yuppie flat” development.

This week Hammersmith and Fulham council approved plans to regenerate Shepherd’s Bush Market. They propose knocking down Victorian shops in Goldhawk Road, triggering a wave of protest from traders and residents.

Audrey Boughton, co-owner of A Cooke’s eel, pie and mash shop, which has been in the same family since 1899, said: “The area needs to be revitalised, not destroyed. There were 114 letters of objection – the council rode roughshod over local opinion.”

The shop was a Mod haunt in the Sixties, and a protest of up to 100 scooter veterans is planned for April. Cooke’s and the 98-year-old market feature in 1979 movie Quadrophenia.

Townshend said: “Cooke’s is a part of the history of Goldhawk Road. For my part, this was where The Who took flight in 1963, where we performed one of our first shows as the Detours. I realise change is inevitable, but to think of Shepherd’s Bush without Cooke’s is inconceivable.”

Other rock regulars include former Sex Pistol Paul Cook and ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. Under the development plan 200 flats and 13 terrace houses will be built, new market squares created and the Bush Theatre refurbished.

Developers Orion Land & Leisure and Development Securities say shops will be offered new premises. Threatened businesses include the Classic Textiles shop, which provided the fabric for cloaks in the first Harry Potter movie. Orion said: “We investigated refurbishing the existing Goldhawk Road premises but concluded the properties fall far short of modern standards.”

Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said: “Shepherd’s Bush Market needs significant improvement to survive. These plans ensure it will flourish.

A lesson for England on how you cant cheat on Migration #NPPF

The ongoing Wrexham LDP inquiry has been suspended following a preliminary meeting because of concerns about lack of housing.  A common event in England but I stand to be corrected a first in Wales.

The Inspector’s preliminary report found that

  •  A significant shortfall in the supply of housing which, if it were to be addressed, would undermine the strategy of the Plan of confining general housing to within settlement boundaries.
  • A failure to take reasonable steps to secure an appropriate supply of affordable housing.
  • A lack of suitable provision to meet the needs of the gypsy and traveller community.
  • A failure in the Plan to respond to its own evidence base.
  •  An incoherent use of evidence e.g. short and long term trends used inconsistently to justify low housing figures.
  • That cumulatively the changes that would be likely to be required would go beyond those which should be necessary to secure a sound Plan within a timely fashion, taking account of the potential need for an Appropriate Assessment and a Strategic Environmental Assessment/Sustainability Appraisal

The basis of the Council’s housing figures also provides a saluatory lesson for England

The Council’s Background Paper …explains that that the proposed level of housing to be provided by the Plan will provide sufficient homes to accommodate the projected demographic increase (births/deaths and household formation trends) set out in the latest (2008 based) WG projections, and to meet 60% of the projected increase arising from migration trends (both international and from within the UK).

In 2009 The Welsh Government proposed on the basis of the 2006 based HH projections an increase in housing targets from 6,300 set out in the preferred Wrexham County Borough Council Local Development Plan  to a revised policy figure of 8,065, and an extra 300 based on 2008 based projections.  The Inspector did not accept the maintenance of the lower figure despite all the evidence.

On migration was also an argument that is likely to be played out many times in England with similar conclusions.

The Council contends that a projection of immigration rates based on the past 5 years is unreliable given that the early part of the period saw unprecedented rates of immigration into Wrexham from Eastern Europe, particularly from Poland. The Council predicts that such rates will not occur in the future. However, it was accepted at the hearing that the annual rate of immigration assumed by  Welsh Government projections is similar to that identified in ONS figures cited by the Council. The Council also accepted that whilst there was anecdotal evidence that some of the Polish community had moved back to their homeland in recent years there was little reliable information available to suggest that immigration patterns over the Plan period would be significantly different to that predicted in the Welsh Government Projections.

[Wrexham argued] Past rates of in-migration have been unduly influenced by the movement of people from Cheshire West and Chester Council
(CWAC) which is a trend that will not continue. A cornerstone of the Council’s case in seeking to reject the Welsh Government projections is its  assumption that past trends of in-migration from within the UK would drop markedly. This contention was based on an anticipated change in planning policy which would see the presently restrictive approach to housing in the neighbouring CWAC being replaced with a strategy that would see, in broad terms, that county meeting its own housing needs. Again no analysis has been made of the proportion of inmigration generated from CWAC as distinct from other neighbouring authorities and further afield. It was accepted that, given Wrexham’s size and range of attractions and facilities, it is reasonable to expect that it would draw in-migrants from other parts of the region. The relatively cheap housing it provides when compared to CWAC could also mean that it may attract in-migrants even if house building rates increase in that County. In any event there are no figures available to suggest the likely effect on in-migration from the envisaged policy change.

This highlights one of the key risks of the NPPF, in areas such as the West Mids and Merseyside districts surrounding the cities were allocated much less than need in regional plans to reinforce policies of urban regeneration with some cities allocated more.  The risk now is more pressure on Greenfield sites in counties like Cheshire and Warwickshire.

The Inspector also rejected an argument now being made by many English Authorities that the baseline period for making population projections should be an average of 10 years as opposed to the Welsh Government’s policy of 5 years.  Again this is a point that sooner or later the English SoS will have to pass judgement on.

The inspector also rejected the linguistic swamping  argument

However, there is no evidence to indicate the nature of any impact that would arise from greater build rates. Moreover, there seems to be no acknowledgement that in this respect the restrictive approach may have a harmful effect on the ability of local residents to find homes that would enable them to continue to reside in their community.

The preliminary report has prompted a political reaction.

Wrexham Leader

CONTROVERSIAL proposals have been unveiled to build 10,000 new homes in Wrexham.

But they have been slammed by community leaders who say it could see the town’s population swell by thousands and put huge pressure on already overstretched services.

Wrexham Council intends to build 8,000 new homes in the county as part of the local development plan running until 2021, but the Cardiff-based Planning Inspectorate has advised the authority to increase that figure by another 2,000.

Marc Jones, Plaid group leader, said: “Wrexham is already over-developed and these plans would see the town’s population surge by as much as another 26,000.
“We need to put the needs of our communities before the demands of housing developers.”

Cllr Arfon Jones said: “We believe the current housing numbers in the LDP are already too high and an additional 2,000 homes will clearly have a hugely detrimental impact locally…

A petition against the proposal and asking for the plans to be recalled and redesigned based on genuine local need has now been lodged by Plaid Cymru with the Government’s petition committee.

Mark Pritchard, leading member for planning and housing, believes the advice given by the inspectorate was based on out of date figures and vowed the council would not be bullied into agreeing the inflated figure.

He said: “The inspectorate’s proposal is based on growth from 2003-08 and is not an accurate representation of the housing market and the economy at the moment.

“We would need to free up more land and the public has made it very clear it doesn’t want to lose any more green space.

“To bend to the inspectorate would be undemocratic and we certainly won’t be bullied into it by the inspectorate or the Government.”

Pol Wong, a member of Deffro’r Ddraig (Wake the Dragon), a movement which challenges housing developments the group believe threaten communities, said: “This proposal will damage the environment, the community and our heritage and identity….

But a spokesman for the Welsh Government claims the inspectorate’s recommendations were just guidelines, not demands.

“All local authorities have access to the methodology and data enabling them to formulate their own level of housing provision.

“The Welsh Government does not dictate to local authorities on housing provision – this is a matter for local authorities and communities to determine.

“All members of the community are able to express their views on the LDP and can make their views known to an independently appointed inspector who will consider any concerns.”…

The Planning Inspectorate for Wales cited concerns over an apparent under-provision of housing in the plan for why the proceedings were frozen until after a meeting with the council on February 23.

As you can see the argument has a decidedly nasty anti-English tone.

Unless Wrexham wants to install border checks and pass controls it needs to get on and allocate the housing its own population badly needs.

Interim PPS on Travellers now seems very unlikely #NPPF

As each day passes the previously stated proposal to have only an interim PPS on travellers for a few months (now Weeks) before the NPPF is finalised is looking more and more unlikely.

It was never a good idea.

If government thought a policy was a good idea on day one and day one +30 they cut it down from 15 to one or two pages that could have led to legal challenge, where was the consultation on the precis?

Similarly as drafted the draft PSS would have for the first time had a general presumption against caravans in rural areas, whist allowing it for housing where there was a 5 year supply shortage.  Blantently discriminatory and a wide open avenue for legal challenge that could have delayed the whole NPPF by several months.

There were also problems with having no guidance at all on calculating needs which thankfully seems to have been abandoned as a recipe for chaos and underprovision in general housing and again could have been an avenue for legal challenge.

Perhaps, rarely these days, sensible professional planning advice in Eland House is finally being listened to.

 

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