Long Overdue New and Extended AONBs to be proposed

Daily Mail

proposals …mean the Yorkshire Wolds and the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge will be considered for a protected status as areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs).

The existing Surrey Hills and Chilterns AONBs could also be extended under the proposals which were announced today by Environment Secretary George Eustice.

The Government said the four areas being considered could deliver more than 40 per cent of the additional 1,500 square miles (4,000 square kilometres) needed to meet the UK’s commitment to protect 30 per cent of its land by 2030.

And why not the Forest of Dean, the Brecks and Charnwood Forest?

Thank goodness though the silly idea of a Chilterns National Park has been dropped

Ireland Plans Single Consolidated Planning Act

And so should we

Irish Times

The Government plans to speed up the planning process and make it more difficult for legal challenges to halt housing and other developments.

Officials have commenced a comprehensive review of planning laws which will see several different laws brought together in one planning Act, intended to streamline the process and speed up delivery of key projects.

The review, which is being undertaken by the Attorney General Paul Gallagher with input from Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and his department, will take 18 months and is expected to result in simplifying and accelerating the planning process, as well as making it harder to delay developments by court challenges.

The move comes amid growing political fears that complex planning processes and the growing use of judicial reviews as a tool in obstructing planning applications are delaying the delivery of new housing, and will continue to do so into the future.

It is also understood that the fast track for strategic housing developments – where developers can apply straight to An Bord Pleanála for permission rather than going through the local authority first – is to be abandoned after legal challenges effectively choked up the process. Plans are also under way for a dedicated planning court.

In a letter to the Oireachtas housing committee in recent days, Minister of State for planning Peter Burke said the Government wants to revive judicial review reforms that stalled after the general election last year.

Mr Burke has asked the committee to consider the general outline of draft laws before the summer recess so the Department of Housing can advance the plans in the autumn.

The increasing number of legal challenges against planning decisions had “knock-on implications for project delivery” including strategic infrastructure, Mr Burke said. “It is considered timely that the issue of judicial reform review in the area of planning be now reactivated, considered and further progressed.”

An Open Letter to the Liverpool Commissioners Concerning the Liverpool Maritime City

mike.cunningham@college.pnn.police.uk

Dear Mr Cunningham,

Threatened Withdrawl of World Heritage Status for Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City by World Heritage Committee – Legal Duties and Responsibilities of Commissioners

I write to you as newly appointed Lead Commissioner for Liverpool under the purposes confirmed by statuary direction of the Secretary of State and his letter of the 10th inst. appointing you as lead commissioner to exercise powers under Part I of the Local Government Act 1999.

The planning and building control function falls under the regeneration function over which your and the other commissioners now control. We understand one of your commissioners is a chartered town planner.

The World Heritage Committee has threatened to withdraw world heritage status for Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City at its next meeting in July.

There has been considerable local concern at this point and a call by local leader to meet with the committee.  They no longer lead on this issue – quite frankly it would be on your watch.  This would be an international scandal. Liverpool filling in its docks is the equivalent of Paris filling in the Seine or New York filling in the Hudson.

I advise you take as the model the way the State Party and local government has responded to a similar threat in Vienna.  This should be taken as a model by yourselves.

Unlike almost every other country in the world there is no dedicated statutory protection for World Heritage Sites in the UK, they are protected by normal planning and listed building controls.

Over many decades there has been concern about the loss of heritage in Liverpool.  In recent years there has been considerable improvements, however concerns remain about the excessively close relationship between certain development interests and local politicians to the detriment of heritage.  Indeed these concerns and the report commissioned by the Secretary of State following the arrest of certain parties led to your appointment.

These concerns exist throughout the city.  For example, the long overdue designation of certain parts of the City Centre, such as Renshaw Street for conservation area status.  However, the greatest concerns existing in the area known as the Northern Shore Area, and in particular two planning applications:

  1. Peel Properties approved outline permission for Liverpool Waters
  2. The application by Everton Football Club for a new stadium Bramley-Moore Dock.  Which has been before planning committee but no permission has yet been issued as a S106 obligation is required.

The SoS has declined to call in either application against the advice of Heritage England.

Although Peel Properties agree the 2013 consent for Liverpool Waters will not go ahead within the parameters of that planning consent there is no statutory framework yet in place which protects the outstanding universal value of the WHS.  That is the issue.  Non-statutory masterplans exist (over which controversy exists) and statutory development plans promised but long delayed.  If there were a binding system of controls in place, such as a local development order reinforced by a design code, this issue could be resolved.  That responsibility now rests with you.

I recommend:

  1. That you ask for a high level secondee from Heritage England, with the agreement of DCHLG and DCMS to take over management of the WHS and draw up urgent recommendations to yourselves and ICOMOS and ICCROM.
  2. In the interim you ask the Secretary of State to issue a development order (holding direction) requiring his agreement on issuing any planning consent in the North Shore Area, including on reserved matters applications in pursuant of the Liverpool Waters scheme.

That would give breathing space for the following action:

  • To commission independent Consultants, under your and the WHS manager suggested under a) to prepare a masterplan and design code for the Northern Shore Area, including binding controls on heights and appearance of buildings.
  • For that masterplan to consider an alternative on shore site or sites within the masterplan area for a premier league standard facility that avoided filling in docks which form part of the OUV of the WHS.
  • That following this decide, with the SOS, on ways of putting the masterplan in statutory form.
  • On conclusion of this lift the holding direction and decide applications for the North Shore.

Liverpool of course must evolve.  It cannot be a zero- sum shell game of conservation OR Regeneration.  A properly considered masterplan and design code can achieve both.  With good will such an action plan can resolve this impasse.

CC Heritage England

Liverpool Civic Society

The Recommendation to Delete Liverpool as a World Heritage Site

World Heritage Committee

Of course the ‘State Party’ now is commissioners not Liverpool, so what will commissioners do to rectify the gross deficiencies identified in the report? The SoS should write to them on this issue.

Previous monitoring missions
October 2006: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2011:
joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2015: joint World
Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
• Governance: Lack of overall management of new developments
• High impact research/monitoring activities: Lack of analysis and description of the townscape
characteristics relevant to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and important views
related to the property and its buffer zone
• Legal framework: Lack of established maximum heights for new developments along the waterfront
and for the backdrops of the World Heritage property
• Social/cultural uses of heritage
• Buildings and development: Commercial development, housing, interpretative and visitor facilities
• Lack of adequate management system/management plan
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/
Current conservation issues
On 4 February 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available
at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/documents/. A further revised and updated Desired state of
conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as
requested from the State Party by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session was not submitted
at the time, but was provided on 5 August 2020. The report by the State Party provides the following
information:
• The Liverpool City Council has prepared a ‘vision’ for the North Shore area within the World
Heritage site called North Shore Vision. The North Shore Vision covers an area of the City that
includes ‘Liverpool Waters’ and the immediately adjacent Ten Streets area as well as the Stanley
Dock Conservation Area. It seeks to place the regeneration of the area in the context of the historic
built environment, and in particular appreciation and acknowledgment of the Outstanding
Universal Value (OUV) and its attributes. The State Party wished to base its DSOCR around the
North Shore Vision and on tools that will be finalised subsequently. These tools include the Local
Plan, the Tall Buildings Policy and Supplementary Planning Document (note that the full North
Shore Vision document was submitted to the World Heritage centre and the Advisory Bodies on
7 May 2020);
• Public hearings for the draft Liverpool Local Plan were scheduled for late spring 2020, while its
adoption by the Liverpool City Council (LCC) was planned to take place in late 2020. The
Supplementary Planning Document adopted in 2009 is currently being revised and will be
finalized alongside the Local Plan. An update of the Tall Buildings policy is being developed and
will be included in the emerging Local Plan;
• The Princes Dock Neighbourhood Masterplan has been submitted and approved by LCC in 2018.
The Central Docks Masterplan was approved in October 2019;
• Ongoing initiatives have been designed to promote awareness about the World Heritage property
and its values, including a dedicated website launched in 2019
(https://www.liverpoolworldheritage.com);
• In 2019, LCC established a Heritage Priorities and Investment Steering Group working in
partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). Over 40 heritage projects both
State of conservation of the properties WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, p. 54
inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
tangible (capital) and intangible have been identified and prioritised for future discussions with
NLHF;
• An overview was provided on works undertaken to improve the condition of buildings within the
property.
In the State Party’s view, no individual development, which has been given permission to date within
‘Liverpool Waters’ and the property, has impacted adversely to a significant extent on the OUV of the
property, including its authenticity and integrity.
The State Party repeated that it is neither desirable nor practical to enforce a moratorium for new
buildings and that OUV, including authenticity and integrity, are being sustained through the current
planning regime. The State Party argues that development has been a fundamental driver towards
improving the conditions of the property.
The State Party reiterates in the report its former notification to the Secretariat in line with Paragraph 172
of the Operational Guidelines that in December 2019, a full planning application was submitted for a
new football stadium in the Bramley-Moore Dock, within the property. The State Party, furthermore,
provided updated information on this project in 2021: LCC has approved the Everton Stadium project
proposal in February 2021. Media reports indicate that in March 2021, the UK Secretary of State for
Housing, Communities and Local Government reviewed and approved the project.


Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
At its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), the World Heritage Committee considered that the
proposed development of ‘Liverpool Waters’ constituted a potential danger to the World Heritage
property and noted that the implementation of the development would irreversibly damage the attributes
and conditions of integrity that warranted inscription. Regarding these, the Committee decided to
inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, with the possibility of deletion from the
World Heritage List, should the project be approved and implemented. It also requested the State Party
to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a proposal for the
DSOCR and a set of corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its
37th session in 2013 (Decision 36 COM 7B.93).
At its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013), the State Party informed the Committee that the Secretary of
State for Communities and Local Government decided not to call in the ‘Liverpool Waters’ development
for consideration at the national level, and that LCC had granted consent to the framing document of
this project, the Outline Planning Consent (OPC) – Development Consent Order (2013-2042), submitted
by the developer, which forms the basis of both the Neighborhood Master Plans and the individual
planning applications. Following this, the Committee repeatedly requested the State Party to:
• Consider all measures that would allow changes to the extent and scope of the proposed
‘Liverpool Waters’ scheme to ensure the continued coherence of the architectural and townplanning attributes, and the continued safeguarding of the OUV of the property, including the
conditions of authenticity and integrity;
• Establish substantive commitments to limit the quantity, location and size of allowable built form
and linking the strategic city development vision to a regulatory planning document, which
provides legal guidelines on the protection of OUV.
The State Party prepared the first draft DSOCR in 2013, and a second draft was submitted to the
Secretariat in 2014. Following the Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in 2011, an Advisory
mission was conducted by the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS in 2015 to consult with the State
Party, whether a DSOCR and corrective measures could be agreed. The mission concluded that the
second draft DSOCR was inconclusive as to the removal of threats to the property and also considered
a need to reduce the urban density and height of the proposed development from the maximum granted
for the ‘Liverpool Waters’ project.
Following this, the State Party submitted updated DSOCR documents for the 41st (Krakow, 2017), 42nd
(Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions of the Committee. These documents did not provide
a comprehensive desired state of conservation, nor appropriate corrective measures. Despite several
meetings over recent years, the State Party has not followed the Committee’s Decision 42 COM 7A.7,
for substantive commitments to establish limitations on the quantity, location and size of allowable built
form in order to acknowledge the importance of protecting key attributes which contribute to the OUV of
the property, and the significance of the context of the property and its buffer zone. Based on the State
Party’s approach the effectiveness of the DSOCR would rely on the content of additional documents,
State of conservation of the properties WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, p. 55
inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger which are yet to be prepared or finalized, including the Local Plan, the revised Supplementary Planning Document, the majority of the Neighborhood Masterplans, and the Tall Building (skyline) Policy. The
timeline for developing and approving all these documents extend well into the future and, therefore, the
presented DSOCR versions were not considered appropriate for adoption by the Committee. A further
updated DSOCR was not submitted together with the state of conservation report by the State Party for
the 44th session of the Committee scheduled for 2020, as requested. However, a new proposed DSOCR
was provided by the State Party on 5 August 2020, for which ICOMOS has prepared a technical review,
concluding that in its present form the DSOCR is not suitable to be proposed for adoption by the
Committee.
Following the confirmation from the State Party that a moratorium remains in place for the Central Docks,
at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO 2016), the Committee requested the State Party to ensure that
only repair and reuse of historic buildings, maintenance works and small scale projects should receive
permission within the rest of the property until the DSOCR is finalized and adopted. This request has
been repeated by the Committee in its following sessions, but the State Party has advised that such a
request is neither necessary nor legally feasible. Hence the State Party has continued to permit new
constructions that have negatively impacted the attributes which contribute to the OUV of the property.
At its 41st session (Krakow, 2017) the Committee noted with regret that the implementation of the
‘Liverpool Waters’ scheme had started with the granting of planning permission for individual buildings.
This process of granting planning permits for individual buildings without a strategic vision anchored in
regulatory frameworks has continued until the present. Construction projects continue to receive
approval and are being implemented within the property and its buffer zone, both in the frame of the
‘Liverpool Waters’ scheme and independently. The Committee considered that the stated inability of the
State Party to control further developments clearly reflects inadequate governance systems and
planning mechanisms that undermine protection and management and therefore, fail to sustain the OUV
of the property. The Committee set out four specific requirements to be met to prevent the property from
being considered for deletion from the World Heritage List, as follows:
a. Reverse course and stop the granting of planning permissions which have a negative impact on
the OUV of the property,
b. Provide substantive commitments to limitation on the quantity, location and size of allowable built
form,
c. Link the strategic city development vision to a regulatory planning document,
d. Submit, lastly, a DSOCR and corrective measures in a form that might be considered for adoption
by the Committee (Decision 41 COM 7A.22).
In its state of conservation report for the 42nd session of the Committee (Manama, 2018), the State
Party advised (on the basis of the stated position of Peel Holdings, the developer of ‘Liverpool Waters’)
that there is no likelihood of the scheme coming forward in the same form as in the OPC. However, this
statement was not followed by binding implementation measures. At its 43rd session (Baku, 2019), the
Committee therefore, regretted that the submission of Princes Dock Masterplan and changes to the
‘Liverpool Waters’ scheme has not been submitted to the Secretariat and the Advisory Bodies for review
and comments before their adoption by the LCC, and expressed its utmost concern that these
documents put forward plans, which do not ensure the adequate mitigation of the potential threats to
the OUV for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
In October 2019 and January 2020, in its technical reviews of the Central Docks and Princes Dock
Neighbourhood Masterplans, ICOMOS concluded that aspects of the allowable developments under
these plans would fundamentally adversely affect the inscribed property and its buffer zone, resulting in
an unacceptable impact on the OUV of the property. Subsequent consideration of a proposed
amendment to the ‘Liverpool Waters’ Masterplan did not realign the OPC with the requirements for
maintenance of the OUV of the property. The cumulative effect of the OPC and the related series of
individual project approvals and implementation, exacerbated by the absence of a satisfactory DSOCR,
have now reached a point where the property has lost characteristics which supported its inclusion in
the World Heritage List, and the OUV of the property continues to deteriorate through a process that
appears to be irreversible.
In February 2020, the State Party submitted notification under Paragraph 172 of the Operational
Guidelines of the foreshadowed proposed new football stadium to be constructed on the site of BramleyMoore Dock, within the property. This proposal, presented in more than 400 documents, would require
infill of the historic dock, and construction of a very large new built form on the Liverpool waterfront.
State of conservation of the properties WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, p. 56
inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
ICOMOS has advised that the proposal, if implemented, would have a completely unacceptable major
adverse impact on the authenticity and integrity, therefore, the OUV of the property and should not
proceed at this location and that the proposal is also contrary to the State Party’s own guidance
documents, and contrary to explicit Decisions of the World Heritage Committee.
The State Party has recently developed and published the North Shore Vision for the northern part of
Liverpool, resulting in a document that includes a part of the property and its buffer zone, but its focus
is not on protecting OUV but rather on outlining integrated development approach for an area of the city
that is in need of social and economic realignment. The relevant authorities of the State Party should
have afforded greater weight to the objectives and requirements of the United Kingdom’s National
Planning Policy Framework, and in particular the provisions of paragraphs 192, 193, 194, 196 and 200,
to give priority to sustainable conservation and use of heritage assets for community benefit, and afford
primacy to conservation of World Heritage, over and above the desire to permit an inappropriate level
of intervention and change allowable under the OPC. The North Shore Vision itself doesn’t require a
separate technical review, a section dedicated to its content having been included by ICOMOS in its
technical review of the proposed DSOCR.
Over the period since the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the State
Party has been provided with consistent advice through Committee Decisions, missions and technical
reviews. The State Party has not complied with the advice and repeated requests of the World Heritage
Committee. It has neither developed a tool and framework document in the form of a DSOCR and
corrective measures, which defines the state of conservation that a property must reach in order to
demonstrate that it is no longer threatened by ascertained or potential serious and specific danger and
would enable its removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger, nor demonstrated either adequate
commitment to limit the quantity, location and size of allowable built form, nor put mechanisms in place
to prevent the implementation of the ‘Liverpool Waters’ scheme and other construction projects in the
property and its buffer zone from having a major negative impact on the OUV of the property.
Furthermore, the new North Shore Vision incorporates both implementation of the ‘Liverpool Waters’
scheme and the recently-approved stadium on the site of the historic Bramley-Moore Dock. The
necessary corrective measures have not been taken in conformity with Paragraph 191(a) of the
Operational Guidelines. Moreover, the State Party itself has unequivocally confirmed on multiple
occasions that with regard to its obligations to comply with the national and local planning framework, it
has no ability to put in place the requested moratorium for new building projects, nor to stop nor to
significantly change the approved OPC for the ‘Liverpool Waters’ scheme. This indicates that there are
no legal and instrumental means available in the governance of the property that would allow the State
Party to protect the OUV of the property.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies conclude that despite some successful projects
aiming to protect the OUV of the property through adaptive reuse of buildings mostly in the historic
centre of Liverpool, within the property and its buffer zone, the inevitable process for the implementation
of the ‘Liverpool Waters’ project and other large scale infrastructure projects in the waterfront and
northern dock area of the property and its buffer zone have progressively eroded the integrity of the
property and continue to do so as the most recent project proposals and approvals indicate. These
actions have already resulted in serious deterioration and loss of attributes that convey the OUV of the
property to the extent that it has lost characteristics which determined its inclusion in the World Heritage
List, in conformity with Paragraph 192(a) of the Operational Guidelines. The approved planning
application for a new football stadium in Bramley-Moore Dock within the property adds to the ascertained
threat on the property’s OUV and is directly contrary to the approach requested by the Committee for
this property. Furthermore, it reflects the lack of commitment from the State Party to protect this property
in the long-term. At its 36th session in 2012, the Committee decided to inscribe the property on the List
of World Heritage in Danger, and specifically identified at the time the possibility of deletion of the
property from the World Heritage List, should the ‘Liverpool Waters’ project be approved and
implemented. The Committee has considered several times (Decisions 36 COM 7B.39, 37 COM 7A.35,
38 COM 7A.19, 40 COM 7A.31, 41 COM 7A.22 and 42 COM 7A.7) the possibility of deletion of the
property from the World Heritage List owing to the clear deterioration and irreversible loss of attributes
conveying the OUV of the property including its authenticity and integrity, arising from the ‘Liverpool
Waters’ development OPC, and decided, at its 43rd session, to delete the property from the World
Heritage List at its 44th session, if the Committee decisions related to the adoption of the DSOCR
and the moratorium for new buildings were not met.
State of conservation of the properties WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, p. 57
inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7A.34
The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.93, 37 COM 7A.35, 38 COM 7A.19, 39 COM 7A.43,
    40 COM 7A.31, 41 COM 7A.22, 42 COM 7A.7 and 43 COM 7A.47, adopted at its 36th
    (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn,
    2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), 41st (Krakow, 2017), 42nd (Manama, 2018) and
    43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively, and in particular its repeated serious concerns
    over the impact of the proposed ‘Liverpool Waters’ development in the form presented in
    the approved Outline Planning Consent (2013-2042) which constitutes an ascertained
    threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and that the
    implementation of the development, as planned, would irreversibly damage the attributes
    and conditions of integrity that warranted inscription;
  3. Also recalling its repeated requests to the State Party to:
    a) Consider all measures that would allow changes to the extent and scope of the
    proposed ‘Liverpool Waters’ scheme to ensure the continued coherence of the
    architectural and town-planning attributes, and the continued safeguarding of the
    OUV of the property, including the conditions of authenticity and integrity,
    b) Establish substantive commitments to limitation on the quantity, location and size
    of allowable built form and linking the strategic city development vision to a
    regulatory planning document, which provides legal guidelines on the protection of
    the OUV,
    c) Establish a moratorium for granting of planning permissions which have a negative
    impact on the OUV of the property,
    d) Submit, a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the
    List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and corrective measures in a form that
    might be considered for adoption by the Committee;
  4. Further recalling that, according to Article 6.1 of the Convention, the properties inscribed
    on the World Heritage List constitute the world’s heritage, the protection of which is the
    duty of the international community as a whole, and that it is the duty of the international
    community to assist and to cooperate with States Parties in their endeavour to conserve
    such heritage;
  5. Recalling furthermore that States Parties have the obligation under the Convention to
    protect and conserve the cultural and natural heritage situated on their territory, notably
    to ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection and
    conservation of such heritage;
  6. Notes with deep regret that inadequate governance processes, mechanisms, and
    regulations for new developments in and around the World Heritage property, have
    resulted in serious deterioration and irreversible loss of attributes conveying the OUV of
    the property along with significant loss to its authenticity and integrity, that the process
    of further deterioration is irreversible, and that the State Party has not fulfilled its
    obligations defined in the Convention with respect to protecting and conserving the OUV,
    as inscribed, of the World Heritage property of Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City;
  7. Also notes with deep regret that as a result of approved and implemented development
    projects, the property has deteriorated to the extent that it has lost characteristics, which
    State of conservation of the properties WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, p. 58
    inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
    determined its inclusion in the World Heritage List, in conformity with Paragraph 192(a)
    of the Operational Guidelines and that the necessary corrective measures have not been
    taken in conformity with Paragraph 193 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Regrets that the entreaties of the World Heritage Committee at its 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th,
    40th, 41st, 42nd and 43rd sessions have not resulted in protection of the property;
  9. Also regrets that the process for the implementation of the ‘Liverpool Waters’ project and
    other large-scale infrastructure projects in the waterfront and northern dock area of the
    property and its buffer zone has resulted in serious deterioration and irreversible loss of
    attributes that convey its OUV, and that further projects, such as the approved new
    football stadium in Bramley-Moore Dock within the property, add to the ascertained threat
    of further deterioration and loss of the OUV of the property;
  10. Further regrets that the State Party has not complied with the repeated requests of the
    Committee, and has itself indicated that there are no legal and other means available in
    the governance of the property that would allow the State Party to comply with all of the
    Committee’s requests so as to ensure the protection of the property and retention of its
    OUV in the long-term;
  11. Decides to delete Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (United Kingdom of Great
    Britain and Northern Ireland) from the World Heritage List.

Jenryk in Telegraph – We have a Duty to Build Homes

Telegraph

The Government has “a duty” to the next generation to build more homes, Robert Jenrick said on Monday as he faced down Conservative MPs who want him to water down controversial planning reforms.

The Housing Secretary insisted that it was only fair that ministers should reform the current system so that young people can “aspire to own the keys to their own home”.

The comments came after Tory MPs used a Commons debate to press the Government to water down planning reforms that were blamed for last week’s shock defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-election.

Writing in The Telegraph, below, Mr Jenrick says: “The belief that home ownership should be achievable for all who dream of it and that young people should aspire to own the keys to their own home.

“We have a duty to young people and families to help them get there, and benefit from the security and prosperity that it can bring.

“The overwhelming majority of people aspire to it, even if it seems a distant dream to many. We want to make that dream a reality.”

Reforming a ‘cumbersome, complicated’ system

But to make this happen, he says, “the current planning system needs reforming. It excludes local people. It is cumbersome, complicated, and hugely difficult for ordinary people to navigate.

“This Government is serious about delivering for the next generation, whilst addressing the inadequacies of the current system to protect and enhance communities and local democracy.”

A new Planning Bill, due to be published in coming months, is likely to force local authorities to adopt new housing targets as part of the Government’s commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year.

Critics claim that this will drive more building onto greenfield sites, ignoring brownfield sites which already have permissions for new homes.

The Telegraph understands that one way to make the reforms more acceptable is to offer cash incentives to communities to accept large scale development in their area.

Another is a “use or lose it” plan to take away planning permissions from developers which refuse to start building in the hope that land values will increase.

Our planning reforms will cherish the past and build for the future

By Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

The property-owning democracy is one of the foundations of our country: the belief that home ownership should be achievable for all who dream of it and young people should aspire to the keys to their own home.

We have a duty to young people and families to help them get there, and benefit from the security and prosperity it can bring. The majority of people aspire to it, even if it seems a distant dream to many. We want to make that dream a reality.

Equally, it is clear that many people have concerns about new housing in their area. They want good-quality homes, proper infrastructure, and they want to protect spaces such as the green belt. We have a duty to hand the next generation an enhanced natural and built environment.

We are listening. Many of these worries hinge on the fact that our current planning system is not trusted. It is seen as too complicated, too weighted in favour of big constructors to the exclusion of smaller house-builders and local people. I agree.

This government is serious about delivering for the next generation, while addressing the inadequacies of the current system to protect and enhance communities.

It doesn’t sound like the other political parties want to do either of these things. Labour, who called a debate on planning on Monday, have an appalling track record on providing the homes that people need. 

The Liberal Democrats are no better. They resort to some brazen lies about our planning reforms that need correcting.

At the heart of our reforms are six key ideas.

First, we will protect the green belt and the environment, prioritising building on brownfield, backed by more than £10bn of regeneration funds in this Parliament. We’ll keep all green-belt protections, with councils still responsible for local decisions.

Second, locally popular and better designed housing. We will enable communities to develop their own design codes.

Third, more affordable housing and infrastructure built alongside homes. We’re making it easier and quicker to build the infrastructure we were elected to deliver. Reform means transparency and certainty for councils and local people, the opportunity to fund vital local infrastructure, and more of a say for locals on what levy receipts are spent on.

Fourth, we’re levelling the playing field for smaller builders. The sheer complexity of the current system favours those with the deepest pockets, while SMEs are disadvantaged because they don’t have the frequent engagement with the system that allows them to accumulate knowledge of its rules. We’re breaking the volume builders’ stranglehold, reducing barriers to entry by the new, simplified way that builders will contribute towards local infrastructure.

Fifth, we’re tackling land banking. We have consulted on new ways to ensure that developers follow through on their promises and build out sites as expected.

Finally, we are enhancing local democracy and community engagement. We will be giving communities greater control over what to build where, including strengthened neighbourhood plans, replacing jargon-laden and technical documents with simple assessments; creating design codes that reflect the preferences of your area, and extending participation to all.

With our planning reforms, we will cherish the past, adorn the present and build back better for the future.

‘We are not NIMBYs nor BANANAs’

Conservative MPs representing constituencies across England lined up in a Commons debate on Monday to sound the alarm about the planning reforms.

William Wragg, the Conservative MP for Hazel Grove, said: “We are not NIMBYs… nor are we ‘BANANAs’, that is to say Building Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody.

“What we want to see is a planning process that involves and engages people and builds the houses that we most certainly need.”

Sir John Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, warned that to hit current population forecasts the Government would have to build “a settlement over the size of Bedfordshire” by 2041.

Claire Coutinho, the Conservative MP for East Surrey, said she wanted “greater flexibility on what the right number of homes should be based on local areas’ capacity to deliver”.

Bob Seely, Conservative MP for Isle of Wight, who chairs a group of up to 100 Tory MPs fighting the reforms, called for a bigger say among local people to fight unpopular development.

He said the current “process continues ‘reductio ad absurdum’ like some planning wheel of doom. It is a road to nowhere and we need a better system”.

House building ‘grates upon constituents’

Chris Green, Tory MP for Bolton West, said “house building is almost the number one issue in my constituency – it really does aggravate and grate upon my constituents.

“To see people campaign intensively so hard against a particular development and then see that development go ahead or the developers come back again and again with new alternatives is very frustrating.”

Sir John Redwood said his Wokingham constituency had been “afflicted in recent years by some landowners and developers gaming the system – thousands of planning permissions are outstanding”.

Andrew Griffith, Tory MP for Arundel and South Downs, accused local builders of trying to build on “over 30 acres of species rich woodland, against the wishes of local people and the neighbourhood plan”.

He said: “The homes that the nation needs should be built on brownfield land or urban areas.”

He added that a “sensible target” for new homes was one new dwelling for every 160 adults living in an area – yet in London, only one new home was built for every 400 adults living there.

Standard Method Doubles Housing Targets in London – and now London Tory MPs squeal

If you clumily back off badly conceived reform in one area because of Nimby panic, and treat development like a shell game, yo simply, Secretary of State, stoke it elsewhere.

Standard

Boris Johnson has been urged to ditch “Wild West” planning reforms and not allow the “destruction” of London’s suburbia.

Senior Conservative Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, fears the Government’s controversial planning shake-up will deny local residents a vital say in developments going up in their area.

Mr Blackman, secretary of the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs, told the Standard: “I and other MPs are picking up on the doorstep that people don’t want suburban London destroyed by blocks of flats going up that overshadow normal two or three-storey suburban houses.”

Former Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, also warned of “anxieties … in the London suburbs where there is relentless pressure for more and more flats to be built”.Advertisementhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.467.0_en.html#goog_843884864

Mr Blackman backed “gentle densification” of housing but warned of planning applications going in for high blocks, with no parking.

“Most people would say four to six-storey housing, mansion blocks … that’s not too bad,” he explained.

“But if we are then seeing these monstrosities… blocks of up to 20 storeys …it’s beyond anything that is reasonable.”

Proposed planning reforms are believed to have been a key factor in last week’s shock Tory by-election defeat in Chesham and Amersham, a Conservative stronghold since 1974.

Mr Blackman said: “The proposals on zoning — with growth zones which will be like the Wild West for developers — have got to go.” Elaborating on his concerns over the impact of new growth areas for housing developments in the capital, he added: “The proposed changes would make it even worse because people would not get any say in what housing is provided

The Conservatives saw a majority of over 16,000 disappear as the Liberal Democrats won the by-election by more than 8,000 votes.

Ms Villiers stressed: “Planning reform was clearly an issue which contributed to losing this seat.

“Similar anxieties are felt in the London suburbs where there is relentless pressure for more and more flats to be built.

“This election result provides an important opportunity to think again about controversial planning reforms and reduce housing targets in the London suburbs and the counties around the capital.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the by-election result was “very disappointing,” stressing there were local factors such as HS2, as well as planning.

He added: “There was a lot of talk about people saying the Government was not listening on planning …we are listening, we want to engage with our MPs. I have a southern seat as well where this is a big issue.”

Building a Parliamentary Majority for Planning Reform

There is a considerable risk that without support from some opposition members there may be sufficient ‘rebels’ on the government benches for reform of the nature in the Planning White paper to not pass.

Though no fan of many of the changes it would be disastrous for there to be a ‘u turn’ because we clearly need Planning Reform, indeed so much of the opposition to new development is because of dysfunctions of the Planning System.

Looking back at changes to planning systems in the past in the UK and internationally there is a golden rule to planning reform.

Planning Reform follows and enables good planning practice. A consensus only forms on planning reform when there is there is political momentum to enable better planning.

The debate has been different in the last couple of years. We have got beyond the agenda of ‘liberalising planning’ – of ‘build what you like where you like’ to one of ‘why do other countries build more and build better?’ Though there are still residuals of this in the widening of permitted development. Caused I think by frustrations of ministers that this is at least one lever they can pull quickly however counterproductive it is.

Much of the anxiety of many anti-development MPs is caused by dysfunctions of the current system. For example it is no surprise that the two most vocal ant-development MPs are Mps for the Isle of White and Isle of Thanet, two land constrained areas where without strategic planning must take there full share.

The instinct of the Prime Minister is to bulldozer through change not seek consensus, but he may have no alternative here. The tone of the introduction of the Planning White Paper was unnecessarily dirigiste ‘tear it down and start again’. Also it was very unclear how it would work. The key change – shifting more towards a zoning and sub-division system now being adopted by every other country in the world apart from the UK, was poorly explained and understood. It had precisely one sentence on how this was best practice in Europe and seemed embarrassed by an admission that Europe may be better. The White paper was also contaminated by some eccentric ideas from some of the axe grinders on its ‘expert advisory’ group, none of which were experts on international planning reform.

We see rumors of response to consultation on the White Paper being published by the Parliament Recess (22nd July I believe).

The opposition day motion today also shows lack of understanding on what planning reform might look like from the opposition. Their motion is meaningless.

The MCHLG select committee is right. A draft Planning Reform Act should be published for consultation.

As someone who has been called several times in the past to advise on Planning Reform (here and abroad) I have seen the mess that that is caused in advising Parliamentary Counsel on Planning Reforms. The 2004 act was a disaster because it contained many concepts that could not easily be translated into law – such as ‘framework’.

This is why I undertook the ambitious task of drafting out what I think a Planning Reform Act will look like. This week I’m just on the final miscellaneous clauses at the back end of many acts of existing legislation, and with cross checking of cross references, for which I’m having to use special software, and checking wording against Parliamentary Council guidance and several tests on legislative drafting – I hope to have it out the middle of next week. You don’t have to be a lawyer to do this, just have a basic understanding of planning law, and international planning law. Lawyers can tidy up a draft later.

The starting point was to have one codified planning law. We haven’t had this since 1990. Planning law has become way to complex and dissipated. The new proposed law would replace at least half a dozen pieces of legislation. It does this by widening the concept of ‘planning permission’ for example to include listed building consent, DCOs etc. We have already started down this path by rolling conservation area consent into planning permission. This has been complex but well worthwhile. No longer do we need at least 8 definitions of ‘local authority’ three of more almost word for word duplications of enforcement provision etc.

Put together I then asked how much of the law needed altering to enable, not proscribe, some form of zoning consent for some sites in development plans. Well three major clauses only. Its that simple. No need to ‘tear it down and start again’ rather codify, simplify and speed up. Most of the key concepts that everyone understands like ‘planning permission’ can stay, no need to scare the horses. You wont need to stand down every planner in the country for two years retraining. Even those clauses that enable zoning are nothing new. There are half a dozen clauses in existing legislation that enable some form of zoning, LDOs, NDOs, SPZs etc. I replace them with one simple clause. You never saw people ,arching in the street over those clauses and you wont with a new bill on the lines I suggest.

What I suggest is including provision in the act for ‘planning schemes’. This is a concept from pre-war planning legislation that survives in several sections of planning law today in residual forms (for example on compulsory purchase and LDOs) – for example the ‘no scheme word’. A planning scheme is a zoning scheme which might include a design code. Planning Schemes would provide ‘permission in principle’ which I would simply to mean outline permission where the principle of the use, and potentially one or more items, would be decided. I propose modifying outline permission law to conform to modern masterplan practice, similar to the recent introduction of masterplan consent in Scotland. Rather than reserved matters there would be parameter permission and those permissions would be the same as parameter plan approvals for masterplans – and include things like buildings lines, plot subdivision etc. To make this happen the “Planning map’ (policies map, proposals map) would be statutory and online and show all planning schemes and parameters of consents and design codes.

I say enable not proscribe because every zoning system is to some extent a hybrid system including some degree of development management consent. For example in almost all rural areas of the Netherlands and Germany this is the case. What I suggest is provision for Planning Schemes in new style local plans for incentives to introduce them.

These incentives are critical because they could be what builds a parliamentary majority as it would be very difficult for the opposition, or even many recalcitrant shire MPs, to oppose as it gives them what they want.

The first thing it gives them is the community more control over design and design coding – this is much discussed so I wont cover it in detail here.

The second is that it enables much more proactive and positive planning of large developments, on the continental/Letwin Review model. I include powers of lot reorganisation and exaction critical to making this happen. No longer would the call for sites tail lead the planning donkey.

This change is critical as it is essential to breaking the oligopolistic ‘broken housing market’ grip of major house-builders, through enabling subdivision and development of larger sites by many smaller builders. No need for ‘use it or lose it’ provisions – I have a better idea.

I propose a simple ‘development and infrastructure charge’ to replace CIL and most S106 charges. A small charge on consent, and annually if not built to a phasing plan, but then a larger charge based on uplift on land value (not building value) only based on a trigger event of when electricity is connected (which is the way the rest of the world do it). S106s could still be used for payments needed for advanced works, such payments being deducted from the charge. Such a charge would be simple to collect, would come of price of land and would raise vast sums for infrastructure. Ticking one of the shire antidevelopment complaints. The beauty of it is that it automatically only applies to non-exacted sellable lands, so automatically deducts land payments in lieu. I suggest a % of the charge is redistricuted nationally based on need, including when planning schemes are adopted.

The second box this ticks is that through capturing land value uplift it provides a vast new fund for building affordable housing. Ticking the ‘people here cant afford these houses’ box. This is a batter argument then planning reform is needed because home owners vote tory, hardly an idea designed to win over MPsof other party’s.

Finally on larger than local planning I suggest a simple workable replacement for the unwieldy duty to cooperate – which works but takes geological timeto work. The Strategic Planning Duty I propose is bottom up, accept in those LPAs where strategic planning is internal to the LPA (e.g. Cornwall) LPAs would have a duty to form part of a strategic planning groups to determinate strategic planning policies or joint plans. They would be governed by majority vote. The SoS would then have a residual duty only when there was a disagreement about membership of such groups. Where groups disagreed (an example might be between the Black Country and Shropshire on overspill housing), the SoS would have the power to form conferences governed on the same basis. No need for separate legislation governing SDS’s.

A major advantage to this system is it takes the toxicity from the SOS role in setting the standard method. I suggest that the local standard method is objectively needs based and contains no policy component or cap. Then the SOS would then redistribute the need to the strategic planning groupings not individual LPAs, and the formula could include a modest urban uplift and recognition of land and statutory (like AONB) but not policy constraints.

I have suggested some targeted changes to reform the land compensation act so that the no scheme world/pone gourde rule clearly applies to setting the pre local plan world existing land value world and abolishing the nonsense on stilts of the Certificate of Appropriate Alternative Development. This would enable CPO at existing use value and a new generation of garden cities. To those that argue this is ‘dual price’ nonsense, no more so than ‘pont gorde’ just made clear as the law commission has recommended with a suggested ‘clearing out’ clause on pre-existing caselaw as they recommended. There is no dual price as it sets pre-local plan as one price, existing land use value. A couple of reforms I suggest the government might have to swallow their pride on as necessary to building consensus.

One is where a planning scheme is brought in through a local plan it can supersede existing development orders such as the GPDO. This would be a major incentive to bring them forward. A policy test such as not unnecessarily restricting development, applied by planning inspectors, is suggested. Again how could the opposition object to that.

Secondly the Planning Inspectorate would be made statutory with no role for ministers in determining applications. The system in Ireland. Probity demands this. I’m not suggesting that party donations form an influence on decisions, but as long as that possibility remains any democracy has a duty to legislate that possibility out of existence. Again how could an opposition not support that.

To an extent this is an attempt to ‘open source’ planning legislation. To bring in expertise and build consensus. Even is major parts were not accepted by government it gives campaigners and opposing MPs resource from which to draw in setting forth rational amendments.

Wish me luck.