Greater Manchester Spatial Framework could be delayed by a year – It cant be an SDS

Manchester Evening News

You will recall I questioned the legality of this in a blogpost year as the secondary legislation referred  applied only to the London.  Deleted the post after being assured the the combined authorities legislation allows the SoS to enable SDSs in combined authority areas but questioned why the secondary legislation referred to the wrong act – a separate secondary legislation mandates SDSs in combined authority areas but did not enable them.  What a mess, dont say you wernt warned.  .  I guess Brandon Lewis wont commit until Andy Burnham agrees to use the 2014 HH base and not as he did (to reduce Green Belt loss) the 2016 base, a course of action now untenable after the Claderdale inspectors report.

Greater Manchester’s leaders are in a race against time to avoid their long-term ‘spatial framework’ housebuilding plan being delayed yet again – by up to a year.

It is understood the blueprint’s current timetable, which has already drifted repeatedly, is now unexpectedly contingent on housing minister Kit Malthouse signing off a technicality before a new Prime Minister takes charge and Parliament breaks for summer recess later this week.

If that is not possible, the framework – which was supposed to be submitted to government by early next year – could be delayed until after next May’s mayoral elections.

The spatial framework allows Greater Manchester’s leaders to map out a major development blueprint for the next 20 years and was a key part of the region’s devolution deal in 2014. Since then it has been delayed a number of times, partly as a result of Andy Burnham promising to rewrite the original draft when he took office as mayor in 2017.

However the latest problems hinge on an arcane technicality that senior figures had, until recent weeks, believed would be ironed out in Whitehall.

It is understood the region’s original devolution legislation was supposed to have included a particular technical designation for the plan, meaning it would be classed as a London-style ‘spatial development strategy’.

That gave the mayor and leaders more control over a process that would have ultimately seen them consult this autumn, before then – if all went to plan – finally submitting the framework to government in the new year.

But the key element of the legislation was never actually carried out, meaning the timetable is now, at a late stage, up in the air.

One senior source said it had been a ‘inadvertent’ legislative error in Whitehall, but one they claimed civil servants had repeatedly promised would, in practical terms, be no problem as it could simply be approved by the minister in question instead.

However earlier this year the ‘mood music changed’, they said, and that no longer became so definite.

A flurry of high-level meetings between senior advisers followed and, eventually, a phone call between Andy Burnham and housing minister Kit Malthouse.

On Friday Mr Malthouse then wrote to the region asking a number of questions about the plan, to which Greater Manchester responded this morning.

However with Parliament due to break up for recess this week and a new Prime Minister due in Downing Street tomorrow, they now face a race against the clock.

If the necessary order is not passed this week, the region may not be able to proceed as intended.

Without being classed as a ‘spatial development strategy’, the framework falls by default under another category – known as a ‘joint development plan’ – which would require a different process.

That would need officials to gather every last final bit of Greater Manchester’s evidence for the plan before going out to consultation, work that has not been completed, as they had assumed they did not need to do so until the plan was finally submitted to government.

As a result that would delay it for a fifth time, potentially kicking it past next spring’s mayoral election.

It is understood council leaders were only told of the latest problem a few weeks ago.

One senior councillor called the situation a ‘total f*** up’, adding that they were ‘furious’ that the region was now in that position. Others were more circumspect, with one speculating that the government was ‘playing games’.

A source close to the mayor’s office said: “It’s not a good place to be in, but it’s another symptom of government not really being focused. This should be a really simple change. Officials have admitted it was an error in the draft legislation and it just hasn’t been sorted.”

It remains unclear why official advice over the plan has changed, but many senior figures in Greater Manchester believe the problem is directly linked to tensions between the region and housing minister Kit Malthouse.

In February a row broke out between the minister and Andy Burnham over green belt development, while a few weeks later government pulled a £68m housing deal leaders had long been expecting.

Moggy and the Hunt for Unicorn Green Belt Sites

IEA Raising the Roof

  • Where green belt land achieves none of its official purposes, it can be selectively re-classified, with a presumed right to development. Most green belt land should remain, however. This proposal should apply in particular to derelict or already-developed sites. Green belt land near transport hubs should be a declassification priority, including Metropolitan Green Belt land within realistic walking distance of a railway station. The amount of green belt land needed is very small: just 3.9 per cent of London’s green belt is needed for one million homes.

Every piece of Green Belt land acheives at least one Green Belt purpose as every Green Belt review and the PAS guidance acknowledges.  This is actuaally far more strict than existing Green Belt review where a site might perform weakly through meeting one or two of the purposes.

A reminder:

The five purposes of Green Belt in the NPPF are:
• to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas
• to prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another
• to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
• to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
• to assist in urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other
urban land. (which every site meets)

Of course it is possible for derilict or partially developed sites to strongly meet the criteria.

Calderdale Inspector Finds Standard Housing Method 25% too low

Important finding.  Claderdale submitted under the transitional arrnagement but used the standard method rather than the SHAM + employment figure.  Shows how ridiculous it is that the standard method formula reduces SAON below need in many northern town.

Here is the link as the link on the councils news page is wrong.  The PDF is encrypted, so you cant directly cut and pastre from it.  The easy workaround is to print to pdf from a non adobe application then open in word directly.

 The submitted Plan identifies a housing need and requirement of 840 dwellings per annum (dpa) …The figure is based on the standard method for assessing local housing need and the minimum number of homes needed, as set out in the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2019) and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

The application of the current standard method was discussed at the hearing session in the context that the Plan was submitted under transitional arrangements (prior to 24th January 2019), and therefore falls to be considered against policies in the NPPF 2012. ..The assessment should be thorough but proportionate, building where possible on existing information sources outlined within the guidance (paragraph 2a-005-20140306). In this context I consider that the use of the standard method for assessing local housing need could, in principle, be appropriate for transitional plans where particular circumstances are demonstrated. The specific circumstances in the case of Calderdale, and justification for the need/requirement figure of 840 dpa are considered below.

The figure of 840 dpa represents the minimum starting point for assessing housing need, using the new standard method (as set out in paragraph 60 of the NPPF 2019). The current PPG (paragraph 010) indicates that there will be circumstances where it is appropriate to consider whether actual housing need is higher than the standard method indicates refers to situations where increases in housing are likely to exceed demographic trends due to growth strategies or strategic infrastructure improvements or where changing economic circumstances may affect demographic behaviour. It also states that authorities should take account of up-to-date Strategic Housing Market
Assessments (SHMA) which identify significantly higher needs than the standard method.
The Council is part of the Leeds City Region (LCR) which benefits from an agreed £1 billion plus Growth Deal overseen by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Local Economic Partnership. The Local Plan reflects the ambitions in the LCR Strategic Economic Plan and makes provision for above baseline employment
growth ( policy on plus transport growth scenario) and delivery of at least 73 hectares of new employment land to meet objectively assessed need (OAN).

Whilst the growth projections incorporate an element of aspiration, the Council confirmed its commitment at the hearings to the ambitions of the LCR and the Growth Strategy programme, and outlined the range of funding available and progress made in the delivery of several major strategic highways projects within Calderdale. The method for deriving the employment OAN makes reasonable allowances for losses and flexibility, and I am satisfied that the general approach is soundly based.
The evidence indicates that actual housing need is higher than the
standard method indicates, and that an uplift above the minimum figure is
warranted to support likely employment growth. In conclusion, taking account of all the evidence before me, I consider that housing need in the borough is higher than 840 dpa and is likely to amount to at least 1001 dpa. .The housing requirement of 840 dpa in the Plan is the same as the identified housing need figure. As such, for the reasons set out above, I am concerned that the Plan provision for housing would not adequately support the employment growth advanced by the Plan, and could result in higher rates of in-commuting or conversely impact on the ability of businesses to grow and develop. Accordingly,
the Council is requested to consider the implications of the above
conclusions for the housing need and housing requirement figures in the
submitted Plan, and confirm how it wishes to proceed. Further work may
be necessary to assess the implications of housing need and requirement figures which align more closely . Linked to this the
Council may determine it necessary to identify additional housing sites. Or
alternatively the Council may wish to revisit the economic strategy to better align with housing growth.
The plan does not clearly distinguish between need and the housing requirement, and it appears that some conjoining of the issues has occurred. In reviewing its position, the Council will need ensure the assessment of housing need and the process of determining the amount of housing that should be provided are carried out as separate stages, in line with national policy and guidance.

…At the hearing session the Council suggested that the housing requirement of 840 dpa had been selected in order to limit Green Belt release, but were unable to point to specific evidence showing unacceptable harm to Green Belt purposes arising from higher housing requirements in the Cabinet report. I also note that the Initial Draft Plan was based on a higher housing requirement figure of 1,261 dpa (taking account of shortfall in early years), and incorporated a proposed supply of 13,286 allocated dwellings rather than 9,460 identified in the submitted Plan. …

‘Banning Caravans!’ The Planning Committee Chairman too Lazy to Read his Own Local Plan

Minister FM

[Yorkshire Dales] National park planning bosses have emphasised that caravans will remain welcome in a national park following concerns that they were to be banned as part of a  long-term strategy to preserve the landscapes.

Paul Fellows, head of strategic policy at the North York Moors National Park Authority, told members of its planning committee that the draft Local Plan that was submitted to the Government earlier this month featured changes to policies over static rather than mobile caravans.

The national park is home to numerous caravan sites, such including ones at Rosedale Abbey, Ugthorpe and Ladycross Plantation.

Mr Fellows was responding to concerns over the Local Plan raised by the authority’s planning committee chairman, farmer David Hugill, who is also a North Yorkshire County and Hambleton District councillor.

The  authority receives 700 to 1,000 planning applications a year, which have to be considered in accordance with the development plan, unless there are strong reasons otherwise.

Mr Hugill had asked officers for confirmation about the proposals relating to caravans in the Local Plan, which is nearing its climax with a week-long public examination of the proposals set to take place by October.

He said while there had been significant speculation over the future of caravans in the 554sq miles area, he had understood the authority was putting

Mr Fellows said the policy had been amended so as not to permit any new static caravans or the conversion of existing camping or caravanning sites to static ones, partly due to concerns over their visual impact.

The impending ban on new static caravans also follows the authority finding that nearly three-quarters of caravans and chalets in the park are not available for public hire and are being used as main homes, second homes or holiday rentals for prolonged periods of residence.

After the meeting, Mr Hugill said:

“There was a perception that caravans were no longer welcome in the North York Moors National Park.

That is definitely not the case.”

While drawing up the Local Plan the authority found that recreation and tourism, whilst not as large a sector as agriculture in terms of the jobs it creates, brought in around £647 million of spending, 7.93 million visits and provided around 10,900 full-time equivalent jobs a year.

It also found accommodation services is the biggest type of employment within this sector, and touring caravan and tented campsites make up the largest proportion of accommodation.

Mr Hugill said:

“Caravans are very important to the local economy. Many caravan owners enjoy setting off from different parts of the country to visit the North York Moors.”

Can not the Chairman of the planning committee read his own local plan?  Or do Yorkshire Councillors think this is what officers are for?

The policy T3 is pretty clear, and the difference in law between static and mobile caravans (the former requiring licensing) should be know to everyone involved in planning in rural areas.

New sites for static caravans will not be permitted. Small extensions or increases in the number of static caravan pitches on existing sites will only be permitted where they would be well screened or would improve the visual impact of the site within the surrounding landscape. Additional units will be restricted to holiday use and short term letting or will be required to be removed from site between 1 November and 1 March.

Has the St Ives Second Homes Ban Backfired?


Out-of-towners have long flocked to St Ives. Artists such as J.M.W. Turner and Barbara Hepworth were drawn to the town’s clear light. Others come for the seafood and sandy beaches. Even the town’s notoriously aggressive seagulls, who dive-bomb unsuspecting tourists and steal their Cornish pasties, are not enough to put off outsiders. But St Ives’s popularity has a downside: visitors dominate the local housing market.

Locals worry that the town is becoming a playground for rich Londoners, who in the summer months whizz down on the sleeper train from Paddington. At the last count, a quarter of the dwellings in St Ives were second homes or holiday lets. So in May 2016 locals decided to do something about it, voting in a referendum to introduce a “principal-residence policy”, which stops newly built houses in the town from being used as second homes. The thinking went that by stopping holidaymakers from snapping up new-builds, housing would become more affordable to people who live in St Ives all year round.

Building firms and DIYshops, for whom second-homers are prized customers, opposed the plan. One property firm even challenged the policy in the High Court. But the legal challenge failed and the second-home ban went ahead. Since then a few other Cornish towns have introduced their own versions of the policy.

Those involved in designing the plan say that, three years on, it is too early to assess its impact. But official statistics suggest that excluding second-home buyers from the new-build market has removed a big source of demand. The price of new homes in the town is 13% below what it might have been if the previous growth rate had continued.

Locals struggling to afford a property may like the sound of this. But it has had an unwelcome side-effect: housebuilding has slumped (see chart). Developers who bought land when it was pricier can in some cases no longer sell homes at a profit. Others may be holding off from breaking ground in the hope that the policy is scrapped. In 2015 Acorn Property Group, a local firm, was about to buy a site for 34 homes, 14 of them “affordable” (ie, sold or let at below-market rates). But the policy made the scheme unviable because the open-market dwellings could no longer subsidise the affordable ones, the company says.

Construction elsewhere in Cornwall has held up, suggesting that broader factors, such as Brexit-related uncertainty and a national levy on second homes introduced in 2016, are not to blame.

Meanwhile, second-home buyers in St Ives seem to be shifting their attention to existing buildings, which are not covered by the policy. Data from Hamptons International, a property firm, suggest that in St Ives second-homers form a larger share of transactions than before the policy came into force. Excluding new-builds, prices have continued to climb. That represents a windfall to locals who already own their homes—and may eventually persuade even more of them to cash in and move out.

What the #CaMkOx Local Industrial strategies say about its future Governance.

Annoying the government new page on the launch of the strategies doesn’t contain a link to the startegies, I started making a page but then discovered the government has set out an unlinked page !!!!

What this does show is that the Arc, from the governments perspective is divided into four

  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • Oxfordshire
  • the South East Midlands

So where is the South East Midlands – Its Bucks and Northants, and used to include Cherwell before it pulled out.  So in terms of data and policy Bucks is covered twice.  With both Nortants and Bucks going unitary a simple county split might seem on the cards however MK wants a foot in both camps/

Cambridge and Peterborough no longer has a LEP so BIS published it on iots own site, which shows how well the Combined Authority (especially its Mayor) who took over responsibility is trusted in central government circles.

So some progress on governance has been made, especially as the original NIC report prioritised, in its central section, but its still slow moving and in all areas something of a slow motion car crash – as you can see in the Oxfordshire Growth board machinations and the disagreements between the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority.  Until this settles down there will be no serious proposals for new strategic growth locations out to 2050 anywhere in the Arc.

BIS is to be congratulated though on publishing the first set of sub-regional policies in a consistent format across the arc.  Of course it funds the LEP network.  MCHLG has produced nothing but hot air.  BIS was supposed to be the end of BIS running everything through regional development agencies.  THE LIS process has been one of them taking back control.  Lets see which way Liz Truss lets them develop (I suspect she will cut all their funding to zero).




Brokenshire Pledges to End Poor Doors


Ministers have pledged to put an end to the use of so-called “poor doors” in housing developments in England.

The separate entrances for social housing tenants living in new builds “stigmatise” and divide them from private residents, the government said.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said he had been “appalled” by the examples of segregation he had seen.

Under the new measures, planning guidance is to be toughened in a bid to create more inclusive developments.

Developers are often required to build social or affordable housing units in private developments as a condition of being granted planning permission.

But in some cases, social housing tenants have been excluded from using some facilities, and made to use different entrances from those which give access to privately owned homes.

In March, one development in south London was reported by the Guardian to have blocked children living in social housing from using a communal playground.

The BBC also visited a London apartment block in 2015 where there were separate entrances for private and social housing tenants.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised during his election campaign in 2015 to ban the practice, describing it as an “appalling form of social segregation”.

“Poor doors segregate people who are living side by side, they drive a wedge between our communities,” he said at the time.

As part of new measures, the government said a new design manual will set expectations for the inclusivity of future developments and help ensure planning decisions promote social interaction in communities.


Spitalfields Parish Council Proposal “a white elite trying to oppress and impose rules on the Bengali community”

East London Advertiser

Campaigners trying to set up a parish council in Spitalfields for the first time in 100 years were dealt a blow when the town hall officially rejected the idea.

He told the full council meeting on Wednesday, July 17: “There is not significant support for the creation of a parish council, either within the area or within the broader community. A parish would not be reflective of the identity and interests of the whole community.”

Just over 60 per cent of Spitalfields residents who filled in a consultation said they were in favour of the parish council, which would be apolitical and could include a say in running the Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane’s Sunday street markets.

However, the plan was rejected by 28 councillors, while three voted for the referendum and four abstained. Ten councillors left before the vote or did not attend the meeting.

The campaign argued that a new parish council would increase accountability and allow issues, such as litter and street lighting, to be addressed more easily.

But critics said it would only add to bureaucracy, increase council tax bills and cause a divide between the poorer people living in council accommodation in the east and south of the area, the large Bengali community and more affluent residents.

At previous meetings campaigners accused the Tower Hamlets Labour administration of “cheating and lying” about the plans.

They claimed they had experienced “racism” from some members of the administration who labelled them a “white elite trying to oppress and impose rules on the Bengali community”.

James Frankcom said: “This campaign was always about getting better local infrastructure and representation.”

Mayor John Biggs said: “I respect the legal right for communities to lobby for and promote parish councils in London. But I do endorse the recommendations of the chief executive. There is no whip on this decision.

“I regret comments made by a couple of councillors but I wouldn’t consider them to be racist in the way they have been labelled. I think the reality is that area is increasingly polarised and any one wanting to set up a parish council would have to show they could unite everyone.”

What Outweighs ‘Great Weight’ – A Primer

Although many complicated interpretations of the NPPF decision rules have been advanced over the years the courts have increased developed the ’tilted balance’ doctrine. over various complicated other approaches.

For example in the Suffolk Coastal/Cheshire East case the doctrine is

In the absence of relevant up to date development plan policies, the balance is tilted in favour of sustainable development and granting planning permission except where the benefits are ‘significantly and demonstrably’ outweighed by the adverse impacts or where specific policies in the NPPF indicate otherwise.

This is underlined by two instances where the NPPF uses the term ‘Great Weight’ no less than 6 times, when their is Great Weight  on one side of the scale and not yours you cant usually win – simple.

Appeals often focus on two environmentally protective Great Weights, AONB and Heritage Assets.  Even where the harm is less than substantial harm to an heritage asset which might itself not be of the highest  category then recent appeals, especially recent SoS appeals, suggest they will lose.

A good example is an SoS appeal decision today on Chiswick Roundabout.

Overall, the Secretary of State disagrees with the Inspector at IR12.164, and finds that the moderate weight to be attached to the benefits of the appeal scheme in terms of housing provision, workspace provision and economic benefits, are not collectively  sufficient to outweigh the great weight attached to the identified ‘less than substantial’ harm to the significance of the above heritage assets. He considers that the balancing
exercise under paragraph 196 of the Framework is therefore not favourable to the proposal

In other words a single building by itself is unlikely to outeigh Great Weight.

Hang on though that isnt government policy.

support the development of windfall sites through their policies and decisions – giving great weight to the benefits of using suitable sites within existing settlements for homes; (NPPF para. 68C)

Windfall sites are by nature mostly small and scattered.  Their public benefits come from their cumulative public benefits rather than their individual ones, in achieving urban intensification.  This presumably was what this NPPF section was getting at.  Why therefore was it not referred to once i the inspectors no SoS letters, why did they put their finger on the balance?