Local Plan Policy Number 1 Our Plan is out of Date and Wont be up to Date till 2022

South Staffordshire in putting forward a site allocations document for submission this week with only 5 years supply

Top of the last for worst plan policy (i.e not to plan) ever.

Policy SAD1: Local Plan Review
Evidence exists of unmet housing needs across the Greater Birmingham
Housing Market Area (GBHMA) – that includes the Black Country and 9
other neighbouring authorities (including South Staffordshire).
Under the Duty to Co-operate (DtC) South Staffordshire Council will work
collaboratively with other authorities in the Functional Economic Market
Area (FEMA) and the Housing Market Area (HMA) to establish, how issues
of strategic significance can be addressed.
In response to evidence of unmet housing needs, South Staffordshire
Council shall carry out an early review of the Local Plan., and In
developing this new local plan shall look carefully atthe Council will
examine the role that ‘Safeguarded Land’ can play in the allocations of
new homes. The reviewed Local Plan will be in place by 2022. and their
delivery by 2031. The Council shall continue to work positively towards a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with all local planning authorities
across the GBHMA. Employment needs will also be assessed through the
review of the Local Plan.

The Wokingham Case – Is Applying a Lapse Rate and 20% uplift Double Counting FOAN

Balli

Wokingham BC v SoS and Cooper Estates

On behalf of the Council, Ms Sheikh QC contended that the Inspector imposed both a 10% “lapse rate” and a 20% “buffer” unlawfully. Had the “lapse rate” not been applied, the Inspector would have found there to have been a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

Ms Sheikh contended that an Inquiry is a formal adversarial process: participants are entitled to know the case they have to meet and to adduce evidence and makes submissions in relation to it. If an Inspector is to take a line not explored at the Inquiry, fairness requires him to give a relevant party an opportunity to deal with it: see Hopkins Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] EWCA Civ 470[2014] PTSR 1145 (“Hopkins Developments“); Castleford Homes v Secretary of State for the Environment [2001] EWHC Admin 77, [2001] PLCR 29; R (Poole) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2008] EWHC 676 (Admin)[2008] JPL 1774.

In this case, so she submitted, no party or witness at the Inquiry contended that a lapse rate of any description should be imposed: its imposition was not in issue. The Inspector had given no indication that he was planning to impose a “lapse rate”. What the Inspector had done was not even what Mr Gregory Jones QC had ultimately suggested at the Inquiry that he might appropriately do but the crucial feature of Mr Jones’s closing submissions was the statement that he Second Defendant was not seeking the imposition of a “lapse rate”. Ms Sheikh submitted that the Council were thus denied a reasonable opportunity to adduce evidence and make submissions on whether any lapse rate should be imposed, what any rate might be and to what it might be applied. She denied that there was any agreement that, if a “lapse rate” fell to be applied, it should be at a uniform rate of 10%. Given its significance in this case, the Inspector’s failure to inform the Council that he might impose one and give them an opportunity to respond was unfair.

But, in any event, so Ms Sheikh submitted, (i) the “lapse rate” and the “buffer” both serve the same purpose, namely to compensate for the risk of under-delivery evident as a result of previous poor predictions. A “lapse rate” approaches the delivery of sites from the supply perspective; the “buffer” seeks to ensure a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply by increasing the requirement for supply. The “lapse rate” and the “buffer” deal with the same issue from different perspectives. By applying both the Inspector double-counted that factor. The “buffer” is not imposed as a penalty for past failures. (ii) The Council had explained why they considered any application of both would involve double counting, referring the Inspector inter alia to a decision of the Secretary of State about land in Malpas, Cheshire endorsing that view. Ms Sheikh submitted that, if the Inspector could have imposed a “lapse rate”, he had failed to give any reasons for rejecting that case or for not following that decision. (iii) Ms Sheikh further contended that the Inspector’s application of the “lapse rate” was unlawful. The only possible distinction between such a rate and a “buffer” would be if the “buffer” is applied in a blanket manner but a “lapse rate” is applied to specified sites. That the Inspector did not do. To apply it to sites whose estimated supply he had specifically concluded was deliverable was unlawful. She further developed this complaint at various points in her submissions, pointing out, for example, that the Inspector had applied the “lapse rate” to sites with planning permission, notwithstanding footnote 11 in the NPPF, and that one of the reasons he gave for its imposition only concerned sites without permission….

If the local planning authority is required to address in evidence and submissions possible changes to its assessments that other parties are not themselves advocating, the additional time and costs involved will not be negligible and it may distract those involved from what is in issue. If an Inspector considers that an adjustment is one that ought to be, or might be, considered by him even if no party is advocating it, it is not unreasonable for the parties to expect him or her to indicate that to them. In the context of a focussed Inquiry fairness requires an Inspector to do so.

Whether the application of a “lapse rate” and the 20% buffer involved “double counting” (as the Council contend) may be thought to depend on what each is designed to achieve and why they are to be applied.

What has to be compared with the housing requirement is the “supply of specific deliverable sites”. As footnote 11 in the NPPF states, “to be considered deliverable, sites should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development of the site is viable.” The estimated supply is thus one that should be realistic.

The object that the “buffer” is intended to achieve is stated in paragraph 47 of the NPPF. Paragraph 47 indicates that in all cases the relevant housing requirement should be increased by a “buffer of 5% (moved forward from later in the plan period) to ensure choice and competition in the market for land”. It also indicates that the “buffer” should be increased “to 20% (moved forward from later in the plan period) to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply and to ensure choice and competition in the market for land”. In each case the buffer does not add to overall requirement for dwellings in the plan period. The identified additional purpose that a “buffer” of 20% (rather than 5%) serves in the immediate five year period is “to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply”. An increased buffer for that purpose is to be applied “where there has been a record of persistent under delivery of housing”.

The Council’s explanation of why it had not applied a 10% flexibility allowance as well as a “buffer” of 20% was that to do so would be to increase the housing requirement and to reduce the estimated supply for the same reason, namely to ensure that the estimated supply would in fact be realistic given persistent under-delivery (or consistent over-prediction of delivery). It referred to a decision of the Secretary of State in respect of a proposed development in Malpas, Cheshire in which he agreed with the Inspector’s reasoning on certain points including these. The Inspector considered the objective of the 20% “buffer” was to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply and to ensure choice and competition in the market and that “the buffer figure thereby allows for some uncertainty and slippage in the delivery of some sites”. He added:

“there is no evidence to support the arbitrary 6 month or 12 month slippage rate assumed by the Appellant across all developments. To apply such an assumption, or the alternative 10% discount (which is equally arbitrary), would result in double counting in that the 20% buffer would also allow significant slippage or non-implementation.”

It is for the decision-maker to determine in the first instance whether or not the application of a “lapse rate” to the estimated five-year supply of deliverable housing to reflect the Council’s “record of tending to over-predict delivery”[20] involves an unwarranted adjustment, given an increase in the housing requirement by 20% “where there has been a record of persistent under delivery of housing”, in each case in order “to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply”. Assuming that the Inspector thought it did not involve any such “double counting”, he has failed to provide any reasons for his rejection of the Council’s case on that point. If he thought it would have involved “double counting”, he failed to explain why he thought that the Council’s “record of tending to over-predict delivery” could still be a reason for applying a “lapse rate” to the whole of estimated supply as well as applying a 20% “buffer”. In my judgment, therefore, the Inspector failed to give reasons why the Council’s “record of tending to over-predict delivery” was a reason for applying a “lapse rate” to the total estimated five-year supply, given that a 20% “buffer” was also to be applied to the estimated housing need, notwithstanding the Council’s case supported by a decision of the Secretary of State that it involved “double counting”.

It may be noted that, although the arguments were by no means identical, a similar failure to explain why the combination of a discount of 10% to certain large sites and a 20% buffer did, or did not, involve double counting was one of the bases on which the appeal decision, which was the subject of Lindblom J’s judgment in Bloor Homes East Midlands Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government supra, was quashed: see at [128]-[130].

For these reasons in my judgment the Inspector’s use of a 10% “lapse rate” applied to whole of the estimated supply for the reasons he gave was unlawful, even if it would not have been unfair for him to have considered the application of a “lapse rate” (as Mr Jones had suggested was possible) to those sites that Mrs Mulliner had not specifically examined on the ground of persistent under-delivery (or constant over-estimating of delivery) of housing in Wokingham. In my judgment he failed to give reasons explaining why he rejected the Council’s case that application of a “lapse rate” to the whole of the supply for that reason was unwarranted given the application of a 20% “buffer” for the same reason. Had the Council been given the opportunity it could also have produced arguments why the other three reasons relied on by the Inspector (not suggested by Mr Jones) did not justify an application of a 10% “lapse rate” across the whole of its estimated supply.

@sajidjavid Inconsistency on Development Limits in Made Neighbourhood Plans

Yesterday we reported

While there is no cap in the BNDP, and no obvious corollary of the site allocation policy HP1 (i.e. that land not allocated is not supported), the larger housing sites, representing both the acceptable location and level of housing, are specifically identified and allocated in the BNDP. Both larger sites and the smaller windfall sites being confined to within the settlement boundary (HP7). The application site, being both unallocated and outside the settlement boundary, falls within neither category above and, as a consequence, the Secretary of State considers the proposals are not policy compliant.

Today a correspondent sent me  LAND AT BOREHAM ROAD, WARMINSTER, BA12 9JP APPLICATION REF: 13/06782/OUT

The Secretary of State notes that the Warminster Neighbourhood Plan has now been made, however it makes no change to the existing limits of development for Warminster shown in the WCS and makes no specific reference to the appeal site (IR15).

How do you square that?   This is pickles level inconsistency (which is saying something).  Opposite conclusions on same issue within 2 days – lawyers will be sharpening their pens.  In the Buckingham case the SoS made no conclusion to harm to openness of countryside, at Warminster he said it would cause no harm.  So there might have been a basis for a distinction, if the logic of the decision letters hadn’t been so appalling.

Two Years Late DCLG Research – Bungs won”t reduce Opposition to Housebuilding

DCLG

The main findings from the evidence review are:
– The review confirmed that there is limited empirical or theoretical evidence that is
directly relevant to financial payments aimed at reducing opposition to new
development.
– Theoretical work that has been undertaken suggests that direct financial payments are unlikely to influence the attitudes or behaviour of those opposed to new housebuilding and may lead to concerns about due process in determining planning applications.
– Some of the concerns about new housing development that lead to opposition are
unlikely to be assuaged by a financial payment.

Javid- A Plan can Say Nothing About Something and Not be Silent

Recovered decision 

LAND WEST OF CASTLEMILK, MORETON ROAD, BUCKINGHAM MK18 1YA
APPLICATION REF: 14/02601/AOP

The application site, being outside the settlement boundary, is not allocated for
housing in policy HP1 nor covered by policy HP7 which relates to windfall sites within the settlement boundary. The Secretary of State notes that the Inspector finds no conflict with these policies as he considers that the BNDP does not place a cap on housing numbers norc ontain policies specifically restricting housing development outside the settlement boundary (IR 123). The Inspector, therefore, considers that the BNDP is silent in terms of the proposed development of the application site (IR 189).

Having carefully considered the Inspector’s analysis at IR122-125 and IR 189-191, the
Secretary of State does not agree with the Inspector that the BNDP is silent in terms of the proposed development of the application site as he considers there is a relevant body of policy in the BNDP (summarised at paragraph 5.18 of the Statement of Common Ground between the applicants and AVDC (GEN1)) sufficient to enable the development proposals to be considered. The Secretary of State also disagrees with the Inspector’s conclusion that there is no conflict with policy HP1. The Secretary of State considers that read as a whole, including with the vision for the BNDP and its Introduction, the proposal, being an unallocated site outside the settlement boundary, conflicts with the purpose and effect of  Policy HP1. While there is no cap in the BNDP, and no obvious corollary of the site allocation policy HP1 (i.e. that land not allocated is not supported), the larger housing sites, representing both the acceptable location and level of housing, are specifically identified and allocated in the BNDP. Both larger sites and the smaller windfall sites being confined to within the settlement boundary (HP7). The application site, being both unallocated and outside the settlement boundary, falls within neither category above and, as a consequence, the Secretary of State considers the proposals are not policy compliant.

I would not have out it as the SoS did.  There will be inevitably a JR.  But Javid should prevail.

The mistake I think is reading the NPin isolation from the rest of the DP and one part of the NPPF on ‘silence’ in isolation.

Heres how I would have put it.

  • Para 14 of the NPPF commences with plans meeting objective need
  • Then considers where plans are silent, absent or out of date
  • The AVLP is out of date, it allocates some land for development and protects the open countryside.
  • The NP, using the latest household projections, allocates sufficient land for development to meet a 5 year supply pro-rata.
  • Therefore, read as a whole, the development plan is not out of date or silent.  In allocating land within the NP the implication and intention of the Neighbourhood Planning body was to protect the open countryside outside the development boundary in line with the local plan.  It is the act of the NP in allocation which brings the development plan back into date and  means the LP policy for protection of the countryside remains current.

Why building homes – but not enough – makes Housing Affordability worse

It was the greatest act of political cowardice in Planning post war.

To what am I referring.  John Prescott’s response to the Crow/Whittaker report on the South East Plan in 1999.

The background.

SERPLAN had issued a draft South East Strategy to build no more than 660,000 homes to 2016, against household growth of over 900,000.  They only proposed one growth area.  milton Keynes, and deferred that to further study.  Figures were based on aggregated ‘capacity’ rather than need.  A capacity set by highly restrictive policies.  The term ‘sustainable development’ was tortuously redefined to mean a shortage of development.

Naturally The Late Professor Crow and Rosamund Whittaker would have nothing to do with it. They increased the requirement to 1.1 million (household growth plus allowances for non completion etc.  all rather standard and required these days), with a realistic target of 50% of this coming from Brownfield sites  The response was outrage from the shires.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England called it “a nightmare future of sprawling development, traffic congestion and urban decay”

John Gummer then in opposition concluded

 “the truth is that the electoral arithmetic is absolute. The seats in the South East that the Conservatives need to win are seats where people are implacably opposed to development. They are, of course, also the seats that Labour needs to defend. So neither party is going to look with any favour on the idea of more than a million new homes where voters don’t want them.”

Prescotts ‘compromise’ response was to build 860,000 homes.  Of course we have built half that in the South East outside London.

It simply made matters worse.  Unlike the US where there is a strong correlation between improvements to housing affordability and rate of housebuilding in the UK there is a negative correlation.

Those areas like London and Cambridge that have seen the greatest increase in population, and highest levels of housebuilding, have seen the greatest increase in unaffordability.

What is going on?  This seems perverse.  Think about it.  If you are building houses but at less that the rate required by OAN all you are doing is increasing you population baseline for housing need.  You are adding over time more people in need of homes as children age and adults divorce and retire.  Compromises, very British compromises of the Gummer and Prescott variety simply make matters worse.  If you are going to build build to at least need but never less.

I suspect the debate will flare up again with the NICs forthcoming Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc competition.  My estimate of how much housing this area (South midlands + London Stansted corridor) will need over 35 years – just under 1.5 million new homes.  I suspect though this time the political arithmetric will be different.  In the motorway corridor seats the conservatives lost seats.   They plus London now firmly outweigh the reclacetrant shires.

 

The Sun – Javid to Announce Housing Delivery Test with “private target’ of 275,000 homes/annum

The Sun

Will this work – not a chance – what about Green Belt areas, Brighton, London, an automatic Green Light in conservation areas, to 80 storey buildings?  The exceptions are likley to be so great that it will be nullified and only really hit in scattered locations on the edge of villages and towns outside the Green Belt where the NPPF hits, and which in total still lead to less than 200,000 houses a year being built.  Sooner or later the penny has to drop, if we want to build 275,000 houses a year then the public sector will for them and build them in places where they can be delivered.

HOUSE prices in desirable areas could go down for the first time under a radical new government test to see more building, The Sun can reveal.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is preparing to unveil a striking new rule that will make NIMBY councils take local affordability into account.

Tories could cut house prices in in desirable areas in a radical test to spark new building

Under it, every authority will have to calculate how easy it is for young workers to get on the housing ladder by working out their local salary-to-house price ratio.

The average house in Britian now costs 7.8 times the average salary – an all-time record.

And in some areas of the south east, the figure rockets to above 12 times people’s wages.

Mr Javid wants to slap a new automatic legal requirement on councils with ratios that are too high to make them green light thousands more homes, so that a significant increase in housing supply reduces prices over time.

Mr Javid’s test has been debated intensely in No10 for six months over fears it will spark a rebellion from some Tory MPs, The Sun can also reveal.

It could also ignite a dangerous backlash in solid Tory areas as home owners panic about their own houses losing value.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to unveil radical government plans to lower house prices in key areas

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But a senior government source said last night: “Sajid has come up with what he insists is an objective and transparent test to increase supply.

“For once, councils won’t be able to fudge it, and that is key.

“There was nervousness in Downing Street before the election about upsetting the horses, but he has persuaded a lot of us round.”

Mr Javid’s plan could be unveiled as early as tomorrow.

In a preview of his plan, Mr Javid mounted a withering attack on councils three weeks ago for failing to build enough.

The Cabinet minister branded them refusal “not good enough” and declared that “the era of tolerating such poor, patchy performance is over”.

Dropped a big hint about his salary ratio test, Mr Javid telling Local Government Association conference: “Where housing is particularly unaffordable, local leaders need to take a long, hard, honest look to see if they are planning for the right number of homes”.

He also slammed some councils for still failing to come up with a local development plan years after they were introduced.

Mr Javid added: “Our aim is simple: to ensure these plans begin life as they should, with an honest, objective assessment of how much housing is required”.

Ministers are working to a private target of seeing 275,000 new homes a year built just to keep up with the soaring population demand – more than 100,000 more than today’s rate.

Since the 1970s, an average of just 160,000 new homes each year have gone up.

As The Sun revealed earlier this year, new powers will mean ministers can also force councils to increase their new build numbers if they refuse to deliver them.

Planning rules that prevent higher buildings will also be relaxed in a bid to increase housing density.

Theresa May is has ordered ministers to answer young people’s cry of anger at the general election by tackling the housing crisis once and for all.

A new survey from accountants PwC yesterday revealed continuing huge demand will hike the average house price to an eye-watering £302,000 a year by 2025, up from £212,000 now.

Knock Two Houses to One Successful Court Challenge in K&C

Standard

Two multi-millionaire tycoons have had their hopes of creating palatial homes in west London halted by a judge.

Charles Noell, who founded private equity group JMI, wanted to knock four flats into one massive home in Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, where houses sell for up to £10 million.

Aref Lahham aimed to knock together two “cottages” — each worth about  £4.5 million —  in the heart of Kensington. But at the High Court, Judge Neil Cameron QC overturned planning permission for both schemes.

The core issue was whether the projects meant a loss to housing stock in the area. Planning inspectors who granted initial permissions were wrong in their calculations, the court heard.

Both applicants argued that their projects would not make a difference to housing stock, with Mr Lahham pleading that his plan to turn 1 and 2 Pembroke Cottages into a single home would cause no harm to anyone.

The loss of just one housing unit in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea — which has 87,000 homes — was “insignificant”, he claimed.

 Mr Noell, who was involved in planned takeover bids for Everton and Nottingham Forest, argued it was larger properties that were lacking in the borough, not smaller flats like those in his application.

He said there was a pressing need for more “good-sized family dwellings” and while there were lots of one and two-bedroom flats in the area, those with three or four were in short supply.

However Judge Cameron told the High Court that planning inspectors who had given consent for the projects had both blundered when calculating the future need for housing land in the borough.

Vacant units returning to use in the future had been put on one side of the equation but had been omitted from the other.

In quashing planning permission, the court ruled that the mistakes were important and may have affected the outcomes.

Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, accepted that the inspectors had made a mistake and did not defend the planning permissions.

Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC, for both businessmen, argued the mistakes had made little or no difference to the outcome. He argued the plans would cause no prejudice to the borough’s housing policies.

Overturning both permissions on behalf of the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Judge Cameron said the errors made by the inspectors were “material” and could have made a difference to the conclusions they reached.

Neither of the two businessmen could be contacted for comment.

City Planning Chief wants Less Glitzy Architecture

Building

Carolyn Dwyer says the corporation will tend towards more ‘harmonious architecture’ in future

The head of planning at the City of London Corporation has said she wants to see less glitzy buildings go up in the Square Mile in future.

Carolyn Dwyer (pictured) was appointed two years ago as director of the built environment at the Corporation of London, the City’s local authority. She took the job after Peter Rees stepped down as the City’s chief planning officer three years ago. He had backed Rafael Viñoly’s controversial Walkie Talkie skyscraper built by Canary Wharf Contractors.

Dwyer said the corporation wants to see “slightly calmer and more harmonious architecture” in future.

She added: “We have to have architecture of the best possible quality that delivers for 21st-century needs, but every piece doesn’t need to be a stand-out landmark building. We are not developing individual tower blocks that stand alone on the skyline; we are developing a cluster of buildings that will have to respect each other.

“We are very keen to maintain the high standards of building in the City and we believe we have.”

Dwyer said she was a fan of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ Cheesegrater at 122 Leadenhall Street, built by Laing O’Rourke. “It’s an elegant and beautiful building but quite sparse, it doesn’t have any bells and whistles,” she said. Dwyer also lavished praise on Foster + Partners’ new European HQ for Bloomberg, due to open in the autumn and being built by Sir Robert McAlpine, saying: “It will be one of the most beautiful buildings in London.”

A number of new towers are slated for the City, including Eric Parry’s 73-storey tower at 1 Undershaft, granted planning last November.