Appeal Court to Planning Lawyers – Your all Out of a Job

Best of the big three cases this year – better than Chesire East and Barwood (its ostensibly is a part q fall back vase – dont you just loathe part q more than anything this side of Jupiter) but it was as a court of appeal case it gave the entire bench to let rip at how hyperjudical the government has let the planning system become because of its vague and awful drafting of planning policy and GPDO amendments.

Mansall v Tonbridge and Malling – Court of Appeal


Still not published .

If only because of last section where the Chncellor of the High Court – agreeing with the ever more pissed off  LJ Linblom since Barwood says

Appeals should not, in future, be mounted on the basis of a legalistic analysis of the different formulations adopted in a planning officer’s report. An appeal will only succeed, as Lindblom L.J. has said, if there is some distinct and material defect in the report. Such reports are not, and should not be, written for lawyers, but for Councillors who are well-versed in local affairs and local factors.

So on what basis will they succeed on, especially as defects in reports can and should be pointed out before decisions nowadays that reports are usually available some days before meetings?  How will planning lawyers make a living from now on?  Full inquiries are rare now, local plan inquiries abolished.  Perhaps they should take up Shipping law or something instead?   Im sure KitKat would make a wonderful judge at the St Helena  High Court.

Chateau de Thames all round.  65 Pump Court, perhaps introduce a new part Z for PD rights of conversion of former barristers chambers. Im sure some could reskill as they almost are well trained enough to understand part q and part n.   Some intensive livestock units site visits need doing, seeing of the slurry reservoirs really are than smelly 400m away – someone has to do it after all and those poor souls are now a necessary charity case.

Im only half joking, read the judgment in full a must read.



Duty to Defy – South Oxfordshire’s Two Fingers to Oxford’s Overspill

Witney Gazette

Ignoring the overspill for Oxford – agreed by all other Oxfordshire Districts

Chalgrove Airfield is a stupid site – 30 miles from Oxford no Rail access.  South of Grenoble Road is a perfect site right next to Oxford and proposed for a restored rail access, right next to where the Oxford Cambridge Expressway will likely go effectively redefining the southern boundary of the site.

As for Culham Bridges, absolutely essential, the fact that the most direct Didcot-Oxford routes uses a medieval packhorse bridge and a narrow Georgian bridge is ridicules and throttle growth at Didcit and around Culham Science centre which has a railway station.  Like the Expressway crossing of the Isis its essential so lets get the best design creating a heritage asset of tomorrow.

Of course in the Autumn Statement will be announced the next steps in the Oxford-MK-Cambridge strategy process – this cant end well for the famous denialists of reality at South Oxfordshire who have stopped the world turning on Oxford’s needs for 20 years.  More on this soon.

THOUSANDS of new homes across south Oxfordshire are expected to be given the go-ahead when a council publishes the final draft of its local plan.

South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) is currently wading through the thousands of responses it has received to the draft local plan – the blueprint for development in the area – since it was published in March.

Councillors will then meet to discuss the responses at a series of meetings before a final draft is published on October 11.

The local plan outlines provisions to meet the urgent need for housing across the region up to 2033.

It includes plans for major new building sites in Culham and Chalgrove Airfield, bringing more than 6,500 homes and tens of thousands of people to the area.

Councillor John Cotton, leader of the district council, said: “Making sure we get this right is a great responsibility and one we take very seriously.

“There’s no silver bullet solution when talking about building thousands of houses in a rural district, but we are very confident our local plan represents the best possible balance of homes in effective, sustainable locations, supported by the right infrastructure and in a way that protects and enhances what’s best about south Oxfordshire.”

The public will have another chance to comment on the final draft of the plan after it is published and these responses will be passed to the government, along with the draft plan, at the end of the year.

All the documents will then be considered by the planning inspectorate who will conduct a public examination to decide whether the plan is sound or not.

Campaigners have previously raised concerns that the Culham development will encroach on green belt land and ruin the identity of the village.

Historic England also objected to a major new Thames bridge that would link the Culham site with Didcot because of the planned route’s proximity to historic sites.

The district council has previously said that without the bridge the number of new houses that could be built on the site would be limited to 750.

In response to some of the objections raised, the council is expected to reduce the number of houses allocated to some areas in earlier versions of the plan.

But it remains convinced that the huge new developments are the best way to tackle the urgent need for houses in South Oxfordshire.

In total 22,500 homes will be built in the region over the 22 year period although most of these have been granted permission or are already in construction.

As well as setting out new housing sites, the local plan explains how the new homes would be supported by roads, schools, shops, parks, leisure centres, community facilities and other infrastructure.


With Javid About to Be Booted Out by May Housing White Paper will die a Death


The reshuffle was due to take place after the Conservative conference next month, but it is now believed Theresa May will delay it in order to keep the threat hanging over the heads of those she has clashed with, including Sajid Javid, Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox.

Javid had the temerity to criticize her in a speech criticizing all prime ministers over the last 20 years for not getting enough houses built, and has clashed with her on civil liberties issues.  Worst of all they clashed as the now sacked Nick Timothy succeeded in taking all of the teeth and new measures from the Housing White paper making it a toothless wonder.  With a new ministerial team in the Autumn expect to see two more years of getting to know the job, introducing silly knee jerk panicky measures  from not knowing the brief (beds in cowsheds anyone?) and worst of all more kicking into the long grass tough decisions on Garden Cities and measures arising from the NIC Oxford-MK-Cambridge strategy.

Even if Javid stays he is crippled – a walking dead cabinet minister marked out for daring to disagree with her imperiousness.

Ruth Davidson – Build up to 8 Scottish New Town to Tackle Housing Crisis


Now why isn’t she Prime Minister

Ruth Davidson will today outline plans to tackle Scotland’s chronic housing shortage by building up to eight new towns as part of a Tory drive to switch the political debate away from independence and back to “bread-and-butter” issues.

The Scottish Tory leader will argue the country is in the grip of the worst housing crisis since the aftermath of the Second World War and argue that “radical” solutions are required to ensure that Scots in their 20s and 30s have a realistic chance of buying their own homes.

Calling for a clear plan to build 25,000 homes are year, she will propose a new generation of new towns, the creation of a Housing Infrastructure Agency to support major developments and the Housing Minister being promoted to the Scottish Cabinet.

However, she will argue that ministers and developers must learn from the mistakes of the wave of post-war housing developments by avoiding the “disastrous design choices of the past” and ensuring they nurture communities.

Speaking to the IPPR think tank in Edinburgh, she will say that the proposals are part of a Scottish Tory drive over the next year to “try and turn a page” and focus on “the day job” of domestic issues.

Although she will admit the Brexit talks will dominate the political agenda over the next few months, she will argue the coming 12 months is the first year in 2013 when Scotland’s political parties will not be fighting an election or referendum campaign.

Scottish Tory strategists believe they have to broaden their message beyond their strong pro-Union stance if they are to have a chance of ousting Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP at the 2021 Holyrood election.

They plan to build a comprehensive programme for government over the coming years, focusing on Holyrood’s devolved powers, in the hope of convincing voters tired of the Nationalists that they are a viable alternative.

Housing developers have reported they completed 16,498 new homes last year, up one per cent on the previous 12 months, but the number of properties started fell 2 per cent. Completions were more than 36 per cent down on 2007 and below 2010.

First-time buyers needs an average deposit of more than £21,000 to get on the first rung of the Scottish housing ladder, typically around 16 per cent of the purchase price.

Ms Davidson will argue that the post-war generation of political leaders facing a housing crisis “had the courage to act in order to get building”.

She will say: “We now need to find the same courage to address today’s needs. Market failure is depriving thousands of young people one of the most basic opportunities in society: the ability to buy and own your home.”

The Scottish Tory leader will cite a report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors proposing between six and eight new communities are built across the country.

“It is time seize the moment – and look at a series of new generation new towns,” she will say.

“We are already seeing some beautiful new villages and towns springing up in Scotland which have put high quality design, affordable homes, and community values at the heart of their development. That’s the way to go.”

Ruth Davidson plans to put the constitution to one side and focus on "bread-and-butter" issues

Outlining the Tories’ political direction over the coming year, she will say there is a “yearning among many to see a political debate in Scotland focus more heavily on the bread and butter issues that matter to us here at home.

“So while we in the Scottish Conservatives have rightly complained that the SNP has failed to focus on the day job, we need to demonstrate our wish to set our sights on that task too.”

But Pauline McNeill, Scottish Labour’s housing spokesman, said: “No one will trust the Tories to deliver these policies. Ruth Davidson talks about the worst housing crisis since World War II, but forgets to mention it was a radical Labour government that fixed it.”

Angela Constance, the SNP’s Communities MInister, said: “We have delivered over 68,000 affordable homes since 2007, reintroduced council housing and have supported more than 23,000 people into home ownership.

“By ending the right to buy we have increased the supply of affordable homes. In addition, the rate of house-building completions across all sectors puts Scotland ahead of England and Wales and we outperform the whole of the UK in new build social sector completion rates.”

I chose to live away from you oiks in the Countryside so dont you dare want to live near me

Letter in Yorkshire Post

The Keep Hammerton Bananaton logic – nothing about whether its a good site or whether the landscape is attractive or transport sufficient.  What gives Nimbys a bad name,

I WOULD like to respond to Rebecca Burnett, of Harrogate Borough Council, and her comments regarding the proposed plans for 3,000 houses at Green/Kirk Hammerton (The Yorkshire Post, August 3).

It would appear that Coun Burnett was surprised by the strength of feeling at this event. At risk of stating the blindingly obvious, let me explain to her and other members of Harrogate Borough Council planning department why residents such as myself are so angry.

The meeting she refers to was not the expected and required consultation, but rather a presentation where the developers, invited by Harrogate Borough Council, exhibited their proposed plans as if they were a done deal.

HBC’s proposed plans will see these two villages completely consumed and assimilated by an enormous housing estate with a population size of Tadcaster. No matter how council members and developers try to make this more palatable by describing it as a “new settlement” and even a “market town”, that is what it is – an enormous housing estate.

As inhabitants of these villages, we have chosen to live in a rural setting as we believe that this, for a variety of reasons, best meets the needs of our families.

By imposing this development upon us, HBC are taking away our right to choose where and how we live without our consent and against our wishes.

Our anger is further fuelled by the knowledge that all of this is due to Harrogate Borough Council’s inability to meet its planning targets. Had they met their targets in a timely manner, as we as council tax payers would expect, there would be no need for such an expansive and invasive development anywhere in the district.

The necessary housing quota could (and should) have been shared around the district in such a way that existing communities are not destroyed as a result. In other publicly-funded bodies such as health and education, an inability to meet targets is viewed as incompetence and results in judgments such as “requires improvement” or even “special measures”. Why is Harrogate Borough Council not being held to account for its inadequacies?

If Coun Burnett believes that it is “inconceivable that every person will be happy with our decision”, then perhaps it is time that Harrogate Borough Council reconsiders its obviously out of date and inaccurate tagline of “Working for you” and replaces it with a much more appropriate (but equally catchy) “Working for a few”.

Does the DFT know which side of the Pennines is Which? – HS3 is not Northern Powerhouse Rail

In the news this week – TFNs report on how Northern Powerhouse Rail should interface with HS3 – used by George Osborne in the FT to argue the case and state Mays formers aids tried (and failed) to kill off the Northern Powerhouse. Sadly no link in FT report – if you are publishing a report please add a link or it drives everyone crazy, not yet on TFNs website.

The real risk to the Northern Powerhouse is not that it has been killed off but defined out of existence.

In a little noticed move since the end of last year the DFT, in letters to Sheffield CC and others, has rechristened ‘HS3’ as Northern Powerhouse Rail.


HS3 is designed to link Leeds to Birmingham (and HS1 phase I) via the East Midlands – on the EASTERN SIDE of the Pennines – its a Yorkshire thing

Northern Powerhouse Rail is designed to create a faster link between Manchester and Leeds to maximise agglomeration effects of the two city regions so they together can compete with London – From the WESTERN side of the Pennines – to the EAST – its a Lancashire and Yorkshire thing.

Rechristening HS3 is odd as it seems a category error.

Is this a mistake by a junior civil servant or a cynical ploy to palm off those troublesome northerners that they can do without a faster trans Pennine link as HS3 is coming, studies can then be announced in the Budget without having to fund anything extra Transport for the North wants.

A Leeds powerhouse is not a Northern Powerhouse.  you wont placate Lancashire by marketing a Yorkshire focussed project as one which will also improve connectivity from Manchester to Leeds, unless you go the circuitous route via Birmingham International and Sheffield.  Going on a moped via the Snake Pass would be quicker.

Ultimately you have to ask if the DFT really understands the difference between Lancashire and Yorkshire?

Surprises in Shortlist for Oxford Cambridge Connection Competition

Infrastructure Intelligence

Most interesting is who wasn’t on.  But it was judged blind of names and that always produces surprises.  Indeed that the whole point to judge on merit not authority.  Expected names might have been AECOM, Arup,  Adams, Tibbalds (got through), Atkins, DLA probably as greatest knowledge of area but with David Lock advising NIC on competition no way could they have entered.   No Urbed (a real surprise) and no Wei Yang (even more so) .  No telling who entered and who dint though.  I have no skin in the game didnt enter.

Barton Willmore – no great fan of their urban design but their planning work is solid and their Wolfson prize entry very solid.

Mae – rising reputation and masters of the superblock, but outside London and on a larger scale? Unproven, interesting to see what they come up with.

Fletcher Priest, cosmopolitan and creative, but where is their portfolio of masterplans on a streets, district and settlement scale?

Remember this isn’t or shouldn’t solely be an architectural competition.  Though the focus on typologies may have led the teams down a certain path.  Wrong term – what the brief discussed was topologies (network position) not typologies  (building form) as urban designers and planners understand it, a strategic plan is the spatial combination of typology and topology suited to context – not the repetition of an ideal type typology.  I know from my own analysis there is no single typology that will or can work across this whole region, its horses for courses needing bespoke city region by city region thinking. That was the great mistake of the Athens Charter modernists –  a single typological solution everywhere.

Architecture and urban design is a big part of it but the design scale is larger and the focus interdisciplinary.  We need to be wary of falling into the Wem Koolhaus or Ricardo Bofill high modernist trap of conceiving place making as ‘big architecture’ at a landscape scale.

NIC  are talking to lots of stakeholders about many issues, So I am hopeful.  They listen and know the right questions.  The competition is the beginning not the end of a strategy that will be years in making and decades in delivery.

Worries – hardly any transport experts on teams, no economists, no infra and viability specialists, no housing experts.  The competition brief had a different focus in terms of the questions it asked, although asking for broad based teams,

Design focus is great – however this is regional big picture stuff about a broad brush strategy – linking up project management, urban design, strategic planning,  transport and delivery.  The teams seem very imbalanced to me,  note imbalanced doesn’t mean not high powered and excellent designers.  But they are the teams you would put together for a small urban extension, not 1 million plus homes.   1 million plus homes can only work with a radical and through approach to how people get from new communities to places of work and how that will be paid for and prioritised.  They now have 10k each though to focus on the bigger picture broaden the teams and road test their ideas.  Spend it well.

The National Infrastructure Commission and Malcolm Reading Consultants  has announced the shortlist for The Cambridge to Oxford Connection: Ideas Competition. The two-stage competition will now see four multidisciplinary teams develop detailed concepts appropriate for the Cambridge -Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor.

The competition launched on 30 June 2017 and invited entries from broad multidisciplinary teams made up of urban designers; architects; planning, policy and community specialists; landscape designers; development economists; and others with local knowledge and general insight. 58 teams from the UK and further afield entered at the first stage, anonymously submitting emerging concepts focused on a chosen form of development – ranging from the intensification of existing urban areas to new autonomous settlements – along with separate details on the composition of their team.

The high-profile jury of thought-leaders in infrastructure, economics, design and placemaking, chaired by Bridget Rosewell (commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission), judged the emerging concepts and team composition and selected a shortlist.

The four shortlisted teams – all UK-based – feature creative, multidisciplinary collaborations and a mixture of established practices and emerging talent. The shortlisted teams were led by the following practices (in alphabetical order). Full details of the teams are listed at the end of this article.

  • Barton Willmore
  • Fletcher Priest Architects
  • Mae
  • Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design

The shortlisted teams will each receive an honorarium of £10,000 to develop their initial first-stage submissions into design concepts for development typologies appropriate to the corridor. They will be asked to consider existing, planned or proposed infrastructure and how to integrate this with development to create sustainable and liveable places.

The competition jury will meet again in October to review the second-stage submissions, interview the shortlist and select a winner of the competition. The winner is expected to be announced in early November.

Bridget Rosewell, commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission and competition jury chair, said: “The commission and the jury were delighted with the quality and detail of submissions to the competition and we would like to thank all those who offered their ideas and energies. The shortlisted teams produced particularly imaginative and stimulating responses to the first-stage brief and we look forward to seeing how their ideas and visions develop.

“At the second stage, we will be looking for proposals that are rooted in their context and understand the local character, environment and landscape. We have asked competitors to consider how places will be integrated with infrastructure, but above all, we want to see what the proposals will mean for the lives of the people living and working in the corridor.”

The Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor stretches over approximately 130 miles around the north and west of London’s green belt, encompassing Daventry and Wellingborough to the north and bounded to the south by Luton, Stevenage and the Aylesbury Vale. The region is home to 3.3 million people and hosts some of the country’s most successful cities, as well as world-leading universities, knowledge-intensive high-tech firms and highly-skilled workers. Altogether, an estimated 419,000 people across the corridor are employed in the knowledge economy.

Currently, the corridor does not function as a single joined-up economic zone. Rather Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Oxford operate as distinct city economies, each positioned on different radial routes around 50-70 miles from London. The area is experiencing significant housing and transport pressures particularly the scarcity of suitable and affordable homes and difficulties in travelling within and between cities. These constraints are becoming obstacles to attracting and retaining talent and inevitably putting a break on economic growth.

Full details of the shortlisted teams are listed below.

Barton Willmore – Robin Shepherd (Planning Partner); John Haxworth (Partner); Dominic Scott (Urban Design Partner); Gareth Wilson (Planning Partner); Michael Knott (Planning Director); Ben Lewis (Infrastructure Director); Peter Newton (Architecture Director); Carolyn Organ (Planning Associate); Vaughan Anderson (Urban Design Associate); Patrick Clarke (Associate Landscape Planner); Richard Webb (Associate Landscape Architect); Simone Gobber (Urban Designer); and Tom Carpen (Infrastructure Associate) – with Will Durden (Director, Momentum)

Fletcher Priest Architects – with Bradley Murphy Design and Ron Henry (Partner, Peter Brett Associates)

Mae – with One Works, AKT II and Planit-IE

Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design – Jennifer Ross (Director) – with Annalie Riche (Co-Director, Mikhail Riches), Petra Marko (Co-Founder and Director, Marko&Placemakers), Sarah Featherstone (Co-Director, Featherstone Young) and Kay Hughes.

Corbyn promises to End Housing Crisis in Milton Keynes but to Build Less Houses in Milton Keynes

Jeremy Corbyn is hitting the Home Counties with a promise to tackle the housing crisis as he continues his blitz of marginal parliamentary seats.

The Labour leader is campaigning to unseat Tory MPs with slim majorities in Reading and Milton Keynes under a plan to keep his party on a general election footing.

Mr Corbyn will highlight rocketing house prices and attack the Government for “giving tax breaks to the wealthy”.

Whilst I grab a biscuit read my manifesto, we are promising to build 1/2 million less homes than the Tories.

View image on Twitter

At a rally in Milton Keynes, he is expected to say: “The Conservative Government has spent seven years giving tax breaks to the wealthy, who don’t need them, while making it harder for most people in our country to make ends meet.

“Here in Milton Keynes, like so many towns and cities across the country, the cost of housing is sky-rocketing – house prices have gone up 50% in five years.

“The next Labour government will tackle the housing crisis.

“We will create a new Department for Housing and build 100,000 homes a year by the end of the next Parliament.

As is now well known because the Labour Manifesto promise was so weakly drafted, and because Barwell trumped the promise on the Today programme, through clarifications of the equally badly drafted promise in the Tory Manifesto (which in its initial draft promised to build less houses than the government in evidence to the House of Lords said the target meant when annuallised across 5 years), the Torys ironically ended the last election promising to build 1/2 million MORE houses than Labour over a Parliament.

1/2 million is a big gap, so is likely to me met or fall short most in the one town outside London which has achieved the highest levels of housebuilding.

Plenty of opportunities to call and raise, not taken.  So translated his promise is ‘we have promised to build 1/2 million less houses than the Tories so vote for us’ .  Why not a real target, like building 100,000 houses more in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area over 20 years than the Tories plan.


Bath Hates Students

Bath Chronicle

A Bath university student has written a letter in defence of his peers in the city.

Following a story about an application for the 20th house of multiple occupation in a single road, Bath Spa University student Tom Morris responded.

He says there are “clearly not enough student properties for the volume of students that the two (very high standard) universities produce”.

In light of the tourism and money students bring to Bath, he “simply cannot understand why people have such a hatred for us students”.

This is his letter in full:

After recently reading an article posted by Bronte Howard with Mrs Player regarding the HMOs on Lansdown View, I felt it necessary to reply back to you and also to you, Wera, as our newly-elected local MP.

I am full-on disgusted with the way students are spoke of in Bath. I came to Bath two years ago to begin my degree at Bath Spa University, of which I was ecstatic as it looked and felt like a thriving, bustling and welcoming city.

However, with articles such as the Lansdown View HMO and the rubbish one a few weeks ago, I do not feel welcome in this beautiful city, which is a grand shame. It almost feels like students are judged even when they walk down the street by some residents!

My house last year was in Oldfield Park, of which we had lovely neighbours next door who welcomed students into the community by doing various things for us particularly, such as putting the bins out during the holidays. (We cannot control which days the rubbish is collected, hence why during moving procedures this can lead to an amount of rubbish.) Now I have moved onto one of the HMOs in Lansdown View, and to see this article and the language used, I was near on upset.

Surely, as Wera can approve of my thought, this is not what Bath stands for. A community is a group of people from all different backgrounds coming together and forming a lovely, clean and welcoming atmosphere.

I feel with residents such as these, who take advantage of the students in the city when they pop into M&S and are served by ‘the lovely girl at the till’, it is hypocritical to say that students are ruining the community that Bath stands for.

Oldfield Park is a part of Bath where many students live


The truth of the matter is Bath is a small heritage city, and there is clearly not enough student properties for the volume of students that the two (very high standard) universities produce.

It is time for local residents to stop going to the press about their problem and go to the root of the issue, and that is the universities themselves taking on more students (which can affect the contact time of many courses per individual).

The amount of money that not only students but tourism brings to this city must be massive, so I simply cannot understand why people have such a hatred for us students.

Yes, some groups of students are rowdy, noisy and can be a nuisance, but I can assure you that 80-plus per cent of us are people who understand the problems, and want to do something about it. We are future doctors, artists, scientists, psychologists, entertainers and politicians, and trust me when I say that we care about this planet and we care about Bath.

I sincerely hope to see a change of topic within the Chronicle very soon, before more stick and stones are thrown.

Here is Mrs Hobhouse’s reply:

Dear Tom,

I agree that students contribute to the community, both economically and socially, and Bath is richer for them. What you are experiencing is a symptom of a larger issue, and that is a chronic housing shortage locally and nationally. This is the fault of government housing policy, not students.

In Bath we have a long waiting list of over 4,000 people who can’t access social housing. Our limited stock of social housing is being depleted by the government’s housing policy. We also have families who can’t find affordable houses, which are also being depleted, as more and more are turned into houses of multiple occupation, which in turn impacts the local community.

Green Park House, a Bath Spa University student accommodation block (Image: Chris Wakefield)

As you suggest, large sums of money come with students, and Bath is also under pressure to convert industrial land into purpose-built student accommodation. This all adds incredible pressure on everyone involved.

You are upset by the comments of local residents, but local residents are upset by the changes to their streets and to their communities. I wish more students were as engaged in the local community as you clearly seem to be.

I assure you that I am working to change the government’s mind, to allow councils to borrow to build more social housing, and I am joining the call for the universities to build more accommodation on the sites they have already been given.

The University of Bath campus
The University of Bath has increased its numbers in recent years

I believe that if we can act on all of these areas, then we will begin to take the hurt and anger out of the situation, and begin to find a way through. Any city must carefully balance the needs of all its residents and Bath is no exception. We must stop playing a blame game with each other. Everyone deserves somewhere decent to live, but we are all suffering from the government’s failed housing policy, and we are all fed up with it.

Yours sincerely,

Wera Hobhouse

Bath MP

Beds in Cow Sheds

What a racket part Q is.

What a confused messy pile of turd fatally mixing policy subjective judgement with maters of fact and law.  The DCLG having got a taste of swimming in this with shops now intends to drown the countryside in the slurry.

AFA Planning Consultants state on their website

One high-end converted Dutch barn was recently on the market for nearly £2 million.

But after the Hibbitt judgement we all are now clear., as was obvious to anyone with a knowledge of the history of caselaw on agricultural conversions from the outset, that you cant knock almost all of a building down and ‘convert’ it at the same time hence dutch barns and similar (enclosed on three sides) ‘conversions’ are not PD.

I had a case this week where an LPA had issued a prior determination on a ‘conversion’ pre Hibbert and now the applicant wanted to exercise the power under class Q to make minor variations.  Would accepting the variations on a case that was never PD in the first place be ultra vires.

Rural authorities are now flooded with silly part Q cases at the moment determining them on the basis of frankly, irrelevant national planning guidance in the structural stability of barns, internal structural elements are not development and this is not a material consideration.  Besides in order to meet building regs on energy conservation have can you avoid new structural elements, insulate a steal roof and avoid a ‘barn’ (flimsy tin shed) collapsing under its own weight?

What makes thing worse at the end of the day PD is supposed to provide certainty about what is PD and what is not.  Part Q is meaningless.  The six suitability criteria includes the open ended

location or siting

Pretty much any case

‘design or external appearance”

Every case

So pretty much every case just like a planning application.

So even the NFU now claiming its useless as it rarely applies.

Already 218 appeals

All it is is a fee exemption for farmers which costs them far more in the cost of paying planning consultants and barristers.

Oh and it mandates tiny gardens no bigger than the cowshed footprints – why?  Domestication is an issue but why not 200% otherwise you get 4m deep gardens.  How many country cottages have 4m deep gardens?

Take this highly praised from Glocsm better than 99,9% of schemes coming forward

Post Hibbard this would need PP.  But lets say before applying for part q the farmer put up the same interior  walls without windows.  Not development? Interior? The NPPG would be irreverent as it would be the existing pre-pd situation.  The ‘not the intention’ clause would not apply and the Hibbert test would be met, as no longer a rebuild but a conversion.   Of course the issue is where the ‘interior’ wall begins and where it doesn’t is highly arguable. How would the original building be different from a building with  a front canopy?

Its all a mess, exacerbated by confusing and out of date national guidance.  Time to clear up the cowpats