Durham Shouldn’t Pause work on its Local Plan to Wait for White Paper

Durham pauses work on local plan to wait for white paper

Durham could not demonstrate exceptional circumstances for loss of Green Belt – because of harm to setting of historic cathedral town – Also a World Heritage Site – this policy backdrop im sure wont change.

Also as a relatively small Green Belt with a specific purpose little sustainability impact of development being diverted outside.

Tendring UKIP Claim Planning Department Using Under the Table Housing Numbers to Gerrymander Con Cllrs

Tendring Guardian

TENDRING Council has been reported to police over potential “gerrymandering.”

The accusation is that using the same figures from its planning department, the council aims to artificially boost the number of Conservative councillors.

Yet, the council has also approved hundreds of more homes than is needed saying it does not have a five year housing supply, when it is claimed it does.

A report to the Action Fraud department of the City of London police was submitted last week by senior UKIP councillor Richard Everett.

Mr Everett is leader of the UKIP Group on planning at Tendring Council and also a member of a working party that is reviewing electoral boundaries.

The Rush Green councillor said based on figures he has received from council planning staff, wards which are typically held by Conservative councillors are to receive “a significant boost from the figures.”

The government Boundary Commission is looking to slash the number of Tendring councillors from 60 to 48, redrawing boundaries in the process.

Mr Everett said: “I am shocked that such dodgy figure work can result in shoring up Conservative council wards, while other parties will be scrambling over a shrinking number of seats,” he said.

The “discrepancies” arose from the figures supplied from Tendring Council’s Electoral Review Working Group and those used by planning in recent weeks.

“Both sets of figures are produced from the Planning Department using the ‘same’ data,” he said.

Last week, Mr Everett met with council officials, including chief executive Ian Davidson and head of planning Cath Bicknell about his concerns.

“They could not explain the disparity,” he said.

In addition to potential “gerrymandering,” it means Tendring Council cannot resist speculative development in places like Kirby Cross, Great Bentley and Weeley.

“I have found that according to the council’s own electoral review figures that it can show that Tendring has a six year housing supply, so it can prevent inappropriate development,” he said.

Mr Everett said: “This alleged incompetence of the planning department has allowed this situation to happen. It seems to me that officers are playing fast and loose with information.”

“As a councillor, I take my role of scrutiny very seriously. If the council won’t investigate it is incumbent on me to report it to police. At the moment the evidence is circumstantial but I think it should be investigated by the police to see if there is anything,” he added.

The City of London Police has confirmed it has received Mr Everett’s dossier but said it would take a week for to decide whether or not to investigate.

Tendring Council said it refutes the allegation against its officers and councillors.

Spokesman Nigel Brown commented: “We also want to reassure our residents and businesses that these allegations have no implications for the Local Plan as our five year housing supply will be finalised and published before the document is submitted to the Government Inspector,” he added.

“Two barristers who are representing the council at a public inquiry have given strong advice that the council does not claim to have a five year housing supply.

“We have also double checked with the Local Government Boundary Commission and our Electoral Review will be going ahead on the basis of the figures already submitted.”

Mr Brown added that should The City of London Police decide to investigate Coun Everett’s allegations Tendring Council will co-operate fully in any and every way it can.

A Wise Shift in Tactics from the CPRE


Hundreds of England’s ancient villages are vanishing — swept away by a surge of housing development that is seeing historic communities engulfed into larger towns and losing their identities forever.

About 1,300 villages vanished under such rural sprawl between 2001 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The figures are backed up by research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), showing hundreds more villages have vanished since 2011 — with still others doomed to disappear as the pressure for housing keeps growing.

“Developers are putting ever greater pressure on councils to release greenfield sites,” said Matt Thomson, head of planning at CPRE. “The system is tilted in their favour, guaranteeing many more villages will be swallowed up.”

This is a wise shift in emphasis.  Land around town might not automatically tick the boxes in the public mind of rurality, whereas land around villages might, and The sift in emphasis since the NPPF has focused disproportional growth around villages,   The use of ONS stats on ‘urbanity’ is interesting but problematic, as the more concentrated and less sprawly development is the less rural it will be under the classification.  Also population growth without development (which is what we have often seen) will automatically flip many peri urban ares to urban without any development at all – misleading.  Research to be valuable needs to set a control free of spatial autocorrelation (the independent variable here is sprawl not population density)- which CPRE research hasnt done – yet.  A geography 101 error.

Which Local Plan deserves Government Intervention and Which Does Not?

York, which still relies on a town map – which has delayed its submission LP mainly because of a barracks brownfield windfall which will reduce Green Belt Loss.

Or South Staffs which will deliberately publish a submission LP in Jan with a bound to be found unsound LP with housing numbers based on RSS and not OAN and which refuses to cooperate with strategic planning efforts for Brum?

Seen in terms of evidence of obstructionism rather than crude metrics its pretty obvious.

Ambassadors Breaking the Chatham House Rule

Gabbing to the press about what the Foreign Secretary said to them is clearly a breach

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

Vale of White Horse Local Plan for 1,500 Green Belt Homes Approved

Local Gov

The Government has given the go-ahead for district council plans to build thousands of new homes, including on green belt land.

Whitehall’s planning inspector has approved Vale of White Horse DC’s plans for 13,000 new homes to be built over the next 15 years.

Of these proposed homes, 1,500 will be located on land currently designated as a green belt area.

Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse, said he was ‘delighted’ at the inspector’s conclusions.

‘After a process that has taken several years and has seen communities across the Vale contributing to the local plan we are now in a position to have much greater control over all development in the Vale,’ he said.

‘Adopting the local plan not only gives the council more control over where housing is delivered, but also makes it easier to secure the much needed infrastructure funding that should go with it.’

Great Eastern Mainline Capacity and The North Essex Garden Communities @Andrew_Adonis

Where we are:

The North Essex Councils have agreed a vision for four Garden Communities along the Great Eastern Main Line

The initial feasibility work by AECOM does not look at the capacity of existing networks

The Great Eastern Mainline will reach capacity, without the Garden Communities by 2031

Atkins have carried out a study showing how it can be increased as part of the SE RUS

Greater Anglias, Anglia Route Study says Liverpool Street will need additional platform capacity in Control Period 6 (CP6, 2019-2024), alongside signalling headway reductions between Chelmsford and Liverpool Street, construction of a new passing loop north of Witham, and track doubling at Trowse swing bridge.

Should ETCS Level 3 be adopted with Automatic Train Operation – assuming the world-first implementation of this technology on the central section of the Thameslink route proves successful – then capacity from Chelmsford to Liverpool Street could increase from the current maximum of 24 trains per hour (tph) to 32tph.

A back of the envelope calculation shows that the line as a whole with a 50% capacity increase (this is simplistic as there is existing commuter growth – though much of it would be displaced from people already living in teh area moving to new communities)  could cope with an extra 84,000 commuters per day, so assuming 50% modal share and 2.1 persons per household thats a maximum community size of 88,000 for each of the four communities – much more than planned.   So its doable.

What is needed is a joined up approach whereby the capacity of the GEML is looked at in detail alongside the masterplanning of the capacity and phasing of the North Essex communities

Step forward IPC?


Javid Spins a Different Message on Green Belt on ConHome

ConHome it simply isn’t credible to spin so differently to different audiences, it simply spreads Nimby confusionism to local groups lobbying Conservative Councillors.

in Birmingham, …the council’s local development plan calls for the re-designation of a small area of green belt land. Some people have said that, by allowing this, I’m signalling that the Government is no longer committed to protecting the great British countryside, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

In line with our manifesto commitment, the Government is committed to protecting green belt land and prioritising development on brownfield land. Local authorities are responsible for designating green belt land and only in exceptional circumstances should they alter it. I always want to see brownfield sites used first, which is precisely why we’re also putting more money into bringing neglected parts of towns and cities back to life. We’re creating communities where people will be proud to live, and support building on abandoned urban areas like old factories and car parks.

North Essex Council Agree Garden Cities

Essex Standard

CONTROVERSIAL plans for three new towns across north Essex will be worth the hundreds of millions of pounds in investment to provide homes and services for generations to come, according to council bosses.

Plans to start delivering garden settlements on Colchester’s borders with Tendring and Braintree, and another on the western side of Braintree have been given the green light by council cabinets in Tendring and Braintree, with Colchester due to follow suit last night.

The authorities have set up a company, along with Essex County Council to deliver the towns which provide infrastructure before houses and leaders believe the innovative project is robust enough to work, despite how ambitious it seems.

On the border of Colchester and Tendring, 6,608 homes are planned with new facilities including a link road between the A120 and the A133.

Colchester Council leader Paul Smith (Lib Dem) believes the authorities having control over what is built is key to the success of the scheme.

He said: “This will be development and housing controlled by the councils and not developers trying to outdo each other, building few enough to avoid funding a school or going bust in the middle of the development.

“There will also be a number of jobs and if companies are looking for apprentices there is no reason why we cannot say they need to come from Colchester, Tendring and Braintree.

“These garden communities will have their own facilities and if we were to build 200 on St John’s, 200 on Highwoods and 200 on Mile End there would be no provision for extra infrastructure.”

But critics of the scheme, including the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex have said the new towns are unsustainable and would eat up green space across the county.

Mr Smith added: “I can understand the scepticism but I think it is far and away the best way forward.

“It is councils working together to provide infrastructure first. The bypasses and school will be there on day one, not just an artist’s impression.

“There will be a clear space between these new settlements and existing ones.”

Tendring Council voted through the plans at a full council meeting earlier this week and leader Neil Stock (Con) said he was excited about the plans.

“Just about every person you speak to is concerned about a large number of people having new housing built right on top of where they live currently live.

“It gets labelled as nimbyism but I think that is unfair, they are valid concerns.

“The biggest concern is about new housing impacting on infrastructure, clogging up the roads, and the doctors’ surgeries, people suddenly find they can no longer get their children into schools in an area they have lived all their lives because of the impact of new housing.

“Houses will probably still be being built in 2060.

“This is not just houses for our grandchildren but for the children of people who are not even born yet.

“It is a risk, there is always risk in doing anything big and bold and this is the biggest project of its kind in the country.

“We are going in with their eyes open, and there would be risks if we did not do it – where would people live?”

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