Donald Trump errr ‘saves Scotland’


US tycoon Donald Trump has written to First Minister Alex Salmond, accusing him of seeming “hell-bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline” with wind turbines.

Mr Trump, who opposes plans for an offshore wind farm to be built near the site of his luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire, called the turbines “ugly monstrosities” and “horrendous machines”.

A planning application for an 11-turbine wind farm off Aberdeen Bay was submitted to Marine Scotland last summer. A decision is expected to be made later this year.

The businessman has halted work on his resort until the decision is made by the Scottish Government.

He has written to the First Minister, saying: “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history.”

Mr Trump also said he would never be “on board” with the project, which he called “insanity”.

In the letter, he wrote: “As a matter of fact, I have just authorised my staff to allocate a substantial amount of money to launch an international campaign to fight your plan to surround Scotland’s coast with many thousands of wind turbines.”

He added: “Please understand that I am doing this to save Scotland.”

Time to Decentralise Larger than Local decisions Greg Clark #NPPF

Any local authority can decide to take part in a joint committee with another local authority.

However if they wish to take part in joint plan making then a parliamentary order is needed under Part 2 (local development) of the 2004 Act, and this can take many months to agree.

Why is this necessary?

Should there not be an automatic right in law for local authorities to exercise the functions of a local planning authority if they wish without the need for ministerial approval?

The Manchester Mortgage – Pension Pot to fund Housing & Mortgages


Council chiefs have unveiled radical plans to help the housing crisis by launching a ‘Manchester mortgage’ for first-time buyers – and £25m of pension cash is to be used to build new homes. Bosses have identified five sites on which it aims to build nearly 250 properties for sale or rent as part of a pilot scheme.

The Greater Manchester Pension Fund will pay for the construction costs and the programme could be rolled-out over 10 years if it proves successful. As part its plans, Manchester council also wants to create a mortgage guarantee scheme to help people get on the property ladder by underwriting up to 20 per cent of their loan. New homes built with pension fund cash would be in Chorlton, Wythenshawe and Gorton Talks are underway with the Co-operative Bank and Manchester Building Society about the Manchester mortgage concept.

It would mean home-buyers would be able to get a 95 per cent mortgage on similar terms as a 75pc one, without the need to put up a substantial deposit. Town hall bosses have come up with the proposals due to the supply of housing in the city reaching an all-time low, with the number of house sale completions plummeting by more than 75pc over the last five years.

Coun Paul Andrews, executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “In the current economic climate, the levels of development being brought forward and the availability of mortgage finance are not keeping pace with the city’s needs. “That’s why the council, working with Greater Manchester Pension Fund and the Homes and Communities Agency, is looking to bring forward an innovative new model for investing in new housing which will help address this issue.” Four sites owned by Manchester council and one by the Homes and Communities Agency have been identified for 244 new houses to be built. The council would form a joint-venture with the pension fund for the scheme. The council will invest land, while the pension fund will pay for all construction costs.

The plans for a Manchester mortgage would see the council team up with a High Street lender and underwrite up to a fifth of the loan for a fixed period of five years, which could rise to seven. The criteria for who would qualify for the scheme are to be decided. The council’s executive gave the green light for the partnership with the pension fund – whose members work for Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities – to be formed. A pension fund spokesman said: “GMPF is working with the council to deliver new homes that will satisfy the fund’s twin aims of commercial returns and supporting the area. This type of investment will be part of developing a diversified portfolio. The initial scale of investment currently being considered is up to £25m. “The aim is to create an approach to investment that is capable of being applied across Greater Manchester. GMPF has a long history of investing a small proportion of its assets locally with the twin aims of commercial returns and supporting the area.”

New homes built with pension fund cash would be in Chorlton, Wythenshawe and Gorton


English Housing Conditions Survey – Overcrowding in private Sector Increases

Out today – No DCLG press release

Are not Government Civil Service Communications officers supposed to communicate such information impartially, if information is just dumped on websites we might as well just abolish departmental press departments and let parties hire their own spin doctors at their own expense.


  • Average weekly rents in the private rented sector continued to be well above those in the social rented sector (£160 per week compared to £79).
  • 63 per cent of households in the social rented sector were in receipt of Housing Benefit, compared with only 25 per cent of those in the private rented sector.
  • The long term upward trend in the proportion of households experiencing overcrowding in both rented sectors appeared to continue (7 per cent for social renters and 6 per cent for private renters in 2010-11), but there was no appreciable change in the proportion of owner occupiers living in overcrowded conditions (1 per cent in 2010-11).
  • The energy efficiency of the housing stock continued to improve, with the average SAP rating reaching 55 in 2010. The social sector continued to be more energy efficient on average than the private sector.
  • The proportion of dwellings with damp problems reduced from 13 per cent in 1996 to 7 per cent in 2010. Private rented dwellings were more likely than those in other tenures to experience damp problems, as they are more likely to be older stock.

Put Aside the Misinformation about Neighbourhood Plan Referendums

I keep reading reports from local authorities referring to plans for referendums on Neighbourhood Plans.

Under the final localism Bill however there only needs to be a referendum if a Local Planning Authority disagrees with the neighbourhood plan, and of course a plan must pass inspection meaning that referenda are likley to be as rare as hens teeth.

The default position will be neighbourhood plans being a local amendment to a local plan, much like old style area action plans.

Articles on Wider Countryside Report in Burton and Doncaster #NPPF

Burton News

research had found that — specifically protected areas aside — 85 per cent of the countryside in Burton would be vulnerable because it was ‘unprotected’, while the proportion was 84 per cent in North West Leicestershire and 81 per cent in South Derbyshire….

Barry Edwards, chairman of Rolleston Parish Council, which has joined forces with neighbouring parish councils serving Tutbury, Barton under Needwood, Abbots Bromley and Rocester to lobby against development of the countryside, backed the CPRE’s line.

“East Staffordshire (borough council) has still got a local plan, which has expired in as much it was only up to 2011, but it did save one policy — to prevent coalescence of Rolleston, Tutbury, Anslow and Burton.

“Now we’ve got a school (the proposed St Modwen’s Catholic Primary School, off Tutbury Road) and 325 houses (on the same site) being proposed for land supposedly protected from that.”

Doncaster Star

Most of Doncaster borough, east of a line running from Bawtry to Askern, is deemed by CPRE South Yorkshire to be at risk.

“The Doncaster map clearly illustrates how 42 per cent of land in the borough will be unprotected if the National Planning Policy Framework goes ahead as it is,” said planning officer John King.

“The east of Doncaster is still not protected by green belt.