Why we shouldn’t panic over prospect of 40% vacancy rates in town centres #portas

The Guardian reports on research by Deloitte

To remain competitive, retailers may have to reduce their property portfolios by 30–40% in the next five years and adapt what remains to meet the changing demands of consumers, Deloitte said….

“The majority of UK retailers have simply got too many stores,” said Silvia Rindone, a director in the retail consulting practice at Deloitte and author of the Store of the Future report. Total floor space has dropped in recent years, she noted, and this will continue as consumers shop more on the internet.

A few things to throw in.

The number of shops in London, and indeed around the country has declined by around 50% over a century according to research based on retail directories, there has been a long term decline in the number of shops and our town centres have survived.

Retail productivity has increased over time, so you need less floorspace to spend the same number of pounds.  So retail takings and linked trips to other stores dont necessarily reduce.  What has compensated for the increase in turnover efficiency has been growth, sadly lacking since 2007, but growth could bring much of the demand for floorspace back. Most of our high streets are discretionary spending shops the demand for floorsapce of which has a nonlinear relationship to standard of living.  When we have money we tend to spend much of it on our high streets.

The switch to out of town is over because of increasing petrol prices.  retailers like Tesco are seeing decreases in hypermarket spend.  In the States many remoter car orientated retails sites are declining.  Many malls stand empty.   Because of peak oil unless someone invents instant cheaply produced biofuels (which incidently would break the laws of photosynthesis) the places you can only get to or from by car will be only occupied by the rich.

In the short term considering low growth we will see a dramatic decline in occupied retail floorsapce.  40% vacancy translates to 386,000 shops empty.  A very useful potential source of housing, and of courses more people living in town centres means more shopping there, so eventually an equilibrium will be reached.

Many shops though are on quite deep plots with wasted land in rear yards.  This means that many parades make ideal candidates for redevelopment for housing, is developers can assemble a site.  Stephen Norris in Forest Gate is proposing several hundred houses on a site formerly occupied by a dozen or so shops, its a horrible scheme recommended for refusal but it shows the theoretical capacity.

Less demand will mean rents will fall, which in the long run will induce new firms to form to fill the space.  You can never tell in advance what they will be.  Who would have predicted all the mobile phone shops 10 years ago?

What we really need is a cheap modular way of adapting shops for indeterminate periods to housing – I can think of a number of architectural solutions, and lease structures to match.

So who is spinning and telling porkies over the #NPPF ?

We will know seeom, but try and square the following they are all incompatible.

FT – The final NPPF will be ‘hardly different’

Independent ‘few consessions’

Steve Quartermain at CPRE seminar – final NPPF will be ‘very different’

Steve Quartermain at TCPA Seminar – final NPPF will not allow ‘willy nilly’ development in the countryside

Prime Minister speech at ICE ‘sprawling over the countryside isn’t the answer’

Independent – Protection for the ordinary countryside will be removed

Prime Minister at Ice ‘We need homes…whilst protecting our fine landscapes’

So how do you square preventing willy nilly sprawl whilst removing protection for the ordinary countryside?

Though of course ministers have been notorious for saying that policies are in the draft that non-one else can see.  Perhaps the planning fairy is hiding them.

One might postulate though that the only way to square these statements is to have the kind of policy on the countryside we had in the early 90s which only protected the ‘best landscapes’ including those outside protected areas, rather than the countryside as a whole.  This though was judged problematic as it prompted some authorities to declare ‘special landscape areas’ in areas threatened by urban extensions irrespective of landscape merits, much like a lot of poor quality conservation areas were designated because it was the only design tool in the armoury.

You could also logically square the circle if you removed protection of the wider countryside but prohibited poorly planned urban sprawl.  That way the default answer in the open countryside would shift from no to yes…but.  This is just speculation however – very soon we will know.

Independent Front Page #NPPF ‘The Builders Charter’ ‘Osborne to overturn 65 years of planning law’

The story says ‘senior sources who have seen the finalised document, which was approved by a cabinet committee last Wednesday, said it offered few concessions to environmental campaigners’and that ‘it removes protection from the ordinary countryside’ where the ‘default answer will be yes’.

 

 

Clive Aslet – ‘Get ready for #NPPF..to make its hideous return’…a ‘good idea’ to shove it all in one place

Clive Aslet in Daily Mail – I rather agree

Here we go. Get ready for NPPF, the government’s revamp of the planning rules, to make its hideous return.

What’s the betting that, after consultation, rage from natural Tory voters, horror from the National Trust and the castigation by everybody who loves this beautiful country of ours, it will be practically unaltered from the first draft?

High, I should say.  Very high.  Mr Cameron has been talking about New Towns.

Of course, they can be made to sound terribly nice, with all that guff about green spaces and design.  But would he care to point to any New Town that Britain has succeeded in building over the past 30 years that meets his prescription?  Or any New Town at all?

The fact is that New Towns are quite a good idea, as a solution to the housing problem.  Shove it all in one place.  Get the misery over quickly.  Put it on a train line.  If the dwellings that we’re supposed to need are concentrated in one settlement, rather than dotted around all over the place, the result could be much better than the sort of piecemeal development – tacking a housing estate on here, dropping a blob of suburbia onto an old airfield there – we have at present.  It would have the critical mass to provide public spaces, community buildings, shops, surgery’s and schools.  Rather like the Prince of Wales’s urban extension at Poundbury, outside Dorchester, in fact.

 The only tiny problem that I foresee is that nobody, except, arguably, Prince Charles, has managed to build a New Town since Margaret Thatcher pulled the plug on Milton Keynes. Designating a swathe of the countryside as a potential building plot would be about as popular as test-firing a nuclear device or constructing another runway at Heathrow.  Particularly since the demand for new housing comes in exactly those corners of England that are either the most crowded – London and the South-East – or the most beautiful – the West Country.

People have been trying for decades to build New Towns.  None has been able to get over the local opposition.  It may be that Dave believes that his new planning document will allow developers to bulldoze all democratic opposition, before moving on to bulldoze the countryside.  But this isn’t the way that we have traditionally done things in England, and it will bring down the wrath of over 4 million middle-class furies (members of the National Trust), making the Countryside Alliance protests against the fox hunting ban seem as nothing.

As it happens, I am rather a fan of Milton Keynes.  The premise was wrong: the planners thought that the future for our towns and cities lay in car ownership.  It became the City of a Thousand Roundabouts.  These days, most civilized people prefer neighbourhoods that they can walk around, sipping a cappuccino at a pavement cafe as they do so.  But the quality of architecture in the early phase of Milton Keynes was very high.

 Why?  Because, in that far off era, governments believed that they should subsidise it.  Mrs Thatcher put an end to all that, a commercial free for all ensued, and the original vision collapsed into a banal jumble.  It had been good while it lasted – but can anyone really think that early, publicly sponsored MK is the model Cameron has in mind?  Dream on

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2117549/Developers-wanting-build-New-Towns-years-succeeded-No.html#ixzz1pfggcISV

Confirmed to Daily Telegraph – #NPPF to be mentioned in budget and published ‘in next few days’

As tweeted by @christopherhope  As we correctly anticipated on here the DCLG have their battle to see it published after the Budget.

Now all we have to do is wait 20 minutes for @CommunitiesUK to deny the story, and if not we know its true.

What day ?

Thursday – Possible, Chancellor did say ‘Budget Week’

Friday – Unlikely political class quiet/constituency day

Monday – The day DCLG always wanted

Tuesday +  Unlikely unless there are still ongoing arguments between the Treasury and DCLG over final content, doubt as Monday PM speech seemed like the start of a settled media strategy, but arguments about details such as ‘transition’ may be ongoing.

But if it is say Thursday or Monday – why not say so, why because if George Osbourne says so it makes it look like his call.

 

 

Damian Carrington – Osbournes Anti-Green Rhetoric Costing UK in extra borrowing costs

Guardian

Osborne’s trash-talk delivers the precise opposite of what it intends: it imposes huge extra costs onto taxpayers and businesses under the mirage of freeing them red tape.

How can the finance minister of the world’s seventh biggest economy get it so wrong, you might well ask? The short answer is a corrosive cocktail of desperation for economic growth at any price blended with sheer ignorance and, apparently, relying on the Daily Mail. The long answer centres on how Osborne’s contemptuous rhetoric drives up the political risk of rebuilding the UK’s creaking energy infrastructure, which in turn drives up the cost of financing the £200bn investment needed.

But let’s start with the very example of environmental red tape raised by Osborne himself, which turns out to be a complete red herring. He railed against the EU wildlife habitats directive for placing “ridiculous costs on British businesses” in November and Cameron weighed in last week in cabinet, berating environment secretary Caroline Spelman for the lack of progress.

In fact, an exhaustive analysis by Spelmam’s department showed that amere 0.5% of projects affected by the habitats directive have had problems. These are now being remedied not through the shredding of any red tape at all, but by friendly negotiation. And, in a final magnificent irony, the projects that had been hampered were those green icons, offshore wind farms. It’s gone from red tape to red herring to red face in barely four months.

A more complex, but far greater problem caused by the chancellor’s casual green malice is its effect on the cost of borrowing money for clean energy projects. The UK has no choice but to build a new energy system and it will be a clean and sustainable one sooner or later. Unlike polluting gas and coal plants, the investment in renewable energy projects (and nuclear power) is heavily front-loaded, followed by near-free energy for years. That front-loading means the price you pay for the capital is the key variable, and that is directly linked to political risk.

After Osborne’s autumn outburst, the man running one of the UK’s biggest renewables portfolios told me: “Within hours I got an email from the chief executive asking ‘Does this mean we should not be investing in the UK?’ We are competing internationally for capital, and his words sent shivers through the market.” That executive is far from alone, with manyenergy industry leaders privately expressing their horror.

So what Osborne says really matters, as does Cameron’s telling silence. Ratcheting up the political risk of green projects by throwing red meat to his party’s Tea Party fringe is quite conceivably adding billions to the cost of our energy future system, money that will be added to the bills paid by homeowners and businesses. Paradoxically, those soaring bills are a particular concern for Osborne, I’m told, as he has privately defended his green antagonism by saying he was more worried about the £200-a-year of “green taxes” borne by energy customers. That figure was made up by a climate change sceptic and printed in the Daily Mail, which then had to print a correction, noting the real figure was far lower.

Again I ask, can Osborne really be so badly advised? It seems so. The London School of Economics say the economic models used by government can be “highly misleading” when applied to low-carbon energy. In the meetings he has declared to date, the chancellor has met only the following energy-related companies: Centrica, ExxonMobile, Total and trade body Oil and Gas UK.

The one lobby he has heard loud and clear are the bloated carbon fat cats in the steel and cement industries, who blame green taxes for their laying off of thousands of workers while simultaneously banking billions of Euros in spare carbon pollution permits. Meanwhile, the environmental services industries in the UK employ more people than teaching, yet in Osborne’s eyes appear to be mere do-gooders who can be tolerated only in financial good times.

Osborne’s trash-talk has other effects that cost you money too. Over 100 emboldened Tory MPs blasted fear into the wind industry recently, railing against onshore wind farms. Yet the obvious alternative – siting them offshore – will cost far more, another price hike borne by bill payers already reeling from the huge hikes in global gas prices.

The one thing Osborne does like about green policies is the money they pour into the exchequer. The green fig leaf, behind which Osborne tries to hide his dignity is in fact a huge tax grab. The carbon floor price, which is good in principle, has significant flaws, but with the tax stream flowing straight into HMT, it’s unlikely to be fixed. Worse, he turned revenue-neutral scheme to drive energy efficiency in businesses – called the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) – into a straight tax hike. And the big idea Osborne can lay claim to – the green investment bank – has been hamstrung by the Treasury, unable to borrow before 2015 at the earliest.

Osborne need not look too far for advice on how to change his ways. “In 2012. I hope we will see a greater articulation of the strong support there is for the big investments we are making in Britain’s green transition, not least because it is a huge opportunity for UK plc and will be a significant driver of growth and recovery,” said energy and climate change minister – and Tory moderniser – Greg Barker, in January. Yet the contortions of coalition politics means the issue appears relegated firmly to a source of spats with the junior partners, with LibDem leader Nick Clegg now openly challenging Osborne’s green gaffes.

Why – Despite the Rhetoric – European Biodiversity Sites/Habitat Regs – will survive largely intact from the Budget #NPPF

Attacking european habitat regulations protections for dormice, bats and shellfish is one of George Osbournes favourite after dinner topics and the Autmun statement launched a review of their ‘ridiculous costs’.  However I can be pretty confident that despite some huff and puff in the budget their essential substance wont change.

How can I be so confident?

Firstly Jeremy Haywoods famous principle that ignoring European Law can get ministers thrown in Jail.

Secondly the review has given the Habitat Regs largely a clean bill of health, according to the NGOs involved in it such as the Wildlife Trusts, with some suggestions of procedural improvements – though this may be spun as ‘liberalisation’ to use the phrase de jour.

Thirdly the evidence doesn’t back it up.  Caroline Spelman was keen to tell the Environmental Audit select committee that it is an issue in only 1% of cases, and those outstanding issues, to do with ports and offshore wind sites, are well on the way to being solved because a special team at DEFRA.

Finally there is unlikely to be any major change to Wildlife Laws this year, if only because the Law Commission is due to report on the consolidation of legislation.

2.83 The current law regulating human dealings with wildlife is spread over many statutes going back to (at least) the early nineteenth century. Initially, the law was primarily concerned with hunting and fishing (and poaching). As time has advanced, it has also dealt with habitat modification (burning and clearing), the control of pest species, protection from cruel methods of capture and killing, and now conservation (including the re-introduction of departed native species and the removal of non-native species).
2.84 The result is a legal structure made up of succeeding geological strata of legislation with no coherent design. Older legislation reflects previous policy standpoints, often very much at variance with modern approaches. There is a preponderance of primary legislation, much of which has not been amended to reflect modern conditions. Conversely, the principal modern Act – the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – has become so amended as to be difficult for the nonlawyer to use.
2.85 Law reform in this area would seek to provide a modernised and simplified framework, with an appropriate balance between primary and secondary legislation, and guidance. It would involve some consideration of criminal offences associated with the regulation of wildlife. There will also be a significant European Law dimension. It is necessary to ensure both that the current law is compliant with EU law requirements and that it is capable of easy amendment to reflect new requirements.
2.86 Wildlife law touches on considerable economic interests, and therefore inefficiency in its operation can have widespread economic impacts. Natural England estimate that game shooting alone contributed about £1.6 billion to the UK economy and supported the equivalent of 70,000 full time jobs in 2006. If there are significant inefficiencies in the means by which some animals are protected, they would have important impacts. A better system of licensing in relation to wildlife would be likely to result in administrative savings for Natural England. The annual budget for these services is currently £3 million. Filling in applications for licences is expensively time consuming for farmers and members of the public.
2.87 After an initial internal scoping process, we will produce a consultation paper in the second half of 2012. After analysing the results and coming to conclusions on the way forward, we will share the results with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with a view to reviewing the future development of the project in March or April 2013. If both Commission and Government agree at that point that the project should continue, we will aim to produce a final report, with draft bill, by mid-2014. If, at the review, either party decides that the project should not continue, we will produce a narrative report of our conclusions in about May 2013.
2.88 This project concerns the law of England and Wales. Some aspects of the law relating to wildlife is devolved to Wales while some remains the responsibility of the UK Government. We will aim to work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government on the development of our proposals.

What this shows is that despite the instincts of some campiagners such as myself and the Guardian to paint everything as contributing to a narrative of the ‘Greyist Giovernment Ever’ only Osbourne fully fits that narrative.

Spectator – Treasury Backs Road Privitisation because ‘because better roads means more car journeys means more fuel duty for the Exchequer.’

Spectator

 it also represents an increasingly rare species: a concession, of sorts, to Vince Cable, who has been pushing for this kind of thinking since the start of the coalition government, including in a pamphlet for CentreForum last year. Cable is keen to deploy new forms of public-private financing elsewhere. But it’s thought that the Treasury wants to test them out on roads first, and not least because better roads means more car journeys means more fuel duty for the Exchequer.

Indeed many US Road Privitisation contracts contain 100 years clauses preventing improvement of public transport and requiring measures to increase congestion of rival parallel routes in order to create a revenue stream.

The Treasury should remember that money spent on unnecessary travel is a dead weight loss to the economy – like land income – it transfers spending power out of consumers pockets to rentiers,  and to oil producing countries rather than spending it on goods which can be taxed or saving it which banks can then use to fund investment and mortgages.  It is the same mad Treasury logic that says gambling is good because we can tax it.  If the Treasury introduced a tax on insurance premiums they would welcome earthquakes and tsunamis.  The Treasury argument is a classic example of Basitats famous broken windows fallacy.  Indeed his contemporary Jules Dupuit a year in 1849 earlier proved that  there is a net loss to the community if public goods such as bridges are charged by monopoly providers.

The Treasury should abolish the inclusion of road tax and petrol revenues in its assessment criteria for transport schemes for that reason.  Several  rail restoration projects, such as the Wealden Line, have been throttled because they would be so successful at getting people off the roads, and relieving congestion as a result, that petrol and road tax revenues would fall giving the schemes a low net present value. As always the Treasury’s policy of doing what it can to prevent genuine growth wins out.

Daily Mail confuses Issues in Reaction to Cameron ‘Cam Towns’ Speech #NPPF

New towns to ‘disfigure’ UK: Fury over move to ditch 60 years of planning law in bid to construct new garden cities

Reads the lazy headline in the Daily Mail.

David Cameron vowed to tear up 60 years of planning law to build new towns and give Britain another airport in the South East.

The Prime Minister unveiled plans for a wave of new ‘garden cities’ – quickly dubbed ‘Cam Towns’ – and gave his strongest support yet for a new ‘Boris Island’ airport in the Thames estuary, heavily promoted by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Accepting there would be ‘costs and protests’, Mr Cameron shrugged off opposition to the planning overhaul, saying he wants a Victorian-style blitz on new infrastructure building to boost growth.

First of all national infrastructure like airports are under the 2008 Act and nothing at all to do with the NPPF.

Secondly concerns over the NPPF are to to with the draft, and Cameron gave a sneek peak of the final version.  We still have no idea of the full content of the final version so the assumption of ‘tearing up of 60 years of planning law ‘ is comparing chalk and cheese, we dont yet know.  Though as I have said in several pieces on this blog in the last couple of day the speech strikes a major difference in tone to the anti-planning rhetoric of last summer.  The speech is a recognition of the importance of planning not its wrecking, though if the government promotes the right projects and sets the right detailed policies we have yet to see.

But his plans were quickly condemned by rural groups and green campaigners as a blueprint for ‘disfiguring’ the countryside that would damage the fabric of Britain.

Mr Cameron rejected calls by groups such as the National Trust to tear up its new National Planning Policy Framework, due shortly, saying it would provide ‘the biggest simplification of our bureaucratic, top-down planning laws in 60 years’.

The National Trust has held its fire on reacting to the speech until after the NPPF is published.  Also the NT has never ever called for the tearing up of the NPPF but for its redrafting to cover specific points.  Some of these have already been conceded.

Vowing to recreate a ‘visionary plan’ from 1944 to build new towns across the South East, Mr Cameron said: ‘The growth of our towns and cities has been held back by a planning system which has encouraged development of the wrong sort in the wrong places.’

He said places such as Hampstead Garden Suburb, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City were ‘not perfect but popular’ and the coalition would seek to build more towns that were ‘green, planned, secure, with gardens, places to play and characterful houses, not just car-dominated concrete grids’.

Mr Cameron said the Government would begin consulting later this year ‘on how to apply the principles of garden cities to areas with high potential growth, in places people want to live’….

Neil Sinden, Director of Policy for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, attacked the plans for building in the countryside.

He said: ‘If the Government’s planning reforms remain unchanged from the draft published last year, pressure for sprawling development is precisely what we can expect.

‘Unless the final planning framework recognises the intrinsic value of our countryside as a whole, we fear a rash of sporadic and inappropriate development across the country, disfiguring the rural landscape which is so valued by local communities.’

The issue here is whether the ‘Cam Towns’ policy sits along a final NPPF that encourages ‘Brownfield First, and protection of the wider countryside, and permits urban extensions and new settlements only if there are insufficient brownfield sites.  Whether this will be the case or not will vary radically nationally.  Without this they could be promoted ‘willy nilly’ by developers – as in the failed Ecotowns programme as as Alex (half baked) Morton wishes.  This is the point Neil is getting at.

The CPRE though does face an important dilemma.  It is a confederation of local groups many of which, such as in East Anglia, will instinctively oppose major schemes such as Greater Norwich and Waterbeach, even if they at a regional level may be the best solution.  A decade ago it would have squared this circle by arguing for reduced housing numbers – but that view would fiund less support today amongst national politicians if not local ones.  If the number of houses is fixed then the choice is either to ruin score of villages and small towns many of which will double in size or to concentrate development in a limited number of smart growth locations.

David Cameron pressed an important button in mentioning Abercrombie, founder of the CPRE, as for him quite rightly the Green Belt (he formalised it though the credit goes to Unwin, Octavia Hill and Ebenezor Howard)., protection of the countryside and Garden Cities all formed part of a package deal the end result of which was to prevent sprawl.

Neighbourhood Plan Forum Constitution Needed – Grantnet offers some tips #NPPF

With the coming into force of the Neighbourhood Plan regs if you want to set up a forum in a non-parished area you will need a written constitution.

Some groups fall at the first hurdle arguing for a year or more over the constitution.

Thankfully Grantnet the voluntary sector support site offers some tips on writing constitutions and a model constitution.

I have tweaked it slightly to deal with issues in the Neighbourhood Plan regs, & the Localism Act notably the requirement for a minimum of 21 members, to ensure the legal bases are covered on consultation and a requirement for a vote on submission of any neighbourhood plan.  Would be useful to have some feedback.

Example Constitution
The following is an example constitution for a local community group or voluntary organisation. It is not intended for groups wishing to become registered as a charity and such organisations are advised to consult the Charity Commission to ensure their constitution conforms to charity law. No  example constitution will necessarily fit a group’s requirements exactly and you may need to add or exclude various sections depending on your group’s activities and objects. The model below will hopefully guide those wanting to write a constitution, but it is important that you tailor it to meet your needs.

Anyplace Neighbourbourhood Form Constitution

1) NAME
The name of the group shall be the ______________Forum, hereafter referred to as the Forum.

2) OBJECTS
The objects of the Forum  shall be:
– to improve the area known as ______for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area;
-To promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of the area;
– To prepare in partnership with the local planning authority a neighbourhood plan for the area or in partnership with other forums any wider area.
-to encourage the goodwill and involvement of the wider community;
– to foster community spirit and encourage civic pride.

3) POWERS
In furtherance of the objects, but not otherwise, the Management Committee may exercise the power to:
(i) Promote the health and social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the residents of the area and to work together as residents irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, ability, religion or political view.
(ii) Promote sustainable development, environmental improvement and conservation by educating, encouraging and assisting the local population in environmental practice, working in partnership with similar groups and organisations.
(iii) Invite and receive contributions and raise funds where appropriate, to finance the work of the Forum, and to open a bank account to manage such funds.
(iv) Publicise and promote the work of the Forum and organise meetings, training courses, events or seminars etc.
(v) Work with groups of a similar nature and exchange information, advice and knowledge with them, including cooperation with other voluntary bodies, charities, statutory and nonstatutory organisations.
(vi) Employ staff and volunteers (who shall not be members of the Management Committee) as are necessary to conduct activities to meet the objects.
(vii) Take any form of action that is lawful, which is necessary to achieve the objects of the Group, including taking out any contracts which it may see fit.

4) MEMBERSHIP
(i) Membership shall be open to anyone who has an interest in assisting the Group to achieve
its aim and is willing to adhere to the rules of the Forum:

  • membership is open to all who live and work in the area;
  • membership is open to elected Council members
  • membership shall be drawn from different places in the neighbourhood and different sections of the community in the neighbourhood.

(ii) Where it is considered membership would be detrimental to the aims and activities of the Group, the Management Committee shall have the power to refuse membership, or may
terminate or suspend the membership of any member by resolution passed at a meeting.
(iii) Any member of the association may resign his/her membership by providing the Secretary with written notice.
(iv) The forum shall have a minimum of 21 members before any decision on neighbourhood planning may be made.  The Secretary shall maintain a list of members at all times and publish this online.

5) MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
(i) The Forum shall be administered by a management committee of no less than three (3) people and no more than fifteen (15), who must be at least 18 years of age. Members will
be elected for a period of up to one year, but may be re-elected at the Group’s AGM.

6) OFFICERS
(i) The Forum shall have a committee consisting of:
The Chair
The Treasurer
The Secretary
and any additional officers the Group deems necessary at the meeting required to carry out the required activities.

7) MEETINGS
(i) The committee shall meet at least four times a year. Meetings shall enable the Group to discuss actions and monitor progress to date, and to consider future developments.
(ii) All members shall be given at least fourteen (14) days’ notice of when a meeting is due to take place, unless it is deemed as an emergency, this shall also be publicised in the area to non-members.
(iii) Two-thirds of committee members must be present in order for a meeting to take place.
(iv) It shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson to chair all meetings or a designated deputy in his/her absence. All meetings must be minuted and accessible to interested parties as well as being published on the Forum’s website.
(v) The AGM shall take place no later than three months after the end of the financial year. At least fourteen (14) days’ notice must be given before the meeting takes place.
(vi) All members are entitled to vote at the AGM. Voting shall be made by a show of hands on a majority basis. In the case of a tied vote, the Chairperson or an appointed deputy shall
make the final decision.

8) FINANCE
(i) Any money acquired by the Group, including donations, contributions and bequests, shall be paid into an account operated by the Management Committee in the name of the Group.
All funds must be applied to the objects of the Group and for no other purpose.
(ii) Bank accounts shall be opened in the name of the Group. Any deeds, cheques etc relating to the Group’s bank account shall be signed by at least two (2) of the following committee members: Chairperson; Treasurer; Secretary.
(iii) Any income/expenditure shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer who will be accountable to ensure funds are utilised effectively and that the Group stays within budget. Official accounts shall be maintained, and will be examined annually by an independent accountant who is not a member of the Group. An annual financial report shall be presented at the AGM. The Group’s accounting year shall run from 01 April to 31 March.

9) NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING

(i) Any decision to undertake, consult on or submit to the local planning authority for approval any neighbourhood Plan shall be subject to a vote of the full forum.
(ii) All consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan will be subject to all residents and businesses whether members of the forum or not.
(iii) The forum shall set up a website to publicise the neighbourhood planning process, record it and seek views of the public.
(iv) The management committee, Neighbourhood Plan Team (as below) shall be delegated to work with the local planning authority and any independent experts and advisor’s on the neighbourhood plan as they see fit.
(v) At the discretion of the forum a Neighbourhood Plan Team  can be delegated the tasks of preparing the Neighbourhood Forum other than under 9(i) above.  The membership of this team shall be decided by a full meeting of the forum and the team may co-opt members as it sees fit.

9) ALTERATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
(i) Any changes to this constitution must be agreed by a majority vote at a special general meeting.
(ii) Amendments to this forum or dissolution of the forum must be conveyed to the Secretary formally in writing. The Secretary and other officers shall then decide on the
date of a special general meeting to discuss such proposals, giving members at least four weeks (28 days) notice.

10) DISSOLUTION
(i) The Group may be dissolved if deemed necessary by the members in a majority vote at a special meeting. Any assets or remaining funds after debts have been paid shall be
returned to their providers or transferred to local charities or similar groups at the discretion of the Management Committee.

This constitution was adopted at an AGM held at___________ on _____________________ by:
Signed: Chairperson
Signed: Treasurer
Signed: Secretary
Signed: Member
Signed: Member