No Water Bill till 2015, watch out as your Local Plan could be JRd on EU Water Law

News comes today via Ends that the Queens Speech will only publish the Water Bill in draft form, meaning no legislation on the statute books till at least 2015.

Local planning authorities need to watch out as one of the main aims of this is to transpose the EU Water Framework Directive (around for 6 years still not properly transposed) with its requirement for integrated river basin management plans with its absolute requirement for no deterioration of the environment of the Total Water catchment.  So watchout if your local plan sewerage outfalls, or treatment  of septic tanks etc. doesnt ensure this then the whole plan could be challenged.  Frankly im amazed the NPPF didnt cover this despite warnings from many, including from Defra.

All I can do is repeat the section of our alternative NPPF draft which tried to look at how to transpose the directive into planning policy.  Planning Policy Wales already covers these issues.

17-12 New development should be planned to avoid increasing pressure on natural water resources and to support adaptable approaches to sustainable water management to reduce vulnerability to impacts arising from climate change. Sites identified as appropriate for development can sometimes be constrained by a lack of water supply or waste water infrastructure capacity. This should be investigated in the first instance at plan making stage with stakeholders working together where necessary to produce water cycle studies and appropriate solutions. The need to balance the growing demand for water with the needs of the environment is crucial, through applying the principles of sustainable water management, treating waste and stormwater as a resource to be utilised not a waste product to be conveyed to and through a catchment. Even where there is theoretical capacity, timely investment in infrastructure is required to ensure that new development does not adversely affect water supplies, water quality or sewerage capacity. These issues require early identification when locating future development. Local planning authorities should therefore encourage the use of sites where existing water supply and/or drainage provision problems can be solved and seek to avoid the use of sites where adequate water supply and/or drainage provision is unlikely to be achieved. The government will be instructing OFFWAT to ensure these principles are reflected in water company investment decisions.
17-13 Statutory requirements under the Water Framework Directive apply and will be implemented in accordance with River Basin Management Plans. As part of the duty-to- cooperate local authorities should work with other authorities, the Environment Agency and water companies to ensure the spatial planning aspects of River Basin Management Plans are applied.

17-14. Plans and decisions should protect aquifers and ground water resources and protect water quality.
17-15. In development plans and decisions secure increased efficiency and demand management of water resources, particularly in those areas where additional water resources are limited, taking into account the effects of climate change climate and ensuring no deterioration of the environment of the total water catchment.
17-16. The adequacy of water supply and the sewage infrastructure are material in decisions. Proposals in sewered areas must connect to the main sewer, and it will be necessary for developers to demonstrate to the decision maker that their proposal site can connect to the nearest main sewer to an acceptable standard.
17-17. Development proposing the use of non-mains drainage schemes will only be considered acceptable where connection to the main sewer is not feasible. Non-mains sewage proposals, such as septic tanks and surface water drainage schemes, included in development applications should be the subject of an assessment of their effects on the environment, in particular water quality.

Greg Clark’s Letter to MPs goes beyond #NPPF on Sustainable Development

Nigel Mills MP for Amber Valley has published on his blog a letter to him from Greg Clark which looks like a standard letter to all MPs following the consultation.

Most of the letter is straightforward but on part goes well beyond the NPPF and clarifies how it is supposed to be applied

We have agreed transitional arrangements with the Local Government Association which ensure that a council which has adopted, or has made good progress in preparing, a local plan will not be disadvantaged by the new approach, but that where no local plan exists allows a sensitive and well-balanced decision to be made which reflects  the continuing requirements of the planning system to balance economic, social and environmental objections (sic).

Presumably it means not just where no local plan exists but where silent, indeterminate or out of date as well however ‘a sensitive and well-balanced decision to be made which reflects the continuing requirements of the planning system to balance economic, social and environmental objections (sic objectives).’   Appears nowhere in the NPPF but is most welcome as a clarification of ministers intent and national policy.  The only reference to balance of all three components and balence is in para 152 which relates to plan-making not decision taking.  There is no reference to balance in the section on sustainable development paras.  6-10, or anywhere to sensitivity in decision making.  Para. 9 states ‘Pursuing sustainable development involves seeking positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment’ but these are to be sought and not required.  Various paras of the NPPF requires nets gains to biodiversity, but not the environment overall, and to the economy, but not to society or the quality of life overall.   The implication was that we are back in the arena of trade of where social issues, and environmental issues relating to quality of life were to be traded off against economic issues where there was not an up to date relevent plan in place.

Thank goodness then that this letter confirms that this is not the case and that Greg Clark has found a way of sneaking out this policy clarification without the Treasury noticing.  All planner should staple this letter to the back of their copy of the NPPF as it is Greg Clarks first indication of how it is to be applied and interpreted.

I note also that Nigel Mill’s blog goes well beyond Greg Clark’s letter and the NPPF by claiming that ‘a requirement to utilise brownfield sites first, has now been written in to the formal guidance. ‘  Oh no it hasn’t the only policy is that local plans are encouraged to prioritise it, decision takers and local plans are not required to do so.  Still it seems gullible MPs have been fooled into thinking that policy on brownfield sites pre the NPPF has been restored.

Sorry Ken Why I didn’t vote for you Today

And I didnt vote at all in the mayoral election.

In the early 90s I used to work in Brent where Ken was MP for Brent East.

I was dealing with a planning application in the Mapesbury Conservation area.  Someone wanted to build a garage to house their vintage cars, the neighbour violently objected.

Both endlessly rang – several times a day, visited reception and wrote to me, and I studiously tried not to lead either on whilst I waited for the consultation period to expire.

Both of course wrote to their MP.

One day I got a copy of a letter from Ken to the chief executive asking for me to be dismissed for being biased against the applicant.

A couple of days later I got an almost identical copy of a letter  from Ken to the chief executive asking for me to be dismissed for being biased against the objector.

After receiving the first letter naturally I was quite worried.  My boss reasurred me, ‘we have a very good filing systems for Kens letters’ he said.  Nudging the wastpaper basket with his foot.

A couple of years later I met Ken at a House of Lords Reception.  I pointed out this inconsistency.  He said nothing and kept on drinking himself into a haze being equally rude to everybody.



From Pedshed to PubShed – your 5 minute stumbling distance to good beer

Placeshakers –Scott Doyon

Most folks with an interest in planning issues are no doubt familiar with the pedestrian shed or ped shed. The idea is simple. Experience has shown us that the average person will walk, without hesitation or undue kvetching, to destinations they can reach in under five minutes — in practical terms, about a quarter mile — beyond which they begin to consider other modes of travel….

My town of Decatur, Georgia — already pretty walkable, especially by Sun Belt standards — has, for the past 15 years or so, been developing a thriving pub scene. In addition to some long-time institutions already in place, we now have a growing number of neighborhood-friendly taverns spread around town.

These are where neighbors go, hang out, and get to know each other, and they’ve contributed to the fact that, here in Decatur, craft beer has pretty much become a de facto component of the city’s economic development strategy. So that got me thinking. Based on our existing establishments, what portion of our residents have a neighborhood pub in the truest sense of the term?

The result? The pub shed — a diagrammatic look at walkability and beer.

See it below (and click for a better view). Every circle is centered on one of our pubs and the results show homes within a quarter mile of each. Not too bad, especially for a small, southern town, but if it turns out that people are willing, like with transit, to walk ten minutes for suds rather than just five then, well, coverage improves dramatically.

The fun part (at least for geeks like me) is that you can do an exercise like this for any of your community’s shared amenities — coffee shops, schools, parks, etc. I just find pubs especially relevant because, if ever there was a business you should be walking to (and from) rather than driving, it’s your bar.

I can imagine Andy Boddington doing a map for Ludlow now, although they are so close together (when not converted to gastro sausage resteraunts) they all kind of get blurred and merge together.

Sadly I think in England we are now so poor and beer so heavily taxed we may be seeing the last (weekday) pub-going gneration.

Why Number 10 is failing in One Simple Diagram

Ah now we can all see who is not of change of whom – line management just goes around in a circle with no-one really in charge of anything.

Jeremy Heywood has insisted that Andrew Cooper is under him as Director of Strategy as a civil servant not a SPAD.  But arent civil servants bound by the ministerial code on impartiality.  And has not Andrew Cooper, joint founder of Populous together with Helen Disney the other co-founder, been deeply involved with the Stockholm Network of 120 climate change denying extreme right wing anti environmental groups funded by shady extreme right wing think tanks and billionaires, including the Koch brothers, Exxon and the Heritage Foundation.  Greenest Government ever?  How can such an extremist nut job ever be a civil servant or have infiltrated the seat of government?

Lines on Maps

Having started a discussion about old style town maps Kirkwalls – in a post which certainly brings back memories, planing inks included,  – asks

whoever came up with the dog’s breakfast of the Local Development Framework system, and its portfolio of documents, was clearly some anal retentive harking back to the halcyon days of the Town Maps

Well there hangs a tale – how was the idea of LDFs conceived.  I have to hang my head in shame and accept some responsibility there, not for the phrase LDF but for helping kick off a process of reform that was a disaster.

It was 2003 and a property boom was gearing up.  In was responsible for a UDP in London  my boss was then president of the RTPI and we resolved to get the draft plan out in a year from a standing start – which we did.

At the time I was full of a revolutionary fervour, and I think on reflection insufferably evangelical,  of how planning should change and was often asked on the conference circuit.  At the time plans were often hatched in smoke filled rooms with no clear strategy, no vision, no objectives and running not unusually in London to 500+ pages with no visual elements of how areas should change, no evidence to support the  chosen approach, no alignment with the brand new SEA process and no indication of how the plan would be delivered or aligned with the plans of other bodies, and asking for comments rather than real consultation up front.

From this we aimed to produce a plan of less than a hundred pages (we didn’t quite manage that) with strategies for different parts of the borough and urban design principles rather than just land uses for key sites.  It would have just a few ‘core policies’ which would act as a toolkit you could apply creatively to consider cases.  One such for example was to require active frontages in Central London.

With my bosses RTPI involvement he picked up that the then DETR (I think) was under severe pressure from the Treasury.  It was even talking about abolishing development plans as a hindrance to the property boom that those fools seriously thought was real growth.  DETR was quite desperate for ideas.  So I was asked to write a paper on what was wrong with development planning and how to fix it.  I did and to my surprise was summoned to a meeting with Mike Ash (then Head of Planning) and Tony Baden.  The paper was to my astonishment treated with huge enthusiasm perhaps excessive enthusiasm induced by the Treasury pressures.

In the coming months I spent a lot of time at various Chatham House meetings on reforms which led to the 2004 Act.  Of course I can’t reveal what went on there, and of course what emerged was an amalgam from many people, but let me put it in the following way.

A lot of phrases from that paper crept into Lord Falconer’s speeches on Planning Reform such as development plans being prepared ‘in months not years’ (of course the point lost in the speech was that this needed good project management and a removal of unnecessary bureaucracy).  The 2004 Act emerged.  A diregiste and dangerous spirit was in the air.  Rather than building on the current system by removing barriers it was ‘an entirely new system‘ to use civil servants words at the time.   Why – well because Lord Falconer didn’t like the word ‘Plan’, and so civil servants came up with the word ‘framework’ instead, and Lord Falconer wanted a bill to show off not just secondary legislation.  However the drafting Counsel said that framework was not a legal word so we got the horrible melenge of DPDs, LDSs, SCIs etc.  Hellish.  And because it was a new system rather than updating plans we had everything starting from scratch in an obsessed by process rather than outcome way – whereby the dealing with specific sites was pushed back years and years, when the vision was to bring that forward.

I had long argued that planning had to be ‘maps first’ rather than ‘maps last’ – whereby you used GIS to create a spatial plan and evidence base and once you had defined you map you then wrote the written statement as the narrative of that spatial organisation.  What we ended up with was aspatial planning of the kind we saw in Stafford and Litchfield where no-one had a clue which key sites would be developed or not.  Without the key sites being brought forward how could housing delivery be improved?  Sadly most planning managers seem mortified by drawing lines on maps as it involves making a tough decision that will only make the Head of Planning’s life difficult and unpopular amongst cllrs.

I was ridiculed for saying these plans from my home county were dreadful and should/would be found unsound.  ‘Don’t you understand how the new system works?’  ‘Its getting away from that’ ‘Its about strategy not maps’ ‘Your so old fashioned’ ‘Youll be arguing we bring back planning ink next’.  ‘Officials are saying Stafford and Lichfield are the model’.

I  replied moving away from a zoning map based system as in the Netherlands and Germany was a dreadful mistake, the blob map planning we had from the Development Plan manual (1969?) was a step backwards as it took 20+ years to put into place (now 42+ years) and disengaged planners from the design of places and masterplanning.  If I could turn back the clock we should have reformed town maps and not replaced them. A choice made by the way by 95% of the planning systems around the world.

I also argued hard against the portfolio approach. I had seen the nightmare of the Ealing UDP where no two officers had the same plan as their lever arch files were as badly updated as a copy of the Planning Encyclopaedia dusty and forgotten in a bottom cupboard.  The idea surely was for a single short allocating plan supplemented by area and design based ‘SPG” given enhanced weight.  No it wasn’t.

I was so disillusioned I turned away from plan making for many years and even worked abroad in other planning systems on a couple of occasions.

Attempting to change English Planning can be a very dangerous thing.  Never underestimate the ability of Eland House to screw up drafting and implementation. So there you have it -blame me.

Cameron and The DCLG Gang’s Blatant Attempt to Thwart Independent Election Regulation and Destroy a Fine Public Servant

Who is the figure in British Politics who David Cameron hates the most, who he most curses about in private, and plots with his surrogates to undermine the most – Ed Milliband, Ed Balls, John Bercow – no Jenny Watson who? She is chair of the Electoral Commission.

Jenny Watson

Electoral Commision’s – you know the sort some tinpot dictator appoints his cousin as head of the independent electoral commission, which then after the election claims the dictator has won 99% of the vote. Clearly the independence of such commissions are essential to a free society.

I have lost count of the number of times Cameron has slagged off the Electoral Commission and Jenny Watson on television – its visceral – even when it isn’t a topic of the conversation he throws in a barb. Is it personal or political?

Political. The problem for him is that the Electoral Commission is supposed to be above politics. It was created from a recommendation of the the Committee on Standards in Public Life its mandate is set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), and ranges from the regulation of political donations and expenditure by political and third parties through to promoting greater participation in the electoral process. The Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 granted the Electoral Commission a variety of new supervisory and investigatory powers. The Electoral Commission does not report to a minister but to a Speakers Panel.

The problem though is that it does not employ and directly supervise electoral officials, it has to act through returning officers appointed by local councils and where this function has been squeezed massively in recent years, to the extent that many councils have proposed stopping overnight counting. It does not have the funding to appoint an army of local supervisors as many similar bodies around the world do, it if finds fraud all it can do is report it to the police. If it wants to tighten regulations on electoral registration and identity all it can do is make recommendations to government. It is a rather toothless body making the best of a bad job.

But this provides the Tories with a target. They have a considerable sense of grievance over the 2010 election. Research from the University of Plymouth shows that only 16,,000 votes in a few target constituencies deprived them of a majority. This has bred a neoliberal sense of entitlement derived from the American Republican party, that a progressive elite is conspiring to allow corrupt registration and that this is thwarting democracy. The result however is a language of ‘voter fraud’ is used to change identity and registration requirements to discriminate against the poor and ethnic minorities. In the States this has become so blatant in some States that there is no longer any pretence that a democratic outcome is sought, simply the right political outcome. This is not to suggest that fraud and registration problems are not an issue, rather that this can be front for political actions which are profoundly anti-democratic and authoritarian.

From the last conservative manifesto

We will reduce electoral fraud by speeding up the implementation of individual voter registration.

Nothing wrong with that if it is balanced by voter registration drives and a well funded independent electoral commission that seeks to increase registration by under represented groups – otherwise it can profoundly effect the outcome of elections.

This agenda however requires a compliant Electoral Commission and Jenny Watson is no poodle.

Back briefing against her became so blatant that Gus O’Donnell wrote to Cameron in 2010 asking for the attacks to stop. Guardian

The unusual step came after government sources unleashed an attack on a senior public servant, Jenny Watson, claiming her career was “built on incompetence” and that she was “milking” the taxpayer. The comments last September were interpreted as a sign to other public officials that the coalition was preparing a clearout from the Labour era. But the outspoken and personal nature of the briefing provoked a storm in Whitehall with senior figures – including the chair of the Committee for Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly – condemning the language used by the community secretary, Eric Pickles‘ department. The briefing was given by one of Pickles’ special advisers.[ I wonder what coiffured SPAD with a made up name that was?]…

PR Week reported that the letter said: “You will have been aware of briefings to the media regarding Jenny Watson. This behaviour is unacceptable. I trust you will agree with me and take necessary action to make sure that people understand this will not be tolerated.

Last year, the Times reported a source in the communities department confirming that Watson’s position as a board member of the Audit Commission was not being renewed, saying: “She was begging Mr Pickles to stay on but we are not having someone who built their career on incompetence continuing to milk the taxpayer. She is not fit for the role.

“The Audit Commission has lost its way and the last thing we need is someone like her on board. She has no previous experience outside the public sector. We have had a bonfire of the quangos. Now [we] are having a bonfire of the quangocrats.”

Now this week Cameron has lauched a second front against Jenny Watson via his favourite surrogate Grant Shapps. Sadly the Independent has fully swallowed his spin just as the Daily Mail did in 2010.

Ms Watson’s job came under scrutiny at a meeting of House of Commons Speaker’s Committee in March.

Her four-year term as head of the Commission expires at the end of the year and she would normally be considered for automatic re-appointment.

But in a “stormy” meeting some committee members, with tacit Government support, are believed to have challenged the proposal – suggesting she must face external competition.

The approved minutes reveal that the committee decided to “require an appraisal of Jenny Watson’s performance” before considering whether she should be re-appointed.

The challenge reflects a concern among ministers about Ms Watson’s performance….

Last week Mr Shapps became the first Government minister to publicly criticise the Commission when he accused it of being “complacent” about the electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets.

Jenny Watson has written back to Grant Shapps in an extraordinary letter, stating very clearly that as they have reported the Tower Hamlets issues to the Police who are conducting a criminal investigation there are limits to what they can do, and that ministers have still not followed up her recommendation to require ID at polling stations.

Jenny Watson as the quote above showed is considered part of the Blair Quangocracy and they want her replaced by oine of us – a member of Cameron’s quangrocracy instead. Because she has committed the sin of being on the boards of the Audit Commission (created by Thatcher), the Banking Standards Baord and the Equal Opportunities Commission (created by Babera Castle) she is somehow considered an ultra leftie quangocrat.

Indeed the Mail under the briefing of our favourite SPAD (so loved and respected – NOT- by civil servants) said she was a:

A former nleft wing campaigner dubbed the ‘Modern Miltant. Who now earns £100,000 for a three-day week as head of the election quango.

Left wing campaigner? Because she used to work at liberty and Victim support? Because she used to chair the all party Fawcett Society? No because in the late 1990s she used to be campaigns manager for Charter 88. I imagine the Bob Nudd reds and trots under the beds brigade are fuming at that. The mail even quoted an example of her militancy

The House of Lords is a relic’

Err who is proposing to reform the House of Lords now Mr Cameron. In another SPAD fed story in 2010 the Daily Mail using the well known subtlety of phrasing of our favourite SPAD said

Eric Pickles fires the left-wing quango queen

Regarding her audit commission post, a failure to renew her contract led officials to seek legal advice. With FOI requests on instructions to lawyers blocked on fears of defamation one can only speculate if wording along the lines of ‘how can we fire that leftie bitch’ was used by ministers.

Our SPAD did not fail to add that she lives with Andrew Puddephatt labour leader of Hackney Council, even giving the price of the house they live in.

This week the briefing has begun again, but it is clear this isn’t just wayward SPADs – it goes all the way to the top.

Lets hope the speakers panel does not fall for this craven attempt to take over the electoral commission with a place man – we know Cameron’s attitude to women in public life.  Stay at Home dears.  Somehow I think the speaker knows who his friends are.

Why Credit Doesn’t Rise Forever? – The Limits of the Physical Economy

In recent years their has been a revival of the Credit theory of the business cycle.  Pre-war it almost became mainstream – especially amongst Hawtry and his followers, such as those around the ‘old’ Chicago School such as Lauchlin Currie.  Put very crudely growth is fulled by a net growth in credit and recession by its net contraction.  When recession triggers negative balance sheets as opposed to just lower profits we have the worse condition of debt deflation and what today we call balance sheet recessions.

Recently these ideas have been revived and updated, via the ideas of Minsky – influencing figures such as Koo, Werner, Keen, Hudson and so on – and it seemed to fit perfectly the boom and bust before and after 2007.

But there is a problem if this is incorrectly treated as a ‘pure’ monetary theory of the business cycle.  Why cannot debt keep growing upwards forever? – after all if growth in debt fuels aggregate demand (the modern idea of credit impulse/accelerator – though an earlier non mathematical version of it was set out by Hawtry) then it can in theory grow exponentially to the sky even with Minskyian ‘ponzi’ investors; so what triggers the inability to service debt and/or a fall in profits?

The problem of course is we dont live in a purely monetary economy, the matching side of the monetary circuit is the circuit in sales and production of goods and services, the real economy.

The beginning of the Great Depression is more complicated than the crash of 2007/8.  Then we didnt have such an integrated economy, not even nationally within the United States.  That meant when you had a crash many areas and people were not touched and hot money simply flowed to the next boom/bust until their was nowhere left to go.

So the Florida Housing crash of 1926 led to the ruin of many but simply a transfer to other property and stock booms, to the extent that by 1928 empty unfinished subdivisions were a national phenomenon, as suburbanisation slowed car company stocks and utility companies took a big hit in 1929 – and we all know what happened then.  Oddly hardly any economic historians (with the exception of Kindleberger of course) asks the question of what triggered this fall in car manufacturer stock and utility stock (some even call it a mystery!) and actually what was happening in American towns and cities in the run up to the Wall Street crash.

But what was it that triggered the 1926 Florida Housing Crash?

The definitive first hand account of this is Only Yesterday by Frederick Lewis Allen in 1931.  It is a social history of the 1920s with a chapter on the Florida Boom, which reads in many ways like it was written about Miami 2005 as much as 1925.  You can read it on Project Gutenberg here.  Reading it again last night it struck me how it showed a classic case study of how physical limits of expansion of production can halt a credit boom in its tracks.

A credit boom depended on the continuation of production of things to spend credit on.  If that slows you get a surplus of inventory over product, and if highly leveraged inventory cannot be sold you cannot cover your debts (see my previous article on Homer Hoyts theory of the cycle on this point), you have to sell and this drives prices down, so a bubble spent on ever rising price expectations is popped, more fool the greater fool.

There was nothing languorous about the atmosphere of tropical Miami during that memorable summer and autumn of 1925. The whole city had become one frenzied real-estate exchange. There were said to be 2,000 real-estate offices and 25,000 agents marketing house-lots or acreage. The shirt-sleeved crowds hurrying to and fro under the widely advertised Florida sun talked of binders and options and water-frontages and hundred-thousand-dollar profits; the city fathers had been forced to pass an ordinance forbidding the sale of property in the street, or even the showing of a map, to prevent inordinate traffic congestion. … Hotels were overcrowded. People were sleeping wherever they could lay their heads, in station waiting-rooms or in automobiles. The railroads had been forced to place an embargo on imperishable freight in order to avert the danger of famine; building materials were now being imported by water and the harbor bristled with shipping.

So the import of building materials had to be restricted in Florida to prevent mass starvation.  You can imagine what impact this had on building.

At the height of the fury of building a visitor to West Palm Beach noticed a large vacant lot almost completely covered with bathtubs. The tubs had apparently been there some time; the crates which surrounded them were well weathered. The lot, he was informed, was to be the site of “One of the most magnificent apartment buildings in the South”–but the freight embargo had held up the contractor’s building material and only the bathtubs had arrived!

So use Miami Harbour to import building materials instead right? The coup-de-gras was cause by the schooner Prinz Valdemar which sank in the mouth of the turning basin of Miami harbor on January 10, 1926, on its way to becoming a floating hotel.

The other aspect of a blockage in production is that with fewer goods on the market you get speculation which further drives up prices and further extension of credit to fund that speculation. But the longer the physical blockage exists the more indebted asset speculators become, and when their balance sheets hit negative they may be forced to sell or default on a purchase with the assett reverting to the previous owner.

It began obviously to collapse in the spring and summer of 1926. People who held binders and had failed to get rid of them were defaulting right and left on their payments. One man who had sold acreage early in 1925 for twelve dollars an acre, and had cursed himself for his stupidity when it was resold later in the year for seventeen dollars, and then thirty dollars, and finally sixty dollars an acre, was surprised a year or two afterward to find that the entire series of subsequent purchases was in default, that he could not recover the money still due him, and that his only redress was to take his land back again. There were cases in which the land not only came back to the original owner, but came back burdened with taxes and assessments which amounted to more than the cash he had received for it; and furthermore he found his land blighted with a half-completed development.

When the rate of distressed assets coming to market outweighs the production blockage shortage then the opportunity for speculative arbitrage goes and ponzi speculative debtors are in deep trouble, as are the banks that leant to them.

As we keep stressing on this blog housing and land is a particularly important potential production blockage in capitalism because of course ‘they arnt making any more of it’.

As an urban planner one thing I do thank the Florida Boom for is the many supurb Garden City plans of John Nolen, after his friend and mentor Unwin the greatest planner.

Any Areas left Still Relying on Town or County Maps?

I thought that England had 100% coverage of post 68/72 Act Local Plans.  I seem to remember a Planning Story relating to the last piece in the jigsaw from adoption of a local plan in the South West somewhere around 2008.  But no the York Core Startegy EiP has highlighted how it never got around to adopting its 1998 Local Plan depiste 4 sets of amendments till 2006 when it gave up in favour of a core strategy.  So when the Yorks and Humber RSS is revoked the only development plan will be a 1956 Town/County Map!

I can remember quoting the Middlesex County Map when I began my planning career in England in 1989 but I thought those days were long gone.

So a competition, anywhere else with an older development plan or still having a pre 68 Act plan as part of their development plan?


Laing’s Bosses House Demolition Plan hits National Press ‘ But ‘Virtually Identical’!

The Story we covered yesterday about the proposed demolition of a fine Arts and Crats House in Essex by Laing’s boss has been picked up by the Daily Mail

The 65-year-old boss of Laing O’Rourke, Europe’s biggest privately owned construction firm, wants to tear down his beautiful £7million mansion in Essex.

The decision has left locals up in arms – but not because he wants to replace Fairwinds with a modern monstrosity. Instead, he plans to swap it for something that appears almost identical.

No it would be replacing a house in the arts and crats idoim of Ballie Scott with one in the idiom of Lutchens, but with a really badly designed roof & fenestration and fake chimneys.  The architect should perhaps study the designs of Lutchens Bespoke, an arm of Tillingbourne Homes, to discover how to do it properly, on others sites not this of course.

How to do a Modern Arts and Crafts House Properly, Echo Heights Guildford by Tillingbourne Homes, complete with Owl Box