More Daft Slightly Damp Fields Photos

Ive noticied a new spate of photos purporting to show the ‘dangers of flooding’ by campaign group;s where the flooding in question is nothing  more that a slight dampness that wouldnt even top my three year old daughters micro wellies.  You will recall the previous post- its just a puddle, this is quite the worst reason to object as pretty much any lowland arable field will flood after very heavy rains and the fact it holds water is actually a good sign as if it all ran off to watercourses we would have flash flooding of Phillipines type proportions.

My favorite new slightly damp fields from No to Pontesland in Northumbria.   Please send in your favorities and stick to the real issues.

Rushcliffe Inspector May Force Green Belt Review

Yet another lesson to Local Planning Authorities who expect to get away with low housing targets, and if they are Green Belt Authorities, a Green Belt Review.

The Rushcliffe (on the edge of Nottingham) Inspector has issued an exploratory letter which looks like the local plan inquiry wont’t get past first base and much further work is required.  essential reading to St Albans cllrs and many others as their inspector will say very much the same.

The Council has said:

‘The Planning Inspector is concerned that the 9,600 homes planned fall short of the 13,400 homes still required by the East Midlands Regional Plan – a policy the Government vowed to abolish when it was elected in 2010 and which the Council had hoped would have gone by now.

The Inspector has also requested further evidence from the Council to justify how the plan meets Rushcliffe’s housing needs.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Neil Clarke said: “We are obviously disappointed by the Planning Inspector’s remarks but later this week we will be providing a robust response to the comments she has made. Unfortunately, the fact that the Regional Plan has not yet been abolished is a huge frustration for us as we want to ensure we play our part to help the economy grow and to provide for the future needs of our residents. We may now have to withdraw our plan and accept some delay whilst the Government completes the lengthy process of abolishing the ridiculous and unjustified housing targets imposed by the Regional Plan.

I am extremely concerned and angry that if the Inspector doesn’t feel that we have provided for enough housing to meet the need, then we will be forced, against our residents wishes to undertake the very difficult task of allocating more land, which will probably have to be in the greenbelt. This is exactly the scenario councillors have been fighting to avoid for many years. [By proposing unreaslistic levels of housing of course].

The Inspector concluded in her note:

With reference to housing, paragraph 47 of the {NPP] Framework begins by stating that local planning authorities should “boost significantly the supply of housing”. They should use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing.

I am aware that the target to satisfy local housing need for Rushcliffe alone is likely to be less than the target which would best
contribute to help meet the overall needs of Greater Nottingham. I am not satisfied, however, that it would be consistent with national policy for Rushcliffe to plan in isolation. The neighbouring City of Nottingham is already heavily built up and its boundaries are constrained. Given the Framework‟s emphasis on planning strategically across local boundaries (see paragraphs 178-181), the issue – should Rushcliffe help to meet the needs of Nottingham City? – is not one that the Core Strategy can sidestep

And again Sta Albans and other authorities (50 or 60 of which are in the same position).

The brief explanation in the Introduction to the Core Strategy of the change with the “Fresh Approach” suggests that it is guided by concerns over deliverability and capacity rather than by meeting need. The Council should explain what it considers to be the objectively assessed level of housing need clearly, and demonstrate how this can be met in full. There should be an audit trail of evidence to indicate how the housing policy and numbers have been derived.

Policy 2 of the Core Strategy identifies two sustainable urban extensions, but these would provide fewer new homes for the PUA (3,700) than is planned for the rural parts of the Borough (5,000). The Core Strategy does not seem to accord with the priority to extending the PUAwhich is sought by the RS, nor that was promoted in the Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategies Option for Consultation, 2010 [CD11].
That envisaged two urban extensions in Rushcliffe each providing 4,200 new homes….

A representor contends that the Council has not carried out appropriate public consultation, by failing to put directly to the public the proposition that the Plan should not meet its objectively assessed full need for new housing, and explaining the implications of so doing. It is alleged by many that some consultation events were held after the Full Borough Council meeting in December 2011 had approved the Core Strategy. These are serious criticisms of the consultation process. [Its not just a criticism its unlwaful to submit a plan whilst consultation is ongoing].

Policy 3 of the Core Strategy and the supporting text imply that revisions or review of Green Belt boundaries are taking place on an ongoing basis. However, given the strategic nature of Green Belts, they  should be established in Local Plans and only altered in exceptional circumstances (p83 of the Framework). Hence, a Green Belt Review if necessary should have taken place as the Core Strategy was being prepared and before it was finalised and submitted…The Green Belt should not be reviewed on an ad hoc basis through future DPDs.

The inspector follows the approach to the Duty to Cooperate as first suggested on this blog and now widely adopted.

The Localism Act 2011 introduced the duty to co-operate and engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis in the preparation of Local Plans. Its section 110 amended section 33 in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The Duty is referenced in the Framework from paragraph 178 onwards. There are arguably two aspects to it ie.
1) Duty To Co-operate – the s33A legal test is a ‘process’ preparation test. The duty is incapable of modification at an
Examination. Therefore, this is one of the first things that have to be examined because, if the legal requirement is not fulfilled, then
there is no choice for the Inspector other than to recommend nonadoption of the Plan; and
2) Collaborative Joint Working – an aspect of soundness. It is primarily concerned with the ‘positively prepared’ and ‘effectiveness’ soundness criteria mentioned in paragraph 182. This is an ‘outcome’ of the delivery test.
Thus it would be possible to pass the s33A legal test (have talked but disagreed), but fail the later tougher soundness test (because of the disagreement).

In the case of Rushcliffe, the Council has prepared a Duty to Cooperate compliance statement [BD27], which arguably meets the s33A legal process test. However, the representations on the Publication Version of the Core Strategy include ones from Derbyshire County Council, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire Council, Broxtowe Borough Council, Ashfield District Council and Gedling Borough Council. These are all critical of the Plan‟s housing policy, pointing out that Rushcliffe‟s housing figures were not produced in co-operation with other neighbouring authorities. They would result in a reduction of some 4,000 new homes from figures agreed earlier, with insufficient evidence in the Plan to support the proposed provision or to suggest that meeting the needs of neighbouring authorities is unreasonable.