Inside Housing – On the End of the #NPPF Transition and Lack of Plans

Inside Housing – another article on this not reading the relevant NPPF para

More than half the councils in England will be powerless to oppose unwanted development unless they sign off updated local plans within the next two months.

 Data held by the government’s Planning Inspectorate and exclusively obtained by Inside Housing, reveals that 185 councils have not yet adopted an updated local plan, despite having to comply with the new planning regime by 1 April.

Of those, 104 have not updated their plans since 2010 and have not yet produced a plan which is publicly available.

Planning authorities were given a year’s grace period after the publication of the government’s controversial national planning policy framework in March 2012 to adjust current plans so that they are in ‘complete conformity’ with the new policy.

The updated local plans must be drawn up by 342 authorities in England to show where development should take place to cope with predicted increases in population.

The NPPF stipulates that authorities that do not have an up-to-date plan will be subject to a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’, which means the default answer to development is ‘yes’, unless the local plan specifically protects the site in question.

Plans must be published, consulted on, submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and approved before they can be adopted. The process typically takes around a year.

Richard Ford, partner at law firm Pinsent Mason, said: ‘It means local authorities will find it very difficult to refuse planning applications.

‘Until a local plan has been submitted, local planning authorities can expect planning inspectors to give their emerging strategy very little weight and with the transition period expiring they will be significantly more exposed to the presumption in favour of sustainable development rather than their preferred local plan.’

Malcolm Sharp, president of the Planning Officers Society, said a year’s transition period was not long enough to complete the local plan process. ‘Planning authorities are being asked to do local plans, support neighbourhoods, put the community infrastructure levy in place and negotiate infrastructure delivery – it’s a big ask on them to keep all the balls in the air.’

Leslie Caborn, deputy leader of Warwick Council, which has not yet consulted on a new plan because drawing it up took several months, said developers are trying to take advantage of the regime. ‘Some [planning] applications are trying to pre-empt the plan, some aren’t,’ she said.

‘We’re having a formal consultation on our local plan in June, and the planning committee and officers are doing a good job of defending Warwick until then by arguing the case for what the council and local people want.’

Cornwall Votes to Undershoot Housing Need in Local Plan

BBC Cornwall – oh dear, oh dear , oh dear

Nearly 40,000 homes are to be built in Cornwall over the next 20 years, under revised plans unveiled by the county council’s planners.

An earlier plan to build 45,000 new homes was reduced by the authority’s planning advisory panel.

It claims the government could impose a figure for new home-build if they did not come up with a realistic target.

But opponents claim building so many homes would “dilute” the quality of life in the county.

The new figure of 38,000 will need to be ratified by the full council at a meeting on 12 February.

The authority’s planning advisory panel said such a figure would help restrict “out-of-control development” and give communities “breathing space”.

A meeting at County Hall on Thursday was lobbied by about 50 protesters from the campaign group Our Cornwall and members of the public.

‘Enough is enough’

Prior to the meeting Mark Kaczmarek, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “We need housing in Cornwall and 45,000 is the lowest minimum I think we can go for.

“If we don’t go for a figure that is realistic then the government will make that decision for us.”

But an opponent of the plans and cabinet member for transport, Bert Biscoe said: “It seems to me that we’ve had a trend of building and building and building.

“At some point you’ve got to say ‘enough is enough’.”

Dick Cole, chair of the planning advisory panel, said he believed a figure “of around 38,000 is right”.

Jean Sharman from the Trelawney Alliance said some 10,000 fewer homes would be sufficient.

“The Homechoice register – a register to apply for social housing vacancies and affordable housing in Cornwall – is fundamentally floored, with 56% of those on the register already housed within adequate living conditions,” she said.

“They do not need to move, they would just like to live somewhere else,” added Ms Sharman.

NHBC Research on Barriers to Passivhaus Adoption

24 Dash

Ultra-low energy Passivhaus homes must overcome “major obstacles” if they are to take of in the UK, according to new research from the NHBC Foundation.

The findings reveal that a more rigorous approach to quality assurance, higher compliance standards and the extra costs associated with building the German-developed homes need to be developed.

The NHBC Foundation report ‘Lessons from Germany’s Passivhaus experience’ key findings include:

• The Passivhaus standard is a viable means of delivering low carbon housing and the vast majority of people (92 percent) who live in these homes are pleased with them.
• A significant factor in the uptake of Passivhaus in Germany has been the availability of reduced interest rate loans and grants. Just one such loan scheme is available in the UK and no capital grants are available for energy efficient new build projects in the UK.
• The German population has a stronger interest in the environment and a general enthusiasm for higher specification products.
• Passivhaus homes in the UK have to verify compliance with building regulations as well as the high Passivhaus standard. In Germany the Passivhaus certification automatically confirms compliance with building regulations.

Last year, there were 165 Passivhaus buildings completed or under construction in the UK, but this is reportedly likely to treble to around 500 by the end of 2013. Worldwide, around 37,000 Passivhaus buildings have been constructed.

Neil Smith, Group Research and Innovation Manager at the NHBC, said: “Passivhaus is still in its infancy in the UK, but it is clear that there are major issues that need to be overcome if the Passivhaus standard is to take off in the UK.

“The popularity of Passivhaus in Germany has been largely due to a combination of social, political and financial circumstances that are specific to that nation.

“There are lessons that we in the UK can learn from the attention to detail inherent in the Passivhaus approach in the run up to the Government’s 2016 zero carbon homes target. But it is questionable whether Passivhaus is a realistic solution for the volume market at present.”