Key #NPPF 5 year Supply Appeal – 25 Year Supply and Still Loses, A Key Tactical Error by East Devon


Land east of Butts Road, Higher Ridgeway, Ottery St. Mary, Devon, EX11 1EP.  East Devon 130 dwellings.

Some highlights

Unlike one of the reports that underpins the emerging LP and which, amongst other things, is cautious about the use of the 2008 DCLG projections, the evidence base to the draft RSS has been independently examined and is arguably more robust. para 11

The Council has calculated, under the SP requirements, that there is about a 5.7 years supply of housing land within the District. (About 27.5 years supply
in the ‘Rest of East Devon’ and about 3 years supply in the ‘West End’ [Cranbrook or at the PUA].) In contrast, the appellant has calculated that there is only about a 3.6 years district-wide supply. (para 15)

The clincher

The Council has estimated that 500 dwellings would be provided from [Proposed strategic allocations in the emerging LP]  including the recent schemes for the Island Farm site at Ottery St. Mary.  However, these sites do not have planning permission and are not available now. … the timing of the submission of some of these applications appears to be more than coincidental, given the date of the Inquiry into this appeal. … I recognise that much work has gone into the preparation of the emerging LP and that there is local support for the Island Farm allocation. However, the extent of this support and opposition to the allocations within the emerging LP will not be apparent until after the current ‘consultation stage’ has been completed. The principle of undertaking development on these sites has yet to be independently examined. Whilst that is a separate matter for another Inspector, it is by no means certain that the Plan would be adopted in its current form or that the emerging strategy will be found sound… The Council informed me that the emerging LP is not likely to be adopted until 2014 and accepts that at this stage it can only be given limited weight.

Moreover, many, if not all, of these allocated sites are subject to the same or similar housing/settlement policies as the appeal site. If the Council was to release these allocated sites now it would be tantamount to accepting that it did not have a five year supply of deliverable housing land. (p29-32)

And on the dissagregated approach

Under the Council’s disaggregated approach, the appeal site would fall within the ‘Rest of East Devon’. As I have noted above, within this part of the district
the supply of deliverable sites is very much greater than five years. I understand this approach is aimed at reflecting the spatial strategy which directs growth to different parts of the district. However, no development plan or national policies advocate such an approach.
The Council informed me that, if permitted, it would be “very difficult” to say that the appeal scheme would slow down the delivery of housing at Cranbrook.
Therefore, even if a disaggregated approach was adopted, there is no cogent evidence to show any harm. (P36)

A distinction can be made between where a plan diassgreates between different housing market areas within a plan area, which is supported by the NPPF, and as here where it dissagreates between the big lump and the rest within the same housing market areas, as here, on which subject the NPPF is silent.  Pragmatically though there will be cases (historically derived from regional strategies but now from first principles and the evidence base) where the needs of big town X (cases aplenty  can only be met adjoining big town x and not 20-30 miles away at the far end of the adjoining district.  The reverse case to that envisaged by the inspector, where shortfall in delivery at big town X is used to justify release at little town Y could cause harm by spreading too much development to unsustainable locations.  The risk then is that LPAs have to go to ridiculous lengths – such as here gathering 25 years supply in a dissaggreated area, to make up the difference.

Ottery St. Mary includes a wide range of services and facilities, including a hospital, schools, public transport and employment/business premises. …There is no cogent evidence to demonstrate that the appeal scheme would have any harmful implications for the spatial strategy (P38)

Paragraph 49 of ‘the Framework’ states that housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites. Given my findings above on this matter, the location of the appeal site outside the LP built-up-area boundary for the town is not a sound basis for withholding permission. I note that a similar approach was taken in two linked appeals in Gloucestershire in July 2012 (Refs. APP/G1630/A/11/2146206 and 2148635). (P40)

When all of the above matters are weighed, there is a compelling case for releasing this site for housing and there are no adverse impacts that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme. Whilst my findings will disappoint many residents, the evidence leads me to conclude that permission should not be withheld. The appeal should therefore succeed. (P73)

The key (classic) tactical error here was to attempt to puff up the 5 year supply by inviting applications which is tantamount to saying there is not a 5 year supply.  If East Devon has admitted it did not have a 5 year supply, invited applications on favoured sites and then swiftly approved them it would not have had a problem.  The appellant would be arguing its case at the forthcoming local plan EIP instead as its application would have been approved as the current local plan would not have been ruled out of date.

2008 HLF Spend 300K Refurbishing Historic Vicarage- 2013 Stoke Councillors allow its Demolition

Thanks to Shape the Place – A disgrace

BBC Staffs

Stoke-on-Trent councillors have backed plans to demolish a Victorian vicarage which once received lottery funding.

Ceramics firm Steelite International said it needed to knock down the Heaths building in Burslem, as part of plans for a £12m expansion of the factory.

More than 330 people had signed a petition calling for the 1858 building, which received Heritage Lottery funding in 2008, to be saved.

Council officers had recommended going ahead with the demolition.

In a report which went to Tuesday’s meeting of the city council’s development management committee, planners said the benefits of the plan outweighed any negative impact on the city’s heritage assets.

A total of £300,000 had been given by the Heritage Lottery Fund nearly five years ago to help refurbish the old vicarage in Newcastle Road.

Reyahn King, head of the fund in the West Midlands, said she was disappointed the building would be lost but understood the council had faced “a very tough decision”.

She added: “We would not want to stand in the way of the creation of much-needed new jobs for Stoke-on-Trent.

“We continue to believe that imaginative use of heritage can contribute towards the regeneration of Stoke and look forward to continuing our discussions with the council about its heritage strategy.”

As part of the factory’s expansion plans, seven empty terraced homes at the site will also be demolished.

The expanded factory is expected to create 230 jobs.

Joanne Hine, from Steelite, said she was “delighted” the planning consent had been granted and that work would start “very soon”



Sorry but we already know The Thunderbirds Remake will be naff

Bit off topic for this blog but some things make me so angry.  The news that the new Thunderbirds Series in 2015 will be made in half an hour episodes shown on the childrens channel.  Never has anything so wonderful emerged since from the Slough Trading Estate.

The key breakthrough with Thunderbirds was that unlike its supermarionation predecessors it was designed as a prime time show designed equally for adults as well as children.  It should be on on Saturday nights to compete with the equivalent of Dr Who and Merlin.

Secondly a key element of the success of the show was it lasted 50 minutes.  The pilot was only 25 but Lew Grade was so impressed with the pilot that he ordered it extended to 50 minutes to build dramatic tension.  This was a problem as half the series was in the can.  This forced a number of changes to pad the episodes out.  Very long opening and closing titles, extended sequences of the Tracy family entering the Thunderbird, of the pod being slid for TB2, and the famous launch sequence, the repetition of which children loved and looked forward to most.  It also required extended dialogue and much deeper characterisation than its predecessors.  Without these changes I don’t think TB would have been the success it was.  At 25 minutes there will not be time for any of this.

You could argue that modern audiences have lower attention spans and want faster editing.  I don’t buy that for a moment.  TB is famous for its slow editing which sucked kids in to its immersive world with its famous rolling road sequences of FAB1 etc.  Given that today both adults and kids can watch an entire box set in one afternoon I don’t buy there is no patience for anything other then bourne speed editing.

Of course some things need updating.  Only the design of TB2 is such a classic it can little be tampered with – reality in terms of the desig of super heavy lifters has now copied the TB designers.  Whilst retaining the dart design of TB1 it needs now to look like something made out of composites by Burt Rutan. TB3 was based on a Soyuz launch rocket and now needs to look like a single stage to orbit ramjet.  TB4 was always a naff design and too small, whilst TB5 is imply redundant  no need this day and age for someone to live in a communications satellite, so the remakers can be bold and redesign a new TB5 (probably road based, harsh environments).

More can be made of the Tracy family. Surely the world would be fascinated by how the worlds most famous astronaut and first man on Mars now is a recluse in the middle of the Pacific with his sons wasting their lives as playboys – boy if only they knew.  Also a sophisticated audience today would seek answers as to how the Tracy boys maintains their secret identities and how the TBs are secretly made and maintained (my guess robots).  The claw also needs to be fleshed out, his motivation to steal the TBs and do down international rescue needs to be stronger.  Perhaps he needs to be a thwarted extortionist or terrorist and he needs to have a supporting cast of thugs with their own high tech (im thinking about the toy market).

Lady Penelope also needs to be fleshed out as the real star of the show.  We no longer are so stuck with rigid puppets that all she could do is poor tea.  She can now be a posh superspy/agent that through her atlesticism (think Jennifer Ennis with Hing kong Martial arts skills) that she often saves the day. Indeed I will make her an Olympic Gold Medal winning modern pentathlete and role model to little girls everywhere but more than for just her taste in pink.

Compare and Contrast – Nick Boles and Baroness Hanham on Green Belt

Nick Boles

From commons questions last week esp:

 Mr Blunt: I want us to be clear on the starting position for the national Government, given that green belt is a national policy designed to protect us from the sprawl that would otherwise happen in terms of development. The Government start from the position that the green belt should be protected, and policies that lead to the green belt being encroached on violate that principal objective of Government policy.

Nick Boles: My hon. Friend is absolutely right that it is an absolutely core tenet of Government policy that the green belt should be protected. It is also an absolutely core tenet of Government policy that housing need should be met. That is why localism is difficult and not a free lunch for anybody—we are devolving the matter to local authorities, in their communities, to resolve that very difficult tension between competing policy demands.

30 Jan 2013 : Column 312WH

But then a few lines later

We as a Government cannot make the choices between these different priorities. All we ask the inspectorate to do, and all the inspectorate can do—I am grateful to my hon. Friend for pointing out that the inspectorate should not be blamed for this, because we make the policy and the inspectorate, like a judge, just tries to interpret that policy

And now Baroness Hanham qualifying Eric’s ‘sacrosanct’ comment – sorry I dont have Hansard link only Daily Telegraph

In comments that will concern home owners living in the countryside, Baroness Hanham, a communities minister, described the green belt as only “virtually sacrosanct”.

Lady Hanham said that the Government believes that affordable homes will now have to be built on green belt land.

She said that some of the land is not “absolutely brilliant” and should be for developments in order to avoid having to build in “real open space”.

“We have made it clear, in the National Planning Policy Framework, that the green belt is virtually sacrosanct, but we recognise that occasionally green belt land needs to be used for affordable housing, although that will need to be replaced,” Lady Hanham told the House of Lords.


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.”