@Andrew_Adonis Proposes Two New Towns East of London in Mayoral Bid, But London Needs 20

Evening Standard

Bold plans for a new town east of London, three new river crossings and a radical approach to developing the Thames Gateway are being unveiled tonight by a former Cabinet minister tipped to run for Mayor.

“London after Boris” will need fresh thinking to create the homes, amenities and jobs people need in a fast-growing world city, according to Lord Adonis.

“We need at least one new town, possibly more, within 60 or so miles of London,” he will say.

Calling for enough housing to enable the capital to grow by an extra 1.5 million people, the Labour peer will propose full-blooded new town status for Ebbsfleet and expansion at Basildon.

Ebbsfleet has already been earmarked as a new town but Lord Adonis will say the private sector is failing to make the investment needed and the Government should take over.

He will tell Vauxhall Labour Party that home building, at 18,000 completions last year, is less than half the 40,000 Boris Johnson proposed, and that the Tory Mayor has offered “waffle and inaction” instead of the three new Thames bridges or tunnels needed.

“London as a world city and a working city will not cope over the next 20 years unless we tackle the housing crisis successfully and build essential infrastructure with the same ambition as the Victorians,” Lord Adonis will say.

The ex-Blair education secretary and transport secretary is a policy adviser to Ed Miliband. Tonight’s lecture is being seen as his first attempt to set out his ideas for running London. Tessa Jowell, Sadiq Khan, David Lammy and Diane Abbott are also tipped to bid for Labour’s mayoral candidacy in 2016.

Those two locations will meet local growth needs only, much bigger options are needed to meet the shortfall in the London Plan review.  London is falling short of 22,000 houses per annum, by contrast Milton Keynes has never managed more than 650 even at the height of its growth.  A New Towns Programme bigger than that of the 1960s is needed for both Birmingham and London together with radical intensification, in areas such as the Upper LEa Valley with new tube lines to serve Vancouver like densities, as I suggested in my recent Guardian article.

Dawlish, The Prematurity Test, Neighbourhood Plans and Local Plans

Reading with interest the decision today on 350 homes at Dawlish, a recovered appeal which the SoS approved on 5 year supply grounds.

It is interesting because of the prematurity argument.   The Teignbridge plan has been submitted.  The Dawlish neighbourhood plan, which readers of this blog will know was never a Neighbourhood plan famously crashed and burned.

The emerging local plan and the abortive neighbourhood plan both proposed an urban extension west of Dawlish with employment land at the appeal site.  The argument was that a critical mass of housing was needed in the western urban extension to fund infrastructure and hence the eastern proposal – South of Shutterton – would prejudice this.

The SoS concludes

Although the appeal proposal would be contrary to the out of date LP, the Council
do not have a five year housing land supply so that, in accordance with the
provisions of the Framework, full weight can no longer be given to the policies of
that plan. Furthermore, although the appeal scheme would also conflict with
policies in the eLP, that has not been subjected to independent examination and
so is likely to be subject to change. The appeal scheme represents sustainable
development which would make a significant contribution towards addressing the
undersupply of housing, including affordable housing, in the District.

The inspectors report stressed why the inspector did not think the prematourity principles in the extant ‘Planning System General Principles’ applied.

12.54 The Planning System: General Principles provides advice on the circumstances
in which it may be justifiable to refuse planning permission on grounds of
prematurity where an emerging Plan is being prepared, but has not yet been
adopted. Generally, these are restricted to where a proposal is so substantial,
or where the cumulative effect would be so significant, that granting
permission would prejudice the eLP by predetermining decisions about the
scale, location or phasing of new development which are being addressed in its
emerging Policies.
12.55 In this case, there is evidence to suggest that the housing requirement for
Teignbridge is higher than the SHMA 2012 figure used to inform the current
eLP housing allocations [12.18 – 12.19]. Further, my conclusions on the District’s
housing supply position indicate that even if planning permission were to be
granted for 350 houses on the appeal site, there would still be a substantial
shortfall against the five-year housing requirement [12.32]. That being the
case, there is no certainty that granting permission for the current proposal
would necessarily lead to a consequent reduction in the amount of housing
allocated on the site at Secmaton Lane, such as might prejudice the viability of
the proposed new infrastructure

The SoS concluded

However, having given careful consideration to
the Inspector’s discussion and reasoning at IR12.48-12.57, the Secretary of State
agrees with her conclusion at IR12.57 that only limited weight should be attached
to the possibility that permitting the currently proposed development might
undermine the eLP strategy for the sustainable growth of Dawlish.

Now of course a submitted plan has less weight that an adopted plan, but there would be no need for policy in prematurity at all if this were not the case, and the fact that current and proposed policy in prematurity both say that if tests are met this can be a reason for refusal does not mean that submitted plans have only limited weight.  Rather critical to the SoS and Inspectors reasoning was the view that Teignbridge had pitched its housing numbers too low.  Indeed we have covered on this blog before the spellblinding incompetence of local Councillors in not accepting expert evidence and cackhandledly rewriting the SHMA with home brewed numbers reducing housing numbers by 32%.

If Teignbridge had not sought to fix down its housing numbers and it it submitted its neighbourhood plan (once the regs had been published) and its local plan in loine with this my guess is they would have won the appeal.

How easily the flagship neighbourhood plan falls.