Boles Admits that with #NPPF there is ‘nothing in place to protect [villages] from unwanted developments.”

Telegraph – what an admission.  Now stand up and say that in Parliament and see how long you stay minister.  Contrast this with specious lies from Greg Clarke who at l;east pretended that the NPPF would give some protection.

The planning minister has been urged to apologise to a Conservative member of parliament for “costing him his seat” at the next general election.

Nick Boles was told by a life-long Conservative voter that Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud in Gloucestershire, would lose his seat in a backlash against the Government planning reforms.

Many Conservative MPs in rural marginal seats fear they could be punished by voters angered by the loosening of planning restrictions.

Mr Boles was addressing a public meeting at Leonard Stanley Village Hall when he was confronted by Jolyon Neely, a resident, who said Mr Boles had cost the Tories the chance of re-election.

He said: “Are you going to apologise to Mr Carmicahel and other Conservative MPs across the country that hold marginal seats? I have voted Conservative my whole life but I will not be doing so next year.”

Residents in the area recently successfully fought off an application for 150 homes on a green field between two villages. The developer has appealed.

Because the area has not adopted a local plan for housing development as required by the new planning rules, there are fears the Planning Inspectorate will rule in favour of the developers.

Mr Boles said: “The whole point of the Government’s planning policy is for every area to draw up a local plan to ensure that the needs of the local area are met.”

“When communities are left without a local plan that is when the problems arise as there is nothing in place to protect them from unwanted developments.”

He rules out allowing local areas to “pause” housing developments until local plans are put in place, saying it will result in little house building.



Boles Just Doesn’t Get Why Custom Build Works on the Continent

Re his well flagged speech today – surely written for him by Alex Morton.

They don’t get why for example France and Germany manage to build around twice as many houses per capita than we do as why custom build in these countries is around 5 times larger pro-rata, hence the solution (privatize local authority landbanks) is precisely the opposite of what needs to be done.

There are two reasons for their success:

1.  They have a zoning and subdivision based system with development control as an adjunct 

We have the opposite with ‘plan led’ now an historic term.  The reasons why custom build is a success here and in Canada and globally is primarily because of the zoning and subdivision system rather than custom build per se which only has a secondary impact.  Once land is zoned and a masterplan approved to subdivide it (Boles seems to not know this is always needed even in the worst third world planning regimes to below which the UK system has now regressed).  It is the zoning and subdivision based system which causes the larger number of completions as land is broken up into smaller parcels according to demand and therefore smaller builders (including but not necessarily custom build) can respond, and larger developers have the confidence they need to raise development finance without having to design every last thing first.  Boles and Morton have confused cause and effect, custom build is the consequence of the planning system, a system which can scale much better than our own, not a cause in itself.

2.  Public Agencies Buys Land at Existing land use value, approve master plans  then sell plots off with agreed build programmes

Rather than selling off what little it has at a loss which is Boles and Morton’s proposal.  They just don’t get it.  Read the excellent recent KPMG report for Shelter The Homes We need international best practice in land assembly for housing – which the world copied from development corporations and Garden Cities in England – which we then forgot about.

A quote

the dutch government’s vIneX programme, which started in the 1990s and lasted over 15 years, took an ‘active land’ approach to the development of 90 urban extensions.122 operating under a national spatial framework that identified towns for growth, local authorities formed development corporations, often
as joint venture partnerships with private investors or developers. these corporations took the lead on assembling new sites, while central government and a municipal bank provided funding to make land purchases and decontaminate brownfield land. the basic principle was that by acquiring land at or close to its existing use value (typically agricultural value) the development corporation could use the value uplift resulting from planning permission to fund the necessary infrastructure such as roads, schools and food defenses. the development corporation would then prepare the master plan for the area before selling plots to developers and custom builders.

Similar in France, Germany etc. etc.  So why dont they get it?  Too communitarian and interventionist for their ideology I think.  A plan from half baked lapped up by half brain.

Note:  I refuse on principle to use the ridiculous term ‘development management’ which in every other country in the world means management of the development process.


Harrogate News – Fears over planning ‘free for all’ as Sites DPD withdrawn

Harrogate News – I cannot see why Harrogate simply did not transmute theior DPD into a startegic sites DPD solely allocating the startegic urban extensions.  Then a revised startegy and fuller site allocations could have followed. There is no requirement for an allocations DPD to be comprehensive- after all we have neighborhood plans don’t we?.

Following comment from the Secretary of State’s Planning Inspector, Planning Officers will be recommending to a full meeting of Harrogate Borough Council that the Sites and Policies Development Plan Document (DPD) should be withdrawn.

The Harrogate District Core Strategy was adopted in February 2009. It sets out a vision for what the district should be like by the year 2021 and provides strategic planning policies for the development and conservation of the district during that period. To enable the continuous delivery of housing for at least 15 years from adoption, the Core Strategy plans for new housing up to 2023/24.

The Sites and Policies DPD, seeks to deliver the strategic planning policies of the Core Strategy on the ground. It seeks to achieve this through the identification of individual parcels of land for new development, the protection of the countryside and important environmental and historic features and the setting out of policies against which planning applications for development and change of use will be assessed. This DPD comprises a written statement of its policies and their justification, and a map illustrating, where appropriate, where these policies will apply.

Together, the Core Strategy and the Sites and Policies DPD will be called the Harrogate District Local Plan and form part of the development plan for the district.

In November 2013 Harrogate Borough Council submitted the Sites and Policies DPD to the Secretary of State for public examination. The Inspector appointed to examine the plan opened the hearing sessions on 23 April 2014.

At this session, the Inspector raised concerns in respect of the evidence to support employment land allocations and housing provision. Sites and Policies DPD hearing sessions on 29 April to 1 May were therefore postponed in order that the Inspector could provide the council with a letter outlining his concerns in more detail.

The inspector raised concerns in two main areas:

  1. The plan proposed building 390 houses per year, this is far below the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) of 1,086 houses.
  2. The NPPF also says that that he Local Plan should be based on adequate, up to date and relevant evidence about the economic social and environmental characteristics and prospects of the area. The Harrogate Borough Employment Land Review 2006 (LCD47) has been used. This document was the evidence base for the Core Strategy (2009). This Employment Land Review was produced in a very different national, regional and local policy context. Importantly, the background data on which it was based dates back to at least 2002. The inspector commented that much has changed since this data was collated.

 Dave Allenby, Harrogate Borough Council’s Head of Planning and Development said: We have now had sight of the Planning Inspector’s letter and it is clear from his concluding remarks that the concerns that he has raised go to the heart of the document and resolution of these issues within the timeframe of an Examination will not be possible. The council will now need to prepare a new plan that looks at the possibility of accommodating a significant increase in housing and employment growth if the concerns expressed by the Inspector are to be addressed.

Between the adoption of the Core Strategy and the submission for examination of the Sites and Policies DPD, the government has introduced significant changes to the planning system and to national planning policy. As a result, the Inspector needs to be satisfied that the plan has been prepared on the basis of a strategy which seeks to meet the district’s full objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements. These changes have resulted in a number of local authorities up and down the country facing some very difficult decisions in respect of the plans that they are preparing. Clearly the decision to recommend that the plan is withdrawn is disappointing as this has been a plan in the making for a number of years and has been produced following extensive consultation with the local community.

A decision on whether to withdraw the Sites and Policies DPD will be made by an extraordinary meeting of the full council, currently envisaged to take place on Wednesday 14 May 2014.

Cllr Helen Flynn, Lib Dem Shadow Member for Finance & Resources at HBC said: Even though the Lib Dem Group could see this coming, and have objected to the Local Plan on strategy grounds from the first, I must admit this comes as a severe blow to all who live in the District. This plan was six years in the making, so it really does beggar belief that this has happened. The fact that we now effectively have a developers’ “free-for-all” as we do not have an adopted plan, I know is of great concern to many residents of the Borough. At the Extraordinary Council Meeting on 14 May, we will be asking how much this fiasco has cost the local taxpayers and how those who are accountable should act in this matter. We shall also be pressing that the new plan takes seriously, and as it basis, our alternative strategy for a new ECO town or village, near the A1 and rail infrastructure.

Daily Mail – Boles to Announce ‘Right to Build’

Daily Mail – This story begs a lot of questions.  Many councils do not own a lot of land any more.  In rural areas where the pressure is the County Councils are the big landowners.  In London and other high value areas councils are already scraping the barrel with land sales.  What if a council has knocked down an estate to redevelop it high density, what if it wants to build a new school.  Will it have to sell off its parks!  After all there is no statutory duty to provide parks.  In urban areas a single custom build plot would be woefully underused for a single unit.  Would the HCA be then masterplanning the sites it vests or would it just subdivide them crudely up and flog them on like some gangster politician on the edge of Lagos who has seized land from the local Municipality.    Yet again it shows that development control is no substitute for development planning and masterplanning and that half baked Policy Exchange ideas fall part in practice.   It would make much more sense for the HCA to buy up land without permission at existing use values – err what is that called – Garden Cities wasn’t it.  After all globally custom build often plays a big role in new Garden Cities.

Councils will have to make land available for people to their build their own homes, the Conservatives will announce this week.

Controversial planning minister Nick Boles will unveil a new ‘Right to Build’ scheme to allow people who have lived in a local for area for three years to buy vacant land.

The local authority would have to meet their demand, and supply water, energy and other services to the property, under the radical plan to boost levels of homebuilding.

Mr Boles denied these buildings would resemble the ambitious and vastly expensive projects which feature on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, saying self-building is an affordable option.

He said the policy would be approved before the next election, but would then be a key part of a second Conservative government if his party wins.

George Osborne indicated in the Budget that there would be support for self-builders, saying £150million had been set aside to help the first wave of councils sell 10,000 plots.

But it is hoped this will be extended to hundreds of thousands of people and the cash councils earn from selling the land could be ploughed back into developing new areas for home-building.

Mr Boles has already angered countryside campaigners by claiming an area the size of London needs to be made into new homes and his attempt to tear up planning rules on extensions.

He is likely to encounter further opposition from traditionalists as it emerged that councils which do not sell off land could have it seized by the government’s Homes and Communities Agency, which will administer the home-building scheme.

Minister are under pressure to build more than 200,000 homes a year to keep up with the growing and ageing population, and years of failure to build enough houses.

Mr Boles said should be enough plots for another 100,000 homes by 2015, and said the scheme would generate the same ‘electric shock to the system’ as Right to Buy, Margaret Thatcher’s flagship policy allowing tenants to buy their council houses, did in the 1980s.

Britain is well behind other countries in self-building, with just 10,000 constructed every year, compared with around 60pc of all home in Germany France and Italy.

 George Osborne indicated in the Budget there would be support for self-builders, saying £150million had been set aside to help the first wave of councils sell 10,000 plots (library image)

 Mr Boles said in an interview with the Sunday Times: ‘I hope 50,000 a year are going to councils to demand this. The councils will have a legal duty to provide them with a site.

‘Giving council tenants the right to buy their houses and flats….created a vast new army of people with a stake in their community, and a valuable asset to leave to their children.’

The policy, which will be announced at an event on Tuesday, is not just for the well-off, he said. ‘Grand Designs makes it seem like self-build is for retired people or people who want to build an amazing house out of goat hair’, he said. ‘But this is an affordable option’.

Surveys suggest millions of people want to build their own homes. An individual or small group of people would team up with small building firms to build homes at a lower cost than those offered by the construction giants, he said. ‘This doesn’t mean spending the weekends laying the bricks yourself but you get the same house for much less money’.

According to the National Self-Build Association, most people spent £100,000 to £150,000 building their own home, excluding the land cost, which is around 25pc cheaper than buying an identical property.


Rent Regulation – Not Venuzuela – but UAE

The National 

Imagine a country in which rents are negotiated annually, price rises are capped based on a benchmark approved by the government, and landlords must specify three months in advance if they plan to evict tenants.

Until recently, Abu Dhabi’s residents had rent increases capped at 5 per cent, while Dubai’s tenants have rises tied to Rera’s baroque online calculation system. Landlords and tenants are not allowed to change contractual terms at will — lengthy notice periods with written letters in triplicate are usually required for either party to do anything at all.

Of course, there are a few differences. Under Labour’s plans, contracts by default would be established for three years. And letting agents would be unable to charge fees simply for signing a tenancy agreement. That’s a far cry from the obligatory 5 per cent fee most Abu Dhabi residents pay just for handing in their paperwork.

UAE government officials are fond of saying that the country has a free market economy. This isn’t quite right, but that’s no bad thing. The Government, through developers such as Aldar and Nakheel, is responsible for almost all of the construction of residential housing stock in the country — it sets supply.

The UAE is far from alone. Governments across the 20th century sought to intervene in housing markets, and for good reason.

Housing is not like any other consumption good — the housing stock is of macroeconomic importance. Owners use housing both as a store of savings and as an investment good that yields revenues over an extended period of time. As Thomas Piketty shows in his recent book Capital in the 21st Century, these rentier incomes are far from insignificant. On average, they constitute about a quarter of national income in developed countries.

The dynamics of a local rental market have a significant effect on a city’s vibrancy. The price of residential housing stock affects the rate and composition of immigration and the level of expenditure that a workforce can sustain. Obviously the price of commercial buildings filters through to firms’ bottom lines: when rents are cheap, corner shops flourish.

Rent caps have their drawbacks. They redistribute welfare from landlords to tenants. Keeping residential rents low incentivises owners to become commercial landlords or to use the property themselves instead of renting. This can shrink the stock of available rental housing, increasing capacity constraints. And why should a landlord improve a property if he or she can only raise its price by 5 per cent? Inflation and upkeep costs will eat into the potential to profit from improvements, while revenue gains are limited. The housing stock may deteriorate.

But rent controls also help people on lower incomes deal with the cost of living and improve cities’ competitiveness as destinations for price-sensitive migrant workers.

Expensive housing tends to concentrate property ownership in the hands of the rich. Credit constraints and a paucity of savings reduces the flow of new buyers and cements the position of existing owners — whose incomes from capital can quickly outstrip those of renters. Ignoring who owns what is to turn a blind eye to redistribution from workers to rentiers.

And, of course, shelter is a basic human need.

London, Dubai and Abu Dhabi each have different property markets. Rent rises in the UAE appear to be outstripping those in London — if JLL and Cluttons are right — but each city has similar issues. Prices are rising as financial inflows and in-migration bid up the price of all segments of the housing market. Rising rents squeeze tenants’ livelihoods in the UAE and the UK alike. It’s no wonder Ed Miliband is looking to Abu Dhabi for solutions.



Glenigen on the Impact of the #NPPF on housing


In March 2012 the government overhauled the English planning system, implementing its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in an effort to simplify regulations and increase the supply of new homes. Over the subsequent two years, Glenigan’s research team has tracked a substantial increase in both the number and proportion of new build residential applications securing planning approval in England, with fewer applications being refused or withdrawn. However the rise in planning approvals has not been uniform and the overall success rate of planning applications in England still falls short of that typically seen in other parts of the UK.

According to Glenigan’s new Residential Planning and the NPPF report, the number of permissions granted last year for larger housing projects of 10 or more dwellings was 4,900 – 24 per cent up on the average seen in 2010/11 and 2011/12. Undoubtedly, the rise has been due in part to brighter market conditions supporting an increase in planning applications. However over the same period the number of applications withdrawn fell by 7 per cent to 640, while the number of refusals rose by only 3 per cent despite a sharp increase in applications. The withdrawal rate is significant as applicants will often withdraw a proposal following discussion with council officers and an appraisal of the likelihood of the application’s success.

The number of permissions for small residential schemes of three to nine units has also increased sharply since the introduction of the NPPF. Almost 10,500 applications were approved last year, a 29 per cent rise on the annual average in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

Nevertheless, the approval rate for small residential schemes remains far lower than for other types of residential development. Only 69 per cent of smaller residential applications ended in approval last year. While this is up on the 65 per cent approval rate seen in 2010/11 and 2011/12, it falls short of the 77 per cent approval rate for larger developments and for applications for one and two dwelling schemes and house extensions (83 per cent). The proportion of smaller residential applications that were withdrawn was unchanged at 12 per cent, while refusals accounted for 18 per cent of planning outcomes in 2013/14 compared to 23 per cent during the two years prior to the NPPF.

The reasons for the lower approval rate of these smaller schemes are unclear. However, the costs of compiling the required evidence and reports in support of a planning application can be substantial. It is also probable that smaller scale developments are more likely to be in close proximity to existing homes and may face opposition from local residents.

Phillip Johnston – Show me the Brownfield Sites in Guildford

Confused and contradictory piece in the Telegraph that sums up press ignorance and crude ‘either or’ way the media treats this issue.

I spent part of the weekend walking through a lovely area near Guildford in Surrey, which is being considered for development even though it is in the green belt….

What most people find hard to understand is why there should be any large-scale development in the countryside at all when there are still plenty of urban sites on which to build.

Not only is there enough space on derelict industrial land to build about 1.5 million homes, these sites are actually close to where people work and in locations that already have the infrastructure that a new garden city in the countryside would have to supply from scratch.

Moreover, since “brownfield first” is supposedly the basis of the Government’s planning policy, why isn’t there more building going on in towns and cities?…

Yes, we need more housing – but let’s build it where it is needed before concreting over any more of our precious countryside.

Yes but most of these 1.5 potential housing on NLUD sites are not near to Guildford and places like Guildford.  Also we need around twice as many just to stand still.  Yes lets prioritise brownfield, but lets not crudely use ‘brownfield first’ as a synonym for ‘greenfield last and hopefully never’ as that will put those in need of housing in places like Guildford bottom of the queue.  We need to incentivise brownfield redevelopment, especially in northern cities, and develop at sustainable locations on Greenfield sites around Southern towns, and none has ever come up with a viable national strategy which could do otherwise. Its just sloganising.  Lets look at the numbers and show me how it would be possible to have housing affordability and not build on any Greenfield sites with our current pattern of where people work.  If a commentator cannot do that they are not advancing the debate they are just sloganising based on eiother a misunderstanding or wilful misrepresntation of the evidence.