Cable Talks More Sensily About Planning Than Boles

Why was Cable and not Boles talking to ITV news – because the PM has gagged him talking about the Green Belt this side of the election as he can never talk a balanced argument about planning and is scaring voters to UKIP. But Cable seems to still think planning operates like in the days he was a local cllr 40 years ago, it certainly does not operates in a ‘planned, organised way’ any more.

Daily Mail.

Mr Cable backed local authorities like Cambridge City Council, which has sparked local anger by pushing through plans to allow 430 new homes on the city’s precious Green Belt as part of a wider expansion of the city.

 siness Secretary Vince Cable said Britain’s housing crisis meant that building on Green Belt land should be ‘encouraged’

 Asked whether he backed Cambridge’s stance, Mr Cable told ITV News: ‘Yes, they are absolutely right to do so. We have a chronic imbalance between the supply and demand of housing.

‘We need additional supply. We’ve got just over 100,000 a year. We probably need three times that, certainly two times that.

‘If it’s done in a planned, organised way, as Cambridge proposes to do it, as I would suggest and my party suggests to do it, through new garden cities across the country. If it’s done in a proper way that protects recreational land and places of beauty, with proper amenities, then this is something that should be encouraged.’

 Mr Cable said he supported the Coalition’s controversial relaxation of the planning laws, saying the previous regime had become ‘quite burdensome and bureaucratic’.

He insisted the Government did not want to ‘sacrifice’ the Green Belt to meet housing demand, but said there were ‘large areas’ that were not beauty spots.

‘We’re not talking sacrifice,’ he said. ‘We’re talking about a sensible, balanced distribution of land. There is a sensible basis – a planned basis – for using land outside of cities. Of course there may well have to be more housing in London and big cities and we all accept that.

 Mr Cable said local councils are ‘absolutely right’ to allow house building on the Green Belt

 ‘People in cities deserve a good quality of life. There are large areas of the country which are not beauty spots and are not necessary for environmental purposes and providing the building takes place in a systematic organised way, within limits, then that is a much better way to proceed than a patchwork quilt of suburban sprawl.’

Mr Cable defended the right of local people and politicians to protest against major housing schemes, but suggested their main concern was often financial.

He said: ‘Anyone who is an elected politician like me, you have to defend your constituents’ interests. Very often they resist change and that’s part of the democratic process and we have to respect that.

‘But very often the key issue is whether communities received adequate compensation for the expansion that takes place and that’s why this government has introduced the community infrastructure levy.’

PAS Gets it wrong on Conformity

The new Plans FAQ

Q: It is understood that there is no longer a requirement for the chain of conformity to be retained between the core strategy and the ‘second tier’ plans. Is this correct and if so is there a maximum deviation away from the strategic policies that the second tier plan can plan for if a need is identified?

 A: Although there is no longer the need for other plans to conform to the core strategy, something that fundamentally changes that strategy is likely to require the strategy to be reviewed alongside allocations work. Reasons could include significantly different levels of housing, or reviewing the green belt where a review was not planned for.

Errr no – its making the logical error of assuming significance of an absence.  True it no longer uses the term ‘chain of conformity’ but that does not mean it is necessary, just as the absence of the term ‘plan monitor manage’ does not mean you should not no longer monitor.  The NPPF is an exercise in Haiku like minimalism without any of the poetic effect.

After all the NPPF does require Neighourhood plans to be in general conformity with strategic local plan policies, and neighourhood plans are just allocation plans approved by special procedure.  The NPPF says that for very good reason – any allocation plan that was not in gneral conformity would be unlawful, possibly breaching the EU SEA direwctive, various other statutory doties etc. all tested.  So it is implied, and specifcially it says p182):

‘the plan should be prepared based on a strategy

‘the plan should be the most appropriate strategy

Plan here referring to the whole plan. So to zone without a strategy is known as ‘spot zoning’ and as the Americans discovered a long time ago doing that is unlawful based on English Principles of common law – rationality, consistency, justification, non discrimination, public interest not private interest etc.  So the NPPF does not open the gates to willful spot zoning.

P.S. I think the omission of the ‘general conformity’ rule to all allocation plans was just a stupid error as it has no justification.