Resolution Foundation – Shortage of Housing Equivalent of 10p on Tax


While in 1995 the average two-income household with one child spent 17 per cent of their income on housing costs, by 2015 that had risen to 21 per cent, according to the Resolution Foundation analysis. This equates to £1,500 a year or 10p on the basic rate, the think-tank estimates.

There are sharp regional and income variations. For lower and middle income households, the share of income spent on housing has increased from 18 per cent to 26 per cent over this period, whereas higher income households have seen a smaller rise from 14 per cent to 18 per cent.

Telegraph – Here are some Pictures of Land Not in Green Belt for You to Illustrate your Green Belt Stories With

Telegraph titling this picture

‘More housing on the green belt is planned in Hertfordshire’

The picture of the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire – not Green Belt

So lets help them out with some equally accurate pictures

Housing on The Green Belt is Planned in Oxfordshire

Housing on the Green Belt is Planned in Kent


Housing on the Green Belt is Planned in Bedfordshire


Housing on the Green Belt is Planned in Berkshire


The DCLG Press Office Cocks Up/Lies Again About Changing Green Belt

Quoted in Guardian

“Ministers have repeatedly been clear that demand for housing alone will not justify changing green belt boundaries,”

No No No – this is confusing allowing housing on appeal when there is the ‘very special circumstances’ test and the changing boundaries in plans – where there is the exceptional circumstances test’

Ministerial statements that ‘demand for housing alone’ is not reason for green belt release only applied to the former and not the latter.  Several statements are consolidated into NPPG here.

Someone brief the DCLG press office and shut them up – this is embarrassing.

DCLG Press Spokeperson lies about ‘No Plans or Policy’ to relax Green Belt Protections



A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said the government had “no plans or policy” to relax “the strong protections that prevent inappropriate development” on greenbelt land. The Tories’ planning policy means it is up to councils and local people where to build new housing.

Err what about this plan by the Chancellor announced in the Autumn statement and consulted on in Dec 2015 then to relax controls on previous developed land in Greenbelts removing the ‘predominantly open’ test.  Which would for example allow 100% of Garden Centres / Former research institutes, religious institutions, schools and hospitals, including there garden grounds, to be developed?

The DCLG must either correct its mistatement to the FT, or announce the weakening of Green Belt policy has been dropped.



How much in Legal Bills has been Spent on Working Out what Worst Ever Worded National Policy Means?

Para 49 NPPF

“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”.

What is the object of this sentence?  What was ‘for the supply of housing’ supposed to add to its meaning?  Did it add anything?  If it was supposed to mean anything why not rewrite it plain English not in strangulated grammer with a passive tense, uncertain object and double negative.

Why Drones Hitting Aircraft Landing Doesnt Matter

Mass of an A380 at landing 560,000kg

Speed at landing  140 knots (72 ms)

Momentum=40,320,000 Newton seconds

Mass of a Parrot Bebop Drone  0.4kg

Speed  50 kph (14 ms)

Momentum=5.6 Newton Seconds

So the A380 strikes the drone at 7.2 million times more force, the drone hitting with about 1/4 the impact of a real parrot.

I doubt the A380 comes off worse, or even has more than the faintest scratch.


The Plan as a Deal for Housing – The Schleicher and Hills Theory

One for Students (and the students at UK Treasury) – couched in very American terms but an important paper as it couches land use plans within the framework of public choice economics\

Iowa Law Journal

plans and comprehensive remappings are best understood as citywide deals that promote housing. Plans and remappings facilitate trades between city councilmembers who understand the need for new development but refuse to have their neighborhoods be dumping grounds for all new construction. Further, by setting forth what can be constructed as of right, plans reduce the information costs borne by purchasers of land and developers, broadening the market for new construction. We argue that land-use law should embrace binding plans that package together policies and sets of zoning changes in a number of neighborhoods simultaneously, making such packages difficult to unwind. The ironic result of such greater centralization of land-use procedure will be more liberal land-use law and lower housing prices.

The context here is within a city but it should be applied in economic terms to within a housing market area.

One benefit of plans can be to facilitate cross-neighborhood bargains by giving the parties confidence that costs will be equitably distributed and citywide benefits will ultimately be achieved. It is helpful to think of such a plan as a “zoning budget,” in which regulatory restrictions are the costly item being allocated among neighborhoods. The purpose of such a “zoning budget” is to make cross-neighborhood commitments to limit such restrictions that, in the absence of partisan leadership, are difficult to supply. Such a budget would specify an overall goal of locally undesirable land uses, or simply quantity goals for different types of housing, for the entire jurisdiction. It would also allocate those land uses across neighborhoods, seeking to allay concerns from council members about being dumping grounds for new construction and to capture the benefits of cross neighborhood trades. Finally, the budget would include an enforcement mechanism, creating some sort of presumptive entitlement for developers to build the budgeted use until the citywide goal is met. None of these elements requires special apolitical expertise on the part of planners. The point is not that the plan represents some higher wisdom about the best uses of land in a city. Instead, the budget’s goal simply solves a collective-action problem from which local legislators otherwise suffer, because the goal is not focused on any particular neighborhood.

JR – Broads can Pretend to be a National Park but without the Sandiford Principle

Harris v Broads Authority

  1. he Claimants say this case raises an important legal issue. “Can a public body which in law is not a National Park, represent itself (and allow itself to be represented) as a National Park and thereby to enjoy the benefits of National Park status despite the fact that that authority has decided to cease to seek to become a National Park inter alia because it does not wish to be subject to the legal duties imposed on National Parks and National Park Authorities?” On the Claimants’ renewed application permission to apply for judicial review was granted by Singh J (see his order dated 12 August 2015).

  2. The Authority was constituted under the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988 (“the 1988 Act”) and has a general duty “to manage the Broads for the purposes of –

(a) conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Broads;

(b) promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Broads by the public; and

(c) protecting the interests of navigation.”The Authority is also the local planning authority for the area and a harbour and navigation authority. However, the Broads is not a National Park designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (“the 1949 Act”), nor is the Authority a National Park Authority under that statute. Nevertheless, for many years it has been treated as forming part of the “family” of National Parks. The claim for judicial review challenges a resolution of the Authority passed on 23 January 2015 by which the Authority decided inter alia “that the brand “Broads National Park” be adopted for marketing related purposes…”.

  1. The Claimants live within the area of the Authority. For over 7 years they have been campaigning to protect Catfield Fen within the Broads, a site of international conservation significance and of which they own a large part, against harmful effects arising from water abstraction. In paragraph 3 of his witness statement, Mr. Harris states “my main concern is to conserve the bio-diversity and the environmental value of the Broads Area for future generations; hence my campaigning for the Defendant to either fully become a National Park or, at the very least, to confirm its application of the “Sandford Principle”. If it is not doing this, then it should not hold itself out as a National Park and hence why I am seeking relief through the court in these proceedings.”

  2. The Sandford Principle derives from a Report of the National Park Policies Review Committee chaired by Lord Sandford and published in 1974. Paragraph 2.15 of the Report stated:-

“The first purpose of national parks, as stated by Dower and by Parliament – the preservation and enhancement of natural beauty – seems to us to remain entirely valid and appropriate. The second purpose – the promotion of public enjoyment – however, needs to be re-interpreted and qualified because it is now evident that excessive or unsuitable use may destroy the very qualities that attract people to the parks. We have no doubt that where the conflict between the two purposes, which has always been inherent, becomes acute, the first one must prevail in order that the beauty and ecological qualities of the national parks may be maintained.

  1. The effect of section 11A(2) of the 1949 Act, inserted by section 62 of the Environment Act 1995 some 25 years after the Sandford Report, is that where there is a conflict between on the one hand “conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of” a National Park and on the other “promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of [a National Park] by the public” then greater weight must be given to the former purpose. The Claimants submit that within National Parks the conservation objective is always “uppermost”. In paragraph 6 of his witness statement Mr. Harris says that “The “Sandford Principle” is the fundamental distinguishing characteristic of all National Parks and all National Park Authorities, and gives priority to the purpose of nature conservation over other purposes, such as tourism.”

L.A Seeks to Authorise its own Version of Beds in Sheds

in L.A. they are called ‘Bootleg’ housing

Ultimately you can never win in these cases.  Globally you always find that if there are not enough affordable ‘on plan’ houses are provided then the market or other informal provision will find ‘off plan’ housing solutions to the standard the low paid can afford – always.


Los Angeles is moving toward creating a path to amnesty and affordability for habitable, but unpermitted residential units.

Under a proposal backed by a council committee, the city would waive unpermitted units’ compliance with certain planning, zoning, and building codes—including density and parking requirements—if landlords agree to provide affordable apartments in the same building for a minimum of 55 years.

Every year, L.A. city inspectors discover 600-700 unpermitted units—a kind of “black market economy” in a city where unaffordable rents are continuing to rise. But landlords say that as of now, it’s easier to evict the tenants and remove the unit when they get caught, rather than go through the legalization process.Out of 2,500 such units cited from 2010-2015, only 201 were legalized; 80 percent were removed.

The city began considering a legalization program in 2014, and the idea has enjoyed support from a rare alliance of both landlord and tenant advocates. Butthe affordable-housing component has caused landlords to balk, while tenants and advocates are questioning the probability of enforcement.

Neighboring cities West Hollywood and Santa Monica have similar ordinances.

The plan has to be approved by one more committee before and going to the full council.


Guildford Take a Year to Determine Planning Application – Propose to Allocate Site – Then Recommend Refusal

From the department of things which give the Planning System a Bad Name

The Wisley Aerodrome Site

Heres the report –  which has taken a year to write

Published IN THE SAME WEEK as Guildford propose to allocate the site in its sbmission plan and remove it from Greenbelt.

The application is for 2,038 units plus the other uses you would expect in a project of this size.  Including 8 Travellers pitches.

The proposed zoning is ”Approximately 2000 homes”

What is more if the government change to the NPPF goes through it wont even be inappropriate development in the Green Belt – this application may be the last chance to shape the site within firm national policy – so the recommendation to refuse seems tactically and politically numbskulled.

So what are the reasons for refusal

Lets look at the main ones, some are so weak they seem to be inviting a partial award of costs – leading me to think the recommendation is under political duress as cllrs wish to see a local plan inspector making the final decision which they can claim is forced upon them.

The key of course is Green Belt.  The recent Houghtonm Regis Case, as well as the SoS call in on the Tewksbury case (too late to be referred to in the report) state that a proposed allocation in a draft plan is capable of being a ‘very special circumstance’for loss of GB.

The balancing exercise is very professionally done – after a year of effort two sentences

While the benefits associated with the proposal are significant they do not clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and the other harm that has been identified in this report. Accordingly the benefits of the proposal, taken individually or cumulatively, are not considered to amount to the very special circumstances necessary to justify a grant of planning permission.

Thats it no balancing exercise – just a statement without support.  if they dont clearly outweigh why propose deleting the’site in your local plan?  No argument is made that the it çlearly outweighs’in exceptional circumstances terms but not VSC terms?

The Council seem to be relaying on their famous legal dispute with KitKat that ‘Green Belt harm and other Harm’ allows one to use a GB refusal reason in cases where there is other harm.  However it is difficult to justify this when the planning balance- which part from GB the NPPF makes clear is the same for allocating sites as permitting them – of Guildford is that the benefits outweigh the harm.

The exceptional circumstances test is a test set down by the courts rather than ministers.  For an excellent summary of the law see the local action groups website.

Guildford have stated reasons why they consider the exceptional circumstances test has been met

There is no definition of what constitutes exceptional circumstances, as this will vary locally. Legal advice suggests that it is likely to be interpreted as circumstances arising that are not commonplace. We consider that a combination of factors exist locally that together constitute exceptional circumstances that enable us to take the decision to amend our Green Belt boundaries. This includes the high level of housing need, including affordable homes, exacerbated by a significant backlog of unmet need, the lack of suitable alternative land, the general lack of affordability across the borough and issues with housing mix. Additionally we need to consider the consequences of not amending our Green Belt boundaries which would be to significantly worsen an already difficult housing position, and the consequential economic situation.’

But they have not stated why they do not consider the`VSC test has not been, other than in the (joke) ‘planning balance’ para.

If the tactic is to stall and leave KitKat as few words to go on why then are the other refusal reasons so weak and poorly drafted – it makes little sense?

For example the SPA reason states that there has been no AA, but as no housing is proposed within 400m of the SPA none is needed.  English Nature have no objection.  A SNGS scheme is proposed.  The refusal reason being the narrow one that no means of securing it has been realised?  Have Guidford never heard of a Grampian Condition?

With the off site highway works and funding of buses there are outstanding concerns from the HE and SCC, but again the canny tactic here is to resolve to approve ‘subject to a legal agreement to…xyz’ draft a unilateral undertaking and challenge the applicants to sign it.  You arnt going to get any better on appeal.    Especially as the HA have a weird technical objection to the TA.

Traffic counts for the typical morning peak hour of 8-9 am do not represent the true demand on the network;

So when does 2am in the morning?  KitKat must be chewing the cud to x-examine the HA and SCC officers for 3 days a piece at PLI.  Such officers have never emerged with the same nervous disposition again.

This is a weak case for refusal – a stalling measure -playing games with local residents (raising expectations that cant be met) and the applicant.  It provides the perfect case of why we need to move towards a zoning based system.