St Albans Fails Duty to Cooperate – ‘high level’ ‘over-arching’ ‘broad-brush’ ‘unstructured’ meetings

This district has cranked up more posts on this than any other  – letter from Inspector – top of list for plan making to be taken over by government.  Local cllrs (con group – not a political point just fact)  have obstructed every step of way.

There is no clear indication in the submitted SLP as to what the strategic priorities are, particularly those with cross-boundary implications….

A number of local planning authorities that were represented at the Hearing confirmed that in their opinion there was no structure in place in terms of the regularity and frequency of joint meetings and that many of the meetings were ‘high level’ where issues were addressed in a ‘broadbrush’ way, indeed the Council itself described some of the meetings as being ‘over-arching’

There has been engagement between St Albans Council and nearby local planning authorities, particularly in the earlier stages of plan-making, for example in relation to the 2008 Strategic Market Housing Assessment (SHMA) and employment work undertaken in 2009. Constructive engagement in more recent years appears to be less evident and it is difficult to conclude that the Council has approached cross-boundary priorities in a meaningful and positive way….

the Council did not reply to a letter requesting a meeting (dated 11th April 2016) from Three Rivers District Council (on behalf of four south-west Herts LPAs) for over 5 months, despite being sent a reminder via e-mail. The letter also includes a request for housing data to be forwarded4 . 29.The Council’s response includes an apology for the delay but also refers to ‘difficult dilemmas’, ‘past, difficult political level discussions’ and ‘ the technical , political and practical challenges of developing a plan in St Albans’…

The Joint Statement (paragraphs 3.3 to 3.6) provides examples of invitations to St Albans to participate but there appears to have been a reluctance to accept and contribute to the debate. As already stated, there is no obligation on the Council to agree with its neighbours but without even entering fully into the debate, it is difficult to conclude that there has been collaboration….

The references to ‘watching briefs’7 and ‘general liaison’8 do not instil confidence that every effort has been made…

on the evidence before me I am unable to confirm that St Albans City and District Council has given adequate consideration to helping meet the development needs of other nearby local planning authorities. In these circumstances the plan would not be effective and therefore it could not be found to be sound.

3,000 Green Belt Homes Planned in Teresa May’s Constituancy


Theresa May faces accusations of hypocrisy over plans to build more than 3,000 homes on the green belt in her constituency.

The prime minister has repeatedly spoken of the need to protect the green belt in the area but conservation groups say that government policy is pushing councils to permit developers to build on it. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead proposed 14,000 new homes in a draft 20-year local plan last week, with more than 3,000 on green-belt land in Mrs May’s Maidenhead constituency, including 2,000 homes on the town’s golf course

Housing White Paper to Promote Green Belt Swaps

Telegraph – note as we predicted publican delayed until Jan.  Note however that Brum involved no swap as it was inner Green Belt – no Land to swap – so the polity would withe have to be ‘preferably’ or include strategic planning or include an improve Green Belt purposes of retained Green Belt opt out, o best of all new Green Belt around New Towns outside the Green Belt.

Ministers will next month publicly back building thousands of houses on green belt land despite a growing Tory rebellion and concerns from environmental campaigners.

The Sunday Telegraph understands the Government will encourage the use of “green belt swaps” in a white paper to help solve the housing crisis.

The scheme allows councils to remove protections on one part of green belt in return for creating a new area of protected land elsewhere.

 Critics says the change could transform Britain’s countryside by allowing thousands of homes to be built on protected land and watering down the original definition of green belt.

However ministers believe the swaps are a sensitive way of protecting rural land while giving councils the powers to hit ambitious housing targets.

Sajid Javid, the Local Government Secretary, indicated his support in a speech this week as he called on MPs not to oppose building on green belt outright.

He said the Westminster politicians “should not stand in the way” of councils who propose green belt development, providing “all the options” have been considered.

Green belt swaps allow a council to suggest some protected land is freed up for development, often to help meet demand in the housing market.

In return, a separate area of land is proposed for new protections, meaning the total amount of green belt land does not fall.

The rules already exist but often fail to work in practice, with planning bodies rejecting proposals because the new land fails to meet the definition of green belt.

Industry sources have said that a white paper on housing to be published next month will include measures to encourage the use of such swaps.

Tories hope it will help hit their ambitious housing target – building a million homes by 2020 – while living up to a pledge to protect the green belt.

There is a believe that the demand for housing has grown so severe in parts of the country it should count as an “exceptional circumstance”, giving councils more freedom to act.

Experts say one option would be encouraging the Planning Inspectorate to approve more swaps. The body often rejects proposals because the new area of land fails to hit the “five purposes” of green belt, including stopping urban sprawl.

George Osborne, the former Chancellor, repeatedly tried to encourage councils to swap new areas of Green Belt for land taken out for development, but had little success.

Mr Javid, the cabinet minister in charge of housing policy, indicated his support for the move at a speech on Thursday.

“Where local councils come forward with sensible, robust local plans – and are willing to take the tough decisions – I will back them all the way,” he said.

“For example, Birmingham City Council has put forward a plan to meet some of its local housing need by removing green belt designation from a small area of land.

“They’ve looked at all the options. They’ve considered all the implications. They want to build homes for their children and grandchildren. And Westminster politicians should not stand in the way of that.”

Yet the plans are already being met with significant opposition from Conservative MPs, who are privately warning that they are prepared to vote against the Government in Parliament if the plans are too aggressive.

Andrew Mitchell, the Tory MP for Sutton Coldfield where the green belt homes near Birmingham will be built, said: “We face horrific proposals from the Labour council and are frankly astonished that Sajid Javid has not stood by the Conservative’s manifesto commitment to defend the green belt.

 “He himself said the green belt is absolutely sacrosanct. We are therefore at a loss to know why the Government is unable to protect us from these iniquitous proposals. There is nothing that causes more anger among the electorate than being let down in this way.”

Nigel Mills, the Conservative MP for Amber Valley, said: “We have always said that green belt land is untouchable except in exceptional circumstances, that’s what we should stick to.

“Our promise in the manifesto was clear. There may be parts of the country where there is no alternative. They should be few and far between.”

Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said that once green belt land is lost it is very difficult to replace.

He said that while it is relatively easy to give permission for green belt land to be built on, it is far less easy to get permission for new areas to be classed as green belt.

He said: “We are concerned that his could be charter for developers and encourage local authorities to release large swathes of green belt with little justification.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. It’s generally found that the green belt is performing an important function in stopping urban sprawl.”

Earlier this year an analysis by the CPRE found that 5,000 houses a month are being planned for the green belt as councils struggle to find land to meet the government’s target of a million new homes by 2020.

It found that councils are proposing almost 300,000 homes on the 14 rings of land around English cities where development is meant to be strictly limited.

Since June, councils have proposed an additional 22,000 homes for the green belt in their draft local plans. The borough of Poole in Dorset has proposed 5,300; New Forest district council in Hampshire 4,000; Waverley borough council in Surrey 2,400; and Aylesbury Vale district council in Buckinghamshire 800.

More Delay for Last Authority without a Local Plan

Over 40 years and counting

York Press

A MAJOR development plan that should set out where homes can be built and businesses can grow in York faces months of delays.

The shock decision to close York’s barracks and a revised set of housing figures from central government has caused set backs in the Local Plan development.

Early next month councillors will hear the changes could push back the final plan by as much as six months.

The Local Plan draft outlines where 8,227 new houses should be built in York by 2032.

Earlier this year, City of York Council ran a consultation asking residents, landowners and businesses for their views on a list of preferred sites for future development.

More than 2,300 responses were received, and they have now been published ahead of two crucial meetings. Significant amounts of technical data and information given by landowners and developers is still being analysed by the council’s planning teams.

A key Local Plan committee is due to meet on Monday, December 5. A report published ahead of that meeting says that Minstry of Defence’s decision about the barracks, and the government’s revised housing need projections – which came since draft plan was published – mean a significant amount of new work needs to be done.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, chairman the Local Plan Working Group, said: “I would like to thank everyone who responded to the consultation and we will now use the results to move forward with delivering a Local Plan for York.

“As the officer report makes clear, the shock announcement that the Ministry of Defence is planning to dispose of three sites in York could have significant implications for the Local Plan, including potentially altering the current timetable.

“Council officers have held meetings with MoD officials who have indicated that the MoD preference would be for re-development of the sites for residential use with a potential for around 1695 houses on the three sites.

“In light of this, officers will need to evaluate the implications to ensure the Local Plan is compliant with national planning policy. We will also need to have further cross-party discussions on the way forward beginning at the Local Plan Working Group on the 5th December.”

The report also points out that Imphal Barracks is partly inside a conservation area and has several grade-two listed buildings, while both Queen Elizabeth Barracks and Towthorpe Lines include green belt land and are next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

An update on progress with the local plan will be presented to the local plan working group on Monday, December 5 and the council’s executive on Wednesday, December 7.

Javid Approves Green Belt Loss in Brum Local Plan

Speech at NHBC

Where local councils come forward with sensible, robust local plans – and are willing to take the tough decisions – I will back them all the way.

For example, Birmingham City Council has put forward a plan to meet some of its local housing need by removing green belt designation from a small area of land.

The plan is supported by the independent Planning Inspectorate.

But it’s fundamentally a local decision made by local people.

They’ve looked at all the options. They’ve considered all the implications.

They want to build homes for their children and grandchildren.

And Westminster politicians should not stand in the way of that.

That’s why, earlier today, we lifted the central government hold on the Birmingham Local Plan.

Court of Appeal on Old Saved Policies

Gladman Developments Limited
 – and –    
  Daventry District Council
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

significant weight should be given to the general public interest in having plan-led planning decisions even if particular policies in a development plan might be old. There may still be a considerable benefit in directing decision-making according to a coherent set of plan policies, even though they are old, rather than having no coherent plan-led approach at all….

…the metaphor of a plan being “broken” is not a helpful one.

…The fact that the Council is able to show that with current saved housing policies in place it has the requisite five year supply tends to show that there is no compelling pressure by reason of unmet housing need which requires those policies to be overridden in the present case; or – to use Mr Kimblin’s metaphor – it tends positively to indicate that the current policies are not “broken” as things stand at the moment, since they can be applied in this case without jeopardising the five year housing supply objective.


Now we have an Official Estimate on the Impact of Brexit on OAN – It will Increase

OBR in Telegraph

The Office of Budget Responsibility [OBR] said net immigration will be 185,000 a year rather than the 265,000 a year that was expected.


Long-term principal assumptions in England 2014-based population projections Fertility: Average number of children per woman: 1.90 Life expectancy: Expectancy of life at birth in 2039 Male: 84.4 Female 87.2 Long term annual net migration: +170,500

In other words the Household projection already had a way to low assumption of net migration and indeed Migration Watch have complained about this for years.

So those arguing Brexit means to have to lower OAN estimates in local plans – make everyones lives easier by improving the statistics by getting out of the country.