CAMRA – Pubs should have own use class

Guardian

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is urging the government to do more to stop pubs from being demolished or closed.

Camra is pushing for ministers to put pubs into a special class so that owners must always seek planning permission for a change of use or demolition.

A total of 2,000 pubs have been listed as an asset of community value (ACV), but Camra said local groups had to spend hours in a lengthy and clunky process to save their pubs.

ACVs can be granted on a building with a proven value to a local community, such as a library or post office, but pubs have had the biggest takeup since legislation was introduced last year.

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Colin Valentine, the chairman of Camra, said: “It is heartening that so many communities across England have spent so much time going through the process of nominating their pub as an asset of community value … This shows a huge appetite for protecting pubs, which are more than just businesses – they are invaluable landmarks in our communities.

“Unfortunately, the ACV process can be time-consuming, fraught with difficulties and, at the end of the day, is only a temporary measure – listings must be renewed every five years … All we are asking for is a level playing field where a planning application on a pub has to go through the full planning process.”

A Department for Communities spokesman said the government had set up a £3.6m fund and introduced stronger protections to stop pubs being converted or demolished.

“Nominating a pub as an asset of community value gives local people time to make decisions about a pub’s future. Once listed as an asset, a full planning application is then required, providing an opportunity for local people to have a say,” he said.

Green Belt Furopre – Manchester Evening News

Despite councils pointing out that less than 4pc of the green belt would be lost in total, and that housing in particular is desperately needed, inevitably the impact of the plan has been judged on its effects on each local community – be it the loss of a golf course or thousands of homes proposed for farmland.

In addition MPs have raised a catalogue of concerns around everything from transport links to air quality, while querying claims by council leaders that all available industrial land as been taken into account.

Meanwhile developers take the opposite view – that it doesn’t go far enough.

The combined authority has now extended its consultation deadline until January 16 in order to get as many views as possible. Details are included at the bottom of this piece.

On the East Bergholt Case and Local Needs

An important case but only confined to footnote 9 areas, as any restriction to local (village based) needs only outside these areas and in villages with access to facilities and jobs would be contrary to the NPPF – i.e. the local plan would be out of date and any such policy would be classed as a ‘housing’ policy.

24 Housing

A parish council has a won High Court fight against its district authority that could decide the future for rural house-building in England.

East Bergholt Parish Council, Suffolk, brought a test case against Babergh District Council over home plans in the parish that inspired one of Britain’s greatest artists.

Today (Dec 9) the High Court ruled the district council’s planning decision to allow 10 homes to be built in East Bergholt, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was flawed as it did not take account of the village’s needs – as set out in Babergh District Council’s own local plan.

Permission for the development was quashed.

Speaking after the case, David Bowman, a senior associate at law firm Royds Withy King, who acted for East Bergholt Parish Council, described the win as “decisive and strategic.”

“The judge decided that Babergh District Council had made a number of material legal errors, including misrepresenting to councillors what “local housing needs” means in the context of the local plan.

“Councillors had been told that they needed to take into account the needs of the district as a whole, when in fact they had to take into account only the needs of the core village and its immediate environs.

In reaching a decision the judge agreed with the Parish Council’s interpretation and evidence that the needs of the local area are different to those of the wider district.

He also agreed the council had failed to carry out the correct exercise in deciding whether this development on land within the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty had an exceptional reason to overrule the ordinary prohibition on development.

The judicial review was heard at the High Court earlier this week.

East Bergholt was an inspiration to landscape artist John Constable.

A separate decision by Babergh District Council to allow 144 homes to be built on another site in the same village is being reconsidered – but campaigners believe it is unlikely to be given the green light following today’s High Court decision.

Another development now in the planning process for over 75 homes at another site in the village is also affected.

Overall, the development of more than 415 houses in rural parts of Suffolk depended on the outcome of this case.

This decision is seen as a major setback to Babergh District Council’s plans to grant permissions for more housing developments in the rural villages within its district and could have a significant effect on its financial position given its reliance on the Central Government funds granted under the New Homes Bonus.

BACKGROUND: The East Bergholt homes case

The  case went to the High Court as a judicial review of a planning decision – pitched as a test case with potentially far-reaching implications for housing developments in rural England.

Evidence would examine whether a decision by Babergh District Council to allow a housing development in East Bergholt was lawful.

The case, brought by East Bergholt Parish Council, concerns the building of 10 homes in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

David Bowman, a senior associate in the Dispute Resolution team at Royds Withy King – representing East Bergholt Parish Council – said a number of parish councils across rural England would be waiting the outcome of this case because the judgment would clarify how local housing needs should be met in rural locations in view of the ever increasing pressure on local planning authorities to allow residential development.

At least three judicial reviews are currently being brought by rural parish councils against Babergh District Council.

The dispute arose after Babergh planners backed two separate applications to build a total of 154 homes in East Bergholt when the parish council’s neighbourhood development plan was still being finalised.

A third development of an additional 75 houses in the village, is now going through the planning process.

Neighbourhood planning is a right introduced through the Localism Act 2011, enabling communities to shape developments in their area in response to their local needs.

Neighbourhood development plans become part of the local plan and the policies contained within them are used to help determine planning applications.

East Bergholt’s plan was nearing completion when the two planning applications were approved.

The permissions were in sharp contrast to the majority of residents’ vision for the organic development of the village and the building style wasn’t in keeping with other houses or its setting within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

That vision for the future of the village was approved by 94% of the villagers who voted in a referendum held in September.

In addition, the court case raised concerns over the extent to which this District Council’s planning decisions have been influenced by the government’s New Homes Bonus which provides income to cash-strapped local authorities as a reward for authorising development.

Babergh District Council has reported a shortfall of over £2m which they have indicated they will look to fill through allowing more development in the district.

The judicial review considered three key points of law:

  • How much weight a local planning authority should give to Neighbourhood Development Plans which place limits on development and which are at an advanced stage but not yet finalised
  • Whether the New Homes Bonus awarded by the government to councils as an incentive to develop more houses is capable of creating an undue pre-disposition towards authorising development or even outright bias
  • To what extent housing policy should be interpreted in relation to the needs of the whole district or the particular needs of the local area where the development will take place.

Khan to Extend London Landmarks Background Consultation Areas

Standard

Sadiq Khan has vowed to stop views of St Paul’s Cathedral from being hampered by new skyscrapers.

Mr Khan has said he wants to introduce a wider consultation process before planning permission is granted to build tall buildings.

It comes amid concerns over a 42-storey building in Stratford which has obstructed views of the cathedral from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park, nine miles away on the opposite side of the capital.

Existing planning rules stipulate that St Paul’s must be seen against a “clear sky background” but the building, Manhattan Loft Gardens, is now positioned behind the cathedral.

As it stands London boroughs several miles from historic sites are not required to hold public consultations over the impact of new buildings on protected views.

But Mr Khan told the Times he could extend the area in which consultations on the impact on views of St Paul’s should be held.

“Consideration is to be given to including more distant boroughs to prevent this happening again,” he said.

“However, this would currently need government agreement unless the necessary powers are delegated to the mayor, as has been sought.”

Friends of Richmond Park welcomed the proposal and accepted the building in Stratford would not be torn down.

A spokesman told the paper: “We would like the mayor to assure us that there are no other tall buildings in Stratford or elsewhere that are in the protected view line and have been granted permission already or are likely to be before the protection is extended.”

CPRE and Telegraph have crack at LPEG OAN Method

The issue

The LPEG method does not sum to OAN across all districts nationally, it includes a bonus based on demand factors – around 90,000 nationally

However it would be reasonable to include removal of backlog over say 10 years – around 50,000 an annum – using a slightly adjusted version of the NLP method used by LPEG, and focussing most of that uplift on growth corridors and areas rather than automatically per LPA – that the CPRE are rightly crying as problematic.

A quuestion though are CPRE saying we should build less than OAN+backlog or simply in the wrong place or both?

 

Telegraph

Theresa May and senior Cabinet ministers face a backlash from constituents after Government planning experts recommended increasing of up to 25 per cent in housing forecasts in the Home Counties.

The original forecasts were published by a Government panel which wants to cut the amount of time it takes for councils to publish local plans which set out where building can take place.

The news comes ahead of a major push, which could include relaxing building restrictions, by the Government in the new year to encourage more homes to be built.

Campaigners warned that the new year assault on housing will create “battles across England” because of the ambition of the targets.

In the Runnymede area represented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, local residents will have to prepare to accept a 20 per cent increase on top of existing forecasts.

In Tunbridge Wells, which is represented by the Business secretary Greg Clark, there could have to be another 22 per cent of new homes.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England which carried out the research said: “Considerably higher targets would necessitate the finding of even more sites, incur the loss of even more countryside, and make already-controversial local plans even more controversial.”

The CPRE warned that local residents could fight the plans if they threatened the countryside.

Theresa May last week CREDIT: FRANCOIS LENOIR/FRANCOIS LENOIR

Shaun Spiers, the CPRE’s chief executive, said: “Communities are increasingly willing to support housebuilding, but nothing is more toxic or calculated to cause battles over planning than excessively high housing targets.

“These force councils to release green fields and Green Belt for development and we all know what happens next.

“Developers cherry pick the most profitable rural sites, encourage sprawl and neglect brownfield land.”

Mr Spiers said that the Government should “think again and come up with a sensible, realistic way of calculating housing which everyone can get behind.

“If they choose instead to ratchet up the housing targets still further, there will be battles over housing across England – lots of strife, little delivery. That would be a huge shame.”

Councils are duty bound to publish five year housing plans in local development plans but only two thirds of local authorities in England have done so.

Last year ministers raised the prospect forcing councils which have not set up local plans to accept housing quotas.

The Local Plans Expert Group, which developed the new targets, was commissioned by Government to investigate reforms to local planning.

In March last year the group made a number of recommendations designed to increase the amount of land allocated for housebuilding in Local Plans.

One such recommendation was to increase the level of housing need identified in Objective Assessments of Need by including a ‘market signals’ uplift.

Academics who examined the plans estimated that the method would produce an extra 312,000 new homes a year, 90,000 more than the Government’s projections in 2012.

The Government’s response to the group’s report is expected to be included in the Housing White Paper next month.

The group was criticised when it was first set up in September 2015 because it comprised a number of developers, lawyers and planning experts

Making applying for a British Passport Easy – Please Attend a Meeting in Bagdad

Today I received this email

Dear Mr Lainton

As part of the application process for your child’s passport we need to see you and I have attached a letter inviting you to attend an interview on Monday 9th January at 15:00pm at the UK Visa Application Centre in Baghdad.

Please Respond to this email within 7 days, to confirm your attendance, otherwise we will offer the appointment to another customer.

Regards.

International Video Interview Booking Service

HM Passport Office

Javid Nicks 240m from New Homes Bonus to Fund Social Care

The Sun

PLANS to allow Councils to bring forward tax increases of 6% to pay for social care have been announced by Sajid Javid.

The proposal will add more than £90 to the average bill for a Band D property.

The Communities Secretary said millions of extra money would be put into social care

It will allow councils to raise hundreds of millions of pounds – £208m in 2017/18 and £440m in 2018/19 – to spend on looking after frail and elderly people at home.

Theresa May says it will help relieve pressures on the system, but that better organisation also was needed to make sure money was being spent well.

Opposition politicians called on the Government to scrap a corporation tax cut

Mr Javid, the Communities Secretary also said that there will be a reform of the new homes bonus to reallocate an extra £240m to social care.

But councils say the money will not be enough to plug the gap.

Labour’s Shadow Community Secretary, Gareth Thomas, said in response that ministers were still failing to grasp the severity of the situation.

“There is no new money,” he said. “Moving money around in a few years time isn’t going to tackle the crisis now.

“Is this really the best time to be cutting corporation tax?”

He said it was a “crisis made in Downing Street” and urged ministers to reverse corporation tax cuts to help fund it.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, he urged the PM to instead scrap plans to cut corporation tax from 20% to 17% in order to plug the spending gap.

Former chancellor George Osborne announced last year that town halls would be permitted to add a 2% “social care precept” onto bills to raise £2 billion a year to help deal with the growing crisis in the sector.

Now authorities will be able to impose the total 6% rise over two years rather than three, meaning a 3% precept would be added to bills in 2017/18 and 2018/19 but 0% in 2019/20.

Tory Toff condemns housebuilding as ‘Unspeakable behaviour’

Huffpost

Theresa May faced “forceful” opposition from her own benches on Tuesday over plans to build on greenbelt land.

In a Tory split over a planning bill, 15 backbenchers have tabled amendments which seek to protect land around cities and to increase the powers of local people to stop new development.

Conservatives rebelling on the Neighbourhood Planning Bill included Andrew Mitchell MP, who told HuffPostUK “I shall be questioning the Government’s commitment to the greenbelt in forceful terms” in the chamber.

Heavy-weight backbenchers Crispin Blunt, Nick Herbert and Nicholas Soames also opposed the Government’s plans. Soames tweeted on Monday that the “unspeakable behaviour of housebuilders” needed to be “dealt with”.

One of the revisions put forward would prevent the Government funding new homes built on greenbelt land or in areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Another would force councils to seek Government permission for developments that face local opposition from neighbourhood planning groups.

 

Neighbourhood Plans Not Out of Date if their is a Three Year Housing Supply

Statement clarifying the wolly ‘normally’ in the NPPF when a local plan is out of date.  The time period for ‘catch up’ was already national policy but not specified at two years.  A reasonable compromise (though ‘allocates sites for housing would simply be met by a single house’), placing an incentive to do neighborhood plans buit not such that it incentives blocking NPS (though it creates a new perverse incentive with the single house NP).  Today of course is third reading of NP bill so design to block Nick Herbert/Roberta Blackman Woods amendments.

Note the highlighted text – this statement has a very short shelf life – the government recognises there is a problem with NPs not always meeting their fair shre of new housing.

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011, and is an important part of the Government’s manifesto commitment to let local people have more say on local planning. With over 230 neighbourhood plans in force and many more in preparation, they are already a well-established part of the English planning system. Recent analysis suggests that giving people more control over development in their area is helping to boost housing supply – those plans in force that plan for a housing number have on average planned for approximately 10% more homes than the number for that area set out by the relevant local planning authority.

The Government confirms that where a planning application conflicts with a neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted. However, communities who have been proactive and worked hard to bring forward neighbourhood plans are often frustrated that their plan is being undermined because their local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year land supply of deliverable housing sites.

This is because Paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date, and housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

As more communities take up the opportunity to shape their area we need to make sure planning policy is suitable for a system with growing neighbourhood plan coverage. Building on proposals to further strengthen neighbourhood planning through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, I am today making clear that where communities plan for housing in their area in a neighbourhood plan, those plans should not be deemed to be out-of-date unless there is a significant lack of land supply for housing in the wider local authority area. We are also offering those communities who brought forward their plans in advance of this statement time to review their plans.

This means that relevant policies for the supply of housing in a neighbourhood plan, that is part of the development plan, should not be deemed to be ‘out-of-date’ under paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework where all of the following circumstances arise at the time the decision is made:

  • This written ministerial statement is less than 2 years old, or the neighbourhood plan has been part of the development plan for 2 years or less;
  • the neighbourhood plan allocates sites for housing; and
  • the local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

This statement applies to decisions made on planning applications and appeals from today. This statement should be read in conjunction with the National Planning Policy Framework and is a material consideration in relevant planning decisions.

My Department will be bringing forward a White Paper on Housing in due course. Following consultation, we anticipate the policy for neighbourhood planning set out in this statement will be revised to reflect policy brought forward to ensure new neighbourhood plans meet their fair share of local housing need and housing is being delivered across the wider local authority area. It is, however, right to take action now to protect communities who have worked hard to produce their neighbourhood plan and find the housing supply policies are deemed to be out-of-date through no fault of their own.

On 7 July 2016, my Rt Hon Friend, the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis), extended for a period of 6 months the criteria for consideration of the recovery of planning appeals to include proposals for residential development over 25 dwellings in areas where a qualifying body has submitted a neighbourhood plan proposal to the local planning authority but the relevant plan has not been made (Hansard HCWS74). In order to allow time for the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to complete its passage through Parliament, and in the light of other potential policy changes currently under consideration, I am now extending that period for a further 6 months from today.

Undersupply of Housing is Heavily Concentrated in Metropolitan Green Belt Areas @GavinBarwellMP @sajidjavid

From a new analysis of latest household projections against completion rates by Civitas

They dont include backlog, or areas where there is likely to be a shift in migration from job growth/decline in certain areas.

those areas that are expected to grow most rapidly over the next 25 years are, on the whole, already performing least well against their household formation projections. As can be seen at a glance from Map 1, housing supply is failing to keep up with household growth most in London and the South-East, where affordability pressures are already most acute. Measured in this way, there are also considerable supply issues in the North West and West Midlands, two areas that are the focus of concerted regional growth strategies for the years ahead….

The 30 fastest-growing non-London local authority areas in percentage terms are almost all in the South-East  Of those, 21 were below the national average in terms of their housing supply measured against household growth, and only five supplied enough homes to keep up with long-term need….

To some extent, under-supply in fast-growing areas is made up by ‘over-supply’ in neighbouring or nearby ones; this is a key element in the ‘duty to cooperate’ in the National Planning Policy Framework, that asks local authorities to work together to manage housing supply across boundaries. Oxford, for example, met only 66 per cent of its household growth in 2015/16, but output in the surrounding districts compensates for this so that, for Oxfordshire as a whole, housing supply was 159 per cent of long-term household growth. Brighton and Hove supplied enough homes to meet only 56 per cent of its long-term growth, while West Sussex partly made up for this by supplying 113 per cent of its growth….

Frequently, however, even this is not the case as we have seen already in London. As can be seen in Map 1, there are broad swathes of the South-East where the under-supply of new homes is not balanced out by an ‘over-supply’ in nearby locations. This is also true in other strategically-important parts of the country. In the North-West, Greater Manchester (Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) collectively supplied only 68 per cent of long-term household growth. The West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton) collectively supplied 71 per cent. Both Greater Manchester and the West Midlands are themselves surrounded by areas of higher housing supply – which is much less true of London and large parts of the South-East. [They could also have mentioned Bristol here and Cambridge]

This report is essential – if the figures were recast to include backlog and a nationally balanced addition to reflect job based migration (Natantial Licthfield im looking at you) then we essentially have a mapped definition of where the regional planning problem is.  Correlate the problem with Green Belt and the availability of browlfield supply from NLUD and you have a map of shortfalls the Housing White Paper will need to make up.