Tory Toff condemns housebuilding as ‘Unspeakable behaviour’


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Neighbourhood Plans Not Out of Date if their is a Three Year Housing Supply

Statement clarifying the wolly ‘normally’ in the NPPF when a local plan is out of date.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.

Andrew Mitchell MP in Stupidest Ever Attempt to Block Green Belt Development

What he misses is that is in all of these cases the land would no longer be Green Belt when planning permission is granted ….doh!!

The Times

Councils are being offered “bribes” worth hundreds of millions of pounds to build homes in the green belt, campaigners have said.

The government has promised to pay councils a new homes bonus, typically worth £9,000, for each home they build — including in England’s 14 green belts, the protected land around cities where development is meant to be strictly limited.

East Hertfordshire district council is due to receive up to £128 million over 20 years for almost 16,000 homes on green belt land, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said. Central Bedfordshire council stands to gain £125 million over the same period for 13,000 homes and Guildford borough council could get £68 million for 8,200.

Almost 300,000 houses are being proposed by local authorities in the green belt, including more than 3,000 in Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency. The bonus was introduced in 2011 to incentivise councils to allocate more land for housing, but the purpose was to “encourage sensitive local development”. The government promises to match the sum raised in council tax from a new home for six years.

Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative former cabinet minister, is seeking to block the bonus on green belt land with an amendment to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, to be debated in the Commons today. The change would also stop councils claiming the bonus for major development in national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Mr Mitchell, who is fighting plans for 6,000 green-belt homes in his Sutton Coldfield constituency, said: “The government has made clear that the green belt is sacrosanct and should only be built on in very exceptional and unusual circumstances.

“This payment is a perverse incentive of which the government should disapprove since it encourages building on the green belt. To be blunt, it is a bribe.

“I am passionately in favour of building many more homes . . . but they have to be built in the right place.”

Paul Miner, the planning campaign manager at CPRE, said: “There is growing concern in some rural areas that the new homes bonus is influencing important planning decisions behind the scenes. The government should fulfil its commitment to protecting the green belt and reform the new homes bonus to encourage the re-use of urban brownfield land.”

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “It is totally wrong to say the new homes bonus is in any way being offered as an incentive for local authorities to build on green belt land.

“Local authorities may only alter green belt boundaries in exceptional circumstances. Where local communities do make the difficult decision to permit the building of homes on small areas of green belt land, it would be very unfair to penalise them by withholding funding from the new homes bonus.”