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.”

Lancaster City Council Propose Garden Village

BBC Lancs

Sites to build 13,000 homes across Lancaster have been identified by the city council.

The proposal includes a new garden village of 3,300 properties in the south and industrial sites, which could create up to 9,500 jobs.

Lancaster City Council was asked by the government to identify development sites to make up a shortfall.

The plan will be discussed at a council meeting on 14 December. A consultation will be launched in 2017 if approved.

Councillor Janice Hanson said: “It’s important that we make progress so we can develop a final Local Plan to provide the opportunities for people to find work and have a decent home.”

Durham Shouldn’t Pause work on its Local Plan to Wait for White Paper

Durham pauses work on local plan to wait for white paper

Durham could not demonstrate exceptional circumstances for loss of Green Belt – because of harm to setting of historic cathedral town – Also a World Heritage Site – this policy backdrop im sure wont change.

Also as a relatively small Green Belt with a specific purpose little sustainability impact of development being diverted outside.

Tendring UKIP Claim Planning Department Using Under the Table Housing Numbers to Gerrymander Con Cllrs

Tendring Guardian

TENDRING Council has been reported to police over potential “gerrymandering.”

The accusation is that using the same figures from its planning department, the council aims to artificially boost the number of Conservative councillors.

Yet, the council has also approved hundreds of more homes than is needed saying it does not have a five year housing supply, when it is claimed it does.

A report to the Action Fraud department of the City of London police was submitted last week by senior UKIP councillor Richard Everett.

Mr Everett is leader of the UKIP Group on planning at Tendring Council and also a member of a working party that is reviewing electoral boundaries.

The Rush Green councillor said based on figures he has received from council planning staff, wards which are typically held by Conservative councillors are to receive “a significant boost from the figures.”

The government Boundary Commission is looking to slash the number of Tendring councillors from 60 to 48, redrawing boundaries in the process.

Mr Everett said: “I am shocked that such dodgy figure work can result in shoring up Conservative council wards, while other parties will be scrambling over a shrinking number of seats,” he said.

The “discrepancies” arose from the figures supplied from Tendring Council’s Electoral Review Working Group and those used by planning in recent weeks.

“Both sets of figures are produced from the Planning Department using the ‘same’ data,” he said.

Last week, Mr Everett met with council officials, including chief executive Ian Davidson and head of planning Cath Bicknell about his concerns.

“They could not explain the disparity,” he said.

In addition to potential “gerrymandering,” it means Tendring Council cannot resist speculative development in places like Kirby Cross, Great Bentley and Weeley.

“I have found that according to the council’s own electoral review figures that it can show that Tendring has a six year housing supply, so it can prevent inappropriate development,” he said.

Mr Everett said: “This alleged incompetence of the planning department has allowed this situation to happen. It seems to me that officers are playing fast and loose with information.”

“As a councillor, I take my role of scrutiny very seriously. If the council won’t investigate it is incumbent on me to report it to police. At the moment the evidence is circumstantial but I think it should be investigated by the police to see if there is anything,” he added.

The City of London Police has confirmed it has received Mr Everett’s dossier but said it would take a week for to decide whether or not to investigate.

Tendring Council said it refutes the allegation against its officers and councillors.

Spokesman Nigel Brown commented: “We also want to reassure our residents and businesses that these allegations have no implications for the Local Plan as our five year housing supply will be finalised and published before the document is submitted to the Government Inspector,” he added.

“Two barristers who are representing the council at a public inquiry have given strong advice that the council does not claim to have a five year housing supply.

“We have also double checked with the Local Government Boundary Commission and our Electoral Review will be going ahead on the basis of the figures already submitted.”

Mr Brown added that should The City of London Police decide to investigate Coun Everett’s allegations Tendring Council will co-operate fully in any and every way it can.

A Wise Shift in Tactics from the CPRE


Hundreds of England’s ancient villages are vanishing — swept away by a surge of housing development that is seeing historic communities engulfed into larger towns and losing their identities forever.

About 1,300 villages vanished under such rural sprawl between 2001 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The figures are backed up by research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), showing hundreds more villages have vanished since 2011 — with still others doomed to disappear as the pressure for housing keeps growing.

“Developers are putting ever greater pressure on councils to release greenfield sites,” said Matt Thomson, head of planning at CPRE. “The system is tilted in their favour, guaranteeing many more villages will be swallowed up.”

This is a wise shift in emphasis.  Land around town might not automatically tick the boxes in the public mind of rurality, whereas land around villages might, and The sift in emphasis since the NPPF has focused disproportional growth around villages,   The use of ONS stats on ‘urbanity’ is interesting but problematic, as the more concentrated and less sprawly development is the less rural it will be under the classification.  Also population growth without development (which is what we have often seen) will automatically flip many peri urban ares to urban without any development at all – misleading.  Research to be valuable needs to set a control free of spatial autocorrelation (the independent variable here is sprawl not population density)- which CPRE research hasnt done – yet.  A geography 101 error.

Which Local Plan deserves Government Intervention and Which Does Not?

York, which still relies on a town map – which has delayed its submission LP mainly because of a barracks brownfield windfall which will reduce Green Belt Loss.

Or South Staffs which will deliberately publish a submission LP in Jan with a bound to be found unsound LP with housing numbers based on RSS and not OAN and which refuses to cooperate with strategic planning efforts for Brum?

Seen in terms of evidence of obstructionism rather than crude metrics its pretty obvious.

Ambassadors Breaking the Chatham House Rule

Gabbing to the press about what the Foreign Secretary said to them is clearly a breach

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

Vale of White Horse Local Plan for 1,500 Green Belt Homes Approved

Local Gov

The Government has given the go-ahead for district council plans to build thousands of new homes, including on green belt land.

Whitehall’s planning inspector has approved Vale of White Horse DC’s plans for 13,000 new homes to be built over the next 15 years.

Of these proposed homes, 1,500 will be located on land currently designated as a green belt area.

Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse, said he was ‘delighted’ at the inspector’s conclusions.

‘After a process that has taken several years and has seen communities across the Vale contributing to the local plan we are now in a position to have much greater control over all development in the Vale,’ he said.

‘Adopting the local plan not only gives the council more control over where housing is delivered, but also makes it easier to secure the much needed infrastructure funding that should go with it.’

Great Eastern Mainline Capacity and The North Essex Garden Communities @Andrew_Adonis

Where we are:

The North Essex Councils have agreed a vision for four Garden Communities along the Great Eastern Main Line

The initial feasibility work by AECOM does not look at the capacity of existing networks

The Great Eastern Mainline will reach capacity, without the Garden Communities by 2031

Atkins have carried out a study showing how it can be increased as part of the SE RUS

Greater Anglias, Anglia Route Study says Liverpool Street will need additional platform capacity in Control Period 6 (CP6, 2019-2024), alongside signalling headway reductions between Chelmsford and Liverpool Street, construction of a new passing loop north of Witham, and track doubling at Trowse swing bridge.

Should ETCS Level 3 be adopted with Automatic Train Operation – assuming the world-first implementation of this technology on the central section of the Thameslink route proves successful – then capacity from Chelmsford to Liverpool Street could increase from the current maximum of 24 trains per hour (tph) to 32tph.

A back of the envelope calculation shows that the line as a whole with a 50% capacity increase (this is simplistic as there is existing commuter growth – though much of it would be displaced from people already living in teh area moving to new communities)  could cope with an extra 84,000 commuters per day, so assuming 50% modal share and 2.1 persons per household thats a maximum community size of 88,000 for each of the four communities – much more than planned.   So its doable.

What is needed is a joined up approach whereby the capacity of the GEML is looked at in detail alongside the masterplanning of the capacity and phasing of the North Essex communities

Step forward IPC?


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