Economic Growth in Essex as slow as in North of England – The 60 Year Plan to Throttle its Growth Succeeds

REPORT ON GREATER ESSEX ECONOMY ENTERPRISING ESSEX: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES January 2017

Growth in real GVA in Greater Essex has averaged 0.6% a year between 2004 and 2014, slower than the UK average of 1.3% and slower than any other county in the South East and East Anglia. This growth rate, however, is in line with the conurbations of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Merseyside and West Midlands, all of which had growth rates between 0.4% and 0.6% over the decade. London’s 2.6% a year growth rate was double that of the UK.

The report states there is a severe shortage of employment space.

This is and was always the plan.

Circular 42/55

Even within the urban areas…[within Green Belt] , every effort should be made to prevent any further building for industrial or commercial purposes; since this, if allowed, would lead to a demand for more labour, which in turn would create a need for additional housing

What that didnt work did it as those unable to afford to live in London moved to Essex and continue to do so leading to population growth in Essex projected over the next 25 to be 5% greater than the national average.

Allies of Javid Claim Early Drafts of Housing White Paper Deemed too Radical by May

City AM

Much like a typical planning application, the housing white paper has already become mired in delay.

The policy document, a central plank of Theresa May’s government, was originally due out last year and then put back until January. The smart money is now on publication on 6 February although that date remains unconfirmed.

The white paper may be unpublished but it is already causing political waves. Allies of Sajid Javid, the secretary of state communities and local government, claim he was frustrated that early drafts were deemed too radical by the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, well-placed sources contend that the early blueprint did not contain enough detail for May, and that she sent it back to be beefed up into a deliverable policy.

The confusion is a hallmark of housing policy reform. Mark Farmer, author of a recent government report on UK construction, recently told City A.M. that the planning elements of the white paper will be something of a hot-potato among the Tories, with some MPs determined to protect their constituencies from the disruption of construction work.

However, given the current state of the UK housing market the government has no choice but to make difficult choices if it wants to meet its ambitious target of building 1m new homes by 2020.

Instinctively, Javid knows this. So what will the white paper say? Javid has shown a real interest in modular construction methods and it is hoped the blueprint will contain practical help for smaller developers such as Pockit, maker of affordable homes.

But pre-fab housing alone will not solve the housing crisis. Among all the schemes, incentives, consultations and government support, a straightforward solution exists: just let people build.

Farmer believes the white paper’s development policies are likely to focus on brownfield sites on the edge of urban areas. But there is another option: building on the green belt.

There’s a good chance that when you picture the green belt, it’s scenes of parkland, forests, and wetlands, thronging with animal and birdlife, that come to mind. But research by London First found 22 per cent of the Greater London Authority’s area is so-called green belt land.

That’s around 35,000 hectares. Could Javid really slaughter the sacred cow of the green belt? Now that really would be radical.

It may be unpalatable to some (shire-dwelling Tories, in particular) but without bold policies such as these, targets will be unattainable and the housing crisis will only deepen.

#NPPF led to Higher Land Prices and Fewer Affordable Homes – Study

FT  report here

Changes to the planning system under the coalition and Conservative governments have brought profits to landowners at the expense of local communities, according to new research.

The London-focused academic study, published on Monday, comes as ministers prepare to publish a housing white paper that will include more planning changes aimed at increasing construction and addressing the housing shortage.

A new planning framework published in 2012, which aimed to encourage development, caused land prices in London to rise, while the number of affordable homes has dropped, the study found.

The framework “reposition[ed] gains from planning more squarely in the hands of landowners while ensuring the developer’s profit, even if this means an erosion of value to the community,” said the academics at the universities of Reading and Kingston and the Royal Agricultural University, who worked with the property analysis firm Ramidus.

They blamed the financial viability process, in which private developers must set out how many affordable homes and other community amenities they can provide while still making a profit.

This process has meant that when developers pay a high price for land, they can say that building significant numbers of cheaper homes would make a development unaffordable.

This “shift in power relations” has moved the focus onto “increased developer confidence”, the academics said.

Residential land values in London rose by as much as 145 per cent between 2009 and 2015, the study said, while annual affordable housing delivery dropped by 37 per cent.

Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, has sought to address the effects of the process by offering an exemption to developers who plan to include 35 per cent or more affordable housing on sites. These developers do not have to show their financial models to local councils.

It may also include measures to push housebuilders to build more quickly on sites where planning permission has been granted.

John Healey, shadow housing minister, said: “The clearest result of current Conservative housing policy is the lowest level of newly-built affordable homes last year for 24 years, with the number of new social rented homes built the lowest on record, probably since the second world war.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government said: “As this report acknowledges, there is no direct link between the introduction of the NPPF [National Planning Policy Framework] and changes in land values.

“The reality is, this government has the most ambitious plan for affordable housing in 40 years, with more than £3 billion set aside for investment in London.”

No fake news from the DCLG press office the report says

Whilst there is no fundamental way of proving a direct link between the introduction of the NPPF and changes in land values, it is clear that changes to the planning system set the tone and the environment that has caused behaviour to push values beyond the point where a market equilibrium would have been reached without it.