Further Legislation Expected Later this Year Extending Permission in Principle

The Planner

Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell has announced that local authorities across England will now have to produce and maintain up-to-date registers listing all brownfield sites available for housing.

The registers will be available to the public and the aim of them is to help house builders identify suitable brownfield sites for development.

They will allow local communities to highlight local derelict or underused building sites that are primed for development.

Barwell said reusing brownfield land is “crucial” to building more homes.

“We need to build more homes in this country so making sure that we reuse brownfield land is crucial. We want to bring life back to abandoned sites, create thousands more homes and help protect our valued countryside.”

These new registers will give local authorities and developers the tools to do this.

Brownfield registers were first piloted in 2016, when 73 local planning authorities across the country pioneered the measures.

At the time the government said the councils taking part in the pilots would inform future government policy and guidance on the operation of brownfield registers.

In addition, the £3 billion Home Builders Fund, announced by communities secretary Sajid Javid at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2016, will be used to support the development of brownfield sites.

Permission in principle will be used to gain planning permission through these registers. The government said this would give developers more certainty over whether a site is suitable for development.

Further legislation is expected later this year on extending permission in principle more widely through the planning system.

Jason Lowes, partner in the planning team at commercial property and planning consultancy Rapleys, noted that the announcement is light on detail, but the attempt to streamline development of brownfield land is welcome progress.

He said together the two mechanisms have the potential to “lower the initial hurdle” of bringing forward development through the planning system, which “has to be supported”.

“The owners, particularly of small and medium-sized sites, would no doubt be pleased with a relatively simple method of getting on the planning ladder, and provide them with early confidence to further investigate the potential of their land.

“Of course,” said Lowes, “the success of this venture very much depends on local authorities’ ability to keep the register up to date and implement the new permission in principle regulations. This has the potential to be a real administrative challenge and will require careful management to ensure the opportunity to increase the delivery of housing isn’t missed.”



“Please oh please don’t build on our belt, If you do our hearts will melt.” More than 1,000 Rally to Protect Manchester Green Belt

Oldham Chronicle

OLDHAMERS joined hundreds of residents as they turned Albert Square, Manchester, into a bastion of defiance against controversial plans to build on the green belt.

A rallying cry rang out last week as Save Greater Manchester’s Green Belt (SGMGM) urged people to join the Albert Square rally on Saturday in opposition to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) plans.

The calls were answered and more than 1.000 objectors from across Greater Manchester united to make their feelings known. Banners and flags were held aloft, chants and calls were made, the message was clear…’do not build on the green belt.’

The protest follows a host of successful local group rallies, and tens of thousands of objections to the draft plans – Greater Manchester’s development blueprint for the next 20 years.

The proposals show the building of 225,000 new homes, and millions of square metres given to office and industrial space – sparking widespread negative feedback for building on protected green belt.

Oldham will see 13,700 new homes built and 700,000 square metres of land made available for new factories and warehouses as part of the plans.

It started the rise of protest groups in the most affected areas, including Shaw, Royton, Chadderton and Saddleworth.

At a recent Oldham Council meeting Councillor Howard Sykes, who objects to the use of green belt land, proposed a motion to see Oldham withdraw from the GMSF and create their own local plan, however an amendment by the ruling Labour group saw the borough stay in.

Steve Lord, a member of the Save Shaw’s Greenbelt, said: “It is an incredible turnout from Shaw and it just really illustrates how determined we are about fighting this spatial framework.

“We have had some incredible media coverage from people like yourselves and after speaking to someone from a pr company they said that we are winning the media battle.

“I don’t think we actually expect it to be thrown out, but in the plans it says that around 70per cent of brown field sites in Greater Manchester will be used to be built on. What we are saying is why not 90per cent or 100per cent?

“These are huge pieces of land that they are talking about building on, they are places we grew up on, were people walk dogs, go on horse and bike rides and play on. Just looking at it, it is a way of life.

“We understand the need for housing of course we do, but what we are saying is before we start building on green belt, we want them to take a real hard look at using all brownfield sites.”

Natalie Yates-Bolton, from Chadderton, who addressed the demonstration, said: “It has been incredible, a great response from the people who have come.

“It is about our long-term health and wellbeing. We hope councillors will listen because they are supposed to represent us. At the end of the day they are just ordinary people who are elected to represent us.”

A poem, written by 9-year-old Olivia Holt, from Firwood Manor, prep school, Chadderton, was read out by 11-year-old Elleisha Smith, from Bury. The poem read: “Please oh please don’t build on our belt, If you do our hearts will melt.

“All the lovely nature walks will be in the past, I am trying to enjoy the wildlife while it lasts.

“Can’t you build on the brown fields instead, so all our animals have a bed.

“Well now I should really on my way, but help us save the greenbelt today.”

No 100% percent of the brownfield sites will be used,  but these can only supply 70% of housing need.  So Greenfields elsewhere will be needed.  Animals having a bed is emotive claptrap and Olivia your teachers at Firwood Manor Prep School should hang their heads in shame for poorly educating you.  Green Belt is not about protecting wildlife, and Green fields used outside the Green Belt or even Brownfield sites might have far more wildlife value.  rather it is about preventing sprawl which building beyond the Green Belt would exacerbate.