Two Years Late DCLG Research – Bungs won”t reduce Opposition to Housebuilding

DCLG

The main findings from the evidence review are:
– The review confirmed that there is limited empirical or theoretical evidence that is
directly relevant to financial payments aimed at reducing opposition to new
development.
– Theoretical work that has been undertaken suggests that direct financial payments are unlikely to influence the attitudes or behaviour of those opposed to new housebuilding and may lead to concerns about due process in determining planning applications.
– Some of the concerns about new housing development that lead to opposition are
unlikely to be assuaged by a financial payment.

Javid- A Plan can Say Nothing About Something and Not be Silent

Recovered decision 

LAND WEST OF CASTLEMILK, MORETON ROAD, BUCKINGHAM MK18 1YA
APPLICATION REF: 14/02601/AOP

The application site, being outside the settlement boundary, is not allocated for
housing in policy HP1 nor covered by policy HP7 which relates to windfall sites within the settlement boundary. The Secretary of State notes that the Inspector finds no conflict with these policies as he considers that the BNDP does not place a cap on housing numbers norc ontain policies specifically restricting housing development outside the settlement boundary (IR 123). The Inspector, therefore, considers that the BNDP is silent in terms of the proposed development of the application site (IR 189).

Having carefully considered the Inspector’s analysis at IR122-125 and IR 189-191, the
Secretary of State does not agree with the Inspector that the BNDP is silent in terms of the proposed development of the application site as he considers there is a relevant body of policy in the BNDP (summarised at paragraph 5.18 of the Statement of Common Ground between the applicants and AVDC (GEN1)) sufficient to enable the development proposals to be considered. The Secretary of State also disagrees with the Inspector’s conclusion that there is no conflict with policy HP1. The Secretary of State considers that read as a whole, including with the vision for the BNDP and its Introduction, the proposal, being an unallocated site outside the settlement boundary, conflicts with the purpose and effect of  Policy HP1. While there is no cap in the BNDP, and no obvious corollary of the site allocation policy HP1 (i.e. that land not allocated is not supported), the larger housing sites, representing both the acceptable location and level of housing, are specifically identified and allocated in the BNDP. Both larger sites and the smaller windfall sites being confined to within the settlement boundary (HP7). The application site, being both unallocated and outside the settlement boundary, falls within neither category above and, as a consequence, the Secretary of State considers the proposals are not policy compliant.

I would not have out it as the SoS did.  There will be inevitably a JR.  But Javid should prevail.

The mistake I think is reading the NPin isolation from the rest of the DP and one part of the NPPF on ‘silence’ in isolation.

Heres how I would have put it.

  • Para 14 of the NPPF commences with plans meeting objective need
  • Then considers where plans are silent, absent or out of date
  • The AVLP is out of date, it allocates some land for development and protects the open countryside.
  • The NP, using the latest household projections, allocates sufficient land for development to meet a 5 year supply pro-rata.
  • Therefore, read as a whole, the development plan is not out of date or silent.  In allocating land within the NP the implication and intention of the Neighbourhood Planning body was to protect the open countryside outside the development boundary in line with the local plan.  It is the act of the NP in allocation which brings the development plan back into date and  means the LP policy for protection of the countryside remains current.

Why building homes – but not enough – makes Housing Affordability worse

It was the greatest act of political cowardice in Planning post war.

To what am I referring.  John Prescott’s response to the Crow/Whittaker report on the South East Plan in 1999.

The background.

SERPLAN had issued a draft South East Strategy to build no more than 660,000 homes to 2016, against household growth of over 900,000.  They only proposed one growth area.  milton Keynes, and deferred that to further study.  Figures were based on aggregated ‘capacity’ rather than need.  A capacity set by highly restrictive policies.  The term ‘sustainable development’ was tortuously redefined to mean a shortage of development.

Naturally The Late Professor Crow and Rosamund Whittaker would have nothing to do with it. They increased the requirement to 1.1 million (household growth plus allowances for non completion etc.  all rather standard and required these days), with a realistic target of 50% of this coming from Brownfield sites  The response was outrage from the shires.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England called it “a nightmare future of sprawling development, traffic congestion and urban decay”

John Gummer then in opposition concluded

 “the truth is that the electoral arithmetic is absolute. The seats in the South East that the Conservatives need to win are seats where people are implacably opposed to development. They are, of course, also the seats that Labour needs to defend. So neither party is going to look with any favour on the idea of more than a million new homes where voters don’t want them.”

Prescotts ‘compromise’ response was to build 860,000 homes.  Of course we have built half that in the South East outside London.

It simply made matters worse.  Unlike the US where there is a strong correlation between improvements to housing affordability and rate of housebuilding in the UK there is a negative correlation.

Those areas like London and Cambridge that have seen the greatest increase in population, and highest levels of housebuilding, have seen the greatest increase in unaffordability.

What is going on?  This seems perverse.  Think about it.  If you are building houses but at less that the rate required by OAN all you are doing is increasing you population baseline for housing need.  You are adding over time more people in need of homes as children age and adults divorce and retire.  Compromises, very British compromises of the Gummer and Prescott variety simply make matters worse.  If you are going to build build to at least need but never less.

I suspect the debate will flare up again with the NICs forthcoming Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc competition.  My estimate of how much housing this area (South midlands + London Stansted corridor) will need over 35 years – just under 1.5 million new homes.  I suspect though this time the political arithmetric will be different.  In the motorway corridor seats the conservatives lost seats.   They plus London now firmly outweigh the reclacetrant shires.