The Sun – Javid to Announce Housing Delivery Test with “private target’ of 275,000 homes/annum

The Sun

Will this work – not a chance – what about Green Belt areas, Brighton, London, an automatic Green Light in conservation areas, to 80 storey buildings?  The exceptions are likley to be so great that it will be nullified and only really hit in scattered locations on the edge of villages and towns outside the Green Belt where the NPPF hits, and which in total still lead to less than 200,000 houses a year being built.  Sooner or later the penny has to drop, if we want to build 275,000 houses a year then the public sector will for them and build them in places where they can be delivered.

HOUSE prices in desirable areas could go down for the first time under a radical new government test to see more building, The Sun can reveal.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is preparing to unveil a striking new rule that will make NIMBY councils take local affordability into account.

Tories could cut house prices in in desirable areas in a radical test to spark new building

Under it, every authority will have to calculate how easy it is for young workers to get on the housing ladder by working out their local salary-to-house price ratio.

The average house in Britian now costs 7.8 times the average salary – an all-time record.

And in some areas of the south east, the figure rockets to above 12 times people’s wages.

Mr Javid wants to slap a new automatic legal requirement on councils with ratios that are too high to make them green light thousands more homes, so that a significant increase in housing supply reduces prices over time.

Mr Javid’s test has been debated intensely in No10 for six months over fears it will spark a rebellion from some Tory MPs, The Sun can also reveal.

It could also ignite a dangerous backlash in solid Tory areas as home owners panic about their own houses losing value.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to unveil radical government plans to lower house prices in key areas

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But a senior government source said last night: “Sajid has come up with what he insists is an objective and transparent test to increase supply.

“For once, councils won’t be able to fudge it, and that is key.

“There was nervousness in Downing Street before the election about upsetting the horses, but he has persuaded a lot of us round.”

Mr Javid’s plan could be unveiled as early as tomorrow.

In a preview of his plan, Mr Javid mounted a withering attack on councils three weeks ago for failing to build enough.

The Cabinet minister branded them refusal “not good enough” and declared that “the era of tolerating such poor, patchy performance is over”.

Dropped a big hint about his salary ratio test, Mr Javid telling Local Government Association conference: “Where housing is particularly unaffordable, local leaders need to take a long, hard, honest look to see if they are planning for the right number of homes”.

He also slammed some councils for still failing to come up with a local development plan years after they were introduced.

Mr Javid added: “Our aim is simple: to ensure these plans begin life as they should, with an honest, objective assessment of how much housing is required”.

Ministers are working to a private target of seeing 275,000 new homes a year built just to keep up with the soaring population demand – more than 100,000 more than today’s rate.

Since the 1970s, an average of just 160,000 new homes each year have gone up.

As The Sun revealed earlier this year, new powers will mean ministers can also force councils to increase their new build numbers if they refuse to deliver them.

Planning rules that prevent higher buildings will also be relaxed in a bid to increase housing density.

Theresa May is has ordered ministers to answer young people’s cry of anger at the general election by tackling the housing crisis once and for all.

A new survey from accountants PwC yesterday revealed continuing huge demand will hike the average house price to an eye-watering £302,000 a year by 2025, up from £212,000 now.

Knock Two Houses to One Successful Court Challenge in K&C

Standard

Two multi-millionaire tycoons have had their hopes of creating palatial homes in west London halted by a judge.

Charles Noell, who founded private equity group JMI, wanted to knock four flats into one massive home in Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, where houses sell for up to £10 million.

Aref Lahham aimed to knock together two “cottages” — each worth about  £4.5 million —  in the heart of Kensington. But at the High Court, Judge Neil Cameron QC overturned planning permission for both schemes.

The core issue was whether the projects meant a loss to housing stock in the area. Planning inspectors who granted initial permissions were wrong in their calculations, the court heard.

Both applicants argued that their projects would not make a difference to housing stock, with Mr Lahham pleading that his plan to turn 1 and 2 Pembroke Cottages into a single home would cause no harm to anyone.

The loss of just one housing unit in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea — which has 87,000 homes — was “insignificant”, he claimed.

 Mr Noell, who was involved in planned takeover bids for Everton and Nottingham Forest, argued it was larger properties that were lacking in the borough, not smaller flats like those in his application.

He said there was a pressing need for more “good-sized family dwellings” and while there were lots of one and two-bedroom flats in the area, those with three or four were in short supply.

However Judge Cameron told the High Court that planning inspectors who had given consent for the projects had both blundered when calculating the future need for housing land in the borough.

Vacant units returning to use in the future had been put on one side of the equation but had been omitted from the other.

In quashing planning permission, the court ruled that the mistakes were important and may have affected the outcomes.

Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, accepted that the inspectors had made a mistake and did not defend the planning permissions.

Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC, for both businessmen, argued the mistakes had made little or no difference to the outcome. He argued the plans would cause no prejudice to the borough’s housing policies.

Overturning both permissions on behalf of the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Judge Cameron said the errors made by the inspectors were “material” and could have made a difference to the conclusions they reached.

Neither of the two businessmen could be contacted for comment.

City Planning Chief wants Less Glitzy Architecture

Building

Carolyn Dwyer says the corporation will tend towards more ‘harmonious architecture’ in future

The head of planning at the City of London Corporation has said she wants to see less glitzy buildings go up in the Square Mile in future.

Carolyn Dwyer (pictured) was appointed two years ago as director of the built environment at the Corporation of London, the City’s local authority. She took the job after Peter Rees stepped down as the City’s chief planning officer three years ago. He had backed Rafael Viñoly’s controversial Walkie Talkie skyscraper built by Canary Wharf Contractors.

Dwyer said the corporation wants to see “slightly calmer and more harmonious architecture” in future.

She added: “We have to have architecture of the best possible quality that delivers for 21st-century needs, but every piece doesn’t need to be a stand-out landmark building. We are not developing individual tower blocks that stand alone on the skyline; we are developing a cluster of buildings that will have to respect each other.

“We are very keen to maintain the high standards of building in the City and we believe we have.”

Dwyer said she was a fan of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ Cheesegrater at 122 Leadenhall Street, built by Laing O’Rourke. “It’s an elegant and beautiful building but quite sparse, it doesn’t have any bells and whistles,” she said. Dwyer also lavished praise on Foster + Partners’ new European HQ for Bloomberg, due to open in the autumn and being built by Sir Robert McAlpine, saying: “It will be one of the most beautiful buildings in London.”

A number of new towers are slated for the City, including Eric Parry’s 73-storey tower at 1 Undershaft, granted planning last November.

St Albans Court Challenge Fails – It Did Breach Duty to Cooperate

Herts AdvertiserBalli Law Link

Planning inspector David Hogger recommended the district’s crucial Strategic Local Plan (SLP) was withdrawn last year – it outlines major developments for the district planned until 2031, including building 4,000 homes in the Green Belt.

Mr Hogger said SADC had not fully co-operated with surrounding districts after objections by Dacorum borough council, Hertsmere borough council, Three Rivers district council, and Watford borough council were lodged under the group name South West Herts Group (SWHG).

The four councils said SADC had not consulted them when planning to build thousands of houses close to their infrastructure.

Hertfordshire County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Welwyn and Hatfield District Council and North Herts District Council were also named on the court papers along with the other councils as “interested parties” in the case.

SADC pursued a case at the High Court, overseen by Sir Ross Cranston, to overturn this decision and rescue all the time and money which would be lost – more than 10 years of work. They now face the likely prospect of having to re-write the plan.

At the High Court hearing last month Matthew Reed QC, for St Albans Council, told the judge that St Albans had discussed the issue at length with the other councils.

However, he said that the other councils didn’t come round to their point of view adding that they had therefore “agreed to disagree”.

He said that the planning inspector’s finding that they hadn’t cooperated was “irrational” because of his “failure to take into account material considerations”.

In his decision today, though the judge in backing the inspector said he accepted that the duty to cooperate was not a duty to agree, and that whether or not there was agreement it was “not determinative of the duty to cooperate.”

He said the inspector “fully appreciated the issue,” and continued: “The issue before him was that of cooperation, and in my view he was entitled to reach the conclusions he did on whether it had been effective, constructive, and ongoing.”

In a complex, 18 page, written judgment running to more than 8,000 words he said: “It is plain from his reasons that the Inspector considered cooperation along a range of dimensions and over time. He reached, as he was entitled to do, an overall judgement about compliance with the duty to cooperate.”

He added : “In my view the Inspector was neither irrational nor unlawful in his approach.”

SADC’s portfolio holder for planning, district Cllr Mary Maynard, said: “We were pleased that the judge found sufficient merit in our case to give us permission to apply for judicial review. Nevertheless, today’s judgment is disappointing.”

She will “take stock and re-assess [the] approach”, and “commutted to delivering” the SLP, and will arrange meetings with portfolio holders from all neighbouring councils to move forward into the future.

“We want to make sure we achieve the very best outcomes for residents. This will include balancing the delivery of the right number of homes to meet the needs of our growing population, ensuring our business and retail community continue to thrive and protecting our precious Green Belt and green spaces.”

Planning policy committee member, district Cllr David Yates, agreed it was disappointing: “The Inspector may have been legally entitled to conclude that St Albans had not shown him that it had cooperated sufficiently with neighbouring local authorities, but that doesn’t get us any closer to having an SLP in place.

“It’s frustrating that whilst everyone acknowledges that a duty to cooperate is not a duty to agree, reaching a disagreement is taken as indicating a failure to cooperate.”

Another planning police committee member, district Cllr Iain Grant, added: “I hope to see early progress in our continued work with neighbouring authorities to resolve the points of difference and make progress on delivery of much-needed affordable and other housing for this district.”

Some notable sections

The issue before him was that of cooperation, and in my view he was entitled to reach the conclusions he did on whether it had been effective, constructive, and on-going. …

I accept the Secretary of State’s submission that once there is disagreement, I would add even fundamental disagreement, that is not an end of the duty to cooperate, especially in an area such as housing markets and housing need which involve as much art as science, and in which no two experts seem to agree. As Paterson J underlined in R (on the application of Central Bedfordshire Council) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 2167 (Admin), the duty to cooperate is active and on-going, and that to my mind means active and on-going even when discussions seem to have hit the buffers. …

 

CPRE Double Counting and Air-rights Potential in London

CPRE Times

More than half a million homes could be built in London without sacrificing green space by copying Paris and replacing buildings with five-storey apartment blocks, a report says.

Low-rise development over schools and commercial buildings would help to save the green belt and protected land without blighting areas with new tower blocks, according to research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Its report says there is enough “airspace” above existing one and two-storey buildings in the capital to provide at least 500,000 new homes.

CPRE says that developers are targeting greenfield land for housing because this yields higher profits.

..the report urges that all suitable brownfield sites should be built on before Greenfield Sites are released

The redevelopment of existing low density non residential development already comprises well over half of all development in London.  London only builds  20,000 or less units a year, we need to build 50,000.

Around half of the units identified are in strategic industrial areas, many are planned for release in the London plan and again would be double counting, greatly increasing this rate would lead to developments in the middle of industrial estates and loss of jobs in London.  If we exclude these buildings and 10,000 a year from these sources already coming forward then over the 25 years of a strategic plan thats 10 years supply, ‘ This would simply lead to the rapid development of brownfield bringing forward by a decade the point at which major Green Belt loss would be needed if you take the ‘runs out’ scenario.

However if these sites outside strategic employment areas are already supported by planning policy why arn”t they coming forward at a faster rate? Because they are not viable.  So what is the CPRE suggestion?  Drop affordable housing and CIL requirements?

Given viability concerns only building on brownfield means building too little, less than half of what London needs.  It gives priority to ‘suitabkle’ before ‘viable’ and ávailable’.

This is not to suggest we should be adopting a more YIMBY approach with positive zoning and planning, but this is a simplistic non-solution that avoids the reality of the market.

Adam Smith Institute – Capturing Land Value Uplify is the Real Magic Money Tree

ASI Blog

The government faces a dilemma: it is under heavy pressure to row back on austerity without losing its hard earned reputation for fiscal responsibility.

Fortunately Dr. Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute, has come up with an idea that manages to bypass the objections that are seen of the classic ways of funding deficit spending: raising taxes, printing money, borrowing and the political problem of cutting tax to pursue growth.

A fifth way is to raise money from selling things.

‘This time it would mainly be land that was sold, partly land already owned by government, but overwhelmingly land acquired for the purpose.

‘Local authorities should be empowered to buy land in their areas, land without planning permission for development. They should be authorised to grant it planning permission, and sell it on for development.’

Read the whole paper relating to this idea here, and his words in the Telegraph here.

Local authorities should be empowered to buy land in their areas, land without planning permission for development. They should be authorised to grant it planning permission, and sell it on for development. This would command many times the price they paid for it, and would bring in billions of pounds of revenue. We calculate it could raise almost £30 billion for the first million units.

 

Panic at Ponteland – Conservatives Withdraw Northumberland Core Strategy in act of ‘Monumental Stupidity’

Newcastle Chronicle  

Although this seems alarming the issue is the fall in the latest Household Projections for Northumberland, as the change was so great would be difficult to do with main modifications.

Northumberland could be at risk of a housing free-for-all after councillors withdrew a key planning document, it has been claimed.

In April, Northumberland County Council outlined plans to build 24,320 homes alongside another 2,000 at Dissington Garden Village near Ponteland by 2031.

But on Wednesday councillors voted in favour of scrapping its local plan core strategy, despite some claiming it has taken more than a decade to put in place.

The Conservatives – the largest party on the authority – claimed the housing target to meet the predicted population rise was too high and the move would protect greenbelt land.

But opposition councillors accused the Tories of playing “naked politics” and “stupidity on a monumental scale”.

Holywell Coun Bernard Pidcock, who voted against the move, said: “It’s utterly ludicrous and stupid. This will mean our planning system will be exposed to greedy developers.”

Plessey Coun Jeff Reid, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Northumberland, told the Tories: “This is a mistake. You are going to take the one and only pillar of protection from our communities.”

Council leader Peter Jackson, who put forward the motion to withdraw the core strategy, told councillors it would take only “a few months” for officers to review it.

But Stocksfield and Broomhaugh Coun Patricia Dale said: “It will take at least two years and you will have to consult again.

“There will be no policy for our planning staff in place for any plans that come in during that time.

“If the public knew that this is what they voted for then they would be horrified.”

Tory Northumberland leader Peter Jackson (Photo: newcastle chronicle)

Coun Jackson defended the motion and claimed the previous Labour administration “acted as developers’ friends” and failed to protect communities.

He added: “Residents are unhappy and communities feel threatened by developments.

“People don’t want to live in towns and villages that are going to double in size over the next 10 years.”

Councillor Jackson also claimed that the 24,000 homes target was built on “false premises”.\

He referred to a council document which said the predicted population growth in the county by 2031 was 5,152 people and not 8,097 which the target was based on.

After debating the motion, 39 councillors voted in favour of withdrawing the core strategy while 22 votes against and two abstained from the vote.

The council’s officers will now review the housing numbers before resubmitting the document to the Government.

 

Architect of #NPPF suggests Moratorium on Housebuilding where Neighbourhood Plan is being Drafted

Hansard – Adjournment Debate of 4th July

John Howell MP

I suggest that the Minister considers introducing a moratorium on new house building where a neighbourhood plan is being put together. To prevent communities from cheating and claiming that they are producing a neighbourhood plan when they are not, rules would be needed that show that the plan is genuine. There would have to be rules to make sure that communities are allocating sites for development, not using the plan as a nimby charter. That could be done by strengthening the guidance to the Planning Inspectorate and making sure that it is applied consistently, or ensuring that neighbourhood plans are given more weight when, for example, they include a list of sites or the initial consultation has taken place.

Alok Sharma

On my hon. Friend’s comments about a moratorium on planning decisions while a neighbourhood plan is being produced, I recognise his concerns about those who seek to game the system and I know that other right hon. and hon. Members have made similar points in previous debates. I absolutely understand the frustrations felt by communities around the country when plans they have worked hard to produce are undermined. That is why the Government issued a written ministerial statement in December 2016 concerning an important policy for recently produced neighbourhood plans that plan for housing.

The statement sets out that relevant policies for the supply of housing in a made neighbourhood 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: the neighbourhood plan has been made within the past two years; the neighbourhood plan allocates sites for housing; and the local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

I know that all Members will agree that it is important that we strike the right balance so that we do not inadvertently create delays in planning for the homes needed. Of course, we keep these matters under review….

The best protection against unplanned development is to get a local plan in place. The best local plans are those where the local authority has engaged proactively with the local community. A local plan provides certainty for communities, developers and neighbourhood planning groups. It also removes the pressure on neighbourhood planning groups to fill the vacuum created by the failure of local planning authorities to keep their local plans up to date. As my hon. Friend the Member for Henley knows, the housing White Paper sought views on what changes are needed to ensure that all forms of plan making are appropriate and proportionate. We will consider how we can further speed up the neighbourhood plan process so that communities get the plans they want in place as quickly as possible.

 

Javid – New Method to Assess Housing Requirements to be Published this Month

Telegraph

Families living in some of the most sought-after parts of the country will be forced to accept more homes being built near them to tackle the housing crisis, the Communities Secretary has said.

Sajid Javid said that he wants communities which have benefited from soaring property prices to play their part in solving the housing crisis.

New rules to force councils to increase their housing targets will be published in the next three weeks.

Mr Javid’s comments could be seen as a new assault on homeowners with a Nimby” – “Not In My Back Yard” – attitude towards new development. It could also prove controversial with grassroots Tory voters, many of whom live in affluent areas.

Where housing is particularly unaffordable, local leaders need to take a long, hard, honest look to see if they are planning for the right number of homesSajid Javid

But last week, Damian Green, the First Secretary of State, said the Conservative Party had to focus on building affordable homes and creating jobs for “young metropolitan” voters if it wants to expand its support base and win the next general election.

Mr Green suggested that the Conservatives’ defeat at the general election last month was in part because they had allowed Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to seduce younger voters who have struggled to get onto the housing ladder.

Separately, ministers will say on Wednesday that towns and villages across England could get a share of £1billion a year to build bypasses and protect beauty spots from the “misery of lorries and thundering traffic”.
Mr Javid used a speech to council leaders to set out the Government’s plans to deal with the housing crisis and have “a much more frank, open discussion with local residents and communities” about housing.
 This means wealthy communities living in areas “where housing is particularly unaffordable” have to accept that more homes needed to be built nearby.

He told council leaders at the Local Government Association’s annual conference: “Nothing is more corrosive to trust than the idea that some areas are being treated better than others.

“Where housing is particularly unaffordable, local leaders need to take a long, hard, honest look to see if they are planning for the right number of homes.”

One source at the department said part of the problem was that “you see more active groups locally contesting against decisions” in wealthy areas. It comes six years after the Government clashed with rural campaigners over plans to make it easier to build on green belt land by relaxing planning laws in favour of developers.

Mr Javid directly criticised Theresa May, the Prime Minister, along with her predecessors in Downing Street, for not doing more to provide enough homes for young families.

He said: “Since the 1970s – under Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May – we’ve supplied an average of 160,000 new homes each year. That’s far below what’s needed.”

A new Government consultation paper published this month will provide a “new way for councils to assess their local housing requirements”, Mr Javid said.

 Councils are expected to be asked to commission an assessment of how much and what kind of housing is needed in their area. Councils will then use it to inform the housing target in the local plan which sets out where new homes can be built. The target will be reassessed every five years.
The new way of calculating housing need is expected to result in increases of up to 25 per cent in housing forecasts in the Home Counties, campaigners fear.

Mr Javid said: “Our aim is simple: to ensure these plans begin life as they should, with an honest, objective assessment of how much housing is required.

“That means a much more frank, open discussion with local residents and communities.”

The new initiative for more homes would involve “courage to both conceive and execute”, he said: “There will be tough decisions, difficult conversations. But that is what political leadership is about.”

Mr Javid said ministers would ensure that the extra schools, roads and doctors’ surgeries for the new homes would be built.

A spokesman for Mr Javid’s department said: “We want to make sure that local plans are based on an honest assessment of the need for new homes in local authority areas, and are formed in a transparent way that gives communities a strong voice to shape their area.”