Northumberland Local Plan Farce Choose you OAN methodology – Old or New whichever is lower

The botched introduction of the botched standardized OAN methodology just gets worse.

If the SHMA based method is lower you use that- as in Central Beds

If the new method is lower you use that – as in Northumberland.

Either way we get less housing not more.

By the way the report for the new local plan is a joke as the standard OAN method is ’employment off’ the report says the area needs more housing because of a rapidly aging population but says nothing as to how much the housing target needs adjusting to match employment growth – so it doesn’t even match teh new method.  Rather the figures are arbitrary to delete the former administration Garden Village proposal.

The employment targets require 10,000 additional jobs, for which the plan proposes only 2,200 homes above the new government OAN, around 1/3rd of the homes target implied by the jobs target if in commuting is not to massively increase.  The targets just don’t add up, of course the old chief planner said that and he was fired.


Does the Government Really Understand how the New Towns Act Worked?

Summary of Consultation Responses to Locally Led New Towns Regs.

It will be for the Oversight Authority [local authority] to grant permission for development. This can be achieved either through the usual mechanisms or through use of a local development  order. We would encourage consideration being given to the use of local development
orders where appropriate as a means of securing high quality development at pace and strengthening the planning certainty of new town projects.


Section 1 (3) (2) of the  New Towns Act 1946

Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred
by section ten of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, 22 & 23
a special interim development order made by the Minister under Geo. 5. C. 48. that section with respect to an area designated under this Act as
the site of a new town may grant permission for any development
of land in accordance with proposals approved under subsection
(i) of this section, subject to such conditions, if any,
(including conditions requiring details of any proposed development
to be submitted to the interim development authority),
as may be specified in the order.

There are two purposes of New Towns – they could (at east prior to 1961) aquire land at existing use value, and secondly they could grant themselves planning permission subject to a masterplan in advance.  Key to attracting investors and industry.  The closet thing we have ever had to zoning in Britain.  By making the LA the DM body the development corporation will not be in a position to negotiate anything.  Why use the complicated concentional planning permission route when the New Towns Act bespoke route is far simpler and more effective?

The proposed regulations propose to add the the complex LDD/LDO procudure in addition to this regime where the New Town is designated locally – hardly a step forward as teh section 1 procedure is far simpler and more effective.

Neither of the two critical success factors of New Towns will aply – so the fate of the next round of New Towns will be predictable/

GIS in Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome operated a sophisticated land registration system.  They did not determine land ownership by deeds (such as in the uk) but by registration – such as in a Torrens style registration system invented again in the 19th Century.

Roman land was surveyed and divided by stone markers called limites. In some places the land was divided into regular squares called centuriae. In those cases the owner of each square was recorded. Other times, the land was in irregular bounds, in which case it was individually recorded.

There were two main types of records: the subseciva (land owned by the empire/government) and beneficia (land owned by individuals). In well-established places these lists were recorded on bronze plaques, and in more temporary situations they were recorded on wood or other less permanent materials.

We know the city of Rome itself held a particularly sophisticated system because of evidence of the Forma Urbis Romae – a marble model of the City at exactly 1:240th scale., recording even floor plans and columns.  This was reputedly collated from land registration records, however there is also some evidence of earlier models dating back to before Augustinian.   It is likely that the official offices for the government of the city of Rome during the imperial period occupied rooms next to the wall where the marble plan was hung, suggesting that it may have had an official, administrative function.

My belief is that the Forma was the 3D representation of the registration system derived from original bronze plaques and acting as an index to those records.  Its huge three storey size and location next to city offices can have been no coincidence.  There was a great incentive to do so as Rome relied on a 1%  (later rising) tax on land  and inherited wealth (though in theory Italian land owners were exempt), the main purpose of the Forma therefore may have been to record publicly owned land. to avoid conflicts between the emperor and senior members of the senate.

The most sophiticated surveying and registration systems were in Eygypt where all mortgaes and conveyances were registered – a fully fledged GIS system.

There is an ancient document called the Corpus Agrimensorum Romanorum which describes Roman surveying and recording practices in detail.