Raab Tells Basildon Tories where to go over plans to ‘rescind’ local plan

Yellow Advertiser

The housing distribution formula was created by the previous Tory Administration

TORY councillors met with the Government housing minister yesterday to discuss the borough’s Local Plan – but have refused to discuss what was said.

Conservative councillors have called an extraordinary council meeting this Thursday, June 7, where group leader Andrew Baggott said they would attempt to halt the Local Plan and make changes to it.

The Local Plan allocates land for almost 20,000 Government-ordered new homes in the borough by 2034.

Labour councillors warned that delaying the plan’s progress could lead to Government intervention, as has happened in neighbouring Castle Point.

Basildon Council received a written warning from former housing minister Sajid Javid last November, threatening intervention if the Local Plan did not come to fruition quickly.

Cllr Baggott said two weeks ago he had requested a meeting with Mr Brokenshire to ask for some ’common sense’ – but after the meeting, his group would not comment on whether or not the minister had agreed to call off the dogs.

Tory group spokesman Andy Barnes issued a press release saying Mr Brokenshire visited a regeneration project on the Craylands estate to view ’revolutionary’ building techniques being used, then met Conservative councillors ’for around an hour to discuss issues affecting the borough’.

When the YA asked Cllr Barnes whether Mr Brokenshire had agreed to postpone intervention in order to let Tories tinker with the plan, he responded: “I’ve got no comment to make on the Local Plan at this stage.”

Asked why, he added: “We are not commenting on the Local Plan at this point. We’ve got a meeting on Thursday and that would be the appropriate time to discuss it.”

Labour councillor Gavin Callaghan, who led the administration which passed the Local Plan earlier this year, wrote on Twitter that he believed the Tories’ silence indicated they had been rebuffed.

He commented: “Interesting to see the Basildon Tories’ language. The meeting with Brokenshire was to tear up the Local Plan. That’s what they promised. Afterwards, they want you to believe it was about showcasing housebuilding designs. Not fooling anyone. He was clear; Local Plan or else.”

Former independent mayor David Harrison, who also backed the plan before losing his seat last month, said: “The trouble is that if the minister makes an exception for Basildon Council, he’s then got a problem with all the other authorities who have received the same warning.”

The meeting came two days after Basildon Labour leader Adele Brown claimed in a live radio debate that the Tories’ bid to delay the Local Plan could lumber the borough with an extra 4,000 homes.

Cllr Brown made the statement during a live argument with Tory leader Andrew Baggott on BBC Radio Essex.

Cllr Baggott said on-air that his group would make ’very significant’ changes to the plan, particularly in Billericay and Bowers Gifford.

He claimed they would remove unpopular developments without forcing them onto other communities in the borough – but Cllr Brown said doing that would be illegal.

Cllr Baggott said: “We need to address the additional houses in Billericay. What we are not going to do is take those out and dump those somewhere else… It’s not going to be at the expense of anywhere else in the borough.”

Cllr Brown responded: “If we take houses out of somewhere, we are going to have to – in order to make our plan sound, lawful and compliant to present legislation – we are going to have to put those houses somewhere else… If we do not, we risk going into intervention.”

Cllr Brown also warned that Government’s formula for calculating boroughs’ housing needs was due to change in September and experts have warned numbers could shoot up by around 20 per cent.

Basildon’s current target is just under 20,000 homes. Cllr Brown said any delay could therefore leave the council with around 4,000 more houses to accommodate.

Cllr Baggott replied: “We have got professional officers. They have already spoken to the Government department. They know what’s going on. We have allowed for an element of slippage [in the timetable]. They are sympathetic to that regard.”

Cllr Baggott made the comment prior to the meeting with Mr Brokenshire.

He continued: “We will get a Local Plan, it will be on time, but it will be with a clear message of infrastructure first and also making some very, very significant amendments that affect the local people.”

Cllr Brown commented: “What Andrew is proposing is we say, ’No, we’re going to break the law; we’re going to ignore you; we’re not going to do what central Government wants’.

“If he really thinks that suddenly, central Government priorities are going to change because the leader of Basildon Council goes to them and says, ’No, no, no, we are not doing that’, he is wrong.”

Tandridge to Propose Rail Based Garden Village of 4,000 Homes in Green Belt in Local Plan

Surrey News

Far better than the two road based locations.  Just a bit two small for the full range of secondary school and other facilities.

Tandridge District Council has announced that South Godstone is its preferred option for a ‘garden village’ settlement of around 4,000 homes.

In a shock announcement on Tuesday (June 5) chair of the planning committee, Keith Jecks, said in an open letter that “based on the evidence, the draft Local Plan will recommend the Garden Community is located in South Godstone”.

It had previously been planned that the preferred option would be announced on July 3.

The recommendation means the other two options for a huge new settlement – Redhill Aerodrome and land off the A22 in Blindley Heath – will not be pursued.

Castlepoint to Finally Publish local Plan to Avoid Intervention

Southend Echoe

As far as I can tell the Sos has intervened so i don’t know if they can lawfully submit?  though if there was a motion the intervention could be withdrawn.  Has the dept issued consultancy contracts yet?

Council chiefs are determined to establish a new achievable plan for thousands of homes across HadleighBenfleet and Canvey – and avoid Government intervention.

A special Castle Point council meeting has been set to take place on June 6, during which the Conservative-led authority will aim to regain control of the local plan, which will set the infrastructure and housing strategy for the borough over the next 15 years.

The Government has told Castle Point Council to plan room for 4,000 new homes across the borough, and are now threatening to commandeer the operation if the authority continues to fail in providing a viable plan.

Council leader Norman Smith, said: “It is paramount that we demonstrate our ability to succeed in creating a local plan that works for our residents. This goes beyond party politics – without the ability to put forward our own ideas some of the vital decisions that will affect us the most could be taken almost completely out of our hands.

“The local plan is an absolute priority for us, which is why we are holding this meeting in order to initiate the process and prove that we have the political drive to meet the needs of the borough.”

Previous plans have fallen through due to questions being raised about the numbers of houses proposed for Canvey, with green spaces and flood plains being eaten into.

Opposition Canvey Independence Party leader, councillor Dave Blackwell, has suggested that relinquishing control of the local plan to the Government may be the only way that Canvey’s overcrowding fears could be properly addressed.

He said: “Many Canvey residents have completely lost faith in the administration. There are worries that if the control of the local plan gets handed over to the Government, the wishes of our residents will be ignored and we’ll be inundated with even more homes. I don’t think that is true – I think they would play by the book and stop piling houses onto Canvey. Neither the infrastructure nor the land, as a floodplain, can cope. Unless the island starts being treated as an exceptional case our councillors would struggle to offer their support to a council-led local plan.”

Waverley SPA decision Moritorium following ‘People over Wind’ EJEU case

Haslemere Herald

Following the recent ruling by the ECJ, we have temporarily suspended planning decisions for new residential developments in the 5km protected zones of the Thames Basin Heaths and Wealden Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA).

“This is a precautionary measure and nothing we have done is unlawful.

“This ruling is about procedure and changes when the council considers mitigation against development in the SPA.

“The council is confident that by making some small changes to its documents and the procedure to assess applications it will be in line with the new judgement. Natural England has supported this approach.

“This decision does not impact on planning decisions already made. Therefore, the two Farnham sites and the Milford Golf Club site allocated in Local Plan Part One are not affected.

“The consultation on Local Plan Part Two is also not affected.”

The ruling has already prevented Waverley’s Joint Planning Committee from determining plans to build 45 apartments in two blocks on the boarded up site in Wey Hill running between the railway bridge and the Majestic Wines warehouse.

Councillors were due to consider the application when they met last Wednesday. Planning officers had recommended the scheme be granted approval.

The site is directly affected by the ECJ ruling as it is too close to the Wealden Heaths SPA.

In guidance to borough councillors concerning the ruling seen by The Herald, Elizabeth Sims, Waverley’s head of planning services, said: “The latest judgment indicates the screening stage cannot include consideration of mitigation.

“This means that, going forward, consideration of mitigation will need to occur at the full assessment stage, otherwise known as appropriate assessment.

“Please be assured the planning decisions Waverley makes will continue to be lawful and in accordance with the relevant judgement.”

New Vote to Take Place on Thanet Local Plan

Isle of Thanet News

A new vote on Thanet’s draft local plan will take place in July.

The draft plan – which is a 20 year blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle – was voted down in January by Conservative and ‘rebel’ UKIP councillors  with 35 against and 20 in favour.

The vote, which led to the collapse of the UKIP administration, was prompted by a change of status for Manston from aviation-only to a mixed-use designation to include 2,500 homes. An amendment to defer for two years the mixed-use designation pending the resolution of the DCO process was not sufficient to persuade the majority of councillors.

There were also issues over housing numbers with a strong campaign to protect sites mounted by the Birchington Action Group Against TDC Local Plan members.

The failure to vote through the plan led to the government stepping in to speed up the process.

Then-Housing Secretary Sajid Javid wrote to 15 local authorities in England in March to inform them of decisions on intervention following their continued failure to produce a local plan.

Thanet was one of three authorities where the government confirmed it could take over the entire process.

TDC initially said a new plan could take between 8-10 months with the intention to publish a pre-submission draft plan by December 2018  and submission for examination until April 2019.

But council leader Bob Bayford, who was voted in to the council top spot following the resignation of UKIP leader Chris Wells at the end of February, had pledged to “progress and deliver the local plan.”

Thanet council Cabinet members will meet to discuss the draft plan on July 2. The issue will go to the scrutiny panel on July 11, back to Cabinet on July 19 before a final decision from full council on July 26.

Documents for those meetings, which will include any revisions to the plan, have not yet been published.

Thanet’s Draft Local Plan –which runs until 2031 –sets out how much development is needed to support the future population and economy. Allocating land through the plan is designed to give the council greater control over where and what type of developments can take place.

Consultation was carried out last year on revisions to the plan included axing the aviation-use only designation at Manston airport and putting forward new isle sites including Manston Court Road and Haine Road.

Government guidelines currently dictate a build of 17,140 new isle homes by 2031.

This level of housing may need to rise to more than 20,200 homes, raising the requirement from 857 dwellings per year to 1063 dwellings per year.

Some 1,555 homes have already been constructed; another 3,017 have been given planning permission; 2,700 are accounted for through windfall housing –sites that have historically had planning approval and may be put forward again – and 540 are already empty homes.

This leaves 9,328 properties to be accommodated.

The isle’s last active local plan was adopted in 2006.

Guildford Green Belt Group – forget about Affordability around London

Guildford Local Plans Examination First Day Ends 

The meeting ends with a more fiery exchange between Mr Bore and Cllr Parker of the Guildford Greenbelt Group.

Cllr Parker argues that no increase in housing supply in Surrey will help affordability because properties can be easily sold to overseas buyers, and that in any case “affordability is not that bad” as it is skewed by a few highly-valued properties.

She says: “You could build over every inch of Surrey and you will not affect house prices.”

Mr Bore asks what she wants him to put in his report that would justify departing from government policy.

Cllr Parker: “There should be a statement that on the periphery of London, government policy is misconceived.

Mr Bore: “So you think all of Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Essex should make no allowance for affordability?

Cllr Parker: Yes.