The department may have difficulty in imposing special measures on those Authoroties such as Thurrock and Castlepoint that have stopped their local plan work – precisely because DHLUC appointed commissioners have withdrawn the entire local plan budget. Leading the head of policy to retire after 37 years and the two policy planners with no budget to do anything.
Part of the problem here is the lack of a statutory duty to prepare a local plan, one of the reasons why planning departments have suffered the largest cuts 60% of any service area.
Last night full council at Castle Point voted against the main modifications required by the inspector to make the plan sound. of course they have been silly b$$gers many times before and only voted to submit when there chief executive wrote a report telling the councilors they were failures – which they are.
If enquiries are supposed to be truly independent remove the opportunity to do the following three things in local plan regs
- Allow inspectors to publish main mods
- Remove opportunity to withdraw plans once examinations begin
- Make adoption automatic after being found sound (the full council resolution at this stage is a joke as cllrs have no choice)
Finally give inspectors the power to close inquiries where they are going nowhere – rather than the years long perma-inquiry.
Chief Planners Letter About Nutrient Pollution
‘I realise that the issuing of this advice may be particularly challenging in relation to
Here the problem
There are three ways to mitigate
- Planning Offsets (paying for less nitrate intensive land use change off site)
- Upgrading STPs
- Reducing nitrate pollution from Agriculture
So which combination?
Imagine you have a strategic site producing over 25 years, well into that period the New Environmental Act duties to reduce nitrate pollution come on line, presumably some combination of water treatment and farming controls but which?
Also in that time an STP may need to be upgraded and with the Current Water Act regime that falls on the Water Company not the developer – though Defra want to reform this, rightly so.
So a possible way forward, project linearly the Environment Act targets and so only units whilst controls on agriculture are not yet in place apply.
Secondly reform the water act so that S106 is collectable for upgrades to STPs, but only for upgrading of new STPs. If a new STP at some point in time the S106 contribution would only be for the proportionate increase in catchment.
So take these two lines, Agricultural improvements and Water Treatment improvements and from the housing trajectory planning would only deal with the residual improvements needed. With a spreadsheet as part of your trajectory – doable.
As a result of these regulations and European case law, Natural England has previously advised a total of 32 local planning authorities that where protected sites are in unfavourable condition due to excess nutrients, projects and plans should only go ahead if they will not cause additional pollution to sites. They can demonstrate this through “nutrient neutrality”. This means that new residential development can only happen if the nutrient load created through additional wastewater from the development is mitigated. This typically involves creating new wetlands to strip nutrients from water or creating buffer zones to revert to nature. This has had a significant negative impact on the number of homes granted planning permission in affected areas.
Following further work to understand the sources of site deterioration, Natural England have identified a further 20 protected sites that are adversely impacted by nutrient pollution. As a result, Natural England have today advised a further 42 Local Planning Authorities that their areas are covered by this advice. Different Local Planning Authorities are affected to different degrees – some will have only a small fraction of their area affected, and others will be impacted to a much larger extent.
Where are these areas? Ive heard of Bucks today?
It seems like the Secretary of State has been giving advice to Local Mps to stall withdraw or delay local plans to take the heat out.
Basildon voted to withdraw their local plan two weeks ago. After intervention by the monitoring officer it was reported to full council last thursday. The officers report set out the dire consequences of doing do.
The day before the full council the Planning minister wrote to Basildon with the wimpiest threat he could ‘If the Council decides to withdraw the plan at the Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 3 March, I will ask my officials to carefully monitor your progress on preparing a new local plan. Given my continued commitment to ensuring up-to-date local plans are in place, I must remind the Council that the Government remain prepared to intervene where local authorities fail to make sufficient progress in accordance with the existing statutory powers in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. I will carefully consider all appropriate action using available statutory powers, including whether to direct with regard to the local development scheme and inviting the County Council to prepare a local plan for Basildon. ‘
He just said ill tell you off but all you’ll get is a brief period on the naughty step. Unlike the similar case in South Oxfordshire he did not apply a holding direction. Why?
It was a clear political signal to withdraw. No chance of a holding direction. Whatever my civil servants say ministers are issuing contrary go slow signals. Whilst Boris is in trouble don’t rock the boat don’t create political problems by pursuing housebuilding or Green Belt loss. Ill pretend im angry but wont apply any of my real powers to keep local plans on track. The new planning minister has shown already he is the weakest and most supplicant modern holder of that office. The real policy is go slow.