National Map of Planning – Says No Conservation Areas In Windsor and Maidenhead

First place I looked was where I knew the data was dodgy. There is no single good database of conservation areas held by NE as (unlike London, Wales and Scotalnd) as it shows no data where LPAs has refused to sign an Inspire directive sign off – and teh national map rather than showing np data shows no CAs. Similarly the data is not grouped by theme, has major gaps and doesnt filter, (fpor example former i.e. cut down ancient woodlands).

As a prototype this wouldn’t be worrying, but already it is being piloted for Plan X, the supposed online platform for applying for everything, first LDCs in Southwalk, so if rolled out for Windsor and Maidenhead for example it would be wrong wrong wrong. A huge data cleansing and checking process is necessary, for which a national geospatial agency should be responsible for, like in many other countries.

Sunak to give way on Onshore Wind


Downing Street appears likely to allow new onshore wind projects in England after years of an effective ban, Grant Shapps has indicated, with ministers giving way in the face of a growing backbench Conservative rebellion.

Shapps, the business and energy secretary, said there would be more onshore wind projects “where communities are in favour of it”, which would mean the end of a de facto block on such projects since 2014 under planning rules.

While Shapps sought to present the idea as already proposed by Rishi Sunak, this is not the case. The U-turn instead appears to be a direct response to an amendment to a bill tabled by Simon Clarke, the former levelling up secretary, which Labour is also expected to support

Clarke, one of a growing list of Tory MPs, including Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, to oppose a ban, has tabled an amendment to the levelling up bill to allow new onshore wind projects in England.

Asked about the issue, Shapps told Sky News: “We already have quite a lot of onshore wind. There will be more, over time, particularly where communities are in favour of it.

“That is, I think, the key test of onshore wind – is it of benefit to communities locally? That has always been the principle for us, for quite some time now.”

Shapps denied the government was backing down over fears it would lose a vote on the Clarke amendment. He said: “I don’t recognise it in those terms at all. Simon Clarke has put in an amendment, which I haven’t studied all the ramifications of yet.

“But it’s essentially saying what I just said to you, for local people to have a very, very keen say in this, which is indeed government policy. There are always different ways to skin a cat, as it were, but we will have a close look at what is being proposed.”

Pushed again on whether this was an enforced change of stance, Shapps said: “No, it’s exactly what we’ve said all along. Rishi Sunak said the other week that where onshore happens it needs to have local agreement.”

Shapps said incorrectly Sunak had “always” argued that onshore wind could happen with local consent, adding: “What is being proposed [in Clarke’s amendment] is something which would guarantee that. I haven’t studied all the ramifications of that in terms of the planning changes, but to present it as some sort of massive gulf is completely untrue.”

During the summer campaign to become Tory leader, where he lost to Liz Truss, Sunak released what he termed an energy independence plan, which stated: “In recognition of the distress and disruption that onshore wind farms can often cause, Rishi has also promised to scrap plans to relax the ban on onshore wind farms in England, providing certainty to rural communities.”

Clarke’s amendment would oblige the government to change planning rules within six months to allow new projects.

It is not yet known when amendments to the bill will be voted on. Last week, No 10 pulled a scheduled vote after a rebellion over planning policy.

An amendment led by the former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers and backed by more than 50 Tory MPs seeks to scrap mandatory local housing targets and make them advisory only.

The Problem with Housing and Infrastructure is an Aging Population – Not New People Moving In

John Harris Guardian

one objection came up time and again: how “a whole new town” would cause the wider public realm to buckle under the strain. o quote one eloquent statement of opposition, “Services and infrastructure are already overstretched. Who will fund what is needed? 

Compare the situation to even 15 years ago when S106 contributions to matters such as school places and GP facilities were rare, now they are almost universal. There have been several attempts to systematise the process, such as CIL, but it is acknowledged they cant pay for the big ticket items, like major transport infrastructure. However recessions and poorer parts of the country in planners eyes the problem is solved. The contributions are enough to mitigate health and education impacts. Indeed as many planners will tell you around 2/3rds of new home occupants in most areas are existing residents in the housing market areas, the net new impact will be minimal.

Yet why don’t many local campaigners see it that way? The problem is they see local schools being closed, the number of schools has declined by around 7,000 since 2010, with closure of many rural schools. GPs feel overloaded, many retire, and the CCTs find it hard to attract new doctors, or find new premises, especially in rural areas, and single doctor practices are inefficient. There is a common theme here. Primary care pressure is rising because of an aging population, and birth rates are falling. Far more work per patient on rolls. The demographic for school age children is shrinking in rural areas, making schools less viable. The available workforce for teachers and GPS is shrinking as the dependency ratio rises, areas just outside London cant compete with London weighting.

The logic here is that housing for young people needs to increase in such areas not slow down, otherwise public services could simply collapse, or like Japan with its anti-immigration stance there will be a mad rush to robotise services with most people dead before the technology catches up to be of any use.

An aging population in a broadly fixed housing and population stock causes a financial vicious circle of doom for local public services as the cost of services rises and the number of local taxpayers to fund them declines. Then those who rely of care for the elderly but don’t need for an expansion of the housing stock vote against its expansion, leading to the revenue cost of services spiralling whatever the funding of capital.

The solution, adding to the standard method an additional allowence for areas with a high dependency ratio, restricted to small units for elederly residents only. This would lead to a much more efficient re-allocation of the existing housing stock as those over-occupying houses (two or more bedrooms free) which is nearly half the over 65s. Capital receipts on profits from sale of large houses should no longer be exempt from CGT, with the receipts ringfenced to expansion and training of additional public service workers in those areas.

Government to Placate Nimby MPs by Watering Down Housing Targets


Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove are considering watering down their flagship planning bill in an attempt to head off a growing Tory revolt, rebels have claimed.

Downing Street officials, along with the Levelling Up Secretary and ministers have held a series of discussions with planning rebels in an attempt to reach a compromise, The Telegraph understands.

“The Government is making an effort to find where there is common ground,” a source involved in the discussions said. “There is no agreement yet, everyone is proceeding with caution.”

Last week, Rishi Sunak was forced to delay long-awaited planning reforms after dozens of Tory MPs threatened to rebel.

The Prime Minister was facing the first major test of his authority when MPs were set to vote on his plans for mandatory, centrally-set targets to build 300,000 homes a year.

But initially a group of 50 Conservative MPs – including eight former cabinet ministers – signed an amendment to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill that would have abolished the targets.

On Sunday night, rebel leaders said that the number of signatories has now risen to 56, as they claim that several more MPs have indicated they would be willing to vote for the amendment when it came to the House of Commons.

Possible areas of compromise include the Government agreeing to greater flexibility on house-building targets, and finding legal routes to making sure developers prioritise building on brownfield sites.

Theresa Villiers, a former cabinet minister who is leading the planning revolt, said: “We have had many meetings with Michael Gove and various housing ministers who have expressed public sympathy with our point of view. No doubt conversations will continue. There is a problem that needs to be resolved.”

Labour had already said it would not be supporting the rebel amendment – meaning there was no chance of the Government being defeated. But a vote would have been a huge test of the Prime Minister’s authority just a month after he took office.

The MPs who have signed the amendment – “new clause 21” – are from all wings of the party.

As well as Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Ms Villiers, former cabinet ministers include John Redwood, Dame Maria Miller, Damian Green, Chris Grayling, Priti Patel and Esther McVey.

The amendment would have meant that house-building targets “may only be advisory and not mandatory” and so “accordingly such targets should not be taken into account in determining planning applications”.

A source close to Mr Gove declined to comment on the nature of the discussions with rebels but said he “wants to work constructively with colleagues”. 

Former Planning Chair says Old People are Are Wicked for Living in Large Homes – not Nimbys

Times Letters

It’s targets that are wicked
There is nothing “wicked” in local people seeking to protect their local environment. Rather, it is wicked to impose housing targets on communities, riding roughshod over their wishes.

The government should look more closely at the underoccupation of existing housing stock. There are many single elderly people rattling around in houses far larger than they need or want. Building higher-density extra-care apartments — where they can live independently but with care on hand — would release homes for families. That is the way forward.
Roy Perry, former chairman, Test Valley borough council planning committee

This is a well known myth. Most newly forming households are smaller households. Unless you build new smaller homes there will be nowhere for overoccupying homes to move to. The solution to over-occupation amongst the old and housing need of the young are not opposite they are the same – build more homes. There is no alternative to building more homes as over a fascist state forcing old biddies to move at gun-point would find a shortage of smaller homes for them to move to. You simply have to build more homes to unlock the logjam. Once you do household formation in the future might be less than projected as the new plus existing stock can filter through and down more efficiently.

Vote on LURB Bill Pulled as over 50 NIMBY MPs seek to Gut Housebuilding Policy


Rishi Sunak is facing a rebellion of about 50 MPs who are demanding an end to housebuilding targets for councils, via an amendment which campaigners say would further hinder affordable homes.

The amendment, led by the former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers, has backing from 46 MPs who have signed the bid to scrap mandatory local housing targets and make them advisory only.

The government is now set to pull the vote on the bill on Monday amid a standoff with rebels and promising further engagement on their concerns, though officially ministers say the vote has been delayed because of time pressures from the finance bill.

The move is backed by a number of former cabinet ministers, including Damian Green, Esther McVey, Priti Patel, Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan Smith. Other prominent MPs who have signed up include Tracey Crouch, Treasury select committee chair Harriett Baldwin, foreign affairs committee chair Alicia Kearns and Maria Miller.

The amendment would also abolish the five-year land supply rule, which determines whether there have been enough sites are allocated for development to provide five years’ worth of housing. If not, developers can submit applications for land that has not been allocated for housebuilding.

MPs have been emboldened after both Sunak and his predecessor Liz Truss said they would relax rules on housebuilding during the Conservative leadership contest.

Truss said she would end “Whitehall-inspired Stalinist housing targets” and Sunak promised to relax the five-year rule and also stop local authorities requesting changes to greenbelt boundaries.

Robert Colvile, the director of the CPS thinktank, said it was “selfish and wicked” for MPs to attempt to scrap the targets and that the proposals could cut the number of homes being built by 20% to 40%, potentially more because the industry was already being affected by recession and interest rate rises.

“The actual effect would be to enshrine nimbyism as the governing principle of British society – to snap the levers that force councils to build, and leave every proposed development at the mercy of the propertied and privileged,” he wrote in the Times.

The former levelling up secretary Simon Clarke also said he was alarmed by the amendment. “There is no question that this amendment would be very wrong. I understand totally how inappropriate development has poisoned the debate on new homes in constituencies like Chipping Barnet [Villiers’ constituency], but I do not believe the abandonment of all housing targets is the right response,” he tweeted.

“We also need to recognise the fundamental inter-generational unfairness we will be worsening and perpetuating if we wreck what are already too low levels of housebuilding in this country. Economically and socially it would be disastrous. Politically it would be insane.”

Labour will not back the amendment, the Guardian understands, but the size of the rebellion could leave the government dependent on Labour votes in order to block it.

Green wrote on ConservativeHome defending the amendment that the aim was to “take power away from central government planners and distribute it to local people”.

He said the current rules were not incentivising housebuilding but instead made landbanking by developers more profitable. “Instead of blaming councils, we should look at the failure of the current regime to incentivise developers to build once they have received permission,” he said.

“A central target cannot recognise the different pressures in different parts of the country. National averages for house prices are meaningless in the real world because the same house will be many times the price on the outskirts of Sevenoaks as the outskirts of Sunderland.

“This is precisely why we need local decisions, expressed in local plans, about the scale of development needed in each area.”

Lisa Nandy, the shadow housing secretary, said: “This is a complete shambles. The government cannot govern, the levelling up agenda is collapsing and the housing market is broken. Pulling flagship legislation because you’re running scared of your own backbenchers is no way to govern.

“There is a case for reviewing how housing targets are calculated and how they can be challenged when disputed, but it is completely irresponsible to propose scrapping them without a viable alternative in the middle of a housing crisis.

“Labour will step up to keep this legislation moving. There is too much at stake for communities that have already been victims of Tory chaos and of a prime minister too weak to stand up to his own party.”

Gove – If you have beaten past targets you can build less

How will this work – as most areas beating past targets still have pre standard method local plans with low targets, are are growth areas, so where will this leave? Of course already if you build more than your standard method you need less over the remaining 10-15 years of a local plan, and it is unclear if the minister was just stating that fact or extending the principal to the 5YHLS.


Rural areas which have exceeded housing targets in the past will not have to build as many homes in future, Michael Gove has pledged in a bid to see off a potential Tory rebellion.

The Levelling-Up Secretary told MPs that he wants to ensure that local authorities which have “out-performed expectations” in recent years do not have to stick to rigid targets to build many more.

And he denied that his department was seeking a “power-grab” where national planning policies should override locally-agreed plans.

He said: “Quite rightly it should be the case that if a local community has invested time and care in making sure it has a robust local plan, that should prevail.”

Mr Gove’s promise came after Tory MP Paul Holmes said the Government’s target to build 300,000 homes makes the “blood drain” from many faces in local communities.

Mr Gove has promised to rewrite local planning rules following Tory grassroots anger at a target to build 300,000 new homes a year.

Appearing before the Levelling-Up select committee, he said it was a “manifesto ambition”.

He added: “There’s been a lively debate about how those numbers are generated, and how we make judgments about household formation and population growth overall.

“My own view is that whatever figures you arrive at nationally, and how it’s broken down authority by authority, a greater proportion of housing need should be met in urban areas on brownfield sites. 

“Many of our cities are significantly less dense than their counterparts elsewhere and that is bad for everything from transport to economic growth.

“Second, I do believe that we need to have in plan-making a judgment about the likely level of new housing required. 

“I also think that in plan-making we should have a system whereby once a plan has been adopted, a community can feel confident that you don’t get speculative development undermining the commitment to local democratic control.”

Mr Holmes asked him: “The target of 300,000 a year makes local communities’ blood drain from their face, particularly in areas like mine where a local authority has built double that which was required under assessed need. People are quite rightly concerned about that, even though they recognise that we need housing.

“If a local authority over the past five or seven years has built more than the assessed need is required, would a future formula under your stewardship recognise that and align some future formula to reducing the number of houses required locally?”

Mr Gove replied: “Yes. That’s what we propose to do. 

“There are at least two things we want to do to acknowledge those authorities that have outperformed expectations, requests or targets. 

“And also to ensure that if there is a robust plan in place and a clear pipeline, that the local authority is not held to be in breach of the five-year land supply requirement.”

The minister also said it was not the case that national planning policies would override local plans.

“I do know there are some concerns about a perceived power grab and what I want to do is provide people with reassurance on that,” he said.

“Quite rightly it should be the case that if a local community has invested time and care in making sure it has a robust local plan, that should prevail.”