@iowBobSeeley Says Gove has Agreed to End (with some exceptions) the 5 year Housing Land Supply – he’s been had no change on 5YHLS to existing NPPF

What are the exceptions – of course it doesn’t apply when plan is less than 5 years old – perhaps Seeley was duped and he was too dumb to notice?

Well basically yes as he comment piece in the Telegraph just repeats what the NPPF already says, as the tilted balence doesnt apply when the local plan is up to date (up to 5 years old) Bob Seeley has been fooled completely

Drawing on ideas from the backbenches and the Government, we have agreed the following:

Targets remain, but they will be only “advisory”. In the words of our agreement, they become a “starting point, a guide that is not mandatory”. [no change]

Targets will now be more influenced by constraints such as density and the existing character of an area. This will help prevent suburbs feeling they are being turned into cities [their is no development anywhere if change of character is the test – planning is about changing character] , and rural areas into suburbs. Where councils can show genuine constraints on their capacity to meet the target generated by the centrally determined methodology, they will be able to put a reduced figure in their local plan, and the power of the Planning Inspectorate to block this will be curtailed.

Curbing the power of planning inspectors in this way will amount to “a rebalancing of the relationship between local councils and the Planning Inspectorate”.

Inspectors will be required to take a more “reasonable” and “pragmatic” approach to “plans that take account of the concerns of the local community”. The bureaucratic red pen arbitrarily struck through well thought-out local plans will go.

For councils which have an up-to-date plan in place, we have secured the end of the pernicious five-year land supply obligation. At the moment, developers can ‘landbank’ permissions – sometimes sitting on them for a decade or more – forcing councils to identify even more sites to meet the land supply requirement because the developers refuse to build. With the removal of the land supply obligation, the ’tilted balance’, which is used so often by developers to bulldoze land – literally and metaphorically – into the planning process, will, for the most part, go as well. Its time is up.

Although the Government has some of these powers already, we would argue that the measures we have secured (to be implemented via the National Policy Planning Framework) amount to significant change in those powers and how they are interpreted….

our agreement means that cities cannot palm off their housing to other areas. Outside London, we have some of the lowest density cities in the world. We agree with Mr Gove that we need to gently densify our regional cities [note not villiers Barnet, not cities in the south east – its a policy for the colonies tup north only] to take pressure off suburbs and rural areas

Gove and Sunak to Abolish Requirement to Review Green Belt to Deliver New Homes


Many of the measures announced today deliver commitments made by PM Rishi Sunak over the summer. Green Belt protections will be strengthened, with new guidance setting out that local authorities are not required to review Green Belt to deliver homes.

The Green Belt is no longer a strategic planning policy. Rather like the Brexit referendum it is a frozen in time commitment however relevant or harmful it is now and however dead the people who declared it are

Gove Gives Way to Villiers and the Nimby Mps – But Just how Bonkers and Disruptive are the Concessions?

Answer Pretty Bonkers and Disruptive

Telegraph Note how hyper leaky Gove is briefing this as a concession not a compromise across every media source including BBC

Mandatory housebuilding targets have been scrapped by Michael Gove in the face of a Tory backbench rebellion, The Telegraph can disclose.

He has agreed to change his landmark Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill to make clear that centrally-dictated targets are “advisory”.

Note there never were targets in the Bill or National policy, the government always said they were not targets and the ‘starting point’ this by itself is not big deal – it is what follows.

The new rules will mean that town halls will be allowed to build fewer homes than Whitehall believes are needed if they can show that hitting the targets would significantly change the character of an area.

This is a big change

The Levelling-Up Secretary has also agreed to water down the powers of the Planning Inspectorate, making it harder for them to reject local development plans which have been agreed with the community.  

This is massive – no incentive at all for local planning authorities to do local plans or set challenging targets in them

And he has pledged to make it clear that more homes will be built in urban areas and in the North as part of the Government’s vision to level up the country.

It seems this is spin to conceal that the 5yhls rule will stay. As we know the Midlands and North are just as constrained – more so even in the North. Pushing up targets there simply means more loss of Green Belt there – it is shuffling deckshairs on the Totnic

In another change, town halls will be allowed to introduce registration schemes for short-term holiday lets and there will be a consultation on allowing them to require a change of use planning application if there is a switch from residential to short-term ‘Airbnb-type’ use.

As per Scotland – copying good government

Campaigners say that the problem in places like Devon and Cornwall is that many people are turning homes into Airbnbs, which reduces the number of affordable houses available and in turn increases the pressure to build more.

60 Tory MPs called for target to be scrapped

The climb-down came after 60 Conservative MPs signed an amendment laid by Theresa Villiers and Bob Seely calling on the Government to scrap its target that 300,000 homes should be built each year.

Facing the threat of a huge loss of authority for Rishi Sunak, the Government last month pulled key votes on the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.

Huge loss of authority acheived.

Following talks with the rebels, Mr Gove has now agreed to make a series of changes to ensure the Bill can proceed.

The rebels say the changes will rebalance the planning system to give local communities a greater say in what is built in their neighbourhoods.

No concession on third party right of appeal it seems

They include a crackdown on developers keeping land unused even though it has been granted planning permission – a trick which keeps prices high and pressures councils to find even more land to build on.

There will also be a series of government reviews, including one on making it easier to build on brownfield land.

They have no clue what review will propose or examine.

Ms Villiers, a former environment secretary, said: “These reforms will rebalance the planning system and give local communities a greater say over what is built in their neighbourhood.

“The Government has listened and will amend planning rules so that councils which are subject to genuine constraints will be permitted to reduce their target. This will apply if meeting the centrally determined target would significantly change the character of an area, for example from suburban to high-rise urban.

This is the London Nimby Rule – so effectively a ban on intensification in the suburbs like Barnet and Croyden – it will last a year till the next general election allowing a Trump like ‘Labour will destroy your suburbs’ type attack. . Bonkers

“The compromise we have secured shows that positive change can be achieved through backbench scrutiny of legislation.”

Mr Seely said: “We know how many communities have been battling against bad development. Supported by well over 100 Tory MPs, we have helped ministers shape a housing and planning agenda which is more conservative than the one we currently have.

“Targets will be advisory, not mandatory. The power of planning inspectors is weakened. Rules which have helped developers force councils to release land will be weakened.

“The new language we’ve agreed will work with communities, speaking to the character of areas and celebrating the beauty of good design. It understands the need for farmland, will significantly emphasise brownfield over greenfield development, and will help deliver homes for young people.”

Under the changes, local housebuilding targets will be downgraded – they will only be “advisory”. They become a “starting point, a guide that is not mandatory”.

They always were

Town halls will be allowed to depart from the central determination of local housing need if there are genuine constraints on delivering it. 

It means, for example, that if the centrally-determined target would involve building at a density that would lead to significant loss of rural or suburban character, the council can set a lower number.

This was already permitted, as per Worthing which had hardly any land – however the bonkers bit is changing character from suburban to urban or industrial to residential or rural to urban. Ban all three changes of character you ban all development everywhere – just how strong a restriction would this be. Just Bonkers – a backdoor ban on change – planning is about change – meeting housing need means planning for change – this means planning against change – anto-planning becomes a primary principle.

The reforms will cut the powers of planning inspectors as part of a “rebalancing of the relationship between local councils and the Planning Inspectorate”.

Up to now, the Planning Inspectorate has in almost all cases refused to accept that exceptional circumstances are present and indicated that the full target must be met. Their power to do this will be curbed.

No in call cases when they have clamped down the LPAs have had dumb nimby and unjustifiable excuses – what are we to have – a local priority clause that means even if there is no evidence that good sites for housing should be stopped the unevidenced dumb nimby plan can get through?

Inspectors will be required to take a more “reasonable” and “pragmatic” approach to “plans that take account of the concerns of the local community”.

The problem isnt that the inspectorate are unreasoned and not pragamtic – it is cllrs who say over my dead body to good sites and meeting housing need. I suspect planning inspectors will say ok im being reasonable and pragmatic – but the submitting LPA hasnt been. The real risk is sites will be promoted asat stupidly low densities – like 25DPH so that they wont change the character’ of existing housing – which will mean twice as many sites and simple sprawl with development further away from services and fromm public transport viability if teh rule change goes ahead.

Mr Gove has agreed there should be more housing in urban areas and the Midlands and North. Cities will not be able to palm housing off into neighbouring suburban and rural councils.

Well we know the duty to cooperate would go but we were led to believe that the ‘alignment test’ would mean unmet housing needs still having to be met – no – this will mean a loss of housing requirements of 100,000s of thousends nationally – it will destroy plans to expand Milton Keynes for example. Another deathblow to strategic planning – whose whole purpose is to deal ith unmet needs.

There will be a new government review on making it easier to build on brownfield land. Councils could be able to charge higher levies on greenfield sites to encourage developers not to use them.

Mr Gove promised a third review on allowing councils to refuse planning permission to developers who have in the past refused to build promptly on land for which they have planning permission.

Sigh how many reviews.

There could also be a character test in planning to ensure that so-called “spiv” developers can be turned down.

Like parish councils refusing planning permission to ‘oik ‘bad lot’ families.

And there could be a new beauty test for new developments, to prevent pretty areas being spoiled by new housing.

How will this change as the NPPF now has a beauty test?

When it comes to individual planning applications, new design codes will give councils a greater say over them. They will give councils stronger powers to specify the type of housing they want, and put in place standards on matters such as scale, height, bulk and character.

No change

Councils which have delivered well in past years can take this into account in the number they propose for the future in their plans. This will mitigate the problem whereby councils delivering many homes get hit by even higher targets.

Caselaw already requires a change – but it means that housing numbers wont add up nationally – and would require a change to standard method so numbers would be made up eelsewhere

Mr Gove has agreed that a consultation on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework will be published by Christmas.

Six months late

Urbed to Close as Public Sector Work dries up and David Rudlin Joins BDP


Manchester practice Urbed is to close down after 46 years with its principal, David Rudlin, joining BDP as director of urban design

Employee-owned Urbed, which was founded in the 1970s and rebranded in 2006, said it had ‘no option’ but to cease trading early next year, adding that it had been operating in an ‘incredibly difficult post-Covid environment’.

Several members of its staff – also including urban designers Kat Wong and Helen Berg – will transfer to BDP, which has a Manchester base a short walk from Urbed’s Little Lever Street studio.

Other members of Urbed’s team will transfer to not-for-profit body People Powered Retrofit, which is also based in the city. Urbed employees have also moved to Carbon Coop and the Quality of Life Foundation.

Urbed formed in 1976 as Urban and Economic Development, changing its full name to Urbanism, Environment and Design in 2006.

In a statement this week, the practice said: ‘It is with great sadness that we announce that Urbed Ltd will close early in the New Year.

‘The employee-owned co-operative finds itself with no option following the completion of a number of jobs and operating in an incredibly difficult post-Covid environment, particularly with public sector tendering.’

It added: ‘In many ways we are going out at the top of our game, having authored the National Model Design Code and played a leading role in the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

‘It is particularly sad to see the closure of a practice that has been influential in so many fields. Our values, including co-operative management, collaborative work with local communities, environmental consciousness and sustainable urbanism, influenced everything we did.’

The closure will not affect the Urbed Trust, which is a separate not-for-profit company run by original founding director of the overall practice Nicholas Falk.

The Urbed+ research lab at Manchester School of Architecture will also continue and is set to publish a book on high streets through RIBA Publishing next year.

Rudlin, who joined Urbed in 1990 and is an honorary professor at Manchester University, said he was ‘excited’ to move to BDP, which he said had a ‘global reputation’ for designing urban environments in complex cities.

‘I’m so pleased to be joining an organisation that is built with the same values that we held at Urbed; it is a future-thinking practice that works closely with communities, developers and stakeholders to shape progressive, successful and beautiful places.’

BDP principal and head of urbanism Francis Glare described Rudlin’s appointment as a ‘statement of intent’ for the practice’s urbanism unit.

‘David’s knowledge of city dynamics, social, economic, political and environmental drivers and urban design aesthetics make him a perfect fit for BDP,’ he said.

‘We are thrilled to be welcoming someone of his calibre. We look forward to developing and applying the sustainable and inclusive urban design principles that he helped to establish at Urbed to the global opportunities of our expanding practice.’