Greater Manchester to Propose 56,000 New Homes on Greenbelt

Manchester Evening News full details of sites here – 1/4 of all sites on GB

Radical plans to redraw Greater Manchester’s green belt ahead of a 20-year mass housebuilding and jobs programme can today finally be revealed.

Restrictions on space currently protected from development in Trafford, Salford, Stockport, Bury, Oldham and Rochdale would be lifted for the first time since the 1980s if proposals by the region’s ‘super council’ are agreed.

More than a quarter of the proposed development across the region is on current green belt.

We revealed plans were being drawn up to allow building on protected green space last month, but until now the combined authority had kept the final proposals tightly under wraps.

The draft plan, known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, has now been agreed in principle by council leaders in private and would concentrate green belt encroachment on a number of large sites, including the following areas:

– High Lane, Woodford, Cheadle Hulme and Heald Green in Stockport

– Carrington and Davenport Green in Trafford

– Pilsworth and Elton in Bury

– Lane End, Heywood

– Broadbent Moss and Beal Valley in Oldham

– Next to the RHS Bridgewater site between Boothstown and Worsley

All 10 council chiefs are agreed former industrial land across the region should be used before any protected space is developed.

However they believe hitting a target of more than 400,000 new jobs and homes by 2035 would be impossible without redrawing the green belt boundary.

London Society Propose 100,000 Green Belt Homes Between Uxbridge and Slough – A Review

The London Society has just released a report authored by Johnathan Manns of Colliers of Dr Nicholas Falk of Urbed, with an advisory board that includes intriguingly Paul Miner of the CPRE.  One wonders if this is a bit like Ken Shuttleworths ‘Panel of experts’ who dont get to see reports before they are published.

The first 28 pages comprises general features for good planning including land value capture and transport orientated development.  There is little to disagree with here but it does not make for a well structured report as the application of these principles should grow from the site and its potential and limitations.  Very little in planning is apriori. Indeed its a sign of student projects when the first half of a submission is padded out thus without analysing the site.

The report focuses on a wedge of land to the West of Heathrow as an extension of the GLAs ‘City in the West’ hitherto wholly within the Green Belt.  It is an area which deserves examination as close to Heathrow it is the area which will feel the greatest urbanisation impacts of a third runway (estimated at around 70,800 homes).  And nearby Yalding/Gerrards Cross was briefly mentioned by civil servants before the announcement.  We have looked at the potential of parts of this area on the blog before.

I am a defender of Green Belts, to serve their original function, to shape urban form, stop urban sprawl and to afford countryside recreation.  However with programmes to offset displaced housing need they have become purely restrictive devices.  With Housing falling short by 250,000 over the next 20 years (even without Heathrow) there is no way by any estimate this can be built within London without redeveloping a couples of boroughs worth of existing housing.  Noone is suggesting this, though undoubtedly more can be done.

The report contains some good ideas like redeveloping RAF Northolt – an ideal brownfield site if ever made surplus.  On other areas it is rather scant treating the area generically – suggesting 100,000 homes sitting on 1/3 of a publicly accessibly Green Web of around 37sq km.  The diagrams for this are rather sketchy, which could be counterproductive in raising alarm.  To my mind the development is too dispersed and should be concentrated more around key corridors and nodes.  Only Langley and Iver within the Green Belt are specifically mentioned.


I many ways this broad area is not ideal as it is the meeting point of the M25 and the M4, and so large amounts of new housing could simply jam roads, also the Colne Valley is very low lying and prone to flooding.  Indeed this rules out large scale (as opposed to medium scale) development around Langley station.

I would approach this issue a different way asking

1 – What are the urbanisation issues around a third Heathrow runway or Heathrow hub

2.  Can we maximise the opportunities from improved surface access to Heathrow.

A hub station on the WCML was proposed east of Iver station with a ‘people mover’ to new terminals/  The Airports commission report rejected this as inferior to a new rail connection to Slough and Reading.  The two are not incompatible, there would be a regional metro type scheme from Reading to Heathrow with interchange station at Iver and bRT connections to this station.

Iver station doesn’t suffer from flooding and there is an area not contributing to the Green Belt surrounded by brownfield sites.  This is a potential city centre area for a new Garden City.   But you want to develop away from the motorways because of noise and avoid the merger of Langley and Iver.  So 10,000 or so is a more realistic estimate of potential here even at high density.

There are other areas with could be developed as nodes and linear corridors to ths hub, mainly to the north. Crucially the Iver North water treatment works could be expanded to cope and feed into the river Colne, always the first question you should ask in setting down a site for a new settlement.  A huge national grid substation could be expanded at Uxbridge Moor.


To the North there are areas of Ribbon Development to the South of Iver Heath which could be filled out with medium density housing along a transit corridor to Iver, around 3,000 house potential.

This links to Pinewood where you could build 1,000 homes on a brownfield site.  Though previously losing an appeal proposed changes to national policy would make it appropriate development.

To the North of Iver you could fit another 2,000 houses, as well as two township to the nroth and South of the M40 of around 5,000 houses each.  The extremely low density mansions around Langley corner could fit another 2,000 or so houses, and another 2,000 north of the woods here.

South of Denham Station you could fit around 5,000 houses at medium density, and 2,000 west of Gerrards Cross at Low Density.

To the North of Denham Station at the Golf Course and old Aerodrom is space for around 10,000 homes at high density.  This is also the HS2 route and with the right HSR techncologyb there could be a commuter station here, like many on the edge of Tokyo.

A wedge of land north of Denham and South of Maples Cross could take around 7,000 houses at Medium density. At Chorelywood Bottom their is land surrounded by motorway and urbanization which could take around 5,000 homes. And another 5,000 with a western expansion of Chorelywood to the woods itself and again to its north.

Between George Green and Shredding Green their is a potential for a new Township to Slough which could take around 7,000 houses.

A final township area could be around Horn Hill and South of Newlands Park, around 5,000 houses.

With the loss of a few Golf Courses that get us between 60-70,000 houses, together with Northolt sufficient to meet the urbanisation needs of Heathrow

With a BRT connection to Heathrow in less than 20 minutes you could develop the housing essentially car free and with permitted parking on all roads.

None of the above requires development in the Colne Valley Regional Park or Chilterns AONB.  The BRT could also connect through to Uxbridge and Ruislip for the underground system.

So with a more focussed approach, around opportunities and constraints, this area has real potential and could solve a real issue around Heathrow urbanisation.

County Councils do do the Dirty Work for DCLG on Late Plans

Until today the SoS was faced with the unwelcome task of doing local plans him or herself where they dont meet next Aprils deadline

But a new clause is proposed in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill gives default powers to County Councils if they so wish.

There is also a clause for the SoS to order joint plans.

An intriguing clause provides for the SoS to set ‘data standards’ for LDSs and LDDs.

What might these be – limits on pages perhaps?  Word limits?  Possibly numbers for housing overspill from major conurbations maybe.

These cover most of the recommendations of the Local Plan Experts Group.


@SteveHiltonx Talks Rot – The Manifesto he Edited introduced the Heathrow 1 yr Dither

Pathetic reporting and tweeting across the British media about the supposed 1 year ‘dither’ on Heathrow.

has there ever been a more abject, humiliating show of political cowardice than successive UK governments’ dithering on London airports

Well yes actually the changes to the Infrastructure Planning Regime introduced by the government he was chief adviser to.  Its his fault.

A bit of background.

The brown government introduced reforms to planning of major infrastructure following alarm at the multi years delays to the public inquiry to T5.

He set up the Infrastructure Planning Commission in the Planning Act 2008, following the Barker and Eddington reports

The key changes being

  • A new body, the Infrastructure Planning Commission would make the decisions
  • These decisions would be based on new national policy statements
  • Hearings and the decision-making process would be timetabled
  • The Secretary of State would not be able to have the final say on major infrastructure decisions

The 2010 Election Manifesto

  1. Opposed a third Runway at Heathrow
  2. Proposed to abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission

After the election rather than completely abolishing the IPC it was folded into the Planning Inspectorate and the Localism Act 2011 gave a final decision to Parliament

These changes would add several months to any major infrastructure decision.

The revised regime prevented matters of detail bogging down public inquires and took years off decision making.  It is universally recognised as working well.  Ministries publish national planning statements which are subject to consultation and inquiries only deal with local matters.

It has always been the case since the 2008 reforms that the National Policy Statements on Airports would be subject to public consultation (as a matter of English Common Law) and this would be the major delay once an executive decision on runway capacity was made.

The only innovation made by the May Government was rather than a select committee scrutinizing the draft NPS as the main means of legislative scrutiny there to be a vote of full Parliament rather than SOS decision solely.  This does not require fresh legislation, it is imply the legislature executing the right to restrict crown perogative.

Consultation is needed because:

  1. The Airports NPS until now has never been published
  2. The government policy till now has been to restrict expansion
  3. The main caselaw on need for consultation relates to Heathrow

So Hilton doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about and reveals he didnt have a clue about the impact of various policies in the 2010 Conservative Manifesto.



Yellen Almost, but not Quite, Gets Whats wrong with Modern Macro

Janet Yellen have a good speech last Friday at a Boston Fed conference on Macro Research after the crisis.

She almost got it

Many macroeconomists work with models where groups of individual actors, such as households or firms, are treated as a single “representative” agent whose behavior stands in for that of the group as a whole. …

Prior to the financial crisis, these so-called representative-agent models were the dominant paradigm for analyzing many macroeconomic questions. However, a disaggregated approach seems needed to understand some key aspects of the Great Recession. To give one example, consider the effects of negative housing equity on consumption. Although households typically reduce their spending in response to wealth declines, the many households whose equity positions in their homes were actually driven negative by the reduction in house prices may have curtailed their spending even more sharply because of a markedly reduced ability to borrow. …

In light of the housing bubble and subsequent events, policymakers clearly need to better understand what kinds of developments contribute to financial crises. What is the relationship between the buildup of excessive leverage and the value of real estate and other types of collateral, and what factors impede or facilitate the deleveraging process that follows? Does the economic fallout from a financial crisis depend on the particulars of the crisis, such as whether it involves widespread damage to household balance sheets?

I underlined the last two words myself because all of the above matter because balance sheets matter.

In DGSE representative agent based models balance sheets dont matter because with a single agent inflows and outflow balance, there are no balance sheets, there is no distinction between stocks and flows mathematically.  Hence it is impossible for the model to behave in a non linear manner with feedback loops and complexity, the model can be linearised and is hence tractable within the limited simultaneous equation linear dynamics framework of DGSE.

So whilst Janet gets empirically what is wrong with modern macro research she misses the fundamental reasons this matters.

  1. Economics must be rebuilt around balance sheets and fundamental accounting identities
  2. Hence state – balance sheets- must be the basis of all models.  If the model is not a state machine it cannot describe the state of anything economic.
  3. Hence credit and debt, and money matters
  4. As debt issues are fundamentally non linear and complex models which require linearisation, such as DGSE, must be discarded, they are too broken to be fixed.

Ways of Ending Land Hoarding so that Housing Markets Clear

Quite a lot of interest in the H&C Agency proposal for the government to underwrite the price of unsold homes.


A £2bn fund to boost housebuilding could be used by the government to offer guarantees to developers that it will step in to take on properties that they are unable to sell.

The Conservative party unveiled plans on Monday for £5bn worth of funding to support housebuilding, £2bn of which was designed to provide 15,000 new homes on public land by 2020.

The accelerated construction fund, could be used to underwrite new developments on public land, and could mean the government taking on unsold properties, according to Sir Edward Lister, the chairman of the Homes andCommunities Agency (HCA), which will oversee it.

“So it’s about us going to a housebuilder and instead of expecting the normal build-out rate of 50 units a year we’ll say, ‘We want you to build all 500 in one go and what we’ll do is guarantee to take them off you if you can’t find a buyer.’”

Property Week reported that the HCA would sell the homes on the open market or to private or social landlords, and that prices would be set before the government chose which schemes to back….

under the plan, builders would enter into a contract with the HCA at the start of the building process. “This doesn’t mean that they are guaranteeing homes in places where there is no demand for them – there will be a very detailed contract ensuring that it is the right properties being built in the right market.”

If the H&CA own the site then the form of contract can distinguish between the ‘market clearing price’ which is the price which maximises profits under free competition and the ‘oligopolist’ position we find on most sites where developers drip feed units to the market to keep prices high and to speculate on rising prices of land on undeveloped plots.  In a ‘buy now pay later’ contract it would be straightforward to tier the land price component based on numbers sold up to the level where housebuilders have difficulty clearing inventory.

This doesn’t need state funding, just a write down of land prices on the public balance sheet.

What would need public funding is to do the same for sites owned by housebuilders.  And such a scheme would only have an incentive if it ‘topped up’ returns to the oligopolitic price, effectively subsidising the land value component of the price.  Why spend public money subsidising speculative land owners withholding land with permisssion from the market?  Its crazy.   As ever its much better to tax land with planning permission to incentivise to be sold to build.   Short of a land value tax their is an easy way to resolve this.  When land is granted planning permission it should immediately be subject to a capital gain, shared say 50% between the land owner and 50% by the housebuilder.  The share is not important, a minimum for the landowner is the optimum rate which maximises swift sales to housebuilders.  The optimum rate for housebuilders is the rate which achieves the market clearing price, which theory suggests is 100% – the land owner rate – the going rate of industry profit on land sales by housebuilders in competitive markets.  Furrther if this cpaital gain was returned to the planing authority – as replacement for CIL and S106, then it would deincetivise over complex commencement conditions and planning obligations.

Bradford Local Plan Called in on Green Belt Grounds

Bradford Conservatives

What a stupid idea to grant this centralising power


Bradford Council’s Conservative group welcomes the decision of the Housing & Planning Minister to stop the adoption and implementation of Bradford’s Local Plan Core Strategy. Councillor Martin Smith, spokesman on planning for the group said:

“The Conservative Group has campaigned throughout this process for a plan that actually reflects the housing needs of Bradford rather than the preferences of developers. Thanks to Philip Davies MP we have a stay of execution while Ministers look at the proposals. We’ll be arguing again that priority has to be given to the development of brownfield sites in what the local plan calls Bradford’s ‘inner urban’ areas. As the plan stands today we’ll see the further decline of Bradford’s suburbs while developers build thousands of houses to meet demand for executive homes from Leeds and North Yorkshire.”

Castle Point in ‘Green Belt Means we are Full’ DTC Fail

Caste Point is the first authority to undershoot its OAN by arguing it is ‘full’ because of Green Belt.

Such authority’s we have long argued are likely to fail the legal and policy DTC tests.

This is born out by the latest inspectors letter

Paragraph 13.22 of the New Local Plan recognises that the housing target of 2,000 new homes by 2031 does not represent objectively assessed need but reflects the capacity of the Borough to accommodate growth. Paragraph 179 of the NPPF indicates that joint working should enable local planning authorities to work together to meet development requirements which cannot be wholly met within their own areas. In the light of the strategy proposed for Castle Point what specific steps have been taken or mechanisms are in place to distribute unmet housing need elsewhere in the Housing Market Area (HMA) or beyond?

@HomeBuildersFed Shitting in Our Backyard

The Princes Foundation re Nimbys

At present it is …perfectly reasonable for the default setting to be a Nimby until and unless a land owner and their chosen developer are capable of proving to local communities that the quality of any proposed scheme will not be diluted after planning is granted.

Shaun Spiers

“I once heard a developer say ‘people aren’t saying “not in my backyard”, they’re saying “no s*** in my backyard”’.”

David O Leary

“Those with direct experience of modern homes appreciate the build quality, energy efficiency and attractive community environment that house builders are creating all over the country.

Well lets look at the S**t its members are building in everyone’s backyards

Biddick Green South Shields

Perimmion Biddick Green South Shields

Barrett The Fairways Barwick

Barrett The Fairways Barwick

Taylor Wimpey Cheltenham

Taylor Wimpey Cheltenham

Crest Nicholson Hereford

Crest Nicholson Hereford

Bellway Homes

Bellway Homes

Redrow Summerhill

Redrow Summerhill

Redrow Stretton Green Malpas

Redrow Stretton Green Malpas

Javid Does Not Mention Green Belt but ‘Further Significant measures’in White Paper

CCO full speech

We want to radically increase brownfield development and bring life back to abandoned sites.

That means delivering high quality housing for families, bringing new energy to our high streets and town centres …

… abandoned shopping centres being transformed into new communities …

… and increasing density of housing around stations to build homes that people want to live in.

These three initiatives are just the beginning.

We will publish a Housing White Paper later this year, with further significant measures …

… all helping us towards our ambition for a million new homes by 2020.

The leak to the Daily Mail today was probably after a section was excised to avoid negative headlines on the day of Hammonds speech. Watch for the White Paper