New Garden Communities Prospectus – ‘ not about … places which just use ‘garden’ as a convenient label.

Two cheers to the Ministry – a far more ambitious second prospectus bringing back some of the ambitions from the Ecotowns prospectus regarding sustainability.


This prospectus invites bids for ambitious, locally supported, proposals for new garden communities at scale. In return for tailored assistance to help design and deliver the vision for these places, we expect local areas to deliver significant housing and economic growth. We will look to assist as many as we can, in locations where there is sufficient demand for housing.
What do we mean by garden communities?
This prospectus does not prescribe a single template for a garden community. Each garden community we choose to assist will have its own clear and distinct sense ofidentity.
Equally, this is not about creating dormitory towns, or places which just use ‘garden’ as a convenient label. This is about setting clear expectations for the quality of the development and how this can be maintained (such as by following Garden City principles). We want to see vibrant, mixed-use, communities where people can live, work, and play for generations to come – communities which view themselves as the conservation areas of the future. Each will be holistically planned, self sustaining, and

Some thoughts

  1.  Much more pragmatic this time, more of a process that submitting an immediate proposal and recognising you cant define a boundary and do a viability testing in 9 weeks
  2. The prospectus is much more focused on innovation and best practice similar to the Ecotowns prospectus – mentioning renewable energy use, net environmental gain and impacts of climate change, alternative to the car and not just being dormitory suburbs.  But no mention of carbon reduction, still a long way to go.
  3. A stronger focus on opportunities for land value capture than the old draft is most welcome., including through land acquisition and assembly potentially through development corporations.
  4. Plans of course need to be realistic about degree of self containment whilst avoiding the trap of becoming dormitories.  It uses the term ‘All proposals must be of sufficient scale to be largely self-sustaining’ but what does that mean and what degree of self containment is envisaged?
  5. The CM-MK_OX corridor – we never did see the 4 New Towns within 6 weeks as promised by Javid but we do see ‘ For proposals within the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor, Government will
    continue to work with local partners to consider how the delivery of new homes and settlements can best support the overarching vision for the axis. This includes the contribution these places can make to the National Infrastructure Commission’s finding that up to 1 million homes will need to be built in the corridor by 2050, if the area is to maximise its economic potential. ‘  Indeed the timing  seems to be designed around the Autumn Budget.
  6. The more sustainable and deliverable garden Communities proposals become the more the CPRE grumble gammon fashion like an old man complaining about the height of hemlines – that’s because they know that well designed and well planned Gardens Communities will lead to more housebuilding.  Matt Thompson Soubs

The prospectus is another example of the ‘garden’ soubriquet [sic] being applied to even more random development proposals, which all seem to lead to low-density, car-dependent, residential-led sprawl”.

Isn’t the prospectus talking about moving away from ‘residential led sprawl’ – ‘which just use ‘garden’ as a convenient label.’  Its founder Patrick Abercrombie would lose his monocle over such a crude slur that Gardens Communities are sprawl and incompatible with the CPRE’s aims.

Its sobriquet.


The Mogg – Build on the Green Belt – Daily Mail

Daily Mail

Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned the Tories they must accept more building on the green belt as it is not all areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The prominent backbencher said the housing shortage is the biggest challenge facing Britain.

He claimed villages across the country could each take up to 50 new houses without changing their character.

He added: ‘We need to build houses that people want, rather than what architects think are good for them.

‘That means a difficult conversation with our own supporters about where we build on green fields.

His comments come a week after Liz Truss (pictured in July) warned the party must build homes in the countryside – or they will hand power to Jeremy Corbyn

‘It is going to be primarily on green fields … but there is going to be some element of green belt as well because not all green belt land is areas of outstanding natural beauty, some of it is not very good quality land that was made green belt for a different purpose decades ago.’

Mr Rees-Mogg, who was speaking on the Financial Times politics podcast, argued the country needed to return to building more houses with gardens.

He said: ‘If you look at surveys of public opinion going back to the 1940s about 80 per cent of people say they want a house with a garden and about three per cent say they want tower blocks.

Mr Rees-Mogg said British villages could take 50 new homes without changing their character

‘Public policy was to build tower blocks … I think we need to go back to building houses with gardens and we ought to allow the market to determine what those houses look like rather than planners insisting on a uniform approach.’

Mr Rees-Mogg said ministers should change planning rules to make it ‘easier to build small-scale and low-density schemes’. He added: ‘Low-density building maintains the character of rural England without turning villages into suburbs.

‘I think most villages across the country could take 10, 20, 30, 40 or perhaps 50 houses without changing their character if the density is low and they are not put in the same place. But councils don’t like that as they’re only interested in big schemes and that means the big housebuilders.

‘That is where you need the national legislation to change so it is easier for people to get the permission.’

Miss Truss last week sparked a row after she argued planning laws should be ripped up and complained about the number of Nimbys in Britain. The Cabinet minister said ‘a lot more’ sites needed to be opened up for building.

However, campaigners have warned the green belt is already being ‘gobbled up at an alarming rate’ to build thousands of homes.

A report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England last week showed plans for almost 460,000 homes have been pencilled in for green belt land since 2013.

The 50 houses in every village was a trope developed by some MPs in opposition as an alternative to Green Belt release – there are articles on this blog.  The problem is each village in England would have to take around 300 to take all need.  Half the villages in England have less than 50 houses and most of the rest are all ready proposed for several hundred by developers.  Historically the density of English villages was around 40 dwellings per Ha, higher than the 20-25 average proposed by modern developers, because they incorporate parking.  Outside Scotland only a very small proportion of social housing post war was in the form of Tower Blocks.

Stupid Boris Wants to Increase House Prices and Abolish Affordable Housing


Theresa May must slash “absurdly high” stamp duty and abandon affordable housing targets to get Britain building, Boris Johnson says today, as he brands housing “the single biggest and most urgent crisis we face”.

In his latest Telegraph column, the former Foreign Secretary warns property developers are operating an “oligopoly” by land-banking and building poor quality homes because they know first-time buyers are just grateful to get a foot on the ladder.

Of course all reducing stamp Study does, as many studies have shown and the Treasury has warned is increase house prices.   Similarly with affordable housing, it comes off the price of the land, so abolish it you increase the price of the land,

Of course May was warned this before the last budget.  That’s always the risk if you do something dumb and populist, you get outflanked by someone even dumber and even more populist. Forget the crowd-warming attacks on Persimilar homes.  That’s a diversion from lobbying from his large landowning dinner partners.

We need to tell Lefties like Sadiq Khan to stop their ideological obsession with quotas for affordable housing on each development. The reason the last Tory mayoralty (of pious memory) outbuilt Labour is that we imposed no such constraint – with the result that we got more housing built of all kinds.

Of course the last London Plan did have such a policy, but Boris was notorious for not enforcing it when under the influence of fictitious viability studies. Expecting the Conservatives to lose the Mayorality he left zero social housing funding for the year after he left office. 

The completions for 2016/2017 (the last year of Boris) were a record high, and 2017/2018 will be lower (none of the evidence base documents for the new London Plan mention this yet this as Khan has sought to delay the bad news.  There are two reasons for this.  Firstly Boris rode the peak of the boom, with many schemes deferred by the recession and developers sought to get big permissions in with low affordable housing when policy was lax.  However in terms of new build completions it made very little difference,  

As you can see from MHCLG figures for new build dwellings which however around the 20-25,000 dwellings per annum figure it has been for decades.  The difference the ‘Boris uptick’ was due to the vast increase in completions for conversions, something Boris had nothing to do with – as was was a one off due to permitted development for bad office conversions, and flat conversions, which Boris had no influence of and no policy on from flat conversions.  Incidentally the difference between the MHCLG figures on new build on the Mayors (as the MHCLG’sS don’t cover flat conversions and PD conversions) has led Brokenshire to come to the bizarre conclusion that Khan is cooking the books, clearly he hasn’t looked at his own EPC data or data on CIL receipts from permitted development flat conversions.  So we will have a bizarre argument at the next London Plan examination about whether London Housing Target should expect new build housing in London to double (as Khan wants) or triple (as Brokenshire wants) with no evidence that this land is available  (as the new NPPF requires) or that capacity for conversions (fueled by the now pricked buy to let boom) remains, most of Inner London in particular is converted out.  Fantasy land. If new build housing cannot rise above 25,000 even at the height of the last boom it certainly wont double.  London’s SHLAA assumes the difference would be made up through small sites not identified in the SHALL and not projected forward from Windfalls, which a SHLAA cannot do they are made up numbers to fill the gap between available land and need – a SHLAA an objective assessment of availability cannot magic unicorn sites thrugh handwaving assumptions, and neither can Brokenshire without naming where and how these sites can come from.  Allk of these are ducking the main issue.  Even at the peak of booms London will be building 25,000 or so less houses than it needs, where else will the 1.5-1.76 overspill houses we need fro the next 50 years go.  Try addressing that in your next column Boris..





North Essex Inspector Creates A Large Hole – and Keeps Digging

The NEGC Inspector has written to the three authorities clarifying his initial findings  – such a long letter it arrives after two of the three authorities have decided to carry on with option 2 – further work on the Garden Communities.  Their legal advice was that option 3 – withdraw the plans would put them on the naughty step, and option 1 delete the garden communities from the part 1 plan would result in less than 10 years supply.

The letter concerns the legal practicalities of option 1, where the inspector recommended a two to three year delay in bringing forward a revised part 1 plan with new strategic sites.

The inspector dismisses the argument that in deleting Garden Communities a new SEA will be needed looking at the revised Garden Communities as a reasonable alternatives.  The inspector refers to the Dacorum case  Grand Union Investments v Dacorum Borough Council [2014] EWHC 1894  where a plan was found to have just less than 10 years supply so an inspector required to have  an early review.

This case is not on all fours with that case as their they did not propose removing 2-3 years of supply from their plans from deleting their largest sites from the plan, clearly something that would have a significant effect and should be SEAd – and no SEA has been carried out into the permanent loss of this 2-3 years supply.  The inspectors decision at Dacorum had no impact on the sites in the plan as proposed and SEAd, it was neutral in that regard, the inspector at NEGC was not buetral.  The site promoters are up in arms, option 1 would end in the courts and the LPAs would carry the risk in that regard.  Sorry but I think in this case the PI has had bad legal advice, and the consensus view of the lawyers acting for the three authorities and the three site promoters disagree with them.

I dint think option 1 should have even been put forward, it is far too high risk and legally complicated putting a plan outside the bounds of the NPPF.

The inspector too has missed the irony.  Dacorum had less than 10 years supply because St Albans had opposed proposed to extend Hemel Hempsted to the East.  In the new era of cooperation that site is back in.  The short sited decision of the inspector would try to ‘defer’ instated of ‘dealt with’ a a big decision (to use the words of the NPPF).


Liz Truss Wants Japenese Style Zoning – Add a Story Tokyo Style

Daily Mail

 ‘I also think we need to make it easier to build up in cities. I quite like the Japanese system where essentially you can build up on top of your house without having to get extra planning permission. I think we need to be more liberal about these policies.’

What Japan does not have is a GPDO which grants a class XYZ right to build up a story.


a) It operates a zoning and subdivision system based on national standard zones, municipality choose what where.

b) It is based on ‘inclusionary’ zoning – rather than euclidean zoning like the states i.e. you can build one of several uses in a zone depending on its impact and the sensitivity of the zone to high impact uses – this works well.

c) It is based on Floor Space Index – (FAR in other words) zoning plans set the maximum FSI for a site, with some rules about building envelopes,  then you have ;as of right’ in zoning law jargon to build within these parameters, this might include an additional story in high density arras, or it might not.  British tack on roof extensions are quite rare rarely, because the rules have been steady for decades so must plots are built out to their envelopes anyway.

d) The Japenese system is orderly and efficient in managing change, utilities, changes of use and land reorganisation, as well as managing infrastructure and public transport to development capacity – Japanese zoning experts are sought around the world.

e) The Japenese system is notoriously weak on design control and creating attraxctive planned quarters.  This partially is cultural, they had to build quickly following man made and natural disasters, the urban scape was seen as temporary as a Godzilla film set.

f) The japenese system is not the best of all possible world sin zoning terms.  there is a lot to learn from hybrid zoning systems around the world that do a lot better at regulating design for example.

So the lesson is don’t through ignorance use this as a basis for another doomed to fail neo-liberal spasm messing with the planning system in ways that encourage beds in sheds and shoddy Stamford Hill style mega roof extensions.  Do it with study and care of zoning systems and there legal basis.  Aftwer all Liz your not a lawyer, planner, architect,  comedian etc, etc.

Or in Gilberts and Sullivans words on her former title.

When I went to the Bar as a very young man
(Said I to myself — said I)
I’ll work on a new and original plan
(Said I to myself — said I)
Ere I go into court I will read my brief through
(Said I to myself — said I)
And I’ll never take work I’m unable to do
(Said I to myself — said I)

Underground Cambridge Metro dismissed as ‘Pie in the Sky’ in NIC report

Andrew Gilligan for the NIC

Oxford and Cambridge, at least, are ideal candidates for growth in every way but one: they are almost uniquely constrained in transport. If current plans succeed, more transport demand will inevitably pour into them. Yet their roads are already at or near capacity, and their historic centres are inviolable. So what’s the answer? New roadbuilding is impossible; gone are the days when plans could be drawn up for a highway through Christ Church Meadow. A tunnelled metro, suggested by some for Cambridge, would also be destructive, disruptive and prohibitively expensive, would take a decade or more to deliver and would not serve most of the journeys that people will need to make. In the centres of these cities, especially Oxford, there isn’t even much room for more buses.
One far simpler, cheaper, quicker and less obtrusive answer is staring Oxford and Cambridge in the face, even as they commission studies into busways, light rail and the like.

At the suggestion of the new Greater Cambridgeshire mayor, James Palmer, a study has beenlaunched into building tunnels beneath Cambridge for light rail, buses or the untried concept of
“affordable very rapid transit” using bored tunnels only 12 feet wide. Another option, according to the published brief, is a monorail.68
105. It is fair to say that all those I discussed this with were sceptical about it. Indeed, tunnelled light rail should perhaps be seen as a way of avoiding the actual issues rather than addressing them. It is sometimes cited as a magic alternative to politically difficult subjects such as traffic reduction, but it is not a realistic answer and it will not deal with Cambridge’s problems.

106. Even if the Fenland soil allows it, any tunnelled project would be colossally expensive, disruptive and destructive; nearly all tunnelling requires the demolition of some buildings on the surface. At 2017
prices the closest comparable UK tunnelled project, a recent extension of the Docklands Light Railway, cost around £150 million a mile;69 the most recent surface scheme, in Edinburgh, around £115 million a
mile.70 These sums exclude operating costs; any scheme in Cambridgeshire would need sizeable ongoing subsidies, since the population of the area is much lower than in any other place given a light rail system
in the UK and not high enough to cover its operating cost through fares.
107. It would take too long to deliver; Edinburgh took 11 years from approval to opening, and six years
to build, for less than nine miles of (surface) route. In a city developing as a series of hubs, any rail project would be overly focused on journeys to the city centre (though orbital routes are also suggested).
108. Most importantly, it is unneccessary. Cambridge is a small place. It already has an affordable rapid transit system which could be expanded much more easily, cheaply, quickly and usefully: the bicycle.

York’s Green Belt Catch 22 – The Inspector Asks a Question that Can’t be Answered

The York Local Plan Examination

The only authority without any kind of local plan, and consequently the only authority where the Green Belt is established in Structure Plans (as a general extent) and not a local plan.

Consequently the Inspectors have asked a question without a clear answer, indeed they asked the wrong question, and national policy does not consider this case.

It is clear from your topic paper that the issue of a Green Belt around York has a long and complicated history. As we understand it, there has at no time been an adopted development plan for York with an adopted policies map identifying the Green Belt, or at least not its boundaries. The Local Plan now sets out to rectify this. It proposes to designate land as Green Belt and to delineate Green Belt boundaries.

Paragraph 82 of the National Planning Policy Framework (‘the NPPF’) says that “The general extent of Green Belts across the country is already established. New Green Belts should only be established in exceptional circumstances …”. Paragraph 83 of the NPPF says that “Local planning authorities with Green Belts in their area should establish Green Belt boundaries in their Local Plans … Once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances …”.

We note that the Order1 partially revoking the Yorkshire and Humber Plan Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 (May 2008) (‘the RSS’) does not revoke section C of Policy YH9 or sections C1 and C2 of Policy Y1, all of which are York Green Belt policies. It also does not revoke “the Key Diagram of the RSS insofar as it illustrates the RSS York Green Belt policies and the general extent of the Green Belt around the City of York”.
In the light of this, it would assist us to understand the Council’s position in respect of the present status of the York Green Belt and the implications of that in relation to paragraphs82 and 83 of the NPPF. We ask the Council to produce a concise paper explaining this. In particular, the paper should answer the following questions.

1 The Regional Strategy for Yorkshire and Humber (Partial Revocation) Order 2013
 For the purpose of paragraph 82 of the NPPF, is the Local Plan proposing to establish any new Green Belt?
 If so, what are the exceptional circumstances for so doing, and where is the evidence required by the five bullet points set out at paragraph 82 of the NPPF?
 If not, does the Local Plan propose to remove any land from an established Green Belt?
If it does, is it necessary to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances exist to warrant that approach? Or is it the case that the Local Plan establishes the Green Belt boundaries for the first time, such that the exclusion of land from the Green Belt – such
as at the ‘garden villages’, for example – is a matter of establishing Green Belt boundaries rather than altering them, in the terms of paragraph 83 of the NPPF?
Notwithstanding all of the above, it is not clear to us how the Council has approached the task of delineating the Green Belt boundaries shown on the Policies Map submitted. Unless we have missed something, no substantive evidence has been provided setting out the methodology used and the decisions made through the process. We ask that the Council now provides this.

Yes I think you have missed something.  Long appeal precedent has established that the general extent of the inner boundary of the York Green Belt has been established.  It is not new Green Belt.  However of course in establishing the inner Boundary had it been done at the time of the structure plan it would have been done so its boundary was permanent – to last 20 years or so the period of a structure plan as was the convention.  That task can no longer be done,  It could not have anticipated the housing needs of today.  So the general extent of the inner boundary now needs to be larger than shown on the key diagrams to accommodate the Garden Villages -which now need to be larger given the inspectors findings on the SHMA evidence.  Hence now the ‘general extent’ needs to change the exceptional circumstances text needs to be triggered and in line with the NPPF the boundary should be wide enough with reserved land to persist beyond the plan period (30 years or so by convention (a matter which got Nick Boles in a pickle in parliament).

Establishing a new Green Belt boundary to the edge of a feature which isn’t there yet – such as a Garden Village or urban extension is a matter not covered by national policy.  In urban design terms it might be better to define one through a new hard or soft urban edge than follow a field boundary which might not even be there.  The pragmatic example being the new Green Belt inner edge defined through the Cambridge Local .Plan.   York seem to have followed much the same approach, and its fine.

Am I missing something?

Dartford and Gravesham in Green Belt Fight – Kent Thames Estuary Joint Planning Gets off to Good Start?

Kent Online

Dartford council has delivered a further blow to Gravesham’s efforts to plug its house-building gap by penning a strongly-worded response to a consultation on its Local Plan.

The prospect of developing the highly-valued green belt proved deeply unpopular when it first surfaced towards the end of last year.

Residents don’t appear to have warmed to the idea despite council leader Cllr David Turner (Con) explaining his authority didn’t have much choice over the matter.

So if the upper echelons of the Civic Centre were hoping councils in a similar position might provide some relief they would have been deflated when Dartford’s letter arrived last week.

In the response, Cllr Turner’s opposite number Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) wrote that Gravesham’s record of house building — 165 last year against Dartford’s 1,162 — had inevitably put the green belt at risk.

He said: “I regret that Dartford council is unable to endorse the potential harm to the green belt (or the wider impact on north Kent) that seem to lie within Gravesham council’s current growth options.

“Dartford is concerned that, instead of reinforcing protection of green fields in the green belt, the consultation features several unnecessary and premature release options.”

Of the six options consulted on, only one required no release of green belt land and Cllr Kite said that option was presented negatively.

He added: “It is a legal requirement for all local plans to be prepared in cooperation with other planning authorities. There is a concern the potential for any meaningful discussion is undermined by a continue lack of clarity on Gravesham’s position.”

Cllr Kite says Gravesham council’s consultation fails to explore the development potential of the town centre and therefore focuses instead on green belt land.

Speaking this week, Cllr Kite said Dartford had been criticised for the scale of development in the town centre but that this was necessary to protect the green belt, he added it was therefore in a good position to help Gravesham with its plan.

Cllr Turner said he was drafting a full response to the letter, adding: “As a council we will take on board Dartford’s views, however, I do not agree with a number of the points.”

Last year housing targets were increased in most areas of the country and Gravesham’s rose from 4,600 to 6,170 by 2028.

This is a silly argument as Inspector for the Core strategy in 2015 required a review as even under the old OAN target the sites ran out by 2028.  Under the additional NPPF OAN they will run out much sooner.  Therefore the exceptional circumstances test has been met in the plan. So much for joined up planning and the duty to cooperate in the light of the Thames Estuary 2050 report and its ambition to houses some of the 1 million overspill from London. It is also rather hypocritical as Dartford has large areas not in the Green Belt deliberately such as Ebbsfleet Valley and Swanscombe.

The proper response from Gravesham should be, were we to not release sites from the Green Ebkt will you take our unment need?

The issue here of course is both authorities are are a marginal knifedge between labour and conservatives.  UKIP also did well in a by election back in 2010 I think leading the then labour administration in Gravesham to remove Green Belt sites in favour of brownfield sites than have not proven viable and have not come forward.  Analysis of general election results has shown that in Dartford labour benefitted net by being pro housing more than it lost votes from Nimbys.  Conservative run Dartford however dont want themselves to be forced to consider Green Belt sites.

The situation is complicated by the Deputy Leader of Gravesham resigning over the Green Belt Plan and 6 cllrs in Gravesham including the leader now having been deleslected by the local association for reasons unknown and which may or may not be to do with the Green Belt row.  They will now fights as a breakaway group.  This could let labour in at the next local elections who may reserve the decision, potentially poutting them on the local plan naughty step as then there housing supply position would be rest to the old local plan 20 years old.  Looking more like north of the Thames by the day.

No Khan isn’t Fiddling Housing Completions – So Work Out a deal on where London’s Housing Overspill will go


Sadiq Khan plans to deal with London’s housing crisis were savaged today by the Government.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has threatened to intervene if the Mayor fails to radically improve his London Plan. In a letter, he warned Mr Khan that his target to build new homes is too low.

Mr Brokenshire has also asked Government officials to investigate how more information on newbuilds could be made public, amid claims that City Hall has exaggerated the number of homes being built, an allegation Labour has rejected.

Letter here
Its not possible to fix this in London, which in any event has the best system for housing monitoring in the country, for the very good reason that every new home in London is CIL liable. All you have to do is check TfLs CIL income from here.
I was at a meeting with MHLG official last week when myself and a GLA planner put forward a proposal for a ‘dashboard’ system for completions replacing the 5 different and overlapping notification currently providing the minister and everyone else with instant data on housebuilding.  It could be triggered automatically by a request for an electricity connection for example as it is in many jurisdictions.  Please minister don’t use genuine proposals for more transparency as fake news sticks to be only drawn out in the run up to a mayoral election.

In his hard-hitting letter, Mr Brokenshire, MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup, stressed that London faces the most severe housing pressures in the country.

He said average house prices are now more than 12 times average earnings, compared with an England-wide ratio of less than eight, and “far more than what an individual can typically expect to borrow for a mortgage”.

Mr Brokenshire added: “This is clearly unacceptable. Housing will continue to remain out of reach of millions of hard-working Londoners unless we see a step-change in housing delivery.”

He welcomed the proposed increase in London’s housing target in the Mayor’s draft plan from 42,000 to 65,000 a year. But he said it was just a “helpful first step” and accused Mr Khan of failing to recognise the scale of the challenge. “I am not convinced your assessment of need reflects the full extent of housing need in London to tackle affordability problems,” he said.

Government officials believe the target should be as high as 100,000 a year. The figure cited in revised planning policy guidelines is 72,000.

Mr Brokenshire urged Mr Khan to get on with housing schemes but stressed he should review the London Plan, taking on board the planning changes, “at the earliest opportunity”.

“I remind you that if this is not forthcoming, I have powers to direct the review to ensure London delivers the plan and homes that communities need,” he warned.

City Hall accused the Government of giving London an affordable housing grant of £700 million a year, compared with £1.75 billion in 2009/2010.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: “Rather than criticising the Mayor’s ambitious plan and plucking numbers out of thin air, ministers should meet with him to discuss the powers and investment London urgently needs.

“With Sadiq as Mayor, City Hall started building more genuinely affordable homes — including more social homes — last year than in any since devolution, smashing the record under previous mayors.”

The fall in house prices in London picked up during April to June to the fastest pace for almost a decade.

The drop means that the average London homeowner has seen more than £9,000 wiped from the value of their property over the past year, making it worth £468,845, according to lender Nationwide.

Such a price is still beyond the dreams of many Londoners paying exorbitant rents. Tens of thousands of people are also on councils’ housing waiting lists.

Other issues raised by Mr Brokenshire include fears that the Mayor is banking on many homes being built on small sites by small or medium-sized firms.  It is also claimed the London Plan  lacks detail on achieving housing targets, including how City Hall will work with boroughs.

Mr Brokenshire added: “I would remind you that I have powers to intervene before the Plan is published, by giving a direction to avoid any inconsistencies with current national policy.”

City Hall insists a 100,000 target could be achieved only through loss of greenbelt and metropolitan open land, and that its plans, which include building at greater density on brownfield sites, protect the overall level of “green cover”, including green roofs, when small sites are developed.

What is the point of setting national OAN targets if the government immeadiately applies tipex to them without any evidence. The National OAN method already assumes an additional 10,000 people will move from the North of England than the SHMa predicts to move into jobs that no employment forecast has predicted, because that what its excel global fudge factor.
London has had a long term average of 20,000 a year completions, with heroic efforts that might nudge up to 30,000 or so, more in boom years (now passed).  No way will it triple as the Mayor proposes or increase five fold as Brokenshire proposes.  This is unicorn planning.  Waving around fantastical and undeliverable targets.
If there wasnt a mayoral election pending the two should sit down and discuss what a deliverable London target per annum would be, some more suburban small sites but no so high to make the suburbs sequel, or more than the 2% or so loss of Green Belt we see in the rest of the South East, some more housing estate redevelopment but no so much as to make Labour Boroughs squeal.  Somewhere around 35,000 an annum.  Then the Minister should write to every authority with 100km of London asking then to take the overspill of 35,000 houses a year, thats 1 million to 2050.  Not impossible that 4 Milton Keynes sized developments, readers of the blog will know of good locations where they can go.
So rather than a rational plan for the housing crisis we get mudslinging in the maytoral election run up where the minister is complaining the targets are too low and the conservative mayoral candidate are complaining the targets are too high.  What is they won.  Here we go again.  You couldnt make it up.

Brokenshire’s Bizarre Attack on ‘Garden Grabbing’ Khan

Inside Housing

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has attacked Sadiq Khan’s London Plan for allowing building on people’s gardens.

In a letter to the mayor, he threatened to use his powers to intervene if the plan – the mayor’s spatial development strategy for the capital – is not changed to reflect the recently published National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

As well as instructing Mr Khan to remove his policy allowing development on residential gardens, he criticised “the detail and complexity” of the policies, saying they “have the potential to limit accessibility to the planning system and development”.


The new NPPF has removed the restriction on garden development being counted as windfall.

Whilst on garden it says.  Para 71. (para 70 old version).

‘Plans should consider the case for policies to resist innappropriate development of residential gardens, for example where development would cause harm to the local area’.

In other words entirely optional.

The London Plan no longer contains a policy restricting garden development.  As it is perfectly allowed to do under the NPPF.

The issue is policy H2 which provides a presumption in favour of development

Including ‘infill development within the curtilage of a house’ however in line with the NPPF there is a harm clause ‘unless it can be demonstrated that the development would give rise to an unacceptable level of harm to residential privacy, designated heritage assets, biodiversity or a safeguarded land use that outweighs the benefits of additional housing provision.’

The type of harm is not defined in the NPPF.

This is a cheap point scoring exercise prompted by lobbying from Mayoral candidates.

Fair dos to the Minister though for calling out the London Plan for ‘“stray[ing] considerably beyond providing a strategic framework” – it has certainly grown to become a monster and could be reduced to a couple of dozen policies over 100 pages, and that it does not provide enough information about how its increased housing targets will be delivered.  Of course it targets are deliverable, especially with ruling out Green Belt development and no deal to deliver overspill.