Lets Hope Old Hunstanton Parish Lose their Selfish Affordable Housing Challenge

The case below.  Once might ask why is it why there are only 2 persons on the housing register in Old Hunstanton

If you are on the housing register you are very unlikely to be living in an expensive village like old Hunstanon.  You are likely to be living in temporary accommodation (B&B) in Hunstanton.

What about the sons and daughters of villagers in Old Hunstanton.  They have likely moved away to Hunstanton or towns 100s of miles away because they cant afford to live in villages like these.

If the Parish wins this case villages will become Apartheid compounds for the elderly and well off only.

I see no differenced from the many US cases where communities argue there is no need for housing for poor (read black) people because no poor (read black) people live there.

The US courts by the way have given very short shrift to such arguments on the basis that the lack of affordable housing in these communities shows the very need for such ordinances.



Old Hunstanton Parish Council claims that the government should not have given the green light to a development of 15 affordable homes on a field on the edge of the village.

The council says there is not a local need for them and has asked the judge to reverse the decision made by the former communities secretary Eric Pickles last year.

Luke Wilcox, for the parish council, told the court that planning rules allow rural greenfield development if there is a “local identified need.”

In this situation that must mean “local rural need,” he said. He claimed that the planning inspector who recommended the go-ahead for the project to the secretary of state did not appreciate that and wrongly considered the needs of the nearby town of Hunstanton as well.

Old Hunstanton has around 600 inhabitants while nearby Hunstanton has around 5,000 inhabitants. According to the housing register there are only two households in housing need in Old Hunstanton, compared with 22 in Hunstanton itself, said Mr Wilcox.

He added that the statistics showed that there was no need for 15 affordable homes in Old Hunstanton.

John Dobson, the chairman of Old Hunstanton Parish Council, attended the hearing. Speaking outside of court he said that the dispute, which has gone on for around two years, was “multifaceted and very complex.”

However, he said that he was the leader of the borough council that wrote the rules allowing development on green field sites if there was a “local need.”

He said that the borough council brought in the rule because the number of people buying holiday homes in the area had made houses in the villages too expensive for local people.

But he said greenfield development should only be allowed to let the people in the village who need housing build houses.

He added that the policy was not intended to allow people from the nearby town to be housed in the village.

However, Richard Honey, the counsel for the secretary of state who is opposing the challenge, told the court that the parish council was wrong.

He said that in reaching his decision the planning inspector had applied a “clear and natural” interpretation of the rules in a way that was in line with “local planning authorities up and down the country.”

Mrs Justice Lang has reserved judgment in the case and will give it in writing later. No date has yet been fixed.

Old Hunstanton Parish Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/79/2015

Cameron’s Facebook Death of Localism Announcement

FB  Next reform of the NPPF on Instagram

We will also boost supply. We will build 200,000 starter homes by 2020, sold at below market rate and for first-time buyers under the age of 40. To deliver on this commitment, we will ensure every reasonably sized housing site includes a proportion of these homes for young people.

We will also say to local councils: you must give land with planning permission to people who want to build or commission their own homes. Custom-built homes account for 60 per cent of all of Germany’s new housing stock, and our plans will double the number in our country. We will also undertake a massive programme of regeneration around our train stations, as part of a wider drive to release public sector land for 150,000 homes.

We will also make the planning system more effective. We will set out more detail next week, as part of our productivity plan. It is unacceptable, for example, that many councils are still not close to having a plan for delivering the homes their communities need. We will take action, in consultation with local communities, to deliver the plans for those areas which have failed to do so.

Of course, there will be opponents of much of the above. We are determined to take them on…there will be the opponents of planning reform. We will always protect the green belt and make sure planning decisions are made by local people.

But the fact is that just 10 per cent of England is developed. There is capacity for 400,000 homes on brownfield land — we need to get building. And as we do, we will make sure the homes look good. We have already given local people the power to create neighbourhood plans; more than 1,000 are well under way. This gives local people an even greater ability to decide where new homes go and what they look like. And we will go further in the coming months.

But that all requires planning reform. It’s simple: you are either pro-reform, or not; for building homes, or not; on the side of young people, or not. We know our position.

This can only mean the SoS exercising reserve powers to take over local plan making – once we see the SoS allocating a Gypsy Site or Waste of Energy Site, or even a fracking site we believe the reforms will work.

Government’s New Round of Planning Reform to Reverse Localism ‘cut back on red tape and endless planning documents’.

Everything in todays press release is old news apart from the section on Planning Reform

This government believes that wherever possible, planning decisions should be made by local people. We will cut back on red tape and endless planning documents to focus on what people care about – local roads, schools and homes that meet their needs. That means giving local people more of a say on where new homes go and what they look like. We will also take action on councils that have failed to produce a plan for the homes their community needs – ensuring plans are written for those areas.

Note the language ‘wherever possible, planning decisions should be made by local people‘  but ‘We will also take action on councils that have failed to produce a plan for the homes their community needs – ensuring plans are written for those areas‘.

Clearly a shift in language from the Localism act no longer an unqualified devolution – rather a centralisation where local authorities have not produced a local plan.  Even the language on the Green Belt is more centralist ‘continuing to protect the green belt for local people’ – read what we dont take out of the Green Belt we will leave for local people.

Clearly the whole agenda of the Localism Act and Planning reform has failed.  Rather than a flourishing of neighbourhood plans increasing housing allocations allocations have shrunk, the threat of appeal led planning was no incentive to produce local plans as local authorities found it easier to leave decisions to inspectors on appeal and blame the government.  The government bottled it anyway before the election and massively watered down the NPPF regime – a stick led system wont work without the bug stick so the government needs a plan B.  Hence with the failure of the duty to cooperate to provide an incentive to fill the void – Turkeys dont vote for Christmas – it looks likley the government is going down the track of consultant led planning where local plans are not in place.  Of course the biggeer problem now is not where there are no local plan but have local plans are in place but massively out of date, underestimating housing numbers.  What happens in a consultant led system when one authority says to another take my green belt overspill.  From locally led Garden Cities do we now get Consultant led Garden Cities?

It also appears the rumors of ministers ‘loosing faith’ in the Local plan led system are true and we will get ultra slim plans approved through an ulra slimmed down process.  The minimum of consultation and possibly a very short informal hearing.  Of course inspectors and consultants will still be snowed under with representations.

The brownfield homes ‘announced’ and expectedly magically to appear once housing zones have been declared (never mind the masterplanning) would be less than two years supply.  So this round of planning reform will last another two years or so before it is shown to fail.


Cheshire East Told Adding 7,000 homes Constitutes New Local Plan

Macclesfield Express

A planning inspector has warned the council it may have to scrap its Local Plan.

Cheshire East has been drawing up its Local Plan, which guides where homes and infrastructure will be built in Macclesfield and around the borough until 2030. It’s already well overdue, after the previous Local Plan expired in 2011.

The draft includes 250 homes on green belt owned by King’s School at Fence Avenue, 150 homes at Gaw End Lane in Lyme Green and 300 homes on land off Congleton Road.

The council submitted the draft more than a year ago for examination by a government planning inspector and a series of public examination hearings took place while he analysed the plan. But the inspector Stephen Pratt found ‘serious failings’ in the plan, including that it did not include enough houses and the green belt had not been reviewed correctly.

In November, he gave the council six months to sort the plan out and submit amendments.

The council paid for reports which show there needs to be an extra 7,000 homes and 31,410 new jobs by 2030.

Mr Pratt warned the council in a recent email that the changes it intends to make may be too significant and that it’s at risk of having to scrap the plan and submit a new one.

The email states: “Consultation on a significantly amended overall housing and employment land provision figure, along with a set of new or amended sites, may constitute the type of substantial amendment which might suggest that the submitted plan should be withdrawn and resubmitted when all necessary community engagement and public consultation has been completed.”

He states he will not set a date for the examination to resume until he has more answers from the council.

Peter Yates, from Sutton, a former chief planner for Macclesfield Borough Council who has been following the plan, said: “The inspector is basically saying the increase in housing and jobs is so great that there should be a new plan.

“It’s likely the plan will have to be abandoned which leaves an expensive mess.”

Councillor Rachel Bailey, chair of the Local Plan Task Force, says the original plan may still be viable. She said: “The Inspector is simply reminding the Council that any revisions to the Local Plan Strategy should not give rise to a fundamentally different plan. This repeats his earlier advice given with his interim views. We anticipate that the revisions to the Local Plan will be within the tolerances accepted in other examinations around the country.

“However, we recognise that the Inspector will need to form his own judgement on the matter in due course.

“At present, we are focusing on providing the necessary additional information by the agreed deadline of the end of July.”

As England Bakes Heres Why I moved to Beirut

Thats 9 months a year of comfortable summer weather – and three a year of comfortable spring weather –  and if it gets to hot hit the mountains.

I should stress I moved because it was comfortably cooler than Dubai, and I can easily visit 55 degree in the summer cities in the Summer further south without ever having to spend more than 2 or 3 days there visiting.

Interestingly some places have had a really bad year.  Been in Istanbul for work a few times the last few weeks and the local have been complaining about the rain and really late arrival of simmer.


RIP Longford Conservation Area – Proposed for Total Demolition

Longford Conservation Area is is line of the third runway extension at Heathrow and would totally be demolished in the proposals published today.

Lets hope some of the key buildings, like the six listed buildings, can be rebuilt just south of the runway retaining at least something of this historic milling village.  After all would not the workers at Heathrow prefer to drink at the White Horse rather than another plastic modern pub.


The Davies Commission Preferred Option is a North Western Runway Extension

Press Release  Report

The Commission’s recommendation is a fundamentally different proposition from previous proposals to expand at Heathrow. It delivers a full-length runway, maximising the connectivity gain. It is situated further west than the current runways, which will help to reduce the number of people affected by noise. And it is accompanied by strong measures to limit the impacts on those living nearby, including:

  • a ban on all scheduled night flights in the period from 11.30pm to 6.00am, which is only possible with expansion
  • no fourth runway: the government should make a firm commitment in Parliament not to expand the airport further – there is no sound operational or environmental case for a fourth runway at Heathrow
  • a legally binding ‘noise envelope’ putting firm limits on the level of noise created by the airport
  • a new aviation noise levy to fund an expanded programme of mitigation, including noise insulation for homes, schools and other community facilities
  • a legal commitment on air quality that new capacity will only be released when it is clear that compliance with EU limits will not be delayed
  • a Community Engagement Board, under an independent chair, with real influence over spending on mitigation and compensation and over the airport’s operations
  • an independent aviation noise authority, with a statutory right to be consulted on flightpaths and other operating procedures at all UKairports
  • provision of training opportunities and apprenticeships for local people, so that nearby communities benefit from the jobs and economic opportunities

How did they keep this one a surprise – by not delivering to Number 10 till late last night.

See pages 28 and 29 for the reasoning.  750 homes would have to go.



Two Energy Sticks in The Countryside – Guess Which one Has a Presumption Against?

A question to our Secretaries of State.

Imagine two energy sticks on the countryside.  Both around 15m high with the same visual impact, the same noise impact, the same traffic impact to service.

One produces carbon free energy, the other pumps out CO2.

One has a presumption against, no risk of costs if refused and almost certain to lose on appeal, likely to be called in by the SoS to make sure this happens.

The other has a presumption in favour of development, almost certain costs if refused, and is very likely to be called in by the SoS to make sure this happens.

So what type of energy stick has a presumption in favour and what a presumption against?

The national policy on noise and visual impact on both energy sticks is the same.  National policy in the NPPF favours and promotes low carbon energy in numerous places – so why then does a presumption against decision regime apply to the low carbon stick and a presumption in favour regime apply to the carbon belching stick?

Saying its in the manifesto is no excuse – your not proposing any changes to planning law or national planning policy nor did you promise this in the manifesto.

We may no longer have a coalition but that doesn’t make planning policy contradictions on energy any less preposterously contradictory for a moment.

Rebuild this Pub Exactly NOW

Love this enforcement notice from Westminster relating to unauthorized demolition of a pub without prior notification of method of demolition.

Rebuild The Carlton Tavern Public House, to match in facsimile the building as it stood immediately prior to its demolition on 8th April 2015, in conformity with the detailed architectural descriptions as to building materials, plan form, exterior and interior attached to this Notice, and in conformity with the photographs attached for the purposes of Illustration.

Those details from a planning application submitted by the owner.  Which i’m sad to say are pretty crude and if followed to the letter would result in a messy building with poor detailing.  The EH assessment doesn’t help much on these details.  They could use completely different sized bricks and still comply with the notice for example.

Similar ‘rebuild in facsimile notices have sometimes been served in Dublin with reference to unauthorized demolition of Georgian buildings.  I havent seen any assessment of the quality of what results.