How an Economic Equilibrium is Like and Not Like a Physical Equilibrium

In a physical equilibrium the system is in a state of least action – or minimum free energy – if that system is conservative – that is it obeys the laws of conservation of energy.  The laws of dynamics and conservation of energy can all be deduced from the principle of least action for conservative systems.

Even in a situation of no growth – simple reproduction- without accumulation an economic equilibrium is is not like a physical equilibrium – it is a dissipative system – it requires a constant input of energy to maintain production, reproduce the workforce and maintain the capital stock against the wear and tear accounted for in depreciation.  Indeed value creation – work – can be seen as the continual struggle to restore and expand the scale of a dissipative system to a larger conservative one.

This I think is why those attempts to apply the universality of the principle of least action to Economics – such as in the Samuelson – Solow growth model – have been less than successful.

There are conservation laws in economics but they are of a different kind and it is a great mistake to apply too strictly analogies with energy conservation or imply a similar conservation of money doctrine (for example Godley).

For example the principle of least action is simply energy=potential energy+kinetic energy.

The equivalent in economics would be assets=liabilities+capital.  But assets here is not energy, the maintenance of the asset stock implies the continual input of energy. A non conservative system.

There is no universally accepted formulation of the extension of the principal of least action to thermodynamic and dissipative systems, which is not to state it cant be done. You can derive the laws of thermodynamics from the principle of least action but with the introduction of external energy sinks and sumps you cannot predict the course of action of the system from internal energy states alone.  Feedback in dissipative systems does not have to be positive – the la Chatelier principle that Samuleson used in Foundations.

Another key difference is whether an economy is on an equilibrium or non-equilibrium path is whether expectation have been dissapointed.  It takes little energy to form an expectation and no difference in energy between a correct and false expectation.  However a correct expectation can be modelled as information, and an incorrect one as no information.  Therefore equilibrium can be modelled as a state of maximum entropy – which is equivalent of least action.  This value creation system though is parallel and separate from – though connected to – the system for valuation of past work.  It is the creation of value which links the two.

One issue over which there is great confusion is whether economic systems – being inter-temporal and dynamic – are different from economic systems where prices shift according to the compatibility of plans and expectations.   If plans are compatible so that expectations are realized then an external disequilibrium input will cause a ‘shock’ – there will be a price path but that path will restore to equilibrium.  This is an example of Wicksells ‘Rocking Horse’ – which requires a Frisch’s type ‘shock’ of a hammer hitting it to knock out of equilibrium.  This is why the term ‘inter-temporal equilibrium’ is a misnomer.  There is no such thing – rather it is the path of reaction of a conservative system towards equilibrium.  Equilibrium is not a law – rather it is a result of a law – the principle of least action – that describes the state of a system fully at all points along its path in and out of equilibrium.

If however plans are incompatible and expectations are not realised then negative feedback is introduced – we have a dissipative system – value will be net created or destroyed. Most plans are incompatible most of the time. The creation and destruction will create net winners and losers.  There will be opportunities for arbitrage and bringing plans back into compatibility. The act of economic failure and mispricing destroys value but creates information.   So far as these opportunities are not realised then the negative feedback will continue.  The economic system will drift away from the point of maximum information.  Expected prices will become more and more misvalued.  Only when these expectations change and the price system increases in information content will an equilibrium path be restored.  The introduction of feedbacks makes the system non-linear.   The ‘normal’ state of the system need not be at rest – it can be a limit cycle – with saddlepoint properties outside a certain range.  This is another reason why it is better to think in terms of the underyling causative forces of least action and maximisation of information rather than the fixed point of equilibrium at rest.

This approach also has applications in terms of thinking about money.  If expectations are held for all time and are correctly realised then- as Hahn set down – money has no function.  However if the value of products is uncertain then a mechanism is needed to guarantee the realisation of a contract in the future.  Money as a store of value is an information store allowing the alignment of two plans in the future.

 

Local Authorities Doing Land Capture – Great but not Easy or Risk Free

This election will be the first in which all major parties propose some form of land capture in the housing market.  It is also historic in the sense that the generational interests of boomers owning homes are deemed less important than millennials shut out of the housing market.  The Conservative Party in particular no longer the ‘alliance of landed and business interests’ that Peel founded, landed interests take a back seat.

The Conservative proposal is essentially the same approach adopted in most European Countries such as the Netherlands, France and Germany, as well as in China and Singapore.  Local authorities buy land at close to existing use value, parcel it up some for social housing some for sale to housebuilders.  Housebuilders become more like car builders than land speculators.

Although this, at least in high value areas, can at a stroke resolve and replace the complications of CIL and planning gain for affordable housing it is not an easy process to set going, and carries considerable risks that must be mitigated.

1. The Initial Land Purchase must be funded  

Once a system of land purchase and resale becomes established it becomes self funding as land sales fund new ones.  It is difficult to set these up without initial funding.  LAs are constrained as to how they can use RTB receipts (mainly because of land costs and this constraint is now removed) and of course in their borrowing.  A way forward could be through issuing of equity – similar to the 19C housing copartnership schemes as set up by the Liberal and Conservative parties.  Those seeking an affordable home could purchase an equity share in a development corporation and in return have a right to a shared ownership plot or a plot where the land is owned by the corporation and a right of development is sold (known as usufruct) separating land speculation from home ownership.  This works especially well with custom build plots and with reducing barriers to entry to small housebuilders who could also provide equity for land development rights.  Similarly an increase in ‘back to back’ arrangements with eventual developers is likely.

2. Some form of risk sharing is necessary

If LAs are to get into the housing market big time they bear considerable risks when the market crashes.  In the Netherlands in the Great Recession many municipalities were exposed left with part sold or developed large land holdings.  for this reason the liberal governments Treasury tried to clamp down on it to the resistance of the housing ministry, municipalities and the housebuilding industries, citing the success of the policy and for housebuilders its risk reduction.  Of course the Treasury might have born in mind how much worse the crash could have been if the Netherlands had had the low housebuilding rates of England.  None the less it is a risky business and it is not one for very small rural authorities alone unable to bear large financial shocks.  Those getting into it need to share and pool risks and there needs to be a ‘land buyer of last resort’ who can step in and purchase surplus plots at times of financial crisis.  Ireland offers a highly successful model here which has largely paid for itself after the economic recovery.

3.  LAs have to get into Masterplanning

Ok you have a large site after CPO.  You need to start selling plots to make a return on your initial investment. What do you need to do in between?  The shift towards a zoning system through permission in principle is welcome.  Through local plans the future land bank for housing is immediately set and enables LA to value their future worth.  There is a step missing however in the legislation, between a site and a parcel you need a masterplan to define the ROW, streets, Parcels and undevelopable ,and (green space, community facilities and utilities plots).  Also be having a clearer understanding of permitted heights and bulk LAs can more accurately predict revenue streams from land.

4.  Be bold CIL and Section 106 Affordable Housing are history

The theory is that CIL, section 106 and planning gain affordable housing should not add to the price of land as taken off the economic rent – as should land value capture.  So in theory once rolled out there would no longer be any need for CIL or S106 affordable housing it could all be covered through value capture.  CIL and S106 would be relegated to deal with old sites bought and permitted but not implemented under the old system.  Even there developers would need to get a move on to avoid unimplemented sites being CPO’d.  If the government was bold they would announce the ending of CIL and section 106 affordable housing, with affordable housing being defined as part of the zoning decision.  This would incentive use of land value capture.

5. The valuation and compensation rules have to be totally unambiguous 

If as seems likely valuation is based on existing use rather than permitted or alternative use valuation should be relatively easy.  However if not clear cut, and with at least some compensation to incentivise release cases could get bogged down in the land tribunal.  The easiest way to do this is to value all land and map it as part of taxation reforms replacing council tax.  Even if agricultural land contained partial or full exemptions this would be worthwhile.  Such a mapping exercise would also be essential to post Brexit agricultural support payments and avoiding deadweight loss of public funding.  Some landowners will now be worried about undeveloped land being CPOd, they rush to commence – which would be a good thing.  The cannier developers will be seeking to do deals, offering parts of sites at existing use value, or a reduced markup over existing use value, in return for equity investment in development corporations, giving them the seedcorn capital they crave.

6.  Shared Expertise over CPO and Land Assembly is Needed

Very few local authorities have legal expertise over CPO in their legal department.  LAs need to pool this and develop expert specialist teams.  LAs could also ‘twin’ with municipalities in other European countries to learn best practice in land assembly, development and land capture.

7.  Land Pooling/Redistribution is Needed 

This is less obvious. Any CPO practitioner will tell you that once you introduce the prospect of CPO at less than market value any rational owner will seek a sale and no CPO will be necessary.  The incentive for developers to bring forward their own schemes with high proportions of affordable housing is therefore strong.  What however about the hold out owner who thinks that their land holding isn’t getting a fair share of the value pie.  In Germany and Japan there existing land pooling/redistribution powers whereby the newly masterplanned and suvdivided plots are distributed amongst the various landowners in an equitable way.  Such powers are also useful where there is a major change in market conditions and a project needs to shrink or grow and the mew or left out owners need to share in the risks or rewards respectively.

8.  Common Spaces need to be Defined and Managed

If LAs are to become primary developers selling land on to secondary developers the issue arises as to the management of open spaces and shared public realm. Las need to return a proportion of returns to management companies designed to fund the public real in perpetuity.  The Olympic Park is a good example of this.

9.  It needs a proper system of subdivision control and Cadastre

If an LA is creating a parcel this immediately becomes a title for land registry and taxation – in most countries this is done in a single step in the LAs parcel fabric database.  In England unlike most countries operating Torrens based cadastre systems there is no requirement to register and only around 2/3rds of land is.  The Conservative Manifesto contains a quite radical proposal to combine the land registry and Ordnace Survey and make land data open source.  This really should be combined with legal reforms to create a proper land cadastre system as the basis for all land tax charges and subsidies.  Again this only makes sense if there is a proper legal framework for subdivision.  If a buyer of two LA parcel decides not to combine them but build single houses on each parcel, or even to build say three houses in a new subdivision – why should they need a fresh planning application if this is within the subdivision rules of the original masterplan?  Without subdivision rules it becomes impossible to keep accurate data on the number of available parcels and their taxation status.  Planning law should be reformed to make subdivision development with wide permitted development exemptions such as where subdivision rules are met within a masterplan implementing PiP.

Conservative Manifesto Shifts from ‘Protect the Green Belt’ to Protect only ‘designated ..Greenbelt’

Implying of course it can be dedesignated.  The wekaest Conservative Manifesto commitment on this issues since 1979.

Other takeaways

  • Keeping the weak 200,000 homes a year target for housebuilding
  • A new focus on high densities
  • It is clear from the manifesto commitment that the land value capture scheme is not restricted to brownfield – it refers to ‘urban regneration and development’
  • Mention of rebalencing housing growth across the coutry – omitted from Housing White Paper – consider this like the immigration pledge – met someday never without an horizen.

Here

We have not built enough homes in this country for generations, and buying or renting a home has become increasingly unaffordable. If we do not put this right, we will be unable to extend the promise of a decent home, let alone home ownership, to the millions who deserve it. We will fix the dysfunctional housing market so that housing is more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future. The key to this is to build enough homes to meet demand. That will slow the rise in housing costs so more ordinary, working families can afford to buy a home and bring the cost of renting down. And it will ensure that more private capital is invested in more productive investment, helping the economy to grow faster and more securely in future years. We will meet our 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and we will deliver half a million more by the end of 2022.

We will deliver the reforms proposed in our Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes in the right places, speed up build-out by encouraging modern methods of construction and give councils powers to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions; and we will diversify who builds homes in this country.

More homes will not mean poor quality homes. For too long, careless developers, high land costs and poor planning have conspired to produce housing developments that do not enhance the lives of those living there. We have not provided the infrastructure, parks, quality of space and design that turns housing into community and makes communities prosperous and sustainable. The result is felt by many ordinary, working families. Too often, those renting or buying a home on a modest income have to tolerate  substandard developments -some only a few years old -and are denied a decent place in which to live, where they can put down roots and raise children. For a country boasting the finest architects and planners in the world, this is unacceptable. We will build better houses, to match the quality of those we have inherited from previous generations. That means supporting high-quality, high-density housing like mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets.

It means maintaining the existing strong protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It means not just concentrating development in the south-east but rebalancing housing growth across the country, in line with our modern industrial strategy. It means government building 160,000 houses on its own land. It means supporting specialist housing where it is needed, like multigenerational homes and housing for older people, including by helping housing associations increase their specialist housing stock. We will never achieve the numbers of new houses we require without the active participation of social and municipal housing providers. This must not be done at the expense of high standards, however: councils have been amongst the worst offenders in failing to build sustainable, integrated communities. In some instances, they have built for political gain rather than for social purpose. So we will help councils to build, but only those councils who will build high-quality, sustainable and integrated communities. We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. We will work with them to improve their capability and capacity to develop more good homes, as well as providing them with significant low-cost capital funding. In doing so, we will build new fixed-term social houses, which will be sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants, the proceeds of which will be recycled into further homes. We will reform Compulsory Purchase Orders to make them easier and less expensive for councils to use and to make it easier to determine the true market value of sites. We will also give greater flexibility to housing associations to increase their housing stock, building on their considerable track record in recent years. And we will work with private and public sector house builders to capture the increase in land value created when they build to reinvest in local infrastructure, essential services and further housing, making it both easier and more certain that public sector landowners, and communities themselves, benefit from the increase in land value from urban regeneration and development. And we will continue our £2.5 billion flood defence programme that will put in place protection for 300,000 existing homes by 2021. These ambitious policies will mean more and better homes, welcomed by existing communities because they add, rather than subtract, from what is already there. This is the sustainable development we need to see happen in every village, town and city across our country. These policies will take time, and meanwhile we will continue to support those struggling to buy or rent a home, including those living in a home owned by a housing association.

The Varsity Line and Opportunities for Garden Cities West of Cambridge

With talk of a study driven by the Infrastructure Commission for the Oxford/MK Cambridge Arc and a new Spatial Plan for Cambridgeshire +Peterborough driven by Lewis Herbert it is appropriate to talk about opportunities in Cambridgeshire.

I have previously written at length about opportunities further East as they are more immediate – the extra capacity from HS2 to WCML and the first phase of the Varsity Line.

The medium term requirements for Cambridgeshire are set out in the MoU agreed by all districts.  However this maintains the status quo and not the level of jobs driven growth the Infrastructure commission is aiming at.  Housing targets would be much more if Cambs had to take its share of shortfalls from the London Plan.

The biggest opportunity comes from the RAF Mildenhall closure – large enough for a Garden City – though just over the border in Suffolk it is within the ever expanding housing market area for Cambridge and shows how strategic planning cannot stick rigidly to county boundaries.

The old structure plan strategy was to discourage commuting to London by focusing growth North of Cambridge.  This is out of date.  Traffic modelling by the county shows it has little benefit, and of course where will London overspill go – clearly to places with strong jobs growth such as Cambridgeshire.

There is a particular cluster of opportunities West of Cambridge along the old North Road (Ermine Street) which I think should be upgraded to serve them and act as a growth corridor within an Easy commute both of London and Cambridge only 12 miles away, as well as providing improved connections to infrastructure starved Huntingdonshire and Peterborough from the South.

Those opportunities are:

  • Papworth Hospital Paworth Everard – due to move to Cambridge Biomedical Campus in 2018
  • Longstowe – where Ermine Street crosses the route of the former Varsity line – and site of a former Station. If the old route is chosen, even if not could be used as a guided bus route as per Northstowe.
  • RAF Bassingborn – Closed in 2016, and close to the revised proposed southerly route of the Varsity Line
  • The area around Ashwell and Morden Station – which will have increased capacity to serve Cambridge following completion of the Hitchin Chord (in North Herts)

The concept here would be to dual Ermine Street to the A429  and Huntingdn- which would also enable substantial expansion of Camborne.

Development of new/expanded commuter stations at Longstowe and Ashwell and Morden

Development of a Garden Village expansion at Papworth Everard

Development of a Garden Town at Longstowe

Expand Royston to the North East and develop a new Garden City to the North and East of Royston in a arc between Ashwell and Morden Station and RAF Bassingborn.  This would be large enough to be developed as several neighbourhoods with substantial space between to preserve the setting of attractive villages such as Steeple Morden and Litlington.

It should be noted that in this falt dull landscape it is the villages and historic houses that provide interest – so Garden Cities, Villages and Suburbs could enhance teh landscape.

All of these areas could share infrastructure – such as Sewerage and public transport, secondary schools etc, benefitting from Major Economies of Scale.

At Bassingborn there is the potential to relocate Cambridge Airport there – a site with potential for over 10,000 homes.

At Longstowe I would relocate Anglia Ruskin University and Oxford University Press, and Fulborne Hospital, opening up precious brownfield sites in Cambridge.  None of them really needs to be there.

In total with infrastructure upgrades they could house around 150,000 population.

The Manifesto for Surrey – Move Development to Hampshire

As Surrey’s Green Belt includes the entire non urban part of the County and as OAN includes a migration component under the NPPF and DTC Surrey authorities would need to agree for adjoining areas – such as Hampshire – to agree any planned shortfall – is that the intention – or simply that Surrey becomes a retirement home for boomers already having paid their mortgage?

Get Surrey

Surrey can’t go on “losing precious countryside to developers”, a campaign group has said.

The Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has now issued its “Manifesto for Surrey” setting out policies to protect the Green Belt, countryside and villages.

The group, which describes itself as strictly non-party political, and is a registered charity, has now called for candidates of all political parties in the General Election to endorse the manifesto and agree to incorporate its policies in their election addresses.

The manifesto for Surrey sets out policies to protect the Green Belt and other countryside and green spaces in Surrey from “inappropriate development”, oppose excessive and unsustainable housebuilding figures and ensure that new development meets “genuine local need” not demand from outside Surrey.

It also aims to prioritise urban and brownfield regeneration, make better use of existing housing stock, and ensure a significantly higher proportion of well-designed affordable and social housing.

The group, which has more than 2,500 members in Surrey, is also calling for new housing to only be permitted where funding is available to provide significant improvements in infrastructure and public services.

It also wants measurably higher standards in air and water quality and to ensure rural tranquillity and dark night skies.

CPRE also wants the boundaries of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty redrawn to bring existing Areas of Great Landscape Value within the AONB.

Andy Smith, CPRE Surrey branch director, said: “Our Manifesto for Surrey sets out the policies that would protect our countryside and green spaces from unnecessary and inappropriate development.

“Surrey is getting full up. We are already losing precious countryside to the developers. Our infrastructure and public services are under massive pressure.

“We can’t go on like this. Surrey needs to build more homes but we need the right housing in the right places, and on a scale that is sustainable.

“CPRE’s duty is to defend the countryside and Green Belt. We have heard many politicians promising to do the same. But for this to be meaningful they need to agree to policies that relieve the pressure on our rural areas and provide real protection for our green spaces.

“The CPRE Manifesto for Surrey provides a way forward.”

To read the full manifesto visit the Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s website.

Tory’s new Temporary Council Homes Programme Only Affordable if no RTB for 20 Years

Here I assume that the price of a home (2 bedroom London) is equal to

  • The NPV of London living wage for the year it remains a council house
  • The average London rent for the remaining period to amortise the mortgage ( year 10 or 15 to year 25)

For simplicity I excluded Mortage and agents fees etc.  Current 3.75% mortgage rates.

A simple calculation shows that for no RTB period of less that 20 years would the income stream for the period before RTB be more than the income stream for the period after.  In other words the post RTB period makes the property unaffordable.

For 10 years RTB exemption the property would only be affordable at around 10% discount.

For higher interest rates the no RTB period comes down dramatically, for example at 5% the period comes down to 15 years.

With tweaks the policy could work – for example it could be a rent to mortgage policy where on top of the living rent renters paid a small premium to cover the 3.75-5% gap to purchase a shared ownership and the right to full RTB after 15 years.

 

Thousends Protest Moscow Plan to Redevelop Soviet Era Apartments

Going on right now

Khodorkovsky

On Sunday May 14 citizens will gather on Moscow’s Sakharov prospect to protest against the illegal demolition of thousands of homes. The historic project, drawn up by Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin with the endorsement of Vladimir Putin, has attracted widespread condemnation for its disregard of Russian law and brutal lack of concern for the wishes of Moscow’s residents.

The project, which is predicted to take around 20 years to complete, is one of the largest demolition and relocation projects in the developing world and will potentially lead to the displacement of over a million people. Thousands of Khrushchevki — Moscow’s five-story apartment blocks built under Soviet president Nikita Khrushchev — are due to be knocked down and their residents relocated in a chaotic move that has drawn criticism from all areas of society.

Whereas for some the project is a welcome attempt to renovate decrepit apartments, for many it is an intrusion of the state upon citizens’ private property. The project encompasses approximately 25m square meters of property that is situated in particularly lucrative areas, raising questions as to the motives behind the $60 billion plan.

Journalist and demonstration organiser Ekaterina Vinokurova has commented on Sobyanin’s grand design: “In its current form the project is in such stark contradiction with the constitution that it should be withdrawn in its entirety.”

The behaviour of the authorities has shown citizens that the government is willing to violate both the law and the constitution in order to advance its own interests. Debate has raged on social media about the guarantee of property rights under the Russian constitution, and whether a case can be made to prevent the authorities from destroying property that has belonged to some families for over half a century.

Citizens are making the logical conclusion that if the government is ready to violate the constitution of the Russian Federation, then that government is itself illegitimate. Therefore, the May 14 demonstrations are set to join the long list of anti-government protests that have occurred over recent months and have seen historically high turnouts, as well as record numbers of arrests.

Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov has called for his supporters to join the May 14 demonstrations: “We Moscow citizens must stand up to those who are trying to decide on our behalf how we should live in our own city.”

Over 6000 people have already signed up for the May 14 demonstrations on social media and many more are expected to turn up in support of civil society that has time and time again been disregarded by the authorities.

The Open Russia movement is planning to participate in the demonstrations and is working to raise awareness, as well as offer legal help to citizens who are caught up in the scandal. Events will begin at 14:00 on Sakharov prospect in Moscow this Sunday.

May to Use Land Value Capture to Build New Generation of Council Homes

Sunday Times – Greater Ability to use CPO was included in the Taylor amendment to the Neighbourhood Planning Act – given royal assent just before purchase.  It would be little use however unless the Aquisition of Land Act and the land compensation code was amended to ensure the ‘alliterative scheme’ was at existing use value.  Tellingly there is nothing on value capture in the leaked Labour manifesto.  Over time such a scheme could create a rolling fund effectively paying for itself through reduced housing benefit.  The really radical approach would be to follow the IPPR approach of decentralising housing benefit and letting LAs capitalise future savings to build homes.  If adopted Healy would have nothing to say in terms of how labour would build more homes.

Theresa May will launch an audacious bid to woo Labour voters when she puts plans for a new generation of council homes for the working classes at the heart of her programme for government.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the prime minister said she will change the law to help councils and housing associations build hundreds of thousands of homes, ending years of neglect of social housing.

May will also seek to emulate Margaret Thatcher’s dream of a “property owning democracy” in the 1980s, by ensuring a proportion of the new homes will have to be offered for sale to tenants after 10 to 15 years under the Right to Buy scheme.

The plan to adapt Thatcher’s most popular policy to help “Generation Rent” will form the centrepiece of the Conservative election manifesto, due to be published on Thursday.

It is designed to help about 1.2m families who are currently on local authority waiting lists for a social tenancy. There are 300,000 fewer homes for social rent now than 20 years ago.

May said: “Whether you rent or buy, everyone needs the security of a place to call home but too many ordinary working families are stuck on council waiting lists, facing unaffordable rents and struggling to save for that first deposit.

“That’s why we will fix the broken housing market and support local authorities and housing associations to build a new generation of council homes right across the country.

“Giving tenants a new right to buy these homes when they go on the market will help thousands of people get on the first rung of the housing ladder, and fixed terms will make sure money is reinvested so we have a constant supply of new homes for social rent.”

D

In the 1960s and 1970s, councils built more than 1m homes a decade but now build just a few hundred homes a year.

Under the new plans, the government will offer councils some money, help them borrow more and change the laws governing compulsory purchase orders to make it cheaper for councils to buy up derelict buildings and pockets of abandoned brownfield land on which to build the homes.

May will tear up current rules that mean councils must purchase land at “market value”, which includes the price with planning permission irrespective of whether it has been granted or not. That means local authorities very rarely use their compulsory purchase powers for social housing, leaving derelict buildings in town centres.

How much can Greater Manchester Densify – By 25,000 homes?

As announced today.

ANDY Burnham has vowed to stick to his campaign pledge of a “radical” re-write of the controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plan.

 

..Mr Burnham said: “It will result in a substantial reduction in the loss of green space across Greater Manchester. It will see a shift from more development on main roads, towards town centres.

“I want to set a new goal of revitalising our town centres with higher density development and I today issue a call to developers to help us in that work.”

Mr Burnham did not set any timescale for the re-drawing of the framework, saying that the most important thing was to get the plans right.

Under the current proposals, he claimed, Greater Manchester risked becoming a collection of “decaying” town centres surrounded by urban sprawl.

The former Leigh MP emphasised that it would not be possible to protect every piece of green belt land in the area, but vowed to listen to campaign groups who have fought hard against the spatial framework.

He added that outlying towns such as Bolton need ambitious development that will revitalise the area, and cited the regeneration of Bury town centre as an example to be followed.

A glance at the supporting documents for the GMSP shows that some town centres – Manchester and Salford already have considerable town centre allocations – fewer town centre sites are identified in many of the outlying town centres and very few call for sites submissions.  Sites have already been identified in many town centres and the issue is bring them forward.

Bury has a relatively compact town centre, and has benefited from heritage led regeneration.    Bolton is more sprawling and knocked about.  Heritage led regeneration of a small town centre however worthy has only a small effect on housing numbers.  Hanging baskets doesnt indicate high housing capacity.

Though some Green Belt loss and expansion of a satellite town like Crewe is inevitable in providing a portfolio of solutions for meeting the 25,000 shortfall I would be the first to agree that some densification – if kept realistic – can increase housing numbers.

Bolton, Rochdale and Bury have large outmoded industrial and land consuming areas of car parks, shed and dreadful boxy police stations and 70s public buildings and shopping malls. Other outer town centres have rather less capcity.  If the jobs were relocated to accessible Green field locations less Green Belt would be needed.   Why, because apartments in the centre would consume 1/2 or less of the land of detached houses in the Green Belt.  Land assembly would be expensive and difficult but not impossible.   A particular opportunity exists in Boltonwhere south of the town centre existing an industrial area as big as Barking Reach of the Olympic Park. A 4-8 story development here – no high rise – of streets and squares with mixed uses could accommodate 6-7000 homes.  So quite a lot of the shortfall could be met with some reduction (about half) of the Green Belt loss.

But lets not have the kid of woolly plan like the London Plan – Vague aspirations for meeting the shortfall in housing through higher densities but without the bite the bullet hard choices to acheive it through design led development – which planning is all about.

 

Burnham Promises Sptial Plan Rewrite – Densify to avoid Green Belt Loss

This is Lancashire

ANDY Burnham has vowed to stick to his campaign pledge of a “radical” re-write of the controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plan.

The newly-elected mayor of Greater Manchester said that his changes will result in a significant reduction in the amount of green belt land due to be lost.

Mr Burnham announced this morning that Paul Dennett, current mayor of Salford, will lead his rewrite of the spatial framework blueprint as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s portfolio lead for housing, planning and homelessness.

The document drew up plans for where new thousands of new homes homes and industrial land would be located up to 2035.

Mr Burnham said: “It will result in a substantial reduction in the loss of green space across Greater Manchester. It will see a shift from more development on main roads, towards town centres.

“I want to set a new goal of revitalising our town centres with higher density development and I today issue a call to developers to help us in that work.”

Mr Burnham did not set any timescale for the re-drawing of the framework, saying that the most important thing was to get the plans right.

Under the current proposals, he claimed, Greater Manchester risked becoming a collection of “decaying” town centres surrounded by urban sprawl.

The former Leigh MP emphasised that it would not be possible to protect every piece of green belt land in the area, but vowed to listen to campaign groups who have fought hard against the spatial framework.

He added that outlying towns such as Bolton need ambitious development that will revitalise the area, and cited the regeneration of Bury town centre as an example to be followed.

Mr Dennett said: “The whole concept of neighbourhoods and communities needs to be re-shaped. This isn’t just about people who live in high-rise blocks.

“Yes, we need urban density to protect the green belt but this is also about creating communities and social spaces for people to live, work and play.

“I see this as one of the most responsible jobs in the Combined Authority moving forward, and am honoured to receive this portfolio.”

On plans for more affordable homes, Mr Burnham added: “What I would like to see is more focus on truly affordable housing in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. Building more council housing, building more social housing so that we deal with the housing crisis.

“In recent times there has been a focus on flagship, high-end development, on commuter homes. Those schemes will be important in driving Greater Manchester forward and we want to see them come to fruition.

“But the focus does have to change now.”