Ebenezer Howard Fills in a Form to Build 12 Garden Comunities in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire

Yes this form is real, he sent me a copy (amazed he had to fill one in ) I put his filled in version on dropbox here . 

The original form is here seemingly bearing little reference to the contents of the prospectus.

Here are some edited highlights.

Dear Mr Kit Malthouse Sir,
Ebenezer Howard and members of the International Garden Cities and Town
Planning Association (1922):

We have come directly from the meeting of the International Garden Cities and Town
Planning Association Congress October 1922 in Paris using My friend Mr HG Wells’s
Time Machine. Mr Wells told me a ‘prospectus’ had been laid for a new Garden Communities.

Seeing how serious the evils of overcrowded housing had become in the
2010s we had to respond and rethink and adapt our Garden City Principles to your
current circumstances, as well as choosing one pioneering site which might be suitable
for your current needs.

We have brought along our friends the Quaker Chocolate Barons, Mr Rowntree and
Mr Cadbury, who have left you some original recipe fruit pastels and dairy milk,
concerned at the deterioration in quality and taste of these products in your time, as
well as Henrietta Octavia Barnett (who now discovers she was made a Dame in 1925)
founder of Hampstead Garden Suburb and some of our most prominent town planners
and architects including Sir Raymond Unwin (who equally finds to his delight
that he was knighted in 1932) who I believe was first chief planner at your predecessor
ministry; and who is most pleased to see from the current occupant of this post
that fashions in hair and clothing have not changed in almost a century….

Our original schemes were a reaction to the Victorian industrial city – the ‘Coke Town’ from Charles Dickens hardtimes. Cities have changed but they are easier to breath in but still increasingly overcrowded rookeries with ‘beds in sheds’ and ‘couch surfing’ after we note an entire generation where little housing affordable to the working classes was built; such as Mr Lever, Cabdbury and Rowntree built in such large numbers. They are also declining in their healthiness, with increasing incidence of tuberculosis, once considered banished. We have gone from coke town to choke town, with those forced to live near congested area living notably shorter lives from pollution from motor carriages. Sadly the great public health improving municipalism we saw in our lifetimes from leaders such as Joseph Chamberlain seems lacking as your municipal leaders have so much fewer powers and assets and are focused overwhelmingly on social care for your aging population. My book’s central idea was focused on how to afford care for the elderly so we have updated it to your circumstances.

Despite almost a century rapid urbanisation and the major changes it causes to agriculture and the countryside have not lessened in pace, except oddly in Great Britain, they have increased. The problems of rapid urbanisation area as in our times is the problem of your time. A problem you now face acutely with problems of carbon emissions, global warming, soil depletion and loss of biodiversity. Yet rapid urbanisation has also propelled millions out of poverty with considerable benefits to economic development and innovation, as Professor Geddes as long since noted.
The challenge still is to blend the best of town and country – as in my book, but considered more broadly and not just aesthetically.

We must blend the advantages of the Town – the Urban, its infrastructure, the bustle, architecture, civility, accessibility, services, innovation and culture,

With the advantages of Country, the Green, the peaceful, the picturesque landscape, the Natural and the fecundity of Nature to feed us and provide the means to support life itself.

Yet we find debates over Town and Country Planning in your century as pitched battles over the worst of both each presented as caricatures….

I travelled up and down the Great Northern Railway and Royston and Hitchin Railway company lines many times searching for good sites for Garden Cities, and note too the proposal to reopen the Varsity line as East-West Rail (though we cannot figure out why they were closed and why Oxford and Cambridge could ever have been considered rural backwaters) . These three railway lines, and the great Roman Roads to the North the A1 and the Great North Road all converge here and there are also two very large & now surplus ‘brownfield’ military camps at RAF Howden (only 3 miles North of Letchworth) and RAF Bassingbourn. This diamond area of survey crosses three
counties, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, and two of your so called growth corridors, The Innovation Corridor (London-Stansted-Cambridge) and the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. This intersection should not be a disadvantage, as Mr Unwin always say it is at intersections your get the chance to create the picturesque. A proper ‘border blind’ (sub) regional plan is needed.


@Roger_Scruton Official Bueaty Tsar – to Antisemitism you can add Islamophobia and Homophobia @kitmalthouse

This guy is an embarrassment.  How can any person not be tainted by working with him.


Theresa May is facing pressure to sack her newly appointed housing tsar over claims he made Islamophobic, antisemitic and homophobic comments in a series of articles and books.

Professor Sir Roger Scruton, a controversial philosopher, was chosen to advise the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at the weekend, as chairman of a new public body to champion beautiful buildings.

Labour MPs are now urging ministers to sack the conservative academic after it emerged he had described homosexuality as “not normal” and said Islamophobia was a “propaganda word”.

Sir Roger also faced accusations of propagating antisemitic conspiracies about Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros in a 2014 lecture, where he said “many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros empire”.

However, the government issued a statement in support of the professor, who denied the claims and said he was “offended and hurt” by allegations of Islamophobia and antisemitism.

The comments were highlighted by a BuzzFeed News investigation, which included a 2007 article for The Telegraph, in which he wrote: “Every now and then, however, we wake up to the fact that, although homosexuality has been normalised, it is not normal.

“Our acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, of same-sex couples, and of the gay scene has not eliminated our sense that these are alternatives to something, and that it is the other thing that is normal.”

On BBC Radio 4’s A Point of View in 2015 he said: “The orthodox liberal view is that homosexuality is innate and guiltless.

“Like the Islamists, the advocates of this view have invented a phobia with which to denounce their opponents.

“Deviate in the smallest matter from the orthodoxy, and you will be accused of homophobia and, although this is not yet a crime, it is accompanied, especially for those with any kind of public office, by real social costs.”

It also emerged that he described Islamophobia as a “propaganda word” in his 2017 book Conservatism: Ideas in Profile.

He said: “There has been in official circles a deliberate silencing of discussion, a refusal to describe things by their proper names, and the adoption of the propaganda word ‘Islamophobia’ to create a wholly imaginary enemy”.

Labour MP Luciana Berger, parliamentary chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, called for Sir Roger to be removed from the post for his comments about George Soros.

She said: ”An individual who peddles antisemitic conspiracy theories has no place advising government about anything.

“Theresa May, please intervene. [Housing secretary] James Brokenshire should urgently reconsider his appointment.”

Calls for @Roger_Scruton to step down from #snobbybuildingcommission over antsemitic anti Soros remarks @Kitmalthoue #MoreFacistFaster


How can any professional body such as CPRE, TCPA collude with someone who hold views dating back decades that are clearly fascistic.

Labour MPs have called for philosopher Sir Roger Scruton to be sacked from his newly appointed position as chair of a government housing commission after it emerged that he had described Jews in Budapest as forming part of a “Soros empire”.

Backbencher Wes Streeting accused Scruton of propagating antisemitic conspiracy theories in a 2014 lecture that referred to the Hungarian-born currency trader and philanthropist George Soros. He called on the communities secretary, James Brokenshire, to dismiss him.

Scruton was last week appointed by Brokenshire to chair the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission, an unpaid job on a new body, which aims to promote a design and style of homes that “reflect what communities want”.

The Conservative philosopher is a frequent visitor to Hungary and says he has known its nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, since 1987. In 2014, he gave a lecture in the country, which referred to Soros, Judaism and Islam.

“Many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros empire,” Scruton wrote in a lecture entitled The Need for Nations, which is reproduced in Hungarian and English on his website.

Scruton’s lecture acknowledged that antisemitism was a problem in modern Hungary. It read: “Moreover, as the world knows, indigenous antisemitism still plays a part in Hungarian society and politics, and presents an obstacle to the emergence of a shared national loyalty among ethnic Hungarians and Jews.”

Nonetheless, Labour MPs said that there were questions for Brokenshire to answer for appointing Scruton. Luciana Berger said: “An individual who peddles antisemitic conspiracy theories has no place advising government about anything,” while the shadow housing minister, John Healey, asked the minister in a tweet: “Can you explain this?”

The lecture, first picked up by the Red Roar website, also argued that the nation-state is a Christian, European construct, which explained why a country such as Pakistan was a “failure”. Focusing on Islam, Scruton wrote: “The same is true of many other countries in which Islam is the dominant faith. Even if such countries do function as states, like Pakistan, they are often failures as nations.”

Scruton’s observations about Soros are not isolated. The philosopher used an article in the Daily Telegraph in February 2018 to discuss sovereignty and Brexit, and whether leave or remain factions “has the nation at heart”.

In the article, he referred to Best for Britain, a pro-remain campaign, which has accepted donations from Soros. It said: “And even if it accepts donations from George Soros, whose behaviour in Hungary, Albania and the Balkan states has been inspired at every stage by a visceral hostility to the national idea, this does not affect the issue.

“It is possible that this man, whose currency speculation once almost bankrupted our country, is as devoted to the British national interest as is Gina Miller.”

When asked about Scruton’s comments about Soros, the department of communities said: “Due diligence was carried out prior to Sir Roger Scruton’s appointment as chair.”

A spokesman added: “Professor Sir Roger Scruton, as a long-standing public intellectual, has strong views on a number of issues. He received a knighthood in 2016 and advised the coalition government on design.

“His commitment to driving quality in the built environment is well known and he has published extensively on architecture and place, which makes him an excellent candidate for the unpaid chairmanship of the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission.”

Scruton did not respond to a request for comment.

CPRE Surrey fails in JR against ‘Top Gear Site’ Green Belt release in Waverley


– and –


  1. The critical point is that the central justification or reasons for the Inspector’s conclusions are clear on the level of housing requirement in the LPP1. In my view they are here – it is clear why he reached the figure he did on unmet need.

  2. For these reasons I do not think that the Inspector and Waverley Borough Council erred in law in the adoption of the LPP1, and I reject the s.113 challenges.

  3. In the light of these conclusions it is strictly speaking unnecessary for this judgment to go any further. However, in the light of the fact other issues were fully argued I will deal with the argument that even if there was an error of law in respect to Woking’s unmet need, the allocation of Dunsfold Aerodrome in the Plan should not be quashed.

  4. Mr Elvin argues that even if there was an error of law in the unmet need figure it would have made no difference to the allocation of Dunsfold Aerodrome. He argues that neither the principle of the allocation at Dunsfold nor the quantum of the allocation was impacted by the Woking unmet need figure. Policy SS7 allocated Dunsfold for up to 2,600 in the submission draft, before the Woking unmet need was included in the LPP1. He points to the Addendum Sustainability Report which had explained how the options for meeting the housing requirement had been considered and the reasons for seeking the allocation at Dunsfold.

  5. In my view Mr Elvin’s submissions on this point are correct. Dunsfold was not merely allocated before the Woking unmet need was added, but also at a point where the overall housing requirement was lower than that ultimately adopted. That appears to me to be a very clear indication that the allocation was fully justified separately from the level of the unmet need. It needs to be borne in mind that neither Mr Stinchcombe nor Mr Westaway dispute that there is unmet need in Woking, and it is inevitable that a significant proportion of that will have to be met in Waverley. I therefore think that in any event it would have been wrong to quash the allocation in respect of Dunsfold Aerodrome

Looking Backwards, Looking Ridiculous – The Philosophy of the @Roger_Scruton #patricianbuildingscommission

Roger Scruton is a scholar funded by Future Symphony institute – which exactly shares his aesthetic philosophy, and manages to make a love for classical music look imperialistic and ridiculous rather than beautiful.  Take their manifesto and replace classical music with classical architecture etc. and you have.

But nor should there be any despair about the promise of a future for classical architecture. All around us we see the signs that a rebirth is nigh. The glorious architectural heritage bequeathed to us sprang from a deep well of love and piety, reverence, and affection within the human heart. And despite the errors of any age – perhaps even because of them – people are still moved principally and most lastingly by love. We still long to be inspired by wonder, to feel the selfless fulfillment of devotion, and the security of belonging. Architecture has the power to move us in this way more than almost anything else we can name.

And its power is all the greater for the fact that our experience of classical architecture, especially today, is wholly unlike our other experiences. It stands outside of time, and looks lovingly from its vantage point across the wide panoply of history. It invites us to stand there with it, in intimate acquaintance with everyone we’ll never meet – those who are long gone but who, nevertheless, already know us because they know and sympathize with the condition of our humanity. Our architectural communion across the centuries is the fruit of forgiveness that first took root in our hearts as sympathy and a mutual and abiding love for what is true, good and beautiful. Before trying to “modernize” architecture , then, we should remember that the great Renaissance was itself born of a loving look backwards. And already we see people in all walks of life making the first Petrarchan glances over the shoulder of modernity.

For the new renaissance to take hold, Western architecture must do more than survive in the cloisters and towers of our ateliers and architecture schools. We envision a world of active and flourishing amateur, community, youth, and professional studios where the joyful practice of drawing by pencil and legacy of classical architecture find themselves again at the aesthetic center of community and family life. We envision a world in which classical architecture and its principles are unquestionably as important a part of any school curriculum as reading, writing, and arithmetic. And in this world we envision, as already in our own, the design forever renews itself by renewing our spirits, our imaginations, and our moral sensibilities. It shapes us even as we shape a tympanum or pilaster in an arch..

A renaissance for classical architecture means a renaissance for humanity.

I imagine there were the kind of people that rioted when the rite of spring was first played and called the Eiffel Tower a scar on the skyline from not being constructed of stone.

FT – Letwin Report was ‘got at’ in removing proposed change to Land Compensation Act


UK prime minister Theresa May’s housing adviser has been accused of not going far enough to reform the price at which councils buy agricultural land in order to make housebuilding more affordable. Oliver Letwin, a former cabinet minister, issued a government-commissioned report alongside last week’s Budget that examined the issue of so-called “buildout rates” in the housebuilding industry. It recommended tougher requirements for developers on large sites so they have to build a wider mixture of housing types for sale and rent. But many figures in the housing industry had expected Sir Oliver to recommend a shake-up of the 1961 Land Compensation Act — a move that could have made it much cheaper for local authorities to build homes. The obscure legislation has a huge impact on the property market because it means that councils cannot buy agricultural land for development at its current value. Instead they must buy it at speculative “hope” values calculated as if there was already planning permission to build on the site. That can make the land more than 100 times more expensive than its original value. Hugh Ellis, interim chief executive at the Town and Country Planning Association, said the review failed to tackle the “craziness” of the current system. Recommended Property sector Unloved shopping centres make way for homes in landlords’ plans “If local authorities are going to take a leading role in the development of land, they need to get it at the right price, and the compensation code [currently] allows for the craziness of giving landowners hope value — value that they don’t own, didn’t create and doesn’t actually exist,” Mr Ellis said. “We are disappointed that he failed to deal with one of the key barriers to allowing them to take that role.” One industry figure said he had previously heard that the recommendation would be in the report: “I wonder who got to them?” he asked. Sir Oliver insisted he had tackled the issue, telling the FT his guidance to local authorities would mean councils could compulsorily purchase large plots of land at no more than 10 times its agricultural value. The report says: “I recommend that the housing secretary . . . should guide local planning authorities towards insisting on levels of diversity that will tend to cap residual land values for these large sites at around 10 times their existing use value.” That could result in values of about £100,000 per acre of farmland, against around £1.9m per acre for the market value of a typical site in south-east England. Some Tory MPs and landowners are understood to have expressed concerns about the idea. The British Property Federation said Sir Oliver had come to the right conclusion: “The idea that the public sector should be able to buy land at close to existing use value, could choke off land supply,” the industry group said. But other housing groups described the Letwin proposal as “insufficient”, because it still allowed landowners to make huge profits on the sale of their fields. Greg Beales, campaign director at the charity Shelter, said: “Sir Oliver Letwin has put his finger precisely on the problem: that the high cost of land is stopping us from building enough homes. “But we should be clear that the recommendations in this report simply will not work because the incentives for landowners to sell up at lower values are nowhere near strong enough.” A spokesman for James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, said the report was authored by “Sir Oliver alone” and he was not pressured to include or leave out any recommendations.

‘Howls of Rage’ from Architects on @Roger_Scruton #patricianbuildingscommission @kitmalthouse

Building Design

And planners too – not listed in brief or invited. Calculated snub by the extremist Roger Scruton as he tries to force his narrow patrician tastes on everybody else.  This wont end well, indeed I suspect RIBA and RTPI might even set up an alternative shadow commission.   Building everything in stone is too expensive, and brick impractical given the volume of new homes we need.  Given that how does going back to the methods , techniques and aesthetics of the 18th Century help.  A ridiculous and divisive move.  A bit like making Aaron Banks chair of the Electoral Commission, or putting him in charge of writing the question on a second peoples referendum.  I don’t think ministers have any idea of the anger this has caused amongst design professionals or how much it has set back the goodwill that has built up over recent months.

Architects sidelined as Scruton chairs government’s beautiful homes commission

Roger Scruton

‘Placing beauty at heart of housing policy is biggest idea in a generation’

Traditionalist Roger Scruton has been chosen by the housing secretary to chair a new commission tasked with putting “beauty” at the centre of housing policy.

Scruton’s appointment and the commission itself have been met with howls of derision from the profession. One called it a “right-wing Cabe”, while TV presenter Tom Dyckhoff asked if it was April 1.

The RIBA today demanded architects be given a leading role on the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which was announced at the weekend by housing secretary James Brokenshire to “to tackle the challenge of poor quality design and build of homes and places”.

Local MPs blocked Budget Announcement of Growth of Milton Keynes by 100,000 Homes – Telegraph


Plans for a major expansion of one of Britain’s best known “new towns” were dropped from the Budget at the eleventh hour after heated objections from a government whip and a defence minister, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster, the Tory MPs for Milton Keynes, opposed proposals for some 100,000 new homes on the outskirts of the town, over fears that an influx of residents could clog up its roads and overburden the local hospital.

Mr Lancaster told The Sunday Telegraph that while he was “in favour of planned development and sustainable growth” for Milton Keynes, the Government needed to be “very careful” about how it allocated large numbers of homes to the area.

The interventions by both MPs led to the plan being pulled from the Budget a week before it was delivered by Philip Hammond last Monday, after months of discussion with the Labour-led local council.

Talks are now being resumed at a more gradual pace with the hope of reaching a deal to which Mr Stewart and Mr Lancaster will consent.

The row highlights the Government’s battle to gain local support for new developments as it attempts to meet Theresa May’s target of  building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Milton Keynes, which is about 45 miles north-west of London, was designated as a new town in 1967 to help to relieve pressure on the capital’s housing.

Ministers had hoped to announce a deal to expand the town as part of the Government’s plans to build up to one million homes in the “corridor” between Cambridge and Oxford.

Under the proposals, the council would have agreed to the construction of around 100,000 new homes, in exchange for millions of pounds worth of government funding.

Kid Malthouse, the housing minster, has described the scheme as  “exactly the sort of ambition the government wants to see”.

But Mr Lancaster and Mr Stewart, the Government’s “champion” of the planned corridor, told ministers they had not been properly consulted and raised fears the new homes could be “unsustainable” without planned infrastructure to support a larger population.

Sources said the MPs feared that if the plans for Milton Keynes were pursued ahead of those for the surrounding areas, neighbouring local authorities could go on to strike their own deals for new housing which could put further pressure on the town’s roads and health services.

Alex Walker, the leader of the Conservative group on Milton Keynes council, said:  “We only have one hospital and it was designed for Milton Keynes as planned. Our roads were designed for 250,000 people and we’ve already gone above that.”

Inspector backs Begbroke Yarnton Green Belt Release North of Oxford

Oxford Times

Good news its a good site that wont harm the setting of Oxford in any way.

A CONTROVERSIAL move to build 4,400 homes on Oxford’s Green Belt is a step closer after a planning inspector agreed with the reason for building them.

More than 1,500 residents have said they do not want the new homes, due to be built north of Oxford in areas around Begbroke, Kidlington and Yarnton. But Cherwell District Council agreed to include the proposal in a key planning document in February.

Following a hearing last month, planning inspector Paul Griffiths decided Cherwell council’s effort to shoulder some of Oxford’s housing needs in its Local Plan is sound in principle.

Opponents to the house building said they are ‘disappointed’ at the inspector ‘waving’ the Local Plan through. They include some members of the North Oxford Golf Club, which could be swallowed up to build 1,180 of the homes.

The city council said it has too little space to include all the homes it would need to build to meet its housing needs and so is reliant on other districts helping it out.

The Cherwell Development Watch said the need for 15,000 homes in Oxford which the city council has said it cannot meet is based on old figures from 2014.

Giles Lewis, of the Cherwell Development Watch Alliance, said: “We will continue to oppose these ill-conceived plans and will be putting our case at the full hearing in the New Year.

“Three-quarters of the residents of Oxfordshire do not want their Green Belt built on. Residents have clearly demonstrated their criticism of Cherwell`s plans and their opposition to them. All elected representatives at parish and district level have done the same, as has our sitting MP. When will we be heard?”

An email Mr Griffiths sent to Cherwell council this week reads: “It is clear to me that meeting Oxford’s unmet need could, as a general principle, constitute an exceptional circumstance that would justify an alteration to Green Belt boundaries.

The district council’s Local Plan will be subject to meetings next month to decide whether it is acceptable.

Tom Slingsby, Cherwell council spokesman, said: “Cherwell is waiting for the hearings to be arranged and will respond to the inspector in due course.”

While Susan Brown, the city council’s leader, said she was ‘pleased’ by the inspector’s decision.

Ms Brown said: “It has long been clear that Oxford has limited capacity for new housing and there is a need for planned urban extensions to provide homes to sustain the city and neighbourhoods into the future.”

Tit for Tat Letters over North Essex Garden Communities

Lets take this to the examination.  That’s why we have them.  Those calling for ‘no more money to be wasted’ are concerned about losing in my view.    It is however essential to get the SEA right, as it will be this that addresses distribution options, now that the number is fixed by the inspector.  So why not hire a neutral third part to intermediate on the SEA consultation and options, and evidence feeding into it, like Kevin Murray Associates,  taking account, after the AVLP decision, that PINS and MCHLG expect plans to progress with contingencies in the face of transport infrastructure uncertainties.   This is no reason to wait too long to commence the SEA, the only issue is at what point and following which evidence does the SEA conclude and what options should it consider.  The ball is equally in CAUSE’s court in preparing an alternative option with the same numbers.

The Council Leaders 

Over the last few months there has been a great deal of speculation about the North Essex Garden Community proposals following the Planning Inspector’s letters published in June.

Since that point, it has been important for us to both understand in more detail the Planning Inspector’s findings and to take independent legal advice on the options available.

It is critical that we have a Local Plan in place. This is the document and set of policies which effectively set out where and what type of development will be permitted in North Essex. Without it we open ourselves to speculative and piecemeal development.

But, it is also important that we do not rush into adopting a Local Plan which does not address current and future needs in the most sustainable way possible.

Within the Local Plan collectively in North Essex we need to build 2,186 homes a year – a figure agreed by the Planning Inspector based on our population need over the coming years.

The easiest way of getting a Local Plan over the line would be to tack homes onto existing towns and villages. But we know that this strains infrastructure and services. To people who are sat in traffic along the A120, stuck driving into Colchester or trying to get a place in oversubscribed schools or doctors’ surgeries, the idea of more homes adding to this would be madness. This is what has been done in the past, and you can see the results today.

And yet the need for homes remains. That is why we must look at a different way of approaching housing, ensuring that any new development is delivered with the required physical and social infrastructure and services to support it.

This is a promise often made but seldom realised – so how does it become a reality? The best way of ensuring this happens is through the creation of sustainable new communities created at a scale which creates the critical mass needed to provide the infrastructure they need to work.

The last thing any of us want to see is large scale housing estates or soulless bland commuter entities which will never provide the strategic infrastructure North Essex needs. If we are to build at scale to accommodate current and future generations – our children and grandchildren – we need to create vibrant, green and healthy communities.

We want to see cutting edge design both in building and layout, with a focus on walking and cycling. We want to see the affordability issue tackled through a mixture of high quality affordable and social homes. We want to see innovation in services such as waste and energy and ultimately, we want to see jobs, so that people can live, work and spend time here in North Essex.

This is why the creation of developments built to a specific set of community and design-based principles and developed over many decades is the best approach.

It’s also why we, as councils, want to take an active role in their delivery, working alongside the private sector and with local people to ensure they are delivered to these principles in a way that is achievable.

For these reasons, continuing to develop the Garden Community proposals is the right approach for the benefit of our communities, and current and future generations.

Cllr Graham Butland, Leader, Braintree District Council (Conservative)
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader, Colchester Borough Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Tim Young, Deputy Leader, Colchester Borough Council (Labour)
Cllr Neil Stock OBE, Leader, Tendring District Council (Conservative)

The Campaign against Urban Sprawl in Essex

Local Plan Section 1 Timetable
CAUSE, advised by Michael Robson of CERDA Planning, writes to raise serious concerns about the preparation of the revised Section 1 Local Plan following conclusion of the EiP Hearing sessions, the
Inspector’s “Advice on the next steps in the Examination”
dated 8th June 2018 and “Clarification of Options in my advice letter of 8th June 2018” dated 2nd August 2018.

The letter from the Authorities to the inspector dated 19 October sets out what we believe is an extremely unrealistic timetable for the further work required by the Inspector.Although we understand that the NEA’s feel the pressure of the local election cycle, with a desire to
ensure that a revised Plan is submitted before May, and that noises from government about garden communities in principle are supportive,

due process must be followed4
. The Inspector, in
paragraph 157 of the letter dated 8 June noted the importance that: ‘adequate time and care are
taken now to ensure that any proposals are realistic and robust.”
The timetable submitted is likely to cause a number of problems which go to the heart of the
soundness of the Plan. We believe that any Plan submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in March
2019 will be extremely unlikely to be sound. The result will be yet another wasted examination at which CAUSE, and other groups, who share our concerns, will participate.

These are our main areas of concern:
 Sustainability Appraisal before evidence: The assessment of individual sites by Land Use Consultants (LUC) in the Sustainability Appraisal is being done separately from the work to
create the evidence to drive a revised Plan.

Here a note of caution is advisable. Nothing of substance has been promised by government to north Essex, particularly when compared with the ‘Arc’ where funding for the East-West Rail network and the ‘Expressway’ has been committed, and the authorities involved in the preparation of the spatial plan have been allowed
exemption from the ‘presumption in favour of development’, thus lessening the impact of five year supply shortages. In north Essex, no such deal has been agreed and Braintree & Tendring in particular are at the
mercy of speculative developers while the authorities prepare the Section

Crucially, the background evidence is incomplete or unavailable for:
 Viability
 Transport
 Land holding / purchase / control
 Employment
There is no framework for LUC to assess sites against. The ‘work streams’, submitted to the Inspector, are substantive, the site assessment cannot be carried out beforehand. The sustainability appraisal must follow afterwards.

The Inspector’s 8 June letter stated, in paragraph 122:“Before [our emphasis] embarking on further SA work the NEA’s will need to re-examine the evidence base for any GC proposals they wish to assess, especially with regard to viability,the provision of transport infrastructure and employment opportunities, in order to ensure they have a sound basis on which to score them against SA objectives.”
We therefore seek to understand why (and how) the SA work on individual sites has commenced.
How is it possible to select alternatives, assess alternatives, explain choices and choose the most appropriate alternative in the absence of evidence of viability, employment and transport provision?
A particular example is the Metro Plan. It comes with a £1bn  nfrastructure/viability headstart
because the basis for a mass rapid transit solution is already in place. How can it be adequately assessed against other alternatives, such as variants of West Tey, when there is no plan for transport, no funding, and no viability work for north Essex as a whole?
 Trunk roads: By February there will be no confirmation that HIF bids have been successful or otherwise. The A12 route will not be known and we understand that the consultation
has slipped again, into the New Year. It will not be known if the A120 dualling is included in RIS 2. Therefore, the NEA’s intend to make decisions about the sustainability, deliverabilityand viability of sites in a vacuum. These were cited as crucial in paragraphs 34-36 of the 8
June letter.
 Mass Rapid Transit: It seems highly unlikely that a Mass Rapid Transit system can be costed, proven feasible, and funded in time to inform the SA. This was cited in paragraphs 41 & 42 of the 8
th June letter. The same goes for a new station at West Tey.
 Effective consultation: An SA requires effective consultation. Before then, there must also be consultation on LUC’s methodology
. Results of the SA, and consultation responses, must
be taken into account in the ongoing preparation of the Plan. It seems that there will be a consultation on the Plan but that findings will be submitted straight to the Inspector, rather
Land Use Consultants confirmed, at a meeting with CAUSE on 31 October, that they aim for a five week consultation on the methodology
than informing the Plan. We seek to understand how your timetable submitted to the Inspector can incorporate effective consultation and allow for changes to be made to the Plan. On the face of it, the consultation is simply a tick box exercise with no meaningful
input or role in the process.
 Timetable: Finally, LUC’s timetable differs from yours. LUC’s timetable shows a minimum of six months work (on the SA alone) from the time when the Inspector gives the go ahead.
This would mean that LUC’s work will not be complete until end April should the Inspector respond positively in early November.
 Proportionate development: There is scant evidence that proportionate development at
and around existing settlements will be given a full and proper assessment as an alternative.
Finally, we are ever more concerned that the public behaviour of the NEA’s points to closed minds and a lack of objective thinking. The view presented to the public is that the same three garden community proposals submitted previously will ‘make the grade’ with a little tweaking of the evidence. We draw your attention to three particular examples:
1. Officer packs accompanying meetings / Leader announcements at council meetings have used words to the effect that ‘Option 2’ is simply a continuation of work on the same three GC proposals;
2. Press releases and a Braintree public magazine have consistently demonstrated that the NEA’s believe that they are continuing work on the same proposals. BBC Essex just last week was told, in a press release, by the authorities that three GC’s would be examined by an Inspector in June 2019;
3. A north Essex promotional website prepared for Mipim UK, held in October:
http://www.north-essex-opportunity.com/c/map.php shows the same three GC’s and makes it clear that the intention is to move full steam ahead with these proposals.
We seek to assist in the preparation of the revised Plan, and we endeavour to prevent the premature submission of an unsound Plan. In light of our various concerns, this letter has been copied to the Inspector, whom we note you have asked to comment on, amongst other matters,
your proposed timetable.
Yours sincerely
Tom Foster
Chairman, CAUSE

Uneasy Money

Commentary on monetary policy in the spirit of R. G. Hawtrey

National Trust Places

Exploring the issues, leading the debate


WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Planning Advisory Service

an unofficial blog of the Planning Advisory Service team

Campaign Against Sprawl

Campaigning for a Sustainable National Planning Policy Framework

The Slog.

An incorrigible Cognitive Dissident

Where the wildflowers are ~ The Grasslands Trust blog

The Grasslands Trust team blog about nature conservation and broader environmental issues, always with a focus on our threatened grassland habitats. The views in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the Trust.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

A blog about better decisions, better urban planning and better economics

The Chris Brown Blog

A developer blogs for Regeneration & Renewal magazine

%d bloggers like this: