Runnymede Objects to Green Belt Release in Woking

Get Surrey

A neighbouring council has objected to plans to build at least 1,200 homes on green belt land next to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking .

Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) said the proposed new development at Martyrs Lane next to Woodham and Ottershaw would bring “undoubted urban sprawl” to neighbouring areas should it be built.

Woking Borough Council (WBC) has consulted on the possibility of developing the 112.1 hectare site – dubbed “Woodham New Town” – as it works to towards setting its local plan for development between 2027 and 2040.

Cllr Gail Kingerley, chairman of RBC’s planning committee, said: “At a time when Woking Borough Council has already identified and consulted on sites to provide housing in the coming years, I cannot see why they have put forward a proposal for Martyrs Lane.

She added: “Taking any land out of the green belt should be carefully considered and if Woking has justification for such a move then it should be based on up and coming need.

“Another important reason why such a proposal should be carefully considered is the undoubted urban sprawl it would bring to the communities that neighbour its boundaries in Runnymede.”

RBC has now written to WBC to set out its concerns, warning that the authority has not done enough to work with neighbouring councils and that issues such as increased congestion on the A320 have not been properly considered.

The consultation ended on February 27.

Greater Manchester Struggling with Green Belt Loss – Crewe Garden City is the Solution

It is clear that politically the scale of Green Belt loss proposed as part of the Greater Manchester Strategic Plan (25,000) cannot be contained.

How much will remain is hard to predict – but if Andy Burnham becomes combined authority Mayor then it could be down to less than 5,000.  So where then should the 20 odd thousand go?

The obvious answer is Crewe:

  1. It is the closest Large town on a Plane to GM
  2. It is beyond the Green Belt
  3. With the extension of phase I of HS2 to Crewe, as Jackie Sadik has argued arguably it will be Britain’s best connected town
  4. It is an engine with innovation with Bentleyand other large employers
  5. It has a network of rails lines spanning from it with potential for new stations and local commuter services
  6. It could become the North’s Eindhoven with the right R&D and HFE investment
  7. It is already planned for growth and could further expand to the north east, west and south outside its Green Gaps.
  8. With HS2 it could become a pilot for land auctions of development rights, capturing land value uplift Garden City style – as proposed in the Budget for Crossrail 2.
  9. The Green Belt can be expanded to the South East of Crewe up to the extent of its growth – acting as a ‘Green Belt Swap’ to other areas of Cheshire East and Greater Manchester.




Auctioning Development Rights for Crossrail 2 only makes sense with Green Belt Sites

Hidden in budget

However most of the Brownfield sites along the route already have planning consent for densification

Which leaves sites like

Like Kempton Park

Like Chessington South

Like Enfield Lock to M25

Which could raise hundreds of millions of pounds as preliminary work has revealed


Incoming RIBA President – Cut Down Trees in London’s Suburbs and Build 700,000 Homes


RIBA president elect Ben Derbyshire has called for a building programme in London’s outer suburbs which would see 700,000 homes built over a generation to help solve the housing crisis.

Speaking at this year’s Ecobuild, Derbyshire (pictured), who is also chair of HTA, said the density of homes in the capital’s outer suburbs was so low that “you cannot see the homes for the trees”.

He added: “There are an average of 15 dwellings per hectare, you can hardly see the houses from the trees, we can bring this up to the average and over a generation would yield 700,000 new homes

Slough Proposes Greenbelt Overspill to Bucks – Bucks doesnt like it

Windsor and Eaton Express

Opposition to Slough Borough Council’s emerging local plan has been expressed by both South Bucks District Council and Chiltern District Council.

Slough Borough Council is in early preparation stages for its local plan.

It could mean thousands of homes being built on greenbelt land in South Bucks over the next 20 years as part of Slough Borough Council’s northern expansion.

Areas affected would include east Burnham, Stoke Green, Wexham Street, George Green, Middle Green, Shreding Green and land between Slough and Richings Park and at Taplow and Iver.

Both South Bucks District Council and Chiltern District Council objected to the plans in a joint response on Friday, February 24.

It says the councils cannot sustainably meet their own housing needs let alone Slough Borough Council’s.

South Bucks District Councillor Nick Naylor, portfolio holder for sustainable development, said: “We feel that Slough needs to be looking more closely at what scope there might be within the borough and across Berkshire.”

Click here to see the full response.

The two district councils formed their response from a number of meetings with Slough Borough Council officers, with the most recent meeting being held on February 20.

My take

  • A local plan cannot legally include land allocations in another authority
  • It can include a joint strategy /MoA
  • The scope for overspill in Berks is limited, royal constraints to South, AONB to West, but can take some share
  • Most will have to be to north
  • The South Bucks authorities are DTC stuffed, they need to agree a joint approach with Slough and West Berks.  The Slough housing market area includes large part of teh South of the County

Centre for Cities – Green Belt Land Needed for Housing in Bristol

BBC Bristol –  Omitting the best and largest site is in Somerset outside the combined authority area.

A think tank has called for more homes on greenbelt land around Bristol and Bath.

The Centre for Cities says building on greenbelt is the only way of addressing the region’s growing housing crisis.

Alexandra Jones, from the think tank, said: “About 4,300 houses could be built on brownfield land – clearly that’s nowhere near what’s needed.”

The Metro Mayor for the west will have the power to decide housing policy when he or she is elected in May.

Ms Jones, from the independent organisation, added that greenbelt takes up half the land in South Gloucestershire and two thirds of land in the Bath and North East Somerset Council area.

Three local councils which have signed up to the Metro Mayor model have all pledged to increase the number of new homes being built.

The aim is to build another 85,000 homes in the next 20 years which is the equivalent of building two cities the size of Bath.

In October, the government backed a £1bn devolution agreement to Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

The agreement involves creating a Metro Mayor who would make key decisions on major areas such as housing, jobs and roads.

Even out of date policies have weight if in Line with National Policy – The Daventry Case

Cornerstone Barristers

The impact of Daventry ‘on the ground’

Planning permission refused for up to 276 dwellings in a Local Green Gap, Clacton-on-Sea

In Daventry1 the Court of Appeal explained that, because a central theme of the NPPF was to (re)emphasise the importance of plan-led decision making, “significant weight should be given to the general public interest in having plan-led planning decisions, even if particular policies in the development plan are old” (at [40(iv)]). The Court also stressed that, when considering the weight to be given to ‘old’ development plan policies, it is necessary to consider the degree of consistency with national policy (ie the test set out in para 215 of the NPPF). The chronological age of the policies is ‘legally irrelevant’ to this question.

The impact of Daventry is demonstrated in a refusal by an Inspector last week of three proposed (and alternative) residential schemes on a site within a Local Green Gap between Clacton-on-Sea and Jaywick, Essex.

The inspector found the schemes would “fail to [maintain] separation between Clacton and Jaywick in this locality, and would effectively close the countryside gap between the settlements in this area” and therefore would be contrary to the Local Green Gap policy (Policy EN2). Despite it being common ground that the Local Planning Authority could not demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply such that the ’tilted balance’ within para 14 of the NPPF was in play, and despite the fact that the LPA had previously promoted the site for housing development within the emerging Local Plan, the Inspector refused the appeal.

In doing so the Inspector recognised that although the Local Green Gap policy was old (it was adopted in 2007, and the plan period ran to 2011) its objectives were consistent with national policy and therefore its age provided no basis for substantially reducing the weight to be given to the policy. Furthermore, having regard to the decision in Hopkins Homes2, the limited degree of the housing supply shortfall and recent improvements in the supply position due to action taken by the LPA meant that significant weight should be given to the Local Green Gap policy.

As this appeal demonstrates, the combination of Hopkins Homes and Daventry is such that it now cannot be taken as a given (if it ever could) that where a development plan is dated and where the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing, planning permission for housing proposals will ordinarily be granted. In circumstances where local policy in question is consistent with national policy, the housing shortfall is not overwhelming and the local planning authority is taking steps to address it, housing proposals which do not comply with the development plan are liable to be refused.

A copy of the Inspector’s decision is available here.

Robert Williams acted for the Local Planning Authority in the Inquiry. Cornerstone Barristers regularly acts for both Developers and Local Planning Authorities in a wide range of planning matters. For more information please contact 020 7242 4986 or email

1Gladman Developments Limited v Daventry District Council [2016] EWCA Civ 1146
2Suffolk Coastal District Council v Hopkins Homes and Richborough Estates v Cheshire East [2016] EWCA Civ 168

Inspector – Sub regional approach needed for Sussex Coastal Overspill

Inspectors findings on housing

Unmet housing need in other districts

Crawley Paragraph 47 of the Framework indicates that the full OAN should be met in the housing market area, subject to consistency with other Framework policies. Crawley, like Mid Sussex, is in the Northern West Sussex Housing Market Area and is unable to meet its housing need within its boundaries. Written into its plan is an obligation to work closely with neighbouring authorities to explore all opportunities for meeting its need in sustainable locations. Its shortfall is in the region of 335 dpa, of which 150 dpa is being taken by Horsham, leaving a residual unmet need of 185 dpa. The proposed Mid Sussex housing requirement of 800 dpa would leave only 46 dpa to meet this need. Given the position of Mid Sussex immediately adjacent to Crawley, and within the same HMA, this aspect of the plan is not sound. Mid Sussex is the only authority other than Horsham that can make a significant contribution towards accommodating Crawley’s unmet housing need. Opportunities in other authorities are very limited. It is reasonable for perhaps 35 dpa to be catered for elsewhere. The Mid Sussex District Plan should therefore include a contribution of 150 dpa, the same as that of Horsham, to meet this need. Coastal West Sussex The Coastal West Sussex Housing Market Area overlaps with the southern part of Mid Sussex District and is relevant to plan preparation in the District. Brighton and Hove’s total housing need amounts to 30,120 of which the agreed plan target is 13,200, leaving a shortfall of 16,920 or 56% of the total. There are also large amounts of unmet housing need in other authorities including Adur and Lewes. However, the coast has different characteristics and patterns of migration, and any plan to satisfy this level of need will require input from a number of local authorities and necessitate a sub-regional approach of the kind referred to in paragraph 179 of the National Planning Policy Framework. Several local authorities, including Mid Sussex, are collaborating on a study, but it is in its early stages and there is not enough evidence available now to ascertain the proportion of this unmet need that ought to be accommodated in Mid Sussex. It follows that there is no strong basis at the present time to make a numerical addition to the housing requirement of the Mid Sussex District Plan to address this need. But the cross-boundary study should be progressed as quickly as possible to bring an end to the uncertainty over how the unmet need is to be provided for. The District Plan should make a commitment that the Council will co-operate with Brighton and Hove and the relevant authorities in the Coastal West Sussex HMA to bring forward the study within a short space of time, and that it will be taken into account in the next review of the District Plan. A commitment to a plan review in two years’ time, advocated by some at the hearings, is too onerous given the scale of the task, but a review is unlikely to be more than 5 years away. 8 Meanwhile the Council should consider whether the matter should have some influence over the pattern of smaller site allocations either in the present plan or in the subsequent site allocations plan.

Javid Favours Liverpool Approach in Planning Appeal

Land to the North of Dark Lane Alweras recovered appeal

There are two commonly used methods for addressing an accumulated shortfall. The ‘Liverpool approach’ apportions the shortfall across the remaining years of the plan period, whilst the ‘Sedgefield approach’, seeks to make up the shortfall during the next five years. The Secretary of State has had regard to the Guidance which advocates the ‘Sedgefield approach’ stating that Local Planning Authorities should aim to deal with any undersupply within the first 5 years of the plan period where possible.

30.However, he notes that this was an issue recently considered by the Local Plan Inspector who found, following rigorous examination, that the ‘Liverpool approach’ was more appropriate in the case of Lichfield notwithstanding the advice in the Guidance. The Local Plan Inspector’s conclusion was reached having regard to past rates of delivery in the district, including prior to the recession, and the requirement for completions far in excess of the highest levels ever achieved in the district if the ‘Sedgefield approach’ were adopted. The Local Plan Inspector highlighted that plans are required to be realistic as well as aspirational and that the Local Plan would likely fail if the Sedgefield approach was used.

31.The Secretary of State further notes that the Local Plan Inspector recognised the potentially critical impact of using either the Liverpool or Sedgefield approaches, and the Guidance, before reasoning that the required housing trajectory using the ‘Sedgefield approach’ was highly likely to prove unrealistic due to the serious doubt about the necessary high rate of delivery over five years would be attainable in market terms.

32.The Secretary of State has carefully considered the parties submissions in favour of the ‘Sedgefield approach’ being adopted. These are, in summary: That past rates of delivery were constrained by policy to direct development towards the urban area; That the Council has published increased housing projections; and That in the period since the LP Inspector considered this issue, it has become clear that the under-provision of housing in Birmingham will lead to increased housing demand in Lichfield (IR 12.50).

33.Having carefully considered these issues, the Secretary of State considers that these matters do not represent sufficient grounds to not follow the ‘Liverpool approach’ to addressing shortfall adopted within the LP following rigorous examination and, therefore, he agrees with the LP Inspector and the Inspector (IR 12. 51) that the shortfall should be apportioned across the remaining plan period.

Government Plagarises Development Plan from Neighbouring Country

Somialand Monitor

The Government of Puntland is unable to undertake any meaningful development because it relies on irrelevant data and subsequent planning.
This was the unanimous decision reached by members of the Puntland parliament during a special sitting in the capital Garowe where an Urban Master Plan had been tabled for approval and the purported author castigated.
According to the legislators the Urban Master Plan submitted for approval by the minister of public works Minister Abdirashid Hirsi Mohamed was irrelevant since it had been plagiarized in toto from that of Neighbouring republic of Somaliland.
The plan already approved by the Puntland council of ministers at a meeting chaired by President Abdiweli Gas and published by the ministry of public works is irrelevant to our country thence can not receive our approval, said the legislators.
“unfortunately Puntland, an administrative region of Somalia which has been existed for 18 years, has its Government failing to present studies based on a genuine assessment of its needs” a legislator told Garoweonline


In justification of their castigations and subsequent approval denial to the urban plan the legislators who accused the government of President Gas of having resorted to duplication of plans from Somaliland especially a book titled “Urban Master Planning”

The perturbed members who accused the Puntland government and more so its public works minister of mindlessness quoted page 9, article 1.2.2 of the wrongful appropriated publication”