Javid Does Not Mention Green Belt but ‘Further Significant measures’in White Paper

CCO full speech

We want to radically increase brownfield development and bring life back to abandoned sites.

That means delivering high quality housing for families, bringing new energy to our high streets and town centres …

… abandoned shopping centres being transformed into new communities …

… and increasing density of housing around stations to build homes that people want to live in.

These three initiatives are just the beginning.

We will publish a Housing White Paper later this year, with further significant measures …

… all helping us towards our ambition for a million new homes by 2020.

The leak to the Daily Mail today was probably after a section was excised to avoid negative headlines on the day of Hammonds speech. Watch for the White Paper

Who will Do Javids Rail Corridor/Green Belt Planning?

Javids Speech

Key questions for the forthcoming White Paper Mr Quartermain:

  • Who will decide around which stations where?
  • Who will decide where the compensatory Green Belt will be
  • Who will carry out the studies to show the spare rail capacity if any and how this can be upgraded?
  • What delivery model – will this include land value capture to help defray the infrastructure costs?  Will there be New Town Development corporations?  Ebbsfleet – now it has found its feet, show how high rates of delivery can be acheived.
  • Will they be proper mixed and balanced communities including social housing?
  • What is the roles of Met Mayors and the Mayor of London – especially if they have an inviolable Green Belt policy
  • Will the NPPF be amended?
  • Will the Duty to Cooperate be amended to make this happen?
  • Will there finally now be a proper policy for Garden CIties, Villages and Garden Suburbs in the NPPF?
  • Will the government tackle a lead on commissioning the corridor studies – politically it would be wish to let the Met Mayors to chair them
  • Will the government bite the bullet and admit this is a return to regional planning?
  • Will the government adopt best practice in linking corridor planning to economic development – e.g. Malaysia 
  • Will the Government finally reconfigure HS2 and HS3 to be more than developing rail without any stations – contrary to international HSR best practice.
  • Its more than just the amount of Green Belt – will some of the land value capture be used to enhance biodiversity, beauty and accessible of housing near peoples new homes?
  • It needs a bold political move to ensure success – such as granting shares to local residents in the new development corporations on their 18th Birthday, which can be used in lieu to secure plots for housing.  Or the old conservative coop model used to develop much of Ealing, granting plots by lottery to local shreholders.


Javid to Signal Development of Green Belt Around Rail Stations – Mail


Hundreds of thousands of affordable homes could be built on protected green belt land.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is considering the proposal as part of a £5billion plan to build more than 250,000 new properties.

He will tell the Conservative Party conference today that he wants to create them on brownfield sites such as abandoned shopping centres and run-down town centres.

However, the Mail can also reveal that Mr Javid is drawing up proposals to build hundreds of thousands on green belt land close to railway stations around London and other major cities. 

Land elsewhere would be designated as green belt to compensate.

Any attempt to build on the green belt, which is subject to strict planning restrictions, is certain to anger countryside campaigners and residents who live by green belt sites facing development.

But ministers believe such land releases around stations could create room for at least 100,000 homes a year within easy reach of London and other growing cities around the country.

A housing White Paper including details of the proposals could be published within weeks.

At the conference in Birmingham, Mr Javid will set out plans to spend £5billion to speed up house-building.

A total of £2billion will be spent on creating roads and other infrastructure so new building can go ahead.

Another £1billion will go towards loans to small building companies to help kick-start construction.

Any attempt to build on the green belt, which is subject to strict planning restrictions, is certain to anger countryside campaigners and residents who live by green belt sites

Separately, £2billion will be spent on using surplus land owned by the state for fast-track building projects.

In his speech, Mr Javid is expected to say: ‘Tackling the housing shortfall isn’t about political expediency.

‘It’s a moral duty – one that falls on all of us, not just in Parliament, but in business, in local government and in our communities. So my message today is clear: It’s time to get building.’

He wants to see enhanced planning powers to allow the construction of houses and blocks of flats on land – much of it derelict around railway stations in the South East – even when they extend into the green belt. 

It has been estimated that acquiring just 4 per cent of the land adjacent to stations could create space for the construction of 100,000 homes every year.

 Mr Javid will tell the Conservative Party conference that he wants to create them on brownfield sites such as abandoned shopping centres and run-down town centres

Hammond to announce yet another ‘relaxation’ of planning rules (its just permission in principle re announced)


The Treasury is to allocate £2bn to boost housebuilding and address what Sajid Javid, communities secretary, has called a “moral duty” to tackle Britain’s longstanding housing shortage.

Mr Javid and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, will on Monday announce the funding, which will be used in a bid to speed up housebuilding by using public land, relaxing planning rules and encouraging new types of development such as custom build and off-site construction.

In addition the chancellor will launch a £3bn fund to provide loans to small housebuilders.

Mr Hammond, in his first major domestic spending announcement, will say the government is determined to use “all the tools at our disposal” to tackle the housing shortage, which Britain has suffered from “for decades”

The chancellor has a deep knowledge of the housing industry, having set up a small housebuilder called Castlemead in the 1980s. He still owns the controlling interest in the company though it is held through a discretionary trust managed by two of his business associates.

Despite the spending announcement, Mr Hammond will insist he will not abandon fiscal discipline, particularly as the Treasury predicted an economic shock after June’s Brexit vote. He will confirm that he has abandoned George Osborne’s target of a fiscal surplus by 2020, but will also warn that the deficit remains unsustainable.

“A fundamental part of maintaining our global competitiveness is getting our public finances back in order,” he will say. “Piling up debt for our children and our grandchildren to pay off is not only unsustainable, it is not fair.”

“The fiscal policies that George Osborne set out were the right ones for that time,” Mr Hammond will say. “When times change, we must change with them. But make no mistake. The task of fiscal consolidation must continue. And it must happen within the context of a clear, credible fiscal framework that will anchor expectations.”

The housebuilders’ loans fund was originally announced by Mr Osborne but is being launched on Monday by his successor.

Mr Javid said last week that increasing housing construction volumes was his “number one priority”. At present, annual construction rates are running at about 170,000 homes but most economists agree at least 250,000 are needed each year to stem rising housing costs.

The new government has moved away from David Cameron’s focus on home ownership. Under Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne, the Conservatives focused their housing policy on ownership, with the Help to Buy scheme subsidising tens of thousands of new buyers.

Mr Javid said the government would instead focus on building more homes of all tenures, including rented housing. He has also vowed not to let Brexit worsen the construction industry’s skills shortage, one of the key factors that housebuilders say is holding them back.

Revealing the new spending plans on Monday, Mr Javid will say it is “only by building more houses that we will alleviate the financial burden on those who are struggling”.

The government will also relax planning rules to make it easier to build on brownfield land by giving automatic permission in principle for suitable sites, and for developers to replace old office buildings with new residential construction. 

In all, the plans could deliver nearly 60,000 more homes by 2021, the Treasury estimate

I come bearing the gift of Industrial Estates thrown out of London

It is interesting seeing Jules Pipe offer of exporting industrial land from London to its neighbours.

Whats in it for the receivers?

Well presumably that the land in London redeveloped would be higher density and smaller in area than if the housing overspill were met in ROSE.

However if authority’s were to treat GB as a constraint then it would only be shire districts beyond the GB.  Industrial workers being low paid are not going to reverse commute out of London for 60 miles.

So it would only make sense if part of planned relocation from London to new Garden Cities.

South Oxfordshires Nimby leader Stuffs Oxfordshire Housing Deal

BBC Oxon

Plans to build thousands of homes to deal with Oxford’s housing crisis have been rejected by a district council leader.

South Oxfordshire was earmarked to build nearly 5,000 of 15,000 homes needed for the city by 2031.

John Cotton, the leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said the plans were “an ambition too far”.

Campaigners meanwhile have demanded the public be given more of a say.

The Oxfordshire Growth Board, made up of council leaders, met to approve plans to deal with the city’s housing need identified in a 2014 report.

The Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment said neighbouring councils needed to provide 14,850 houses to help Oxford cope with its increasing demand.

Oxford would look to build another 550 houses, while Cherwell would contribute 4,400, Vale of White Horse 2,200, West Oxfordshire 2,750, and South Oxfordshire would build 4,950.

All voted to approve the plans except South Oxfordshire, whose leader said the number was too high and questioned Oxford’s efforts.

“We are not convinced the city has done all it can to meet its own need,” Mr Cotton said.

Campaigners have accused the board of ploughing ahead with “undemocratic” plans.

David Illingworth, from North Abingdon Local Plan Group, said: “We believe there is an alternative vision for the future of our county, not based on forced economic growth at all costs but focusing on meeting local people’s real needs.”

Negotiations are set to continue to try to agree a figure for South Oxfordshire.

London’s Density Matrix is Long Overdue for Replacement

The London Plan density matrix is over twenty years old and in that time has only had two minor review in 2006 and 2012

Yet since as early as 2006 the majority of new housing in London has had developments well above the matrix ranges?

It does little to help developers.  Lets say you own an úrban’ site in PTAL5.  So you can get 45-260 DPA depending on dwelling size, a huge range.  In some cases where context is important developers will bid too much for land and it will squeeze out affordable housing.  In less constrained sites developers might be able to get away with 300-500 DPA in actuality making the matrix a mockery.

The matrix derives from the 2003 SRQ report.  This illustrated a number of housing typologies that could be designed to high quality.  It was not based on a study of actual London fabrix – it was a low cost report – but case studies.

This approach has fallen well behind contemporary best practice in ‘bulk zoning’that is the planning for how much bulk of development per site, area and city.

Contemporary approaches:

  • Examine the overall zoned capacity of a city
  • Zone ás of right’ in the highest potential areas – see for example the recent initiatives of the California Governor or the recent pamphlet by the White House on this issue.
  • Study the existing range of building typologies in the city and the potential for soft intensification like accessory dwellings (banned in London as ”garden grabbing’ – without realistic controls allowing them we simply get beds in sheds)
  • Zone for acceptable forms, including where this would intensify existing areas, identifying areas for uplift – see for example Torontos policy on Medium Density Avenues.
  • Policy to secure quality at density like the Superdensity report are important but they are complimentary not replacements for being able to secure a certain bulk as of right
  • It is much better to control bulk through floorsapce, or at a pinch hab rooms, rather than number of dwelling – as this disincentivises a good mix of units sizes.

In short the revised London Plan needs to do four things

  1.  On large sites including housing zones it should zone for high density as of right
  2. It should identify areas for uplift. including around stations and along bus corridors with outdated shopping areas
  3. It should identify low density public housing estates not suitable for conservation (Lambeth im looking at you) and zone them for high density as of right, major opportunities such as Tahmemead should be positively masterplanned as a strategic priority.  There should be a policy of no net loss of social housing.
  4. Some of teh duller low density private areas should be zoned for uplift as of right, large parts of Havering and Hillingdon would fit in this category.  There should be density bonuses for assembly 2 or more units and a London Plan policy to approve CPOs on hold outs by dwellings where it prevents larger comprehensive schemes.

Obama Administration Says Zoning Reform a Priority


The Obama Administration is calling on cities and towns to reform land-use regulations to allow denser development by right while recommending actions that new urbanists have long supported.

The administration released a “toolkit” on housing development that recommends eliminating off-street parking requirements and allowing accessory dwelling units.

The toolkit also calls for more “high-density and multifamily zoning,” “streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines,” and allowing “by-right development,” which are consistent with many form-based codes and new urban reforms.

Antiquated land-use regulations, often dating from the 1970s or earlier, are holding back economic growth and increasing housing costs across America, says the administration.

“Significant barriers to new housing development can cause working families to be pushed out of the job markets with the best opportunities for them, or prevent them from moving to regions with higher—paying jobs and stronger career tracks. Excessive barriers to housing development result in increasing drag on national economic growth and exacerbate income inequality,” the report says.

On the other hand, “Cities like Chicago, Seattle, Sacramento, and Tacoma and states like California and Massachusetts have already begun to foster more affordable housing opportunities by removing restrictions, implementing transit-oriented-oriented zoning ordinances, and speeding up permitting and construction processes,” according to the Housing Development Toolkit.

The report marks a first—at least going back several decades—that the White House has made local zoning and land-use regulations a national issue.

“City zoning battles usually are fought block by block, and the president’s involvement will create friction, particularly among environmental groups and the not-in-my-backyard crowd,” notes a Politico report. “But the White House jawboning is welcome news to many others, including mayors and builders increasingly foiled by community opposition to development.”

The report is backed up by a fiscal year 2017 budget proposal to spend $300 million on Local Housing Policy Grants to help cities modernize housing regulatory approaches. However, the Administration’s lame duck status means budget priorities could radically change with whoever is elected in November.

Nevertheless, land-use reform could win support across the political spectrum—from mayors and smart growth advocates to developers and pro-business groups.

“It’s important that the president is talking about it,” Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, told Politico. “Local restrictions on housing supply are a crucial economic issue. I would say it’s one of the top 10.”

In addition to previously mentioned priorities, the Toolkit recommends:

· Taxing vacant land or donate it to non-profit developers

· Establishing density bonuses

· Employing inclusionary zoning

· Establishing development tax  or value capture incentives

· Using property tax abatements

The Small Sites Myth

Christine Whitehead has been peddling an old misconception that to counter the fall in the proportion of homes built by small builders the planning system should focus on many small sites rather than a few large ones.  The opposite is true.

  • Eras when small builders have been more important have been larger are eras when the total number of houses built has been larger
  • But the causation runs the other way eras with large housebuilding have been eras with more large sites like new towns and major council estates – try hitting 600 dpa per lpa without large sites
  • When large housebuilders concentrate on large sites there is less monopolistic competition by small builders for small sites
  • Large housebuilders have muscled in on small sites with their countyside homes divisions
  • When the state built large site there was less drip feeding of new housing
  • The Sedgefield method perversely disincentivises large sites and so reduced overall numbers
  • On the continent large sites are owned and subdivided by local authorities and then sold to many small builders – so the problem is not large sites but the oligopolistic structure of the housing industry.
  • Affordable housing thresholds produce grater profits for smaller sites and a flow of investment away from larger sites
  • The costs of infrastructure are hidden and borne by society for small sites again disincentivising investment in large sites