Monday, 28 July 2014

Parliamentary inquiry into the National Planning Policy Framework: findings suggest that "some local planning authorities may be forced into perverse behaviour to meeting the NPPF policies and government targets."

The Community Voice on Planning (CoVoP) is making its case very clear:
Futures Forum: CoVoP: Community Voice on Planning
Futures Forum: Fragoff of Community Voice on Planning: discussing housing and greenbelt on the Sunday Politics Show

The CoVoP has given evidence to Parliament on planning issues and policy:

Parliamentary Enquiry

The Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework is now taking oral evidence. The inquiry follows research findings, published by the Committee, that some local planning authorities may be forced into perverse behaviour to meeting the NPPF policies and government targets. Written submissions can be seen at Communities and Local Government Inquiry Submissions. See more details on our Parliament Select Committee Inquiry page.

Community Voice on Planning | A National Alliance to provide communities with an effective voice on planning, enabling them to protect their greenfield and green spaces.

More from the East Devon Alliance website:


27th July 2014

An update from the secretary of Community Voice on Planning (CoVoP), has been received by EDA:

‘Dear All

Four things to update you on at the moment:

ONE: Many people have been invited to participate in a discussion forum on 1st September as part of the Parliamentary enquiry into the NPPF. There must be at least 50 people going and most are members of groups associated with CoVoP. We all have local issues to discuss but the following list of topics from
our discussion with Greg Mulholland and his colleagues does suggest a common thread which we could all use.

TWO: As a result of our discussions with MP’s and other interested groups, we believe that the following are the main areas where change to the planning system would be helpful now or early in the life of the new government:

1. The calculation methods used for determination of housing needs are based on long term economic forecasts of dubious accuracy but Local Plans must be based on them; they should be based on historic trends and include a range of figures (minimum based on pure historic trends and maximum based on projected economic growth).

2. The calculation of the five-year housing land supply should be based on the minimum figure of housing need and should include all permissions not just those which developers chose not to land-bank. The five year land supply target does encourage house building but the current calculation methodology has the appearance of allowing inappropriate land-grabbing by developers. The inclusion of permissions in the calculation would ensure that sufficient land was allocated but would then encourage building on those sites. Allocation of land for housing is essentially a one-way process; once included in a development plan, there is no going back – only under-provision can be corrected later, by making further allocations if the projection turned out to be too low. If there was over-provision, either because the projection was too high, or because land came forward more quickly than expected, no corrective action is possible.

3. An increased emphasis to be put on affordable housing. Evidence shows that many developers prefer to build executive homes and that they actively attempt to reduce the number of affordable homes included in developments. The main need is for affordable homes for individuals and young families and for older
people to downsize to. The policy should encourage councils to prioritise affordable homes and bungalows for elderly people who want to downsize but still want a garden for themselves and their grandchildren.

4. The role of planning inspectors should be reviewed to ensure independence and to reduce their quasi-judicial status.

5. The constitution of planning committees and role of LPA planning officers should be clarified (should be supporting the planning authority and the electorate not promoting developers).

6. The elimination of “costs” in planning appeals – if developers chose to field numerous barristers, they should pay for them win or lose.

7. Prioritisation of brownfield developments over green spaces.

8. Importance of infrastructure planning and funding early in the life of developments.

9. The need to allow time for local plans to be agreed (perhaps a moratorium on new applications for anything other than brownfield sites until plans are in place).

THREE: Please take the opportunity to look at our website and see the advertisement on the front page from Cheshire East (click on the title for a pdf). 

Also see our link to the oral evidence session to the NPPF Review committee on July 9th. David Gladman (planning-broker and Partner, Gladman Developments) was giving evidence. By his own evidence, he has interests in 200 planning applications in 70 LPAs. He thinks that all decisions should be taken by planning officers as planning committees are old people who are set in their ways and who refuse to accept his assessments of housing needs. His evidence has its funny side. At the start of the session, the MPs had declared connections to local councillors (wives, fathers, party workers, etc). Mr Gladman did not appear to be aware that he was attacking people they value or indeed the values of democracy. He is very cross that Cheshire East refused his offers to let his team of planners work on the Local Plan and draw it up for them! It has to be said that, judging from the reaction of the MPs to Mr G.’s sparkling personality, he has probably done more for our cause then anybody else who gave evidence to the Committee. At least they might now understand why there are at least 70 LAs where a lot of people are not very happy with the NPPF!

FOUR: Finally we congratulate Mr Boles on his new appointment and welcome the new Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis. I’m sure that you know that he was already under-secretary of state within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and held a wide range of responsibilities including local government, fire services, high streets, town centres, markets, travellers and pubs. We hope that he will take the opportunity of his new appointment to make the changes to the planning system outlined above.’

CoVoP members will attend discussion forum as part of Parliamentary enquiry into NPPF | East Devon Alliance.

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