Comment on: New homes bonus will ‘penalise’ deprived areas
Seems like a bad case of Localism to me - 'Load of Conservative and Liberal ideologically stupid measures'!
Seriously though, I used to live and work in Richmondshire, in the Yorkshire Dales. Much of Richmondshire is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The consultation document on the new homes bonus states that Councils 'may negotiate funding with the National Park Authorities' (NPA's being the sole Planning Authorities for their area).
I hope this oversight is addressed (its was the same when the Planning Delivery Grant was introduced to incentivise faster planning decisions - Whitehall forgot that National Parks existed and that they were planning authorities for their areas), because there is a desperate need for affordable housing for local communities within our national parks.
I wouldn't personally sensationalise this judgement - whilst I havent read the judgement in full, it's common sense really.
Anything that would have significant environmental impacts needs planning permission in law. The judge(s) in this case clearly felt that the demolition of this historic building would have such impacts, and therefore it needs permission.
It is hard to argue against careful consideration of anything that has potential to cause environmental harm.
Contrary to popular myth approx 8 or 9 out of 10 planning applications are approved, and prior to the cuts, and the confusion created by the sweeping and ill thought out changes made by the coalition, the planning system was delivering them increasingly quickly - in fact, amongst the fastest in Europe.
Let us not forget that once something is lost, it is lost to the nation for ever, and once something is built, it is there for generations. Clearly a few months to allow for public comment, to make any replacement the best it can be for the benefit of future generations, and to consider the environmental impacts, is not going to kill housing delivery.
Comment on: Localism Bill could block green projects
Pretty bad for the legislature really, considering its a coalition dominated (as one would expect) committee, but at least its doing its job:
Joan Walley (Chair) Labour
Peter Aldous Conservative
Richard Benyon (ex-officio) Conservative
Neil Carmichael Conservative
Martin Caton Labour
Katy Clark Labour
Zac Goldsmith Conservative
Simon Kirby Conservative
Mark Lazarowicz Labour/Co-operative
Caroline Lucas Green
Ian Murray Labour
Sheryll Murray Conservative
Caroline Nokes Conservative
Mr Mark Spencer Conservative
Dr Alan Whitehead Labour
Simon Wright Liberal Democrat
In the absence of a definition this policy proposal is so fluffy and unclear so as to be practically useless. Planning lawyers and barristers will be rubbing their hands together. Also yet more recognition of the disaster that is the abolition of the regional tier of planning.
No doubt that well heeled parishes will be able to produce neighbourhood development plans (est to cost approx 200,000), further undermining local democracy in our poorer areas.
Yet again the Royal Town Planning Institute appear to be silent.
Comment on: Empty offices could help housing shortage
Quite Dawn, a useful reminder thanks. When I ran a Council's planning enforcement service I recall cases whereby the most innocuous things - shop doorbells, floodlights illuminating shopfronts, noise and disturbance from shoppers, all led to complaints to the Council. In many cases unless conditions of permissions were being breached or the use was unauthorised there was little that could be done, unless a statutory nuisance had been created.
I see also that Enterprise Zones have been resurrected, in addition to this reincarnation of flat above the shop (or rather now its flat in the shop!). Did I wake up today and we had gone back in time to 1982 ?
Comment on: Empty offices could help housing shortage
PSR/John B et al, what an erudite debate, perhaps more so than Ministerial debate on the proposals?
I would like to add to it that, notwithstanding the current need for permission to change the use of a shop or an office to housing, there is nothing that currently prevents a Council from departing from policies that are aimed at preventing the loss of local services or employment accommodating uses such as shops, offices and light industrial units.
It is simply the case that, at present, an application is required. If on application there is clear and compelling evidence of a need for housing in the locality, and the application provides for that specific type of housing, and the site is suitable for housing, then permission can be granted, notwithstanding the loss of retail/employment space (and whatever the 1453 Smallville Local Plan and 1458 Economic Strategy said about the undesirability of that!).
The fee for such applications is not unduly prohibitive, and most importantly in my opinion, it allows for democratic comment by local communities affected by the change of use (something not touched upon above). Far to often the ability for communities to comment and be engaged in meaningful consultation is dressed up as ‘planning red tape’.
This change is arguably anti-localism, in that central dictat will be overriding opportunities for local views to be taken in to account on a case by case basis. I suspect however that Mr Pickles might be overruled by the Chancellor on this one!
I have no problem with underused office sites being used for housing, or shops that have no realistic prospect of trading in the medium term for that matter, but I am not persuaded that the safeguards proposed go far enough to protect vital local services, or that the location and type of housing provided would be suitable or affordable, and I have deep concerns over the seemingly ‘counter-localism’ erosion of local democracy.
First we had proposals for local opportunity to comment on new free-schools to be removed, now this, and probably more to come in the budget. Hardly a new age of localism is it??
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