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Adams Hendry Planning & Built Environment News Round-Up - 10th October 2018

The Adams Hendry News Round-Up highlights recent news and commentary relating to planning and the built environment.

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This week’s round-up includes the removal of the cap on local authority borrowing to fund new housing development, a ruling on giving reasons for planning call-in decisions, and statistics showing a small decrease in green belt.

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Government scraps cap on local authority borrowing to help boost housebuilding (The Planner – Requires Log-in)

“The prime minister has announced that the government is scrapping the cap on local authority borrowing to fund new housing development.

Speaking in her keynote speech on the final day of the Conservative Party Conference, Theresa May reiterated her message that stimulating housebuilding was “the biggest domestic policy challenge of our generation”.

Speaking of the government’s existing initiatives to help local authorities do their bit to increase housing supply, she admitted that “something is still holding many of them back”, and that “it doesn’t make sense to stop councils from playing their part.”

The move to scrap the housing revenue account borrowing cap was quickly endorsed by many.

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “It is fantastic that the government has accepted our long-standing call to scrap the housing borrowing cap. We look forward to working with councils and the government to build those good-quality affordable new homes and infrastructure that everyone in our communities needs.”

 

Court of Appeal rules ministers must give reasons for planning call-in decisions (Local Government Lawyer)

“Ministers must follow published government policy and give reasons for call-in decisions on planning applications – including in those cases where the decision is not to call in, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The case of Save Britain's Heritage, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 2137 concerned the Secretary of State’s decision, dated 15 March 2017, not to "call in" certain planning applications dealing with the controversial 'Paddington Cube' development…”

 

MHCLG stats show small year-on-year decrease in green belt (The Planner – Requires Log-in)

“England green belt totalled 1,629,510 hectares as of March 2018, which accounts for 12.5 per cent of the land area of England, according to statistics published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The March 2018 figure is a slight decrease from the period ending March 2017, when there were 1,634,580 hectares. This was revised down from the previous estimate published in September 2017 (1,634,700ha).

According to MHCLG, 10 local authorities adopted new local plans that involved a change in their area of green belt, which accounts for the fall seen in the ministry’s figures.

Coventry and Warwick contributed over 50 per cent of the change between them. MHCLG note that Warwick’s change is small in terms of its total green belt, while Coventry’s amount of green belt has halved, with the council citing that a significant proportion has been designated as Local Green Space and is therefore afforded the same level of protection.

Eight other local authorities with local plans also saw a reduction in green belt. These are:

  •  Cheltenham;
  •  Cheshire East;
  •  Croydon;
  •  Dacorum;
  •  Sefton;
  •  Sunderland;
  •  Sutton; and
  •  Tewkesbury.

Green belt land is distributed around 15 urban cores. The largest two areas are the Metropolitan Green Belt (around London) and Liverpool, Manchester and West Yorkshire, accounting for 32 and 31 per cent respectively.”

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RTPI: Let councils raise fees to cover planning admin costs (RTPI)

“The RTPI has reiterated to HM Treasury ahead of the Autumn Budget that local authorities in England should be allowed to raise planning fees to cover the entire costs of the planning application function, if they choose to.

In its Budget representation to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, the RTPI said planning fees, even with an increase of 20% recently, only cover 40% of the overall running cost of development control services (which involves determining planning applications) in England.

The creation of local plans, a proactive function to which the Government attaches considerable importance and is vital to addressing the housing crisis, is “entirely dependent on central council funding and has to compete with headline urgent needs in social care”, the RTPI says. 

Asking applicants to foot 100% of the administrative costs of planning would allow councils to devote precious funds to better support social care, housing and other frontline services.

The RTPI also asks that any planning fee increases should continue to be ring-fenced for planning purposes and aimed at continued increases in performances.

It also asks that any planning fee increases should continue to be ring-fenced for planning purposes and spent on continued increases in performance.”

 

Desire paths: the illicit trails that defy the urban planners (The Guardian)

“We’ve all been there. You want a short cut – to the bus stop, office or corner shop – but there’s no designated path. Others before you have already flattened the grass, or cut a line through a hedge. Why not, you think.

So goes the logic of “desire paths” – described by Robert Macfarlane as “paths & tracks made over time by the wishes & feet of walkers, especially those paths that run contrary to design or planning”; he calls them “free-will ways”. The New Yorker offers other names: “cow paths, pirate paths, social trails, kemonomichi (beast trails), chemins de l’âne (donkey paths), and Olifantenpad (elephant trails)”. JM Barrie described them as “Paths that have Made Themselves”.

Reddit has desire path threads, tens of thousands of people strong, delighting in the more mysterious or illogical-seeming of them. They can form anywhere from apparently forgotten corners of cities to the grounds of national governments, as has happened around the National Congress of Brazil; some are so well established that they are visible on Google Maps….”

 

Adams Hendry are recruiting

Due to an expanding workload of high profile infrastructure and development projects, we are looking for experienced and enthusiastic Principal Planners, Senior Planners and Planners to join our team. Please see our website for more details: http://www.adamshendry.co.uk/join-us/

To see how Adams Hendry can help you navigate the planning system, see our website: http://www.adamshendry.co.uk or contact us by phone on 01962 877414, or by email at info@adamshendry.co.uk.

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Contact

Suzanne Pidgeon 01962 877414 | s.pidgeon@adamshendry.co.uk