Devolution: how can you devolve health care when it’s already been devolved?

So, healthcare for Devon, Somerset, Torbay and PLYMOUTH is to be devolved to the new LEP.

Torbay already has its own integrated care scheme:

Pioneering the next steps in integrated care in Torbay and South Devon

Now, Plymouth gets its own (different) system financed by business rates.

How do you devolve two devolved systems to a new over-arching system – where only one person on the 20-member LEP has a health background?

Re-inventing the round wheel to make it square in the name of efficiency, or perhaps growth – who knows?

Plymouth has been chosen to pilot the Government’s new devolved health funding model, as the city’s public health chief takes a leading role in the national roll-out.

Following a meeting between MPs and Public Health England (PHE), the city has been chosen as one of the first in the country to fund health services using only income from business rates.

Plymouth’s director of public health, professor Kelechi Nnoaham, will also sit on PHE’s national planning team for the initiative to help monitor the impact of the new system.

The announcement marks the latest stage in the Government’s efforts to devolve revenue-raising powers. Councils have already expressed concerns about the impact of cuts to central grants and plans to fund services solely through locally-generated taxes.

Plymouth is already among the lowest-funded authorities in terms of public health grants, with an average spend per person of £47. But the council suggests prof. Nnoaham’s place on the national panel for the scheme will ensure the city’s interests are represented.

The council has been campaigning for fairer funding for public health in Plymouth for some time and has been lobbying at the highest level,” a spokesman said.

The unfair funding of public health was also highlighted by the Plymouth Fairness Commission.

“Our director of public health will be able to represent the interests of cities such as Plymouth. He has a strong professional reputation and will be able to ensure Plymouth influences national policy.”

The meeting with PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie was arranged by Plymouth Moore View MP Johnny Mercer. Mr Mercer has been campaigning on the issue of public health funding since his election in May, describing the local variation in grants – which sees some councils receive up to £185 per person – as “outrageous”.

He said he was “delighted” that Plymouth would have an opportunity to shape the new system at a national level.

“Public health funding was one of the first things I picked up on after being elected last year,” he said. “I wrote my first letter to Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health, in June and have attempted to keep up the pressure in correspondence and on the floor of the House ever since.

“I think we still have a lot of work to do, but I am delighted we have the opportunity to influence thinking around business rates retention in respect of public health funding. And frankly, I could not think of a more intelligent and impassioned advocate than Kelechi.”

Expert Group recommends all Local Plans are signed off before devolution begins

Devolved Powers

Report to the Communities Secretary and to the Minister of Housing and Planning – Local Plans Expert Group

This is a 56 page report with a lot of detail on the problems of drawing up a Local Plan.

One paragraph makes an interesting point: how can a devolved area set extra housing targets if one or more of the subsidiary councils have not completed their Local Plans?

In many cases Inspectors add thousands of houses to suggested totals – which completely skews LEP extra numbers.

S21. From the outset of our appointment, LPEG has been interested in the potential for voluntary joint planning provided by the current round of bids for devolved powers, which cover a large majority of the country.

Devolution provides the best opportunity for bottom-up joint planning but bids tend to focus on economic growth rather than housing and we have strongly recommended to Government that it attatches precise conditions to any successful devolution bid, requiring a commitment to plan positively to meet objectively assessed housing needs and a commitment to produce a plan for the combined area.

We further recommend that individual authorities within a combined authority area should receive sign off from the combined authority that their emerging plan addresses the Duty to Cooperate before their plan can progress.”

Click to access Local-plans-report-to-governement.pdf

East Devon Alliance on “devolution”

“When the Conservatives won last year’s election most voters had no clue that George Osborne was about to unleash an anti-local democracy, unelected regional quango genii from the bottle.

Having been trusted with more than 30,000 votes, the East Devon Alliance has done all we can to flush this out into the open. Most recently we discovered that the National Audit Office (NAO), the respected Government Watchdog, were conducting a study, this spring, into accountability and value for money in the ever more powerful “Local Enterprise Partnerships’.

As the NAO web site invited comment, we thought it would be helpful if we put forward a view on how Devolution was perceived to be proceeding from a local perspective rather than from Whitehall or the Establishment.

We feel that at present, flying a false flag of devolving more power to the regions, the LEPs are proceeding in a way that is unaccountable, lacks transparency and is likely to have a negative impact on democracy.

Realising our input might arrive in the final stages of compiling the report we also copied it to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Meg Hillier MP. NAO reports are reviewed by the PAC.

In the event the NAO have come to similar conclusions to us.

If Mr Osborne is hell-bent on his ill-conceived scheme and Parliament is unwilling to trim his sails it is now up to local councillors to do the thinking for him.”

“Devon and Cornwall’s green spaces at risk from ‘opportunistic’ developers” say MPs

EDDC Asset Management Forum is holding its next meeting with no background papers available(see post earlier today. One agenda item is ” Green Spaces Policy”. Perhaps they might read this in advance of the meeting:

“Government planning policy is leaving Devon and Cornwall’s green spaces open to opportunistic developers, a new report by MPs has warned.

According to the study, there is nothing to prevent developers from sitting on brownfield land until councils are required to free up “more profitable” greenfield.

There is also little to guarantee more houses will be built on the spaces made available, it adds, with many councils still lacking local plans.

The damning report from the Communities and Local Government select committee calls for a full review of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. Members say there has not been a sufficient robust evaluation of the policy since its introduction in 2012, and ministers must prove it can “work effectively” to support sustainable development.

The framework was designed to speed up the planning system and deliver more new and affordable homes. This included an emphasis on plans “conserving and enhancing the natural environment.

However, the CLG committee has raised concerns about the lack of measures to prevent developers delaying work on challenging brownfield sites. And the MPs say they are “not persuaded” that the Government’s new Housing and Planning Bill – currently progressing through Parliament – will address this.

“We have particular concerns about the risk that developers will delay developing brownfield sites because local authorities will be required to release more profitable greenfield sites if insufficient housing is delivered to meet local needs,” the group writes.

“The lower viability and higher costs of developing brownfield sites may be a deterrent for some developers.

“The Government should set out how its proposals will overcome the potential cost barriers to the development of brownfield sites, and the steps it will take to encourage the development of such sites in order to meet local housing needs.”

The report also stresses that 34% of local authorities have not adopted a Local Plan setting out their strategic priorities for development, despite the 2017 deadline for submission. According to Government registers, Cornwall, North Devon, Torridge and West Devon councils are all yet to finalise their plans.

Chairman Clive Betts said local authorities should be doing more to identify suitable brownfield sites and protect communities “against the threat of undesirable development”. And he said ministers need to act to put pressure on “dawdling” councils.

Peter Heaton-Jones said many of the issues highlighted in the report are mirrored by in his constituency. He said that the absence of a local plan has created a “vacuum” in the area for “opportunistic” developers.

“I’ve been working with North Devon Council to help finalise our plan as soon as possible,” he said. “As the CLG committee report shows, more than a third of all councils are in the same boat, so we do need to look at this.

“I also share the report’s concern about possible development of greenfield sites. We must always seek to build on brownfield sites first.

“And it would help if developers actually built the homes they’ve been given permission for already, rather than sitting on the land hoping to increase its value.”

North Devon Lib Dem councillor Brian Greenslade said he hopes ministers “will listen and act” on the recommendations of the report. “In my part of the Westcountry we have seen examples of ‘land banking’, and of developers merely obtaining planning permission without any intention of developing sites themselves,” he said.

“If the Housing Bill is passed… the planning proposals will simply give developers a open goal to get their development plans accepted, adding to the problem the select committee report has identified.”

Cavanna Homes appeal against refusal of 40 dwellings in Newton Poppleford dismissed

15/0642/MRES Appeal 15/00052/REF Ref:
Cavanna Homes (Devon) Ltd And Pencleave 2 – Mr Ed Brown

Land South Of King Alfred Way Newton Poppleford Construction of 40 dwellings (including 16 affordable), doctors’ surgery and associated works (approval of details reserved by outline planning permission 13/0316/MOUT).

Appeal Dismissed Date: 02.03.2016 Written representations

Officer recommendation to approve, Committee Refusal. Affordable Housing pepper-potting reason upheld. (EDLP Strategy 34).

So, officers recommended, committee refused, committee decision upheld. How come officers did not know that East Devon Local Plan Strategy 34 was a reason to refuse!


Strategy 34 – District Wide Affordable Housing Provision Targets:
Affordable housing will be required on residential developments in East Devon as follows .
Within the areas defined below a target of 25% of the dwellings shall be affordable :
a) Axminster;
b) Exmouth;
c) Honiton;
d) Ottery St Mary;
e) Seaton; and
f) Major strategic ‘West end’ development sites.
Under this policy:
1 2
the towns listed above are defined by the area within the Built-up Area Boundary the major strategic West End development sites to which policy will apply are
a) Cranbrook,
b) adjacent to Pinhoe and
c) North of Blackhorse
as shown on the West End inset map (to the Proposals Plan)

Areas to which higher (50%) affordable housing targets apply: Outside of the areas listed above (i.e. all other parts of East Devon including all settlements not listed, coastal and rural areas and Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth) 50% of the dwellings shall be affordable subject to viability considerations. The 50% figure applies to all areas that do not come under the 25% classification and which are permitted under Strategy 35 ‘Exceptions’ policy.

Where a proposal does not meet the above targets it will be necessary to submit evidence to demonstrate why provision is not viable or otherwise appropriate. An overage clause will be sought in respect of future profits and affordable housing provision, where levels of affordable housing fall below policy targets.

Looking across the lifespan of the plan an affordable housing policy provision target of 70% social or affordable rent accommodation and 30% intermediate or other affordable housing is sought. However in periods of depressed markets an alternative negotiated mix to reflect viability considerations and help deliver schemes will be acceptable. The District Council will consider issues of development viability and housing mix including additional costs associated with the development of brownfield sites, mitigation of contamination and the provision of significant community benefits provided the assessment process is completely transparent and there is full financial disclosure by stakeholders.

The thresholds at which this policy shall apply will be the minimum set out in Government policy or guidance (including any lower thresholds which Local Planning Authorities have the discretion to establish) subject to an up to date Council viability assessment showing that these thresholds can be justified. Where there is no applicable Government Policy or Guidance there will be no minimum size threshold at which affordable housing will be sought, subject to there being up to date strategic evidence that the general delivery of housing would not be significantly undermined.

Affordable housing shall be provided on site unless it is exempted through Government Policy or Guidance, is not mathematically possible or where off site provision of equivalent value is justified by circumstances such as no registered provider being willing to manage the new affordable units or other planning reasons. In such cases a payment towards an off site contribution will be required in lieu of on site provision. On any development site affordable housing should be ‘pepper-potted’ or dispersed throughout the scheme.

Asset Management Forum – no papers available for any agenda item

7 April 2016, Knowle, 9.30 am
Asset Management Forum

Agenda published with four items to be discussed – the only document provided – minutes of last meeting.

Part A Matters for Decision:

7 Rent support grant scheme – launch details – draft Cabinet report to follow
8 Data – Verbal update by Donna Best, Principal Estates Surveyor
9 Asset Devolution – draft Cabinet report to follow
10 Green Space Strategy – Update on progress.

Click to access 070416amfcombinedagenda.pdf



What’s that smell? Oh, fish!

What if this isn’t a joke!

OK – who was it? Excellent April fool notice strapped to a lamp-post in Coburg Road just behind the Museum in Sidmouth. Notice apparently issued to EDDC applying to take over the land presently occupied as Tennis courts and a Bowling Club between Blackmore Gardens and the Rugby Club to build 100+ sheltered homes/accommodation. The applicant is cited as a Mr Paul Diviani.

Whoever it was – well done! Will it provoke any reactions?

Or maybe it isn’t an April Fool joke ….!