Picture: Sidmouth Herald
Picture: Sidmouth Herald
“Richard Caring, the restaurateur and clothing tycoon, has emerged as one of the major beneficiaries of generous dividends paid by BHS in the early days of Sir Philip Green’s ownership.
The Guardian has established that Caring, the owner of The Ivy and Le Caprice, was handed £93m in payouts from the retailer, which fell into administration this week – his share of more than £422m in dividends paid to shareholders including the Green family. …
… Caring is a UK-born citizen, has a London mansion known as the “Versailles of Hampstead”, and claims hereditary non-domicile tax status thanks to the US origins of his father, a former GI who settled in London after the war. This quirk enabled Caring not to disclose the existence of his Swiss or Monaco accounts to the UK tax authorities, and legally to avoid taxes on his capital held there.”
“The operation comes after the Institute of Religious Works (IOR) became aware of 544 suspect transactions which raised concerns of tax evasion.
The IOR have previously been caught up in scandal with accounts allegedly being linked to mafia activity, particularly during the 1980s before the Vatican tightened up its financial regulations. …
… Vatican efforts to put its finances in order initially accelerated after Pope Francis’s election in 2013. But an economic reform commission he established has since been disbanded and three of its members are currently on trial with the journalists.
Moves to have all the Vatican books externally audited have also been a start-stop affair.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were appointed in December to do the job by powerful Australian cardinal George Pell, the head of the Vatican’s economic secretariat.
But PwC’s $3-million contract was suspended last week on the orders of a rival department, the secretariat of state, leaving Pell ‘a little surprised.’ ”
Fortunately, there is no proof of the existance of an East Devon Mafia …
“Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal by developer Sunley Estates over a 120-home development at Hambrook, Chichester partly because of its impact on an emerging neighbourhood plan.
The scheme included both affordable and market price homes, retail floor space, a pavilion/community building, sports facilities, children’s play area and public open space. It had been refused by Chichester District Council. The inspector who held the recovered inquiry recommended that the scheme should not go-ahead.
Clark’s decision letter said the scheme was not in accordance with the development plan as a whole and “would also conflict with the emerging Chidham and Hambrook Neighbourhood Plan when read as a whole”. The NP has now passed its examination stage.
Clark acknowledged that the proposals would deliver housing and contribute to a more robust five year housing land supply and assist in meeting affordable housing needs at the district level.
However, he concluded that granting planning permission for the scheme “would be at odds with the shared neighbourhood planning vision that is referred to in paragraph 183 of the National Planning Policy Framework and would also fundamentally undermine confidence in the neighbourhood planning process that has taken place to date in Chidham and Hambrook”.
View more information on the recovered appeal: land east of Broad Road, Hambrook, Chichester.”
“Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) has launched a Monitoring Officer Defence Scheme in partnership with law firm Weightmans.
LLG said the new full member benefit would apply to monitoring officers or their deputies when acting in that capacity and was designed to provide advice and assistance with issues relating to the statutory role.
The offer includes a telephone advice line, a conference meeting and preferential terms in tribunal proceedings.
The scheme will run under the experienced lead of Simon Goacher, a partner at Weightmans.
Prior to joining Weightmans, Goacher spent nearly two decades practising local government law. His roles included Head of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer at Wirral Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council
Full terms and conditions of use are available in the member section of the LLG website at http://www.lawingov.org.uk.”
The public who take their cases to Monitoring Officers get the toothless, pretty-much-useless Local Government Ombudsman.
And should Monitoring Officers really need such help – if they don’t understand their statutory role and its responsibilities, why are they in the job in the first place?
As we expected, too many unaffordable, greenfield properties being built.
“83% of completions [in East Devon] on Greenfield sites (including fields and undeveloped greenspaces, barn conversions and garden sites)” …
… “A grand total of 18,391 net new dwellings are now projected to have been completed over the full plan period (2013-2031). This is above the 17,100 minimum figure of housing need outlined by the new Local Plan.” …
… “3.1 The final page of the HMU sets out the five year land supply calculation based on the 30 September 2015 monitor. It shows that East Devon can demonstrate 5.54 years supply of land for housing taking account of a 20% buffer as required by paragraph 47 of the NPPF for authorities that have persistently under-delivered in previous years.
3.2 Paragraph 47 of the NPPF sets out that in calculating the five year land supply authorities should apply a 5% buffer, or a 20% buffer where there has been a record of persistent under delivery. Application of the 20% buffer is a conservative approach to take. The Council could be more bullish and say that clearly it is now delivering above requirements and so the 5% buffer should apply in which case the Council could demonstrate a higher land supply figure, but it is recommended to apply the 20% figure for the time being.
3.3 This, along with the application of SHLAA methodology build-out rates and a robust but conservative assessment of future windfalls means that it is harder for an appellant to argue the five year supply figure down.
3.4 The calculation shows that over the five year period a surplus of 617 net new dwellings are projected to be built over the district as a whole. This is a healthy surplus that means that should certain sites not deliver or under-deliver there is an added buffer of supply. …”
“People in the UK want to live in villages but the need to have easy access to shops, transport and medical facilities and good broadband, new research has found.
Some 21% of people who are moving home said that they wanted to live in a village, making it easily the most popular type of location, compared to 14% for a market town and only 12% for either a big city or a suburb, according to the study by Strutt & Parker.
The Housing Futures Report found that broadband and mobile connections are essential to rural life. Access to broadband was a key factor for 49% of those intending to move to a village, while 38% highlighted mobile connectivity.
It reveals that with 60% want to be able to walk to shops, 48% close to local transport and 45% near to medical facilities.
‘The UK might seem to be focused on urbanisation but we believe a new, overlooked trend is set to shape Britain’s housing market over the coming decades and this is the desire to move back to rural locations,’ said Stephanie McMahon, head of research at Strutt & Parker.
The shift away from cities is being driven by people looking for neighbourhood safety at 86%, while 58% want space between neighbours and 48% are looking for a strong community feel.
‘The expansion of broadband and mobile communications has seen a greater uptake of working from home in rural locations compared to urban areas. It seems that the same factors that once drove urbanisation, improving economic and social conditions, are now inspiring the village revival,’ added McMahon.
The report shows a significant increase in respondents looking for rental accommodation. 10% of those wanting to move to a village would live in a professionally managed private rental unit, up from 1% in 2013.
The South East, South West and North East are the three leading destinations for people who are intending to move in the next five years. The South West’s appeal as a lifestyle and retirement location is set to continue attracting moves from the South East and London and with increased government investment in the Northern Powerhouse, the North West is likely to become more attractive.”
If CIL replaces Section 106 levy, the district council can put the money received from CIL and spend it wherever and on whatever infrastructure it wishes – in the past S106 money had to be spent close to the particular development.
This means, for example, if most developments take place in Sidmouth, the money could all be spent in Cranbrook.
However, a proportion of CIL money is supposed to any town or parish where a development takes place when it has a neighbourhood plan in place.
“Using new powers introduced in the Localism Bill, the Government will require charging authorities to allocate a meaningful proportion of levy revenues raised in each neighbourhood back to that neighbourhood. This will ensure that where a neighbourhood bears the brunt of a new development, it receives sufficient money to help it manage those impacts. It complements the introduction of other powerful new incentives for local authorities that will ensure that local areas benefit from development they welcome.
Local authorities will need to work closely with neighbourhoods to decide what infrastructure they require, and balance neighbourhood funding with wider infrastructure funding that supports growth. They will retain the ability to use the levy income to address the cumulative impact on infrastructure that may occur further away from the development.”
Of course, as always, exceptions will be allowed to avoid it:
“Given the importance of ensuring that the levy does not prevent otherwise desirable development, the regulations provide that charging authorities have the option to offer a process for giving relief from the levy in exceptional circumstances where a specific scheme cannot afford to pay the levy. A charging authority wishing to offer exceptional circumstances relief in its area must first give notice publicly of its intention to do so. A charging authority can then consider claims for relief on chargeable developments from landowners on a case by case basis, provided the following conditions are met.
Firstly, a section 106 agreement must exist on the planning permission permitting the chargeable development. Secondly, the charging authority must consider that the cost of complying with the section 106 agreement is greater than the levy’s charge on the development and that paying the full charge would have an unacceptable impact on the development’s economic viability. Finally, relief must not constitute a notifiable state aid.”
According to Official Notices in the press, Community Infrastructure Levy will become payable to EDDC from 1 September 2016. This is charged per square metre and is in bands with Cranbrook being lowest and Sidmouth being highest.
Should we expect a rush to get planning permissions past the Development Management Committee before 31 August? Would this explain why Bovis is rushing through its application for phase 2 of its Seaton development where it wants zero affordable housing? Will we see the Pegasuslife Knowle application done and dusted before the end of August too?