No affordable housing? Check
Too many houses? Check
Primary school which may never get built and in wrong location? Check
You have 3 ticks – do pass Go and don’t go to jail!
“Controversial plans that would see 350 new homes and a new primary school built on land at the edge of Exmouth are being recommended for approval – despite concerns about a lack of affordable housing and whether a new school is even needed.
The outline plans, for land at Goodmores Farm, off Dinan Way, also seeks outline permission for employment, commercial, and community uses.
The plans, which will be considered by East Devon Council’s development management committee on 3 July, are recommended for approval despite considerable concerns by Exmouth and Lympstone councils, local ward councillors, Devon County Council and residents.
Some objectors question whether there is a need for future housing and a new primary school in the town. Others accept the principle of the development but question if the primary school is in the best location, and they fear that the development will not provide adequate funding of about £2.5m toward the school.
But the council’s officers say the application from Eagle Investments Ltd has been viability-tested and the proposal was “considered to comply with existing planning policies”.”
No – it’s not a Heart of the South West plan. They are still searching for suitable levers of power to grasp.
It’s not a detailed plan following up the Government’s White Paper:“Industrial Strategy – Building a Britain fit for the future”, Nov 2017, with its five foundations of productivity (Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Business Environment and Places) either.
Last week John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, unveiled plans for an investment revolution. He proposed all new governments should be obliged to set productivity targets with a revamped Bank of England, and act on them.
McDonnell commissioned Graham Turner, a City economist who advises hedge funds and investment banks, to produce a report. In an interim report, published in December, Turner found our financial system was taking money from sectors such as manufacturing and lending it to invest in property.
Promising growth in new tech sectors was overwhelmingly concentrated in and around London. Politicians and regulators have not ensured that banks play their part in supporting the growth of new businesses. Instead, banks have entrenched their focus on unproductive lending. Turner’s team recommended fundamental transformation of our financial system. Alongside the Bank of England’s (BoE) existing inflation target it should set a 3% target for annual productivity growth, backed by new powers that steer the financial system towards investment to maximise productivity growth.
Most comment of this idea was critical. As David Smith, Sunday Times economic editor, pointed out: by decade, productivity growth averaged 2.2% in the 1970s, 2.4% in the 1980s, 2.3% in the 1990s, 1.4% in the 2000s, and just 0.5% since 2010. It is not impossible: there have been 11 years in the past 45 when productivity has grown by 3% or more, years of strong economic growth or falling employment.
Monetary policy and financial stability, the Bank’s responsibilities, have no direct links to productivity and adding to its targets merely makes it more likely that it will miss its central one, controlling inflation.
Last autumn, Mark Carney, BoE governor, criticised those who wanted the central bank to solve problems such as productivity. The BoE “cannot deliver lasting prosperity and it cannot solve broader societal challenges,” he said, adding that calls for it to solve poor UK productivity “confuse independence with omnipotence”.
Philip Aldrick, economics editor of The Times, however, took a different view:
“The thing is, though, the closer you look at the powers the central bank has, the more Mr Turner’s proposals seem like common sense. Since the 2008 crisis, the Bank has been given a vast array of tools. It can ration household or business lending, it can drain or flood an economy with finance, it can direct banks how to behave, it can deploy £750 billion of cheap liquidity to grease the financial system, it can inject billions of pounds into the economy through quantitative easing and it can change interest rates.”
“Despite Mr Carney’s claim, the Bank is almost omnipotent but chooses voluntary impotence because using its power would be to stray into politics. For Mr Turner, the Bank’s “deliberate passivity” is contemptible when “credit guidance” could help to fix the nation’s productivity woes. What’s the point of all that power if the Bank doesn’t use it, especially since 2013, when its mandate was updated to “support the economic policy objectives” of the government? If nothing else, his paper asks the question.”
When our Council Leaders accepted HotSW’s ambition, without any detailed action plan, to double economic growth in 18 years, primarily by elevating productivity growth to levels never before sustained, did they realise just how radical a plan might be needed? And will they now be backing Labour’s or something equally tranformative?
Letwin interestingly does NOT blame planners. After this interinpm report he will further investigate and issue a fuller report at some point in the future x no doubt guided by whether what else he finds is vote-losing due to problems caused by his own government. He will further focus on:
lack of transport infrastructure,
difficulties of land remediation,
delayed installations by utility companies, constrained site logistics,
limited availability of capital,
limited supplies of building materials, and limited availability of skilled labour
alleged intentional “land banking” on the part of major house builders
Hernandez was a Tory local politician for many years in Torbay, before becoming Police and Crime Commissioner. Not long ago she attempted to appoint a pal from those days as her Deputy but was over-ruled:
Now she’s appointing a new senior officer just to cover the area. Is she planning a return to local politics there after her current “job”?
“A chief superintendent is being appointed for Torbay and South Devon, rather than a superintendent, to reflect “an increase in demand for policing” and help deal with “significant problems relating to crime in the bay”, Devon’s police commissioner has confirmed.
“Britain’s ten biggest builders have seen the value of their shares drop by a combined £3.6 billion in the last two weeks as fears grow that the housing market is heading for a downturn.
Fears of a rise in interest rates – and mortgage costs – are growing after three members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee voted in favour of a hike.
Bosses at housebuilding firms have cashed in over the past 12 months, with payouts to senior executives running into tens of millions of pounds.
A downturn in share prices in the sector would provoke fresh criticism of managers who have already been accused of making hay due to low interest rates and taxpayer subsidies for the industry, rather than their own skill and merit.
‘There is a fear that interest rate rises could be on the way,’ said Clyde Lewis, an analyst at broker Peel Hunt.
He added that estate agents had flagged a slowdown in the market. ‘With the housebuilders it looks like we are fairly close to the top of the cycle,’ he said. …”
“Private landlords have put home ownership beyond the reach of at least 2 million families, research shows, while Britain has built only half as many new homes as France over the same period.
The radical report from the new Conservative thinktank Onward recommends ending or severely curtailing tax breaks for buy-to-let and private landlords, a stronger role for local councils and major reform of the planning system to allow communities rather than developers to lead the process.
The report, which was written by Neil O’Brien, a former aide to George Osborne who also worked for Theresa May at No 10, calls for government intervention in the housing market, including giving London councils the power to limit foreign ownership.
“We need to change the balance between the rented sector and home ownership,” O’Brien said. “We should protect existing landlords but discourage more people from investing in rental property, because the buy-to-let boom has bid up prices and reduced homeownership among younger people.”
Previous governments have already acted to curb tax relief on mortgage repayments and maintenance for landlords, but the thinktank says it is still a privileged form of investment that reduces the number of homes available for owner-occupiers while reducing the amount of capital available for more productive investment.
“The UK is one of the cheapest countries for investors involved in residential rental investments,” the report finds.
Emphasising the link between shortage of supply and rising home prices, the report offers radical ideas for increasing the number of new homes.
It argues that planning permission for a hectare of agricultural land can add as much as £2.5m to its value. If the community could benefit from some of the increase, the report argues, it could be used to pay for the kind of services and infrastructure that new developments sometimes lack.
Instead of piecemeal development, it recommends that councils should have the power to put together land and create new settlements with services. It looks across Europe, where most local authorities have strong powers to initiate and shape development and link it to public transport.
It proposes better support to help councils plan new developments drawing on expertise from across the sector, as well as abroad. It also recommends much higher density urban occupation, where the UK lags behind most other comparable countries. …”