Council challenges planning inspector decision affecting strategic planning

Implications for the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan? You know, the one being delayed until after the next council elections …. for some reason …

“South Gloucestershire Council is to bring a legal challenge over a planning inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for a 350-home development in Thornbury.

The proposed Cleve Park scheme would also include a 70-unit elderly care facility, associated open space, community and commercial facilities, and infrastructure. The planning application was made by Welbeck Strategic Land LLP.

The local authority said it had “carefully considered” the Inspector’s decision and would be issuing legal proceedings challenging it.

South Gloucestershire added that it had written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government James Brokenshire, “requesting that he exercises his powers to recover the planning appeals relating to developments in Charfield and another in Thornbury from the Planning Inspectors, and make the decisions himself”.

These requests relate to two applications, one for outline planning permission for the erection of 121 homes and a retail outlet on land off Wotton Road in Charfield (Barratt Homes, Bristol), and also the appeal relating to land south of Gloucester Road, Thornbury (Bovis Homes Ltd), which seeks outline consent for the demolition of existing agricultural shed buildings and residential development of up to 370 homes, a flexible use building, public open space, accesses onto Gloucester Road and associated infrastructure.

The council said that it considered that these appeals, if granted, would undermine the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) process and its impact upon the residents and communities of South Gloucestershire.

Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “Enough is enough. I am determined to see the council take a robust approach to challenging unsustainable development across the district. Where we have taken difficult decisions to proactively and positively plan for future housing and jobs growth, we should not have decisions from the Planning Inspectorate which undermines this work as it only stores up economic, social and environmental problems for the future.”

Cllr Colin Hunt, Cabinet Member for Planning at the council, said: “In South Gloucestershire we are trying to be plan led with our decisions on planning applications. While we appreciate that we have a shortfall on our five year land supply, nonetheless we want decisions to reflect that we have a solid plan that was prepared in consultation with the public.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=35658%3Acouncil-to-challenge-grant-of-planning-permission-for-350-home-scheme&catid=63&Itemid=31

Cornish coastal village shows the way on second homes

“Mevagissey is following St Ives’ lead to stop too many properties becoming second homes.

Residents of the Cornish fishing port voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting the “primary residence policy” in yesterday’s referendum, making it the fifth place in the county to decide that newly-built homes should only be available to people living there permanently.

A third of eligible voters turned out – 90% voted in favour.

When you get up to one in four of the properties being a second home, you can’t deny the right of people to sell to additional homeowners. All we’re trying to do is to discourage the development of more second homes by putting this restriction on new builds.”
Garth Shephard
Mevagissey Parish Councillor”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-44366793

Devon and Somerset – a new Klondike gold rush?

The LEP housing numbers, anticipating 50,000 new households in Devon, are almost certainly driven in part by the heroic assumptions about the local economy, as Owl has pointed out many times.

As we know, the LEP assumption is 4% growth per annum for the next 18 years. Such a sustained economic boom would invoke a ‘Klondike’ style immigration rush into Devon and Somerset, as the economies of all of the rest of the western world failed to compete with us at that level.

East Devon’s current Local Plan is based upon an anticipated annual UK economic growth rate of 3% from 2007, which has turned out to be just over 1%.

This, of course, is why many of our employment sites are dormant (and one of the many reasons why we do not need a new site in Sidford), and all our town centres are struggling – there simply isn’t demand.

Even if economic growth was to average 3% growth from now until the end of the Plan period, which looks incredibly optimistic, we would still have 33% more employment land than we need, according to East Devon’s own numbers.

The LEP’s projections have been laughed at by everyone – especially, Owl gathers, in Whitehall.

But they feed into a whole raft of housing and economic projections, that will ultimately emerge as policy around the region.

What assumption will be used for the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) projections, Owl wonders? Now delayed until after the next local council elections in 2019?

Will the GESP team dare to condemn the LEP numbers, or will they adopt them, even when they must know they are nonsense?

What might happen if those without vested interests in the growth of expensive housing in the area were for once denied a say due to conflict of interest?

And where are the signs of the revisions of our Local Plan, based on current realities, that are required every 5 years?

“Fury as housing associations redevelop and sell affordable homes”

“Housing associations have made at least £82.3m from auctioning homes in five London boroughs since 2013, according to figures seen by the Guardian. Analysis by the Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck, shows that Westminster, Brent, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea sold 153 properties at auction through Savills estate agents – with more than half in Westminster where sales totalled £36.4m. The true figures are likely to be much higher as the data only covers sales made by one agency. The auctions are part of a wider trend of some housing associations selling off social housing in expensive central London to fund new developments, which tenants say are unaffordable or far removed from their families, schools and work.

Buck says: “I’m dealing with a family who are statutorily overcrowded and in the highest medical priority and I haven’t been able to get them moved in over eight years. That’s because housing associations [in general] say they don’t have the stock in the area and yet they’re still selling off homes.”

Nationally, sales of housing association social homes to the private sector have more than tripled since 2001, with 3,891 social homes sold in 2016. Overall, more than 150,000 homes for social rent have been lost since 2012. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jun/13/fury-affordable-homes-redeveloped-sold-housing-associations

By 2036 one-third of people in Devon will be over 65 – but don’t worry, they will have PLENTY of houses available!

Owl is puzzled. Our Local Enterprise Partnership says we need 50,000 new homes in the next 5 years (published in 2017 – so say until 2023):

https://heartofswlep.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SEP-Final-draft-31-03-14-website-1.pdf
(page 8)

Yet the Office for National Statistics says that the population of Devon will increase by just over 52,000 by 2026 (see below). Averaging a very low estimate of low 2 people per home that would mean we would need 26,000 new homes IN TOTAL in Devon in the next 8 years, not 50,000.

In fact, the same Office of National Statistics says average occupancy is 2.4 persons per household – so a more accurate figure would be 21,666 extra homes needed in Devon by 2026 – again NOT 50,000!

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/families/bulletins/familiesandhouseholds/2017

Someone has their sums badly wrong. 50,000 by 2023 or 21,666 by 2026.

Is it the Office of National Statistics or our LEP with its preponderance of developers and landowners?

“The population of Devon will increase by 52,100 by 2026, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In 2016 the population was 778,800. By 2026 it is expected to reach 830,900, a rise of 6.7%.

Every two years the ONS estimates how the population of England will change over the next 25 years.

Statisticians study birth and death rates, and look at how the county’s population is ageing.

In Devon the percentage of the population made up by pensioners is expected to rise from 24.8% in 2016 to 27.6% 10 years later. And by 2036 the ONS thinks over 65s will make up almost a third of the area’s residents. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/population-devon-grow-52100-1667958

“Crest Nicholson to close London office and build more ‘flat pack’ houses as costs bite”

So sad that their profit margin has dropped from 20.3% to 18%! In 2017 Crest Nicholson’s chief executive, Stephen Stone, was set to receive a share bonus worth almost £812,000, on top of a salary of £541,158, while chief operating officer Patrick Bergin was set to net £562,500, in addition to pay of £375,000.

Maybe that’s where their profits are going … just a thought …

And better not anticipate any affordable housing in their “flat pack” developments!

“Housebuilder Crest Nicholson is feeling the pinch of rising construction costs and a slower housing market, prompting it to close its Central London office and expand production of so-called “flatpack” housing structures.

In its half-year results, Crest Nicholson said that it expects its margins to be around 18pc for the full year compared with 20.3pc last year – and at the lower end of its 18pc to 20pc range – due to the “generally flat” pricing environment.

Shares in the FTSE 250 housebuilder fell more than 7pc in morning trade. …”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/06/12/crest-nicholsons-margins-squeezed-rising-costs/