Lib Dems at Mid-Devon challenge developers on zero-carbon development, Tories whinge

“A motion was passed at Mid Devon District Council’s full council meeting on Wednesday, July 24, following on from the declaration of a climate emergency in June.

Developers will face a zero-carbon requirement on all future development taking place in Mid Devon.

A motion was passed at Mid Devon District Council’s full council meeting on Wednesday, July 24, following on from the declaration of a climate emergency in June.

Councillor John Downes (Boniface, Liberal Democrats) who put forward the following motion: “That this council instructs the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration to take the earliest available opportunity in planning policy terms to embed a zero-carbon requirement on all future development taking place in Mid Devon to respond to the climate emergency.”

Cllr Downes said he had wanted to word the motion so that planning which wasn’t zero-carbon would be refused as policy, and that it would be down to the planning inspector to agree to development or refuse. He added that the Chief Executive, Stephen Walford, had offered advice to defer to the head of planning to allow policy to change.

He said: “This is to make the point that we declared a zero-carbon target and any development we allow that is not zero-carbon is effectively carbon debt which is making the problem more difficult for us in the future.

“One developer, with the profit they made this year, could have made all their houses zero-carbon with the profit that they returned. The point is, if we do make the point and champion zero-carbon, technologies will need to change because that’s the way people are going to start making money and doing developments.

“It’s just about keeping it alive and making it current. I understand that policy will take time, but I think having declared a crisis, we need to show that we’re trying to do something, and planning and licensing are areas in which we can.”

However, Councillor Andrew Moore (Clare & Shuttern, Conservative) questioned whether the motion could be acted upon.

“Do we have any idea as to whether this can be done?” he said.

“An eco-home can operate carbon neutrally, and I’m advised that the likely uplifting cost to build is about 30 per cent, which of course is going to have a significant impact. That will come down in time naturally, but this is not necessarily a cheap thing to be imposing in policy.

“The thing that worries me though is what of the build cost in carbon terms? A study identified that on average, the carbon cost of simply constructing a home – forget the operational cost – is about 65 tonnes of CO2 on average. An average family car uses five tonnes per year, so that’s 13 year’s worth of car travel to build a house.

“Normally, one would amortise that over the life of the house, which is typically taken as 100 years, and how do you do that? Well a UK native tree would consume about one tonne in its whole life of 100 years, so build a house, plant 65 trees, and you know what, it equals out over time. But to be carbon neutral by 2030, that debt payoff model doesn’t work anymore because we’re saying it’s got to be neutralised at the point of the build.

“I have no idea, through my research, as to how on earth that is going to be accomplished. How at point of build, you’re going to get rid of 65 tonnes of CO2. I think it’s a great challenge and I am going to look forward to what actions and policies this motion will ultimately deliver.”

Councillor Richard Chesterton (Lower Culm, Conservative) applauded Cllr Downes for bringing the motion forward but warned that planning policy was a slow process.

He said the Council would also have to manage public expectations.

“I was at a parish council meeting recently in Uffculme where there was an assumption by members of the public that because we had made the decision we had made, that automatically a contentious planning application on the edge of the village wouldn’t happen because it wasn’t in keeping with that decision,” he said.

“I had to explain how the planning process works with policies set out at both national level and local level and that even the adopted local plan, while having some very good policies in them which will encourage the use of green technology and things like that, wouldn’t necessarily get to where you’re looking to get to, and wouldn’t necessarily be able to rely on that in their reason for why it should be turned down.

“The public expects that it will be different from the speed that we will meet, so we mustn’t get our hopes up too fast. It will also be complicated because any local plan and any planning policy that we bring forward has to be in line with national planning policies which don’t, at this moment in time, set out the same deadline and timescale that this Council has set out.

“That’s going be a stumbling block along the way. We need to be aware of that, and we need to know how the executive will push forward a planning policy that might be at odds with Government policy. It might not be of course by the time we get there.”

Cllr Chesterton quizzed the cabinet member for planning and economic generation, Councillor Graeme Barnell, (Newbrooke, Liberal Democrats) about a timescale, and whether or not the Council would have to introduce a revised Local Plan at the earliest opportunity.

He added: “Would it be through a revised local plan at the earliest available opportunity, or would it be just through maybe a revised development management policies? And what timescale do you see it being able to come forward?”

Cllr Barnell replied: “We haven’t been idle as a cabinet in responding to the green agenda. We have been very active in thinking through our policies, but as you quite rightly point out, there are a number of constraints including Government policies that are pre-existing and the plans we’ve inherited from the previous administration.

“We’re looking at a greener Devon policy which the biggest single thing we can do in making practical steps towards zero-carbon. We are looking to get people out of their cars, get people working locally, sustain the rural economy, plant trees and hedgerows. These are long term, not short term fixes. They are long term answers to a chronic problem.

“We have to take every practical step within our planning policies to be able to implement this, not just indulge in wishful thinking. We’re going ahead with careful thought about this and how it will impact on the Cullompton Garden Village, the Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension and making sure we have a mixed development with local jobs that aren’t reliant on commuting, that is reliant on high-quality local jobs that people don’t have to get in their cars to go to.

“Reducing car journeys, so people don’t have to take their children to school are really important issues, and they may sound small, but they’re an important contribution to implementing the climate change agenda, and they will be filtering through as soon as possible into local planning policy.

“The last thing we want to do is tinker with the Local Plan. The Local Plan has been subjected to repeated delays; we want to see it across the line. We will be bringing forward changes to local planning policies in line with our greener Devon agenda and moving towards sustainable local Devon communities and more details soon, you will be being asked to consider those.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/zero-carbon-requirement-imposed-future-3167887

A new way of planning: are no-overall-control councillors up for it?

” Participation not Consultation:

At Civic Voice we are aware of the growth agenda and the need for more homes to be built. Our members understand this too, yet all over England many of these members, who are knowledgeable and positive people, have had to engage in fighting Local Plans and planning proposals that they feel passionately are not right for their places.

It is time to change the way things are done and to bring communities genuinely to the heart of planning and place-making. ‘Participation not Consultation’ is about bringing people in at an early stage to develop the proposals through collaborative planning processes, also known as Charrettes.

The Charrette approach involves community members working alongside local authorities and developers to co-create design-led, visual plans and strategies. It is an inspirational and energising activity where the results of collaboration are seen immediately, with the knowledge that an individual’s input actually matters. It also has the potential to greatly increase the speed of the formal planning and design process.

Civic Voice has launched a campaign to bring these collaborative processes into mainstream planning so that, through shared working from an early stage, communities can help shape and support growth and development that is right for their place.”

http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/uploads/files/Collaborative_planning_1.pdf

Cranbrook to get massively BIGGER – first planning test for no-overall-control council

The first test of The Independent Group on large-scale development. It got to make up the EDDC Cabinet and its Leader, Ben Ingham, has appointed several current and former Tories to positions of influence.

What will each group’s stand be on large-scale development? And what happens if the smaller parties have different views to that of the Independent Group and Tories if they agree? Interesting.

There are a few worrying words in this press release – potential, proposed, outlines, capable of, vision, could, opportunities. Lots of leeway for developet mund-changing at a later date.

And missing words: affordable and social housing.

Plus our local NHS Trust wants more than £1.3 million before it considers the proposal sustainable for health needs.

“Plans for 930 new homes as part of the western expansion of Cranbrook have been revealed.

The proposals for the Bluehayes site would also see a primary school, sport and recreational facilities, community uses, green infrastructure, as well as a mixed use area of shops, food and drink and professional services built.

The Bluehayes site, which lies between the existing Cranbrook development and Broadclyst Station, is one of four proposed expansion areas of Cranbrook.

A new link road that would run from the Cranbrook railway station to London Road and to Broadclyst Station, through the middle of the Bluehayes site, is also proposed in the scheme handed in recently to East Devon District Council planners.

And the plans also reveal that a footbridge over the London Road that would connect the Bluehayes site with the proposed Treasbeare site, south of the road, could be built.

The Cranbrook Plan was backed by East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee in February which outlines the land where a further 4,170 new homes will be built.

It allocates 40 hectares of land at the Bluehayes Expansion Area for around 960 new dwellings, land capable of accommodating a community building, formal open space recreational land, a 420 pupil place primary school, formal play space with facilities for children and youth and allotments totalling an area of 0.55 hectare of land

Details with a planning statement submitted with the planning application says: “The submission of the new outline application for the Western Expansion of Cranbrook and the change of use of agricultural land to the north of Cranny Brook to SANG land, is consistent with the planning policy and the longstanding policy to deliver new homes to meet the needs of the area.

“The submission of the application for the Western Expansion area and their progression delivers certainty required in the long term delivery of growth and of the delivery of the vision for Cranbrook.

“The proposals have been designed to be residential led with the potential for the delivery of a new primary school and formal outdoor sports pitches to provide complementary community and social infrastructure to meet the needs of new residents.

“The application demonstrates provision of the necessary infrastructure to include internal roads, public transport provision, formal and informal open space uses to support itself and to mitigate any impacts of development on existing communities and wider infrastructure.

“Cranbrook and its Western Expansion have been fully justified in the context of local planning policy and in the context of the growth agenda and the national and local need for housing.

“The proposals will result in substantial and demonstrable benefits in terms of meeting the need for new homes in a sustainable manner, fostering economic development and further underpinning the sustainability of Cranbrook.

“The proposals will also help deliver the vision for Cranbrook and underpin the planning and delivery of infrastructure and the town centre.”

A 1.14 hectare site for a one-form entry primary school could come forward as part of the plans. The primary school will be built in either the Bluehayes or the Treasbeare allocation, depending on which is constructed first.

Details with the scheme also outline that a new link road from the Cranbrook station to London Road and to Broadclyst Station will be built.

There will be a new frontage to London Road which will comprise a mixed use area, providing opportunities for a range of residential, retail and small scale employment uses, and in future, a crossing over London Road to the southern expansion area may be accommodated.

But the Royal and Devon Exeter NHS Foundation Trust have requested a contribution of £1,332,313 from the developers, cash which will be used directly to provide additional health care services to meet patient demand.

Commenting on the application, they say: “Without the contribution being paid, the development would not be acceptable in planning terms as the consequence would be inadequate health services available to support it.”

Having considered the cost projections, the Trust say that they will require the full figure to ensure the required level of service provision is delivered in a timely manner.

They add: “Failure to access this additional funding will put significant additional pressure on the current service capacity, leading to increase delays for patients and dissatisfaction with NHS services.

“The contribution will ensure that Health services are maintained for current and future generations and that way make the development sustainable.”

The Bluehayes expansion is one of four proposed expansion areas for Cranbrook, which development also proposed for Treasbeare and Grange, south of the existing town, and Cobdens, to the east of the town.

A reserved matters application has also been submitted for 80 homes, for which outline planning permission has already been granted, for land north-east of the Cranbrook Education Campus.

East Devon District Council planners will determine the fate of the applications at a later date.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/cranbrook-getting-bigger-930-new-2923726

“Excessive” housing in a Local Plan allowed to go to appeal

“CAMPAIGNERS battling the impact of Waverley’s “excessive” housing targets are celebrating a landmark legal decision giving them the green light to appeal.

In a fresh twist threatening to undermine the borough council’s adopted Local Plan, which calculates 11,200 houses must be built by 2032, the Court of Appeal agreed last Thursday it would hear the joint challenge by Surrey Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Protect Our Waverley (POW).
The challenge centres on whether Waverley had to increase its housing target by 1,600 homes in order to accept Woking’s “unmet need”.

If the joint appeal succeeds – due to be heard later this year – it will anger residents forced to accept unpopular housing schemes driven by Waverley’s determination to meet its housing target, such as a controversial scheme for up to 200 houses agreed last week in Milford (see page three).
Last week’s Court of Appeal decision reverses a High Court decision in October 2018 rejecting POW and CPRE’s case that Waverley should not be obliged to take half of Woking’s unmet need.

Celebrating CPRE’s successful appeal against October’s verdict, Andy Smith, CPRE Surrey branch director, said: “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal wish to see the matter of Woking’s so-called unmet need properly addressed, as there are big question marks over it.

“In the housing requirement numbers for both the Waverley and Guildford Local Plans, this issue of Woking’s unmet need, lurks in the background. It will be good to bring this issue out in the appeal court, as it has profound consequences – not just for Waverley and not even just for West Surrey, but also county wide and nation wide.

“Our countryside is at risk from excessive, arbitrary and unsustainabule housebuilding targets, and that is why we needed to challenge the housing calculations.”

POW chairman Bob Lees highlighted that the appeal coincides with Woking Borough Council declaring it now has no unmet need, and new demographic figures released by the Office for National Statistics implying a much reduced need for new housing.

Welcoming last week’s decision, Mr Lees said: “This is great news. It provides Waverley Borough Council with a golden opportunity to significantly reduce the mandatory number of new houses to be built in the borough over the next 14 years.

“POW fought against the housing requirement at the examination of the Local Plan. POW fought again in the High Court. POW will fight in the Court of Appeal. POW is fighting to protect our Waverley against unneeded development of our towns, of our villages and in our beautiful countryside.”

Waverley has set aside a “fighting fund” of £300,000 to defend its Local Plan. Responding, borough council leader and Farnham councillor Julia Potts, said: “This news is obviously extremely disappointing for us, but we will, of course, be vigorously defending our adopted Local Plan; the plan we believe represents the best possible vision for the borough’s future.
“It means we can work in partnership with the borough’s towns and parishes to develop Neighbourhood Plans, so communities can mould new development where they live. It means we can safeguard our borough against inappropriate development.

“It should be remembered that Waverley did not bring this legal action, but we have to defend both the borough and town and parish councils, whose Neighbourhood Plans are now threatened by this action. We all want appropriate plan-led development and we did everything possible at the inspection to defend a lower housing number.

“It is extremely disappointing that a few determined individuals continue to raise these legal challenges, despite the High Court upholding the Local Plan following the hearing in October 2018 and despite it having been approved by a government inspector.

“We are committed to preserving and protecting the adopted Local Plan. It will remain our principal planning document and continue to guide our planning decisions.”

http://www.farnhamherald.com/article.cfm

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – Exeter leaks its “vision”*

“But not yet in East Devon until July 2019 (see below). It seems East Devon is the only council keeping ALL its plans secret until after the 2 May 2019 district council elections.

Fishy? You bet!

Anyway, here’s what we currently know:

Interesting proposals for changes to Sidmouth Road and Junction 30 of the M5. The Motorway Services and Sowton Park and Ride being developed as a “Mixed Neighbourhood” (see image above).

The Governments require the Greater Exeter Housing target to be 53,200 new homes over the next 20 years. That is for the combined area governed by East Devon, Teignbridge, Mid Devon and Exeter.

Exeter’s housing ambitions

Karime Hassan, chief executive and growth director of Exeter City Council revealed this week a proposal for 12,000 new homes in the City of Exeter over the next 20 years. His vision of “Liveable Exeter”, for delivering a transformational housing programme for Exeter from 2020 to 2040. involves the creation of 8 new neighbourhoods.

Exeter’s published Vision

Red Cow Village (St David’s) – 664 homes in new neighbourhood, including new work space, on both sides of the railway around St David’s Station.

Water Lane (close to Exe Valley Park) – 1,567 homes. A space for expanding leisure attractions near the quay, with low traffic or car-free development with attractive cycle and walking connections.

Marsh Barton – 5,544 homes in a new neighbourhood. It will remain an important employment and retail area, but with the integration of living and working, to make better use of riverside location. Development linked to the new proposed train station. Creation of new types of work space, including light industrial, workshops, office and shared work space.

East Gate (Heavitree Road) – 962 new homes, an enhanced approach to the city centre from the east, reduced traffic on Heavitree Road and a greater provision for public transport, walking and cycling. New places to live close to the city centre will exist alongside existing neighbourhoods.

West Gate (Western Way) – 617 new homes, opening up access to the river and canal from the city centre, a new cultural destination, an expanded and connected park at the heart of the city, a “Green Bridge” promoting active travel across the river.

South Gate (Holloway Street/South Street linked via Topsham Road) – 300 new homes, establishing an improved link between the city centre and the historic quayside, with a greater emphasis on the wall, city gates and Southernhay.

North Gate (North Street) – 308 new homes, a new approach to the city from St David’s, uncovering the medieval city wall.
Sandy Gate (land off Sandygate roundabout) – 1,050 new homes in a new sustainable and well-connected mixed-use neighbourhood, bridging the city and the new and existing neighbourhoods to the east, providing recreational, cultural and entertainment space where Exeter meets the proposed Clyst Valley Park.

Mid Devon’s published ambitions.

Mid Devon’s Local Plan is almost complete with a Planning Inspectors hearing due in the next few weeks to consult on their final draft.

Culm Valley on the South side of the M5 opposite Cullumpton create a new community of up to 5,000, with a new Motorway junction and railway Station.

Junction 27. A landmark project for a leisure and tourism development involving Tim Smit from the Edan Project
Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension will cover 153ha, to the east of Tiverton.

Teignbridge future ambitions.

Teignbridge has just started a review of their Local Plan and therefore their plans are in the infancy.

Brownfield Their preferred option to develop brownfield land for development however, the required number of homes the government require Teignbridge to build, is not possible to meet the housing needs from brownfield land only. Therefore, open countryside will need to be considered for development to meet the housing needs.

Garden village is being considered with the new settlement proposal to be between 1500-10,000 homes.

So – What are East Devon’s Ambitions?

Hard to say.

Although the other 3 Authorities are keeping their residents well informed on their sections of the GESP proposals, East Devon has been an almost total blackout! There has been a Local Plan in place since 2016 with most of new development being built in an area known as the West End. That is an area close to Exeter’s border plus the new Town of Cranbrook.

At East Devon District Council Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday 29th January it was hoped that Agenda item 12 would be able to explain more on the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan strategy and provide councillors some clarity on the East Devon Local Plan, plus the East Devon Villages Plan only agreed last year which most councillors only learned the previous week, would be jettisoned and replaced with a brand new East Devon Local Plan by 2023.

Local Plan to be replaced

At the meeting last week, the Head of Planning Ed Freeman explained that the present Local Plan was in 2 parts, with the section on Policies would require total re-writing because the Policies would be “substantially superseded” by the emerging GESP Policies. He also explained that the Villages Plan policies, will be merged into the new Local Plan.

Tory Councillor Philip Skinner who along with Tory Councillor Paul Diviani who are the only 2 East Devon`s elected representatives on the GESP “steering group committee” along with 2 elected members from the 3 other Authorities gave only a few hints on some of the latest thoughts for the GESP Strategy for East Devon.

Higher Density Housing for Exeter proposed for GESP

Regarding a question on Housing, he explained that it had been decided by the steering group, that each authority had a certain quota of dwellings proposed and it was not correct that if one Authority was unable to provide the housing numbers, other Authorities were required to build extra dwellings to offset the shortfall. He also explained that Exeter City Council had to return to the drawing board to enable extra dwelling numbers through “much higher density” within the confines of the City.

East Devon will take on most of the Industrial and commercial development for the GESP

Councillor Skinner also told the meeting regarding business development that he aimed to “Get the best for East Devon” and explained that to “Our strength and Exeter’s demise, they do not have the capacity, but we do!” and claimed most of the commercial and industrial development “will be in our patch”

After 2 years of joint secret meetings.

Exeter’s residents know what to expect with “Liveable Exeter”, Teignbridge residents are being told that their local plan is being re-assessed and are having public consultations, and Mid Devon residents have been through their public consultations and an agreed local plan about to be approved.

However, the residents of East Devon only know that their local plan is now being superseded by a new plan with substantial more housing and more industrial, commercial and business development.

All will be revealed in July 2019 after the District Council Elections. Who will you trust to steer East Devon through the next few years of obtaining the most appropriate and suitable Planning Policies. Leave it to the Tory Councillors who have kept everyone in the dark?

Or choose an Independent who are the major opposition for East Devon?

“Government housing delivery plan ‘flawed’ “

Well, cover me in tar and call me the M5! Owl has been saying this for YEARS. The only question that needs to be asked is: Is this deliberate or unintentional? Either way, it’s a damning indictment of its mendacity and incestuous relationship with developers or a damning indictment of its totally inept ability to govern. Or, of course (and more likely) BOTH!

“The government’s housing planning system is unable to demonstrate it is meeting housing demand effectively, public spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.
The government wants 300,000 new homes a year from the mid-2020s onwards.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has a standard method, developed in 2017, for local authorities to assess the number of new homes needed.
The NAO says this has weaknesses.

It says these weaknesses will result in a cut in the number of planned new homes in five of nine regions, while in London, the method will mean that new builds need to double in order to meet what the department thinks is needed.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the current formula did not take into account the needs of local communities.

‘Free-for-all’

Local authorities – by law – need to have an up-to-date plan for building new homes.

If they are unable to prove that they have a five-year supply of land for housing, developers have greater freedoms to build where they want.

The NAO points out that this risks ill-suited developments, while the LGA says it risks a “free-for-all”.

The NAO says that between 2005-06 and 2017-18, 177,000 new homes per year were built on average, with the number never rising above 224,000.

To meet its ambition for 300,000 homes a year, the department will need to oversee a 69% increase in the average number of new homes built.

The NAO recommends the housing department should regularly monitor the gap between its ambition for 300,000 new homes and what is being planned.

It also says it needs to work with local authorities and other government departments to ensure that infrastructure is delivered more effectively.

Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, said: “For many years, the supply of new homes has failed to meet demand.

“From the flawed method for assessing the number of homes required, to the failure to ensure developers contribute fairly for infrastructure, it is clear the planning system is not working well.

“The government needs to take this much more seriously and ensure its new planning policies bring about the change that is needed.”

Councillor Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s Housing spokesman, said: “We remain clear that the government’s housing needs formula does not take into account the complexity and unique needs of local housing markets, which vary significantly from place to place.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47157413