HeathfieldGreen.Space is the new name for StopVinesCorner
To see the consultation document go here . The Government are seeking views on changes to planning policy and regulations.
Planning for the Future sets out plans to undertake a fundamental reform of the planning system and explains that this would be accompanied by shorter-term measures. This consultation sets out proposals for measures to improve the effectiveness of the current system. The four main proposals are:
The housing projection shows that the new standard method for calculating housing required for England, would generate 337.3k dwellings 45.69% (154.8k) of these are destined for London and the Southeast. Can the current Infrastructure cope with the disproportionate number of dwellings?
The population data shows that out of 56.29m people that live in England 32.23% live in London and the Southeast. Can London and the Southeast take the disproportionate number of dwellings and the population that comes with them?
As the residents of Wealden live in the most densely populated area of England the new calculation method can only make the situation worse.
As the numbers show London and the Southeast will have nearly 46% of all new dwellings planned for the foreseeable future.
At present under the new standard calculation method Wealden will have a target of nearly 25000 dwellings in the suggested 20-year Local Plan Period. A 20% increase in the land available for development will be needed if Wealden fails the Housing Delivery Test, at present on currently available numbers Wealden will fail the test.
The Government intends to set out in policy that a minimum of 25 per cent of all affordable housing units secured through developer contributions should be First Homes. This will be a national threshold, set out in planning policy. Initially these will be secured through section 106 planning obligations but, under proposed reforms, these would subsequently be secured through the Infrastructure Levy (see Pillar Three of Planning for the Future).
Nowhere in the current proposals (except proposal 10 above) is there any concrete proposals to clear the backlog of one million plus dwellings that currently have planning permission, this is the equivalent to 3 years of the Governments stated build target of 300,000 plus dwellings per year. In reality SHELTER reported recently that up to 40% of dwelling with planning permission are never built, once again showing it not permissions causing the problem. Some say it is the stringent conditions imposed by the Local Planning Authorities that cause protracted time periods for large development, but larger developers with knowledge and resources combined with modern technology the condition should be able to be predicted and designed in from the start and before permission applied for.
Also, with the temporary measure to cut the affordable element (35% currently in Wealden) of planning applications below (40 or 50 dwellings),this would mean losing 25% 0f those that would have been First Time Homes in effect losing 3-4 dwelling per development.
Based on a 300,000-build target per year, of which 105,000 would be affordable if the WDC 35% is used (other LPA may be different). The loss in numbers of First Homes could be up to 26,000 per year over the period of the temporary measure. It just seems to be self-defeating when one of the prime objectives is to make houses more affordable.
Temporarily lifting the small sites threshold below which developers do not need to contribute to affordable housing, to up to 40 or 50 units to support SME builders as the economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
The Government make great play on the fact they want to simplify the planning system but under the section of Affordable Housing the word simplify seems to have changed to complicate, with a vast array of different options. It talks about Community Infrastructure Levy exceptions, complicated methods of affordable housing allocations, and shared ownership variations.
Under the current rules on affordable housing a straight 35%(Wealden) is a must for developments over 5 dwellings in the AONB and over 10 outside the AONB, with all the complications introduces in The White Paper on calculating the numbers of Affordable Housing and First Homes and the associated discount developers will cry NOT VIABLE and seek a reduction in the affordable and first home numbers.
Extending the current Permission in Principle to major development so landowners and developers now have a fast route to secure the principle of development for housing on sites without having to work up detailed plans first.
Securing the principle of development for housing on more sites.
Under the Changes to the Current Planning System the government want to make it easier for land to come forward in the Growth Area Zone. In this growth area zone outline planning will be assumed unless an exceptionally good reasons for not approving can be given. It would then automatically move on to the reserved matters stage where the design and other details are finalised.
The next category is Renewal Area Zone the change in rules will make it easier to proceed with change of use from commercial to residential.
The Protected Area Zone as the Government has stated means just that unless exceptional circumstances apply - we can only hope they keep to what they are stating in the proposals. Wealden recently passed a large development in a protected area in Crowborough and currently an application has gone in for LAND SOUTH-WEST OF GHYLL ROAD, HEATHFIELD. And because of the failed WDC Local Olan in January 2020 it remains in protected AONB.
Sadly such developments will be forced through with WDC saying the cost of a Judicial Review is a mitigating factor and the hard pressed councillors will be swayed by this argument and pass the application.