Gladman legal bid rejected

Gladman Developments had a judicial review claim rejected by a High Court judge in London yesterday.

Winslow Town Council, in Buckinghamshire, had allocated five sites for 455 new homes in their Neighbourhood Plan – but Gladman’s proposal for hundreds of homes on 3 other sites in the area had not been included.  Objecting to the policies in the Plan that restricted development to the ‘Winslow Settlement Area’, Martin Kingston QC,  for Gladman, argued that the housing target in the Plan had not been based on an objective assessment of local need.  However Mr Justice Lewis ruled that the plan was in fact lawful and complied with national planning policy.

Gladman were hoping to overturn the district council’s decision to let the plan go to a referendum but Mr Justice Lewis ruled that the council were entitled to refer the Neighbourhood Plan to a referendum and to ‘make’ it after the residents had voted in favour of it.

The chairman of the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan, Cllr Monger, said “”This is a great outcome for all the people who worked so hard on the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan, and for all the communities currently preparing neighbourhood plans.”  Planning Resource 18th Dec 2014.

Winslow NP

Gladman also failed in a legal bid in July to block the Winslow referendum taking place and are still planning a further challenge to Eric Pickles refusal of 211 houses on one of their 3 sites in Winslow.

The Winslow referendum turnout of 59.5% and votes in favour of 98.2% has now been confirmed as the highest yet to be recorded in any referendum held so far. The turnout figure is around double that for local elections and on a par with the turnout at General Elections. The result has led to groups from all over the country getting in touch to seek help and advice on how to run their campaigns. Yes4Winslow Sept 2014

 

 

£30k pay rise for CEC director in charge of Local Plan

Nantwich News 17th Dec 2014:

A Cheshire East Council director whose department presided over the much-criticised effort to deliver the Local Plan, is set to be promoted with a £30,000 pay rise.

Caroline Simpson is set to move from “director of economic growth and prosperity” to “executive director of economic growth and prosperity”, according to a report.  Under the move, her salary could leap from £90,000 a year to a potential £120,000.  And she could also be in line for a £10,000 performance-related bonus.

However, the decision has been blasted by furious councillors as Ms Simpson’s department has overseen the Local Plan over the last five years.  In a report, called “Senior Management Structure”, council bosses have justified the move, saying it is “prudent to strengthen the strategic and operational capability of the council’s structure”.

And it says the new executive director role will need to oversee enhanced delivery around core services such as assets, regeneration and planning”.  But the report adds that the new role will be “ring-fenced” which means it will not be advertised externally.

Cllr Brian Silvester, of Willaston and Rope ward, blasted the move as an insult, and said ruling councillors had “taken leave of their senses” in passing the recommendation.

“The failed Local Plan has cost £3.7 million and has taken over five years and the officer in charge is set to be promoted and given a performance bonus?” he said.  “Precious green fields are being concreted over because of this self-inflicted planning fiasco.  For years the council has been saying it has a five-year supply of housing land but now they are openly admitting that they do not after the Local Plan was rubbished by the planning inspector.  The consequence of that is developers cannot believe their luck as they get permission after permission on green fields.”

Deputy UKIP Group Leader Cllr Andy Barratt said: “Conservative Councillors are stopping the extra weekend payments of sports centre staff but it’s alright to pay senior managers more!

“Tory Councillors have had more than £150,000 pay for their involvement in the Alternative Delivery Vehicles and other Responsibility Allowances, just for themselves.”

Nantwichnews contacted Cheshire East Council 48 hours ago for a statement on why this decision has been made.

We are still awaiting a response.  Nantwich News 17th Dec 2014

 

Gladman in Daily Mail

Despoiling of England: The ruthless “no-win no-fee” developers exploiting new planning rules to threaten our historic countryside.  [Daily Mail 17th Dec 2014]

Along a private road backing on to fields, multi-millionaire land development boss David Gladman lives in tranquillity in a wealthy area of Cheshire. His sumptuous farmhouse has a large garden, a tennis court nearby, and is the sort of place that reeks of prosperity.

It is the kind of area that 59-year-old Mr Gladman would ordinarily view as perfect for a development of new homes. As he said himself in an interview: ‘For too long, preserving the view of a rich man over the fields behind his house has prevented a nurse from owning a decent place to live.’  Continue reading

Dromedary Lodge/Mount Pleasant refused.

The planning application for 25 houses on the fields behind Mount Pleasant has been refused by the Southern Planning Committee.  The committee followed the planning officer’s recommendation and decided that it would represent an unsustainable form of development in the planning balance: due to the adverse impact on Jodrell Bank Observatory as well as impact on the landscape.
Professor Garrington addressed the committee on the cumulative nature of the impact of all the proposed housing in Goostrey on the telescope, even stating that their research on pulsars has already been affected by interference.  The committee were very influenced by his arguments against further development.
The second reason was hotly debated – sustainability and the landscape impact of the proposal – however the planning committee decided to refuse on the additional grounds of landscape, with the impact on the public footpath being highlighted.

The objectors also had very good support from Councillors Peter Godfrey and Andrew Kolker.

Formal suspension of Local Plan examination.

17th December 2014 Message from Cheshire East:

Following the Council’s consideration of the Inspector’s Initial Views on the legal compliance and soundness of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy, the Council has formally requested the Inspector to suspend the examination.  The Council has also prepared details of the proposed additional work to be undertaken, along with an outline timetable.  Consequently, the Inspector has now agreed to formally suspend the examination.  Documents and correspondence relating to this matter have been added to the examination library and are now available on this examination web site. The Council has also agreed to publish regular updates of progress on the work to be undertaken, which will also be included on the examination web site.

http://cheshireeast-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/planning/cs/library

Representors and interested parties should use the Council’s website to maintain an up to date awareness of the progress of the Examination and documents that may be added during this suspension.  During the suspension of the examination, the Inspector confirms that no further representations or comments should be made by representors or other parties unless requested to do so by the Inspector or the Council.  If anyone wishes for further information about the nature and content of the additional work to be undertaken by the Council during the suspension period, they should contact the Council direct.     17th December 2014 Kerry Trueman, Programme Officer.

Email: ProgrammeOfficer@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Tel: 07582 310 364

Website: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan

“Communities need greater protection against unsustainable development”

16 December 2014

Committee publishes its report on the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework.

The Government’s flagship planning policy, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), needs to do more to protect against unsustainable development in England and ensure communities aren’t subject to unwanted housing development, says the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee in a report published today.

Protection from speculative development

The CLG Committee found that developers are taking advantages of loopholes in the framework to launch ‘speculative’ planning applications leading to unwanted developments contrary to the wishes of local communities.

Commenting on the Report, Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

“The NPPF has brought welcome simplification to the planning system but the Government must strengthen the planning framework to tackle emerging concerns about inappropriate and unsustainable development. The same weight needs to be given to environmental and social factors as to the economic dimension to ensure the planning system delivers the sustainable development promised by the NPPF.”

The Committee welcomes the Government’s efforts to simplify planning by reducing, in the words of the former Planning Minister, “over 1,000 pages of often impenetrable jargon to around 50 pages of clearly written guidance”. However, the Committee is concerned that communities are at risk of unsustainable development due to the granting of planning permission to substantial housing development on the edge of towns and villages as a result of ‘speculative’ applications by developers. This problem was particularly acute when a local plan or five year supply of housing land was not in place. In these cases, developers take advantage of the absence of the plan or five year supply to seek planning permission in areas that local communities do not consider suitable for development.

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

“Councils must do more to protect their communities against the threat of undesirable development by moving quickly to get an adopted Local Plan in place. The NPPF is designed to work side by side with local plans. At the moment, 41% of local authorities do not have an adopted local plan which is simply not good enough. To put an end to councils dragging their feet on this issue, we call for the Government to make it a statutory requirement for councils to get local plans adopted within three years of the legislation being enacted.

We must also close the loophole that allows developers to challenge the inclusion of sites within a council’s five year supply on the grounds of viability. We heard that developers were claiming sites were unviable in order to obtain planning permission on other, more lucrative sites against the wishes of the council and community. In doing so, they are undermining and delaying the local planning process. Requiring all sites with planning permission to be counted towards an authority’s five year supply will help put a stop to this behaviour and give communities greater protection.”

Assessment of land for housing

The Committee also recommends that clearer guidance is needed about how housing need should be assessed and that local authorities should be encouraged to review their green belts as part of the local planning process.

The Committee agrees that more homes should be built on brownfield land, but is not convinced the Chancellor’s local development orders policy will do enough to stimulate activity. Given the biggest barrier to more building on brownfield sites is the availability of resources to make the land suitable for development, the Committee calls on the Department for Communities and Local Government to establish a remediation fund for brownfield sites.

Support for town centres

The CLG Committee also finds the NPPF and Government planning policies are not doing enough to ensure the health and vibrancy of town centres.

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

“The internet has revolutionised the way we shop and yet too often the way we plan for our town centres seems preserved in aspic. Planning needs to develop greater flexibility to adapt to changing trends and be sharp enough to offer our town centres greater protection. The Government should scale back “permitted development” which allows shops and banks to become homes without planning permission. It is too random and is hollowing out the commercial heart of our town centres. Councils have to be able to plan strategically for the future of their communities.”

16th December 2014 Commons Select Committee 

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What is the Communities and Local Government Select Committee?

The Committee monitors the policy, administration and spending of the Dept for Communites and Local Government, consisting of 11 backbench Members of Parliament chaired by Clive Betts, Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield South East.  The Committee is an investigative Committee rather than a legislative Committee: it sets its own programme and chooses subjects for inquiries.