The Government’s Shift in Emphasis on the #NPPF – A Presumption against unsustainable development

“What I am saying today is that the Government are committed to doing far more to publicise those recent cases widely, to provide reassurance that unsustainable development should be resisted.” Stephen Williams MP, Parliamentary Under Sec of State DCLG

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions


Rebecca Harris (Castle Point) (Con): I appreciate that the Minister is saying that two thirds of council decisions are upheld, but is he aware that sometimes the Planning Inspectorate is used as bogeyman or fairy-tale villain by large-unit developers or town planners, and the effect is, “Come on councillors, be good children, hurry up with your local plan, put in large sections of greenbelt development; otherwise the Planning Inspectorate will get you”? Wittingly or unwittingly, the Planning Inspectorate is being abused in this way.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Stephen Williams: I hear what my hon. Friend says and she clearly has loud support for that.

Following your exhortation, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will skip the various examples I have of different planning appeals around the country. What I am saying today is that the Government are committed to doing

26 Jan 2015 : Column 638

far more to…

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No right of appeal for communities

Planning minister Brandon Lewis has reiterated the Government’s determination not to allow third-parties, or even whole communities, to appeal against grants of planning permission.

The minister was responding to a Westminster Hall debate secured by Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris who sought only a right of appeal when an unspecified number of those affected in local communities signed their names.  She argued that changes in the planning system have moved ahead far faster than community rights, even though legislation for both was parallel.

“We do not, at this stage, support the proposal for a community right of appeal,” responded Mr Lewis “This would create a further opportunity to challenge development proposals in a system that is already geared towards ensuring that the views of third parties are heard and understood.”

He said planning reforms were intended to allow community input through neighbourhood plans and local plans – at the beginning of the process, not the back end.

“The minister’s point is that the appeal system was intended to provide redress for the individual owner,” said Ms Morris.  “I understand why that change was made. I think we are at a point in history where we should review again the importance and value of a community, and we should seriously consider its having a voice now, given how closely we live together and how many houses are built in such close proximity.”

She said a community right to appeal would mean they would at last see some fairness, developers would be encouraged to engage with them and councils would think long and hard about issues other than the community infrastructure levy.

“In future we would create communities rather than blocks of houses,” she said.

But Mr Lewis said a community right of appeal at the end of the process is too late to allow meaningful engagement and had the potential to slow down or even prevent sustainable and appropriate development at a time reforms are geared to speeding up planning.

Update from Holmes Chapel Health Centre on housing:

Are you a registered patient at the Holmes Chapel Health Centre?

We are aware that one of the big topics of concern for residents of Holmes Chapel and the surrounding area is the increasing number of housing developments being submitted and approved locally.

Patients of the Holmes Chapel Health Centre are rightly concerned as to what impact this increase in the local population will have on the Health Centre and what plans are being put in place by the Health Centre to accommodate an increase in the number of patients.  The Health Centre is in contact with the local Parish Council and Eastern Cheshire Councillors and is aware of the developments being proposed and/or progressed.

Unfortunately additional clinicians and staff cannot be put in place in advance of any projected increase in patient numbers; NHS funding is only made available to us based on the actual number of patients registered as patients of the Health Centre.  This means that GP Practices have to react following an increase in population size, rather than the more desired approach of proactively recruiting prior to an increase in population size.  The Health Centre Management is also looking at our building facilities and has approached NHS England for support and guidance on how we can best provide the right facilities in the coming years to enable us to manage a larger population of patients.   Please be reassured that we have no intention of closing our patient list to new patient registrations.

Patient Online Services (Patient Access)

Patients of the Holmes Chapel Health Centre can now access a number of services online, these being:

  • Booking of appointments online
  • Requesting repeat medication online
  • Updating your contact details online
  • Viewing key information from your GP Medical Record online (current medication, immunisation, allergies)

In order to register for access to the online services (known as Patient Access) patients must attend the Health Centre in person, bringing with them two forms of identification (one photo ID and one address ID).  Patients must also provide a valid personal email address.  Please contact the Health Centre for further details.

Patient Newsletter

The January 2015 Patient Newsletter is now available, containing useful information for all of our patients – this can be downloaded from our website or a copy picked up from the Health Centre or Library.  Download your copy of the Patient Newsletter here.

If you use Twitter you can follow the Health Centre (@HolmesChapelNHS) and be kept up to date with any news or advice.

Would other patients of the Health Centre find this newsletter helpful?

Please spread the word, all that patients need to do is provide us with their email address and we will add them to our distribution list.  Email to :

Kind regards,

Dean Grice,  Practice Manager

 Holmes Chapel Health Centre 

January 2015

Sign petition asking for a pause in planning decisions

Villages like Goostrey are joining together to sign a petition to “Put on hold for 12 months decisions by the Planning Inspectorate in respect of the speculative developments by Gladman and others which are outside the settlement boundaries of the old District Plan and which are being pursued because the new Local District Plan has not yet been finalised”.

” I am asking you to please support my campaign to halt for a 12 month period decisions by the Planning Inspectorate on  these green field sites where building would not normally have been permitted under the old Local Plans and allow the democratic procedure to draw to a conclusion. Sites that accord with the NPPF and are identified in the Local Plan should ensure that sites outside the new settlement boundaries will be better protected by local plan policies and supported by the local communities. This approach will more closely reflect the Localism agenda in a meaningful and consistent manner. PLEASE VOTE to help my community and the many others similarly affected to determine our own future.”

Read the petition to Eric Pickles and sign here:

Shear Brook comments extended to Feb19th

Cheshire East have extended the time period for comments to 19th February.   This is because they omitted to advertise the fact that the proposed site is in close vicinity of Swanwick Hall which is a Heritage Asset, being a Grade II listed building.  Also Jodrell Bank, less than 2 miles from the site and inside Goostrey Parish, is a Grade I listed building and also on the UK short list for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

However the committee date is still scheduled for the 18th Feb – so get your comments to them in good time!

Shear Brook Action Cttee suggest that “comments/objections to applications affecting listed buildings can include things like adverse impacts on their “setting” – e.g. interfering with the “the surroundings in which the asset is experienced” (the Gladman field is part of the historical Swanwick Hall Farm, and Jodrell Bank is currently clearly visible across the Gladman field from the Public Footpath), or on the asset’s “social or economic viability” (e.g. interference with the Lovell may affect the telescope’s future viability and education work). If you do wish to object on this Heritage Asset point we suggest you put in another e-mail.”

JBO object to Shear Brook application

Professor Garrington has objected to the application on Shear Brook:

The amount of interference received at the telescope from a given location depends on the distance from the telescope and the intervening terrain as well as the strength of the emission itself. JBO has constructed detailed maps of the loss due to distance and terrain based on digital elevation data supplied by the Ordnance Survey and internationally recognised propagation models (ITU P.452). The calculations take into account diffraction over the terrain profile from each location to the focus of the Lovell Telescope and assume a frequency of 1.4 GHz, one of the key protected bands for radio astronomy and the typical observing frequency for the Lovell Telescope.

This analysis confirms that the proposed development itself is likely to generate interference which exceeds the internationally agreed threshold for what constitutes ‘detrimental interference’ to radio astronomy observations. This threshold is defined by the International Telecommunications Union in ITU-R 769 and is used in national and international spectrum policy negotiations.

This work has now been extended in order to put the potential emission from a proposed development in context of existing developments across a wide area (up to 40km from JBO). Again using high-resolution digital mapping from the Ordnance Survey the distribution of buildings can be overlaid on the radio loss map. In order to assess the relative contribution from different locations, the number of buildings and their area can be used as an indicator of the potential for radio interference. Hence estimates can be made for the potential interference arising from all development as a function of distance and direction from the telescope.

According to this analysis the proposed development could increase the total potential interference in that sector (10 degrees wide, out to 40km) by at least 10%. This is a significant contribution even as a single development and JBO would therefore oppose this development.”  Extract [our bold].

read the whole letter…. Continue reading