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Housing development powers for villages
#1
The government plans to allow villages in England to build homes without seeking council planning permission, as part of David Cameron's Big Society plan to allow more decisions to be made locally. The Campaign to Protect Rural England has said that development should remain in the hands of democratically accountable councillors and what about the archaeology? OR is it carte blanche free for all?


I did hear it had to be an 80% majority of a village in favour, however, the whole point of a planning system (however cumbersome) is to be accountable and to have wider and broader vision. Plus... as villages are often ancient settlements themselves... i will leave it there! :0
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#2
Ye Gods, yes I saw that item and was apalled. Obviously my first thought was indeed what about the archaeology, but overall what a stupid and ill-informed idea. Probably most "villagers" would want to stop any development anyway, to protect their own pseudo-rural lifestyle and property values, but how many have the faintest idea how to go about a development, or what might constitute good or bad, over (or under) development, architecture, road layout, infrastructure, security, effects on roads, schools etc. and so on? Presumably they will still be subject to Building Regs so things like fire access, drainage, services, and so on will still be subject to control.

Let's hope it's just another soundbite thing that will die a well-deserved death.
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#3
the invisible man Wrote:Let's hope it's just another soundbite thing that will die a well-deserved death.

I would agree - I heard the tail end of a debate with a very reasonable sounding environmental person on Today this morning (making valid points about ensuring that any development is consistent with the surrounding environment in the most holistic sense of the word) and a rather stereo-typical politician who seemed hellbent on extolling the virtues of localism because of the experience of his village.

I was not at all placated by the definition of a small development as less than 10 houses.

I think I heard this would apply to green belt land as well......
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#4
Here is the full text from the Tory Party policy document; 'Strong Foundations building homes and communities Policy Green Paper No. 10 p. 23-4' its rather long I am afraid.

Quote:We will therefore legislate to allow the creation of new bodies – to be called Local Housing Trusts – for those
villages and towns which wish to develop new housing to benefit their community. These bodies will have
unparalleled power to develop new homes and other space for community use, subject only to the agreement
of local people.
Under our Local Housing scheme, any community which wishes to benefit from development could essentially
provide themselves with permission to expand, as long as they can demonstrate that they have met various standard
criteria. In particular they will have to demonstrate strong local approval for their planned development – with no
more than 10 per cent opposition in a community referendum. The community in this case is defined as residents
on the electoral register within the relevant parish or town council. Any Local Housing Trust development will
also have to be ‘in keeping’ with the area’s existing architectural style.
Strong Foundations: Building Homes and Communities
The type and quantity of housing to be built will be for the Local Housing Trust to decide. We anticipate that
communities might wish to build 5-10 properties, which could be a mixture of market housing for sale, affordable
housing for rent, sheltered housing for elderly local residents, or low cost starter homes for young local families
struggling to get on the housing ladder. As well as building homes for existing local residents, Trusts may well
also wish to advertise housing to attract new residents to move to the area. This is particularly important in rural
areas where shrinking populations threaten the continued existence of local services like post offices, GP surgeries
and schools.
Having consulted on the details of their plans and polled to secure their community mandate, the Trust will present
a dossier on their proposed development to their local planning authority. The role of the council will be to check
if the necessary criteria have been met. We will legislate to ensure that if the criteria have been met, planning
permission is automatically granted; if not, then the decision will revert to the local planning authority and be
treated as any other planning application.
In other words, provided a community can agree on the size and type of housing development that it wants, it will
get a mandatory presumption in favour of the development from the local planning authority. This will provide
genuine local democratic control over the delivery of new housing, as well as significantly speeding up
development. And because so many of the communities that will benefit from Local Housing Trusts have spent
years being stifled by top-down plans, the new housing they deliver will be in additional to, rather than in place
of, development elsewhere.
As well as housing, Local Housing Trusts will be allowed to assist the community by providing other services
for the benefit of local people. For instance, they might offer long-term low rent commercial accommodation
for a village shop on a serviced tenancy, a community hall, or a sports facility.
Crucially the constitution of a Local Housing Trust will ensure that the benefits of development will remain within
the community in perpetuity. So any affordable housing that is sold at below market rates to local residents cannot
be subsequently sold on the open market, but can only be sold back to the Trust and therefore recycled within the
community.
In order to prevent overdevelopment, Local Housing Trusts will be able to expand the size of the community
by a maximum of 10 per cent over any 10 year period. This will ensure that local infrastructure can cope with
the number of new residents, although, as mentioned above, new development may actually be necessary to protect
the viability of local amenities.
Local Housing Trusts will be required to undergo extensive consultation with the local community regarding their
development plans. As part of this consultation process, we will permit Local Housing Trusts to increase or
decrease the number of houses proposed depending on the number of interested parties. Provided a Trust
has not exceeded the 10 per cent expansion limit, we will allow individuals to seek to ‘bolt on’ additional
new housing units to the development. Such individuals will have to demonstrate that they can borrow the
money necessary to build a new dwelling and, as before, their applications will be subject to an approval
threshold from the community (no more than 10 per cent opposition). They will also have to agree to be
bound by the same constraints on benefit as the rest of the Local Housing Trusts, including being ‘in keeping’
with the area’s existing architectural style.
I particularly like this bit:

Quote:Provided a Trust
has not exceeded the 10 per cent expansion limit, we will allow individuals to seek to ‘bolt on’ additional
new housing units to the development.
The full Tory Party Policy on planning can be found in another 'Green Paper' called 'Open Source Planning' which can be found via google.
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#5
presumably the local authorities can reduce their development control budgets and my council tax will go down
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#6
Could be the death-knell for a lot of small archaeological consultancies, I can think of a couple of people who pretty much rely on these types of development
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#7
I imagine it the other way there might be more eia based work
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#8
Hmm, tories pushing policies that enable wealthy landowners to rack up more cash faster without those annoying oiks whinging about their precious badgers or ancient bones.

Who who have guessed it!
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#9
"Having consulted on the details of their plans and polled to secure their community mandate, the Trust will present
a dossier on their proposed development to their local planning authority. The role of the council will be to check
if the necessary criteria have been met. We will legislate to ensure that if the criteria have been met, planning
permission is automatically granted; if not, then the decision will revert to the local planning authority and be
treated as any other planning application." (My italics)

Aha. What does this bit mean then? My first reaction is that it means that if the proposal would have received consent anyway, it will be automatically granted. If the criteria have not been met, a full application is required and presumably will be refused! In practice no doubt it is intended that a dialogue wil ensue, i.e. the LPA will advise the Trust what amendments etc are required. I am not clear however if there is a fee for "presenting a dossier" to the LPA for "checking". If not, why does any other applicant have to pay a fee and not a village trust, thus getting free advice?

I wonder if there will be restrictions on who the trust can borrow the money from - a developer, perhaps?

Architecturally, the blanket condition that the development must be "in keeping" is oppressive, stifling and ill-informed.
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#10
Given that the (mostly middle class dormitory) villages round here are Conservation Areas and populated by Nimbys, they tend to oppose new development anyway. The blanket condition that develpment will be 'in keeping' doesn't sound too far off the tenet to 'preserve or enhance the character' that underpins Conservation Areas. That, in itself is surely no bad thing.

Unit of 1 : Given that Development Control is one of the few bits of your average council that can meet many of their costs by charging developers (planning fees), you are (as usual) talking a load of rot. Also, EIAs for 20 houses? Since when?

This is a weird bit of potential legislation though... Firstly Local Plans and housing allocations may still be quite valid, and still have a lot of life in them. And Councils have generally put a lot of effort into identifying housing capacity (not to mention, in line with regional targets in Regional Plans - now binned). It's all a bit 'baby out with the bathwater'. It will also do little to address genuine housing need in the south east now these targets and plans have been removed. But will please those who wish to see no development in their twee commuter belt villages (Tory voters).
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