London Calling: Mayoral Interventions

Sadiq Khan is now 10 months into his role. How has he been using his Mayor of London Order 2008 powers to intervene in relation to strategic planning applications? The number one priority in his manifesto was, after all, to: “tackle the housing crisis, building thousands more homes for Londoners each year, setting an ambitious target of … Continue reading “London Calling: Mayoral Interventions”

Aarhus: Caps In The Air Again

 The Aarhus Convention requires that access to justice in environmental matters should be “be fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive”.  Dear patient reader, you will recall that in 2013 the Government introduced a relatively simple mutual costs capping system. It is described in my 19 November 2016 blog post Mending Aarhus, along with a summary of … Continue reading “Aarhus: Caps In The Air Again”

Completion Notices: More Pointy, Still Pointless?

Completion notices have always been a blunt tool, little used by local planning authorities. The Housing White Paper proposes sharpening them, but to what end? If we blow the dust off a bit we can remind ourselves that the current completion notice procedure in sections 94 and 95 of the Town and Country Planning Act … Continue reading “Completion Notices: More Pointy, Still Pointless?”

Five Problems With Neighbourhood Plans

The real effects of neighbourhood plan making on housing delivery and on the efficient, democratic operation of the planning system are hard to pin down and yet the Government continues to champion its role. Are we really heading in the right direction? After all, despite the positivity of government sponsored initiatives such as mycommunity.org.uk  it … Continue reading “Five Problems With Neighbourhood Plans”

From The White Paper Mountain, What Do We See?

After so long we have reached the top of the mountain: the white paper and accompanying documents have all been published today, 7 February 2017. However, now we see a series of further peaks on the horizon.  A good way into the white paper itself, Fixing Our Broken Housing Market, is to start at the back … Continue reading “From The White Paper Mountain, What Do We See?”

Hillingdon JR: Lucky Strike Out?

In R (London Borough of Hillingdon & others) v Secretary of State  (Cranston J, 30 January 2017) the Government achieved an impressive strike out of the first challenge to the proposed third runway at Heathrow, following the Government’s 25 October 2016 announcements. My 15 October 2016 blog post Airports & Courts wins no prizes for predicting … Continue reading “Hillingdon JR: Lucky Strike Out?”

What Happened To The Beautiful Jigsaw? Government Policy v The Plan-Led System

“If we are doing things in parallel, it does mean when we get towards the summer we can make sure these things are knitting together properly and actually bring them together, with those pieces of the jigsaw starting to come together as one whole piece—hopefully, one whole beautiful piece as well” – Brandon Lewis, then … Continue reading “What Happened To The Beautiful Jigsaw? Government Policy v The Plan-Led System”

The Rest Of The Iceberg: Delegated Decisions

What percentage of planning decisions would you say were made by officers, acting under delegated powers, rather than by members? Back in 2002 the then Labour Government introduced a target that 90% of planning decisions should be delegated to officers but in recent times ministers appear to have gone quiet on the issue, despite greater … Continue reading “The Rest Of The Iceberg: Delegated Decisions”

Level Playing Fields: Football Stadia & Planning

Professional football throws up such planning dilemmas. Stadia developments, usually now accompanied by a panoply of other uses, are space-hungry beasts, with extreme peaks in terms of traffic movements and noise. Football clubs are powerful institutions, often not driven by rational economic considerations, able to generate letters of support for their proposals from around the … Continue reading “Level Playing Fields: Football Stadia & Planning”

That Written Ministerial Statement

Gavin Barwell’s 12 December 2016 Neighbourhood Planning: Written Statement  has attracted criticism not just for its content, but for inserting significant changes to the operation of the NPPF without prior consultation and without indeed making an amendment to the NPPF itself.  Paragraph 49 of the NPPF provides that: “Relevant policies for the supply of housing … Continue reading “That Written Ministerial Statement”