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”

Trees In Court: A Festive Special

Trees stir emotions. Dwarfing us in their scale and their natural lifespan, they are integral to, define and inspire our built and natural landscapes. Their leaves connect us with the changing seasons. But they can be inconveniences: their roots, their debris, sometimes even their very presence. The £1m lime tree Who would spend £1m litigating … Continue reading “Trees In Court: A Festive Special”

First World Problems: Basements

Does anyone actually need to excavate a basement? Despite, or because of, the cheek by jowl impacts on neighbours arising from the construction process and/or concerns as to structural implications, basement excavation does have one benefit – of regularly testing various areas of planning law.  Permitted development rights We have yet to see whether Team … Continue reading “First World Problems: Basements”

Affordable Housing & Viability: London Leads

Full credit to Sadiq Khan for pressing ahead with his heavily trailed draft Affordable Housing and Viability SPG  despite the Government’s inexplicable delay in publishing the Housing White Paper (whatever its contents prove to be). The deadline for consultation responses to the draft SPG is 28 February 2017. As the draft warns, when the Government’s … Continue reading “Affordable Housing & Viability: London Leads”

Politician, Heal Thyself: Pruning Planning

Let’s not use the term “red tape”. It is a value-laden term liked by politicians as it suggests that we are all tied up by unnecessary bureaucratic procedures which have arisen by way of inefficient administrative processes, when the truth is that our planning system (and every other arm of government I would therefore guess) … Continue reading “Politician, Heal Thyself: Pruning Planning”

Mending Aarhus

On 1 April 2013 the Government changed the Civil Procedure Rules to introduce a system of automatic costs capping  for judicial reviews in England and Wales in relation to “environmental matters” (a broad definition that embraces many “planning” JRs). This was to seek to comply with the Aarhus Convention’s principle that access to environmental justice … Continue reading “Mending Aarhus”

Devo West Mids

Connecting the dots as to the Government’s policy announcements is never easy for all of us on the outside, trying to work out what they may turn out to mean in practice.  An evidence session today with the West Midlands Land Commission was a good excuse for me to get to grips, belatedly, with what … Continue reading “Devo West Mids”

There Goes The Neighbourhood? Recent Challenges To NDPs

There is still significant legal debate as to what is the proper scope of neighbourhood development plans. This has resulted in a series of cases in which the parish council or neighbourhood forum that has promoted the relevant NDP sits on the sidelines (due to lack of resources) as the borough or district council which … Continue reading “There Goes The Neighbourhood? Recent Challenges To NDPs”

Building Homes By CPO

This blog post supplements a 27 October 2016 Planning Futures event  hosted by City University on the role of compulsory purchase in solving the planning crisis. Any discussion like this needs to be in the context of wider legislative and policy initiatives in relation to the operation of the planning system, of seeking to ensure … Continue reading “Building Homes By CPO”

Noise Annoys

We’ve surely got to find better solutions to the conflicts arising between residents (in both new and existing homes) and noise generating or noise sensitive uses. Otherwise we will kill those activities that make cities what they are and an important element what attracts people to live in them in the first place: nightclubs; cinemas; … Continue reading “Noise Annoys”