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”

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”