• Issue 19

  • Dec 2016

The Source

Have a look at our December 2016 edition of The Source.

The Source

Welcome to the latest edition of “The Source” – prepared by the team at Gladman with the specific aim to inform you of curent news and views in land & planning.

We’re pleased to extend this welcome to our many readers who have recently joined our continually expanding list of subscribers. Please use the links below to view all the back issues of “The Source” from the experts in the strategic residential development industry.

This Editions News...

local plansHome from Home? – St. Ives Second Home Ban Found Lawful

With its idyllic landscape, abundance of sandy beaches and countless picturesque seaside villages, Cornwall has always been a quintessentially British holiday destination. For many, the lure of a longer term seafront escape has been too much to bear; Cornwall has one of the highest rates of second/holiday home ownership in the country (as high as 50% in some villages).

Click here to read the full article.

Government Looks for Housebuilding Alternatives

After a government-commissioned review declared that the UK construction industry must “modernise or die”, the government are looking at alternatives to the traditional housebuilding model to meet the rising housing need. One of these alternatives is modular, factory built, ready-made homes. The last time England utilised modular housing was in the aftermath of World War Two. They were built to provide a stop gap to provide much needed housing, but usually of low quality and only intended for temporary use.

Click here to read the full article.

PlansBlockedLost Planning Appeal Costs – How Much?

Property consultants Daniel Watney sent out freedom of information (FOI) requests to the 418 principal local authorities of the UK, asking for details of the costs awarded from appeal proceedings between financial years 2010/11 and 2015/16. Of the 217 councils who responded, 178 had paid out a sum over the past six years, with the overall bill across those councils who responded coming to £11,965,077.

Click here to read the full article.

Mixed News on Housing neighbourhood plansConstruction

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell has recently suggested in an interview that, at the current rate of construction, the target of building one million new homes by 2020, will not be reached. He stated;

We inherited a position in 2010 where house building rates in the country were at their lowest since the 1920’s… We’ve seen significant progress. But absolutely we are still not at the rate that we need to be in order to meet our ambition to get this country building the homes that are so desperately needed”.

Click here to read the full article.

Shropshire Council in High Courtgarden-village Success

Mrs Justice Lang heard Shropshire Council’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to approve planning permission at appeal for 68 dwellings in Ellesmere. The highly anticipated judgment was handed down on the 20th October 2016 and granted the Council’s application to quash the decision.

Click here to read the full article.

new-homesHow Quickly do Large-Scale Housing Sites Deliver?

Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners recently published a study which analysed a group of 70 large sites, measuring the average planning approval period (the period from the validation date of the first planning application to the decision date of the first application which permits development on site). This research focused on two key questions:

  • What are realistic lead-in times for large-scale housing developments?; and
  • Once the scheme starts delivering, what is a realistic annual build rate?

Click here to read the full article.

House Price to Average Wage garden-villageRatio at an 8-year High

According to Nationwide Building Society, a typical UK home is now six times the average annual earning, a height not seen since just before the brunt of the recession in March 2008. House prices have risen by around 20%, while wages trail behind at only 6%.

Click here to read the full article.

Training upeghhj workers for the Brexodus

Arcadis, the design and engineering consultancy, has warned in a report, produced on its behalf by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) that Britain could lose almost 215,000 construction workers if a ‘hard Brexit is carried through. Even a soft Brexit, allowing for a degree of EU migration into the sector, has been estimated to mean 136,000 fewer EU nationals would come to the UK to work in construction. Read more here

Housebuilder News

Latest news from the sector

CountrysideCountryside Properties has seen its operating profit increase by 34% to £122.5 million in the year to September 2016.

This was made on £777 million in overall revenue, 26% up on last year and in the same period housing completions rose from 2,364 units to 2,657 units. Of these, 783 units were delivered by the Housebuilding division, 20% ahead of last year and 1,874 units were built by the Partnership division.

Ian Sutcliffe, group chief executive, said: “We have made tremendous progress in 2016, delivering solid growth, a strengthened balance sheet and marking our return to the London Stock Exchange. We enter the 2017 financial year in a strong position with an industry leading land bank and record private forward order book. Our strategy remains to deliver growth, increasing returns and capital efficiency from our balanced business models of Housebuilding and Partnerships. We see significant growth opportunities in Partnerships with increased estate regeneration in London and our geographic expansion into the West Midlands, while our increased scale and operational efficiency in Housebuilding will continue to improve returns.”

Issuing a trading update for the year ending October 31 2016, Crest said that its open market unit completions rose 7% to 2,292. Open market average selling prices lifted 20% to £371,000. The housebuilder said that its anticipated revenue level was in line with its stated target “and a landmark achievement for the business”. At £344.5 million, Crest’s forward sales are also 5% up on 2015.
At the Redrow AGM on 9th November Steve Morgan, Chairman reported “I am pleased to say that the encouraging sales trend I reported in the September RedRowPrelims has continued. Currently, net private reservations are 6% ahead at 1,660 and the sales rate for the 19 weeks to 4 November 2016 is 0.71 per outlet per week, up 4% on last year. Demand remains strong across the majority of our sites with buyers continuing to make purchase decisions well ahead of build programmes.” The average selling price of Redrow’s private reservations for the financial year to date is £355,000 against the previous year’s £334,000, which includes the sale of the last of its high value apartments in central London. Excluding these apartments, the average selling price remained up at £341,000. Redrow’s private order book stands at £941 million, 29% up on this time last year.

Interesting Appeal Decisions

At Gladman, we monitor all residential appeal decisions issued by the Planning Inspectorate, to better understand current interpretations of government planning policy.

Can a non-designated landscape be valued?

Inspector J Dowling dismissed an appeal for 31 dwellings in Telford & Wrekin Council. Firstly, the inspector considered the policy relevant to the site. The appellant argued that as the adopted policy is pre-NPPF, it must be given reduced weight as it is non-framework compliant by giving blanket protection to the countryside. However, the inspector stated that the policies must be given some weight as they aim to achieve sustainable development, by focusing development within urban areas. The site has no formal designations identifying it as a valued landscape, however the inspector concluded that the site does still have value to those who live nearby and use the site, meaning the development would be contrary to the council’s planning policy which aims to protect rural landscapes. The inspector considered these negative effects of the scheme to outweigh the benefits such as boosting the supply of housing and contribution to local services and the economy.

Major development in AONB does not override housing undersupply

Inspector Philip Major has dismissed an appeal for 40 dwellings in the Vale of White Horse District Council as the scheme counts as major development within the North Wessex Downs AONB. The inspector gave the emerging Local Plan weight as it has gone through an inspector’s interim assessment, which gave positive feedback. As the site is within the AONB, the inspector had to consider whether or not the scheme is large scale development or not. As it would cause an increase in the built-up area of the settlement, the inspector concluded that the scheme does constitute major development. Therefore, the inspector concluded that unless the scheme could be found to have exceptional circumstances to benefit the public interest the scheme must be refused. Firstly, the inspector considered the council only having a 4.1 year housing land supply as not being a significant enough deficit to count as exceptional circumstances. Secondly, he concluded there are many other sites outside of the AONB that could be developed to meet the district’s housing need. Therefore, the inspector refused the scheme as being major development within the AONB, which would alter the character and rural nature of the site.

Strategic Gap is not insurmountable

An appeal for 46 dwellings in Horley, Reigate and Banstead has been allowed by Inspector John L Gray after concerns regarding access and intrusion into the open countryside were dismissed. The application was initially refused with the council citing concerns regarding development in the open countryside, which also breached the strategic gap between Horley and Gatwick Airport. The inspector concluded that given the development and indeed strategic allocations surrounding the appeal site, there would be little material harm arising from the proposal. Further to this, he suggested that the site would be able to deliver housing within the next 5 years, whilst the surrounding SUEs would be much longer term projects. The proposed scheme was considered to be contrary to the Reigate and Banstead adopted Core Strategy, but with the council’s adopted housing target falling some 200 dwellings per annum below their FOAN, the inspector afforded significant weight to the provision of housing. The appeal was allowed.

Scheme enhances sustainability in Unitary Authority with five years supply

The inspector assessing an appeal for 137 dwellings to the south of Ludlow, Shropshire, approved the scheme on the grounds of positive contributions to the sustainability of the settlement. The main topics covered referred to character and appearance of the area; impact on nearby heritage assets; issue of five year housing land supply; and provision of local infrastructure. The inspector considered that the low density of the scheme resulted in a limited impact upon the landscape, character and appearance of the local area. No objections were made with regard to impact on heritage assets by Shropshire Council, however it was the statutory duty of the inspector to raise the issue due to third party concerns. The inspector also did not consider the heritage issue to be significant and attributed it little weight in the planning balance. It was concluded that the council could demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply, but this should not be seen as a limit to the provision of housing. Due to the authority’s lack of affordable housing delivery, the inspector looked kindly on the 25% provision of affordable housing, 10% over policy guidance. Furthermore, the public open space provision exceeded policy provision, making the scheme more favourable in the planning balance exercise. Ultimately, the scheme ticked all the boxes with regard to the three strands of sustainability, as outlined in the NPPF and planning policy guidance.

Demonstrable 5 year supply and significant weight to outdated Neighbourhood Plan but appeal allowed

The application for 100 dwellings within the settlement of Rolleston-on-Dove was called in by the Secretary of State after the decision was quashed by the High Court in May 2015. The SoS agreed with the inspector’s recommendation to approve despite the Neighbourhood Plan progressing to the examination stage. However, adoption of the Local Plan in the meantime resulted in the Neighbourhood Plan group needing to make modifications to their plan and the process had stalled somewhat. Despite this, the SoS attributed significant weight to the Neighbourhood Plan policies. Despite the council now being able to demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply, the SoS looked favourably upon the appeal scheme, being in accordance with the recently adopted Development Plan and the contribution of market and affordable housing being considered a major benefit to the appeal scheme.

Development, in and of itself and its related jobs sufficient to outweigh harms

Inspector Lesley Coffey has allowed an appeal for the erection of 24 dwellings in Flitton, Central Bedfordshire, despite some residents displaying concerns with regards to the oversubscription of existing schools and the added pressure on existing services. However, the inspector afforded this very little weight as no evidence was put forward by the council to support this view. Moreover, the inspector believes that whilst the proposal would encroach upon the countryside it would not harm the character or appearance of the surrounding area and thus the benefits of the proposal; namely the creation of the jobs during the construction period and also the much needed increase of market and affordable homes would far outweigh the negatives. Therefore the appeal was allowed.

Moderate weight to contribution of appeal site to existing 5 year supply

Inspector S D Harley has allowed an appeal in Austrey, Warwickshire, for the erection of up to 23 dwellings even though the inspector acknowledges that the council can demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing land. However, this is likely to be affected by the agreement to accommodate some of Coventry City Council’s shortfall of capacity. Moreover, the Framework is clear that local planning authorities are required to boost significantly the supply of housing regardless of their housing supply position and says that housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Therefore, the inspector takes the view that the contribution of housing stock attracts moderate weight in favour of the proposal. On balance, the inspector concludes that the proposal conforms to the development plan taken as a whole and there are no technical reasons that cannot be overcome. The appeal was allowed.

Conservation Area and Listed Buildings outweighed by affordable housing and housing undersupply

Inspector Karen L Ridge has allowed an appeal in Tackley, Oxfordshire, for a residential development of up to 70 dwellings as the inspector found that there would be less than substantial harm to the significance of designated heritage assets, namely the Tackley Conservation Area and the listed buildings at Malt House Farm. Against this limited harm, the inspector considered the public benefits of the proposal. In this case the inspector believed that the provision of of market housing in the absence of a 5 year housing land supply and the provision of 35 affordable homes would represent a very significant benefit to which significant weight is attached. Thus, the inspector concluded that these benefits when taken together outweigh the less than substantial harm caused to heritage assets. The appeal was allowed.


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