Have a look at our August 2017 edition of The Source.
Please find corrected version of Issue 27 of “The Source”.
Welcome to the latest edition of “The Source” – prepared by the team at Gladman with the specific aim to inform you of current 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.
CPRE Accuse The Government Of Failing To Protect The Green Belt
Research conducted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England has revealed that the number of new homes being planned on green belt in England has increased by over 50% since last year, the majority of which were not classed as affordable housing.
425,000 homes are currently planned for sites in the green belt compared to 273,000 in March 2016. More than 70% of these are not considered affordable.
Northumberland County Council Revoke Core Strategy
Following the election success of the Conservative Party in Northumberland, the council have formally revoked the Core Strategy from examination.
Phantom Homes -Not All Is As It Seems
Housing and homelessness charity, Shelter, has recently published a research paper showing that over the course of the last five years only 68% of planning permissions have actually turned into homes.
Rural Areas Facing Affordable Housing Crisis
The Rural Coalition, comprising 12 organisations such as the RTPI, the Town and Country Planning Association and RICS, have called on the government to include and engage with the rural areas of Britain with regards to a range of topics from the up-coming Brexit negotiations to the desperate affordable housing situation.
Work On Changes To The NPPF Expected To Begin This Year
In a recent speech at the Country and Land Business Association (CLA’s) rural housing summit, DCLG chief planner Steven Quartermain has indicated that the government is expected to begin working on revisions to the NPPF ‘towards the back end of the year’.
Latest news from the sector
Demand for new housing is high
Knight Frank reports that development land prices for greenfield sites in England rose by 0.7% in the year to June. This marks the first time the annual change has increased since the end of December 2014.
While the factors that have weighed on land prices; construction costs, cost of planning, etc., are still evident, there is evidence of improving demand, especially in areas where the demand for new housing is high.
This compares with five of the UK’s key cities where average urban development land prices rose 6.3% year-on-year.
Glee for Gleeson
More house sales and reservations have helped Gleeson exceed the top end of expectations for the recently ended financial year.
The company reported its results with sales at 1,013 homes during the year, up 12% from the prior year’s 904. Reservations in the second half were up 45% year-on-year and they also remained active in purchasing sites, increasing their pipeline of owned and conditionally purchased plots by 25% to 11,588 plots.
Having reached its interim target of 1,000 new home builds a year, that target is to be doubled within five years.
Nine year high for Barratt
Barratt completed 17,395 homes in the year to the end of June, its highest level of completions in nine years.
In a recent annual trading report, the company declared that it anticipates pre-tax profit to reach £765 million (up from £682.3 million) and “ahead of market expectations”. Total average selling price increased by around 5.9% in the year to £275,000 with private ASP increasing by around 8% to £313,000 due to mix changes and house price inflation.
“We continue to see a positive mortgage environment and strong consumer demand” said Barratt CEO, David Thomas.
In the year Barratt says it expects to reach the financial targets set in 2014 of 20% profit margin and 25% return on capital employed.
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.
Inspector C J Ball dismissed an appeal for up to 200 dwellings made by Amstel Group Corporation Ltd. In regards to 5YHLS the inspector concluded the council’s OAN requirement of 420 dpa was “robust” and when incorporating the shortfall and the 20% buffer the council could demonstrate a supply of 5.85 years or at worst against the appellant’s supply could demonstrate 5.14 years. Therefore, subsequent policies are up to date and appropriate weight is therefore applied to these. Due to the proximity to the Conservation Area and a number of listed buildings the inspector deemed there would be harm to these but that it would be “less than substantial”. The affordable housing provision which would be above policy requirement would be a clear benefit but other financial contributions overall attract no extra positive weight as they “would simply fulfil policy expectations”. Overall due to the rural location and Sculthorpe not being targeted for major development in the spatial strategy alongside some harm to heritage assets and the countryside the inspector dismissed the appeal.
Canterbury refused an application for 85 dwellings in Blean on the basis of policy non-compliance, the effect on the settlement’s landscape, character and appearance and affordable housing. The council withdrew 4 of the 7 refusal reasons and partially withdrew another relating to cycle links and accessibility of local services. The inspector found only one emerging or adopted policy, H9, affected the appeal site stating that permission for new residential developement must fulfil various requirements regarding infrasturcture (both social and physical), character, appearance, the historic and natural environments. The inspector found policy H9, despite some ambiguity, was relevant, although the proposal was not in conflict with it. Considerable attention was paid to the housing supply position. Significant slippage on several major projects had occurred and the 5 year supply was at the very best, marginal.
An appeal for 98 dwellings in Coggeshall, Braintree District Council, has been dismissed by inspector Zoe Hill despite the council’s inability to demonstrate a five year housing supply. inspector Hill took the view that the Sedgefield method and 5% buffer was the most appropriate scenario in this case, resulting in a 3.12 year supply. The provision of new homes, open space, social, economic and biodiversity benefits were key benefits of the proposal. However, the development would cause harm to heritage assets and character and appearance of the area. Ultimately, these adverse impacts significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits of the scheme. Therefore the appeal was dismissed.
An appeal for 24 dwellings in Preston has been dismissed by inspector Jason Whitfield due to its unsuitable location and the demonstrable 5 year supply of housing. The appellant argued that the council could not demonstrate a five year supply as a large shortfall in housing delivery meant a 20% buffer should be applied. However, as delivery had been variable over previous years it did not demonstrate “persistent under delivery” and in line with previous appeals a 5% buffer was applied, confirming a robust housing supply. The inspector affirmed that the tilted balance of paragraph 14 was therefore not activated and housing policies were in date. The appeal site was subsequently considered inappropriate in terms of scale, since Policy 1 designates the village solely for small scale and infill developments. 24 dwellings was not small-scale relative to the size of the settlement. He also found the site unsuitable due to reliance on private car travel to access basic amenities. For these reasons the inspector concluded the benefits of the scheme did not outweigh the harms and dismissed the appeal.
An appeal for 10 dwellings in Carterton, West Oxfordshire has been dismissed by inspector R C Kirby despite recognition of the social and economic benefits of the scheme. However, the inspector concluded that the proposal would not protect or enhance the natural or built environment and therefore the scheme did not represent all three elements of sustainable development. Furthermore, the scheme lies within an area identified in the Local Plan to prevent urban sprawl and to protect existing character and hence the inspector deemed the scheme to have a significant impact on character and appearance. While both parties deliberated about whether the council could demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing the inspector stated that there was not sufficient evidence in front of him to make a decision either way. The inspector concluded that the harm from the development would outweigh the benefits and dismissed the appeal.
An appeal for 30 dwellings in Silverstone, South Northamptonshire has been dismissed after the inspector found that the scheme’s harm would be significant. Firstly, the site lies outside the built form of Silverstone village and its development would erode the seperation of Silverstone and West End village. Furthermore, as the scheme is quite seperate from Silverstone village, there would be inadequate access into the village and its facilities as the current footpaths are not suitable for sustained pedestrian use. There were further issues such as the appellant’s failure to submit evidence that the scheme would be safe from flood risk. This led to the inspector dismissing the appeal as its negative impacts would outweigh any positive impacts.