Reforming planning – 1 An underlying conflict

Post war planning controls were brought in to speed development, encourage the right type of development in the right places, and to protect the heritage and best parts of our landscape. Private interests owning land were to be more strongly controlled by government deciding how land can best be used. There were high hopes of a better world from the substantial increase in state control.
In practice the planning system has left many frustrated by its high costs, delays and complications. The truth is there is no easy way of reconciling neighbours who have different views of their neighbourhood, no single answer to what is worth preserving and what modern developments look good or are appropriate, and no convincing way of controlling what everyone does do with their land, whatever the law may say.
Let’s take a common simple disagreement within a community. Mr X lives on the edge of a beautiful Home Counties village adjacent to fields. He paid a premium to buy the house with the views, and called his home Field View House to reflect his priorities. His neighbour, Mrs Y, bought some agricultural fields and wants to make a living from them. She did not have enough money to buy a farm, as even agricultural land values are high and rents low as a proportion of the capital value if you just let the land out to a farmer.
Mrs Y recognised the shortage of things for the young people of the village to do. She proposed a Go Kart course on her field, with her organising the events. Strong village opposition resulted in planning permission being refused, to the relief of Mr X who did not want loud karts revving past his garden.Mrs Y is now pursuing a planning application for a skateboarding park. In the meantime she has offered the land on a short lease to a local farmer, who is using it to fatten pigs. Mr X now has a view of corrugated pig shelters and a once greenfield that is now a dust or mud hole.
The planning authority is caught between these two very different views of what the edge of the village should look like and how working land should be used. They cannot stop agricultural uses as it is currently demarked as farmland. They can prevent the owner from gaining permission for new business uses, and do prevent housebuilding in many such contexts.
In such a situation what should the planners do? Who should make the decision about what Mrs Y can do with her land, and what rights should Mr X have to enable him to enjoy the peaceful use of his garden? How far should the law go in laying down answers, and how far should landowners be free to do as they wish with their land?

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99 Comments

  1. Lifelogic.
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    The planning system pushes up house prices and damages competitivity. Why can you fill a field with throusands of small houses for pigs, without any planning, but not a house for one human? Interesting priorities. Why can you get permission to demolish a small house and replace with a big one but not concent for another little house on the same plot? The system is hugely irrational. The planning officer often look at and discuss your proposals, say you should be fine, encourage an application. Then you waste £1000s applying and they come back with a no. Like most bureaucrats in a position of power they generally do appalling damage. A clear system that said if you have x amount of land you can build a building up to y size and z height – so long as it is not too close to neighbours would be far better. Current rules use phrases like “in keeping” which means totally different things to different people and the planning department can make it up as they go along. Lots of corruption and vested interest often seem to be involved in the process.

  2. Mark B
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Interesting post.

    Mr X purchased his property knowing full well the intended use of the land around his property, including the possible use of it as a pig farm. What did not purchases it in the knowledge of was its conversion to a racing track. He is entitled to object.

    What the changes to the planning laws will mean is that developers will build very expensive luxury home near or on areas of natural beauty and historic interest. All to make a profit.

    It needs to be said once again as our kind host still refuses to listen. You need to tackle the problem at source – MASS IMMIGRATION !

    But the government is hooked on Stamp Duty Tax for its largess. Reduce the largess and reduce the number of people entering the country.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely correct, Mark B. All sorts of euphemisms are used: traffic crisis, housing crisis, NHS crisis, schools crisis, etc. All of which amount to just one thing: a POPULATION CRISIS.

    • Hope
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      JR, unfortunately has not got to grips with the changes to the planning legislation that Boles brought in. Moreover his Govt has still not got to grips with local authority corruption and links to developers.

      Javid having failed to reform LAs still hiked the taxes on us for an inefficient system without any tangible reason to justify the whopping tax hike. Javid now moves on to the HO where he is undoing all the safety measures to protect us against the dangers of mass immigration that his party continues to pursue while lying to cut to tens of thousands.

      We read May has started the final act of the great betrayal by asking do the the last EU txt to be changed so she can justify why her alleged Red lines were entirely rubbed out. Asking the text too reflect a better deal offered if red lines were not fixed! She asked them to write it!

      JRM has every right for every voter in the country to raise the alarm bells, the remainers trying to smear him and stop the story getting out to prevent public outrage. May is going to try to keep the U.K. In the single market and customs union by another name, therefore remain in the EU as a vassal state! Wake up JR she is selling the country out.

  3. Adam
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    The Earth moves, so change happens. Mr X bought a house. The view belonged to the field owner, not to Mr X in perpetuity.

    Parish councils can make arrangements to suit their own people. Property buyers should assess not just what is, but what might become, before committing: unless they are content to accept whatever happens.

  4. jerry
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    “There were high hopes of a better world from the substantial increase in state control. In practice the planning system has left many frustrated by its high costs, delays and complications.”

    Indeed but the second sentence has nothing to do with the first, what causes frustration, high costs delays and complications are protesters and NIMBYs, often a minority of self-serving people holding the rest to hostage, sometimes the entire country. I also dispute that it was just a hope, it was a fact for many, perhaps a majority, that state planning improved their world, even more so once the Parker Morris Committee was published and accepted.

    What is worse, sometimes those holding the nation hostage are government agencies, opposing other government agencies, such disputes should immediately be passed on to Whitehall for a central policy decision, bypassing the usual planning procedures and lower courts.

    “Mr X now has a view of corrugated pig shelters and a once greenfield that is now a dust or mud hole. [..//..] what rights should Mr X have to enable him to enjoy the peaceful use of his garden?”

    Having bought next to working agricultural land, if he is miffed he should seek redress from is solicitor, after all they appear to have failed in their duty to do a proper ‘search’, on the other hand if Mr X bought his dream in the full knowledge he would be living next to working agricultural land what right should he have to be a MIMBY.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Jerry

      I agree with you to some extent.

      I have lived for many years in a house surrounded by fields and no neighbours which is nice. A property developer has just received outline planning for 30 new homes in the field next door. Its disappointing but I’m not objecting as thats how the market is and we need new homes.

      However I also own commercial premises in a local town and I recently expanded them to include the next door building. The planners totally refused to change consent from retail back to office use, despite the fact that the “shop” had been empty for some time. The only reason they cite is that they had included it in their “retail plan” Despite there being dozens of empty shops. This is the major problem with planning, like so much else the public sector/government does it is behind the curve, focused on jobsworth one size for all and doesn’t use common sense over local decisions. Oh and of course the council also took the opportunity to charge me business rates on the whole building as if it was all retail when two thirds is office. I know pay higher rates than the local Tesco.

      Back to my house. Planning permission has been turned down 4 times in the past on that field. The reason its granted now is because the government pay local authorities more in grant money for number of new builds these days.

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Buyer beware Mr X, his solicitor should have checked and informed him of the status of the field and possible future planning permission changes during the buying process. He can justifiably complain about an active nuisance (noise, smell, loss of light etc.) through change of use but not about the value of his property being reduced due to the view not being maintained.

  6. DUNCAN
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    If Labour achieve power and that’s a distinct possibility with this useless PM at the helm then the planning system will become little more than a tool of the socialist state and an individual’s concerns will hold zero worth.

    Private land will be sequestrated in the name of the people which under socialism usually means brought under political control of the ruling party and further centralisation.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Perfectly described Duncan. Corbyn and his Marxist chum McDonnell are the UK equivalent of the Castro brothers.

  7. agricola
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I find it ironic that Mrs T may is getting tough with the Brexiteers in her party after her failure over the past two years to get tough with the EU. I look forward to reading her definitive White Paper on Brexit on Friday.

    When fracking is undertaken with a degree of urgency I will begin to believe that any form of planning actually exists in our shambolic progress through time.

    • Hope
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      This is in line with slapping down Boris for promoting govt policy to leave but do nothing against Hammond or Clarke for helping to promote remain. Civil service not challenged or censured for underhand dishonest KitKat policy to hide costs and ties to EU when she head of the that body! Anybody now would have sacked Robbins for his abysmal failure to negotiate anything or fail to get any compromises from the EU. No one would let those who failed to negotiate under Cameron anywhere near this negotiation.

      May’s agreement with the EU in December and March were dreadful in the extreme. It defies belief why no attempt has been made to rid her from office.

      We read today how Cameron’s team asked Obama to make veiled threats to our country, Osborne did the same with German minister Schauble. Acts of traitors.

  8. eeyore
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Mr X’s position was clear: if he wished to preserve his views he should have bought the fields himself or at least rented them from Mrs Y. No doubt she would have charged a rate which reflected his special interest.

    In truth, we all live at the mercy of our neighbours, most of their depravities are not covered by the planning system, and much of the rest is left to individual planners’ discretion. We may tackle our neighbour directly, but when systems take over we are often helpless.

    It is noteworthy that nearly all that we cherish in our built environment was created long before planners were dreamt of. When each man did what was right in his own eyes he frequently created lasting beauty. Now he submits his judgement to a functionary’s and we see hideousness perpetrated, seemingly without limit. I wonder why.

    • Evan Owen
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Well said sir

  9. LiamB
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    All purchase agreements should have a statutory inbuilt limit of say twenty years before anyone can consider using the property or land for something else other than what the intended use was when bought- that should slow things down and make Mrs Y think twice

  10. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Mr X is lucky. He might now have a view of a stonking 8 lane motorway at the bottom of his garden – or a HS2 railway – or the largest airport ever.
    Fortunately for Mr X, the use that Mrs Y makes of her land is still contrained by the local authority planning acts.

    We live in the most densely populated countries in Europe. Enough is enough!

    • Bob
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      England has a higher population density than India.

    • Andy
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      No we don’t. Belgium, the Netherlands, Monaco are all more densely populated. Far less than 10% of the UK is built up. We have plenty of space – we just don’t use it sensibly.

      • graham1946
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        I have still not heard you say why they come when they are already in the paradise of the EU. Nor any reason for us to pay to import their products or support their kids who have never set foot in the country. You are totally clueless. A business man? What a laugh.

        • Bob
          Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          graham1946

          “A business man? What a laugh.”

          I think he’s in the business of schilling for the EU.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Samara, Mr X might also have to put up with a bloody great wind farm next to his home. He may not worry about the view but he will be about the noise which he will have no control over if it is erected too close, which is often the case. Trying to get peace and quiet back is an expensive process and very long winded. Nobody gives a stuff.

    • mickc
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      And where are you going to house the growing population?

  11. Peter Miller
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    For those, like me, who have been through the planning process and been refused permission for reasons that are totally irrelevant and where there is no oppsition to the plan whatsoever, I can confirm there is something very wrong with the system.

    My best was: “You have not allowed for a ‘reptile refuge’.” Translated this means a loose pile of old logs, a comfortable home for rats.

    We all know monstrosities that have been nodded through, while reasonable and rational plans have been summarily refused. The current system is perhaps best described as ‘The Tyranny of Petty Bureaucrats’.

    • Bob
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      When a neighbouring property built a monster extension with multiple violations of planning rules the objectors were told by the planning committee that each application has to be assessed on it’s own merits and the rules are just guidelines.

      Curiously, their architect has a track record of successful applications that fly in the face of planning regulations.

      • Sakara Gold
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        These things are usually decided in smoky rooms by men wearing aprons. Who knows what their priorities are?

  12. Andy
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    My guess is that both Mr X and Mrs Y are at least in their 50s – probably older.

    Because if they were in their early 20s or 30s the real problem for them would be not farms or pretty views but whether or not they can afford to buy a windowless, gardenless flat the size of a cupboard for less than £250,000.

    More probably they would be deciding which shared flat to rent a room in, or considering whether or not they can bare to return – with their partner – to live with their parents.

    • Eh?
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      @Andy

      “…the real problem …whether or not they can afford to buy a windowless, gardenless flat the size of a cupboard for less than £250,000.”

      There are much cheaper homes elsewhere in the UK starting as low as £40,000. Check out the internet with a title such as “House for sale for less than £4o,000” and then ask the same question for £50,000.
      I saw an ex-front bench Labour MP on TV coming out of her terraced house in London.In a town near me, a look-a-like three-bedroomed house asks “In excess of £50,000 close to amenities” etc. The exterior looks better than her house. The neighbourhood, I know it, is safe too. Plenty of local employment.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Andy

      Yup I bet the millennials and generation Z really hate Generation X and early millennials for crashing the financial markets and ruining mortgage availability

      You must be ashamed of what your generation did

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      And that would be on a 50k plus salary in London/SE.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Andy, pathetic as usual. Isn’t it the case that most people unless born with a silver spoon in their mouths struggle to get on the housing ladder in the first place? Do grow up.

  13. Andy
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the NHS is working out how to carry on supplying drugs to pensioners when the trade barriers you all voted for are erected after Brexit.

    I suspect they will have difficulties. I hope none of you need the medicines which there will be shortages of – that’d be unfortunate, particularly if you voted for those shortages.

    Who is working on the PR for when we get our first Brexit related medicine shortage death? Please let it be Iain Duncan Smith whose sent round trying to defend the indefensible.

    • Dr Who
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Andy. “Meanwhile the NHS is working out how to carry on supplying drugs to pensioners when the trade barriers you all voted for are erected after Brexit.”
      Yeah the same high-tech people who well into my twenties promoted the eating of apples in every dental surgery both on wall-posters and the giving of free apples to little children “to clean their teeth”
      The Vikings and Anglo Saxon mead makers knew all about sugar and acid in fruit.They said so at teatime last Thorsday.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      What barriers are you predicting?
      Currently there are no barriers importing into the UK
      The Govt is not proposing any new barriers.
      Please explain your fears and why there will be shortages.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Andy

      Oh dear you are scrapping the barrel of absurdity now. Of the worlds top 10 pharma companies 5 are US 1 UK , 1 German, 1 French and 2 Swiss So why you think that drugs which mostly come from outside the EU will be in short supply I’ve no idea

      Only a complete simpleton could think that just because we aren’t in a customs union that drug companies will stop selling drugs especially as it again like cars is one of their major exports , are you sure you’ve ever run a business Andy? If so doing what ?

      • hefner
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Good, Libby, you have finally done your homework and now stop claiming that practically all EU pharma companies are from the UK. Never too late to grow up.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          Doesn’t alter the project fear claim which is complete nonsense that the UK will run out of everything after Brexit

        • libertarian
          Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          hefner

          ALL EU pharma companies from UK.. ??? What are you blathering about?

          Ive never said anything of the sort, I said that 5 UK Pharma companies are amongst the biggest in Europe ( hefner still not learnt that the EU isn’t Europe smh)

          Heres the list

          GSK ( Worlds 5th Largest drug co)
          Astra Zeneca ( Worlds 6th largest drug co)
          Shire
          Vectura
          Genus ( animal drugs)

          Never too late to grow up? you ought to give it a try

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Goodness me, how do all the countries around the world, not in the EU, get medical supplies? Particularly all those countries that don’t have their own pharma industry.
      If you had said “How will our pharma industry cope with EU trade barriers?”, or “How will the NHS afford drugs after the economic consequences of Brexit ruin the country’s finances?”, your comment might have been more credible.
      Your comments are a welcome change from the pro-leave echo chamber comments normally found here, but can you please make them more incisive?

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Try buying an atlas Andy, there are about 150 countries not part of the EU and most seem to do well . Perhaps we can get our medication cheaper through not having to pay the common external tariff which you are so proud of.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Ian,

        How was it you spelled De Gaulle?

        • libertarian
          Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          hans

          Oh dear, that is your contribution. I just went back over 10 of your tweets and found at least 8 typo’s and 7 grammar errors !!!

      • Andy
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Out of 196 countries in the world, all of the EEA countries (and the small ones which surround them) are among the top third of wealthiest per capita. Most in the top fifth. All of the European countries outside of the EEA are poorer. Which, in a few years, is where Brexit Britain will be.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

          That is a ridiculous use of statistic.
          Among the 196 countries are many very poor nations like Venezuela Zimbabwe Haitti North Korea and war torn nations in Africa and the Middle East
          You need to compare the UK and EEA nations with other wealthy democratic industrialised nations, Australia Canada South Africa Singapore New Zealand

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      My advice to you is to calm down and try to stay on topic, you are clearly obsessed by Brexit.

      • jerry
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Roy, most people on this site, from host to mere pleb are “clearly obsessed by Brexit”, nor is it a criticism!

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      We’re not allowed to mention the murders committed by EU migrants, or those killed by EU taxi drivers. Nor are we to mention those dying in MHS queues behind EU migrants.

      • Andy
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Please mention them – and name them. You might get to single digits.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          We’re not allowed the information. Information on Brexit deaths will be given in great detail, no doubt.

    • mickc
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      The drugs will be readily available on the world market….probably for less than now.

  14. Peter
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I am more concerned about local councillors approving plans for expensive high rise apartments that are good for developers and possibly good for councillors with links to such developers.

    The result? A pleasant SW London suburb turning into a latter day Croydon.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Peter

      Good job you dont live in Manhattan then, you’d hate it

      Hi rise doesn’t have to be like Croydon, or indeed the Clem Attlee estate where i grew up either

    • jerry
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      @Peter: “The result? A pleasant SW London suburb turning into a latter day Croydon.”

      Just remember, in your (great) grandparents day that nice SW London suburb you talk about in such glowing terms was a green and pleasant field enjoyed by the lucky few who already lived in the area, than planners (or at least someone) allowed it to be turned into a sprawling ‘Metroland’ disturbing their peace and tranquillity… Sorry but your comment, like so many in this debate, is what is so wrong with this country and why we lack vital infrastructure or enough Homes etc, being a NIMBY’s in a phrase.

  15. wab
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    As the great man Mr Heseltine pointed out long ago, the problem with the planning system is that the people who lose are not compensated, and in particular you are not allowed to object to a planning application based on loss of property value. If Mrs Y had to fairly compensate Mr X then Mr X would be less upset (probably still somewhat upset because of all the hassle, etc.). As it stands, any planning success for Mrs Y means that in effect the council is forcing Mr X to write a large cheque to Mrs Y. The State is one of the worst offenders in this regard. Most people are not properly compensated for State infrastructure developments. And on the flip side, most people who benefit from State infrastructure developments pay nothing for their free money since primary residences are not subject to capital gains tax.

  16. Peter
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile we await the outcome of the Brexit talks on Friday at Chequers. I am not sure how it will play out. I suspect a sell out from May though:-

    Red lines to disappear. ’Pragmatism’ now used as a code word for surrender on Radio4. (‘No Deal’ rarely gets mentioned as a sensible option anymore.)

    Were such a surrender to happen, my preference would be for the Samson option to collapse the government. May says she is ready for a challenge but she would be seriously weakened and her downfall would be inevitable.

  17. isp001
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    If Mr X wanted a guarantee on a view of unused fields then he should have bought the fields as well as his house. I would be the first to defend the rights to ones own property. I am the first to criticise people who try and use government to get something for free, whether it is farmers who mostly farm subsidies, or those who would have the government block new home construction to get some benefit for themselves (in this case the view).

    Using government to limit the supply of housing to the benefit of homeowners and causing enormous costs in quality of life for younger generations is foolish. I know I am going to lose 500k on the supposed value of my house. What I care very much about is my house losing value because this government has loosened rules and increased the supply of homes – making many peoples lives better – rather than it going down because a Labour government sticks stupid taxes all over the place making no ones lives better.

    Planning constraints have a purpose on not putting drug rehab clinics or sewage plants in the middle of residential areas. This is a far more limited set of purposes than our current system.

  18. Pat
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    If Mr. X wants to retain his view he should either buy the fields or rent them from Mrs Y. He may well have paid a premium for the view, but he didn’t pay it to the person he expects to supply it. Of course he could club together with others that value the field as a field thus spreading the cost.
    After all nobody would ask him to arrange his property to suit the neighbors.

  19. DUNCAN
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Cameron asked Obama to lie for him. Cameron asked Obama to tell the British people prior to the EU-Ref that they would be at the back of the queue for a US FT-Deal should they vote to leave the EU

    When a Tory PM, yes a Tory PM is deliberately conspiring to damage British democracy and British interests to pander to the interests of the EU then we must conclude that even my own party despises the UK

    It is my firm belief that Theresa May is also playing a game of conspiracy with the EU to undermine Brexit by asking Juncker etal to behave in a truculent fashion so that May can create the impression that she’s being forced into a corner

    Cameron and May are a disgrace to my party and to my country and we expect Eurosceptics to depose this PM before its too late

    Planning permission systems are of no significance when compared to the pernicious and destruction of this great Office of State’s obligations and responsibilities we are now witnessing

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:28 am | Permalink

      She is a disgrace. However Tory MPs should start by insisting that she gets rid of her ill-chosen favourite who is clearly exercising an evil influence over her. That is the way that it often started with medieval monarchs, blaming the favourite.

  20. Bob
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    When Barack Obama said that Britain would be a the “back of the queue” for a trade deal if we voted to leave, Nigel Farage said that that he had been told to say that by the Project Fear Campaign.

    Well, as usual, Mr Farage was absolutely right yet again, as reported by Guido

    “Confirmation from ex-White House staffer Ben Rhodes on the Today programme this morning that David Cameron and his aides asked Obama to say Brexit would put the UK “at the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the US.”

    • HarveyG
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Bob..there is absolutely no guarantee that we are going to get any kind of a worthwhile deal from the Americans. Trump is clearly off his trolly and will be there for only two years more..but what damage is he going to do in the meantime and also what kind of an administration is going to follow him?
      For his part Nigel Farage is an opportunist who happened on the black arts and with the help of some other wealthy malcontents he is chiefly responsible for leading us to this situation we find ourselves in..i can’t see any satisfactory way out now..in fact I think we are bunched..I wouldn’t mind so much if we had some deals with new international partners lined up? but we don’t

    • Timaction
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Well who would have thought that the legacies would lie over the EU or anything else?? Our electoral system is not fit for purpose and we need to take back control and reform our electoral system so it’s fit for the 21st Century and the English people!

    • Adam
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Those who attempt put-up lines cannot conceal convincingly. Even 2 secs of TV viewing distinguishes actors from real-life. Obama’s effrontery & failure helped our LEAVE! vote succeed.

    • Chris
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I think many of us knew that at the time on account of the silly slip they made using the word queue instead of line. Obama, if it had really been thought up by him, would not have used the word queue. They were very stupid and also arrogant thinking we would be fooled.

      • jerry
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        @Chris; If Obama had been addressing the USA he would indeed have likely used the word line, people in the USA stand in line, but it is well know that the British “queue”. Lots of meanings get lost in translation between British English and US English, such as the phrase “washing-up”, same words, different meaning!

        As for the citation by @Bob, by way of the Today programme interview, would that be the same Ben Rhodes who is currently promoting his new book (published on the 5th June 2018) that promises “a revelatory behind-the-scenes account”?

  21. a-tracy
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Well, there are a lot of variants in this proposal, how close-by do the locally elected councillors live to this site? Is the landowner connected to the Council in any way? How many residents would complain about the site, just the one? (If so their chances of overturning decisions are virtually zero) if there are several householders who are organised by the main objector say because of the noise of a go-kart centre disturbing their peace all weekend long then there may be a chance to overturn decisions. Too many people don’t even look at proposals until it is too late and their lifestyles are ruined because they didn’t bother to read a local notice usually placed somewhere rarely seen or in a local paper no-one buys. I wonder if this landowning lady would put a go-kart track next door to where she actually lives?

  22. bigneil
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The outcome will depend entirely on which person is the closest “friend” of the planning people. Eventually the village will be surrounded as more and more housing is built, because the floodgates are still open for the planet’s freeloaders to come. This island is NOT a Tardis.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Mass migration for over20 years and 8 years of more Tory broken promises. Not my fault as I didn’t vote for them as they never deliver!!

    • jerry
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      @bigneil; “This island is NOT a Tardis.”

      But nor is it a Penny Black postage stamp either.

      Funny how space in finite in say Manhattan but there seems little problem in accommodating the ever growing businesses and population. With the obvious regulations, think “Air rights”, high-rise was never the problem, it was how the UK implemented it in the past, whilst often forcing totally unsuitable families into such accommodation.

  23. margaret
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Planning should be by a collective and support initially the environment . Leisure space, should be seen as a different issue . There should be allocated space and within that space adjustments made as trends continue and change.
    A town where many tin shed works are put on main roads should not be considered as not helping the environment. Farming land again is allocated and changes made within .
    If more land is required for he agriculture , then I should say that we need to stop the builders creating a cement hell.
    If there are not enough houses to go around then there are many other countries who do have unused acres.

    • margaret
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Correction . Tin buildings do NOT help the environment and aesthetic appeal.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      margaret

      According to the National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA). carried out in 2010 just 2.7% of England has been built on ( this includes everything built, not just houses and commercial buildings but roads, railways, car parks etc) . 12.7% is woodland ( the highest amount of woodland cover since records began and would you believe at a similar level to that recorded in the Doomsday Book) . If you leave out urban green space such as city centre parks, gardens etc ( the report estimated that 54% of urban areas are in fact NOT built on) still only 10% of England is built on. Rivers, streams, canals, reservoirs, water courses account for 6.6%

      I was astounded when I read this research. I live just 30 odd miles from central London and as I drive around and look its true there are fields everywhere, land doing nothing, scrub land, theres space everywhere you look. I’m not suggesting we need to build on it, I’m saying though that as far as buildings are concerned the country is fairly empty

      • margaret
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        I have read similar. If we consider all the traffic now on the road and the general congestion everywhere , it is hard to believe. I suppose 8 years have made a difference.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Off-topic again, this beggars belief:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44671507

    “Brexit: Third customs model devised ahead of cabinet talks”

    “Downing Street has produced a third model for handling customs after the UK leaves the EU, the BBC understands.

    Details of the new plan have not been revealed publicly but senior ministers will discuss it at Chequers, the prime minister’s country retreat, on Friday.

    Ministers have been involved in heated discussions recently as they tried to choose between two earlier models.”

    That’s “two earlier models”, one of which – the one preferred by Theresa May, on the bad the advice of her evil genius Olly Robbins – is patently insane, unless of course his real plan is to make it a bit easier to wangle us back into the EU at some point in the future – and both of which have already been rejected by the EU – and as long ago as last August, according to some chap on TV yesterday.

    And apparently there is now a renewed movement towards:

    “Let’s just be like Norway, or maybe Canada; that will save the EU the trouble of working out a new, bespoke, arrangement specially for us; after all we are a very small and weak country and we do not deserve any special treatment, do we?”

    Even though NEITHER OF THOSE TWO COUNTRIES IS IN ANY CUSTOMS UNION WITH THE EU, and the Irish government long ago flatly rejected the idea of any customs checks at the land border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, even at a very “light touch” customs border like that between Norway and Sweden:

    https://news.sky.com/video/is-the-norway-sweden-border-a-solution-for-ireland-11141058

    “Is the Norway-Sweden border a solution for Ireland?”

    Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar droning away near the start of that video:

    “No hard border, no physical infrastructure on the border …”

    As he had no doubt already told the Theresa May at the meeting in Gothenburg.

    And the Irish Europe Minister Helen McEntee going even further to rule out:

    “… anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland … ”

    It is now being alleged that Theresa May has been deliberately slow in openly recognising such awkward realities so that time will run out and she can bounce her Leave ministers into some treacherous “Brexit In Name Only”, “compromise” which she as an unreformed Remainer would very much prefer.

    I trusted this woman enough to vote for her in the last election, for the first time; with every passing day it now seems more likely that she is set upon betraying that trust, and amazingly there are many Tory MPs who are prepared to support that betrayal.

  25. mickc
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    The planning system is utterly corrupt and favours large developers who have the resources to throw at appeals, lawyers, and other professionals. They are also able to employ former planning officers….who naturally will previously have favoured those developers applications.

  26. TomTomTom
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    My village, in SE Oxfordshire, has had 700 houses built in the last 4 – 5 years.

    Everyone is fed up because:

    * There have been absolutely ZERO improvements to the infrastructure. No extra school places, no improvements to the roads, no additional GP services.

    * There’s no end in sight. Every month there seems to be an additional planning application to put up another collection of “Luxury Homes”

    * It doesn’t help the local people and their kids, because a “Starter Home” is still priced at around £400k ( 4 bed @ £650k )

    * There is constant disruption, noise and damage caused by all heavy vehicles moving through the village. Traffic is now horrendous.

    * It doesn’t help the local economy in the short-term. The “builders” bus in their own teams, who do the job and then move on. The local tradesmen don’t get a look in. No skills are developed within the local area.

    * We voted on a community plan ( turn out high, vote for 85% ) – but that whole exercise seems to have been completely ignored. It made no difference.

    * No improvements to local transport links ( the bus services were cut, so the opposite in fact )

    * Moved in a number “problem families” from Oxford, this was probably seen as a good idea, get them to start afresh etc etc. Issue was, they were cut off from their support networks, friends and families, unemployed in a village with only a 2% unemployment rate where everyone is either working or retired and where the nearest town is 5 miles ( which is a long way if you have to walk ). Wasn’t long before they started causing trouble and were evicted.

    In short, there is no buy-in from the community, objections are ignored, opinion dismissed as NIMBYism and no sense of “ownership” from the community over the plans.

    It feels like some out-of-touch politician has just decided whats going to happen and that’s that.

  27. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    John

    I imagine that the issue set out in your message would be resolved via the traditional exchange of brown envelopes.

  28. Pragmatist
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Plenty of cheap houses in Bulgaria and Romania…with massive gardens and views A fact in many EU countries. It’s the overall very low standard of living in the EU which is responsible and which remoaners recommend for us all. But then with five million EUers living here and a quarter of a million migrants joining them each year we can expect what we have got in the arenas of property accommodation , health care, transport, road and rail networks, agricultural production, lack of another runway.
    Migrants may hate cheap big houses, huge gardens, magnificent views. They have come to the right place.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Planning rules don’t work.

    As famously the main Glastonbury stage, a permanent structure, is officially a cow shed.

    Too often local politicians fail to represent the locals properly, selected from very narrow sections of society as they are.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    https://order-order.com/2018/07/02/cabinet-brexiters-silent-robbins-rubs-red-lines/

    “Cabinet Brexiteers silent as Robbins rubs out red lines”

    As my UKIP friend over in Wokingham used to say:

    “You can never trust the Tories on the EU”

    and he was damn right about that.

    And what has Graham Brady got to say about this?

    It was only on Thursday that he was saying that the government should stick with the principles that Theresa May laid down in her Lancaster House speech:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/06/28/the-eu-summit/#comment-943433

    What is he saying now, that all ministers and Tory MPs should unite behind whatever treachery Olly Robbins has persuaded Theresa May to adopt?

    The Tory party will be finished off if she keeps listening to him; but maybe he wouldn’t be too bothered about that either?

  31. mancunius
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    And why is English agricultural land now so pricey? Why has so much of it – particularly in the green belt – been bought up by well-off private investors and left unfarmed?
    A. Because the purchasers hope to obtain building permission.
    And in the fullness of time, as politicians begin to address the electoral rebellion of the propertyless, and the need to build, they almost definitely will.
    Labour use immigration as a way of consolidating their vote. The weak-willed Toty answer since 2010 has been ‘more of the same, but slightly less than Labour’. That is not an effective strategy.

    Btw the ‘right to a view’ is not an argument that planning departments ever consider when judging an application. It has not counted as a ‘statutory right of easement’ in English law since 1610! As others have said, Mr X ‘s solicitor should have pointed out well before exchange of contracts the possible uses and changes of permitted use of the neighbouring land.

  32. hefner
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Really strange to have JRM discussing/condemning Robert Peel and his repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 when most historians agree he and it were the reasons for the 19c decisive shift of the UK towards free trade. Even more surprising from s distinguished History graduate from Trinity College. Does he really put (bit of his Party) before Country?

    • Hope
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Hef, a little premature and inaccurate. He did qualify his comment if you read the quote properly. You regularly tell people to do their research……

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    More models than Hornby our prime minister, all wishy-washy psuedo remainer drivel

  34. PrezleB
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    There are too many busybody Mŕs Y out there..to buy a field zoned for agriculture should remain zoned for agriculture..but of course the type of agricultural purpose can change and then affect visual impact on neighbours which is not good..however bad smells and noises are something else and bye laws should be in place

  35. David L
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    A few years ago a property was built opposite me that blocked the westward views previously enjoyed by several households in Wokingham. Repeated refusals of planning permission were over-ruled on appeal, the objectors being told there was no right to a view.
    Sadly, the whole town is now a chaotic mess, with so much new housing and little in the way of facilities for the huge population increase. If it wasn’t for my wonderful neighbours I would be tempted to get out.
    A former planning officer told me “A Developer is someone who wants to build a house in the countryside; a Conservationist is someone who already has one.”

  36. TedC
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    One thing for Mrs May to do now is to sack all those ministers plotting against her and then stamp on Rees-Mogg and the other back bench mischief makers..time is up

    We want a deal..we need a deal..if Liam Fox could only tell us that there was some other way to go and demonstrate to us how much better off we would be with no deal then we could take notice..bùt so far nothing..so we have to be practical..sensible..and go for the best ywe can ..and hope that the EU goes with it

    • mancunius
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Oh, it’s you yet again, with the same old same old.
      No, we don’t need ‘a deal’ on the EU’s terms, because those terms as presently framed and demanded by the EU would leave us enslaved as a nation to the tyrannical whims of Brussels and the economic and political interests of France and Germany.
      Mr Rees-Mogg has pointed out that there are ministers within the cabinet and civil servants within the government who are trying to frustrate the Prime Minister’s clear policies, re-stated clearly many times, of not remaining in the single market and not remaining in the customs union.
      The people voted to leave in the referendum, and voted against single market and customs union by voting for main parties who represented 87% of the seats at Westminster.
      Most British people would now vote to get on with Brexit – we can easily live with WTO rules with the 27, and that is the practical and sensible way to carry out the orders of the British people and the promises of the Prime Minister.
      ‘Hoping that the EU goes along with’ any proposal we might make for free trade is doomed to failure. The best we can do is to strike their fetters from our wrists, and swim rapidly away from that sinking vessel.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Mancunius. Totally agree with you. JRM is right to criticize May. The public expect the referendum result to be honoured fully.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

      We need a Prime Minister who can be trusted, not one who lays out her negotiating objectives in January 2017 and then later quietly reneges on them.

  37. Blue and Gold
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Just seen Mr. Redwood’s interview on the excellent Channel 4 news.

    It was a squirming, toe curling performance.

    God help the citizens of this country.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      What an odd view
      I thought he was excellent.
      But then you think Channel Four is excellent.
      Isn’t democracy and diversity wonderful.

      • mancunius
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Edward – Quite! :-))

    • Moorish
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Yeah Channel Four is creepy. It used to be for the more intelligent.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Blue and Gold. I don’t agree in the slightest but then you always find it hard to say anything decent.

    • Peter
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      I just watched that too.

      Mr. Redwood was fine – when he was allowed to get a word in by Jon Snow. Channel 4 did not succeed in portraying Conservatives as ‘never so divided’, nor indeed of setting John Redwood and Simon Hoare against one another.

      Mr. Redwood is holding the Prime Minister to her words and not rocking the boat. Standard practice for most party politicians.

      I just hope Mrs. May does not let him down at the last moment.

    • Norman
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Just checked it out, and was much reassured. I think it was Jon Snow who tripped over himself!
      1. Many thoughtful citizens of this country ARE concerned about a clear, clean Brexit;
      2. The haggling reflects the enormity of this historic cross-roads for our country, which a majority of citizens wisely discerned, and want to see delivered;
      3. Euro-sceptic MPs are at pains to ensure OUR voice is given the weight it deserves, as the PM formulates our (hopefully) final attempt to find an agreeable deal with the EU, that does not compromise the will of the people. WELL DONE JRM, JR et al – you have spoken up for us exactly as we wanted you to: THANK YOU!

  38. ChrisS
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    There is no reason why every village can’t have ten or so new houses built on the outskirts and made available to local youngsters that meet a defined family and residency test.

    They could be sold at a low figure as long as there are restrictions for, say, ten years. That means they can only be sold on at the same proportion of market value to other youngsters who meet the same test. If no youngsters come forward to buy, they should be bought by the local authority for the same discounted price and rented out until another youngster comes along wanting to buy.

    A one off granting of planning permission for this class of housing would mean that the landowner would get a useful but modest amount more than agricultural value.

  39. Hiker
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I should have added: And the excavated peat processed adding possibly lime and other ingredients to allow the very acidic peat to perform a balanced growing medium for garden centres.
    Also a professional landscape gardener, a professional landscape artist, an ecology biochemist, a wildlife specialist, amongst others appointed to a “Recovery and Restoration of the Landscape”.
    Saddleworth moor is in fact a British “dustbowl” with ill-use of the land the cause over centuries. We don’t wish to have bogs surrounding our towns an villages.

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    There is a bigger issue than this in South and South East England. Immigrants pour into London, causing house prices to rise and increasing the relative attractiveness of satellite towns. Many of the indigenous population leave London, etc ed

    The Daily Mail compared the 2001 and 2011 Censuses in order to demonstrate the effect. Greater London’s population increased by approximately 1,000,000 from 2001 to 2011. This was the net effect of 1,600,000 immigrants and an exodus of 600,000 from London.

    The pattern of behaviour is ongoing. One of the broadsheets recently reported in its property section on new arrivals in ten satellite towns (Dartford etc) over the last couple of years. Over 50% had moved from London. Much of the information came from Estate Agents.

    The conclusion is that, in order to facilitate a level of immigration that we do not want, we have to tolerate a level of house building that we do not want. Please don’t trot out the tired excuse about the UK needing more workers. It is estimated that robotics and artificial intelligence (particularly AI that allows robots to learn from their mistakes) will destroy about one third of current UK jobs.

    I want a reform of the law, which parliament can and should deliver. All local plans in South and South East England should be subject to formal review in 2022, by which time our immigration policy should be known following a General Election. That’s in your in tray, Mr Redwood.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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