Reforming planning – a five year supply of land

The biggest planning issue that confronts my constituency of Wokingham is that surrounding the pace of housebuilding.

The government and planning system lay down that Wokingham Borough, not the same boundaries as my constituency, has to allow the construction of 900 new homes a year. To do this the Council needs to set out in a local plan where the homes should go, and has to grant sufficient planning permissions to allow this to happen. The government planning system requires a Council to make available a five years supply of residential plots. If the Council does not do this, there is every likelihood that additional planning permissions will be granted in the Council area on appeal by Planning Inpsectors. Failure by the Council to make 5 years available gives the Inspectors the right to override the Council’s local plan, and to grant additional permissions elsewhere.

Wokingham has granted 11,000 permissions for individual new homes that have not yet been built. Commonsense tells you that this means the Council has made available a 12 year supply of land for the 900 a year build rate. Until recently the planning establishment took the view that Wokingham had a supply lower than five years. They came to this conclusion from looking at the actual build rate achieved, rather than at the outstanding permissions. Developers were also suggesting they could not build and sell at the required rate from the four main areas for housing expansion in the local plan and reflected in the permissions granted.

It is possible for a developer to get substantial permissions granted on one site in a given district, to build out at a slow rate, and to gain planning permissions on appeal on other sites it has acquired in the same district. Or it may be that some other landowner benefits from the slow build rate. Sometimes it may be true that the developer cannot build and sell at a fast enough rate. Other times it could be gaming the system, deliberately going slow on an agreed site to win permission on a contested site.

I am currently in discussion with the government over how this system can be reformed. A local authority like Wokingham which is co-operating fully with the national policy aim of increasing housebuilding should not be undermined by grant of permissions on appeal elsewhere in its area outside the local plan. The whole point of a local plan is to set a sustainable pace of building, and to concentrate the development to make it easier to provide the additional roadspace, schools and health facilities a growing community needs. Such planning is more difficult and dearer if the Council loses control of where the bulk of the new homes will be.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Many thanks to our kind host in highlighting this problem and the work that an MP must do for his constituents.

    The government and planning system lay down that Wokingham Borough . . .

    And to me is the heart of the problem – central government. I do not believe that it his colleague that are setting these targets but Civil Serpents. One can, if so minded, can even link this to the EU and their desire to engineer major social change in England and to make us more European.

    As many here I am sure will agree, over centralised government and no effective voice for the English leaves us at their mercy. I fully expect MASS IMMIGRATION to continue after we have left the EU in name only with the hope of wiping out staunch English Euroscpticism.

    • Hope
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Mark, once more you are correct. I do not agree about Civil serpents, they can only operate under a Tory minister. The ministers must either get a grip and delve amongst the weeds or ship out.

      The failure in the Tory Govt. five year land plan is the lack of the commensurate five year public service plan to accommodate the increase in population and the infrastructure required ie Roads, waste and water and energy and public services health, education and blue light services. Rudd having lost 56,000 illegal immigrant people this year told the police the day after that any request for more money would fall on deaf ears! The victims of her appalling policy must be furious with her and the Tory govt, when so many people have been murdered and robbed this year and a worse crime record than New York!

      This failure to plan was totally absent when the Tory Govt built the Tory urban ghettos across the country. Hence all services overwhelmed.

      Javid failed to take into account that NHB and CIL money given to councils for each house built when he hiked our taxes for council inefficiency. If had bothered to speak to Boles he would have found out that the Tory govt cut council grants and replaced with CIL and NHB to provide councils an incentive to force councils to build for the Tory mass house building policy to help its mass immigration policy.

      • Hope
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Now councils have the 5.6% hike plus add ons and all the NHB and CIL money as well! Javid now moved on to create his next disaster in the Home Office!

        With failure like this May will fast track him and make him a Lord!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Well said Mark. I look forward to seeing what this ‘3rd option’ will look like but I suspect like you that it means we will be out of the EU in name only but still at their beck and call for eternity. As I said to my husband 2 years ago. We will never get out. ‘They’ will never allow it. I was right and so we see we have no democracy really.

  2. oldtimer
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Interesting. I know next to nothing about this system. Does this mean that communities which have developed their own, resident inspired local plans (with government encouragement) could be over ridden in this way too? I am thinking of places like Ascot, one of the first to prepare such a plan. I took the time to download it and read it – I thought it very imaginative and constructive.

  3. Prigger
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Well Councils will have to get together and ensure central government fails miserably in re-peopling our land. Either they do that or lose local power in every constituency except the acquiescent London ones who love living like battery hens

  4. Adam
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Wokingham entangles itself in a needlessly-complicated way of attempting to solve the wrong problem.

    Why struggle to squash in 900 homes every year while allowing 244,000 new immigrants to fill them even faster?

    If Wokingham has an increasing headache, it could take more aspirin. However, sensible folk would instead stop banging themselves on the head with the hammer. Deal with the CAUSE Wokingham, then the symptoms won’t occur.

    Ask your MP to remedy your plight, or vote for one who shall.

    • Chris
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      The refusal by government and so many MPs to recognise the actual cause of the need for very great numbers of houses is, as you state, the cause of the problem we have. Political correctness (driven by those pursuing cultural Marxist policies to stifle free speech in order to effect the left’s agenda) ensures that we will be forced to endure continuing unsustainable increases in population each year with large swathes of green belt sacrificed. If a problem is not correctly identifies, then there is no hope of actually addressing it effectively. Just sticking plasters in the meantime, plus the destruction of the countryside, the environment and our social fabric/communities.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, Adam.

      Housing crisis + NHS crisis + etc etc = population crisis.

      Sorry. I’m repeating myself.

      • Dennis
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Quite correct L Jones.

  5. Sonia MacDonald
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    The provision of essential services – education, health, sewage, waste disposal, transport facilitation – should not be half-hearted additions to plans for high-growth areas, but should be of primary consideration.

  6. Pragmatist
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I think people in Wokingham should be compelled to take in lodgers instead.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry Pragmatist. Corbyn will make sure we all take in an illegal immigrant.

      • tapped
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        No Corbyn fan but this is snide.

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, if anyone would like an early sight of next week’s long awaited White Paper it has already been put on the internet, even before the Cabinet meet to discuss it …

    “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union”

    OK, so I’m fibbing, that’s not the new White Paper – Theresa May’s favourite unelected official Olly Robbins is still writing that – it’s the February 2017 White Paper.

    The White Paper that has been mostly forgotten, thanks to various Fifth Columnists deliberately muddying the waters over the past sixteen months, the one produced following Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech of January 17th 2017:

    “The government’s negotiating objectives for exiting the EU: PM speech”

    You can see there at the bottom a suggestion that we “Read the government’s White Paper on the UK’s exit from and new partnership with the EU” at the given link.

    So why do we desperately need a new White Paper?

    To renege on commitments made in the Lancaster House speech and the previous White Paper, that’s why we need it, that’s what it’s all about.

    It’s not a case of nasty Tory backbenchers trying to bully Theresa May into adopting one form of Brexit rather than another, it’s a case of insisting that she sticks with what she herself promised, and moreover promised before and at the last general election.

    As for Hague butting in today, we long ago learned not to trust him.

    • Hope
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      The same Hague who changed his mind on lots of things when he stayed with his staffer overnight.

      • tapped
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Say what you mean. Truth is all.
        Let him who is without etc

      • tapped
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Big integrity test here.

  8. Timaction
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    We don’t need any of this building if you listened to the English people and stopped mass migration.

    We don’t have a schools, health, housing, congestion, social services problem.


    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      It is the low earning of most of the immigration that is the problem. Most earners in the bottom 50% of earning are a net negative in terms of tax receipts (after direct benefits they receive). So where is the money to provide housing, schools, more roads, police, social services and other infrastructure and the rest going to come from?

      Hence we have taxes rising every more under Hammond (fuel duty next it seems or NI of pensioners) yet public services are dire and decline by the day. The NHS is often worse than useless causing more harm than good in many situations. Despite all the drivel about its 70th birthday. Let us hope it dies soon and is replaced by something that can actually work.

    • Dennis
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Immigration does not help but the real problem is the 50 million plus too many people in the UK. If 10 million population the no worries about energy needs, pollution levels, housing , etc., etc. and a sane lifestyle ensues.

  9. ChrisS
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The building of new homes in the UK is currently a private enterprise activity.
    While this remains the case, developers decide the rate at which they build out their sites.

    Clearly good developers will balance their need for turnover with their desire to maintain the highest possible sale prices. That normally means keeping the supply of brand new homes down to being slightly less than the perceived demand.

    As long as they lay down a minimum amount of footings and, maybe a drainage connection, they can get a Certificate of Lawful Commencement which completely removes the requirement to build the house within the three years specified by John Prescott in the planning rules.

    As a small developer, I have built six houses and done several major refurbishments, all employing local building tradesmen but that is now all but impossible.

    The problem is that there is now no real opportunity for small, local builders and self-builders to acquire a single plot. Local Authorities should be equipped with the powers to designate some sites for this purpose as it will also bring benefits to local contractors and suppliers who are often shut out of the bigger sites.

    That would also break the hold over supply of the major developers.

  10. miami.mode
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    As with energy companies and water companies, house builders will play the system whenever possible.

    A major house builder recently reported profits equating to around £60,000 per dwelling.

    The government needs to get seriously involved if it wishes to hit its targets.

  11. Ian wragg
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    A little off topic but I believe Gove is flying a kite about cancelling HS2 that would get my vote.
    Someone in the Tory party who realises taxes are at maximum and we could release £billions from this and reducing foreign aid. Perhaps if you can deliver Brexit and espouse some common sense policies there may be hope.
    I see Mays mark 3 customs policy is to keep us in the Single Market for goods. She really must go

    • stred
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Whether or not we join some customs union or single market, the UK will be outside the EU and need to have an electronic customs system in order to operate WTO rules or declare that good comply with EU regulations.

      JRM has written in the DT and Sun that we will have system ready, thanks to Steve Baker’s efforts. In the same edition of the DT in the business section there is an article by Juliet Samuels in which she visits ports and finds that the WTO electronic system works very well for goods arriving by container but there is still no system which will allow lorries to roll on and roll off at ports. Where lorries are stopped, they need parking arrangements and there is not enough room at Dover. What is also almost unbelievable is that a suitable electronic system will take two years to develop and that, after two years since become PM and declaring that Brexit means Brexit, May has still not placed an order or decided whether she needs one as a no-deal necessity.

      Who are we to believe. If May/Hammond and the civil service have deliberately avoided ordering the equipment and building lorry parks in order to make only bad deals or capitulation the choice, then this can only mean gross incompetence or treachery. If they are not ousted, the Conservative party will be blamed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Good for Gove perhaps he is coming back to sanity. I thought he had gone completely mad after his knifing Boris (lumbering us with this dim, dithering remainer socialist). Then he idiotically suggested VAT on private school fees and plans to ban electronic dog collars! Yes please kill HS2 now. Hinkley C is the wrong project too though I support nuclear power. Kill all green crap subsidies for wind, electric cars and PV too.

      Indeed kill about 1/2 of government most does more harm than good. Certainly kill the current NHS recruiting “advert propaganda” too. It is clearly totally politically motivated and should thus be illegal.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    If such house building plans work it will collapse the economy. For this reason housing will be deliberately released to market slowly.

    Country despoiled with no affordability benefits.

    The majority of voters do not want mass immigration – this should outweigh Andy’s claim that we should have it because we have space.

    Why is Andy so amgry ? We largely have the policies he wants, even cannabis has been legalised in practice.

  13. Lesley
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Rock and hard place.

  14. NickC
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    There are officially over 9 million people in the UK not born here, most in England. That figure is almost certainly a considerable under estimate as the NINos indicate. If only half of that number went home there would be no housing (or infrastructure) shortage. In addition crazily high house prices would drop, benefiting the young. And England would cease being the most overcrowded nation in Europe (bar minor/city states).

    • jerry
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      @NickC; Nonsense. House prices will only start dropping when property is no longer seen as an investment, or part of a pension pot, market value being everything, the more the better. We did not have the problems we have today back in the early 1950s through to the late 1970s when the UK also had similar and perhaps higher immigration – but back then both the Labour and Conservative parties were tripping over themselves to pledge/cite the highest yearly house building numbers.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Property is an investment and quit a large one. Building things cost money. It it is not an investment why would any one build them? Not that that means it will always increase in value.

        But houses are needed just as much if not more so than factories, plant, ports, roads, cars, buses, truck and aircraft for a sound economy.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Jerry etc

        The numbers

        In 1951

        UK total 14.1 million dwellings

        4.1 million owner occupied

        2.2 million social housing

        6.5 million private rentals


        UK total dwellings 27.2 million

        17.8 million owner occupied

        4.9 million social housing

        4.5 million Private rentals

        • jerry
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

          @Walter; Your point being what, those are meaningless number unless referenced against the adult population at the time, then of course you appear to have cherry picked, what about the significant building and population booms of the 1950s through to the late 1970s…

          • libertarian
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink


            I didn’t cherry pick anything thats exactly as it appears on the official website

            I checked for you the population of UK in 1951 was 45 million , the population in 2010 was 63 million…

            Are you a bit simple? Can you not work out where the new dwellings came from ? 13 million extra dwellings MUST have been built in the intervening years… Blimey even when I back you up with the official stats you try to start an argument . Grow up Jerry and stop picking fights where none exist I provided the facts that supported your argument you numpty

          • jerry
            Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            @Walter; The problem is when the new dwelling were built, perhaps they were all built in 1955, or perhaps it was 1965, but then again perhaps it was 1995, or perhaps there construction was spread over the 69 years in varying quantities… Thus the figures you post, in your high-and-mighty way [1], are totally meaningless, no conclusions can be made, what ever the source, can you not see that?!

            [1] without the bibliophile way of Denis Cooper, what website or publication are you citing Walter, please?!

      • NickC
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Jerry, It’s called suppl;y and demand: when the demand drops, so do prices. You need to learn about it.

        • jerry
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; EXACTLY! That is what I have been saying, and why it is has been in the interests of both builders/landlords to restrict supply and for home property owning NIMBYs to object to new build, it keeps prices artificiality higher than they should be.

  15. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The concept seems ludicrous. 900 new homes a year – forever? So, in 50 years there will be ANOTHER 45 THOUSAND homes. We’re on our way out of this area. It becomes more like a suburban sprawl every day.

  16. BOF
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Another good reason for developers to game the system is to keep the supply of houses tight to maintain high prices. Look no further than their bonuses!

    I see Mrs May is not talking about a new immigration policy to control the flow of people, the main reason why the country is being concreted over.

  17. BOF
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    OT. I sincerely hope that Mrs May’s 3rd way (is it alchemy?) will also be torn up. Outside the M25 we really have had enough of this ridiculous nonsense. The only sensible thing now is for no deal and WTO, but common sense seems in short supply.

  18. Peter Parsons
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    One solution – abolish things like stamp duty, business rates, Section 106 payments and council tax and replace them all with Land Value Tax.

    LVT was good enough for Adam Smith, Henry George and Winston Churchill. It should be good enough for us.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Trouble is you have to find large sums of cash each year just because you own some freehold land.
      Where does that cash come from?

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        The same places everyone else who has to pay a tax bill finds it from.

        • Dennis
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2 where everything comes from – the ever depleting environment.

  19. Peter A
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The story is one of adequate planning permissions but slow house building. As a person doing a self-build project I think one avenue to explore for reasons why there is a slow rate of new-build completions is the fantastic increasing cost – so many regulations to comply with, many of which add very significant cost. Where is the money coming from to pay for these added costs? It is no longer a dead cert for builders to make a profit on their work.

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I watched Theresa May answering questions from MPs yesterday, and once again I wondered why she, and her government as a whole, are always holding back from crushing those who came out with a variety of brazen Remoaner lies, and on the contrary are allowing public resources to be used to generate fresh Remoaner lies.

  21. David Cockburn
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this detailed description of how the system works.
    In addition to the issues already highlighted in the comments, at the heart of it is the desire of developers to build slowly to keep up prices.
    Might I suggest a remedy? Developers could be forced, once they have permission on a block of houses, to sell off 25% of lots within six months of planning permission being granted to any individual or small builder who is prepared to start building within another six months.

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Original thinking, David. Something along these lines should be considered by government to alleviate many of the problems.

    • Peter A
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      And the outcome will be many many unfinished buildings – such as I’ve seen on my travels abroad – when the small builders run out of funds to carry on building.

  22. margaret
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Once the planning permission has been granted . If the houses are not built within a specified time then that permission is rendered null and void.

    • ChrisS
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      That’s not the case, Margaret.

      I obtained a “certificate of lawful commencement” for a building plot by laying 2m of footings and installing a drainage connection. Total cost, less than £1,000.

      That plot could then be retained indefinitely and the rest of the house built ten, twenty years hence.

      • jerry
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        @ChrisS; I think Margaret’s idea was that, unless you finished building the property, not simply started it, within a set time scale you would loose the right to complete unless you reapply and are granted renewed planning approval!

      • margaret
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        It seems to me that you had started the work and was keeping it on tow , which would not apply to the rules of non commencement.

  23. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    We should not be diverted into discussing planning issues. We need action to stem the mass immigration which is being imposed upon us. When that is tackled and I no longer fear my locality is in danger I will express a view.

  24. Old person
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    The issue of central government working in the background cannot be ignored.

    Looking at our local situation here, Cheltenham Borough, Gloucester City and Tewkesbury Borough through the Joint Core Strategy have given permission for 35,000 houses to be built by 2031.

    Starving the councils of money, requiring them to deliver ever more, and bribing them with a ‘New Homes Bonus’ is simply undemocratic.

    At a parish council meeting eight years ago, I saw a planning application turned down because it encroached one metre into the ‘Green Belt’ and that this could set a precedent for other applications.

    Most of the 35,000 houses are being built on ‘Green Belt’ land.

    The situation in the small Twigworth Parish (less than 200 souls) is just unbelievable as 2,295 houses are to be built on ‘Green Belt’ land in a flood zone without the funding for effective flood prevention or road traffic infrastructure.

    The parishes of Twigworth and Down Hatherley have fought long and hard against this madness, providing our own experts to contest the outrageous plans with parishioners raising funds amongst themselves to fight this. A world-renowned professor of hydrology came to our aid, and was not allowed to address the council meeting, but an outside engineer (who mainly works with developers) did address the council meeting and held seminars in the days before the meeting.

    Please visit the Twigworth parish and Down Hatherley parish websites for the full history, timeline, and beautiful photographs of flooded meadows.

    Democracy at the local level is dead.

  25. ian
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Looking at the population of the area of 166,000 people and with over 11,000 homes already granted which has the potential to raise the population by 25%, I would have said for an area like Wokingham borough council that would be an overpopulation in that area already and that no more planning should be given for new housing for next 60 years.

    • jerry
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      @ian; Nonsense, a location is only over populated if there is insufficient housing and/or supporting infrastructure, there is nothing to stop even quite massive expansion, what is more if designated a dormitory town there doesn’t even need any Class B infrastructure.

      Some of the original New Towns were not real “New Towns” in the sense they were new, being simply being tacked onto, or built around, existing urban area from were they took their name, for example Stevenage had existed since at least 1068, and Milton Keynes since at least the 11 century…

      • Dennis
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        @jerry; nonsense, obviously you have no knowledge of population and ecology. Perhaps you live only on air (polluted too).

      • NickC
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Nonsense, a nation is overpopulated when it can no longer grow sufficient food for itself (even if in normal times that nation imports some non-native foods).

        The massive inflow of migrants in the last two decades have stretched the UK infrastructure to breaking point: water, roads, power, housing, medical facilities, education, are all insufficient. Some migrants should go home to reduce demand.

        • jerry
          Posted July 5, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          @Denis; & NickC; Stop taking utter piffle, you both sound like you vote Green, not Conservative or UKIP! There are far more crowded areas of the world, G7 nations no less, that do have the same problems that the UK does, or if they do attempts are made to fix the problems.

          The only problem the UK has are NIMBYs, so scared that if enough homes are actually built in their area property (investment/pension) values will collapse. It is simple, as I was remained, simple supply and demand, immigration has very little to do with the real problem.

  26. Peter Wood
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink


    Just enjoyed your ‘interview’ with the arrogant Snowman. Very well done on taking back control. I hope Mrs. May appreciates and follows your example.

    • getahead
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Peter, hopefully Mrs May will not keep control. Despite what JR says, he is being too loyal, she is batting for the other side. She needs to be overruled.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      When has May ever done anything sensible or followed a sensible Example?

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Also off-topic, here is a good article about the reality of trading with the EU just on WTO terms; that is, without any special trade deal, as for example the US does:

    “Busting the Remain-inspired myths about trade on WTO terms”

    It makes common sense points which obviously pass by Remoaners with their vague and unsubstantiated claims about “WTO rules”, such as “UK goods will not suddenly become hazardous to the health and safety of EU consumers the day after Brexit.”

    And the same applies to EU goods; if we haven’t been intercepting and inspecting them at the border – including the Irish border – for the past quarter of a century, since the advent of the EU Single Market, why should we start doing so the day after Brexit?

    This is actually very timely, because yesterday the Labour MP Chuka Ummuna repeated a falsehood in the House of Commons, Column 58 here:

    “… The Solicitor General has confirmed that to exit with no deal and to trade under World Trade Organisation rules would necessitate such a border …”

    meaning an Irish land border with customs posts on the UK side, and instead of smacking him down hard Theresa May gave another rather weak reply:

    “I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that his interpretation is not correct. In a no-deal situation, it will of course be up to the United Kingdom to determine what it does in relation to the border in Northern Ireland.”

    This goes back to some careless words spoken by the Solicitor General on June 13th that immediately became the basis for a misleading story in the UK and Irish press which has never been properly rebutted – just as nothing else is ever properly rebutted.

  28. fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    What is the point of talking about planning and how many houses we need when the government is doing nothing to curtail the number of people coming in and not only that, doesn’t even know who they are or what they are planning half the time. I feel sorry for generations to come who will never truly know what it is to be English.

  29. fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    All I know is that I used to live in Worthing, Sussex and it was a lovely town at one time. Now the whole area and villages beyond are being trashed with large housing estates which are slowly linking up with one another. Green areas, allotments, gardens and footpaths are slowing being concreted over. Hospitals are closing, it’s difficult to find an NHS dentist, roads are congested and the place is always crowded. There is not the peace and quiet you used to be able to find.

    I don’t know about a thunderstorm in the air but I can feel anger in the air when I speak to people who are sick to the back teeth of governments doing nothing about the problem of mass immigration. They all talk fine words. Take Mrs May, Brexit means Brexit. Oh, really??? Not the Brexit we all voted for though. Words simply are not enough and we need a change from the two rabble parties who promise but don’t deliver. No wonder so many people voted UKIP. Change is necessary and in my book it can’t be much worse than the lot we’ve been lumbered with now.

    • jerry
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      @fedupsoutherner; “I used to live in Worthing, Sussex and it was a lovely town at one time. Now the whole area and villages beyond are being trashed with large housing estates which are slowly linking up with one another.”

      Heck, when was the last time you visited Worthing, 1936?!

      Worthing has been expanding to the east and more significantly to the west since at least the mid 1930s, swallowing up those green areas, indeed by 1905 Worthing was large enough to warrant three passenger railway stations, two with very significant freight yards. By 1938 the expanding conurbation was large enough to warrant a new satellite station between West Worthing and Goring by Sea.

      “roads are congested and the place is always crowded.”

      Well it is no secrete that both the DfT and (W)SCC have been talking about a bypass or a proper realigned duel-carriageway-way through the town for at least 50 years, but the problem is always the same, local NIMBYs and now eco-worriers.

      As for always being crowded, that is what comes from being both a favoured retirement area and a holiday area, it’s been thus since the 1800s…

      “No wonder so many people voted UKIP. Change is necessary and in my book it can’t be much worse than the lot we’ve been lumbered with now.”

      Indeed, change is needed, the only problem is that many appear to have now switched their support (back?) to Labour from both UKIP and Conservatives, judging by the result of the 2017 GE… Change but not the change you might have been hoping for!

  30. lojolondon
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Planners have based housing plans on false / incorrect immigration figures for years, so there has been a massive housing shortage. Now that we have voted in a government that promised to reduce immigration to ‘the tens of thousands’, there should be absolutely no requirement for a sudden explosion in the quantity of new houses. The good news is that we can also cut back on investment in the NHS, schools, utilities, roads, rail, social services, police, etc.

    If only…..

    • jerry
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      @lojolondon; Planners have based housing plans on false / incorrect immigration population figures for years

      There, corrected that for you…

      But even than you are simply wrong, planners have known full well what our housing needs will be, within acceptable +/- errors, the real problems have been caused due to the electorate not accepting such figures and the need to new homes, in my own area the housing debate has existed for years, well before the EU, never mind the right to Freedom of Movement.

      Perhaps we just need another Lewis Silkin, what is more we will likely get one when Corbyn (or even further to the left successor) wins the next general election after the Conservative party has torn its self apart over Brexit and the fake news agenda that is “mass-immigration”.

      • NickC
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        Jerry, Mass immigration is not “fake news”, it’s real. Even Tony Blair admits it. There are officially over 9 million people here not born in the UK. Looking at the NINos issued, rather than the IPS estimates, probably doubles that figure.

        • jerry
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; It’s the same fake news that did the round in the 1970s, when the economy was slowing and jobs started to become scarce, the only difference now is who the fake news pushers use as their scapegoat – the former group now being protected by law from such abuse.

          Stop confusing cause & effect, such as not building enough homes – the housing shortage began long before Lisbon Treaty was signed, before the Maastricht Treaty, a New Towns can be started within 10 years, finished in 25. The of course there is our laissez-faire approach to the economy…

  31. Local Lad
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    The headline frightens me. Land isn’t a commodity which can be topped up when stocks are low.
    Hasn’t anyone told them – they ain’t making it no more!

    • jerry
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      @Local Lad; “Land isn’t a commodity which can be topped up when stocks are low.”

      Doesn’t seem to worry the planners in places such as Manhattan, they simply build upwards (and in some cases, downwards) Here on the south cost I believe IBM built their massive HQ on reclaimed land back in the early 1970s, indeed Souther Television built their Southampton studio complex on reclaimed land, the land which I understand has now been redeveloped for housing (apartments/flats).

  32. agricola
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Topical but not a planning issue. It is reported that the minions organising the Donald Trump visit have been instructed to fail to find time for Nigel Farage to meet the president. This I find pathetic as Mr Farage is the one Britain with the closest relationship to the President of the USA. What playground nonsense is this from our government both elected and civil service. Petty and vindictive and unlikely to earn any brownie points from a perceptive President Trump.

    • jerry
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      @agricola; I’m sure that, with all his connections, if Mr Farage wants to meet with President Trump he can do so – tell me, will Trump be meeting with Mr Corbyn, Mr Cables, either of the SNP parliamentary leaders, will he be meeting with the (acting) First Minister of Wales?

      • NickC
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, The point being that it should be (and will be) up to the PotUS Trump to decide, not some UK politically correct Remain civil servant.

        • jerry
          Posted July 5, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; No, it is an official visit, thus it is up to the UK government/civil service to decide. Anyway, there are also others in the cue before Mr Farage, such as elected leaders of UK parties, Mr Farage is nether a party leader nor elected (or appointed) to any of the UK parliaments.

          Perhaps Mr Farage might care to invite the PotUS on a (semi) official visit to were he is an elected representatives, the European parliament, as his guest, ho-hmm! 🙂

  33. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I live in a small Cornish village of 135 households. We are part of a parish centred on a somewhat larger village 2 miles north. Our only facilities are a pub and a bus stop. For two years parishioners have laboured to produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan. The NDP couldn’t identify any demand for additional housing, affordable or not. A month after it was published two development applications were filed – for 59 houses! What is more, the sites are alongside the A30, the busiest road in Cornwall with high levels of pollution and noise. We all objected but have noted the statement by one of the developers recently. They are locked in dispute with a town to the south of us. He said, no matter what you might say, every village and town in Cornwall is going to get some houses, wether they need them or not!

    • jerry
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      @backofanenvelope; Back in 1945 Stevenage did not need a single new home, the rest is history!

      Sometimes it is not local issues or needs that count but national, there is a national housing shortage, and has been for years, hence why we are now playing catch-up and some quite large planning proposals are being made rather than the more usual small or single deveopments that every community (used to) get. As for infrastructure, such as the A30, indeed that also needs to be sorted out properly after years of make-do schemes, perhaps a better use of our Brexit bonus than the tax cuts some appear to want?

  34. L Jones
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    It is not surprising that UKIP did so well a while ago. They were embracing all the old Conservative values and formulating a few more that resonated with Conservative voters – ditching HS2, bringing back grammar schools, increasing military spending, reducing net immigration, tax cutting, etc, etc.

    If Mr Gove is making sensible noises about HS2, then perhaps he’s going to begin to talk even more sense in days to come. Surely most Conservative MPs KNOW that people are sick to the back teeth of their left-wing inclinations and their apparent disregard of their constituents’ wishes?

    • L Jones
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Sorry – above was off subject, except for the bit about reducing net immigration that impacts directly on housing.

  35. Iain Gill
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Agree house designs should be agreed nationally.

    Local authorities should not be able to force flat roofs to supposedly keep the height down, or fake chimneys to supposedly made the houses fit into the area, or unwanted bay windows to again supposedly make it fit into the area.

    Tree protection orders should not be supported in prime building land, and house builders should not have to build around a lot of run of the mill trees. It should be easy to chop the trees down, build the houses, but replant equivalent numbers of trees elsewhere.

    Immigration needs cutting to change the demand.

    Repairs to existing housing stock should not be taxed more than new build, as they are at the moment.

    etc etc

    • Iain Gill
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      should say agreed house designs should be agreed nationally. ie house designs should be agreed at a national level, and local planning should not be able to change except maybe ask for different coloured tiles or brinks.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        bricks not brinks


  36. Derek
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    It is all very well to want more housing but has anyone asked how much they will be and can new buyers afford them? Where will these new buyers come from? Do they all have jobs locally? And what is going to happen to all houses after the forthcoming hike in mortgage interest rates gets underway?
    Ultra low interest rates irresponsibly perpetuated by the BoE have created a debtors paradise and a savers dilemma which will be the root cause of the next collapse in the credit markets across the globe. Britain will not escape because our banks have loaned too much to personas and to countries on the edge of the abyss.

  37. Remoaner
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    If it were not for Brexit we would have not let in Columbia’s equalising goal.

    • Derek
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Your nom de plume suggests what you really are,
      NB If it were not for Brexit, we Brits, would be subservient forever. The cabal will never ever change.
      Or do you really think we had any clout amongst the 27 other unelected Commissioners who voted against us every-time we tried to “Adjust” EU policies?

      Once free of EU shackles and handcuffs we can deal with the Rest of the World, of 6 Billion people, on OUR Terms and not those decided what is good for Britain by 27 anti-British Foreigners.
      Why do you think the USA celebrates “INDEPENDENCE DAY”? We MUST do the same on March 29th 2019.

  38. Freeborn John
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Please stop writing about irrelevant matters. The prime minister is trying to keep us in the EU in all but name and needs to be removed before she can sell the 17.4million who want to leave. There has to be a mass resignation from cabinet on Friday and a leadership election. I cannot understand why David Davis has not resigned when a Remain civil serve the is doing his job. Or why Liam Fox has not resigned when Theresa May is ensuring we stay in a customs union with the EU and follow its regulations which will mean we have no leverage in trade negotiations. Are Davis, Fox, Johnson really so wedded to their non-existent jobs that they will not make a stand against the most incompetent prime minister in living memory?

  39. a-tracy
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    You know John on the subject of planning the left are right about buses and the detriment to poorer people who can’t afford cars out in the suburbs. When the Conservative London class talk of rising petrol prices the impact isn’t in London and the SE where trains (although tickets are better value for money than in the NW and transferable from service to service with easy top-ups to fares outside of zones). In the sticks, there is a once per hour service that doesn’t connect with train times and takes as long as it takes to walk to the station three miles away!! This service stops at 6pm and you do have to get expensive taxi’s after those times, so why not temp UBER and others to fix this rather than grant licences to bus companies that are failing year in year out. Dial a ride, trips to hospitals or the train station on round robins to get to the station in time for the trains not 45 minutes before. Shared taxi’s, planned by automation rather than riding around for an hour trying to visit 20 empty stops. You need to come up with an alternative and if you want to stick with the private sector deregulation then you need to fully free it so we get rid of 10-year-old stinky diesel double deckers spewing out junk all over our estates.

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    You haven’t addressed the fact that the rate of house building required will depend on the average rate of net immigration over the next 15 years or so, and the extent of population displacement from London. This applies throughout south and south-east England.

    Until recently, the rate of net immigration was 300,000 per annum. The central ONS projection of net immigration was just short of 200,000 per annum the last time I looked, and it hasn’t been revised since the Brexit Referendum. The Conservative Party has promised to reduce it to at most 90,000 per annum (that’s what ‘tens of thousands’ means). The figure that I favour is zero, to protect our culture and to take advantage of the advance of robotics and artificial intelligence. Which of these four very different projections is going to prevail?

    We won’t know the answer until after the next general election. Accordingly, I ask for the law to be amended, so that all local plans should be subject to formal review and amendment in 2022.

    You have to know what population you are planning for.

  • 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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