Planning a brighter future

Yesterday the Commons debated our planning system. At issue was the granting of permission to build new homes in Westferry, London, where they are much needed. Tower Hamlets Council failed to provide an answer on the planning application within the quite generous time limits laid down, so the decision fell to be made by the incoming new Secretary of State for the Environment. Opposition parties did not like the way he made it, and or did not like the decision.

Most people in the UK think there should be a planning system, but many disagree with whatever system is in place, particularly when it results in a decision they do not like. There are many people with land who would like to make a big profit by putting it forward for development, who find their land is not preferred. There are many others, often their neighbours, who think their local area has enough development and do not wish to see green fields built on or old buildings replaced by much larger developments . The tensions are understandable. The task for government trying to judge between the competing views is uncomfortable.

The aim of planning policy is to provide some intelligent framework for these decisions, setting out in advance through local plans where development is likely and where it is not. Years ago the system revolved around a fairly simply local map. The map would show through hatched markings which places were to be kept as green openspace and farmland, which remained as built up area and which parts could be used for new building. The built up areas could also gain special protections through area designation as a conservation area, or from individual building listings.

Over the years I have been watching planning it has got a lot more complicated, with local plans now going into huge detail and containing many subsidiary policies about permitted development. I am not sure this added complexity has produced better results or has been any better at allaying tensions over decisions. One of the worst features in my area has been from a landowner or developer gaming the system. They fail to build out the agreed permissions for new homes, whilst putting in for more permissions in close by locations,. It can be more profitable to trade planning permissions than to actually build and sell the homes. This undermines public confidence in the system. It can also lead to bad planning, with too many homes on floodplains or stretching local services too thinly.

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140 Comments

  1. Peter
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Mr. Jenrick seems to effectively dodge criticism – the reverse of Mr. Hancock in that respect.

    Breaking lockdown was reported but he was not hounded for it like Mr. Cummings.

    Now we have the Westferry decision. To say that opposition parties did not like the way he made the decision or the decision is a huge understatement.

    The use of the phrase ‘apparent bias’ was a clever manoeuvre that can be used to bolster his defence.

    The whole episode is very suspect but you get the impression that Jenrick will continue to get party support on it.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Look, it doesn’t matter whether it’s corrupt or not to the new Tory voters – ex BNP/ukip, that is – nor even that scores of thousands have died needlessly from covid19, apparently.

      As long as it sets off Owen Jones and the like then it’s “job done, and that’s for what we voted”, they cheer.

      Yes, you live in a country with lots of people like that in it.

      Congratulations.

      • Hope
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        JR, you have to tackle the dishonesty that runs through your party if you are to achieve success with any main policy theme.

        Written many times before, housing is not the issue, planning is not the issue- your govt made huge changes to it in 2010- it is your govts mass immigration policy that has no mandate, no Queens speech and not written, announced or discussed in parliament. Farage has showed the navy escorts, now we see coaches lined up to escort from France to anywhere in U.K. yesterday! Tell us when is your govt and party going to fulfil three election promises to cut to tens of thousands? Or the narrative about reducing immigration in your alleged immigration policy? You still cannot deport those who have been ordered to be deported and exhausted all legal avenues! 700+ let out from deportations centres! Where are they living and getting health care?

        You fail to mention CIL at the heart of the controversy surrounding your govt changed planning policy regarding the huge reduced £50 million CIL saving with application in London? Are you seriously telling us this was not at the heart when the applicant did not want the money to go to “Marxists”?

        Fake Tory govt. Double standards are clear for all to see and make up their own mind about your govt, including law and order.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Again I ask you, would you have locked down the whole country, including ports and airports three or four weeks earlier.
        When there were hardly any cases in the UK.
        Come on Mr Hindsight-Expert tell us.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        It is vital that the ballot box is respected and that you clearly don’t.

        Even Owen Jones will not be radical enough for the Woke that are coming.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        As opposed to those Anarchists, Trotskyists, Marxists & Communists who voted Labour & who think desecrating national monuments to those killed in two world wars fighting to uphold freedom is acceptable.?

  2. Javelin
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    How can you think about planning to build more homes for immigrants when we are about to hit the highest unemployment levels for 50 years. Conservative donors are CEOs and house builders.

    STOP the VISA GREED and think of your voters, not your donors.

    • NickC
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Javelin, Exactly right – why haul in more migrants when it looks clear there is going to be massive unemployment? Yet another example of establishment pc virtue signalling at the expense of British people.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      +1

      Clearly the ballot box does not work.

    • Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      The Government must give up the market it created in Citizenship! Stop selling British Citizenship! You are not God and cannot ‘create’ citizens!

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    It is an appalling system, slow expensive, arbitrary, lots of abortive costs, steeped in fake green lunacy and often totally corrupt too. It keeps house prices out of the reach of many.

    I had one case where we discussed a development plan in great detail with the planners and were told fine go ahead. We then wasted about £12,000 submitting it only to have it kicked out for a daft reason that no one had even mentioned in the earlier discussions. Surely this is gross negligence by the planning officers but no realistic redress is available for the losses.

    Then we have certain communities who seem to be totally exempt from planning rules and just build things whereever they like in the country – often hugely devaluing whole areas and yet councils do little or nothing to stop this at all. One law you and another for them.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

      A giant creator of largely parasitic jobs that hold the economy and productivity back hugely.

  4. Mark B
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Well if you don’t like the way things are you could always try and tackle the root cause ? But you won’t, so the problem(s) will persist.

    Most people want to live and work in London and the Southeast. These areas are the scene of massive over development. It is classic demand and supply with profiteering thrown into the mix.

    Once again we see politicians busying themselves trying to solve a problem they have created.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I believe that the “problem” is actually exactly the situation they want.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

        I know.

  5. Nigl
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Apart from the complexity, your government is anti democratic overruling the decisions by local representatives thus trashing beautiful south east green belt where there are umpteen brown field sites further north and communities that need regeneration.

    Whatever ‘dancing on a pinhead’,protestations of innocence made re the Tower Hamlets affair the whole think stinks. Blaming their tardiness, saying the Minister was new (therefore inexperienced?) is not becoming if you.

    Wealthy property developers who just happen to make a massive donation etc. Yeah right.

  6. SM
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    What has always amazed me (for want of a better word) is that planning depts appear to live in a completely different world to the rest of us.

    I would cite the little Herts village where the residents would have welcomed careful expansion with the aim of bringing younger people to their community, but the Council refused. Then there was the locally popular proposal to bring a small nature park/fishing lake to a previously ugly site where housing was inappropriate – for months the planning dept simply refused to consider it, without explanation, and eventually I (an interested bystander) had to rope in the Council Leader to get it moving. It’s now a great asset to the area, and of course I’m sure the delay had nothing to do with the fact that the builder made no hints of financial benefits to the planning officers.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    The social house provisions in planning (and other provisions) is of course another back door tax on people in non social housing. Why should some people be given cheap housing for life at the expense of others?

    If people need help paying rents or mortgages due to illness or something then yes they need help. But many in social housing are better off than people next door in full market price housing. Often they have far more disposable income and paying less tax too. All should pay market rates with help only for those who really so need the help. Anything else is immoral & clearly unfair. Also anti-competitive – another rigged market.

    • Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      +1

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Social housing and housing benefit is hugely distorting for the market.

      Why should my next door neighbour pay less for their home than me unless they purchased it years ago (and not through right to buy).

      Government makes us compete against the people we are funding.

  8. Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    The best and most valuable homes in the best places were built before there was a planning department or Architects.
    Councils want to micro-manage development, and often if you do what the council wants, you have an unsaleable property, because Councils don’t take value into account.
    In fact The State has no concept of Value.

  9. Adam
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    A formerly green and pleasant land that overpopulates to develop into a single lump of concrete sea to sea should have planned ahead better.

  10. jerry
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    OT; I see reported, by the resident BBC climate activist (his reporting style goes way beyond simply reporting), that the HoC CCC is suggesting car taxes and even gas home heating taxes are hiked. A tax on businesses and the average hard working person and family.

    When will this govt end this climate change nonsense, not whilst BoJo is leader that’s for sure, he has to go, if we wanted such nonsense we would hsve all voted Green last December!….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and scrap the absurd Climate Change Committee and the insane Climate Change act. Voted for by nearly every virtue signalling, deluded, scientifically illiterate MP – which is about 95% of them.

    • Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Sadly we did but it looked blue!

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Exactly right Jerry. This country is a mess and this government is well below par. Disappointed is an understatement.

  11. Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t some mathmatical logic come into all of this.
    It should be possible to formulate an overall boolean formula to cover the general area, For example, then getting more specific:
    IF Overall condition is met THEN GO TO NEXT STAGE
    That overall condition might be ‘Land available’.
    The nextIF condition could be ‘Is builder available’
    As each condition is met the process moves on to the next….. The purpose of all of this would be to eliminate verbose rules — Make the condition simple, so that anyone can follow them.
    If a condition is not met then the process ends

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      That’s not Boolean algebra.

      • Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

        Who mentioned algebra – I was trying to introduce some logical thinking

        • hefner
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          If IF … THEN … is all you can think about mathematical logic and Boolean formula, why not just ask for Planning Applications to be written in proper and simple English.
          BTW with a quick look on the web one can find some examples of PA that could be used as templates by anybody wishing to write (admittedly simple) ones (not one worth a £1bn trying to escape the £40m Community Infrastructure Levy doe to Marxists …).

      • Fred H
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        rather more like badly wrritten COBOL.

  12. Freeborn John
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    The EU is saying the U.K. must comply with GDPR in future presumably overseen by the ECJ. Yet the British government is completely silent giving the EU the impression that we will accept this. The government had to nip these incessant
    demands In the bud immediately.

    https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/24/britain-must-abide-by-european-data-protection-rules-after-brexit-ec-says

    • Mark B
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Their intention is to replicate membership without being members.

      • Mike aaWilson
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        As long as we don’t pay for it.

        • Mark B
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          The Foreign Aid budget has been moved to the FCO, a very Pro-EU department. My guess is they will pay monies to Eastern European nations the equivalent in aid as they would get subsidies.

  13. Nigl
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    His texts are now in the public domain. It is quite obvious he is pushing the decision to save the developer tax. Since when is that his job?

    • matthu
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps that was the only way to ensure the project was viable?

      • hefner
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        matthu, sorry, but do you really think that a developer would only look for a 4% total return (£40m on £1bn). Well I might be wrong, LL and Lynn should know about these things.

        My experience is based on rents of commercial spaces in a precinct near where I live. My impression was that the ROI that the owner was expecting was at least 10%/year, with obviously not too much work from them once the property had been built/bought.

  14. Irene
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The Westferry Printworks development was originally delayed over concerns about the lack of affordable housing in it. Affordable housing is what is most needed in that part of the East End of London. The developer also manipulated matters by subsequently withdrawing the agreed affordable housing, having taken the decision-making to national government, by-passing local. The Sec of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government made a decision that he may now regret.

    The Local Plan Update in your area is causing considerable concern to residents, just as many planning decisions have done over years now. A storm is brewing there too.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      “Affordable housing is what is most needed in that part of the East End of London.”

      What % of the housing in that part of the East End of London is social housing of the type that people can buy should they wish to own their home?

      If the % of social housing is over 25% of the total housing then ‘affordable housing’ isn’t such an important quota to me, I strongly believe every 20,000 home area needs 10-15% social that has a right to buy/affordable – if it gets over 25% the local area is too poor and unsustainable and needs too much support.

      If this is the next battle then you’re right the Tories need to get their act together quickly.

  15. Alan Jutson
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    One of the major problems for the population is the chaos caused by new developments because the infrastructure (new/improved roads, traffic flows and the like) are only started after the development is complete, unlike much of the continent where all infrastructure is usually completed first.

    Just look at the farcical situation in Wokingham where the connections to these so called relief roads are still to be finished (indeed some parts only just started), are now nearly 10 years behind the massive housing developments which have taken place, resulting in winding narrow housing estate roads, now being re classified as relief roads.

    • Dennis
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      So JR (his patch?) didn’t do anything to sort that out?

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Dennis, isn’t this Council devolved, perhaps they should give overarching power on planning to the local MP, although because they’re elected they might then not make the correct increased development decisions especially if they’re unpopular locally with their own voters.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Dennis

        JR can only make representations to the Council at best, he is not in control of planning, that power is with the local Authority (which can be overridden by Government), the population voted 10 conservatives off the Council at the last local elections because of their arrogance over many things local..

      • dixie
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        I had occasion to question a local planning request that directly impacted me and approached my local Wokingham councilor.

        Their response was that they could not get involved in planning matters.

        So who exactly is responsible to the rate payers for local planning matters?

    • hefner
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      +1

  16. Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    One of the principle aims of the system should be to enable production of the buildings the buildings that people need. With housing being unaffordable for most younger people, and many parents living in houses with gardens big enough to build a small dwelling, national rules should allow small “downsizing” dwellings to be built on garden land. A variant on the “granny annexe”, allowing both parties a little more space.

    I say national rules, because there are vocal, influential nimbys in most local councils that would stop such developments, even if a majority of people in the are would have no objection.

    • beresford
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      There’s a lot of this being done near me by migrant families. Trouble is, there is no new infrastructure to support these new dwellings and no parking spaces for the cars of the occupants. So the street is nose-to-tail with parked cars and it is difficult to find a parking space for tradesmen you may require to repair your property.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        and even fire-engine access when urgently required!

  17. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    There’s no housing shortage just too many people and you keep Importing them by the thousands annually.
    Get a grip John or Farage will rightfully have a stick to beat you with.

    • Dennis
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I. Wragg – Spot on. In fact there too many houses. Pity Farage kept on about immigration but nothing on overpopulation.

  18. Stred
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    The developer who received approval from the minister certainly did not do the Conservative Party any good when he made a donation of £12k and avoided the extortionate local authority charges running into millions. The administration of the head office should have refused the donation. This was incompetence or arrogance. Few will believe that the two were not connected. Jedrick looks like an inexperienced tory boy clown.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      The law bring in the LEA charge was a new Conservative (back door tax) law.

  19. M H
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Prince Charles has much wisdom to impart on this subject.. Poundbury in Dorset and Nansledan in Cornwall are fine examples.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Not, alas, much wisdom with his bonkers support for quack medicine, (do as I say not as I do) climate alarmism or his idealistic anti-science farming ideas. Or indeed his inability to see that he should keep well out of politics like his wiser mum.

    • Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Poundbury is more like Poundland! It’s very peculiar with an atmosphere like that in the Tv series ‘the Prisioner’.

  20. Chris Dark
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    The people who suffer most are the ordinary folk who have to endure the arrival of masses of undesirable new development on their doorstep, often destroying countryside and adding more traffic to their rural environment. These are the ones who have to live with it day by day, not the government or the developers. Why does their opinion not count?
    What about dealing with the VAT issues on old property renovations? There is plenty of old scruffy stock waiting for renewal, but green field sites are always easier pickings.
    There’s a free for all on green belt land, nothing is sacred now. There has to be much much more protection for open spaces and beautiful countryside to provide mental relief and leisure for the population…the coronavirus lockaway should have made that fact painfully obvious. And don’t get me started on immigration and growing food….

    • Adam
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Estimates vary on how many now live in our kingdom illegally; perhaps between 300k & 1 million, but remaining recklessly unknown!

      It would be simpler, faster, less expensive and better to sort out that excess than build extra accommodation to shelter illegality.

      Govt lacks the will to protect the well-being of its own citizens, preferring to maintain lawlessness.

  21. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The UK has some of the laxest planning law in Europe, and virtually no systematic enforcement of building regs either.

    That is why many parts of it are now some of the ugliest, and we have disasters like Grenfell Tower too.

    I will leave the diligent reader to research the issues surrounding Westferry printworks in the better sections of the press, but it is yet another example of central government crushing the decisions of local, democratically-elected councils – and that of the appeal body – on behalf of big business, even if nothing more.

    • Stred
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      The UK has the most inflexible and difficult planning and building regulation in Europe. It takes a team of nine specialist technicians to obtain a permission for a housing estate. Fifty years ago one architect could do the same job.
      The fire regulations cover hundreds of pages and are so incomprehensible that the judge in the enquiry into the fire at a block of flats in South London said that he couldn’t follow them. At Grenfell, where residents died in the same way, the specifications and plans were inspected by the council’s building control office. They passed materials and detailing that did not comply. It is much easier to get approval for social or council projects than private development.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        They passed material specified which did comply.

        My understanding is that this was only fitted outside the ground floor where inspectors would take samples. For higher floors a cheaper, flammable version was fitted.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          That is a new claim.
          You should pass your evidence onto the enquiry.
          Obviously you do have lots of evidence….?

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Firstly Grenfell was tarted up to please the eyes of middle class London Remain voting Leftists, not the people living in the towers.

      Secondly – no-one ever counted the bodies of commuters who couldn’t afford to live within that range, killed in train and car accidents in the time period between that and the last major dwelling fire… though many died at the Kings Cross fire.

  22. Hope
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Your govt changed the planning legislation in 2010, colloquially it became known as the Boles bung! Becaucase it was designed to force councils to build to get CIL and NHB. The presumption changed to grant applications.

    So why are you changing again, is this an admission you failed after ten years for your unwritten mass immigration policy?

  23. Nigl
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Off topic I see you are re nationalising the railways. Wasn’t that one of Corbyn’s policies?

  24. BetterTimes
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    We have a developer trying to build 265 houses on land in an AONB, on the outskirts of our town.

    The greed for profits know no bounds.

    It is being resisted, of course.

    Our water company is already struggling to supply our town. Electricity cuts are regular too.
    Doctors, and schools are under pressure and struggling to cope.

    We have to build, because we have allowed a housing shortage to occur. We brought the problem on ourselves.

    But…for Heavens Sake!… Not on the Country’s AONBs.

    • Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      No housing shortage, millions of empty homes.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        Yes there are! Yet ghastly ticky tacky houses continue to be thrown up.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Better Times. Similar problems here. Our sewerage system is already 50% over capacity and yet more houses are going in.

  25. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Another by-product of the open doors policy we voted against in 2016.
    Why the assumption that we need more houses rather than fewer people?
    Let’s get a government in place for those already here, not for the hordes of future incomers.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Can you not read?

      The ballot paper asked if you wanted the UK to remain in or to leave the European Union.

      It said not one word about immigration, nor about anything else, such as the post exit relationship with said Union.

      • Robert Mcdonald
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        You forgot to mention the houses with garages that allow a car to enter, but not the car doors to open.

      • NickC
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Martin, The 2016 referendum ballot paper certainly did specify the UK’s post exit relationship with the EU. The majority voted to “Leave the European Union”, so that clearly does not mean remaining in the EU or remaining partly in the EU, or remaining controlled by the EU in any way.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

          Yes, the UK has left.

          The referendum has been completely discharged.

          What comes next is a matter for party manifestoes and general elections – the proper way of doing thongs.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            Things, even.

  26. Everhopeful
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Conservation area status means absolutely nothing when it comes down to it. Historic buildings can be ripped down and inappropriate ( but expensive) put up. No complaint ever listened to.
    Still, never mind…got to keep the building industry’s open purse fully open and the new residents rolling in?
    Build houses where people once worked, shopped and walked.
    Then what??
    ( Oh sorry..forgot…we’ll be shut in…@2nd,3rd,4th wave…….).

    • Stred
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Totally untrue. It is almost impossible to rip down any historic building, even when of no special merit. English Heritage will even make modernising the interiors impossible by requiring Victorian alterations to be reversed and the Georgian features restored. Even trees planted thirty years before cannot be cut down and replaced, making housing layouts impossible.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        No..what you say is just not true.
        Have a look at the definition of a “Conservation Area”. The rules are very fluid. Never think you are safe in one.
        Personal experience. Lovely big house with important local history in Conservation Area where Grade 2 rules are enforced with great vigour.
        House bought “off the books” (never advertised) for very low sum.
        Beautiful, ancient, landmark wall demolished.
        Planning for three HUGE new houses, with minuscule gardens, granted despite much opposition.
        Trees chopped …rooks disturbed…houses never sold…all went for rent.

  27. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    At the risk of being overly simplistic, there would not be the chance to profiteer and build over our greenbelt and floodplains if we were not importing 300,000+ people per year in order to falsely grow our GDP.

    In the same way that before granting a work visa to a foreigner the question should be asked, why can’t this job be filled by someone already in the country? Any planning application should be asked how many derelict or brownfield sites could be developed first in order to provide the same accommodation?

    • Dennis
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      JR never has a thought or answer on overpopulation or any other important issue raised in his blog.

      We would learn much if he did enlighten us but perhaps he has no thoughts on these matters – it seems like it.

      Reply I have often recommended Reduced immigration through proper control of our borders

      • Dennis
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – Reducing immigration does not address overpopulation – it increases it.

  28. acorn
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Confirmed C19 cases in the last 14 days as % of Pop.
    0.191 Brazil
    0.148 Sweden
    0.111 United_States
    0.078 Russia
    0.043 Portugal
    0.025 United_Kingdom
    0.021 Turkey
    0.014 Canada
    0.014 Luxembourg
    0.013 India
    0.012 Belgium
    0.011 Netherlands
    0.010 France
    0.010 Denmark
    0.010 Spain
    0.008 Germany
    0.007 Malta
    0.006 Italy
    0.005 Venezuela
    0.005 Austria
    0.005 Iceland
    0.004 Switzerland
    0.004 Ireland
    0.003 Norway
    0.002 Finland
    0.002 Greece
    0.001 Cyprus
    0.001 Australia
    0.001 Japan
    0.000 New_Zealand

    • Mark B
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      You forgot China.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes. That country that generously bestowed it upon us.

    • dixie
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      What is your point?

      If you divide the cases as a % of pop by the population densities then you get a different order of impact – Russia, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, USA, Iceland, Portugal, Australia, Norway, Turkey, Venezuela, Finland and Spain, then the UK closely followed by France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Ireland and Austria.

      Besides, who “confirmed” the numbers and how did they prove the numbers given them were accurate..

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Acorn’s point is self-evident to anyone even half awake.

        • jerry
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          @MiC; No, acorn’s point is not “self evident” at all, considering he is failing to treat the EU as a single entity as he has the USA (nor does he list all the EU27).

          If ‘Europe’ is listed in the same way as the USA then the confirmed CV19 cases in the last 14 days as % of Pop within the EU is 0.293% – top of the list way above even Brazil’s 0.191%…

          It gets even worse if all the Schengen area countries are added to the ‘European’ list, yet the UK govt appears instant that air-bridges can be created with some of the EU27 countries, if these Schengen area countries are still operating their open boarders the UK would statistically be better offering an air-bridge to Brazil (not)!

        • NickC
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          Martin, You assume you know how the deaths ascribed to cv19 are assessed, and you assume the criteria are the same in every country. Neither assumptions are justified. So the comparisons are invalid.

  29. NickC
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The “Planning” system merely adds costs. But it would be far less contentious – and hence far cheaper – if we only built to replace and upgrade existing buildings. Yet because of the relentless government inspired increase in immigration, the expansion of the built up area is inevitable. So the answer is obvious: cut actual immigration to zero. But you won’t do it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Not, alas, much wisdom with his bonkers support for quack medicine, (do as I say not as I do) climate alarmism or his idealistic anti-science farming ideas. Or indeed his inability to see that he should keep well out of politics like his wiser mum.

    • Dennis
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      ‘…cut actual immigration to zero.’ Yes even if they are all Einsteins, Michelangelos, Henry Fords and all the geniuses in Silicon Valley etc., etc.

      • NickC
        Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, All of them?? Are you guaranteeing that the next half million batch of migrants even contains one Einstein and one Michelangelo? We’re talking about space and numbers and infrastructure. More migrants means more building. It’s not that difficult to understand.

        • jerry
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          @NickC; Dennis was replying to what you said; “the answer is obvious: cut actual immigration to zero”.

          Zero is an absolute, by your knee-jerk hard right doctrine, if the next Bill Gates wanted to make the UK his home, and his R&D/manufacturing base, you would refuse his immigration application?!

          On the other hand, the govt has announced an Australian points based system, this would welcome such people, but perhaps refuse those with skills that the UK is or should-be self sufficient in, for example farm labouring, care home and NHS staff etc.

          It is not immigration this govt is shy of dealing with, it’s our awfully politicised education system, from cradle to grave.

  30. Ed M
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Dear Sr John,

    Sadly, many planners have helped to create unnecessary eyesores in our cities, towns, suburbs and countryside.

    I am not against progress. It is the type of progress that I’m commenting on. The types of buildings and structures that are being built. And it’s not about lack of money. For the same amount of money, much more attractive and aesthetically-pleasing buildings and structures could be built. So many of these planners seem to lack proper education / imagination / appreciation for the arts and architecture and landscape gardening. Let’s have far more houses that are built like 19th century artisan cottages with dormer windows, Queen-Anne-style houses, and so on. These do NOT have to cost more. It’s all about imagination.

    This is important. There is lots of science to show how companies are attracted to places that look nice. And places that look nice also brings down stress, depression and crime. Really. All the evidence is there.

    And one big way we could help blot out lots and lots of eyesores is to plant more trees – everywhere. All the evidence is there how trees:

    1) Attract companies to an area
    2) Attract affluence in general (small, local businesses, people coming to live)
    3) Tress look nice but also the green in trees reduces stress and mental imbalance
    4) All of this reduces crime
    5) Trees reduce pollution
    6) Increase patriotism. We want people to love how their country looks

    The benefit of trees is HUGE. But when my friend tried to plant a tree in his garden in London, the local council wanted to charge him £400 or something (can’t remember exact figure). This is NUTS.

  31. Richard416
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I am concerned that local councils can change their local plan to suit their own agenda. Some of these extremists are patently anti-car, whilst it is obvious that the local people are anything but, yet they spend hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money tearing up roads, denying car parking space with unnecessary yellow lines, charging owners to park in the street, making up absurd one way systems, and the like, and they get away with it.

  32. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    In Shropshire there are many new homes going up in very rural areas. Most of these villages do not have regular bus services and the homes being erected are for mainly young people with families and occasionally bungalows aimed at the older population. Are these people expected to get on their bikes for work, running the kids to school and other activities, dentist, doctors, supermarket or other shopping and the hospital? With so many brown sites available and these being closer to work and other amenities wouldn’t it be a good idea to encourage building on these sites instead of taking up more and more productive farm land which we will need one day? Also, if the government didn’t keep allowing illegal immigration the need for housing wouldn’t be so great. With hundreds now arriving each week we have to find more housing and often to the detriment of people here already and on the housing waiting list for years. We will become a very overcrowded island soon and a not so pleasant place to live. Developers in our village put in plans for a few detached houses, get permission to build and then put in amendments for semi detached and squeeze more in than the original plan stated. We have ended up with more of a ghetto than a suitable estate in a village setting.

    • jerry
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      @FUS; Those ‘brown field sites’ are were people should be working, not living, think about it!

      Yes there is often a lack of services etc. when new build takes place but that doesn’t mean these new homes were not correctly placed, it simply means either the developer or LA have got away with not providing improved services etc.

      What would you prefer, those brown field sites used for housing and new industrial estates tagged onto the villages -well at least you’ll get decent broadband I suppose- or perhaps you think people/employers do not actually need factories/units to work out of?…

  33. Fred H
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    There was always the issue of garden development. Often older people would be approached to sell part of large gardens to allow a good sized additional house. Sometimes the intention would then be to sell the original largish house for retirement reasons. Net result 2 houses for families in the growth area, a Section 106 gain, and often a family would replace an elderly couple. I have experience of a Parish Council voting against such a plan, and the Wokingham planners objecting on 5 grounds – the laughable one being new design not in keeping in a road where no 2 houses are similar! Going to the Inspectorate 4 out of 5 objections thrown out. The Council often chooses to allow a development simply ‘because we don’t have the money to object, and might well lose on appeal’.

  34. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    You clearly have your govt issue high strength rose-tinted glasses on today John. This country is already well on it’s way down the highway to hell, with no apparent turn-offs. A brighter future? Already overcrowded – with the million home arc to be built across the country? Add on all whatever is needed for those million homes to function – factories, hospitals, water and sewage plants etc etc. And we already need 5x this NOW just to cope with current immigration – ALL of them wanting THEIR ways, rules, laws and culture – paid for by US. There is NO future for this country.

    • Posted June 25, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Not glasses, bigneil, blinkers!

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      +1

  35. Ed M
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Up the ash tree climbs the ivy,
    Up the ivy climbs the sun,
    With a twenty-thousand pattering,
    Has a valley breeze begun,
    Feathery ash, neglected elder,
    Shift the shade and make it run

    – Sir John Betjeman

    GREEN is the plane-tree in the square,
    The other trees are brown;
    They droop and pine for country air;
    The plane-tree loves the town.

    Here from my garret-pane, I mark
    The plane-tree bud and blow,
    Shed her recuperative bark,
    And spread her shade below.

    Among her branches, in and out,
    The city breezes play;
    The dun fog wraps her round about;
    Above, the smoke curls gray.

    Others the country take for choice,
    And hold the town in scorn;
    But she has listened to the voice
    On city breezes borne.

    – Amy Levy

  36. RichardP
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t aware there was a planning system!
    We have these ridiculous Local Plans designed to ram in unsustainable amounts of housing regardless of local opposition, and then the Government arbitrarily demands even more housing on top of the plan limits.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      There isn’t a planning system where I live. It’s more like regulated urban sprawl.
      I think it’s the same just about everywhere.

  37. John E
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Why does the gain in value from planning permission all go to the land owners? Why does it not go to the community?
    It encourages cronyism and corruption in local councils.

    • Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Most of the land is owned by the Councils. That’s why! And the ‘demand’ for houses is from people with no money!

  38. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The planning system is like everything the government touches. Farcical with absurd, arbitrary decisions made by ‘planners’ – just people who got an job with the council’. I won’t bore you with the run-ins I’ve had, and the appeals I have won, but planning needs a complete overhaul if we are ever to build modern, efficient homes that are not a pastiche of a sometimes ugly past age.

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      +1. We’’ve put too much power in the hands of local officials, and the cliques who have the time and money to play about being local councillors.

  39. a-tracy
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    There are some towns where developers can do what they want, they can put up hundreds of tiny rabbit warrens nose to tail, without sufficient parking for the two car families that move in, throw white paint all over the bricks out of character of the area, ugly planting of sprawling unkempt cheap shrubs, no thought to traffic getting out onto previous quiet roads that were marked down in speed and now create snakes of traffic at peak times in both directions making it unsafe to get out after waiting for 7-10 minutes, sewerage tanks (that results in said ugly metal structures topped spikes as the feature at the front of the estate). Ever expanding green telecoms boxes plonked in the middle of messy grass at the entrance to the unkempt estates that the Council are receiving many 1000’s in rates for.

    Posher areas rarely have this, they certainly don’t allow ugly sharp metal spike on their front roads, it would be buried behind shrubs and trees, they have flowers, well kept borders, nice signage, often a clock tower or sculpture, quaint road names, but they pay no more in rates! In fact often in the poorer towns the rates for a band G are much higher than in the poshest Kensington homes and that band G starts at much lower home values! You can’t change the Council because they keep throwing up all the social housing in the one town that they want to dump in to meet targets. That way the posher new estates with the big houses all neatly together don’t have to have so many social houses because they meet the quota elsewhere.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Oh my goodness. Just what I was going to say too. Our village has been bombarded with new homes and they don’t fit in at all. The development started as one site and is now at 3 sites. We had mostly detached houses consented but amended after this to have semi detached and hardly any gardens and certainly not enough parking. You have to park staggered outside on a driveway otherwise you can’t open your car door. There are too many homes being put up in very rural areas where there is no public transport. So everyone HAS to have a car or two or three. The rates for some of these homes are high and yet the council takes no responsibility for the grass areas, pavements or lighting and I think roads on the estates. Just where is the money going. Certainly not on services. I live in an older house in the village and we used to get our road verges sorted out with weeds twice a year. Now they don’t do it at all and it looks a mess. I cleared outside my own house and two others where the residents are frail. It’s not good enough. Letting in hundreds of illegal immigrants (the BBC are very quiet on this subject) every week is hardly helping and more of our productive farmland is being taken. Why not offer an incentive to build on ugly brown sites near to amenities for families who are working with children that want to use facilities?

      • Mark B
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        The money is being funnelled onto creating non-jobs and their pension funds.

        • a-tracy
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          The Council money is paying full pay during furlough then bleating they have no money left to pay for the services they took the rates for. It is frankly insulting to listen to over large payrolled council officers asking for more from people whose businesses were closed down, who are on 80% furlough max £2500 we aren’t all in this together Mark and now they want MORE.

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      You forgot to mention the houses with garages that allow a car to enter, but not the car doors to open.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Planning now requires new home ‘garages’ to become carports ie walls and a roof but no door to close. Reason? They are usually too small, cars are not parked in them, and they become storage for collectors rubbish!

  40. Ignoramus
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Speaking as someone who can, just, remember the war and who grew up in the country, but with access to decent towns, my memories of England (and I leave out Scotland and Wales)
    are very different. Yes we need houses and yes global population has multiplied enormously.
    Nevertheless England is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. At this rate what will it be like in 100 years – or even 50?

    My views might be described as insular, regressive, or unimaginative. I believe many of all ages hold them. The arguments made by “Population Matters”, supported by Sir David Attenborough, are irrefutable. They apply to the whole world but particularly to the UK.

    • Dennis
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Ignoramus – quite agree. Pity Attenborough hasn’t mentioned population since he became a patron of Population Matters! Well how many times publicly?

  41. Fred H
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    How can Planning end up with Winnersh Crossroads? From years ago as housing increased, commuting increased, schools over subscribed – it all started. A large crossing of A329 and Robinhood Lane needed work on dodgy drains and poorly phased traffic lights.
    We allowed Sainsburys to build blocking one corner with a right turn access to site! A small office block totally out of keeping was permitted on the diagonal – with an entry to a carpark which holds up traffic 2 car lengths from the lights! A small flats development allowed on another corner with an Estate Agent at ground level – really necessary- Not! So then only one corner has space for improved work on a road junction. Applications rejected so now we have a ‘temporary’ car cleaning business (which is available within Sainsburys carpark already).
    You have to wonder at the succession of fools who allowed this to ‘develop’ year after year – I thought Planning had an eye on the future?

    • Fred H
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      and it gets worse – – all this adds to the need to ease traffic on the A329. So guess what -years and years of ‘planning’ discussions for a bypass. Finally it links with Hatch Farm massive homes building ( with no school or facilities but some flooding continues). Years later the bit at the new homes gets built. Where is the rest of it? From the old Bulldog garage on A 329 through to the massive new homes at Cantley and almost Bracknell hardly anything to ease congestion. Why? – – -well partly because the important bit in the middle from King St Lane to the A329 bridge under the M4 has not been built. When is a bypass with bits missing going to work?
      Answers please…..multi years, multi roadwork delays, multi £millions – result ?

  42. APL
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Planning a brighter future”

    Why didn’t you put forward your plan before your government threw 20% of our economy down the drain, and put possibly a million people out of work?

  43. Clive Lester
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John . Please address the immigration problem first as the open door policy will continue to create an even bigger demand for houses.
    The Country is at bursting point now , more and more acres lost to food production .
    When will we ever learn that building more seats on a life boat will eventually cause it to sink
    Poor roads ,over crowding , an NHS at bursting point , yet build ,build ,build so we can take even more people in . True folly.

    • Andy
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Maybe the immigration problem is in your head – and is consequently unfixable by anybody but you.

      The reality is that 90% of our country is not built on at all. And the reasons the roads are poor and the NHS is at bursting point is because you keep voting Conservative. And they prefer tax breaks for their billionaire friends than begged hospitals for you. The solution really is not hard.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Yes, Andy – they rightly condemn the rail operators, for blaming The Wrong Kind Of Snow when they offer a poor service, and yet they fall over themselves to excuse the hitherto austerity-crazed Tories for offering shocking public services such as health and education, on the grounds that there is The Wrong Kind Of Public. Two-out-of-three hospital beds have closed since Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, yet the population has grown rather, and also aged markedly since then. New arrivals are generally young and fit though. How does that all work, please?

        • Fred H
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          Blair shut the hospital wards…

      • NickC
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Andy, England is one of the most densely populated (large) nations in the world and the most overpopulated in Europe. There is simply no reason to import more migrants, and I notice you don’t provide one.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Since 1997 15 years have been Labour.
        Spending on the NHS continues to rise every year.
        Spending on roads was severely reduced under Labour.
        And the top 1% pay morre than a third of all income tax

        Do some research before your make yourself look silly.

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    It is difficult because our population keeps increasing, driven by immigration. If two council tax bands, I and J, were to be added at the upper end, with rates 2X and 4X the band H rate, we might to better. The landed gentry might be forced to sell off surplus land to developers, with the result that new houses would be build on land that was not a flood plain. Perhaps some of the large urban houses would be sub-divided also.

    We could – dare I mention it – reduce immigration to a trickle, as the electorate expects following the 2016 referendum victory.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      Yes. Let those who benefit from MASS IMMIGRATION pay for it.

  45. Posted June 25, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Dear JR, I know you will be reading all this valuable information .all these letters then
    Your Government is little more than a shower, and hardly anyone here is ever saying anything good about this disgraceful Government, they are with very Few exceptions, you being one and others largely on the back bench.
    I think nothing you have said in your Manifesto is going to get done we all know, just like the last lot, you know what we want, just what is in your Manifesto, yet you know it will not be happening.
    Some Democratic shut down is all we will get,, so more of the same

  46. matthu
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    TB on how to build a brighter future outside the EU:
    “Build a relationship even outside the formal structures of the EU.
    “Build it around defence, security and foreign policy.
    “Build it where we have massive common interests,
    “things like energy policy and climate change.
    “Build it around issues like development, education, technology.”

    So everything apart from Finance, Taxation, Health and Safety, then?
    I guess they will come later.

    • Andy
      Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they will. When we rejoin.

      • NickC
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Andy, Why rejoin a corrupt undemocratic empire which you can be sure would be extremely vindictive towards the UK? It would be like the Normans laying waste to the North, except carried out bureaucratically.

    • margaret howard
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      matthu

      Technology? Space? After having to leave the European Galileo project we have just made a good start by buying a 20% stake in the failed American satellite company OneWeb which filed for bankruptcy in March!

      Success, success. Start as you mean to go on!

      According to a letter in the Faznet this week: “the British have already spent more on Brexit than 47 years of EU membership cost them!”

      • Fred H
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Galileo doesn’t work and will face more difficulties without British involvement. Running out of investors doesn’t make the project doomed to fail.

        • hefner
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          The problem which appeared on 11/07/2019 was tracked to a problem in the ground infrastructure contrary to the previous (2017) problems with On-board hydrogen maser clocks. It was fixed one week later (18/07/2019) and the 22+4 spare Galileo satellites have appeared to work satisfactorily since then. They fly at about 22,000 km altitude, therefore covering a 75N-75S band of latitudes with a large common coverage of adjacent longitude bands between satellites (at least 3 are required for proper positioning).

          Problem with the present OneWeb-related project is that the 73 existing OneWeb satellites fly much lower (800km). They can only cover much smaller areas on the ground both latitudinally and longitudinally-speaking. They are also much smaller satellites (150 vs 675 kg satellites) and are therefore unlikely to carry sophisticated maser clocks, absolutely required for proper positioning between themselves and to the ground, a particular requirement given it will likely encompass a mix of equator-circling and polar-orbiting satellites.

          But we should not bother, both BJ and the Chancellor have given the go-ahead for £500m with around £2bn coming from the private sector. What could possibly go wrong?

  47. David Brown
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Housing is always a thorny issue, in some parts of the country houses there are empty houses and some areas of derelict housing. The past Council housing and large apartment blocks have been a disaster for different reasons. The big South London Council house estates have far too much open space. The big concrete apartment blocks crammed together are areas that breed crime.
    I favour a mix of housing and apartments – especially for first time buyers, not the big concrete blocks but well designed apartments, there are plenty of examples. Brown field sites should be used primarily inc change of use of former industrial buildings,( we need Agricultural land for self sufficiency).
    May be housing planning should be done more on a regional level and linked to enterprise areas for jobs. When I travel up the M1 Im struck by the amount of derelict land especially former heavy industry areas. Encouraging relocating business away from London is one solution to the pressures around the M25

  48. Original Chris
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Elephant in the room: mass immigration at levels that are unsustainable. Until your government acknowledges the problem there will never be an effective solution.

    I hesitate to call you a Pollyanna, Sir John, or exhibiting blind optimism, but I do feel you, and the government have got to get a grip and face up to the problems that so many in the electorate are already aware of, and have been for many years. You just seem to be behind the curve, for whatever reason, and that does not gain respect.

  49. ukretired123
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I find Planning to be one of the most hypocritical activities going as Britain’s transport system works against the very people it is supposed to help.
    On transport its a victim of its historic rapid development since the Industrial revolution where canals and railways competed then road with rail and then with air travel and now HS2 after Crossrail – overdue, overbudget and over-hyped as the answer to London’s problems.
    Most folks dread travel in the UK as it has become very stressful, unproductive and expensive.I

    On housing – building on floodplain was encouraged under Mr Prescot and despite all the MSM coverage of annual flooding still goes on even dumping waste concrete 2metres high thereon locally (without regard to the consequences) ….
    The idea of getting retired folks to move from their hard-earned home to smaller accommodation should be tested first by Housing Minister Mr Jenrick himself!
    Moving to a new neighbourhood where crime may be a problem is a major deterrent to many today as the police have changed priorities abandoned rural policing.
    Many problems need a new approach and demand needs to start with the obvious immigration numbers as many here have noted.

  50. agricola
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Why not set up a National Planning Authority/Ministry with basic direction from the government of the day. Make applicants, local group interest, and local authorities supplicants. The object being that the whole process can be completed within one year maximum on the basis of keeping it simple.

  51. Robert Eastham
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I am normally an advocate of the free market but I do think there is a case for an uplift tax where a land owner achieves a windfall profit as the result of a planning decision. I believe this would address much of the corruption, actual or perceived, that attends planning decisions. At present we have a furlough scheme which pays people where by dint of a government decision they are unable to earn themselves; this would be the same in principle albeit the other way round!

  • 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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