We have a major housing crisis. That is not news. The government has been trying to solve the problem but it is not clear they are on the right track. The Green Belt, protected areas and the countryside in general are all being threatened by inappropriate development pushed by a desperate attempt to build more homes.
The Government consultation on the new NPPF closes on the 10th May. The review is based on the assumption that only the private sector can solve this problem and that Local Authorities must be compelled to accept centrally imposed housing targets that reflect demand rather than need. Local Authorities must grant more planning permissions and this will, of course, be converted into more houses. So the Local Authorities cannot block inappropriate developments without being cast as the ‘bad guys’.
You can influence the outcome. It is perfectly possible to build affordable homes for people without wrecking the countryside for all time. But we need a planning system that:
- Supports local democracy by adhering to neighbourhood and local plans.
- Ensures realistic and high quality development based on genuine need not market demand.
- Delivers more affordable homes by closing legal loopholes that put developer profits first.
- Adopts a true ‘brownfield first’ approach to development.
- Protects our countryside for current and future generations.
You can add your voice to the debate by e-mailing your local MP firstname.lastname@example.org
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An application for a Certificate of lawfulness of Existing Use on land on School Lane has been submitted to Cheshire East Planning Department. As you may have noticed the development to build two dwellings and a car park on a strip of land along the side of School Lane and between it and the cricket pitch has been on hold for some time. It is not clear why but the letter clearly indicates a concern by the developers that they may now or soon be in breach on planning conditions.
The original application (15/0198N) was granted on appeal in October 2015 with the condition that development be started within three years. This is a standard condition for all developments and is a means of trying to get work done in a reasonable period. Clearly some basic work has begun. Footings have been begun and access through the hedge has been created. However, work has been on hold for some weeks. The applicant is asking Cheshire East planning department to agree that they have complied with the start condition and issue the Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing use of Land to ensure that action cannot be taken against them for noncompliance. The implication being that the project will be on hold now until after the latest permitted start date (October 2018).
These certificates or CLEUD ‘s are therefore designed to ensure that enforcement of planning conditions cannot or should not proceed. It protects the developer from such enforcement or the possibility that the original planning permission is withdrawn. There are, as I understand the law, minimum time periods for eligibility on the development. The breach of planning must be continuous and current and the application must be based on evidence. The time period is 4 years. Does that mean the applicant is intending to keep the development on hold for a further year or more?
The Certificate has now been granted by Cheshire East and we can expect a period of delay of up to 2 years.
Many of you will have contributed to this annual survey. Here are the results for England. Results for other areas can be found here
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