Housing Crisis in the rental section

Having recently received a state pension and living in social housing I find that there are only two options open to me. Renting privately is out of the question because of all the outlay, the 6 weeks deposit the months rent in advance, the agency fees, requisite before even moving in. In social housing  now there are so many bad neighbours, with addictions, criminal histories or generally just noisy at night and inconsiderate that the only other option is to move into sheltered housing. Why is there no other option for those who cannot afford to buy, please? Sheltered housing is more expensive due to the costs of supporting manager, etc, but if a person is fit, healthy and very independent, likes privacy and doesnt want a red pull cord in possibly every room or someone knocking on their door every day to check whether they are all right and still alive the truth is that there is simply NO ALTERNATIVE but to rent social housing with often unscrupulous housing organisations who have no respect for the law in what they do or say and bad neighbours who can make life a hell on Earth. There is a housing crisis in England which needs to be addressed by this government! Now, it may not be a popular subject due to the fact it is about the needs of the poorer members of society but poor people are not automatically bad people.

Why is this idea important?

Having recently received a state pension and living in social housing I find that there are only two options open to me. Renting privately is out of the question because of all the outlay, the 6 weeks deposit the months rent in advance, the agency fees, requisite before even moving in. In social housing  now there are so many bad neighbours, with addictions, criminal histories or generally just noisy at night and inconsiderate that the only other option is to move into sheltered housing. Why is there no other option for those who cannot afford to buy, please? Sheltered housing is more expensive due to the costs of supporting manager, etc, but if a person is fit, healthy and very independent, likes privacy and doesnt want a red pull cord in possibly every room or someone knocking on their door every day to check whether they are all right and still alive the truth is that there is simply NO ALTERNATIVE but to rent social housing with often unscrupulous housing organisations who have no respect for the law in what they do or say and bad neighbours who can make life a hell on Earth. There is a housing crisis in England which needs to be addressed by this government! Now, it may not be a popular subject due to the fact it is about the needs of the poorer members of society but poor people are not automatically bad people.

Suggested change to the application and enforcement of planning conditions for commercial and large scale residential development

This suggestion is not to remove a regulation but to ask for Planning Authorities to be under a statutory obligation to monitor and enforce conditions they apply to planning consents.  The result may be that the number of conditions applied to developers may be reduced but they would be enforced.

National guidance on planning conditions sets out that conditions should only be used to make a development that would otherwise be unacceptable acceptable.  It follows then that any such conditions must be important, but they are rarely enforced.  In almost every town across the UK you can go to your local supermarket, housing development, industrial development or similar and see areas of tree or shrub planting with dead trees or knee height in weeds.  Many other aspects of development mitigation also go un checked or not implemented leaving local communities all the poorer and occasionally neighbouring individuals seriously disadvantaged. 

Many developers look on planning conditions as an optional extra and pay lip service to the requirements they have been set with a planning approval.

All authorities should be formally required to inspect commercial development sites annually for 5 years post completion (the inspections should be on a public register) and be under a statutory obligation to enforce conditions where a developer is found to be in breach.  This would add to the work load of planning departments but in time would lead to a much clearer understanding from developers they must implement schemes only as approved (which would then in turn lead to a reduction in the need to take action).  Authorities would then only apply conditions they could expect to enforce and the public could then accept developments with the confidence that what they see is what they get.  Some authorities would no doubt give up applying conditions – but this would be in affect little different from what happens now. 

The additional cost of this could be recouped through fines for the most flagrant breaches of planning approval.

A spin off consequence of this would be a marked improvement in the UK landscape industry as contractors would no longer be able to walk away from poorly implemented schemes and the UK Nursery trade may be able to get back on its feet and start producing proper quality plant stock.

This suggestion is targeted at only commercial developments.  The reason for this as there is a distinct contrast between how most planning officers treat the public from how commercial developers.  With a member of the public most planners instantly go into a Cap and Badge syndrome mentality.  With a commercial developer most planners start to open their top button reminiscent of Pamela Stephenson on Not the Nine O'clock News (there that dates me doesn't it)!

 

Why is this idea important?

This suggestion is not to remove a regulation but to ask for Planning Authorities to be under a statutory obligation to monitor and enforce conditions they apply to planning consents.  The result may be that the number of conditions applied to developers may be reduced but they would be enforced.

National guidance on planning conditions sets out that conditions should only be used to make a development that would otherwise be unacceptable acceptable.  It follows then that any such conditions must be important, but they are rarely enforced.  In almost every town across the UK you can go to your local supermarket, housing development, industrial development or similar and see areas of tree or shrub planting with dead trees or knee height in weeds.  Many other aspects of development mitigation also go un checked or not implemented leaving local communities all the poorer and occasionally neighbouring individuals seriously disadvantaged. 

Many developers look on planning conditions as an optional extra and pay lip service to the requirements they have been set with a planning approval.

All authorities should be formally required to inspect commercial development sites annually for 5 years post completion (the inspections should be on a public register) and be under a statutory obligation to enforce conditions where a developer is found to be in breach.  This would add to the work load of planning departments but in time would lead to a much clearer understanding from developers they must implement schemes only as approved (which would then in turn lead to a reduction in the need to take action).  Authorities would then only apply conditions they could expect to enforce and the public could then accept developments with the confidence that what they see is what they get.  Some authorities would no doubt give up applying conditions – but this would be in affect little different from what happens now. 

The additional cost of this could be recouped through fines for the most flagrant breaches of planning approval.

A spin off consequence of this would be a marked improvement in the UK landscape industry as contractors would no longer be able to walk away from poorly implemented schemes and the UK Nursery trade may be able to get back on its feet and start producing proper quality plant stock.

This suggestion is targeted at only commercial developments.  The reason for this as there is a distinct contrast between how most planning officers treat the public from how commercial developers.  With a member of the public most planners instantly go into a Cap and Badge syndrome mentality.  With a commercial developer most planners start to open their top button reminiscent of Pamela Stephenson on Not the Nine O'clock News (there that dates me doesn't it)!

 

Slim down the National Curriculum for teachers!

I trained up originally as a primary school teacher in the 1990s, and was very good at my job. I left because of the sheer volume of paperwork required to manage the National Curriculum.

Most of my time was devoted to "benchmarking" and assessing my pupils against various level descriptors. Not only this, but the Literacy and Numeracy hours (the principles of which which I agree with) were intensely prescriptive: we were told how to structure classes, for example, which involved me having to allocate different *topics* (not just differentiated tasks) to different groups of children in their Numeracy lesson, when commnon sense told me they should at least have the same focus, albeit at different levels.

I have since moved on to sixth form teaching, via FE and a stint doing VSO, but I still hear various horror stories about primary teachers having to submit detailed lesson plans and evaluations (including portfolios of photographs) for *every lesson* they teach! I notice that the teachers in the school oppposite where I live,one with a very good reputation, are often at work before 7a.m.

Why is this idea important?

I trained up originally as a primary school teacher in the 1990s, and was very good at my job. I left because of the sheer volume of paperwork required to manage the National Curriculum.

Most of my time was devoted to "benchmarking" and assessing my pupils against various level descriptors. Not only this, but the Literacy and Numeracy hours (the principles of which which I agree with) were intensely prescriptive: we were told how to structure classes, for example, which involved me having to allocate different *topics* (not just differentiated tasks) to different groups of children in their Numeracy lesson, when commnon sense told me they should at least have the same focus, albeit at different levels.

I have since moved on to sixth form teaching, via FE and a stint doing VSO, but I still hear various horror stories about primary teachers having to submit detailed lesson plans and evaluations (including portfolios of photographs) for *every lesson* they teach! I notice that the teachers in the school oppposite where I live,one with a very good reputation, are often at work before 7a.m.