Remove Gypsies/Travellers’ Status As A Racial Group

The status of travellers as a racial group is undermining measures to tackle the illegal actitivites of (some) of the members of this group, whether it's breaches of planning law, trespassing, or other anti-social actititives where the authorities have to wear "kit gloves" to deal with them, because of their status under equalities law.

Travelling is a lfestyle choice, not a race, regardless of how many generations have been doing it.

Why is this idea important?

The status of travellers as a racial group is undermining measures to tackle the illegal actitivites of (some) of the members of this group, whether it's breaches of planning law, trespassing, or other anti-social actititives where the authorities have to wear "kit gloves" to deal with them, because of their status under equalities law.

Travelling is a lfestyle choice, not a race, regardless of how many generations have been doing it.

Clarification of Planning Classes with regards to C3(b) and C2

Currently, Class C3 Dwelling Houses are defined as follows:

Use as a dwellinghouse (whether or not as a sole or main residence) by—

(a) a single person or by people to be regarded as forming a single household;

(b) not more than six residents living together as a single household where care is provided for residents; or

(c) not more than six residents living together as a single household where no care is provided to residents (other than a use within Class C4).

Within the  Communities and Local Government Circular 05/2010 there are additional comments which state:

C3(b) continues to make provision for supported housing schemes, such as those for people with disabilities or mental health problems.

It remains the case that in small residential care homes or nursing homes, staff and residents will probably not live as a single household and the use will therefore fall into the residential institutions class, regardless of the size of the home. Local planning authorities should include any resident care staff in their calculation of the number of people accommodated.

However, what this does not take into account is the more modern approach to small care homes whereby there are no resident staff and those living in the house are living as a single household.

The determination of C3(b) or C2 has further been confused by some recent case law such as North Devon DC v First Secretary of State [2003] EWHC 157 and Crawley BC v Secretary of State for Transport and the Regions [2004] EWHC 160.

This has left a situation whereby whether a small care home should be a C3(b) or a C2 is determined on the level of needs of the people who live there. Hence, a care home with 6 or less people could open under a class C3(b) but at some point an individual moves in who requires a level of care that a local planning officer (who has no training or experience in assessment of individuals with support needs) makes a determination whether this should now become a C2.

Also, this matter is determined differently by different planning authorities across the country. Indeed, it even varies within counties.

I believe that these planning classes definitions should be used to encourage integration of people with disabilities and mental health problems within the community and hence, allowing small care homes to be within “normal houses, in normal streets”. Not, as I have found that some communities prefer, to be able to challenge the planning in order to not have “those people” living next door to them.

Hence, I believe that this needs to be simplified so that any small care home with up to six people should be classed as C3(b) irrelevant of the level of care provided and that the only people to be included are those that actually live there (and not staff who provide support).

This means that it is not for planning officers with little or no experience of care to make determinations on whether an individual has the capability of living within a household. Also, it means that the planning requirements of a small care home are not a moving target.

Why is this idea important?

Currently, Class C3 Dwelling Houses are defined as follows:

Use as a dwellinghouse (whether or not as a sole or main residence) by—

(a) a single person or by people to be regarded as forming a single household;

(b) not more than six residents living together as a single household where care is provided for residents; or

(c) not more than six residents living together as a single household where no care is provided to residents (other than a use within Class C4).

Within the  Communities and Local Government Circular 05/2010 there are additional comments which state:

C3(b) continues to make provision for supported housing schemes, such as those for people with disabilities or mental health problems.

It remains the case that in small residential care homes or nursing homes, staff and residents will probably not live as a single household and the use will therefore fall into the residential institutions class, regardless of the size of the home. Local planning authorities should include any resident care staff in their calculation of the number of people accommodated.

However, what this does not take into account is the more modern approach to small care homes whereby there are no resident staff and those living in the house are living as a single household.

The determination of C3(b) or C2 has further been confused by some recent case law such as North Devon DC v First Secretary of State [2003] EWHC 157 and Crawley BC v Secretary of State for Transport and the Regions [2004] EWHC 160.

This has left a situation whereby whether a small care home should be a C3(b) or a C2 is determined on the level of needs of the people who live there. Hence, a care home with 6 or less people could open under a class C3(b) but at some point an individual moves in who requires a level of care that a local planning officer (who has no training or experience in assessment of individuals with support needs) makes a determination whether this should now become a C2.

Also, this matter is determined differently by different planning authorities across the country. Indeed, it even varies within counties.

I believe that these planning classes definitions should be used to encourage integration of people with disabilities and mental health problems within the community and hence, allowing small care homes to be within “normal houses, in normal streets”. Not, as I have found that some communities prefer, to be able to challenge the planning in order to not have “those people” living next door to them.

Hence, I believe that this needs to be simplified so that any small care home with up to six people should be classed as C3(b) irrelevant of the level of care provided and that the only people to be included are those that actually live there (and not staff who provide support).

This means that it is not for planning officers with little or no experience of care to make determinations on whether an individual has the capability of living within a household. Also, it means that the planning requirements of a small care home are not a moving target.

Adjustment to PPG2 to clarify what is meant by disproportionate extensions in Green Belts and to ensure planning approvals are more fairly assessed.

Planning Policy Guidance Note PPG2 and the planning policies that many local authorities derive from that national guidance are unfairly in conflict with my right to enjoy my property in the Green Belt. 

The policy suggests that inappropriate development in the Green Belt is by definition harmful to the openness of a Green Belt irrespective of weather or not any one can see the development or if it causes no other harm – other than offend the sensibilities of a local planning officer.

The test for extending dwellings is based on the concept that extensions are not inappropriate if they are not disproportionate over and above the size of the original building (i.e. as the building was in 1948 or when first built). 

Many planning applications have been allowed over the years to extend such properties.  A good proportion between the 1960s when Green Belts first appeared and 1995 when PPG2 was published.  In recent years many authorities have become increasingly tight on what they will allow under what is a very ambiguously worded policy.  Many planning officers when given a cap and a badge seek to enforce a percentage limit as a black and white interpretation of what the national guidance sets out.  This gives them power but does not require any difficult or professional judgements to be made.

Two key issues arise from the way this policy has evolved that are in direct contravention of the right to enjoy property allowed for under the HRA.

Although there is no formal definition of original within PPG2 many but not all authorities use 1948 as the cut off date.  So while some properties may have been extended in the past they are treated differently.  In our local area the authority has lost most of its records from before reorganisation that took place in 1974.  This can mean properties that were build after 1948 can be mistakenly taken for earlier or earlier phases of extension work can be incorrectly assumed to be part of the original.  Other authorities now take later dates (one as late as 1980) as the cut off date.

Smaller dwellings are placed under a much greater restriction than larger properties.  So while a good sized extension on a large property could have the same volume or foot print as a modest extension on a small dwelling – the extension to the smaller property would be more likely to be refused.  The extension on the smaller property can be automatically classed as 'inappropriate development' even though it has no greater size or impact on openness!  This can be the case even where an acceptable extension could be in full public view and the unacceptable extension could be completely out of site on a rear elevation.

The assessments made under this policy as it currently stand are frequently confused and arbitrary.  The policy should be changed to recognise that small properties can be extended by a greater proportion (say up to a limit of the extension not being greater than the original volume) without harm.  Alternatively change the wording to say extensions to dwellings in the green belt are acceptable as long as they don't cause a disproportionate increase in the visibility (or visual impact) of the building from public vantage points.

 

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

Planning Policy Guidance Note PPG2 and the planning policies that many local authorities derive from that national guidance are unfairly in conflict with my right to enjoy my property in the Green Belt. 

The policy suggests that inappropriate development in the Green Belt is by definition harmful to the openness of a Green Belt irrespective of weather or not any one can see the development or if it causes no other harm – other than offend the sensibilities of a local planning officer.

The test for extending dwellings is based on the concept that extensions are not inappropriate if they are not disproportionate over and above the size of the original building (i.e. as the building was in 1948 or when first built). 

Many planning applications have been allowed over the years to extend such properties.  A good proportion between the 1960s when Green Belts first appeared and 1995 when PPG2 was published.  In recent years many authorities have become increasingly tight on what they will allow under what is a very ambiguously worded policy.  Many planning officers when given a cap and a badge seek to enforce a percentage limit as a black and white interpretation of what the national guidance sets out.  This gives them power but does not require any difficult or professional judgements to be made.

Two key issues arise from the way this policy has evolved that are in direct contravention of the right to enjoy property allowed for under the HRA.

Although there is no formal definition of original within PPG2 many but not all authorities use 1948 as the cut off date.  So while some properties may have been extended in the past they are treated differently.  In our local area the authority has lost most of its records from before reorganisation that took place in 1974.  This can mean properties that were build after 1948 can be mistakenly taken for earlier or earlier phases of extension work can be incorrectly assumed to be part of the original.  Other authorities now take later dates (one as late as 1980) as the cut off date.

Smaller dwellings are placed under a much greater restriction than larger properties.  So while a good sized extension on a large property could have the same volume or foot print as a modest extension on a small dwelling – the extension to the smaller property would be more likely to be refused.  The extension on the smaller property can be automatically classed as 'inappropriate development' even though it has no greater size or impact on openness!  This can be the case even where an acceptable extension could be in full public view and the unacceptable extension could be completely out of site on a rear elevation.

The assessments made under this policy as it currently stand are frequently confused and arbitrary.  The policy should be changed to recognise that small properties can be extended by a greater proportion (say up to a limit of the extension not being greater than the original volume) without harm.  Alternatively change the wording to say extensions to dwellings in the green belt are acceptable as long as they don't cause a disproportionate increase in the visibility (or visual impact) of the building from public vantage points.

 

 

 

 

Remove requiements for planning authorities to put public notices in local newspapers

At the moment planning authorities are required to place notices in local newspapers at regular stages e.g. to annource planning applications, to annouce consultation on a plan, to say that a plan has been adopted etc.  This is very expensive.  Each time that a notice is placed it costs about £1000, depending on the individual newspaper.  

I'm not sure that many people read the notices section and think that there are better ways of getting the infomation to the public (e.g. online consultations, press releases, notices displayed at sites).  These methods are already widely used.

Why is this idea important?

At the moment planning authorities are required to place notices in local newspapers at regular stages e.g. to annource planning applications, to annouce consultation on a plan, to say that a plan has been adopted etc.  This is very expensive.  Each time that a notice is placed it costs about £1000, depending on the individual newspaper.  

I'm not sure that many people read the notices section and think that there are better ways of getting the infomation to the public (e.g. online consultations, press releases, notices displayed at sites).  These methods are already widely used.

Remove the restriction barring Objectors from appealing a Planning decision.

Currently only the requestor of Planning Consent can appeal if the decision goes against them. The same right is not afforded to Ojectors. Remove this unfairness.

Why is this idea important?

Currently only the requestor of Planning Consent can appeal if the decision goes against them. The same right is not afforded to Ojectors. Remove this unfairness.

End Planning regulations in your own garden.

I have just built a Pergola in my back garden.

Unless i move the Pergola two meters from my boundery fence, I am now informed that I need planning permission costing £150 and I need to get plans drawn up and submitted.

How rediculous is that?

We should be free from local council interferrence as to what we can do in our own gardens.

Why is this idea important?

I have just built a Pergola in my back garden.

Unless i move the Pergola two meters from my boundery fence, I am now informed that I need planning permission costing £150 and I need to get plans drawn up and submitted.

How rediculous is that?

We should be free from local council interferrence as to what we can do in our own gardens.

unlimited repeat planning applications for same development

Present planning laws allow developers to re-apply  for permission to build virtually the same development,  i.e. with very small alterations, indefinitely and irrespective of how many refusals by the local authority.  This is a huge imposition on Councils and local residents who necessarily have to involve themselves in spending a lot of time and money defending unwanted planning appeals.  Resident groups are mostly up against giant organisations  [mainly supermarket chains] which have unlimited resources.  It is truly a David and Goliath situation except that in most cases Goliath is eventually the winner as they gradually wear down the opposition.  Surely, a rejection of one application and a a subsequent appeal is enough to show that the local residents or their Council, do not want the development to take place.  No organisation should be allowed to steamroller its way over the will of the people. 

Why is this idea important?

Present planning laws allow developers to re-apply  for permission to build virtually the same development,  i.e. with very small alterations, indefinitely and irrespective of how many refusals by the local authority.  This is a huge imposition on Councils and local residents who necessarily have to involve themselves in spending a lot of time and money defending unwanted planning appeals.  Resident groups are mostly up against giant organisations  [mainly supermarket chains] which have unlimited resources.  It is truly a David and Goliath situation except that in most cases Goliath is eventually the winner as they gradually wear down the opposition.  Surely, a rejection of one application and a a subsequent appeal is enough to show that the local residents or their Council, do not want the development to take place.  No organisation should be allowed to steamroller its way over the will of the people. 

Planning applications shouldn’t be an exercise in job creation

Planning applications used to need the submission of a 3 page form together with plans and elevations showing the proposals

Under directions ordered by the last government, Local Planning Authorities now require completion of a 10 page form as well as very detailed plans, sections and elevations.  They can also now ask for all sorts of things to accompany the application, such as Environmental Statements, Supporting Planning Statements, Design and Access Statements, Transport Assessments, Travel Plans, Flood Risk Assessments, Regeneration Statements, Retail Assessments, Sustainability Appraisals, Tree Surveys, Nature Conservation Assessments, Ecological Assessments, Noise Impact Assessments, Air Quality Assessments, Utilities Statements, Energy Statements, Archaeological Assessments, etc. 

As this is now all laid down in Local Authority Planning Protocols, there are many Planning Officers who will ask for unnecessary information  – without having the common sense to question it. 

The consequence is, of course, that many consultants need to be employed to prepare such assessments and statements and the cost of making planning applications has risen alarmingly.   Another side to the issue is that Local Authorities require additional staff (or their own consultants) to verfity and check the information, thereby creating an additional burden on tax payers.

These Local Planning Authority powers should be curbed so that development is allowed to proceed with minimal levels of bureaucracy.

 

Why is this idea important?

Planning applications used to need the submission of a 3 page form together with plans and elevations showing the proposals

Under directions ordered by the last government, Local Planning Authorities now require completion of a 10 page form as well as very detailed plans, sections and elevations.  They can also now ask for all sorts of things to accompany the application, such as Environmental Statements, Supporting Planning Statements, Design and Access Statements, Transport Assessments, Travel Plans, Flood Risk Assessments, Regeneration Statements, Retail Assessments, Sustainability Appraisals, Tree Surveys, Nature Conservation Assessments, Ecological Assessments, Noise Impact Assessments, Air Quality Assessments, Utilities Statements, Energy Statements, Archaeological Assessments, etc. 

As this is now all laid down in Local Authority Planning Protocols, there are many Planning Officers who will ask for unnecessary information  – without having the common sense to question it. 

The consequence is, of course, that many consultants need to be employed to prepare such assessments and statements and the cost of making planning applications has risen alarmingly.   Another side to the issue is that Local Authorities require additional staff (or their own consultants) to verfity and check the information, thereby creating an additional burden on tax payers.

These Local Planning Authority powers should be curbed so that development is allowed to proceed with minimal levels of bureaucracy.

 

Planning laws

Review the whole planning legislation. The cost of submitting a planning application is now far too high due to the massive amount of additional "expert" reports required. This cost has to be incurred prior to submiiting the application and the planning authority can still say no.

What I propose is:

  1. Free up the whole system by allowing a simple application to be filed without any supporting reports. The planning authority can then say yes or no. If it is a yes, it can be conditioned by the additional reports required. Simple and very cost effective.
  2. Allow more development – we only have 8% of land built on. To provide a further 1 miliion homes we would need a further 1.5%, which is not going to destroy our heritage
  3. Allow the full development of all existing buildings on brown field sites, farms etc. They are already there and it is far more cost effective to allow their conversion to housing than to start a whole new build.

Why is this idea important?

Review the whole planning legislation. The cost of submitting a planning application is now far too high due to the massive amount of additional "expert" reports required. This cost has to be incurred prior to submiiting the application and the planning authority can still say no.

What I propose is:

  1. Free up the whole system by allowing a simple application to be filed without any supporting reports. The planning authority can then say yes or no. If it is a yes, it can be conditioned by the additional reports required. Simple and very cost effective.
  2. Allow more development – we only have 8% of land built on. To provide a further 1 miliion homes we would need a further 1.5%, which is not going to destroy our heritage
  3. Allow the full development of all existing buildings on brown field sites, farms etc. They are already there and it is far more cost effective to allow their conversion to housing than to start a whole new build.