New Housing and Planning Bill to enforce councils to produce local plans for new homes by 2017

A new Housing and Planning bill has highlighted the government’s ambition to build 1 million new homes by 2020, as well as set a deadline for local councils to provide a local plan.

At present 82% of local councils have published local plans setting out how many homes they plan to deliver, however, only 65% have fully adopted them. Furthermore, almost 20% of councils do not have an up to date local plan at all.

The new bill will aim to improve these figures by setting a deadline of 2017 to produce a local plan. Failure to do so will result in the government consulting with local people to produce one for them, with David Cameron saying:

“If they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them”

Other proposals set out by the bill in order to boost home building and ownership include a legal duty on councils to guarantee the delivery of Starter Homes and to promote the scheme to first time buyers.

David Cameron explains:

‘The government will do everything it can to help people buy a place of their own and at the heart of this is our ambition to build one million new homes by 2020. Many areas are doing this already but we need a national crusade to get homes built and everyone must play their part”

The new legislation will also incorporate automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites, enabling as many homes as possible to be built whilst protecting green belt land.

Cameron has also announced that a temporary rule that was introduced in May 2013 that allowed disused offices to be converted into residential properties without planning permission, will be made permanent after more than 4,000 conversions were given the go ahead between April 2014 and June 2015.

One supporter of the new bill is Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who explains:

“It is good to see these now coming forward in the Bill. Some sites have been locked up for too long and these measures, coupled with a brownfield register and fund, will get them moving. While these new measures build on the National Planning Policy Framework and are welcome, the system needs to really pick up speed in order to deliver the vibrant property sector on which the success of our economy depends.”

The Chief Executive of the British Property Foundation also supports the bill:

“Measures to ensure local plans be put in place by 2017 will bring much needed certainty for potential investors and provide a catalyst for growth. Our members focus on brownfield opportunities and so measures that bring more land forward will also be warmly supported”

BT www.propertysurveying.co.uk 10.10.15

Housing Group Becomes the First to Use Drones in the Housing Sector

Walsall Housing Group has become the first housing association in the country to secure permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly drones over their housing stock. Though other authorities have ruled out using the equipment for cost reasons, Walsall have stated that they estimate the cost savings to be around £20,000 a year.

drone closeupThe move has led to a debate over the legal ramifications, with particular regard to the Data Protection Act 1998. Whilst the legal obligations on domestic drone users are fairly light and essentially extend to a requirement to use them in a responsible way which protects the privacy of others, the requirements on commercial use are more stringent.

The Information Commissioners Office’s (ICO) CCTV Code of Practice provides that as drones are privacy intrusive, justifications for their use are imperative. As such, a company or housing association will ideally need to undertake a ‘privacy impact assessment’ or similar to determine whether drones are appropriate, or whether another method would minimise the privacy impact. This would operate in much the same way as a risk assessment.

The same Code also offers several additional recommendations to ensure compliance with Data Protection:

  • Any data captured should be securely stored
  • Recording should be limited only to the defined purpose
  • Retained data should only be kept for its stated use
  • Consider ‘privacy by design’ – eg. Methods or technologies which allow restricted views or a specific focus.
  • Data access should be restricted to only those who need it
  • Consider ways to provide fair processing information to those likely to be affected.

drone flying inspectionThe guidance from the ICO indicates that Housing Associations, and all other companies looking to integrate drones into their processes, should be aware of the data implications. Whilst HAs like Walsall Housing Group evidently see a cost advantage, that net benefit may in some cases be eroded by the additional administration costs of satisfying their information obligations.

www.propertysurveying.co.uk

SRJ 19.10.15

High Court Quashes Planning Permission on Bias Grounds

Ref. Kelton v Wiltshire Council [2015] EWHC 2853 (Admin)

In this case, a judicial review was advanced by the claimant – a riparian owner 700 miles downstream – on the following grounds:

  1. Cllr Magnus Macdonald, who carried the deciding vote, should have been disqualified from voting on the Wiltshire Council Planning Committee. He was a director of Selwood Housing Association, an entity which had an interest in the affordable housing section of the 35 dwelling development in question. Cllr Macdonald received, as director, £3,000 per annum.
  1. Contamination was a risk arising from the specialist foundations required to make the development viable.
  1. The council’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening opinion for the development was flawed.
  1. Wiltshire’s conclusion that the development would not cause harm to heritage assets was flawed.

The Judge, Mr Justice Cranston, addressed each matter in turn, and his thoughts have been broken down below:

1 – Whilst Mr MacDonald had no direct pecuniary or proprietary interest in the planning application so as to be automatically disqualified from participating, the presence on the committee did raise the question of bias as defined by Lord Hope in Porter v Magill. Mr Justice Cranston summarised:

“Selwood, with Cllr Macdonald as a director, was not simply an affordable housing provider. Here it was the only provider which had been willing to give assistance on the scheme, had expressed a clear interest in delivering it, had been named by the applicants as their potential partner, and had written in support and attended the planning committee meeting when it was considered.

“In other words, its position was superior to that of any other interested providers of affordable housing because of its previous involvement and its prospects of winning the contract when the affordable housing part was tendered. Because of that, Cllr Macdonald’s private interests were engaged, as a director of Selwood, not just his interests in the cause of affordable housing. In all these circumstances it was wrong for Cllr Macdonald to have participated in the meeting.”

2 – The evidence demonstrated to Mr Justice Cranston’s satisfaction that the council’s decision on the matter of contamination was sufficiently well supported by the available information and that no significant effect was likely under the Habitats Regulations.

He stated:

“Insofar as a risk was identified in relation to the construction works, this was addressed with conditions which specifically address it.”

3 – On this point, he concluded that the screening could not be regarded as flawed.

4 – Mr Justice Cranston commented that “in my judgment there was ample evidence on which to base that conclusion and it was reasonable to reach it.” The officer’s report before the planning committee had concluded that developing the site would not harm the setting of the Bishopstrow Conservation Area or nearby heritage assets. This report was considered to be sound.

The result of these conclusions is that planning permission was quashed. Whilst points 2-4 were all disregarded, the presence of bias was sufficient to overturn the planning permission on the grounds of natural justice – nemo judex in causa sua (no one should be a judge in his own cause).

www.PropertySurveying.co.uk

SRJ

Looking for a Property Surveyor in Cheam?

Building and Property Surveyors Cheam

Do you need a local independent Chartered Surveyor in Cheam or the surrounding area? We can assist, including being able to provide a structural survey, major defects report, single fault assessment, rebuilding / reinstatement valuation, building survey, property valuation, homebuyers report, property acquisition advice, or other property assistance.

Chris Hunt MRICS
Chartered Surveyor

0203 390 3203
or Freephone on 0800 880 6024

chris_hunt“My surveying experience extends from a solid core of survey reports, like the HomeBuyers Survey and the House Purchase Survey, to a wide range of residential and commercial expert surveys, valuations and reports. I can highlight any and all issues and defects at your potential property purchase or your current home, making sure you have all the information you need to proceed.

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Looking for a surveyor in Newbury?

Surveyed Buildings
These are actual buildings inspected by McCall & Co, chartered surveyors of the propertysurveying network.

Pre-purchase (or pre-lease) Residential Property Surveys by McCall & Co Chartered Surveyors with experience of Period, Individual and Character houses and cottages, including with thatch and/or timber-framed walls, and/or cob walls. Personal service for discerning buyers covering the Newbury area, Berkshire.

For an informal, friendly, no- obligation discussion, please call Ian McCall TD, FRICS on

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Are you buying a commercial property in Dewsbury?

Property and Building Surveyors Dewsbury

01138 500 501
or Freephone on 0800 880 6024

west-yorkshire-101401_640Are you buying a new house or commercial property? Our Director will deal with you directly, giving free, impartial advice on choosing a survey. We quote flat fees, so time you need to discuss the building, structure and defects after the report is free. There are no hidden costs.

We are a local practice of Chartered Surveyors covering Dewsbury, Cullingworth, Denholme, Haworth, Wilsden and the surrounding Dewsbury area, helping clients with both residential survey and commercial property issues.

Please telephone George Passey FRICS and the team to discuss your building survey or other property requirements. We are a chartered surveyors practice covering Dewsbury, Mirfield, Ossett and the surrounding area, helping clients with both residential survey and commercial property issues.


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Policy Exchange want new ‘Garden Village’ powers for Councils

garden-villageIn a paper by think-tank ‘Policy Exchange’, a new policy of devolved power to local authorities has been put forward, which would enable them to create ‘garden villages’ of between 1,500 and 5,000 homes…
To read the whole article, click here.

Are you searching for a Property Surveyor in Torquay?

www.torquaysurveyors.co.uk

Building and Property Surveyor Torquay

Are you buying a new house or commercial property? Do you need a building survey, structural survey, single fault assessment, rebuilding / reinstatement valuation, homebuyers report, party wall or property advice from a Chartered Building Surveyor in Torquay or the surrounding South Devon area?

“All buildings, properties and houses have defects. Instructing us to undertake a Full Building Survey, House Purchase Survey Report or Homebuyer (Home Buyer) Survey will give you or your vendor peace of mind.” – Lee Gallon MRICS

rainbow-1909_640

Please telephone Lee Gallon MRICS and the team to discuss your building survey or other property requirements. We are a chartered surveyors practice covering Torquay, Babbacombe, Marldon and the surrounding area, helping clients with both residential survey and commercial property issues.

01803 423 803
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Could the invasion of the Super Rat threaten your home?

ratHardly a week goes by without rats featuring in the news – restaurants being closed down, infested homes being evacuated etc. Recent weeks have been no exception and so called ‘Super Rats’ are now plaguing towns across the UK. Could your house be next?
To read the whole article, click here.

Do you live in Pembroke and are not sure whether you need a Party Wall Survey?

www.pembrokesurveyors.co.uk

What is Party Wall Work?

Keith_Batten

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 introduced a procedure for resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties, arising as a result of one owner’s intention to carry out works which would affect the party wall, involve the construction of a party wall or boundary wall at (or adjacent to) the line of junction between the two properties or excavation within certain distances of a neighbour’s structure and to a lower depth than its foundations.

In order to settle such disputes, the surveyor (agreed Surveyor where both parties concur in one person) or surveyors (where each party appoints their own surveyor) will resolve the dispute by making an Award, which is legally binding on both parties.

Please telephone Keith Batten FRICS and the team to discuss your survey requirements. He is a chartered surveyor covering Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Angle and the surrounding area, helping clients with both residential survey and commercial property issues.

029 2193 2193
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