background image
You are Here








             CPRE

             North East


Meetings – CPRE

See meetings Page for dates and times here

_________________________________________________


CPRE Election Manifesto Launches

Click for full version of CPRE National Election manifesto.   


MPs  respond……. Here







_________________________________________________

Campaigners urge Government to tackle mounting pressure on land

Experts say a national approach to land use can unite environment and economy

A new pamphlet released by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) argues that the case for a national approach to land use is more pressing than ever [1].

CPRE’s pamphlet, Landlines: why we need a strategic approach to land, shows that England’s land is under an increasing multitude of pressures, from the drive for economic growth to the effects of climate change. The current, fragmentary approach to land use, with dozens of different organisations responsible for different issues, is failing to address the problems caused by often conflicting demands: environmental degradation, rising costs and harm to health and wellbeing [2].

The ‘Landlines’ pamphlet brings together a number of experts to argue for greater national coordination on land use, a longer term approach that can enhance both the environment and the economy. Architect Sir Terry Farrell, UK Committee on Climate Change Chair Lord Deben, and Chair of the Woodland Trust Baroness Young are among those who propose different national solutions for how we use our land.

Suggestions for better land use include a Government ‘Department of Land Use’ (Lord Deben); more involvement from the public in defining the value they get from land (Helen Meech); and using the opportunities provided by Brexit to rethink our use of agricultural land (Baroness Parminter).

Belinda Gordon, head of government and rural affairs at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

“Amidst the rush towards global competition and unrestrained economic growth, a national approach to how we use the land is more important than ever. We are making big decisions in isolation, and not thinking about what kind of wider pressures individual developments bring – to the land, the climate, the economy and our health and wellbeing.

“A national land use strategy would bring treasury and infrastructure officials on board with environmentalists, and replace piecemeal erosion of the countryside with exciting projects and community trust. Green transport networks, natural flood defences, sustainable housing developments, local food systems, more accessible parks: these can all be delivered if we get organisations working to the same ends through a national plan for the land.”

Sir Terry Farrell CBE, architect and urban planner, said: 

“Pollution, climate change and the ever increasing reduction in natural species, as well as human city-making on an unprecedented scale, have made the proper planning of land use a top priority for our very survival in the long term.

“The scale, complexity and seriousness of these issues mean we cannot any longer proceed as before, treating land as a disposable asset. We have now got to plan proactively for rapid and radical change.”

ENDS

Notes for editors

[1] CPRE, Landlines: why we need a strategic approach to land, March 2017

[2] RSPB, State of Nature report, 2016; Wildlife Trusts & RSPB, A Nature and Wellbeing Act, 2014

[3] The pamphlet’s foreword was written by CPRE Chief Executive Shaun Spiers, with the overview written by Neil Sinden, freelance consultant and former CPRE Director of Policy and Campaigns. The full list of contributors is as follows: 

Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change

Corinne Swain OBE, Arup Fellow and former regional examination-in-public panel chair

Andrew Wescott, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Institution of Civil Engineers

Baroness Young, Chair of the Woodland Trust

Dame Georgina Mace, Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystems at University College London

Ian Bateman OBE, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Exeter

Baroness Parminter, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the environment, food and rural affairs

Merrick Denton-Thompson OBE FLI, President of the Landscape Institute

John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company

Adrian Phillips CBE, former Director of the Countryside Commission

Helen Meech, Director of Rewilding Britain

Sir Terry Farrell, leading British architect and urban planner





Green Belt petition

In the mood for a petition to the powers that be?

An online petition has been set up calling for action to save all of England's Green Belts. Avaricious developers are eyeing Green Belt land using the excuse of housing pressures to lobby the Govt. The reality is that there is more than enough brown belt land which could be utilised and redeveloped to better service housing needs and requirements without having to steal and destroy our precious green spaces.

If you want to help make the case for that to the Government, you can sign this petition.  It takes very little time at all and you can consider if your good deed for the day. More.....

_________________________________________________

Housing White Paper published


The Government's long awaited Housing White Paper, with the potential to make so much difference to the housing we build and where, was published Tuesday 7th February 2017.


To find a copy on the internet go to: HERE

    

This page also has a link to a number of additional documents, including the Minister’s announcement in Parliament and a press statement both of which have information on the content of the White Paper.  It also links to a consultation which runs until the 2nd May 2017


CPRE National Office published an initial reaction/sound bite at: HERE


There will be further comment and analysis in so check out www.cpre.org.uk, especially the Comment section.  As a starter there’s an idea of what is in the White Paper at HERE

_________________________________________________

IAMP, International Advanced Manufacturing Park (North of Nissan)

Area Action Plan


In an important move Sunderland and South Tyneside councils submitted the important Area Action Plan documents to Government on 6th February 2017.  This takes proposals for the IAMP one step closer to fruition.  


The next stage will be an Examination by an Inspector to determine whether the IAMP AAP is “sound”.  Inspector Malcolm Rivett, BA (Hons), MSc, MRTPI, has been appointed.


Both councils have a dedicated web page for the Examination which includes all the documents, plus information on what is happening: More…..


_________________________________________________


Local Food

In these busy days we can easily be forgiven for a mad ‘one dash does it all’ to our nearest supermarket. However are we in danger of losing more than just local shops and producers? Are we really looking at the bigger picture as we desperately make a grab for that last bag of Spanish apples on the shelf? Who cares it’s just an apple after all – or is it?

Buying locally produced produce is so much more than just buying British. Local produce not only tastes great but helps the environment and the local economy, it can be exciting, invigorating, sociable, mentally stimulating and satisfying.
So let’s take stock for one moment and think, if we buy the first apple/tomato/lettuce that we pick up what are we actually buying into?

Local food is fresher, it hasn’t travelled thousands of miles from the Outer Hebrides for example (I exaggerate to prove a point). It’s more than likely been grown 10-30 miles away, and you may be buying straight from the farm that produced it. Therefore this produce has probably been harvested in the last 24 hours rather than over a week ago and kept refrigerated for all that time journeying by rail, road, sea or air, further refrigerated storage and finally road again to arrive at the supermarkets.

Eating fruit and veg in season means you appreciate that cauliflower, potato or sweetcorn all the more. The current June Kent crops of asparagus and strawberries and cherries are delicious. Buying foods grown or produced close to home ensures you will be less likely to be contributing to rainforests being cleared to graze cattle for instance. As importantly it helps to maintain farm land and green spaces near to where you live. If the local farmers are unable to keep their farms viable then they may decide to sell up and it’s highly likely land will be bought by developers.

Knowing where your food comes from and how it’s produced makes your meals more personal, the challenge of using seasonal fruit and veg in your recipes leads to more interesting mealtimes and buying locally keeps money spent local – supporting restaurants that use local produce, farmers markets and local cooperatives ensuring profits benefit producers rather than the big business supermarkets.

For some, buying local can be an extremely social exercise, the sellers and producers end up on a first name basis and give a more personal service such as putting by that favourite variety of tomato for you.

So it’s not just an apple after all – it’s helping to preserve our way of life, the countryside we all love, that apple is contributing to supporting our local economy and even meeting like-minded people.

_________________________________________________

Middlesbrough Local Plan

Issues and Options Consultation

Housing Land Availability Assessment call for sites


Middlesbrough Borough Council is consulting on the above until 30th January 2017.  The following email was distributed notifying of the consultations.

From: planningpolicy [mailto:planningpolicy@middlesbrough.gov.uk]
Sent: 05 December 2016 09:20
To: planningpolicy <planningpolicy@middlesbrough.gov.uk>
Subject: Consultation: Middlesbrough Local Plan - Issues Report 2016 and 'Call for Sites'

 

Dear Consultee, 

Re: Middlesbrough Local Plan Issues Report 2106 and ‘Call for Sites’

Please see below the following link to a new event regards the Middlesbrough Local Plan Issues Report and ‘Call for Sites’ which is viewable and open for comment between the following dates:

Start date: 05/12/2016 09:30

End date : 30/01/2016 17:00

Please select the following link to view this event:

http://consult.middlesbrough.gov.uk/portal

Yours faithfully

Planning Policy

Middlesbrough Council

If the link appears to be broken, please try copying the entire link into the address bar on your web browser.

_________________________________________________

County Durham Plan paused


On 5th December Durham County Council announced progress of the Plan has been “paused”.  There is an announcement at http://www.durham.gov.uk/article/10914/County-Durham-Plan-paused, and on the consultation portal, http://durhamcc-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/, where it says

“5th December 2016

“County Durham Plan paused

After the Issues and Options consultation on the County Durham Plan earlier in the year, Durham County Council was aiming to seek Cabinet approval to consult in the New Year on a preferred option.

The Government are set to publish a Housing White Paper in January which is expected to fundamentally change the number of houses that councils are required to plan for as well as other substantial changes to the planning process.  The significance of the changes has only just been communicated and therefore the decision has been made to pause the process until the full extent of the White Paper is understood before further consultation is carried out. 

Whilst incredibly disappointing,  the decision to pause the process now is the only one we could make given the fundamental changes that may be included in the White Paper. It is important that people have the most up to date and robust information so that the consultation is meaningful in planning for the future of their county.

A new timescale will be identified in the New Year following publication of the White Paper.”

_________________________________________________

Highways England consultation on A19/A1290 junction by Nissan/IAMP until 6th Jan 17


This consultation relates to the main roundabout on the A19 used by Nissan.  With proposals for the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) it is considered the junction will not have the capacity for the anticipated additional traffic so improvements are proposed.  For more information go to:


http://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/a19-testos-and-downhill-lane-junction-improvements/

_________________________________________________

IAMP, International Advanced Manufacturing Park, Sunderland:


Consultation 28th November 2016 to 16th January 2017


http://www.iampnortheast.com/


The IAMP is planned for land to the north of Nissan, the country’s largest car manufacturing plant.  It is to the west of the A19 and south of the A184 road.


The IAMP will deliver new space for automotive and advanced manufacturing businesses by providing 260,000 square metres of commercial space on a 100 hectare site and it is expected to create up to 5,200 jobs.  It has been designated as a “nationally significant” project by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  It will require the deletion of Green Belt.


There has been a consultation on the Area Action Plan, part of the Local Plan process.


This consultation is part of preparing an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) which will be made to the Planning Inspectorate.  This is different from other planning applications as the final decision will be made by the Secretary of State, rather than the local planning authority.


The consultation documents are available at:


http://www.iampnortheast.com/consultation/dco-questionnaire/



A list of the consultation events is at:


http://www.iampnortheast.com/consultation/


For more information go to the IAM website:  http://www.iampnortheast.com/

___________________________________________________

Subnational population projections: 2014-based projections (SNPP) published:

On Wednesday 25th May 2016 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the latest population projections. They can be found at:

https://cy.ons.gov.uk/releases/subnationalpopulationprojections2014basedprojections

As Government has said the SNPP figures are to be the basis for Local Plan development they are crucial.  Their importance cannot be underestimated as, to risk oversimplification,

Population=Households=Houses required=Land required.

The Government has told councils they must ensure there is enough land for housing in their Local Plans to deal with future population increases.  How many green fields, or how much Green Belt, that requires hinges on the statistics and their interpretation.

___________________________________________________


Brownfield sites developed six months faster than greenfield sites

New research shows Government proposals to release more countryside are aiming at wrong target


Research published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows that brownfield sites are being developed more than half a year faster than greenfield sites. [1] This follows on from CPRE research carried out in late 2014, which found that there are enough suitable brownfield sites for at least 1 million new homes. [2]


The new research covered 15 local authorities across England between March 2012 and December 2015. [3] Carried out by construction consultants Glenigan, the data reveals that the time between planning permission being granted and construction work starting is generally the same for brownfield and greenfield sites, but that work on brownfield sites is completed more than six months quicker.

While the Government has pledged to invest more than £2 billion in brownfield regeneration and establish a brownfield register, many of its proposed changes to planning policy are aimed at making it easier to build on greenfield land. [4] These proposals include developing small sites in the Green Belt and a ‘housing delivery test’ that would force councils to release more land for development if housebuilders do not meet high housing targets.


This new research illustrates that prioritising investment in brownfield sites is a highly effective way of building the homes we need. The research undermines claims that brownfield is either too slow or inconvenient to develop in comparison to greenfield.


Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), comments:

“This Government has strongly supported brownfield development. Now it must show it has the courage of its convictions and usher in a brownfield revolution to tackle the housing crisis, benefit England’s towns and cities, and save the countryside from inappropriate development.


“This new research shows that brownfield sites are developed more quickly than greenfield sites, giving the lie to the idea that developing a brownfield site must be difficult or unprofitable. What is needed now is for the Government to put all its energy behind getting houses built on derelict and vacant sites.


“Crucially, it must drop the idea that the way to get houses built is simply to make more countryside available. The evidence is that this will slow down house building, rather than speed it up.”


CPRE is calling on the Government to:

Amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to make the intentions of Ministers clear and prioritise the use of suitable brownfield sites in urban areas over greenfield - including empowering councils not to allocate greenfield sites in local plans and to refuse planning permission on greenfield sites where these would compete with suitable brownfield sites

Commit to seeing development started on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020, rather than just aiming for planning permission on 90% of

suitable sites by 2020

Make suitable brownfield sites the first priority for any public funding, and prevent public funding for greenfield sites where these would make

competing demands. The Government should reform the New Homes Bonus to invest billions in regenerating brownfield sites [5]

Make clear that planning and fiscal policies promoting brownfield development are focused on existing towns and cities, and damage to

brownfield of high environmental or heritage value should be avoided

ENDS

Notes for editors

[1] CPRE with Glenigan, Brownfield comes first, report March 2016 (embarg. 21 March 2016).

[2] CPRE, From Wasted Space to Living Spaces, report November 2014.

[3] The research examined 12 urban and urban-rural fringe areas covering 15 local authority areas. These were: Cheshire East; Corby; County Durham; Coventry; Fylde; Leeds; Leicester, Blaby, and Oadby & Wigston; Salford; Southampton and Eastleigh; Stoke on Trent; Swindon; and York.

[4] A consultation on the NPPF published on 1 December 2015 proposes that local councils are made to allocate more land for development if housebuilding targets are not met (paragraph 33). This land could often be greenfield land.

[5] The Government has recently (up to 10 March 2016) consulted on reforms to the New Homes Bonus. CPRE has provided a response to this consultation.

If you would like to talk to planning campaign manager Paul Miner about the research in more detail then please contact Benjamin Halfpenny on 020 7981 2880 / benjaminh@cpre.org.uk.

___________________________________________________


Local Plans update –

Sept - 2016

Local Plans – Darlington, County Durham, Hartlepool, Sunderland and South Tyneside councils had consultations over the summer to which CPRE made representation


DARLINGTON BOROUGH  COUNCIL

Darlington Local Plan 2016-2036: Issues and scoping, May 2016

http://www.darlington.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/planning/planning-and-environmental-policy/new-local-plan-2016-2036/



DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL

County Durham Plan Issues and Options, June 2016

http://durhamcc-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/planning/issuesandoptions



HARTLEPOOL BOROUGH COUNCIL

Local Plan Preferred Options document /Proposal Map

https://www.hartlepool.gov.uk/downloads/file/2018/local_plan_preferred_options_document_-_may_2016



SOUTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL

Strategic Land Review (SLR)

http://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/16719/Strategic-Land-Review



SUNDERLAND CITY COUNCIL

Sunderland Growth Options

http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=8476#downloads



SUNDERLAND CITY COUNCIL and SOUTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL – current consulation

International Publication Draft Advanced Manufacturing Park Area Action Plan

Sunderland and South Tyneside councils are consulting on an Area Action Plan for the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).  The consultation is open until 26th September 2016.

http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10133

___________________________________________________


Neighbourhood Plans Roadshow - A Great success!

 

Thursday 3rd March 2016

Bowburn Community Centre

9.00 am-2.00 pm

 

The PowerPoint slides are available here

___________________________________________________


Sunderland and South Tyneside:

IAMP – International Advanced Manufacturing Park consultation


 This consultation, which runs until the 3rd February 2016, is looking at 3 options for a 170 acre allocation of employment land in the Green Belt north of Nissan for:


“…commercial development, expanding the existing North East’s Regional automotive and advanced manufacturing hub, accelerating economic growth and generating the conditions for private sector investment of more than £300 million; including the creation of 5,200 by 2007.”     (extract from the consultation leaflet)


The assorted documents can be found on both council websites at:


  www.sunderland.gov.uk/IAMP

  www.southtyneside.gov.uk/IAMP


However, the leaflet can be looked at here and the main document here.


The Councils are running 3 drop in sessions:

  Mon 11th Jan 2016 Bunny Hill Centre Library, 9.00am-12.00 noon

  Mon 11th Jan 2016 Washington Library, 1.00 pm-4.00 pm

Tues 12th Jan 2016 Boldon Village Hall, next to Asda, Boldon Colliery, 1.00 pm-4.00 pm


CPRE Durham is looking at the issue and would be interested to hear from anyone with any thoughts, email cpre.durham@yahoo.co.uk, preferably by early January.



Note

Early 2015 the same councils consulted on 3 alternative locations:

1. North of Nissan  20-25 hectares

2. Follingsby   22 hectares

3. Wardley   Probably similar size or smaller than the above.

 The councils did say “The proposed park would be in the region of 100 hectares, providing over 5.200 jobs.  However there is the possibility to allow scope for a potential longer term expansion up to 150 hectares if demand requires it.”


In the current consultation all 3 options are for 170 hectares.

___________________________________________________


National Planning Framework: Government seeking views on proposed changes


The Government is seeking views on specific changes to national planning policy to support delivery of new homes, including low cost homes for first time buyers.  Its consultation closes at 25th January 2016 at 11.45 am.


The consultation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/national-planning-policy-consultation-on-proposed-changes from where the consultation document can be downloaded.


THE CPRE North East Region is putting together a response to send to CPRE National Office who is compiling comment they are going to send to the Department for Communities and Local Government.  They are asking for thoughts on questions 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 & 22 in particular.  If you would like to participate in the North East response please email thoughts HERE by 3rd January 2016.


___________________________________________________

Durham County Council – Assessing planning applications

With delays with the Durham Plan the Council considered a report on how to deal with planning applications in the interim.  

The Report and its appendix are Here

___________________________________________________


Housing targets: How flawed housing targets threaten our countryside


New research shows that local housing targets are driven by over-ambition rather than need

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is today calling for an overhaul of the way local authorities set housing targets in order to stop countryside being lost unnecessarily [1].

Extensive research commissioned by CPRE has shown that local authorities are in effect being asked to base their plans on aspiration rather than need, which is resulting in ever higher housing targets and the consequent, unnecessary release of countryside for development [2] – without resulting in an increase in overall housebuilding.


Among a large number of problems with how the targets are calculated [3], the research found a lack of clear guidance in the process, a lack of objectivity in the calculations, and a lack of concern for land availability and environmental impacts.


The research demonstrates that the unrealistic targets are putting undue pressure on the countryside. Setting targets far higher than what can be realistically built just means that developers have more sites to choose from: as static building rates show, higher targets do not mean faster delivery [4]. The disastrous consequence is that when these unrealistic targets are not met, councils have to identify even more sites for housing, and ever more countryside is released for more lucrative development while brownfield sites go unused [5].


Matt Thomson, head of planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said:

“It is vital that we build more homes, but this will not be achieved through ever higher housing targets based on ambition rather than actual need. The current process is not only highly damaging to our countryside and the environment in general; it is also damaging to community well-being and extraordinarily frustrating for local people.


“Through its planning inspectors and the threat of expensive appeals, the Government is taking a top-down approach to impose and enforce housing targets - despite ministers calling for more localism. Instead, we need to see a more accurate definition of community need at the heart of all local plans, and more consideration for environmental concerns and land availability. Councils should not be penalised for failing to meet implausible ambitions for growth over and above actual housing need.”


To illustrate the unrealistic nature of the housing targets, CPRE has analysed the local plans passed in the past two years that have contained a new housing target. In those 54 local plans, the average housing requirement is 30% above the Government’s household projections, and 50% above the average build rate. Only seven of the 54 targets take environmental factors into account [6].


To ensure that we build the homes we actually need in the right places, CPRE is calling for community surveys to play a far greater role in determining true need; for available brownfield land to play a leading role in developing targets; and for planning guidance to include a clear definition of housing need that is designed to support those who lack housing, and to ensure local plans specify what kind of homes will meet this need.

ENDS 

Case studies


Oxfordshire

The Oxfordshire SHMA, published in March 2014, suggests the need for an extra 100,000 houses in the county by 2031. This is the equivalent to two new cities the size of Oxford in just 17 years. This could lead to roughly 200,000 more people – a 30% increase in the population – much higher than the 10% anticipated UK population growth for the same period. The SHMA figures would mean building at virtually double any previous rate. The housing targets in the SHMA are having a direct effect on the countryside, for example the draft Vale of White Horse District Local Plan proposes 1,400 houses in the North Wessex Downs AONB and 1,500 houses across four sites in the Green Belt, contrary to NPPF policy.


North Somerset

Communities and Local Government Secretary of State Greg Clark recently approved a planning inspector’s recommendation to increase housing targets for North Somerset Council. The council has been waiting for their local plan to be approved for three and a half years. The plan was given the go-ahead by a planning inspector in 2012 but the housing target was subsequently successfully challenged in the courts. Since that time the council has done more work on their housing target and arrived at a figure of 17,000, but a planning inspector said that this should be raised to at least 21,000 to meet figures set out in a housing assessment. Development potential in North Somerset is highly constrained by Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and areas at high risk of flooding. This means that the council cannot show that enough houses are likely to get built over the next five years to meet the higher figure. If this situation remains unchanged, it will trigger a national policy which voids the local plan and allows developers to pounce on greenfield sites that are not currently allocated for housing. It would also be likely to lead to the loss of Green Belt land.

 

Notes for editors

[1] CPRE, Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside, November 2015

[2] CPRE commissioned Housing Vision, housing market consultants, and Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, to research and review the methodologies used to determine “objectively assessed need” for housing since the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012. Their report is available from the CPRE website here.

Housing Vision and Tibbalds, Smarter SHMAs: a review of Objectively Assessed Need in England, commissioned by CPRE, November 2015.

[3] At the heart of these issues is the requirement for local authorities to identify the need for housing and then meet that need in full in their local plans. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out how to determine “objectively assessed housing need”. Online Government guidance in the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) provides a recommended approach to deciding” objectively assessed need” through a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).

[4] Government data show that 242,000 houses were given planning permission in the year up to June 2015. Yet housing starts and completions show little sign of matching this number. Quarterly statistics on housing starts show that building rates have been static since the beginning of 2014 - at around 136,000 per year. The latest data show completions are currently at 131,000.

[5] The situation is then made worse because if housebuilding in an area falls below these five-year targets, the local plan that contains these targets – and the protection for land not classed as suitable for housing - no longer applies. Once that happens, local authorities can be forced to allow house building on greenfield land, whether it meets a community’s needs or not.

Meanwhile, CPRE’s 2014 report From wasted space to living spaces found that at least a million new homes could be built on suitable brownfield land across England, and that brownfield land is a self-regenerating resource. CPRE, From wasted space to living spaces, November 2014. 

[6] CPRE’s new research, distinct from that of Tibbalds and Housing Vision, assessed all local plans outside of London containing housing targets adopted between April 2013 and July 2015. See CPRE, Set up to fail, November 2015.

 

If you would like to talk to Matt Thomson about this in more detail then please contact the CPRE press office on 020 7981 2880.

 

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, living countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Sir Andrew Motion, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen. www.cpre.org.uk

 

Benjamin Halfpenny

Press Officer

DD: 020 7981 2819 | M: 07922 640 712 | E: benjaminh@cpre.org.uk


___________________________________________________


Tees Valley Combined Authority consultation

As part of the process of devolution the Government is consulting until 9th December 2015 about a new Tees Valley Combined Authority.

The new authority is to have an elected mayor and responsibility for transport, plus economic development and regeneration (including skills training).

For full information see the consultation document here and draft Tees Valley Devolution Agreement here.  

If you have any thoughts you can contact the Department of Communities and Local Government direct.  CPRE Durham would also be interested in what you have to say and can be emailed on cpre.durham@yahoo.co.uk.


Reference

Consultation document

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/472044/Tees_Valley_Consultation.pdf


Tees Valley Devolution Agreement

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470127/Tees_Valley_Devo_Deal_FINAL_formatted_v3.pdf


___________________________________________________


A "bridge" between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks agreed.

Over recent years we’ve been running our campaign, working with the Campaign for National Parks, the Friends of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales Society, to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Many thousands of you supported the campaign by writing letters to your local MP and Defra back in February 2012, thank you so much.

We've recently heard the fantastic news that on Friday 23 October, the Defra Secretary of State, Elizabeth Truss, agreed the National Park extensions, forming a ‘bridge’ that includes iconic landscapes such as the Orton and Howgill Fells in Yorkshire and large tracts of common land in Cumbria. Find out more and see maps: National Parks decision.

Only our finest landscapes are granted National Park status. National Parks enjoy the highest level of planning protection and are exemplars of sustainable development. The challenge now is to ensure that the two National Park Authorities have the resources they need to protect and enhance these landscapes in the long-term for everyone to enjoy.

Protecting our landscapes for all to enjoy
We believe that England’s diverse landscapes are hugely important to the nation’s health and wellbeing, providing attractive places for people to live, work, and enjoy, and provide food from farming. Our campaign to create National Parks began in the 1930s - take a look at our early campaign film. Since then we've had a long record of successes as National Parks have been established, and today there are 10 of them across England.

Find out more about our achievements

Thank you to everyone who has helped make the campaign a success.



___________________________________________________

Durham Plan – Judicial Review campaign groups meeting on 19th October 2015

Having stayed quiet over the summer whilst the Judicial Review played out the “Ramside Gang, or is it now the “Antioch Gang” as the last couple of meetings have been in St Margaret of Antioch’s community hall, had a meeting to assess where we were.

Needless to say discussion began with just exactly what had happened with the Judicial Review, or as much as we could make sense of it!  We’ve always warned people unhappy at decisions that whilst Judicial Review existed it was not to be undertaken lightly.  Court orders of stunning succinctness, which take for granted full knowledge of all aspects of the case, did not say what the effects of their provisions would be.  Sometimes it was clear, but sometimes it had to be thought through and it quickly became clear that access to top quality legal advice was important.  As it turned out the process on this occasion did not develop any distance, but if it had you could quickly see how legal fees could stack up.  In a different context recently a local residents group wanted advice from counsel (a barrister) and had to pay £2,200 up front – for one piece of work.  There is going to be a separate note outlining what happened over the summer with the Judicial Review, but in the end, and oversimplified, the Secretary of State (who has responsibility for the Planning Inspectorate) and Durham County Council came to an agreement that the Secretary of State was prepared to accept the Inspector had not been inquisitorial enough in the Examination in Public (EiP) and Durham County Council was prepared to withdraw the Durham Plan and produce a “refreshed” plan for consultation which would go forward to a new Examination in Public with a new inspector.  Needless to say the Antioch Gang are groaning at the thought of a new EiP.  Though actually the hard work has already begun on all sides.  

It was thought key outcomes from the Judicial Review were:

1. At the start of the next EiP an appropriate time would be found to ask in an appropriate way how the inspector would address the “inquisitorial” aspect and how any risk of another challenge could be avoided

2. The only point the Secretary of State conceded was the inspector acted in a procedurally incorrect manner.  He did not concede on any of the content of the Interim Report.  The Antioch Group plan to use the content of the Interim Report at the next EiP, though it is not thought to have any weight when dealing with planning applications, though people are using it when it suites them.

3. What about the situation in the interim? – This remained a question.

So having licked their wounds and considered the past the Antioch Group are already looking forward and engaging with the Council and its consultants on the work required for the “refreshing”.  The objective is a “sound” Durham Plan with as many of the provisions the Antioch Group wish to see in, and not in, as possible.  Cooperation is now the order of the day.


And there is a lot going on with various groups and individuals picking up various batons:

1. Durham County Council has produced a Cabinet Paper of how the Council will deal with planning applications, giving presumptions for and against various aspects.  Gillan Gibson will have a copy she can forward.

2. There has been a consultation on the policies relating to student accommodation – which covers the whole county and not just Durham City.  The proposed wording is meeting with approval (it is very much what campaigners suggested) and the only argument is over the area which should be covered.  The Durham University Residents Forum, which includes representatives of the university, including students, and various residents associations is in active discussions with Durham County Council.

3. A licensing scheme for landlords is being looked at, it is currently voluntary.

4. Control of “to let” boards is currently a voluntary scheme which is not working.

5. Extending the conservation area in Durham City is being looked at.

6. There has been work auditing cycle routes, eg in Chester Le Street, where the “Active Travel Wales” method has been used which cycle groups are pleased about.

7. Durham County Council has commissioned consultants to study sustainable transport in Durham City.  They have been asked to finish by the end of October 2015.

8. The Strategic Housing Marketing Assessment (SHMA) is being worked on.

9. The Durham County Council budget is being discussed, this is relevant as it will affect what resources are available for planning work.

With various groups and individuals looking at various aspects it was thought a list of ongoing work with who was working on what would be useful and Gillan Gibson is going to draft one.  In addition a table listing the aspects of the Plan where groups consider they have strengths would be useful.  It can also be used to identify gaps in coverage, but with limited volunteer manpower it may have to be accepted the depth of involvement on topics will be variable.


Neighbourhood Plans

With the delay in the Plan’s progress previous meetings of the Antioch Group has identified Neighbourhood Plans as important and where possible worth progressing.  There were representatives of 3 organisations working on Neighbourhood Plans at the meeting:


Sedgefield: This Plan was accepted by the Council in August and it was expected it would take 2 weeks for the Council to go onto the next stage – but it is now mid October and nothing has happened.  Residents are getting frustrated.


Durham City: Currently at the first “priority setting” stage it is hoped to have some draft policies by April 2016 and an “Issues and Options” document by the end of that year.  They are in discussion with those involved in the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan which is much further on in the process and they are proving very helpful.  Particular care is to be taken to ensure developers are included in the process.


Bowburn and Parkhill:  At an early stage, there are ideas for development sites, though they do not include the Parkhill one the Council was minded to approve for housing.


Progress of Plans around the region

An offer was made to compile a table of the state of Local and Neighbourhood Plans in the region which was gratefully accepted.


Costs re the failed EiP

Richard Cowen is investigating whether campaign groups can claim expenses from the Secretary of State for the time and money they invested in the failed EiP.


Note by Gillan Gibson

___________________________________________________

Litter groups and businesses unite to call on Government to take a lead on litter

Major national litter groups and business organisations have made a joint plea to Government to take a firm lead on litter.

In a letter (see below) to the Secretaries of State and Ministers at Defra and the DCLG, on 1st September 2015, the 25 signatories ask the Government to form an Advisory Committee on Litter in order to deliver a National Litter Action Plan to eliminate all litter.  The signatories listed below already have a draft paper that could inform the development of the National Litter Action Plan.

The Advisory Committee will create a single channel to focus resources and will provide advice and expertise to Government Departments and Local Authorities.  It will enable all parties to work together, encourage a more consistent message on littering and will also demonstrate Government commitment to reducing all litter.

As stated in the letter, "The formation of an Advisory Committee is an unparalleled opportunity to take a major step to reduce the societal impact of all litter. Without such Government leadership, efforts to deal with littering will continue to be fragmented and so less effective in delivering significant reductions in littering and in the costs of dealing with it".

Letter to:

The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Mr Rory Stewart MP, Mr George Eustice MP, The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Mr Marcus Jones MP

Cc Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, Mr John Griffiths AM, Mr Mark H Durkan MLA

ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON LITTER

Various groups are fighting littering including campaign organisations, local authorities and businesses.

All of these groups are committed to eliminating all litter and the estimated annual £1 billion cost of dealing with it.  Delivering this ambition requires the coordinated participation of a wide range of stakeholders and leadership from Central Government.

We recommend Government demonstrates leadership by forming an Advisory Committee on Litter.  It would advise the Government and include representatives from across its departments, including Defra and DCLG, together with representatives from the organisations and industries listed below and representatives of the home nations as appropriate.

The signatories to this letter have established a broad stakeholder group from which the Advisory Committee on Litter can be formed.  

The stakeholder group already has a draft paper that outlines key aspects that the Advisory Group can take forward and use to draw up a National Litter Action Plan.

The purpose of the Advisory Committee would be to:

" Provide expert independent advice on litter policy and strategy to government departments

" Develop a National Litter Action Plan agreed by Government and all interested parties that will set out Governments' litter priorities, including long-range planning as well as immediate opportunities

" Provide a single point of contact for Governments to all parties with an interest in reducing litter and give all those parties a single channel through which they can focus their resources, so encouraging all parties to work together.

" Encourage all participants to use a consistent message in the information they provide to their customers and stakeholders.

" Provide a focus for Governments' commitments to reducing litter.

" Provide a much-needed catalyst for change in how all litter is dealt with

The formation of an Advisory Committee is an unparalleled opportunity to take a major step to reduce the societal impact of all litter. Without such Government leadership, efforts to deal with littering will continue to be fragmented and so less effective in delivering significant reductions in littering and in the costs of dealing with it.

The signatories to this letter support the formation of an Advisory Committee for Litter and are prepared to commit to working with Government towards a National Litter Plan.

SIGNATORIES:here

British Beer & Pub Association

British Soft Drinks Association

British Plastics Federation

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)

Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)

Clean Up Britain (CLUB)

CleanupUK

Coca Cola Enterprises

Costa Coffee

Foodservice Packaging Association

Hubbub

Keep BriTain Tidy

INCPEN (The Industry Council for research on Packaging & the Environment)

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Marine Conservation Society

McDonald’s Restaurants

Packaging Federation

PAFA (Packaging and Films Association)

PlasticsEurope

Pret A Manger

Tobacco Manufacturers Association

Vacherin

Veolia

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Martin Kersh - Foodservice Packaging Association admin@foodservicepackaging.org.uk   01869 351139

Jane Bickerstaffe - INCPEN jbickerstaffe@incpen.org 0118 925 5992

Trewin Restorick - Hubbub  trewin@hubbub.org.uk 020 3701 7540

Sam Harding - Campaign to Protect Rural England  SamH@cpre.org.uk  020 7981 2800

___________________________________________________

GREEN BELT

60th anniversary poll shows clear support for Green Belt

CPRE launches campaign calling on Government to turn rhetoric into action and protect Green Belt

On the 60th anniversary of Green Belt becoming government policy, a poll commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) finds that nearly two-thirds of people surveyed believe that Green Belt land should not be built on [1,2].

The Ipsos MORI poll, published today, shows that 64% of people agree the Green Belt should be protected, while just 17% disagree [3]. Such strong support for Green Belt is demonstrated across a range of different groups, including people with children aged 5 and under, those renting from a local authority, and those on low incomes [4]. And more than six out of ten people (62%) who live in towns and cities support the protection of the Green Belt – a finding that casts doubt on the claims of critics that Green Belts do not benefit people who live in urban areas.

The anniversary poll comes just weeks after the Government re-emphasised its support for Green Belt protection at the launch of its Productivity Plan [5]. But despite this support and existing protections, local communities have repeatedly found themselves fighting proposals to build on Green Belt land. CPRE research shows that 226,000 houses are currently planned for Green Belt land [6].

In response to this threat, CPRE is launching a new campaign, Our Green Belt, which calls on the Government to:

be more specific on the limited circumstances in which Green Belt boundaries can be changed through local plans;

call in or direct local authorities to refuse damaging developments in the Green Belt that are not identified in existing local or neighbourhood plans; and

target public funding, through organisations such as Natural England and Local Enterprise Partnerships, to increase the quality of and access to Green Belt.

CPRE’s campaign aims to show why people value the Green Belt by inviting the public to submit photos and stories to a digital wall showing how they use and experience it. CPRE is also publishing a Green Belt ‘myth-busting’ document to demonstrate why arguments to build on the Green Belt are misguided [7].

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), says:

“We know that the Green Belt is loved by the general public and supported by politicians of all parties. Yet despite this, it is under greater threat than it has been in its 60 year history. Over 200,000 new houses are already planned for Green Belt land, and a growing number of think-tanks, developers and business groups are gunning for the Green Belt, arguing with very little evidence that we need to build on it in order to tackle the country’s housing crisis.

“The Green Belt is a fantastic British success story of which we should all be proud. It has both protected countryside and aided the regeneration of towns and cities across England. It is good for people’s well-being and quality of life; good for nature and wildlife; and it provides us with much of the food that we eat. Of course the country needs more homes, but we can get them without trashing the Green Belt.   

“CPRE’s anniversary campaign is intended to rally all who care about our Green Belt. We want both national and local politicians to make clear that they recognise the importance of the Green Belt, and to commit to ensuring that planning authorities secure its protection.”

Further information on the Ipsos MORI poll

The poll results show that six times as many people strongly agree the Green Belt should be protected as those who strongly disagree.

Alongside 62% of poll respondents living in urban areas who want to see Green Belt protected, 72% of respondents who live in the south of England, an area under particular pressure from developers, agree. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents in the North of England (North East, North West and Yorkshire), an area where a number of local authorities are promoting Green Belt release by arguing it will boost economic growth, agree.

Green Belts are supported strongly regardless of whether people own or rent their own home. Developers have argued that Green Belts only benefit property owners. Yet a clear majority of people in social or privately rented accommodation support protection of Green Belt land (57% agree versus 18% who disagree).

Green Belt first became Government policy in 1955 - although some local authorities had used the term for land in their area before that date. In 2005, CPRE ran a poll for the 50th anniversary that contained similar questions with slightly different context for the Green Belt debate [8: phrasing of the 2005 question outlined in notes below]. While it is thus difficult to draw direct comparisons between the 2015 and 2005 polls, it could be remarked that the number of those supporting Green Belt protection appears to have fallen since 2005. CPRE believes that possible reasons for this include rising house prices and a static housebuilding sector.

Notes to editors

[1] 3 August 2015 is the 60th anniversary of the circular from then housing minister Duncan Sandys MP that made Green Belts government policy.

[2] The Ipsos MORI poll surveyed 845 adults aged 15+ across England. The survey was conducted between 3rd and 12th July 2015 and was conducted in respondents’ homes using Capibus, Ipsos MORI’s face-to-face weekly omnibus survey. The results have been weighted to the known population profile of England by age, social grade, region, tenure, ethnicity and working status - within gender. The data has also been weighted to Defra’s urban/rural classification.

[3] The wording of the question and definition of Green Belt was as follows: In England, the Green Belt is agricultural and/or largely undeveloped land around or between large urban areas on which building is not allowed. The purposes of this, according to the National Planning Policy Framework, are to prevent large urban areas from spreading out or merging together, and in some cases to preserve the character of historic towns and cities. However, some people argue that it is necessary to build on parts of the Green Belt to meet housing and other needs and prevent other areas beyond the Green Belt from being built on. To what extent do you agree or disagree, in principle, that existing Green Belt land in England should be retained and not built on. 

[4] The poll breakdowns for these groups are as follows: people with children aged 5 and under (60%); those renting from a local authority (58%); those on low incomes (62%).

[5] On the launch of the Productivity Plan, Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: "The green belt can be rightly protected. There is plenty of land which is not green belt that we can build on and which is suitable for housing and we need to get on with it. We need to find new ways to encourage it." (BBC News online, Planning shake-up to get more homes built, 10 July 2015).

In an op-ed for The Times, Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne also wrote: “We will always protect the green belt and make sure planning decisions are made by local people.” (David Cameron and George Osborne, The Times, Here’s how to build a homeowning Britain, 4 July 2015).

[6] These are updated figures for CPRE’s Green Belt under siege report that was released in March 2015.

[7] CPRE’s myth busting document will be available on the CPRE website from 3 August.

[8] For the 2005 poll conducted by Ipsos MORI, CPRE’s question on Green Belt protection was phrased as thus: Green belts are defined areas of countryside surrounding our largest towns and cities where building of houses, out-of-town shopping centres, offices, warehouses and other kinds of development is usually not allowed. According to legislation the key reason green belts exist is to prevent urban areas spreading out across the countryside and eventually joining up. But some would argue that Green Belts are preventing necessary development from happening in the best place. How much, if at all, do you agree or disagree that green belt land should remain open and undeveloped, and building on it not allowed.

If you would like to speak to Shaun Spiers or another CPRE spokesperson about this in more detail then please contact Benjamin Halfpenny on 020 7981 2819.

___________________________________________________


Tranquillity

CPRE is calling on the new Government to take action to value and protect the character of the countryside, which gives people beautiful and tranquil places to enjoy and enriches their lives.  We need to make the tranquillity policy that is already in national planning policy more effective.  To do that we need improved guidance and up-to-date evidence base to support tranquillity policy at local and national level.


CPRE is calling for the new Government to:

 

Integrate tranquillity as a measure of environmental quality into manifesto proposals for new maps of greenspace and to use it as a tool to help deliver on its commitment to develop environmental sensitive infrastructure.

Put in place new, detailed planning guidance on tranquillity together with and agreed definition of tranquillity

Develop and publish a new “indicator” of tranquillity, comprising maps and the supporting datasets and publish them as open data

Commit to monitoring change regularly to support better policy making and spending of public funds.

For more information click here

___________________________________________________

Durham Plan Judicial Review – Campaign groups submissions to the court and update

When Durham County Council filed their application for a Judicial Review, after the publication of the Inspector’s Interim Report, they listed CPRE, the City of Durham Trust and the Friends of the Durham Green Belt as “interested parties”.  Whilst the Judicial Review is about process, not content, there were matters in the Statement of Case submitted by Durham County Council which the groups wished to address.  Consequently each has submitted a Statement to the Court.  They can be found:

CPRE                                       Click here

City of Durham Trust                 Click here
   
 Friends of Durham Green Belt   Click here


Additionally CPRE has received a letter dated 15 June from the Planning Court in Leeds. The significant paragraph reads:

“At the direction of Mr Justice Lindblom, I write to inform you that this case has been categorised as "significant" under paragraph 3.1 of Practice Direction 54E. Your attention is drawn to the provisions of paragraphs 3.2 to 3.4 of the Direction.”


Here is a link to Practice Direction 54E.  It appears the key points are that (a) there are tighter timescales so it should be heard more quickly than other less significant cases and (b) by a judge experienced in these matters.

___________________________________________________

Durham Plan Judicial Review campaign groups meeting – 3rd June 2015


Discussion about the Durham Plan Judicial Review at the meeting on Monday 1st June centered about what being an "interested party" meant and its liabilities, especially financial, plus what the process was. When someone applies for Judicial Review it is a two stage process and the first is when a judge views the bundle of papers and decides whether there is a case to be answered.

If there is the applicant is given "leave" to go to the High Court, if not the application fails and Durham County Council will have to consider its options.  This first stage brings no major financial liabilities, unless it is decided to instruct and pay for a barrister, only the cost in time and effort if it is decided to put a document into the court.  The three campaign groups listed as “interested parties” ((CPRE, City of Durham Trust and Friends of Durham Green Belt)CPRE, City of Durham Trust and Friends of the Durham Green Belt) are compiling documents, but will be reviewing their situation as more information about Judicial Reviews is found out.

 __________________________________________________________

CPRE Durham website – Durham Plan Update

Judicial Review applied for by Durham County Council - 22nd May 2015

Durham Plan – Major developments

After much inactivity things have suddenly moved quickly.  Following the publication of 4 key documents it is now known that Durham County Council has applied for a Judicial Review, and cited CPRE as an “interested party”.  CPRE National Office have been advised and it is very much a case of “watch this space” to see exactly what that involves.

In summary:

Durham Plan – 4 key documents

Durham County Council has put 4 documents on its website relating to the Durham Plan and their communication with the Planning Inspectorate.  They are:

 1 - Note of Meeting between Durham County Council and the Planning Inspector  2 April 2015 View Here

 2 - DCC Letter to The Planning Inspector View Here

 3 - Independent Review of the Inspectors findings on the CDP View Here

 4 - Letter from The Planning Inspectorate View Here

DCC meeting 19th May 15

Following notification of the 4 documents above Durham County Council called a meeting of stakeholders where they announced they have applied for a Judicial Review.  The PowerPoint presentation is to be placed on the Council’s website

Judicial Review

On 21st May 2015 CPRE  had a file box of papers (a pile of papers 3 and a quarter inches high) delivered and found it was an official bundle of papers which named CPRE  as an “interested party”.  CPRE National Office has been notified but the implications, if any, are not know at the point of writing this report (22nd May 15).

A Judicial Review is a two stage process and the first one is whether the Court will “give leave” for the Council to take their case forward.  If they do not get “leave” they will have to reassess the situation.

_________________________________________________

CPRE partnership document

Landscapes for everyone  


Charities across the UK are joining forces to campaign for the protection and enhancement of our treasured landscapes.  


Ahead of May’s general election, the coalition aims to raise the profile of landscape and to emphasise the importance of landscapes to our wellbeing, environment and economy.


Encompassing 27 national and regional organisations, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, National Trust, British Mountaineering Council and Wilderness Foundation, the coalition is believed to be the largest ever to be formed on this issue.


Ahead of May’s general election, the coalition aims to raise the profile of landscape and to emphasise the importance of landscapes to our wellbeing, environment and economy.

With ongoing speculative development in and around sensitive areas, such as National Parks and AONBs, the varied group of organisations believes that it is vital for future government policy and funding to reflect the extraordinary value of landscapes.

CPRE report - Landscapes_for_everyone_March_2015 -  Document.pdf

Landscapes for Everyone

The vision is supported in parliament today by Natural Environment Minister Lord de Mauley, Shadow Minister for Natural Environment Barry Gardiner MP, and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Affairs Baroness Parminter. The vision calls for better landscapes for people, better planning for landscape and better places for nature.”


See official press release issued 20th January 2015 here.


More information available at National CPRE website here.


Meetings – CPRE and others


Progressing the Durham Plan

Letter to the Planning Inspectorate and response


A letter was written to the Planning Inspectorate by The City of Durham Trust on behalf of campaign groups concerned at the situation with regard to the Durham Plan following publication of the Examination in Public Interim Report.  The Inspectorate’s reply contained much the campaign groups were delighted to read.  


To view letters in pop up window click links

Letter to Inspectorate / Response from inspectorate


Gillan Gibson

______________________________________________________________________________________

On 18th March 2015 Durham County Council Cabinet was asked by campaign groups the following question:

Progressing the County Durham Local Plan


The Inspector's interim report on the submitted County Durham Plan finds only 9 of its 65 policies to be fundamentally unsound.  We are confident that most of the Plan's policies are essentially good and any concerns about them can be met through amendments to wording.  Accordingly, how will the Council work with interested bodies, community groups and organisations across the County to produce a sound sustainable economic regeneration Plan for County Durham as soon as possible?”


Councillor Foster responded and noted the point most policies were good, but he said the problematic ones are key ones.  The Council considers they still need to weigh matters up and are asking for legal advice and are to meet with the Planning Inspectorate.  When they know what the situation is they are committed to working with everyone.


Campaign groups did point out the Council met very quickly with business people, and that it would be fruitful for them to meet with the campaign groups as well.  There is concern the clock is ticking and ways forward need to be found.  No one knew at which point the clock started to tick in relation to the option of suspending the Plan, which is normally for up to 6 months.


The Cabinet Chair summed up and said:  it was always a long process developing a Plan; the Council was right not to rush; the door will be open and the Council will talk at the appropriate time; and the Council is to meet with the Inspectorate in the next week or two.


Gillan Gibson


News of meeting held 9th March - Ramside Hall

Local Plans meeting

The current situation for a number of Local Plan planning policy documents was discussed by campaign groups on Monday 9th March 2015.


Newcastle/Gateshead Core Strategy:  They started by noting the Planning Inspectors Final Report which adjudged the document,  subject to some modification, to be “sound” and that the two councils are now proceeding on this basis and looking for early adoption.


County Durham:  It was the Inspector’s Interim Report on the Durham Plan which was the largest topic of conversation.  This contains a great deal the groups wished to see and it was noted  56 of the 65 policies have passed the process and only 9 policies are still problematic.  The groups wish to follow through their request to meet with the Council to discuss the best way forward to achieve a “sound” Plan.  In the meantime planning applications will be monitored and commented upon with the groups wishing to see the 54 accepted policies given “weight” in the Council’s deliberations.


Sunderland and South Tyneside:  Threading through the discussion was an awareness these 2 authorities are at a very early stage in revising their Plans with the 2 councils currently consulting jointly on an International Advance Manufacturing Park and South Tyneside additionally running an online survey on the use of public open spaces.


Neighbourhood Plans:  These were mentioned on a number of occasions and are seen to be a valuable way for residents to influence what happens in their area.  It was emphasised that in the present situation they should be produced as soon as possible.


There is to be another meeting in a month’s time so watch for details of date, time and venue.

 


Durham Plan Examination in Public –

Interim Report published 18th February 2015


There is delight within the campaign groups on reading the Inspector’s summary to his Interim Report.  On many of the really important issues he has taken on board the concerns and views of the campaign groups.  In particular he has: considered the housing need to be too high; the Green Belt policies flawed, in particular relating to the release of sites for 4,000 unnecessary dwellings; and the Western and Northern Relief Roads unjustified, undeliverable, not environmentally acceptable and should be deleted from the Plan.  The full text of his summary is below.  

View the full report here.


It will take time to read and consider the implications of the whole 29 page report in depth.  It is to be remembered this is an interim report, not the final one, and Part 2 of the Examination on individual sites has yet to happen, but it does bode well.


The hope will be the aspects of the Plan which require reassessment can be clearly identified and revisions made and consulted upon to produce a “sound” Plan.  It is sometimes easy to forget, after so much time was spent talking about housing numbers, Green Belt and the roads, that there is a tremendous amount in the Plan that everyone does agree and is happy on.  We certainly do not want the Plan withdrawn and going back to square one as has happened in at least one authority.


I suppose my simplistic view at this very early stage is that if lower housing figures are accepted so only 20,000 houses are needed, rather than 31,000, so the loss of the 4,000 Green Belt houses is not an issue, the Green Belt is not redesignated, and without he housing the relief roads are not required and deleted, it would be great.


Everyone is going to have to work together on all of this to gain the best for County Durham’s future.

Gillan Gibson



Please add your name to CPRE’s Charter at www.cpre.org.uk/charter and encourage your friends, family and campaign networks to do the same. If you know of any local case studies on the charter themes, particularly suitable brownfield sites and good affordable housing developments, please send them to charter@cpre.org.uk


Charter demand 1: Don’t sacrifice our countryside

Charter demand 2: A fair say for local communities

Charter demand 3: More housing – in the right places


Following the passing of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 and the anniversary of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), CPRE has launched a major initiative to promote support for the basic principles of planning which have been undermined by these two documents. The focus of a new Save Our Countryside campaign is our three part Charter, which reasserts the need for the planning system to deliver high quality affordable housing by prioritising brownfield sites and giving local people a real say in decisions.


We are inviting members of the public and high profile individuals to show their support for the countryside by signing up to our Charter at www.saveourcountryside.org.uk. We believe that creating a groundswell of support for the Charter will encourage decision-makers at a local and national level to rethink recent changes to the planning system. These changes have made ‘economic viability’ the focus of planning, weakening local democracy and putting Green Belts and open countryside under huge pressure from development.


We believe that by following the principles of our Charter, we can achieve the affordable housing we need without sacrificing our countryside. So far, 11,000 people agree with us – including former head of the National Trust Dame Fiona Reynolds and leading architects Lord Rogers and Sir Terry Farrell, as well as MPs from all three main parties. We want this strength of feeling to ensure our Charter aims are enshrined in party manifestos for the 2015 General Election and any subsequent coalition agreements.


 

Charter demand 1:

DON’T SACRIFICE OUR COUNTRYSIDE ‘Our open spaces are being destroyed unnecessarily. Previously developed brownfield land should be re-used first.’

Local authorities and planning inspectors are now increasingly allowing large scale greenfield development when enough suitable brownfield land is available for over 1.5 million new homes according to the most recent (2009) Government figures. Since we launched the Charter in July, research collated by CPRE branches and National Office has shown that local plans across England propose over 500,000 new dwellings on greenfield sites, with another 150,000 planned on Green Belt land.


 There are a number of ways in which we will be working towards the Charter’s aim of a return to brownfield first.  We will be lobbying for the NPPF to be reinforced by new Government planning guidance which prioritises brownfield regeneration – the online guidance launched in July fails to do this. Strong guidance is essential to give local authorities the confidence to reject planning applications which don’t follow the sequential approach.

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) must be specifically guided to prioritise the regeneration of brownfield sites that are primarily suitable for business or commercial use

in line with democratically agreed planning policies.


We also need investment and incentives to encourage developers. The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) should be used to prioritise the redevelopment of brownfield sites and new measures, such as Tax Increment Financing, used to cover the upfront costs of regenerating brownfield sites.

 

Charter demand 2:

A FAIR SAY FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES ‘Local people are increasingly unable to stop the destruction of their countryside. We want a democratic planning system that gives local people a stronger voice.’


We are calling for an urgent clarification of planning guidance: Ministers say that the NPPF’s twin goals are to protect our countryside and to encourage sustainable development.  The evidence shows, however, that the NPPF is currently being interpreted primarily as a means to promote more development regardless of the environmental consequences. Government must address this disconnect urgently by providing new planning guidance.


We must see locally-elected councils retaining full planning powers by repealing the ill-advised and bureaucratic powers in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 which allow developers to bypass councils on certain planning decisions. Democratically-elected councils must be given adequate advice and support to make planning decisions on behalf of local people, while LEPs must not be allowed to assume planning powers.


Our Charter campaign for democratic planning will seek to end the right of appeal against refusal of ‘departure’ applications, and create a limited community right of appeal against their approval. We also need far better public access to key planning documents, both online and in hard copy in libraries and council offices, with reasonable price limits for hard copies of key documents.

 

Charter demand 3:

MORE HOUSING – IN THE RIGHT PLACES The country needs affordable homes. They must be sensitively located, with excellent environmental standards and high quality design.’


CPRE’s Charter campaign is calling for a return to a ‘plan, monitor and manage’ approach to providing the affordable homes we need in the right locations. Before local authorities consider any new housing developments, they must ensure they are making best use of existing stock and previously developed land.

Local plans should seek to promote the most efficient and sustainable use of land through the use of phasing policies, and must also include well justified assumptions on future ‘windfall’ development.


Rather than simply setting a general target for housing, local plans need to set targets for a range of types, tenures and sizes that reflect local needs. National policy should also allow local plans to include separate targets for market and affordable housing, and the delivery of affordable housing should be prioritised at the local level. Local authorities should also have the powers to refuse developments that don’t respect and enhance local character, or don’t meet the highest environmental and design standards.

 

Influencing politicians

As part of our lobbying in support of our Charter, we are pursuing two policy focused roundtable meetings - one is on the reuse of brownfield land which Shaun Spiers has discussed with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles at the start of the year, the second is on housing land supply which we hope to arrange with Nick Boles after his commitment to engaging with CPRE given at our AGM.


These roundtable meetings will be an opportunity for our local volunteers who are involved in planning at the local level to engage with Ministers and civil servants. They will also demonstrate that CPRE is keen to work with Government to develop the solutions to the current problems with the planning reforms in order to fulfil the three Charter aims. The meetings will assess the current barriers to developing brownfield sites and building affordable housing in sustainable locations, while identifying new and existing tools to enable landowners, developers, local authorities and communities to remove them.


Local pressure is also vitally important. The role of CPRE’s branches and district groups, together with our parish council members, is crucial to achieving the aims of the Charter by engaging the support of like-minded local people, organisations, MPs and councillors. Its success will depend upon local case studies to illustrate the damaging impact of the planning reforms and demonstrate the public desire for change.


Please add your name to CPRE’s Charter at:

 www.cpre.org.uk/charter and encourage your friends, family and campaign networks to do the same. If you know of any local case studies on the charter themes, particularly suitable brownfield sites and good affordable housing developments, please send them to charter@cpre.org.uk



Latest News

Durham Plan Next Steps








             CPRE

             North East

“Thanks for your letter. I apologise for

my late response but I am happy to

endorse and support your manifesto.

“The British countryside needs continued support, especially after the challenges of Brexit. It is very positive that you are also supporting sustainable transport measures and sustainability in general.”


Stephen Psallidas

Lib Dem Candidate, Sedgefield

“Whilst I can agree with much in the national

and regional manifesto to support, such as

the need for urban regeneration, support for agriculture, and retention of environmental protection legislation, and I agree with the brownfield first housing policy suggestion, I am not persuaded that appropriate and sustainable greenfield development should be excluded completely.

“I am supportive of "garden village" type development where it can be demonstrated that this is of exemplary standards of design and sustainability.

As you will be aware, there has been much "generic" housing development in recent years in North Tyneside, to the extent that there is little remaining open and agricultural land in the constituency.

“Even given this trend, there is still a need for further housing development land. If we are to prevent urban sprawl and conglomeration, appropriate and carefully considered greenfield development (of aforementioned high standards) may need to be considered if we are to meet housing need sustainably.

“On this point, I must differ from CPRE given my professional experience of sustainable development and planning including working for companies such as Beyond Green on sustainable developments in this region and nationwide.”

Greg Stone

Lib Dem Candidate, North Tyneside

“I can advise that I see the countryside as

hugely important.   


As the former MP with a large rural area within our constituency, if re-elected I will continue to work with like=minded organisations whilst representing my constituents.   

I would be delighted to meet to discuss should I be re-elected.”

Ian Lavery,

Labour Candidate for Wansbeck