5 November 2014…..You know saveHOVE preaches the gospel of engagement at you; and, from our humble beginnings in the summer of 2005, have increasingly sought engagement at earlier and earlier stages of influence…..like…..before planning applications are ever even dreamt of: at the policy creation stage, where ground rules are set. Indeed the saveHOVE associates were behind the creation of the council’s Medina House Planning Brief, having demanded one. The Local Plan, however, (The City Plan will replace it) is the local authority’s ground zero stage. A forward planning, foundation, policy document.
Sometimes “more honoured in the breach than in its observance”….nevertheless…..
Many of us engaged with creation of the Local Plan at the beginning of the century, right through to he Public Inquiry level, before it was agreed and adopted. Its’ complicated, bonkers, replacement through the Local Development Framework (LDF) has been a drawn out and messy affair. The City Plan is not born yet. Is not done. Is still in danger of non-acceptance from the Planning Inspectorate. Without it, the Local Plan becomes obsolete and the government’s dumbed down National Plannng Policy Framework applies, giving dangerous presumptions-in-favour green lights to developers.
It is SO depressing. Instead of trying to develop the north of England (even the Midlands), everything is on densifying the south of England up to its back teeth and releasing the brakes on putting more and more and more housing into this city (which competes for land with matching infrastructure needs that this brings). Already, under Eric Pickles, the Coalition has decreed developers can convert office space to housing without a planning application (mostly) which could potentially threaten employment areas. Our planners did what they could there and Article 4 Directions are in place for a slice of Central Brighton and City Park in Hove to at least force planning applications on those areas. Pickles point blank refused to exempt one inch of the city. And the Article 4 Directions were then resorted to.
So here is the latest turn of the screw on the city: a new re-consultation with changes and additions for what can go where as a matter of policy: The City Plan Pt 1 reconsult
“MORE IDENTIFIED HOUSING SITES!” shrieked the Inspector at our downtrodden, understaffed planning strategy folk. To remind you:
1. Windfall housing figures are forward guesstimates, based on past evidence of creation, and covers people buying, converting, demolishing, building, blah, blah as and when. It was reliance on this part of the housing policy that Inspectors refused to accept.
2. Identified housing figures come from ring-fencing sites and areas with a policy that says how many units and where specifically that new housing will be created. And the Inspectors have threatened and demanded for this sector.
Please open the link above, and put your considered thoughts into the consultation. Why? Because when a planning application comes along, the City Plan, the plannng briefs, etc. are Controls and Givens before you even consider what it looks like or what the parking/traffic situation might be. You want a say in these things? Do it NOW, at the policy creation stage, where the rules of engagement are set. As best you can.