South West planning news, December 2018


South West planning news, December 2018

03 Dec 2018



Headline news


Net additional dwellings statistics published - but not yet the Housing Delivery Test

The statistics on net additional dwellings in completed in England from April 2017 to March 2018 have been published by the government. 

These figures show 222,194 additional dwellings were completed from April 2017 to March 2018, up 2.2% from 217,345 in 2016/17.  This marks the highest level of house building for a decade, and just 1,340 shy of the 2007/8 peak on the eve of the global recession.

Notwithstanding the availability of this data, and that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that the Housing Delivery Test results would be published at a point in November 2018, the first Housing Delivery Test results were not published.

On publication of the net additional dwelling statistics Lichfields produced an interactive guide to help navigate the new figures.  This considers what the latest data on housing completions indicates about the make-up of house building across England, how this is affected by certain planning considerations,  and at a local authority level, how closely current housing delivery rates are likely to meet the Housing Delivery Test now and in 2020.

Lichfields' interactive housing supply guide
Housing supply: net additional dwellings, England: 2017 to 2018

Subscribe for Lichfields’ further commentary on the Housing Delivery Test, which will be produced shortly after the HDT results are published



Quote of the month

In bringing forward permitted development rights we have recognised that the only additional funding to local planning authorities through planning obligations will be where additional floor space is created and there is a Community Infrastructure Levy charging schedule in place. We consider that the permitted development rights for the change of use to residential are of themselves making an important contribution to housing delivery, with over 18,800 homes delivered under such rights in the year to March 2017
The Secretary of State James Brokenshire’s answer to a written question by Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey 5 November 2018


Local Plan consultations open across the South West

Bath and NE Somerset propose restrictions on new student housing

As part of its emerging Local Plan, Bath and North East Somerset Council is consulting on an Options document until 7th January 2019. Policy BTH4 puts forward three policy options to restrict student accommodation expansion, including the proposal to ban any new university development outside the existing campuses. The justification for this policy includes lower forecast growth from the two universities and the difficulties social imbalance between student and local populations have brought to some areas of the city.

Bath and North East Somerset Council, Local Plan Options Document, 12th November 2018


Stroud proposes new garden communities

Stroud District Council has opened consultation on its ‘Emerging Strategy’ Plan until 18th January 2019. The Plan proposes allocations sufficient to meet the need for 638 homes per annum required under the new standardised methodology, an increase of approximately 180 dwellings above the Council’s adopted Plan requirement. In order to meet this need, proposals include the allocation of two new garden communities at Newtown/Sharpness and Wisloe, the former for approximately 2,400 dwellings and the latter for around 1,500.

Stroud District Council, Local Plan review

West of England consult on new technical evidence

An additional round of consultation on the West of England Joint Spatial Plan is underway until 7th January 2017. The consultation provides an opportunity to comment on additional technical evidence prepared by the Councils in response to the Inspectors’ questions. The consultation features ten documents addressing viability, employment, transport, HRA and the policy requirements for the 12 Strategic Development Locations, amongst other matters.

West of England Joint Spatial Plan, Technical Evidence Work Consultation November 2018

West of England Joint Committee discusses £12 million investment opportunities

The Joint Committee for the West of England will discuss how to spend £12m of funding for projects aimed at driving economic growth and supporting sustainable transport in the region. The Joint Committee represents the West of England Combined Authority, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils, and the West of England LEP.
Key projects being considered include: £4m for Bristol City Council’s plan for Engine Shed 2; £6m for the City of Bristol College’s Advanced Construction Skills Centre; and £3m for cycle lanes, new signalised crossings and sustainable transport improvements near to schools.

West of England Combined Authority, 21st November 2018

Channel 4 select Bristol as new Creative Hub

Bristol has been chosen as one of two new ‘Creative Hubs’ of Channel 4. The decision is expected to bring approximately 50 new jobs to the city in 2019, as well as many indirect benefits for the industry and city. A search is currently underway for suitable new premises.
Bristol was chosen alongside Leeds as a result of its existing specialism in the film and creative sectors, its proximity to Cardiff and the Midlands, as well as the city’s ambition to establish new social mobility initiatives within the region.

Bristol City Council, ‘Channel 4 bosses visit Bristol’, 9th November 2018Channel 4 ‘A Call 4 All’ Pitch BrochureITV News, ‘Bristol to Become Channel 4 Creative Hub’, 31st October 2018

A section 73 permission that varies a description of development can be lawful

A recent High Court judgment has considered the lawfulness of a section 73 planning permission that necessitates a variation to the terms, or description of development, of the original (or an earlier) planning permission.
In Finney v Welsh Ministers, Carmarthenshire resident John Finney sought an order quashing a section 73 planning permission granted on appeal for (amongst other things) two wind turbines with a 125m blade height.  The description of development of the original 2016 planning permission begins “25 year operation of two wind turbines, with a tip height of up to 100m […]”.
The claim was made on the ground that:
“the Inspector should not have allowed the appeal because she had no power under section 73 to amend a condition pursuant to which a prior planning permission had been granted which had the effect of directly contradicting the description of the development permitted in that earlier permission. Further or alternatively, the Claimant asserts that the Inspector failed to consider at all (as she should have done in accordance with established legal principles) whether the application before her constituted a "fundamental alteration" of the prior permission”.
Judge Sir Wyn Williams considered leading authority R v Coventry City Council, ex p. Arrowcroft Group plc (2001) and also more recent (2017) cases; Wet Finishing Works v Taunton Deane BC (2018), and R (Vue Entertainment Ltd) v City of York Council .  He discussed the interpretation of and potential inconsistencies between these cases concluded that both 2017 cases applied the reasoning in Arrowcroft; notably ‘the Arrowcroft principle’ that under a section 73 application a local planning authority:
"is able to impose different conditions upon a new planning permission, but only if they are conditions which the council could lawfully have imposed upon the original planning permission in the sense that they do not amount to a fundamental alteration of the proposal put forward in the original application".
The judge decided:
“that the only proper interpretation of the judgment in Wet Finishing Works, is that a variation pursuant to section 73 can be lawful notwithstanding that it may necessitate a variation to the terms of the planning permission which preceded the section 73 application”
And that he was not minded to depart from this “persuasive authority”.  To accept the claimant’s argument would “lead to an over-technical and inflexible approach to the application of section 73”.
The judge also concluded that the Inspector had considered whether the s73 application constituted a fundamental alteration to the original proposal, but that even if she had not, the Inspector had set out the major points of difference between the two proposals so meticulously that had she considered whether they constituted a fundamental alteration she would have concluded that they did not.
The application for judicial review failed.

Finney v Welsh Ministers and others



The Lichfields perspective

This is fantastic news which sends such a positive message about Bristol as a place to invest. The partnership with Cardiff will only further strengthen the Western Powerhouse.’
Jenny Mitter, Associate Director, commenting on the decision of Channel 4 to locate one of two ‘Creative Hubs’ in Bristol


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116