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Illegal outbuilding development costs landlord £280,000

A landlord who built an outbuilding and converted it into six small flats without planning permission has been ordered to pay more than £280,000 by a judge at Blackfriars Crown Court following a prosecution brought by Islington Council after the man failed to comply with an enforcement notice.
If you have received an enforcement notice, don't wait, get in touch with us and we will advise you how to act, and how to challenge the enforcement notice and action if possible. Email: for some advice. Please include your full contact details, the property address and a description of your property and development which is being challenged.

Did you know that you can now extend your home up to 8m without planning permission?

Here is the latest on the so called 1-3 year trial revised Permitted Development rules for freeing up the Planning system & to kick start the UK building industry - still gossip at the moment about the potential householder permitted development changes being mooted: 
The planning profession is sceptical on the fairness of this and even how it would be implemented. Would this mean that after 12 months we/ our clients must all go back to 'normal' and have smaller extensions again? How easy would all this be for local authorities to administer? How would enforcement prove an extension was built during the 'amnesty'.

On the other hand, if this change is brought in at all, it could be very useful to create reasonably sized extensions within the new size range, which have been refused before. Alternatively it might be used as a bargaining tool on increasing relative sizes of replacement dwellings and proportion of garden take etc..

Related to this, another government 'initiative' being mooted is to penalise planning departments that are performing poorly on speed and quality.

Whether these are brought in or not, I think the greatest help might be more about the signals the government is sending to local planning departments both to approve more development and to speed decision making.

So, some more moves afoot to add to our armoury when negotiating with planning departments I feel or is this all 'pie in the sky' for yet another Government U turn when they get some 'real world' feed back from the people and professions at the sharp end of all this? 
I would not be inclined to hold your breath on this one - if they couldn't get the detail & phrasing right in the 2008 changes to PD what makes you think this latest 'aspiration for freeing up the planning system' will be any better?

Here is a quick guide FAQ recently published by the Telegraph...

What are the current PD rules?

Under the “existing permitted development” rules, single-storey rear extensions and conservatories can be constructed without planning permission as long as they do not extend more than a set distance beyond the rear wall of the original house.

What is the distance? 

No more than 3m (9.8ft) in a semi-detached home and 4m (13.1ft) in a detached property.

What is changing? 

These limits will be doubled to 6m (19.7ft) for semi-detached homes, and to 8m (26.2ft) for detached properties.

Will the changes apply to loft extensions? 

No – just single-storey extensions.

Aren’t single storey extensions allowed without permission within certain space guidelines? 

Yes. Technical guidance says that permission is not required if the extension takes up less than 50 per cent of the property’s “surrounding area”. It is unclear how the new changes being announced today affect this.

Do the changes apply to properties in conservation areas, world heritage sites or areas of outstanding natural beauty?

No. Permitted development rights are already more limited in these areas.

How much can it cost to get planning permission? 

Typically, it costs £172 to obtain a planning consent, with any further professional fees – such as architects’ charges – possibly running into thousands of pounds.

[4D Planning Consultants do not charge as much as regular architects, and we know how to get you planning permission unlike many architects!]

Why are the rules changing?

The Government wants to make it easier for people to develop their own homes, and remove the red tape around asking for permission for modest extensions.

When will the changes take effect? 

Possibly by the end of this year: the announcement is today and a consultation paper will be published as early as next week. There will then follow a six-week consultation period to cover any technical issues. The change will require a change to secondary legislation in Parliament.

Why are the plans limited for only three years? 

The changes are time limited to 2015. This is to ensure that they provide a boost to the economy, by forcing people to bring forward any development plans and start them in the next three years.

Could the changes become permanent? 

Yes. Ministers want to review the proposals after three years. Officials say “nothing would stop a successful policy being extended”. 

Press release from Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Press release from the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)

The Coalition Government's number one priority is to get the economy growing. We must create the conditions that support local economic growth and remove barriers that stop local businesses creating jobs and getting Britain building again.
In November, the Government published a comprehensive housing strategy and we have rapidly put in place measures set out in the strategy to support a thriving, active and stable housing market.
We are reforming the Right to Buy by significantly increasing the discounts available to tenants to buy their own home. We launched our NewBuy scheme allowing people access to mortgages with only a 5 per cent deposit. And to unblock stalled sites with the capacity for up to 16,000 homes we launched the £570 million Get Britain Building fund. We also announced plans to dispose of public sector land with the capacity to deliver 100,000 homes, and invested £770 million in infrastructure for housing and growth through the Growing Places Fund.
House building starts across England were 29 per cent higher in 2011 compared to 2009. But there is far more to do to provide homes to meet Britain's demographic needs and to help generate local economic growth.

Increasing investment in the private rented sector

The rented sector already provides good quality homes for many young people, professionals and families. But growth has been constrained by the lack of large scale investment. We invited Sir Adrian Montague to report on the barriers to institutional investment and intend to take up Sir Adrian's key recommendation. Today I can announce that we will be investing £200 million in housing sites to ensure that the high-quality rented homes that are needed are available to institutional investors quickly. And we will be establishing a taskforce to bring together developers, management bodies and institutional investors to broker deals and deliver more rented homes.
The Government will also use its hard earned fiscal credibility to pass on lower costs of borrowing to support the long-term delivery of new rental homes. To give institutional investors the assurance they need to invest in this area we will be issuing a debt guarantee for up to £10 billion for this scheme and the affordable housing scheme set out below. Under the scheme, the Government will enable providers to raise debt with a Government guarantee, where they commit to investing in additional new-build rented homes. From tomorrow, the Government will be inviting expressions of interest from companies wishing to benefit from the scheme. It is expected that housing associations, property management companies and developers will be amongst those to benefit.

Affordable Housing Guarantees and tackling empty homes

The need for affordable housing remains high. We will therefore be extending the use of guarantees to cover borrowing needed to deliver more affordable homes. Building on the success of the Affordable Homes Programme, the Government will invite bids to provide up to an additional 15,000 affordable homes through the use of loan guarantees, asset management flexibilities and capital funding. We also intend to extend our successful refurbishment programme to bring an additional 5,000 existing empty homes back into use. In total we will invest another £300 million.

Helping first time buyers

To complement supporting the rented sector, we also want to help those who want to get onto and move up the housing ladder.
Building on our existing schemes, we will continue to support house building and to help people into home ownership through Newbuy - making it easier to access a mortgage with only a 5 per cent deposit. We are working with the Home Builders Federation and the Council of Mortgage Lenders to increase take up and grow the number of builders and lenders in the scheme. I welcome Monday's announcement that Aldermore, have joined the scheme - taking the number of lenders up to six, over 70 per cent of the market. Homebuilders and lenders will work together on a concerted marketing campaign over the Autumn to raise consumer awareness and understanding of scheme.
We will also allocate an additional £280 million, with a matching contribution from house builders, to extend our very successful FirstBuy scheme to March 2014. This will allow up to 16,500 additional first time buyers to purchase a home.

Accelerating large housing schemes

The need for new homes is acute, and supply remains constrained. There are many large housing schemes in areas of high housing demand that could provide real benefit to local communities once delivered. But, large schemes are complicated and raise a wide range of complex issues that can be difficult to resolve.
Building on success in working with Kent local authorities and developers to unlock major housing opportunities at Eastern Quarry in the Ebbsfleet Valley, the Government will work in partnership with local authorities, scheme promoters and communities to accelerate delivery of locally-supported, major housing sites. These will be sites where there is local support for growth, strong demand for new homes, and good prospects for early delivery.
Off-site construction can create skilled jobs, improve the quality of homes and ultimately bring down costs. An industry-led group convened by DCLG and BIS, will look in detail at the barriers holding back the growth of this part of the sector and how increased use of such techniques can be incentivised. We will ask this advisory group of experts to prepare an proposals by Budget 2013, with the aim of improving the efficiency of housing supply and unlocking high value jobs in the UK.
Thanks to the Government's credible fiscal strategy, homeowners are benefiting from historically low interest rates. However, the private sector needs to be able to access both finance and land to build the homes we need. The Funding for Lending Scheme, run by the Bank of England with the approval of the Government, provides strong incentives for banks and building societies to boost lending, including mortgages and loans to businesses

Getting surplus public sector land back into use

In response to emerging conclusions from a review chaired by Tony Pidgley, Chairman of the Berkeley Group, the Government will accelerate the release of surplus public sector land by strengthening the role of Homes and Communities Agency outside London through a targeted programme of transfers from other Government Departments and agencies. We will also work to accelerate disposals by preparing the land for market and providing a single 'shop window' for all surplus public sector land. We will work with the Mayor of London with a view to developing a similar approach in London, and to resolve how other measures are delivered for the benefit of Londoners.

Reducing planning delays

To get more homes built - and more workshops, factories and offices - we need a planning system which works proactively to support the growth that this country needs.
The National Planning Policy Framework is a major step forward. It has been widely welcomed by business, and as a result of its positive influence we are already seeing accelerated plan-making and more positive decision-taking.
We are clear that local people - and local authorities - must be at the heart of planning. The last government tried top-down imposition of growth and unequivocally failed. The imposition of Regional Strategies built nothing but resentment, with house building falling to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s.
The Localism Act has put the power to plan back in the hands of communities, but with this power comes responsibility: a responsibility to meet their needs for development and growth, and to deal quickly and effectively with proposals that will deliver homes, jobs and facilities.
Today we are announcing a series of additional measures to drive the effective implementation of these reforms and remove unnecessary bureaucracy that can hinder sustainable growth.
Given the importance of efficient and effective planning decisions for the economy, we need to ensure that where there are clear failures in performance, that applicants are able to access a better service. We propose to legislate to allow applications to be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, if the local authority has a track record of consistently poor performance in the speed or quality of its decisions. Planning is a quasi-judicial process: justice delayed is justice denied. It is unfair to all parties for local planning authorities simply to fail to make timely decisions on a planning application - creating uncertainty both for applicants and local residents.
In support of this we will also require more transparent reporting of council performance on planning, and will be working with the Local Government Association to increase the use of Planning Performance Agreements for major schemes - which commit both applicants and planning authorities to a clear timetable for determining proposals. In addition, we intend to give Planning Inspectors more power to initiate an award of costs in planning appeal proceedings, where it is clear that an application has not been handled as it should have been with due process.
Swift determination of appeals by the Planning Inspectorate is also of critical importance. We will consult shortly on options to speed up planning appeals - and for a new fast-track procedure for some small commercial appeals. I have also instructed the Planning Inspectorate with immediate effect to divert resources to prioritise all major economic and housing related appeals, to ensure applicants receive a response in the quickest possible time.
I have also extended a measure that allows developers the chance to seek additional time to get their sites up and running before planning permission expires, for an additional year. This measure will cut the costs of getting developments back on track.
Getting the infrastructure projects that the country's economic success relies upon underway as swiftly as possible is also a top priority. The planning regime for Major Infrastructure which deals with many of these cases is bedding in well and is bringing benefits through its streamlined and more certain processes. We want to ensure that this planning regime rightly focuses on the most important schemes whilst also extending the benefits of it to other forms of development which are of national importance.
To achieve this we now intend to review the thresholds for some of the existing categories in the regime, and also to bring new categories of commercial and business development into the regime - making it possible for such schemes, where they are of sufficient significance, to be considered and determined at a national level. We will also work to extend the principle of a one-stop-shop for non-planning consents for major infrastructure, and amend the Special Parliamentary procedures which apply to major infrastructure to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Reducing the cumulative burden of red tape

It is vital that the affordable housing element of Section 106 agreements negotiated during different economic conditions is not allowed to undermine the viability of sites and prevent any construction of new housing. This results in no development, no regeneration and no community benefits at all when agreements are no longer economically viable.
The Government estimates that up to 75,000 new homes are currently stalled due to site viability. S106 is an important tool to provide affordable housing and we welcome the flexible approach that many councils have already taken to renegotiating these agreements where necessary. The Government is also acting to get developers and councils around the table through its new mediation scheme. However, given the current imperative for growth, we need to do more.
The Government will now introduce legislation, to be effective in early 2013, which will allow any developer of sites which are unviable because of the number of affordable homes, to appeal with immediate effect. The Planning Inspectorate will be instructed to assess how many affordable homes would need to be removed from the Section 106 agreement for the site to be viable in current economic conditions. The Planning Inspectorate would then, as necessary, set aside the existing Section 106 agreement for a three year period, in favour of a new agreement with fewer affordable homes. We would encourage councils to take the opportunity before legislation comes into effect to seek negotiated solutions where possible.
Alongside this, the Government is also consulting on legislation that would allow developers to renegotiate non-viable Section 106 agreements entered into prior to April 2010.

There is concern that the array of local and national standards used in different parts the country is complex and counter-productive: confusing local residents, councillors and developers. I am announcing today a fundamental and urgent review led by Government working with interested parties to rationalise these standards. This review will result in a clear plan of action by next spring, including legislative approaches if a significant rationalisation cannot be agreed.

Supporting locally-led development

We have previously made clear the importance we attach to delivering new large-scale settlements. The recovery criteria already includes large residential developments. To align this with the call-in process, I will also carefully consider the use of call-in for major new settlements with larger than local impacts.
To support locally-led development, communities will share in benefits including the New Homes Bonus, Community Infrastructure Levy contributions towards local infrastructure, and the financial benefits of business rates discounts and forthcoming business rates retention from April 2013.
The Green Belt is an important protection against urban sprawl, providing a 'green lung' around towns and cities. The Coalition Agreement commits the Government to safeguarding Green Belt and other environmental designations, which they have been in the new National Planning Policy Framework. The Localism Act allows for the abolition of Labour's Regional Spatial Strategies which sought to bulldoze the Green Belt around thirty towns and cities across the country, subject to the Strategic Environmental Assessment process, as outlined in my Statement of 3 September 2012, Official Report, Column 5WS.
As has always been the case, councils can review local designations to promote growth. We encourage councils to use the flexibilities set out in the National Planning Policy Framework to tailor the extent of Green Belt land in their areas to reflect local circumstances. Where Green Belt is considered in reviewing or drawing up Local Plans, we will support councils to move quickly through the process by prioritising their Local Plan examinations... There is considerable previously developed land in many Green Belt areas, which could be put to more productive use. We encourage Councils to make best use of this land, whilst protecting the openness of the Green Belt in line with the requirements in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Helping homeowners improve their homes

As a nation, we have great pride in our homes, and I want to make it easier for families to undertake home improvements: not just to cut red tape and strengthen individual homeowners' rights, but also to help generate economic activity which will support small traders in particular.
I am announcing today a further package of simplification measures to remove red tape and ease the burden on local authorities. We will consult shortly on changes to increase existing permitted development rights for extensions to homes and business premises in non protected areas for a three-year period. This will mean less municipal red tape to build a conservatory and similar small-scale home improvement and free up valuable resources in local authorities.

Getting empty offices into use

We have already undertaken a series of measures to make change of use easier, to help get empty buildings back into productive use.
We will introduce permitted development rights to enable change of use from commercial to residential purposes, while providing the opportunity for authorities to seek a local exemption where they believe there will be an adverse economic impact. This common sense measure will help the regeneration of our towns and cities. Our high streets will benefit from a greater resident population, increasing footfall and supporting local shops.
This package of measures will ensure that the reforms which we have made to the planning system are implemented as effectively as possible, and that the planning system plays as full a role as possible in supporting local jobs and local firms.

The London Borough of Barnet has short-listed two private companies bidding to run its services - including the entire built environment department

Consultancies Capita Symonds and EC Harris are bidding for the ten-year contract. The two firms made it through to the second round after the council scored them highest of the four companies that pitched for the contract.
Last June, the local authority announced its intention to outsource the built environment function as part of a major reform of how it delivers services. It is seeking ten per cent cost savings from the deal.
EC Harris originally bid as part of a consortium with infrastructure service provider FM Conway, but that company pulled out of the process last month.
A council document leaked on a local blog has revealed that Capita was scored highest of the bidding companies. The document said: "Capita Symonds is the clear leader in this evaluation."
Trade union UNISON, which represents almost 90 per cent of the council's planning and regeneration staff, said its members were worried about the transfer to a private firm.
Barnet UNISON branch secretary John Burgess said a survey by the union of the council's planners showed that 91 per cent are looking for jobs elsewhere.
Planning, highways and regeneration officers have been holding one-day strikes in protest against the plans since September.
Burgess said there would be less opposition to a secondment model - as opposed to the proposed direct transfer - such as that used by Urban Vision in Salford, a joint venture company set up between the city council, Capita Symonds and Morrison Highways Maintenance to run property and planning services.
Barnet Council said employees had had meetings with both bidders and it has also been communicating with affected staff through weekly updates and regular meetings between staff representatives and the project team.
A council spokesman said it was too early to provide details on the impact on jobs, but added: "Staff will be transferred on current terms and conditions for at least 12 months. Both of the bidders have made it clear they are keen to grow the business in Barnet."

London Mayor: planning to blame for London housing shortage

Speaking at a National House Building Council (NHBC) event in London this morning, Johnson talked about the "glacial slowness" of some planning decisions for new homes.
He said: "I don’t want to see loads of ugly sky scrapers sprouting in people’s back gardens but I do want a more expeditious approach to planning. I think one of the difficulties I’ve noticed in the past few years is some borough planning departments are much better than others and we are now working to see what we can do to try to assist boroughs, if I can put it that way, to try (to) bring expertise together in order to help them to make planning decisions in a more effective and speedy. Planning is the biggest obstacle to getting enough housing built in our city at the moment".
Later, Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) chief executive Trudi Elliott said the issue was of "political leadership" and a lack of proper resourcing for planning departments.

She said: "Local authority planning departments across the country have been reduced at a greater rate than other service areas. They are losing expertise at a time when the demands upon them are growing. So what are you doing with the boroughs to encourage them to look at capacity as well as culture and political leadership?"
Johnson pointed to cooperation between the London Boroughs of Kensignton and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham on planning issues as an example of councils trying to "amalgamate and maximise the power of the resources that they have". But he added that "some councils clearly need bolstering".
"One of the things I’m endlessly tempted to do, now that we have the possibility for (Mayoral Development Corporations), is to say ‘why don’t we do that here’. But I’m a localist, I believe in subsidiarity, I don’t want to go around substituting my judgement against the judgement of local people but things need to be moved on more rapidly.
He added: "We will do incredible things in the Stratford area, that’s because there is a planning regime that is very transparent, very clear, it will involve local people, it will involve local consultation. But in the end, there will be single committee that will get things done very quickly and in my view I’m starting to think that there are other places around London where that might be a good way forward though I can imagine that that will be difficult with some boroughs. But if that’s the political leadership that it’s going to require then believe me, we’re all set to do it in City Hall."
Click here to find out more!
Elsewhere, the mayor made a pledge to publish a "Doomesday book" of all London public land holdings. Johnson said: "We know where all the Greater London Authority land is and that’s all being brought forward, but what about the National Health Service and what about the Ministry of Defence?"

"There is lots of land around London that could be united with sensible developers and sensible schemes for houses and over the next four years you’re going to see the publication, I make this commitment now, of a full easy to understand digestible account of all the land held publicly in London so people can understand where it is and how it can be made available for good housing."

2011: A review

by Cliff Hague, Planningresource magazine, December 2011

Looking at planning and economic development from a global perspective, 2011 was a year that posed more questions than it answered. At the level of headlines, there was little to raise the spirits or to make you confident that the world is on a more sustainable track. Governments still struggle to grasp why urbanisation is a strategic issue. The de-regulatory temper in England has echoes elsewhere. Depressed economies and austerity measures have set back regeneration and stalled housing markets. However, the quiet work of professionals and NGOs still has some bright lights and maybe points a way ahead.
The urban development escalator
This year the world’s urban population passed the 3.5 billion threshold. There are now about 66M more urban dweller than there were last Christmas. The number of cities with populations greater than 1 million reached 447. In 1950 it was 75. The average size of the world’s 100 largest cities is now 7.6M.  However, the fastest growth is in the smaller cities.
Asia and Africa dominate the urban increase. Most of the growth is in developing countries – much of it unplanned and taking the form of slums. Millions of people will look back on 2011 as the year that they built their own house on the edge of a city, quite possibly on a flood plain, and gained a precarious foothold in the urban economy. Unless they were evicted or hit by a natural disaster, life got a bit better for them. They may have managed to send a little money home to their family in the countryside. They may return home for family festivals, but they and their children are not going back to the land.
Shrinking settlements
Elsewhere it was a very different story.  In the villages of Eastern Latvia, on the hill farms of Romania, even in the lonely deserts of Utah or amidst the snows of North Dakota, people packed up and moved on.  They had had enough of the unequal struggle to make a living far from the comforts of a large town. Maybe it was when the school closed, or the local shop owner died and nobody took over. Maybe it was at the graduation ceremony that the young woman decided she was not going back to the parental home. For some of the aging population of such places, it was simply mortality that removed them from the census.
It was not just in the countryside. Places that were once socialist industrial boom towns across Russia or homes to factory workers in America’s rust belt continued to shrink. In the US in particular, people walked away from their houses and the debt they owed on them, but could never hope to pay back. Neighbourhoods were left to rot. Las Vegas had basked in sunshine and gambled on property for much of the first decade of the century, when people were getting rich quick. But 2011 meant foreclosures and collapsing prices, stalled development projects and people moving on in the hope of getting a new start somewhere else. Nearer to home, the ghost estates in Ireland remained just that; spectres of the folly of development led by speculation rather than planned to meet needs. They will be with us for some time to come.
Disasters and Resilience
The floods in Queensland, the earthquake in Christchurch (pictured) and the Japanese tsunami a month later reminded us all of the vulnerability of human settlements to natural disasters and the need to plan to mitigate their effects. The speed with which the engineers in Japan were able to reconstruct roads and other basic infrastructure was testimony to what professional capacity can deliver if backed by resources and effective systems of governance.
The routine of disasters in developing countries attracted less attention or speedy remedy. Thus, many died and hundreds of thousands had to flee their homes as Thailand suffered its worst floods in 50 years. Hurricane Irene battered the Caribbean. The Turkish province of Van experienced an earthquake in which hundreds died, with 80 multi-storey apartment blocks collapsing in the city of Ercis. Drought in southern India has seen wells dry up and the already impoverished farmers reduced to desperation.
UN-Habitat devoted its Global Report on Human Settlements for 2011 to the theme of Cities and Climate Change. Cassandra-like, it warned of humanity of the “unprecedented negative impacts upon quality of life, and economic and social stability.” The world’s governments shuffled to Durban to see what might be done, concluded that the answer was “a little bit, eventually” and returned home for Christmas. Even this was too much for Canada, who became the first country to pull out of the Kyoto protocol. The small island developing states exposed long-term to salination of water and land, and loss of properties and natural ecosystems, could only express their frustration (again).
State of the Cities
Signs of hope? Well, Australia took the brave political decision to introduce a carbon tax, and also took another step forward by updating its State of the Cities report. Its federal government committed to all the capital cities having plans in place to guide government infrastructure investment.  Similarly, South Africa confirmed its continuing willingness to build an evidence base for urban policy by publishing its State of the Cities study. Both these Commonwealth efforts make the connection between effective urban planning and management, economic growth, environmental quality and social inclusion.
Elsewhere the Cities Alliance continued to drive forward the practice of producing national state of the cities studies, with work pushing ahead in India and Tanzania, for example.  Bangladesh established a national urban Forum for the first time and their planners rejoined the Commonwealth Association of Planners – thanks to the efforts of young planners inspired by discussions on this blog.  Commonwealth ministers responsible for human settlements met in Nairobi as the Commonwealth Consultative Group on Human Settlements and endorsed the work being done to try to build capacity in new and inclusive forms of urban planning.
The Hungarian EU Presidency worked hard to produce the evidence on the Territorial State and Perspective of Europe. This was then the platform for the policy document The EU’s Territorial Agenda 2020 that was agreed by ministers from the member states.  It reiterated many of the themes from the European Spatial Development Perspective, which had been a clarion call for many in 1999.
The Polish Presidency followed with a characteristically ambitious attempt to advance the territorial development and cohesion agenda. In the end not all the countries could keep pace and the meeting in Poznan in late November ended with some loose ends about a road map.  The Poles forged the necessary inter-governmental consensus to begin to lay the foundations for a continuation of the work of ESPON beyond 2014. More importantly, the Poles oversaw the delivery of the EU’s Cohesion Policy for 2014-2020, frustrating some UK government wishes in the process. Last, but certainly not least, came David Cameron’s decision to row away from Europe. How that might impact on the roll-out of the details on Cohesion Policy is something to look for next year.
source: planningresource