Chelgate Local Newsletter – May 2019
This month: May Local Elections, New councillors, Hertfordshire Growth Plans and Oxford-Cambridge Growth Corridor
May Local Elections
By Michael Hardware, Director of Planning and Property
The dust is settling following the dramatic May local elections in which the two main parties saw very significant losses. Ordinarily, the party in power would be expected to lose members mid-term and for the opposition to pick them up, but that did not happen. Both parties lost seats to the benefit of the LibDems, independent and resident groups.
Although many are seeing this as a protest vote rather than a trend, caused by the procrastination over Brexit, it has sent shockwaves through the political establishment. This was reinforced by the results from the European elections.
There have been some shock results. South Oxfordshire has gone from Conservative control to a ‘rainbow alliance’ between the LibDems and the Green party. In Uttlesford, the Conservative administration lost 19 seats and control to the residents’ association, and in Chelmsford the Conservatives lost a staggering 31 seats with the LibDems taking power.
In Basildon, a bastion of conflict over the years with control changing hands three times in the last three years, has changed yet again with Labour taking control but requiring the support of every non-Conservative councillor.
These were strange elections as in some districts there were significant shifts in voting, whereas in others, only small changes. St Albans did not see a significant shift, but the Conservatives lost power to a LibDem coalition headed by Cllr Chris White, former head of Chelgate Local.
The shock to the parties is obviously related to Brexit, and the indecision is having significant ramifications at party grass roots level reflected in the local elections. The frustration of party activitsts and grass roots members is palpable with all their efforts in local politics overshadowed by what is happening on the national stage.
Brexit is also now impacting upon the development industry with a number of housebuilders and developers holding back on projects and land waiting to see what happens – why pay top dollar now when there could be some distress purchase bargains a couple of months down the road.
If, however, Brexit does go through with an agreement, there could be an avalanche of projects coming to planning, and scrabble to buy land to populate the forward land pipeline.
Beware, new councillors
By Michael Hardware, Director of Planning and Property
A huge number of new councillors have been elected across the country. These are largely from the LibDem, independent, green and resident groups with little or no experience of either being a councillor or being in power.
New councillors bound into office on the back of huge promises and aspirations, straight into the brick wall of local government: even at the best of times, the wheels of local council turn very slowly and to have any impact will take considerable time and diplomacy to affect.
Similarly, a number of councils have changed administration with the smaller opposition parties taking a far greater role. It is a difficult transition from being an opposition councillor to being in power; the realisation of the limitations of the power of being a councillor, even in administration, can be stark.
One area where new members do have an immediate impact is on planning committees. Officers often shield committees with a significant proportion of new members from having to make major decisions in the first few months until they have had the training to enable them to perform their quasi-judicial duties properly. Planning committees are not supposed to be political, but new councillors do have difficulty compromising their political views and aspirations with the requirements of planning law and the needs of the wider community.
Planning applicants need to be aware of this and assess changes in administration and planning committee composition. There may be some strange decisions, some obviously political decisions, and some frustrated officers, over the next few months.
There will also be a reticence for new councillors to engage with developers, as they will not be confident enough to be impartial, and frightened of doing something that may immediately undermine their position. These new councillors will need to be given due consideration, and coached through this difficult stage of their political careers.
Hertfordshire Growth Plans
By Michael Hardware, Director of Planning and Property
The Built Environment Network Group held a Hertfordshire Development Plans event in Stevenage in May. Speakers included Hertfordshire County Council, the University of Hertfordshire and Places for People.
Patsy Dell, assistant director strategic planning, infrastructure and economy at Hertfordshire County Council, described the context and efforts of the Hertfordshire Growth Board focusing on doubling housing output in the four key corridors – M1, A1(M), A10/M11 and A414. Significant developments are planned in Gilston/Harlow Garden Town, Bishops Stortford, Stevenage, Hatfield, Hemel Hemptsead, St Albans and Watford. Key issues the county is facing include green belt preservation, an increasingly ageing population, falling housing funding and the increasing un-affordability of homes.
She concluded by looking at the largest development: Harlow and Gilston Garden Town on the eastern extremities of the county. This will deliver 23,000 new homes over the next 30 years and is a partnership between five authorities: East Herts, Harlow and Epping Forest district councils, and Hertfordshire and Essex county councils. It includes a Housing Infrastructure Fund bid for £171million to pay for some crucial transport infrastructure to deliver development including two river crossings and two sustainable transport corridors.
Paul Mumford, strategic project director for Places for People, talked exclusively about the 2,500-acre ‘necklace’ of villages planned in Gilston Park, part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. Mentioned by Patsey Dell.
The 10,000 new homes project includes £650million infrastructure investment and would capture £1.5billion of other private sector investment at the centre of the London, Stansted, Cambridge corridor, now called the ‘UK’s Innovation Corridor’. Gilston Park will be part of Harlow and will add critical mass to the town enabling other investment, such as town centre regeneration, as well as complementing planned investment with the Harlow Enterprise Zone and the new headquarters and associated development for Public Health England.
The presentations concluded with Ian Grimes, director of estates at the University of Hertfordshire, providing an overview of its £400million redevelopment plans on its College Lane and de Havilland campus sites. The University has more than 24,500 students, employs 2,900 staff and has an annual turnover of £264million.
Breakfast Briefing: Oxford-Cambridge Growth Corridor
Chelgate Local and Bidwells teamed up to deliver a timely debate on delivery of housing and infrastructure in the Oxford-Cambridge Growth Corridor. Last month, over 40 delegates gathered in Milton Keynes to hear from politicians and planning consultants from across the arc. With one million new homes promised, new east-west road and rail links, the Government view the arc as being of national importance and is providing some assistance to bring it forward.
Liam Herbert, Chelgate’s CEO, kicked off the discussions by remarking on results of recent local elections and correlation between the changing demographics in councils across the south east and declining electoral prospects for Tories in the region. Councils which have seen high numbers of Londoners moving into their areas in the last four years saw significant losses for Conservatives and gains for Labour, Lib Dem, Green and Independent candidates in the recent local election. Delivery of housing and infrastructure along the Growth Corridor has therefore potential for dramatically changing its political landscape, which is already being seen today.
Cllr Barry Wood, the Leader of Cherwell District Council, shared the ambitions that the Arc Leaders Group have for the project. He said that they see it as much more than housing, it’s about infrastructure and all the councils working in partnership, not against each other.
He was followed by Cllr Van de Weyer deputy leader of South Cambridgeshire District, and Stephen Kelly, joint director of planning and economic development at both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire councils. They outlined their councils’ views on placemaking, connectivity, productivity and environment at the eastern end of the arc and stressed that there is a need for understanding what communities need and to focus on those outcomes in terms of placemaking. They also suggested that the arc should extend further eastwards along both the A14 and A11 corridors to Harwich and Norwich respectively.
David Bainbridge from Bidwells closed the proceedings with a presentation of the planning perspective on delivery of the housing and infrastructure across the corridor. He underlined the arc’s national significance and talked about the challenges ahead. One of them is the lack of a legal status behind the project, and the lack of political leadership. These are the issues that the Government needs to address if it wants to see the arc evolve in the coming years.
The presentations were followed by a lively Q&A debate during which the panellists discussed issues surrounding cooperation between the authorities in the region and relationships between the local leaders and their colleagues in Westminster.
These discussions will be continued at our next event in June where we will address growth in Oxford and Oxfordshire and the impact of the upcoming Oxford-Cambridge Expressway. Further details are available on the Chelgate Local website.
Local Plan updates – June 2019
Ashford –The Ashford Local Plan 2030 was adopted in February 2019.
Aylesbury Vale – AVDC has advised the Inspector that it will have prepared modifications to the plan together with an updated Sustainability Appraisal by the end of June 2019. The modifications will be published by the Council to give the public an opportunity to make representations on them. This is expected to take place for at least six weeks towards the end of the summer. The Inspector is likely to consider the new representations made in the autumn of 2019, following which he will issue his final, binding, report.
Basildon – The Revised Publication Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State on the 28th of March 2019 for the Examination in Public. Paul Griffiths (BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC has been appointed by the Secretary of State as the Planning Inspector. The EiP is expected to be in September.
Bexley – Reg 18 consultation has now closed, and publication of the Draft Local Plan is planned for Autumn 2019.
Braintree – see North Essex Authorities (below)
Brentwood – Regulation 19 consultation closed on 19 March 2019 and the local plan is in the process of being finalised and submitted.
Bromley – The Local Plan for Bromley was adopted on 16 January 2019.
Broxbourne – Following Inspector’s Post Hearings Advice, an additional hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday 11 June 2019 in relation the Council’s Proposed Main Modifications regarding Brookfield.
Cambridge and East Cambs – Following receipt of the Inspector’s modifications, East Cambridgeshire District Council voted to withdraw the emerging Local Plan at its February 2019 Council meeting.
Castle Point – In November 2018 the Council resolved to not proceed with the Pre-Publication Local Plan and is now awaiting a decision from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government with regards to the next steps. It is likely MHCLG will give directions to overturn the council’s decision and proceed with the draft local plan submission, similar to the path taken at Thanet and Wirral.
Central Beds – Further additional evidence on the duty to co-operate, landscape, heritage and transport and an update to the Sustainability Appraisal was submitted by the Council on 28th January 2019 at Inspector’s request. Hearing Sessions commenced at 10am on Tuesday 21 May 2019 and will finish on the 26th of July 2019.
Chelmsford – The Independent Examination hearing sessions took place in November and December 2018. The Council are in the process of assessing the implications that proposed main modifications would have on the policies, designations and maps contained within the Local Plan. These will be submitted for inspector’s agreement in due course. The modifications are likely to be consulted on in the summer and the plan adopted in the autumn.
Cherwell – A Partial Review of the adopted Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031 (Part 1) is in preparation to help meet the unmet housing needs of Oxford. The Inspector resumed the Hearing Sessions on Tuesday 5th February 2019. The council is also preparing a Part 2 to the Adopted Local Plan 2011-2031 (Part 1) which will contain non-strategic site allocations and development management policies.
Chiltern and South Bucks – At the meetings of Chiltern District Full Council and South Bucks District Full Council on 14 and 15 May 2019, both Councils approved the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan 2036 for publication and submission. Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils will commence the public consultation on the publication version of the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan 2036 on 7 June 2019. The consultation will run for 6 weeks until 19 July 2019.
Colchester – See North Essex Authorities (below).
Dacorum – A pre-submission Draft Plan is expected in August 2019 while the Council continues undertaking the Duty to Co-operate and public and stakeholder engagement.
Dartford – Regulation 18 public consultation was held in June/ July 2018. Public involvement in the next stage in drafting the Local Plan is expected in summer 2019.
Dover – The council will be in the evidence gathering stage until December 2019. Consultation on draft Local Plan (Regulation 18) is expected to take place between January and March 2020.
East Herts – East Herts’ District Plan was adopted at an Extraordinary Council on the 23 October 2018.
Elmbridge – On 30 October 2018, a new Local Development Scheme was approved and sets out the work programme up to 2021. Regulation 18 consultation is now planned for August/September 2019.
Epping Forest – The Local Plan has been submitted for approval and Ms. Louise Phillips from the Planning Inspectorate has been appointed to carry out the independent Examination. The hearing sessions finished on 12 June 2019. Her report is awaited, but not expected until the summer – significant modifications are expected and there is an issue with air pollution and Epping Forest.
Epsom and Ewell – Pre-Submission Public Consultation is planned for October – November 2019.
Folkestone and Hythe – The Council submitted their Places and Policies Local Plan to the Secretary of State on the 28th September 2018 for independent examination. The Planning Inspectorate has appointed Mr Jameson Bridgwater to oversee the examination process. The hearings commenced on 14 May 2019.
Gravesham – After reviewing responses received to Regulation 18 (Stage 1) Part 1 Site Allocations, the council is gathering further evidence and together with the consideration of responses received will prepare Regulation 18 Part 2 consultation documents which will be consulted upon in Autumn 2019.
Guildford – Council decided to adopt the new Local Plan on 25 April 2019.
Harlow – Hearing sessions finished on Thursday 4 April 2019 and Council is expecting Inspector’s final report although not until the summer. Progress is expected to now be made on the town centre Area Action Plan.
Havering – Following the hearings which took take place between the 9th and 19th of October 2018, the examination was suspended to allow the Council to complete the required additional work. The reconvened examination took place on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May.
Hertsmere – The council is undertaking targeted public and stakeholder engagement in preparing the plan (Reg 18). Issues and options consultation is expected in March 2020.
London Plan – A panel of inspectors have been appointed to review the plan and examination hearings concluded in May 2019. The inspectors’ report is awaited, although not in the near future.
Maidstone – New Local Plan was formally adopted at Full Council on 25 October 2017. The Council is already preparing its review and its call for sites closed on Friday 24 May 2019.
Maldon – The Secretary of State Approved the Maldon District Local Development Plan on 21 July 2017. A review is to be completed by 2022.
Medway – The council published updated Local Development Scheme in December 2018. Regulation 19 – Publication of draft plan is planned for Summer 2019.
Milton Keynes – Plan:MK, the local plan setting out how Milton Keynes will grow until 2031, was approved for adoption by full council in March 2019.
Mole Valley – The Preferred Options consultation is now expected to take place between 21 October and 1 December 2019. Prior to the publication of the consultation, all Council Members will have the opportunity to agree the content of the draft Local Plan at an Extraordinary Council meeting on 15 October.
North Essex Authorities (Braintree, Colchester and Tendring) – The local plan EiP was suspended in June 2018 pending submission of further evidence (June/July 2019) from the three authorities to address the inspector’s concerns about viability and delivery of the three garden communities. EiP expected to recommence in autumn 2019.
North Hertfordshire – The Inspector is currently reviewing and considering the representations made in response to the recent consultation on draft Main Modifications, of which there are many, and evidence produced during and after the hearings. Once he has completed this, he will indicate the way forward for the Examination and the likely timescales.
Oxford City – On 22 March 2019, Oxford City Council submitted the Oxford Local Plan 2016-2036 to the Planning Inspectorate. Planning Inspectors Jonathan Bore MRTPI and Nick Fagan BSc(Hons) DipTP MRTPI have been appointed to undertake an independent examination.
Reigate and Banstead – Main Modifications were published for public consultation between 6 March and 18 April 2019. All responses received have now been collated and submitted to the Inspector for consideration.
Rochford – Preferred Options Document public consultation (Regulation 18) is planned for October/November 2019.
Runnymede – The Council submitted the Plan to the Secretary of State on 31st July 2018, and hearing sessions took place in November 2018 and February 2019. On 22nd March the Council published an update note concerning progress of the outstanding work on Highways matters at the Inspector’s request. The Stage 3 hearings are provisionally scheduled for the week commencing 15 July.
Sevenoaks – The Sevenoaks District Council Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination on Tuesday 30 April 2019. Karen Baker (DipTP MA DipMP MRTPI) has been appointed by the Secretary of State as the Planning Inspector.
Southend-on-Sea – Issues and Options consultation closed on 2 April 2019, with Preferred Approach consultation estimated to take place in Winter 2019/2020. There is potentially a new garden settlement to the north of Southend, also part of Rochford.
South Essex Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) – this is a strategic statutory local plan prepared jointly by Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend and Thurrock. Reg 18 consultation is expected in the autumn of 2019.
South Northamptonshire – GJ Fort BA (Hons) PGDip LLM MCD MRTPI, was appointed to conduct the examination into the soundness of the submitted plan. Hearings are taking place between Tuesday 11 June and Friday 21 June.
South Oxfordshire – South Oxfordshire District Council submitted the Local Plan 2034 to the Secretary of State on Friday 29 March 2019. Jonathan Bore MRTPI and Nick Fagan MRTPI have been appointed to undertake an independent examination.
Spelthorne – The council is undertaking additional work in order to respond to the Heathrow Expansion proposals. As a result, they are now intending to hold the next public consultation on Preferred Options in October 2019.
St Albans – Following submission of the Local Plan 2020-2036 in March 2019, Inspectors Louise Crosby MA MRTPI and Elaine Worthington BA (Hons) MTP MUED MRTPI have been appointed by the Secretary of State to carry out the independent Examination. Provisional hearing session dates have been set for w/c 14 and w/c 21 October.
Stevenage – The Stevenage Borough Local Plan 2011-2031 was adopted on 22 May 2019.
Surrey Heath – The Draft Surrey Heath Local Plan Issues and Options/Preferred Options Consultation finished on 30th July 2018, and the Pre-submission Consultation is scheduled for Summer 2019.
Swale – The Council plans to hold Reg. 18 consultation in Oct – Dec 2019.
Tandridge – The Council has submitted its local plan to the Planning Inspectorate for examination and Inspector Philip Lewis BA (Hons) MA MRTPI was appointed to conduct the examination in January, with hearing dates to be announced shortly.
Tendring – See North Essex Authorities (above).
Thanet – Hearing started on 2 April 2019 but due to the Inspector’s illness the two last weeks have now been re-scheduled to take place between 9th and 19th July.
Three Rivers – Potential Sites Consultation ran between 26 October and 7 December 2018. Publication stage is planned for Autumn 2019.
Thurrock – Reg. 18 (Issues and Options Stage 2: Spatial Options and Sites) took place in July 2018. Reg. 19 was planned for September 2019 but has been delayed following the publication of the revised NPPF.
Tonbridge and Malling – The Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council Local Plan was submitted for examination on Wednesday 23rd January 2019 and the Secretary of State has appointed Inspectors Simon Berkeley BA MA MRTPI and Luke Fleming BSc (Hons) MRTPI to carry out an independent examination of the Local Plan. Hearing sessions have not been scheduled yet.
Tunbridge Wells – Consultation on the Draft Local Plan (Regulation 18) from Friday 20 September to Friday 01 November 2019.
Uttlesford – The Uttlesford District Council Local Plan was submitted for examination on 18 January 2019 and the Secretary of State has appointed Inspectors Louise Crosby MA MRTPI and Elaine Worthington BA (Hons) MT MUED MRTPI to carry out an independent examination of the Local Plan. The hearing sessions will take place in two stages and will open at 10am on Tuesday 2 July 2019.
Vale of White Horse – Following the examination, The Schedule of Proposed Draft Main Modifications Consultation run until 1 April 2019. The Inspector will now consider all representations submitted before publishing his final report.
Watford – Issues and Options consultation ran from Friday 7 September to Friday 19 October 2018. First draft local plan is expected in Autumn 2019.
Waverley – The council is completing additional work on the Local Plan Part 2 and it is expected that the Reg. 19 Consultation will take place in Summer 2019, with submission in Winter 2019.
Welwyn Hatfield – Consultation on sites promoted through the Call for Sites 2019 is now live and runs until 18 June 2019. According to the Council’s revised Local Plan timetable, hearings will be resumed in November 2019, with a view to consult on main modification in Jan-Feb 2020 and adopt in June 2020.
Woking – Site Allocations DPD consultation (Reg. 19) ran until 17 December 2018 and submission to Secretary of State is expected in June/July 2019.
Wycombe – The consultation on proposed modifications ran from 13 February 2019 and to 27 March 2019. The inspector will now consider the representations before deciding how she wishes to proceed with the Examination. Should the Inspector decide that no additional Hearing Sessions are necessary, her report is expected early in the Summer.
June Breakfast Briefing on Unlocking Growth in Oxford and Oxfordshire
Chelgate Local and Lichfields are delighted to invite you to a breakfast briefing seminar to hear how potential growth in Oxford and Oxfordshire will be unlocked and managed in the coming years.
The speakers will discuss how the various initiatives will be brought together to deliver growth in the city and the county. The Oxford-Cambridge Arc aims to deliver one million new homes but initiatives, such as City Deal, local housing through the various local plans and the Growth Deal are set to facilitate 100,000 of those new homes by 2031.
Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion, and a full networking breakfast will be provided.
- Date: Thursday 27th June
- Time: 7:45am – 9:30am
- Location: The Old Library Room, Oxford Town Hall.
Please register here to secure your place.
For more information please contact Kasia Banas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7939 7915.