Green Belt and Brownfield development statement by Castle Point MP.

A press release by Castle Point MP covers comment on Brown Field development, the use of smaller plots and how this may assist the protection of Green Belt.

The statement suggests that the large Green Belt sites that have received approval, are not being developed at the necessary rate of requirement.

Rebecca Harris MP welcomes news of thousands of homes to be built on smaller plots

 This week the Government announced that it is directly commissioning the building of up to 13,000 homes on public land. This will mean smaller developers will be able to buy sites with planning permission in place. 40% of these new-builds will be starter homes aimed at first-time buyers. These sites will be smaller plots and the aim is to encourage smaller builders to develop small individual sites rather than relying on larger firms developing larger plots. It will take years to meet our housing need if we rely solely on larger developments.

This will increase the use of brownfield sites rather than unnecessarily building on our important green belt. Along with this the Government is also announcing a £1.2 billion fund to help decontaminate brownfield sites in order to make them available for house building.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, welcomed the plans saying that “the availability of small sites is the single biggest barrier” to small housebuilders to increase their output. Britain’s biggest housebuilders already possess enough land to create more than 600,000 new homes, which begs the question why they were not building properties fast enough to meet the housing shortage.

Rebecca Harris MP said: “The Government recognises the need to make the most of our smaller brownfield sites. While we rely on local authorities, through their plan making process, to work as hard as possible to bring forward privately owned brownfield sites, the Government is determined to do all it can to bring forward sites owned by public bodies. If Councils would encourage more development of smaller brownfield sites, there would be no pressure for larger developers to build on our precious green belt where experience seems to show they do not built at the rate we need in any case. In Castle Point where we have so little greenbelt which residents can freely enjoy, this change of focus will be extremely welcome.”


3 responses to “Green Belt and Brownfield development statement by Castle Point MP.

  1. Editor further to the above:-

    The government is already committed to a wave of significant reforms to drive up housing supply and increase home ownership including through the Housing and Planning Bill. Further details will be announced shortly on how a number of the Bill measures will operate.

    •A starter home is a home sold to a first time buyer under 40, for at least a 20% discount to market value, with a cap on the value of the property. The government expects most of these homes to be well under any cap, as with the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. The purchaser must live in the home for five years to gain the full benefit of the discount, and if they move earlier, they will lose the discount.

    •The government is committed to building 200,000 starter homes by 2020 – to be exclusively offered to first time buyers under 40 at a minimum 20% discount on market value.

    •The commitment will be principally delivered through planning reforms to ** Release more land for starter homes ** Require a proportion of starter homes on ‘reasonably sized’ sites as part of section 106 affordable housing contributions.

    •The Spending Review announced £2.3 billion funding to support the delivery of up to 60,000 starter homes between 2016/17 and 2020/21, to complement the planning reforms.

    I hope that there are enough smaller plots and brown fields sites in Castle Point to satisfy this particular need if not our Green Belt will become un-defendable. We have recently witnessed the release of small green belt previously developed sites for what was originally acceptable development proposals only to see the developer reapply for much more on the same site including blocks of privately rented flats.

  2. Development on plots of previously developed, or Brownfied land will undoubtedly go toward saving undeveloped Green Belt land within the borough. How many can be found has yet to be tested.

    However, The site you mention in your final paragraph is a fine example of developers and/or officers manipulating situations in favour of inappropriate development on the boroughs Green Belt.

    It was one house, standing in a large garden firmly placed within the boroughs Green Belt and we were told, Garden Land can be protected, if required.

    The rushed vote, in 2012, just prior to the Glebeland appeal, to designate the whole of site H9, (which included the development along London Road), as suitable for residential development and realign the GB boundary in preparation for the New Local Plan has never been fully justified… especially considering no other such preparatory work was voted on any other GB sites mentioned within the DNLP. It did however give Officers the opportunity recommend Approval when the original application to develop the whole of the London Road site came in, citing the 2012 decision as the ‘very special circumstances’ needed to allow otherwise inappropriate development in the GB.

    With the exception of the plot mentioned in your blog, all of the GB land in the original planning application was genuine Brownfield, or previously developed GB land, and just the sort of site that could assist in saving undeveloped Green Belt. However, the one house and it’s Garden was tagged on the end of a much larger proposal and consequently was not viewed separately on its own, non-brownfield merits. That larger application saw it have permission granted for eight detached house.

    Roll on to this week and our GB, single house and garden site is up before the Dev Control committee again. The developer now wants to upscale his permission for eight houses on the site to five blocks of 37 flats. This time Officers had even more ammunition to push for approval by virtue of the site already having a permission in place, as well as the 2012 decision ect etc…

    Given the whole of the DNLP is under question and could possibly be thrown out or adjusted to not include undeveloped land such as H9, the decision taken in 2012 becomes an unnecessary one. To still be using the legacy of it leaves us with inappropriate development in the Green Belt that only the developer and the Officers seem to want. Hindsight shows us that the original application was three separate ones tagged together, which has now clearly been proved by the individual applications heard this week adjusting the original permissions.

    The developers/s may easily be playing the system, but it takes Officers to play the long game along with them and oil the tracks. Who suggests what applications are lumped together to fog up the true picture, developers or officers or both? What safeguards do we have to ensure officers protect the councillors and residents from such misdirection by separating large applications into individual ones when differences in the elements making up an application are so fundamental that they would effect the decision making process?

  3. Thanks for your input Jacqui, welcome to the world of CPBC planning theory. We on Canvey have long since been the victims of CPBC decision making, you only have to research the population growth distribution since Canvey was encapsulated within CPBC. Your example shows some similarity with land at Leige Avenue CI, where similar space was turned over to flatted development. Despite over development, too few car parking spaces, despite flood risk and emergency vehicle space that would not allow responders to attend on site permissions were granted.
    Regarding the Local Plan your thoughts will be tested when the 5 Year Housing Supply list is Examined.
    We must hope for a good outcome.

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