Tag Archives: planning
* The Community Energy (CE) strategy provides a framework for support to increase the role of community groups in the distribution, production and saving of energy; with the aim of contributing to national carbon reduction targets, energy efficiency, local resilience, reductions in fuel poverty and localism.
* It has been developed closely with the various CE groups and coalitions in the UK, and enjoys their broad support. While the focus of the strategy is on communities, the vital role of local authorities in facilitating and co-driving local decentralised energy and energy efficiency is a significant part of the strategy.
* The strategy mainly announces incentives and initiatives which cover England, recognising that in Scotland and Wales, support systems and funding for CE groups already exists and good lessons can be learnt. It will be of interest to those working across different types of local authorities, especially in community engagement, energy and planning.
On 13 January 2014, David Cameron announced that councils would be able to keep 100 per cent of business rates they collect from shale gas sites. This adds to community benefits already agreed with the extraction industry of £100,000 when a test well is fracked and a further 1 per cent of revenues if shale gas is discovered. The Government has offered considerable support for the exploration and possible development of shale gas, despite the controversy surrounding the associated technique of fracking. Water contamination and seismic disturbances are among the associated environmental risks. This briefing deals with what is known so far about shale and oil and gas deposits in the UK, the associated risks and possible benefits, and the regulatory regime governing onshore exploration and development. It will be of interest to members and officers in all tiers of local government with an interest in environmental sustainability, local economic development, and planning.
The National Infrastructure Plan 2013 brings together analysis of the UK’s infrastructure needs to 2020 across different sectors setting out the government’s approach to identifying and delivering that need.
Whilst many of the major investment decisions are made by government, the Plan contains specific projects in the localities of many local authorities and has broader implications in their responsibilities for housing and planning. It also covers the Government’s approach to encouraging local infrastructure and economic growth.
The Plan announces moves to treat planning conditions as approved where they have failed to discharge a condition on time together with making a Local Plan a statutory requirement.
The Government is also undertaking a review of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Planning Regime with a focus on streamlining the process. Introducing a specialist Planning Court to tackle delays to infrastructure delivery which are taken to judicial review. It has also published for consultation a draft National Networks National Policy Statement.
This briefing will be of interest to cabinet portfolio members and officers with responsibilities for economic development, regeneration, housing and planning.
This is a statement which recognises that growth begins on our local high streets. Business rates will be discounted for SMEs and payments scheduled over 12 months. In welcome news for finance directors across the land HM Treasury has pledged …
- This briefing takes as its starting point a range of key statistics to review progress made on a number of housing issues including housing supply, homelessness and housing sales.
- There is evidence that the housing market is gaining more confidence with fewer mortgage arrears, and repossessions and increased mortgage lending including to first time buyers.
- However, with house building falling by 14% and with the sector barely building half the housing required to keep up with population growth, while house prices rose by over 4% and new mortgage advances increased by 19%, these are not signs of a well-functioning housing market.
- While progress continues to be made on reducing the number of empty, non-decent homes and overcrowded properties, rates of homelessness continue to increase standing 33% higher from when the Coalition Government came to power.
- This briefing will of interest to all elected members and officers with responsibilities for or an interest in housing, economic development and regeneration.
This new report by Transparency International UK analyses the institutional robustness and integrity of English local government and its resistance to corrupt practice. It will be of interest to elected members and officers with responsibility for standards, audit, procurement, planning, and corporate policy.
• The Housing Standards Review consultation proposes reducing hundreds of standards on housing quality to fewer than ten – the deadline for comments is 22 October 2013
• Local planning authorities (LPAs) would need to undertake a rigorous viability test for each standard they wish to include in their local plan
• The housing/construction industry will still be able to create voluntary codes, however LPAs will not be permitted to mandate these in their local development plans – there are concerns that this may stifle attempts to use policy to encourage locally appropriate solutions
• The consultation includes questions around adopting mandatory minimum space standards for new housing, although the government would prefer that the industry develop a voluntary code
• If approved, the standards would abolish the Code for Sustainable Homes – some elements of the Code are retained, but not all
• The government would prefer to publish a set of ‘nationally described standards’ that are separate to the Building Regulations, with the aim of integrating the standards into the regulations at a point to be determined
• The consultation ranges across a range of professions and interests – this briefing will be of interest to officers and portfolio holders in planning, building control, housing, environmental health, adult and social care, and public health.
Eighteen months on from the Portas Review of high streets, the Government has published a progress report on national and local policies and initiatives to revitalise high streets and town centres. This briefing summarises the report and offers comment on key related developments and issues affecting high streets policy.
This briefing is relevant to councillors and officers across all areas and all tiers of local government, particularly those involved with planning and economic development.
Nick Boles, Planning Minister, addressed the All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group for their final meeting this summer. Representatives from around thirty local authorities were present as well as a number of parliamentarians and relevant stakeholders. Highlighting the aims behind …
• Salford City Council has published a consultation on a revised hot food takeaways supplementary planning document (SPD), which includes a proposal to ban new outlets near schools from opening until 5pm to restrict the exposure of children to junk food to help tackle obesity.
• A review of local planning authorities (LPAs) earlier in the year found that more than 20 have exclusion zone policies (draft or adopted) designed to ban new hot food takeaways from opening in close proximity to schools and other facilities such as leisure centres and parks.
• There is no published evaluation of the effectiveness of these kind of planning interventions, although organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) advise councils to consider using planning to restrict fast food outlets within a wider strategy to prevent obesity.
• This briefing is essential reading for elected members, planning officers and public health practitioners.