james36armstrong at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 13 14:51:19 GMT 2011
My draft submission to teh planning consulttion.
Your commentsw are welcome
National Planning Policy Framework
Department for Communities and Local Government
London SW1E 5DU
Submission by THE SELF BUILD NETWORK to :
NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY FRAMEWORK Feb 11
policy tends to neglect this (self build) category of development” ….
Homebuilding in UK,OFT 2008
DESTRUCTION IS THE BACKGROUND TO UK HOUSE SUPPLY
In 2011 the lack of adequate supply and the quality of the
existing housing stock in UK is analogous to conditions
in post World War ll Britain after widespread
destruction from enemy bombing and a six
year hiatus of building new houses and failure
to repair damage.
The UK background with which a
credible new planning regime must cope is one of unprecedented and still deteriorating , massive housing
need and deprivation , inequitable reward to landowners in £million windfall
gains , out of reach house prices, rising land prices, hoarded land, land
speculation and domination amounting to
market destruction of supply, by a
handful of giant corporate
WITHOUT A NEW
DIRECTION IN PLANNING, HOUSE SUPPLY WILL DETERIORATE BELOW 1947’s ABYSMAL LEVELS OF DEPRIVATION
Supply is falling yet further below already unprecedented levels of
Human rights are
Lack of access to adequate housing , in-accessible prices and
rents is a breach of human rights to home making and family life and unacceptable
when remedies are available. Such
remedies are available as set out below.
Human need, particularly at time of massive human rights breech, not spatial arrangements are the ultimate and prime goal
of an adequate planning regime as demonstrated by the goals of
1947 planners. Spatial arrangements
are a vital consideration
yet subsidiary to exigent
human distress .
The new Planning Policy Framework should be motivated by this
The lessons of 1946/7
suggest the way forward in 2011
The explicit motivation of
the sponsors* of the 1946 Town and
Country Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill (leading to the 1947 Act) was the need to arrange for the expected post
war avalanche of building new houses and to do so in the most advantageous way .
They were not motivated by spatial considerations per se. House building on an unprecedented scale
resulted, and the planning system
regulated where they were to be built without having a marked effect in
reducing numbers. Then, lack of house supply was not an issue. In the years following 1947
houses were built in unprecedented numbers never since achieved .
Responsibility for house supply has been
by default been delegated to the
market. - since
funding for social housing has largely been withdrawn . The market has
manifestly failed over a period
of twenty years. It is more accurate to say the market has been deliberately
destroyed . The planning regime is in danger of
exacerbating an already fraught situation, wheras the intention of the instigators of the 1947
planning Act, and the raison detre of planning is to be pro-active and socially
positive, to be democratic and to protect
people from predatory interests* .
A second explicit
motivation was to bring forward
the land required for houses which at the time was being withheld by
landowners except at monopoly prices .
The threat posed by the Compulsory
Purchase clause of the 1947 Act was effective.
This is the background against which changes to the planning
regime should now be directed.
We contend that the situation is worse than outlined above. The destruction of an effective housing market fairly operating , and delivering supply in adequate numbers and at non-accessible
prices, is complete. This market destruction
has not to date, stimulated regulatory intervention.
The advantages to
society and to the industry of self build
Self build is non corporate and
self builders are not motivated to destroy the market, to generate
increased profits, satisfy shareholders, increase market share and by amalgamation eliminate competition. Self build has been acknowledged as the largest supplier of new houses ( OFT 2008)
yet its potential has not been
realized. Self builders accumulate no
land banks have no market power and are
not tempted to abuse it. .
Because self builders are
not motivated by future expectations of
market behaviour but want to
solve their own housing need as quickly as possible the sector is dynamic at times
of market downturns. Typically self builders build at half or two third the price at which
spec builders sell.
There is a huge potential for self build to replace the corporate
sector as s-b is the growing dynamic
force in the market. The present domination of the market in UK by giant plc’s
is judged to be a temporary phenomenon (and
one past its sell-by date)
Team self build as in St
Minver in North Cornwall
offers a method of making this
approach to solving housing needs
available to those with limited construction skills.
Community Land Trusts ensure
that self build houses remain at
accessible prices when re-sold.
Self builders typically
qualify for mortgages and so solve their own housing needs at no cost to
public funds. Facilitating Team Self
build is a dynamic way for planners to help reduce rural housing waiting lists.
The Barker Review is
Barker in 2003/4 overlooked completely the largest and most
dynamic sector of supply in UK- self-build . Barker is therefore flawed and
culpable. Self build was discovered by
the OFT Homebuilding Survey only in 2008
, as the largest supplier. (see OFT Appx R”)
bulk landbanks unlawfully inhibit self
Under the 1998 Competition
Act it is unlawful (and subject to
£million fines) to use market power against the public interest . Out of
proportion landbanks and ‘trickling out’ of supply by plc’s represent such abuses of market
power. The industry regulator, relying on the flawed Barker Review has not recognized
nor referred the unlawful landbanks for action and possible £million fines. .
But local planning officers are aware
of many instances of bulk land banks,
trickling out supply, and other use of market power ,which is unlawful, by one local developer to obtain high prices by dominating competitors and fixing selling
prices high. .
and dominant local landowner/developers unfairly dis-advantage self builders
Neither of the two major reviews of Housebuilding in UK , by Barker and by
OFT considers the detriment to the most
dynamic sector , self build, posed by the massive landbanks of the giant plc
corporations . Barker was not aware of the
existence of self build. OFT recognized self build but relied on Barker’s
flawed findings viz a viz landbanks. OFT completely failed to consider the detrimental effect of
landbanks viz a viz self builders (while agonizing whether plc’s needed landbanks representing
many year’s reserves for commercial reasons !)
Falling over backwards to pander to corporate interests is absolutely typical of government officers at local, national and
regulatory level. Individuals ( the house-needy , self builders etc ) are rarely
consulted, their concerns unheard , their viewpoint unconsidered and their potential
Plc landbank represent
in one case 33 years supply of scarce and surplus land for houses (Wilson
Bowden’s current (2002) rate of build,)
see Barker IR p 81 This harmful action is reproduced on a national
scale. It follows that all bulk land for houses is off limits to self-build –
yet self build is potentially the most dynamic sector, it currently is the biggest supplier and - “access
to land was by far the biggest barrier preventing people from self building”….OFT
Poundbury is an example of trickling out supply over a period of twentysix years!On scarce land given planning permission in Dorset West in 1994, to date only 800 out of 2,4000 housws have been buillt with compltion scheduled for 2020-30 .
The key realization
is that landbanks of plc housebuilders
are unlawful as a restraint of trade and should be broken up and made available to self builders. The justification is that there is a
manifest public need. There is no ‘other’ potential bulk building land . In condition of market destruction planning is required to adopt an actively positive role, to ensure the provision of land for housing to
self builders and facilitate self–build and
restore an effective market for houses and land for houses. .
Enclosure of all UK land with potential for building is complete
Landbanks and control of
and speculation on land explains
the ever rising price of building land, the £million windfall gains and the statement
builders are primarily rewarded for
acquiring scarce land” -
the implication being that
this is more profitable than building houses- and explains why house supply declines as need increases. Land agents of plc builders scouring
the countryside for fifty years past have ensured that the enclosure of all potential building land
in UK is complete.
Otherwise you would have to believe that Wimpey had been grossly
inefficient for sixty years.
The role of a planning regime, when open market land is
unavailable , is to actively pursue socially positive results by favouring and
facilitating self build.
Needs based allocation of land for house-building is therefore
projected as the prime planning criterion.
Planning is a socially beneficial regime or it has no
justification. It is socially irrespons-
ible for planners not to favour policies
to help disadvantaged self builders in housing need.
To be neutral is to accede to market destruction.
Plc builders’ bulk landbanks are the prime and unlawful obstruction to self builders
The right to build initiative by the Housing Minister is welcomed
The support for self build in Open Source Planning is welcomed.
The regulators , in this case Office of Fair Trading, have been
approached to confiscate potential
building land presently in huge bulk landbanks
acquired against the public
interest as an abuse of market power , the OFT to use existing powers under the 1947 Compulsory Purchase , and the 1998 Competition Acts.
The planning regime should
be prepared to adopt policies to
facilitate the utilization of
confiscated land for self occupy self builders in housing need.
There is a twenty year deficit to be made up by planning regimes’ failure to give preference
to applications by would-be self builders in order to counteract the unlawful use of market power locally exerted by giant corporate house builders, their well-housed executives and privileged
and well-housed land owners.
Minimising car use
The desirability of minimising car use suggests the need for more
public transport particularly for housing developments in rural areas. We live in a post Beeching countryside. Withdrawal of local stopping trains on feeder
lines makes car use necessary in rural areas.
This describes the present
situation. Building new houses adjacent
to isolated settlements is inhibited but
is environmentally and socially beneficial
and meets a desperate shortage
of rural housing at accessible prices. A planning policy supporting a network of highways dedicated to shuttle
buses and cyclists would bring into use
rural sites which would otherwise increase car use.
And compliment a policy of self- building in the countryside which
is currently de-populated- the towns containing some 90% of the population and
attracting net immigration in growing
For some twenty seven years since the accession of UK to EEC, agriculture
has been massively subsidized in UK. In 2009 the amount was some £3.4billion.
The justification for this is that without such massive subsidies
agriculture in UK would be unviable.
Yet applicants for planning permission for rural dwellings in connection with agriculture
however have to prepare a detailed business plan showing how they can
justify sustaining themselves entirely from agriculture while living on site . In contrast existing farmers are actively
encouraged to diversify to supplement
incomes which are said to be insufficient from agriculture.
Land barons* , meantime are subsidized at up to £417,000 pa by an
annual CAP cheques.
This is gross inequity . Bulk
landowners and existing agricultural
operators, invariably well- housed , receive privileged consideration and new
entrants with limited means and a
housing need have to surmount huge difficulties put in their way by unrealistic
The new Welsh ‘one Planet development’ guidance should be
The key realization
is that landbanks of plc housebuilders
are unlawful as a restraint of trade and should be broken up and the land made available to self builders . In condition of
market destruction the role of planning is to ensure the provision of land for
housing to self builders by actively giving preferential consideration in all
planning policies to self-builders and
teams of self builders acting in community
actively support self build as the
democratic and dynamic way forward.
How better can the planning regime be amended to make a major contribution to
solving the Failed supply of houses at
adequate prices and rents?
see Hansard December,1946
Drax estates in North Dorset received a CAP
cheque for £417,000 in 2009 ,
Self Build Network,
22, Harveys Terrace,
Dorchester DT1 1LE.
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