DISCUSSION FORUM: COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SELECT COMMITTEE.
By Cllr Elaine Tickell, Horndean Parish Council
Earlier in the year, I made a submission as an individual to the investigation by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee into the impact of the first two years of operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). I was absolutely thrilled to receive an invitation to participate in the discussion Forum of the Committee held last Monday on the 1st September at Portcullis House at the House of Commons.
There were in the region of 60-70 delegates from around the country. The discussion was a little like speed dating. We were divided into tables of seven and an MP or representative of the committee then sat at each table with a note taker to take views on specific questions. The four questions asked were
1) An overview of the NPPF,
2) The provision of housing,
3) Local Plans and
4) The effectiveness of consultation.
Each table had 20 minutes to give an opinion and air concerns. After each 20 minute slot, the MP/ representative then moved on and we got a different person. I think that it worked very well and that MP’s were surprised and sometimes shocked to hear the reality of the impact of the NPPF on communities. I spoke to Clive Betts, the Chairman of the Select Committee, Mrs Mary Glindon MP, Kelvin McDonald a lecturer in Planning at Cambridge University and Glenn McKie, the Clerk to the Committee.
In my view, Horndean is an ideal case study into the operation of the NPPF. The Parish has a large site that not only could (if approved) deliver the 700 homes required for the period up to 2028, but also would deliver employment land, a care home for the elderly, housing for the elderly, a school, allotments, many community facilities and infrastructure. It is supported by the majority of the Parish. It is a showcase for sustainable development as required by the NPPF.
The aim of the NPPF was to provide for effective planning inter alia to deliver housing. Sustainability lies at its heart with a core principle of empowering local communities to give input into development in their areas. The three elements of economic, social and environmental should be sought jointly to achieve sustainable development. The planning and appeal decisions that are coming through are clear that the five year land supply (see next paragraph) is one matter in the planning balance.
The planning authority for Horndean Parish is East Hampshire District Council. EHDC does have an adopted Local Plan but at present does not have a Five Year Land Supply. The effect of this has been discussed in previous articles on Horndean Matters. The reality of the operation of the NPPF in Horndean is that developers have manipulated the provisions of the same to their own ends and tried to drive through planning applications on a “first come, first served” basis with applications on inappropriate sites outside settlement policy boundaries, out of character with the area, in the Countryside and in Local Gaps without the support of the Local Population. Public Consultation has been flawed and what is reported by the developers as part of their applications flies in the face of the Public Consultation carried out by EHDC and now embodied in LIPS and in separate polls. The result has been the complete antithesis of the effective planning envisaged by the NPPF.
Hopefully, the evidence given by the individuals on the 1st September will form an important part of the evidence presented to the government that will lead to changes to the NPPF to ensure an effective planning system that is balanced and not just driven by special interest groups.
The Parish Council represents the views of the residents of Horndean. Please let us represent you better – let us have your views on firstname.lastname@example.org. The more evidence supplied to us, the better the input that we can have into the planning process with a better outcome for Horndean.
A lot of work is being carried out by Parish and District Councillors and it is important that readers know that we are doing all that is possible to achieve a good planning outcome for Horndean.
Cllr Elaine Tickell. Horndean Parish Council.
Note from Guy – That Elaine as an individual made the effort to write to the select committee raising concerns, and delivered a sufficiently robust set of views to have been asked to meet with the Select Committee is a very big deal. Bloody well done and an excellent narrative to share with the community. Thank you. Guy.