Currently viewing the tag: "National Trust"

Following on from Mike Clarke’s post on Spotlight on the 20th September – More Anger Over English Planning Law Changes I came across this story in last week’s press and thought I should share this here so that it can be read by other landlords…

The Government has insisted there is no “malign intent or hidden agenda” in its planning reforms in the face of a huge outcry over the proposals.

Adopting a more conciliatory tone than that shown by ministers in recent weeks towards opponents of the reforms, planning minister Greg Clark said the current public consultation over the proposals is genuine.

Ministers have previously expressed a determination to “win the battle” over the draft reforms, which slim down 1,000 pages of policy to 52 and focus on a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.

The Government says the changes to the planning system are needed to boost growth, give communities more say in their local area and protect the environment, but concerns have been raised they could lead to a return to urban sprawl and damaging construction

Mr Clark admitted that some of the draft National Planning Policy Framework may not be expressed in “the clearest way” but insisted there is no Government agenda to change the nature of planning.

At a seminar organised by the British Property Federation, Mr Clark said: “The idea that the Government and I would have any part in introducing a set of reforms that have an impact on the ability of local people to express themselves and did anything to undermine the protections to the natural and historic environments that all my life I’ve been passionate about is simply not the case.”

He said the presumption in favour of sustainable development – which opponents say has not been explicitly defined – is not intended to introduce a “loophole” through which development could be imposed on local communities.

Countryside and environmental campaigners have claimed the reforms tip the balance too far in favour of short-term economic growth instead of protecting the environment, and ministers had labelled those who criticised the planned changes as “semi-hysterical”, “left-wingers” and of “nihilistic selfishness” for opposing housing development.

Prime Minister David Cameron, however, wrote to the National Trust on Wednesday assuring them that sustainable development is about maintaining balance between economic, environmental and social concerns, sentiments echoed by Mr Clark.

The planning minister said that when “1,000 pages is cut down to a document which is 50-odd pages it is inevitably the case that not everything is expressed in the clearest way, but that doesn’t signal any malign intent or hidden agenda to subvert the process”.

Read the full Daily Express article here

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Property is still too expensive for First Time Buyers and UK banks are reluctant to lend sufficient finance to most prospective buyers. Meanwhile, rents are rising far above the rate of inflation.

The average rental price across the UK, based on available data:

Average rents are up 7% on this time last year. Average salaries have increased by 2.5% in that time.

The average London rent is now more than £1,200 a month. A 12% rise on this time last year.

Other depressing facts for tenants have also been revealed…

The average tenancy length in London has dropped from 27 months to 22 months. Landlords are using the need for new tenants as an opportunity to push up rents. So shorter tenancies are becoming another source of financial pain.

Research also confirms that it is primarily relatively young people in London who are being penalised by soaring rents, with the average age of tenants around 30 years old

This begs the question…Why is renting property becoming increasingly expensive when interest rates are still being kept down to the record low of 0.5% by the Bank of England?

The answer is simple really, landlords are asking for increased rent from tenants because they can! The current record low interest rates benefit Buy-To-Let landlords so that they don’t need to raise rents to cover mortgage costs.

The demand for rental properties is high because people are unable to get the finance to buy. There are severe restrictions on the supply of new rental properties. Developers have stopped building because either they are in financial trouble, or they cannot get planning approval for new projects.

The Con-Dem Government wants to free up the planning laws, in part to allow more homes to be built to ease the pressure, but there is a backlash from The National Trust and people who don’t want new developments in their back yard.

Read the Spotlight post here – More Anger Over English Planning Law Changes

Perhaps the campaigning groups opposed to more property development should be forced to meet those Londoners who are trying desperately to keep a roof over their heads.

UK Government in Rural Planning Shake Up

UK Conservationists Are alarmed by latest Con-Dem Government Planning Proposals

Conservationists say the threat to the countryside will grow as the economy recovers

The UK Government’s planning minister Greg Clark has rounded on campaigners who claim his proposed planning system overhaul for England seriously threatens the countryside, accusing the National Trust of misleading people and suggesting that the Campaign to Protect Rural England always objected to every change

Both campaign groups fear excessive development under a simpler, faster planning system.

A National Trust spokesman said the plans “failed to protect the everyday places that local communities love”.

The government’s Draft National Planning Policy Framework streamlines policy that currently weighs in at more than 1,000 pages down to just 52.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, (CLG), the new proposed framework aims to transform a system whose volume and complexity have made planning increasingly inaccessible to all but specialists, while encouraging opportunities for growth to boost the economy.

The CLG department insists the proposals will offer protection for the natural and historic environment.

But the framework’s presumption in favour of sustainable development – which should make it harder for councils to reject projects – worries the conservationists.

Speaking out last month, the National Trust said: “The government’s planning reforms could lead to unchecked and damaging development in the undesignated countryside on a scale not seen since the 1930s.”

And CPRE said: “The UK Government needs to listen and make further improvements or the consequences for the English countryside and the character of our towns and villages will be grave.”

In an interview with the Financial Times last Tuesday, Mr Clark hit back.

“The National Trust had on their website an aerial shot of Los Angeles in some risible idea that this was the future of Britain. If you can square a village voting for 10 new homes for its parishioners with the sprawl of Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, I fail to see it. Last year was the lowest level of housebuilding since World War II, which means the problem is getting worse and worse, causing more misery for more people for as long as this isn’t addressed. People do have an interest in the future – to not care shows a degree of nihilistic selfishness which is quite rare. It is not possible to make a change to any element of national planning policy without the CPRE objecting to it.”

In response to the interview, a National Trust spokesman said: “We believe strongly that any development must meet the needs of people, the environment as well as the economy. The government has failed to do this in its reforms. It has put short-term financial gain ahead of everything else. It has failed to protect the everyday places that local communities love. The dice are heavily loaded to favour development and local people simply won’t get enough say.”

Neil Sinden, CPRE director of policy, said “There ought to be no surprise within government at the huge public outcry over the plans. We welcomed initial indications that the government wanted a stronger role for local communities, including a limited public right of appeal against damaging development. Both coalition partners appeared committed to such reforms before the election but many people now feel betrayed.”

The Home Builders Federation, (HBF), which represents the house-building industry, accused the National Trust of scaremongering and said the debate over planning policy must focus on the wider needs of the country, not the narrow focus of a few.

Home Builders Federation Executive Chairman Stewart Baseley said “We have an acute housing crisis that has resulted in millions living in sub-standard accommodation or on waiting lists and young people unable to buy their own home. To address this we need a planning system that balances social, economic and environmental concerns.”

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