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Carl has nearly thirty-five years' experience in planning and development, with a particular focus on retail and mixed use regeneration projects. Carl also promotes housing, care homes, crematoria, and significant commercial developments - including the biggest print works in the world for News Group UK. He is also the recipient of the Anthony London Law Prize.
"He's very commercially minded and comes back to us very quickly," comments an impressed client, continuing: "He tells you how it is and won't give you a lot of flowery talk." - Chambers & Partners 2017
“After all the pre-briefing and the hype, this is a profound disappointment. There was talk of this being a "game changer". It isn't. What we have is a surrender to the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) groups.
“The government appears to have bought the argument that the problem is not the planning system but developers refusing to implement planning permissions. The same was said of supermarkets for years; and then the Competition Commission investigated the claims and found they were nonsense.
“Of course there are delays implementing permissions: with councils imposing dozens of conditions on every one, it can take months or years to meet them all. Very, very few permissions actually lapse, so shortening the life of permissions will have almost no long term impact.”
“There will be two short term effects. First, some permissions will have to be implemented during this Parliament rather than the next one. That is doubtless the intention - to help the government towards its already forlorn looking target of one million homes this Parliament. They won't get there. We've been building about 35,000 homes a quarter; we needed to be building 50,000 per quarter; and the required rate is heading towards 60,000 per quarter. Nothing in this White Paper is going to change that.
“The other effect is that some councils or local objectors will see an opportunity to frustrate developments they didn't want to approve, or which are granted on appeal. Two years can be a very short time.
“Meanwhile, we must still "Keep Off The Grass". The Green Belt" remains sacrosanct. Good news if you have already got your expensive house in Surrey. Less good if you are commuting on Southern Rail from points south of there, and very possibly can't afford to buy a property because decades of under supply has pushed prices beyond most young people's price bracket.
“Whatever we hear over the next few days and weeks, what this package really tells us is that Mrs May and her ministers are more concerned with not upsetting their Home Counties middle-aged political base than with housing their children.”
“I am feeling an acute sense of déjà vu here. I worked on the (then) 'new' visitor centre proposals for English Heritage at Stonehenge back in the late 1980s. It seems like the debate hasn't changed very much in nearly thirty years.
“The bottom line is very simple - Stonehenge is a unique ancient monument and there is simply nothing like it anywhere else in the world. However, The A303 is a major trunk road, serving the west of England, and passes only metres away from Stonehenge and right through the Word Heritage site.
“In an ideal world, the more extreme elements of the heritage lobby would like to close the A303 completely. That is not going to happen. In the real world, it is vital that the A303 is upgraded as delays are horrendous, especially during the Summer.
“The only possible compromise is a tunnel but this solution has been put off for decades because of the cost. We now have a proposal for a 1.8 mile tunnel.
“Since the case for doing something with the A303 is unanswerable, inevitably the heritage groups are asking for a longer (and probably unaffordable) tunnel. Ultimately the tunnel is required to improve productivity, help unlock regional growth and positively change people’s journey times and the current unsustainable level of congestion.
“This is one of those debates that will not go away, and no-one will be happy until after a tunnel is completed, at which point everyone will decide that it was a fantastic solution - whatever its length.”
"The General Permitted Development Order grants planning permission (as permitted development) for the enlargement of dwelling houses, including by building a basement. The claimant argued that that permitted development right did not extend to the engineering works involved in digging out the basement and (if necessary) supporting the neighbouring properties. Desperate or what? You can’t build a basement without digging out material and supporting what’s above it. So either the GPDO covers this, or it’s meaningless.
“Despite that, the Judge found that the council should have asked itself: “were these engineering operations sufficiently serious to constitute a separate operation beyond the permitted creation of the space?”. If councils are to have to do that, (i) the answer will always be “yes”, and (ii) therefore members will always be able to say “no” to any basement extensions – and the Judge will have removed a PD right that people have enjoyed for decades.
“This decision has “Appeal” written all over it.
"We urgently need an appeal, because this judgement makes nonsense - not just of the basement PD, but also of several others. If you have to look at the engineering operations for basements as to whether they are a separate operation beyond creating the basement space, then why not above ground extensions also?
“There are PD rights for works to roofs. Do these not cover the “separate engineering operation” of building a scaffold around the building to access the roof, or over the building to make the works rain proof while they take place? There are PD rights to extend homes. Do these not cover the “separate engineering operation” of digging out a hole for their foundations? I don’t know; and neither does anyone else if this judgement stands."
"Once again we see a Chancellor targeting the wrong end of the housing market, and promising to spend a lot of money to little purpose.
The government set a target of building 1 million new homes over the five years of this Parliament. A present rate of construction, they will be at least 300,000 homes short of the target.
Even if this cash injection delivered an extra 140,000 homes, it would not bridge the shortfall from the target the government is already missing.
More likely, measures such as cash for homes etc. will simply further bid up the price of the existing inadequate supply, so much of Mr Hammond's funding will simply transfer money from the taxpayer to the house builders, with little additional housing to show for it.
Disappointingly, there was no mention at all of retirement housing. Mr Hammond could have had a far greater effect on supply of housing if he had incentivised the construction of retirement living and care homes. If just half of the elderly people who say they want to downsize their property were to do so, that would release 3,500,000 homes onto the market. That is something like five Parliaments' supply at current rates of construction.
The land take for such a construction program will be far less than needed for a comparable supply of ordinary housing and much of it could be on brownfield site instead of on the Greenfields that NIMBYs hold so dear."
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