Excellent, innit?

Under the now-doomed 1947 Town and Country Planning Act,

Huzzah etc.

37 thoughts on “Excellent, innit?”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Are you sure this is a move in the right direction?

    “Local councils and those they represent are to be stripped of control over new buildings, to be replaced by central government “zoning” commissions. ”

    Centralisation doesn’t have a good track record, no matter who’s doing it and once we’ve got this new Quango and its attendant bureaucracy we can be fairly sure it will be captured by the Nimbys its supposed to be protecting us from.

  2. I don’t think this will make one jot of difference. We already have zoning, its called the Local Plan system, whereby councils have to identify the areas that new housing and industrial developments will take place within their area. That is to say local councils already have said ‘Yes you can build houses here, here and here’ The point is despite the green light having been given in principle, a detailed planning application still has to be made to the LA to ensure that all the myriad of other planning legislation will be adhered to. All the environmental law, traffic management, flood plains, drainage, provision of services, housing density and design etc etc. That is what takes the time. The amount of time money and effort that goes into making these detailed applications is immense, and takes years for the council to determine successfully. Unless all this supplementary planning regulation is abolished as well, just taking the zoning out of the hands of the LA will make no difference whatsoever. The process will continue to be bogged down in bureaucratic paperwork, just as it is now.

    There is no shortage of Local Plan land zoned for development, the bottleneck is getting the actual planning permission for that land out of the LA.

  3. Will it mean the destruction of more countryside in the South, which Jenkins thinks will happen? If so it will be catastrophic in ways that Johnson and other greedy philistines are not calibrated to recognise.

  4. My instinct is to agree with BiND. A better wheeze might be to change the incentives on the LA so as to reduce the impediments that Jim describes.

  5. All I can comment is that is currently a development of roughly 50 flats in an area which is often flooded given that a stream runs through it, in one corner of a major 4 way intersection, and probably a site of scientific interest. I imagine it will be a terrible place to live in for traffic noise. How this site meets any zoning requirements is mysterious. Was there bribery involved? It’s hard to see how else it is moving ahead.

  6. Sam Vara

    You may well be right, but consider: before 1947 planning was, to all intents and purposes, unregulated. I would contend that what those “greedy philistines” of the C19th and early C20th put up was a lot more attractive, practical, congenial and popular than what has been put up since, and is still considerably more popular with buyers.

    Maybe the developers knew they would have to sell what they built and wouldn’t be helped by an artificially constrained market.

  7. Diogenes

    “How this site meets any zoning requirements is mysterious”

    It was the unappealingness of the site that made the council – forced to do so by the government, don’t forget – choose it as its designated development site.

  8. It is worth remembering that the people who designed the tower blocks that are being dynamited because they cannot be brought up to modern minimum standards of “fit to live in” are the same people who decide whether or not to grant permission to private sector building/extension applications.
    So we should worry that their powers to forbid and/or change proposals to build houses for sale to private owners are being reduced? I think not.

  9. Recusant:

    Yes, I absolutely agree with you about the quality of the buildings. What we will get now, though, is further suburbanisation of the South. My guess is that earlier builders were not philistines, and they certainly had less ability to do damage.

  10. Sam Vara

    I think you are probably right about the continued suburbanisation of the SE, but I think that pass was sold a long time ago. It’s quite hard to pretend that the Home Counties aren’t a giant suburb already; everything within two hours of London is sucked into its orbit. The cut-off can be quite extreme, culturally (Look at the difference between Cheltenham, In, and Gloucester, Out, and yet only five miles apart).

    Given all that, suburbanisation will take place with whatever planning regime exists.

  11. Recusant,

    “You may well be right, but consider: before 1947 planning was, to all intents and purposes, unregulated. I would contend that what those “greedy philistines” of the C19th and early C20th put up was a lot more attractive, practical, congenial and popular than what has been put up since, and is still considerably more popular with buyers.

    Maybe the developers knew they would have to sell what they built and wouldn’t be helped by an artificially constrained market.”

    Also, many homes were often built by landlords to put people in. Huge investment and they wanted it paying back for decades. Most new home buyers have nothing to do with the build. They don’t know how the wiring was done, or the copper piping used. And the house is guaranteed for 10 years, by which time, you might not notice.

  12. Recusant:

    You may be right, but I desperately hope not. If we stopped importing upwards of 350k people per year it would help, of course.

    If that type of growth and that type of increasing prosperity is inexorable, will it mean the whole of the country will look like Singapore eventually?

    I might ease the pressure with a trip to Dignitas in Switzerland…

  13. I recall what it was like when Mrs G. and I began married life. The local authority was more than happy to encourage mass development over green-belt land as a matter of course. Housing estates sprung up overnight, estates that have continued to expand over the years until gaps between villages and towns were completely eroded and there was nowhere else to go. The reward for young marrieds such as myself was a foot on the ladder, a new build semi for as little as £8,500 – £12,500, depending on builder and spec. Seems a shame we can’t afford similar opportunity to the current batch of kids. I was brassic at the time: the builder provided 95pct mortgages and my bank manager loaned me the deposit. Was over Newton Abbot was recently and it’s as if history is being repeated. And they’re decent enough looking houses too.

  14. Recusant,

    “I think you are probably right about the continued suburbanisation of the SE, but I think that pass was sold a long time ago. It’s quite hard to pretend that the Home Counties aren’t a giant suburb already; everything within two hours of London is sucked into its orbit. The cut-off can be quite extreme, culturally (Look at the difference between Cheltenham, In, and Gloucester, Out, and yet only five miles apart).”

    That’s not the divide between Cheltenham and Gloucester. It’s more about the nice old Spa architecture. Particularly as the train route is Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stonehouse, Stroud etc. Cheltenham is further on the train from London.

    There isn’t even much London commuting from Swindon. People getting on in the morning are mostly going to Reading. The problem with Swindon to London is that you generally have to get across London to the city.

    And it’s going to be diminished post-Covid. Cities are about agglomeration of office skills. Good idea to put your software company in Reading because there’s lots of programmers around there. Once people figure it out remotely, do you need to live 45 minutes from Reading? If you only go in once a fortnight, why not live in Gloucester or Devizes and do a long trip and save on the rent? And at which point, what’s the value in renting an office in central Reading? Why not be in Chippenham?

  15. “The proposed reform will release building rights anywhere outside existing national parks”
    Living in a town that is an island completely surrounded by National Park, this will result in our town being built up completely to the National Park boundary, instead of something more balanced with development in the Park itself.

    I keep telling people that the concerns they raise about abolition of the T&CPA are almost all addressed by Building Regulations, but only if the supply is not artifically misbalanced.

    I can see this becoming another Brexit. Yes, we want Brexit… hey, you’re doing it all wrong!

  16. A couple of points.
    Georgian and Victorian houses were often built with a design life < 20 years. Well maintained, not bombed, they have already lasted 6 X longer than expected. Good housing built today could repeat the trick.
    Builders have a sale price target. The higher the land cost, the more corners are cut in the build or the higher the density of development. Those high rise slums they are building in Nine Elms being a case in point.

  17. BoM4

    If you only go in once a fortnight, why not live in Gloucester or Devizes and do a long trip and save on the rent?

    Too true. Have a friend who works in the City who previously got up at silly o’clock to get in 4 or 5 days a week. He is already looking at houses on the south coast or even in France and doing 1 day a week/fortnight in the office. He’s not alone.

  18. Should we be applying Chesterton’s Fence to the T&C planning act 1947? What did it really solve, and does the problem still exist or has it created new problems and solved non-existent problems.

    @Philip, Victorian’s over engineered their houses, but that doesn’t mean that they built them to last. Nor does it mean that they didn’t build badly. For instance the number of Victorian houses with no foundations are numerous – you can spot them because they are the leaning ones.

  19. @Sam Vara “will it mean the whole of the country will look like Singapore eventually?”

    Considering that the percentage of built-on land in the UK – houses, factories, shops, roads, all of it – is about 4%, you have little to fear on that score.

  20. @Theo
    Many think the UK numbers from the 2011 census (63,182,178) a substantial underestimate*. There was a significant element of people not registering, including all the illegals, of course. I’m pretty confident the true UK population is north of 70 million today.

    * Many councils, some of whose govt grant is made per capita, have loudly protested that they know there are many more people in their area than were identified in the census.

  21. More Centralisation: DoH/NHS to take over all council care homes

    What the hell is going on? Is Boris a socialist plant?

    @BiND, Jim
    +1 Agree. Centralisation is not good

    Quango will be hijacked by Leftie Quango Queens from start, then bolstered by next Labour Gov’t who will abuse by building ‘social housing’ in every nice area to punish the rich and gerrymander elections

  22. Sam Vara said:
    “will it mean the whole of the country will look like Singapore eventually?”

    Only if the population of Britain rises to 1,892 million. Even with immigration of 350,000 per year, that will take over 5,000 years.

  23. “More Centralisation: DoH/NHS to take over all council care homes”

    Sounds like a race to the bottom. Or a planned death move. Anybody seen the woman on Bitchute–a supposed nurse-talking about care homes bumping old folk off?

    This is how Adolf got started –killings in homes for physically/mentally sub par.

    Blojob was given it all on a plate lest Dec and he has frisbee’d the fucking lot right out the window–over flu.

  24. Recusant has, I feel, got to the nub of it. The market builds what people seem to want and like. The elite may not like it but the man(or woman) in the street seem to. The market gave us WGC/LGC, metroland, Stockbridge and Bath. The planned state gives us Cumbernauld, Harlow and Ronan Point

  25. Will it mean the destruction of more countryside in the South,

    The alternative is that the desires of the few are privileged over the needs of the many.

    People like cities. Despite what they say, they continue to live in them in preference to the country. And in Britons’ case, they prefer suburbs (many Europeans are different, of course) with individual houses.

    Yet Britons insist on saying that people want the countryside, and the resource planning is designed to keep up this myth.

    So give them what they want. And, in this case, need quite badly.

    People say is would be a shame to resemble Singapore. Do people keep fleeing Singapore for the wilds of the local countryside? Do tourists shun Singapore? Why do people pay large premiums to live in the centre of Singapore?

    Being Singapore is not a bad thing.

  26. “Yet Britons insist on saying that people want the countryside, and the resource planning is designed to keep up this myth.”

    What most people really want is a car park and some woodland or meadows for about 2 miles around it. Somewhere they can get to, park up and go exploring with the kids. The number of ramblers walking 20 miles across random fields are miniscule, and even if we build on one part, there’s plenty of other fields for that.

    People act like “the south” is full. It’s only so if you look out of the window where you live or travel on motorways. You get 5 miles out from Reading heading north, or Swindon going south, and it’s empty. The odd village. And that’s from the road. Go on foot and it’s empty fields everywhere.

  27. “I’m pretty confident the true UK population is north of 70 million today.”

    Did not Thames Water do some analysis on the sewage output of London that indicated that its true population was several millions higher than the official statistics said? On the basis everyone craps about the same amount per day and measuring what ends up in the sewage works can be a reasonable guide to the amount of arseholes at the other end of the pipes?

  28. Loads of very happy travellers nicking, sorry, obtaining hard-core for the oh so essential hard standing for the caravans they recently rescued from someone else’s driveway. Builders merchants and lumber yards checking their security. Water pipes and electricity cables redirected. We do live in interesting times, if you’re unlucky.

  29. Fred: And Poundbury. Not government as such, but an interfering Royal dictating in much the same way as government does. Granted, it’s nicer than Wester Hailes but abounds with restrictions on the locals. I found it a very weird place when happening to visit a few years ago.

  30. Reading the proposals that are emanating today it seems that the decisions over what land will be zoned for development will still be taken locally, rather than centrally, much play is being made of ‘democratic’ decision making processes. Which given the usual attitude of local populaces to any development proposals is NO, means that even less land will be zoned for development than now, when central government gives locals authorities a target number for houses, and the LA must then identify suitable sites for them to go on.

    I really can’t see how this proposal is a) much different to the existing one and b) going to bring forward any more land for housing than is already available. All that will happen is that there will be massive local NUMBY campaigns for the LA to designate as much land as possible as ‘Protected’ from development, effectively creating Green Belts around every town and village in the country.

  31. Phillip
    “Georgian and Victorian houses were often built with a design life &lt 20 years”
    Source for that? C19th and earlier building was leasehold with the usual term of the builders head-lease being 99 or 120 years. They were built to last that long at least

  32. Tractor Gent said:
    “Poundbury … an interfering Royal dictating in much the same way as government does … I found it a very weird place when happening to visit a few years ago.”

    True, but oddly it is actually popular – an estate agent down here told a house there will sell for 20% more than an equivalent one nearby but elsewhere. That’s not true of your typical government new town.

  33. Have lived in both a Georgian and a Victorian era terraced house. Both were built with a ‘design life’ of 80 years (according to original docs). The latter was demolished around the 80 year mark before it fell down; the former (1820) is still going strong (although I had to virtually rebuild the property in the 1990s when it too began to fall down).

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