Separate and unequal


Dear Neighbour

A few weeks ago we mentioned the Council’s plans for a Development Market Panel, comprised of “developers, those with land interests, land promoters and local property agents” to advise on the “technical aspects” of what land should be made available for development, “who would meet the requirements of the PPG”. (The PPG is the government guidance on the practical implementation of the new planning laws which came into effect in 2012.)

It seemed a bit odd that there was no mention of community involvement with this Panel – for all their faults, the PPG and the NNPF are meticulous in making it quite clear that communities should be involved in all the stages of a Local Plan Review “from the earliest stages”. So we asked the Council which part of the PPG they were taking as guidance. They referred us to the Paragraph 8 of the PPG note Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessments.

The full text of Paragraph 8 is as follows:

Paragraph: 008 Reference ID: 3-008-20140306

Who should plan makers work with?

The assessment should be undertaken and regularly reviewed working with other local planning authorities in the relevant housing market area or functional economic market area, in line with the duty to cooperate.

The following should be involved from the earliest stages of plan preparation, which includes the evidence base in relation to land availability: developers; those with land interests; land promoters; local property agents; local communities; partner organisations; Local Enterprise Partnerships; businesses and business representative organisations; parish and town councils; neighbourhood forums preparing neighbourhood plans.

So the Council’s plans do not “meet the requirements of the PPG” at all. All sorts of groups, including local community groups, are proposed to be excluded from the Development Market Panel. The Council claims that those groups not involved in the Panel will be involved in a Local Plan Forum. Well, we’ve been to one of those already. It was merely a taking shop. The various exclusions and inclusions are set out in the table above.

The Local Plan Forum and the Development Market Panel are not equivalent. One decides, the other chats about what has already been decided. This proposed arrangement therefore does not meet the requirements of the PPG, nor the underlying law on community consultation, as laid down in judgements of the Supreme Court. These were given to the Council some time ago.

Our full reply to the Council’s proposals can be seen by clicking here:

Kind regards
Keep Kempton Green