This week’s updates are:

1. Budget Statement promises permitted development reform
2. Housing standards shake-up confirmed
3. Use Classes Order – Thanks to Ike Gray for this.
4. Personal Alcohol Licences: Enabling Targeted, Local Alternatives - Government response to the consultation
5. HCA Newsletter
6. Crime and policing news update: March 2014
7. Planning performance and planning contributions – closes 4th May 2014
8. Screening people and their belongings – From CPNI
9. TS007 Featured on BBC Watchdog Test House
10. House building still on the up despite February fall, reports NHBC
11. Neighbourhood plans concentrated in southern England
12. Funding agreed to kick-start major Welsh housing schemes
13. Council house building review – call for evidence

Visit the 'Secured By Design' web site for CPDA contact details, design guides, licence holders & application forms: www.securedbydesign.com

1. Budget Statement promises permitted development reform
The Government has confirmed plans to review the English General Permitted Development Order and introduce a three-tier regime. The new approach will use permitted development rights for small-scale changes, prior approval rights for development requiring consideration of specific issues, and planning permission for the largest scale development. As part of this exercise the Government will consult on specific change of use measures, including greater flexibilities for change to residential use, for example from warehouses and light industry structures, and allowing businesses greater flexibilities to expand facilities such as car parks and loading bays within existing boundaries, where there is little impact on local communities. The Budget statement highlighted the creation of a £500m Builders Finance Fund which will provide loans to developers to unlock 15,000 housing units currently stalled because of financial problems. There will also be a £150m fund to help kick-start the regeneration of large housing estates. The Government has also promised to publish a prospectus by Easter 2014, setting out how local authorities could develop their own, locally-led proposals for bringing forward new garden cities. The Budget also pledged £140m for flood defences, £270m for a new Mersey Gateway bridge and £100m for Greater Cambridge transport and infrastructure projects. Ministers also said the Welsh Government can use existing borrowing powers to begin investing in improvements to the M4. Access Government Budget information.

2. Housing standards shake-up confirmed
The Government has unveiled a road-map for a simplified system for setting standards in the design and construction of new homes which it wants in place by the end of this Parliament. This initiative will involve consolidating essential requirements into a national framework centred on the Building Regulations, in the process reducing substantially the number of technical standards applied to new homes. Ministers have made it clear that they believe it is not always possible or desirable to require a single national standard for all new development, and that local discretion is, in some circumstances, sensible. This will involve the introduction of new powers in the Building Act which would enable different levels of performance where these were necessary to meet certain local circumstances. These requirements would be triggered by conditions set in a Local Plan, subject to the normal plan-making process of evidencing need and testing viability. The changes will reduce 100 standards to fewer than 10; bringing down the numbers of remaining pages of guidance from 1,000 to fewer than 100. Housing standards that will be abolished include:

  • requirements for rainwater harvesting in places that don’t suffer from water shortages
  • a requirement for more than one phone line to be installed - regardless of need
  • a requirement for compost bins and secure sheds in gardens
    • The minister also confirmed that the Government would develop a national space standard to be available to councils where there was a need and where this would not stop development. This would replace the variety of different space standards which are currently required by councils. In the future energy efficiency standards will be set through national building regulations, the minister confirmed. Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release.

      3. Use Classes Order – Thanks to Ike Gray for this.

      In May 2013 and April 2014, the UK Government brought into effect changes to relax the types of development in England that can be undertaken without the need to seek planning permission. This includes greater flexibility between the planning use classes, which govern the permitted use of property. It is available to download at: http://publications.arup.com/Publications/U/Use_Classes_Order.aspx

      4. Personal Alcohol Licences: Enabling Targeted, Local Alternatives - Government response to the consultation
      The Government has listened to the views received in response to the consultation and in discussion with partners has decided not to proceed with the proposal to abolish the system of personal licences. During the consultation on deregulation and discussions with partners, a number of suggestions were made to further develop and tighten the existing system, rather than to deregulate it. A summary of those points is included in the „Analysis of the supporting evidence‟ section of this document. The Government welcomed these suggestions in the context of its consultation on proposed deregulation. Reforms to the licensing regime must be proportionate and cost effective. The Government has no immediate plans to take these forward at this time. However, it will maintain an on-going, open dialogue with its partners and ensure that any proposed changes to alcohol licensing continue to strike a balance between removing unnecessary bureaucracy for responsible businesses but maintaining important safeguards. More at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/personal-alcohol-licences-enabling-targeted-local-alternatives

      5. HCA Newsletter
      For 26th March 2014 is available at: http://email.homesandcommunities.co.uk/communique/static/2712/17799328

      6. Crime and policing news update: March 2014
      This month’s news update is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/crime-and-policing-news-update-march-2014 and contains information on the following:

      • ‘This is Abuse’ campaign
      • domestic violence disclosure scheme rolled out across England and Wales
      • royal assent of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill
      • consultation on revisions to PACE codes of practice on detention and detention-terrorism
      • 101 campaign
      • extra funding for the Independent Police Complaints Commission
      • mobile phone crime prevention advice published on police.uk
        • 7. Planning performance and planning contributions – closes 4th May 2014

          This consultation seeks views on the implementation of 2 proposals contained in the Autumn Statement 2013:

          • a new threshold for designating local planning authorities as underperforming
          • a proposed 10-unit threshold for section 106 affordable housing contributions
            • Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-performance-and-planning-contributions

              8. Screening people and their belongings – From CPNI

              Screening people and their belongings at entry points can help reduce the likelihood of explosive devices, weapons, and other hazardous or prohibited items or materials being brought into buildings or onto sites. More at: http://www.cpni.gov.uk/advice/Physical-security/Screening/Screening-people-and-their-belongings/

              9. TS007 Featured on BBC Watchdog Test House
              To read the full article and to view the BBC TV Watchdog Test House episodes go to: http://www.dhfonline.org.uk/news.aspx?NewsArticleId=70

              10. House building still on the up despite February fall, reports NHBC
              The number of new homes registered in the UK increased by 14% for the rolling quarter December to February compared to the same period last year, according to figures released today by NHBC.

              In total 29,557 new homes were registered from December 2013 to February 2014, compared to 26,004 for the corresponding period 12 months ago.

              However, the latest figures reveal that the February total of 9,484 registrations was slightly down on last February (10,538). This could be a knock on effect of the bad weather experienced at the start of the year. More at: http://www.nhbc.co.uk/NewsandComment/Name,55628,en.html

              11. Neighbourhood plans concentrated in southern England
              Research published by consultants Turley Associates has found that neighbourhood planning in England has shown regional variations with more activity concentrated in southern England and generally in more affluent areas. According to Turley, nearly a thousand applications have been made by neighbourhood organisations to draw up a plan. Of these, over 750 areas have been approved by local authorities to proceed. The consultancy said 75 neighbourhood plans have been published for consultation, but only six were formally in place (ie “made”) at the end of February 2014. More at: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/general/news/stories/2014/march14/270314/270314_3

              12. Funding agreed to kick-start major Welsh housing schemes
              Funding has been announced to kick-start the development of two major residential projects in South Wales with a combined total of 660 new homes that will create a high proportion of affordable housing, around 2,300 jobs and deliver an economic boost of around £225m. More at: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/general/news/stories/2014/march14/270314/270314_5

              13. Council house building review – call for evidence
              The independent review commissioned by the Government into how councils can play a bigger role in future housing delivery has issued its call for evidence, including a call for innovative case studies. Backed by the Treasury and DCLG, the review will look at how councils are using their current powers, including the self-financing arrangements recently granted under Housing Revenue Account reforms, and how they might develop partnership working with housing associations, businesses and private house builders to do more. More at: http://www.architecture.com/NewsAndPress/Membernews/PracticeNews/2014/March2014/27March2014/Councilhousebuildingreview%e2%80%93callforevidence.aspx

              The End