GOVERNMENT PLANNING RULES MAKE IT HARDER TO REJECT APPLICATIONS SAYS ISLE OF WIGHT COUNCIL

The Isle of Wight Council has moved to explain government rules which are making it harder for Island councillors to reject planning applications for housing on non-previously developed sites.

For a while now, Whitehall has required the council to place greater weight on building homes due to the low numbers of properties that have been built in the past decade, and the lack of identified sites for development over the next five years.

As a consequence, the authority has no choice but to consider planning applications under a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.

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This is not a developers’ charter, and the council says it will continue to refuse applications where appropriate, but the starting point in national policy is that they should be permitted.

Oliver Boulter, the council’s strategic manager for planning, explained:

“Planning law strictly limits the reasons why applications can be rejected. These are called ‘material planning considerations’. Often, local people opposing applications give reasons that don’t fall into this category, and which must be dismissed according to the law.

“If the planning committee refuse an application against the advice of staff without adequate reasons for doing so, the application is likely to be granted on appeal — and should the reasons for refusal be particularly weak, then the council may be liable for costs and grant loss (re. New Homes Bonuses), which can be substantial.”

Councillor Geoff Brodie, as vice-chair of the council’s planning committee, presided over its most recent meeting. He said councillors recognised that certain planning applications would generate strong local feelings and the committee would always listen to the views of the public.

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However, he said the authority had to operate within the context of national and local planning policy and legislation and balance often competing views.

Counillor Brodie said:

“If the council does not comply with national policy and law, then it would lose an appeal and have to pay hefty costs for unreasonable behaviour.

“The number of responses or the strength of feeling to an application cannot be considered in itself to be a reason for refusal as much as many would wish it should be.

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“Local councillors are not to blame for this situation. We did not write these laws or impose these housing targets — this is government legislation which we are compelled to follow or reap the consequences. On the flip-side, we also have to recognise the pressing need for affordable homes on the Island and the limited ways we can achieve its delivery.”

In order to try to have a greater say in how planning applications are determined on the Island, the council has published a revised draft Island Planning Strategy (IPS) for public consultation.

The draft IPS is the first step in this process and includes a range of new policies. It will also help the council fight housing targets set for the Island by government.

Councillor Brodie said:

“At the moment our planning documents don’t do what we want them to do, are out of date, and they don’t always help us prevent things we do not want to see on the Island.

“The new IPS will tackle these issues and, should it be successfully approved by a government appointed inspector, it will enable the council to give greater certainty to communities up-front rather than having to rely on the outdated, current plan for major new development.”

The council must also think about how it deals with a deepening local housing crisis, with a critical shortage of affordable homes to rent or buy as demand now far exceeds supply across the Island.

More than 450 Islanders are currently classed as homeless with just under 2,400 households registered on HomeFinder, the system which the council and its partners use to allocate affordable housing.

In the past 12 months, the Island has also seen an 80% reduction in property available for rent and at the same time private rents have increased. House prices too have risen sharply, on average by just over 11%.

Councillor Brodie added:

“This acute shortage of housing, particularly social and genuinely affordable housing, has led to spiralling rents and house prices across the Island. Many young Islander families on low to middle incomes struggle to afford to rent or buy a decent home.

“A new generation of good-quality social housing would give many more people the chance of a secure home they can actually afford to live in.”

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Not a Millenial
Not a Millenial
1 month ago

In response to a FOI request in2015 the Department for Environment, Food and Planning Affairs defines sustainable development as;

‘…realise our vision of stimulating economic growth and tackling the deficit, maximising wellbeing and protecting our environment, without negatively impacting on the ability of future generations to do the same.’

Since when does allowing the destruction of a viable dairy farm (Dept. for Food above), protecting the environment by concreting over a large area of natural drainage and building houses outside the price range of most local needs qualify as sustainable?

Stop messin' about
Stop messin' about
1 month ago

“This is not a developers’ charter”

Well Mr Brodie, from what you’ve said it essentially is. And the developers know it.

You should list common objections that are routinely dismissed by your committee instead of wasting people’s time and effort, and causing unnecessary stress. Why encourage objections which carry no weight against the application?

Be honest, tell us the factors which could make a difference, as they appear so elusive.

yes way
yes way
1 month ago

Grow a set and reap the consequences. At least you would have the public on your side.

Mary
Mary
1 month ago

Rule 73 planning policy framework states large developments should have adequate infrastructure. Ryde clearly doesn’t and merely making improvements to the junctions certainly won’t remedy this,
Ryde’s housing target is 1300 odd.With West Acre now approved this takes the total nearer to 1800 plus! A families human and legal rights have been ignored, as has the health and well being of local residents.
I assume Brodies statement ahead of time tells us the Niton development is approved So why bother with a planning meeting? IWCC we do not trust you.
To Brodie and your three blue pals….July 27th 2021 will never be forgotten.

Tony
Tony
1 month ago

Brodie is trying to justify his actions. His day will come, don’t know how he can sleep at night.

dot
dot
1 month ago

so when a developer says he wants to build 650 odd houses tell his yes as long as 600 are for good-quality social housing then he can’t say you’ve refused him

Miss sensible
Miss sensible
1 month ago

Come on Bob Seely tell the Government the island has not grown it’s not got the infrastructure to support all the building work ..
No Dentists Doctors Nurses Ambulance drivers etc ….
No jobs for all the newbies let alone islanders ….
Green should remain green ..
Enough empty properties to deal with without tearing up the scenery on the IOW …..
And all new housing only sells a small percentage of affordable housing the rest are sold for a massive profit for the fat cat builders….
Excuses Excuses from the council stand up and show what you want for the islanders…..

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

So what the council are saying is that there is no point in the public following the proper procedures, responding to “consultations” or submitting objections because they aren’t even allowed to take any notice of them.

By removing any avenue for legal, peaceful objection the only option available for the large number of local objectors is direct action which is something nobody wants.

It should not be necessary to lie down in front of a digger just to get your voice heard.

Disgusted
Disgusted
1 month ago

Therefore why are we not building wholly, exclusively and solely to accommodate our housing shortage for Island residents only? House prices risen by 11%? think you might find it’s dropped!. These developments give a very small percentage for such!
Yes doesn’t money talk!!!!
Brodie, best thing you can do is shut up, and crawl back into the hole you came from.

G Eldridge
G Eldridge
1 month ago

That there is a need for Island residents, especially but not exclusively so, for young families, to be properly housed is not, I believe to be in dispute.
The current developments that have been so meekly approved by our Local Authority are not, patently, meant to service that need.
A Bad Law passed by Government must and should be challenged and until such time as that ‘challenge’ is resolved, a moratorium on current developments approved, should be locally imposed.
Time for the Council to ‘grow a pair and a back-bone’ and stand up for what is patently right for for the Island, to do otherwise, is an abject failure of local governance.

plato
plato
1 month ago

“the authority has no choice but to consider planning applications under a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.”

In my book it should be the complete opposite.

Islander born & bred
Islander born & bred
1 month ago

Hardly seems worth objecting as it always gets passed anyway no matter how many people object. (It also hardly seems worth commenting here a lot of the time as for some reason my comments nearly always get stuck on ‘awaiting approval’ until the next day.) The idea seems to be to make the Island a mere extension of the mainland and unless something drastic happens to stop it, that is what will happen. All the talk about the SSI’s and UNESCO, well all that could go if all these deployments go ahead. And that would no doubt suit the developers. Mental health suffers from all the over development but they don’t care about that.

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