A fair settlement? An insight into the Thorpe Arch Trading Estate settlement proposal
It will be interesting to see the outcome of another major scheme that is currently at appeal, this time at Thorpe Arch Trading Estate (TATE), Wetherby. The Public Inquiry for a new village in this location was suspended this month and will reopen in November. Northern Planners initially advised the local Parish Council on its position with respect to the Planning Application. The Inquiry into the redevelopment of this former World War II Ordnance Factory site has been wide ranging looking at housing land supply, contamination, heritage, biodiversity, design, transport and viability issues. A new settlement at TATE would certainly change the geography of this part of Leeds City Council’s patch. Not everyone locally welcomes that!
Weighing it all up
As with all planning judgments, the Inspector at the TATE Inquiry will have to see if the benefits of the proposed development outweigh its disbenefits (or costs). It is interesting to see that, leading Think Tank, the Institute for Government, last month published new research into the technique of formal cost benefit analysis as applied to large infrastructure projects like HS2 and Hinckley Point. The Institute’s report, ‘How to Value Infrastructure: Improving Cost Benefit Analysis’ notes the over optimism of many cost forecasts and the tendency of public sector projects to overrun by millions of pounds. It also notes the unwillingness of project promoters to undertake post development evaluations of whether or not things turn out as rosy as predicted. Well worth a look!
National Planning Changes Consultation
Also out last month, for consultation is the Government’s proposals for how Council’s should calculate local need for different types of housing, getting Councils to cooperate properly with each other when making Local Plans, improving the use of Section 106 planning agreements and allowing better performing Councils to increase their Planning Application Fees. On planning agreements the Government’s proposal is that the National Planning Policy Framework will be amended to clarify that where policy requirements have been tested for their viability in a Local Plan, the issue should not usually need to be tested again at the planning application stage. A possible 20% increase in Planning Application Fees is being mooted for Councils that deliver the homes that their areas need. The consultation is seeking views on the detailed criteria on how this should be judged. The deadline for views on ‘Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places’ ends on 9th November.