Re-adoption Meeting

Rather unusually Bury Conservatives because it is a snap election Bury Conservatives will be holding their special meeting today. I will be seeking adoption as their Candidate for the election on June 8th. All across the Country there has been a flurry of adoption and selection meetings as constituency associations rush to secure a candidate. A candidate will also be selected to contest Bury South.

When I returned on Thursday I attended the preview evening of the Bury Art Festival which is organised in aid of Bury Hospice. It is always well worth a visit and this year is no exception. On Friday I had my last day of surgery appointments and casework in the Parliament.

 

Bury Local Plan Consultation Final Chance

The Consultation by Bury Council on the proposed local plan closes at 5pm today so what better opportunity on a Bank Holiday than to make your views known.

You can read about what is proposed and how to submit your views here:

http://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10735

The submission I have made is follows:

This submission is made in response to the ‘Notice of Intention to prepare the Bury Local Plan and invitation to make representations on what the Local Plan should contain’ issued pursuant to Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning)(England) Regulations 2012.

  1. It is clear from the said Notice and in particular the following statement:

Given that the GMSF will form an integral part of Bury’s development plan, it is important to note that the approach set out in the GMSF will need to be reflected in the Bury Local Plan. In particular, the Local Plan will incorporate and reflect the levels of growth, the strategic policy approach, strategic site allocations and any revisions to the Green Belt that may evolve through the GMSF.

 

that the scope for any local determination of planning policy will be severely constrained by the decisions taken by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and /or the Elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Consequently, I wish to place on record that I oppose the present proposed Greater Manchester Spatial Framework as set out in my submission to the consultation on that document.

  1. I believe Bury should make it clear they do not accept the premises on which the GMSF is based. The timeframe is unnecessarily long. The projected size of households is too low based on both historical records and the official projections of household size. The use of both a shorter timeframe, a more realistic projection of the size of households combined with greater housing density on existing brownfield land and future brownfields sites which can reasonably be expected to arise during the timeframe of the plan would remove the requirement for development on the existing green belt land.
  2. I believe Bury should make it clear to the GMCA that they will not approve any plan which involves the erosion of Bury’s existing protected green belt land. This position could be completely defended by the use of the official projections for population growth and household size.
  3. Subject to the above I believe that the Local Plan should require all the infrastructure to be in place before any new development is permitted. This must include roads, drainage and telecommunications (including the provision of superfast broadband). In the case of residential development it must be demonstrated that there is sufficient capacity in public services in particular GP’s and schools both primary and secondary to cope with increased demand.
  4. Given the recent problems with flooding throughout the Borough specific and additional consideration must be given to the risk of flooding not only to the proposed new properties but to the existing properties who may be adversely affected.

Coffee Morning

One bonus of having the whole of Easter Recess before Easter is that I was able to attend the monthly Committee meeting at Tottington St. John’s Cricket Club last night. The first County Championship fixtures start tomorrow and not long before the first local fixtures get under way. A sure sign winter is over and summe ris on the way. Just need to see the first swallows now!

In between more newsletter deliveries, house jobs, emails …and more emails……..I am attending a RNLI charity coffee morning today.

Easter Recess

The House of Commons has begun its Easter Recess, I specifically say the House of Commons because I think the Lords are sitting this week. So, instead of the weekly trip to London I will be catching up on the continuous stream of constituency cases, briefings,meetings and visits – not to mention catching up with a myriad of jobs at home.

Catch up news from last week  as soon as I returned from London I attended the AGM of Bury Conservatives. The usual annual meeting fare with elections of officers, reports and the concluding speech from yours truly.  I have no personal knowledge of how other parties operate but I guess all AGM’s are pretty similar. I think we should all be grateful that there are people who are willing to participate in the democratic process. Not in any way for personal gain but to campaign for what they believe in.

Greymont Road

It was a great pleasure yesterday to open the Greymount Road housing scheme for St Vincent’s Housing Association. The small development of 8 dwellings will be offered for sale on a shared ownership basis. This is where buyers can start off by buying as little as 25% of the equity and making a reduced rent payment. This is a great way of helping people onto the housing ladder.

This month also sees the launch by the government of the Lifetime Individual Savings Account for the under 40’s which will provide a flexible way for people to save and get a contribution from government (or other taxpayers if we take it as read that the government has no money of its own).

Petition Response

Readers may recall I presented to Parliament the petition about the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework which many local residents had signed.

I have now received the official government response which I have set out below. As one might expect it summarises what the present legal position and current policy is and encourages petitioners to continue to engage in the process which I have no doubt people will do.

The following is the petition and the official response:

​Declares that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework should avoid large-scale residential development on the greenbelt, which is a valuable barrier to urban sprawl and is hugely valued by local people; and further declares that brownfield land should be prioritised for residential development provided that proper infrastructure is in place.

​The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Department for Communities and Local Government to make such provisions in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

​And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr David Nuttall , Official Report, 13 December 2016; Vol. 618, c. 763 .]
[P001994]

​Observations from The Minister for Housing and Planning, (Gavin Barwell):

​Green Belts are created by local authorities, who are expected to protect them in line with policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework states that a Green Belt boundary can be altered only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process of public consultation followed by examination in public of the draft Plan.

​Local authorities, working with their communities, are responsible for determining the best location for the new homes needed in the area. The Framework recognises that, in exceptional circumstances, a local authority may find it necessary to review the extent of its Green Belt. In the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, the Government reaffirmed their commitment to Green Belt protection, but also proposed a strengthening of the test of the exceptional circumstances in which Green Belt boundaries can be adjusted. This proposal is that local authorities should amend Green Belt boundaries only when they can demonstrate that they have examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development requirements, and that any impact of removing the land from Green Belt should be offset by improvements to the environmental quality or accessibility of the remaining Green Belt land.

​When any Green Belt alteration is proposed, the revised draft Plan with the supporting evidence is submitted for examination by a planning inspector. The inspector, who exercises independent judgement in the name of the Secretary of State, will consider whether the draft Plan is sound. A Plan will be found sound only if it is properly prepared, justified, effective and consistent with policy in the Framework.

​The Framework encourages the re-use of brownfield land, if not of high environmental value. Brownfield sites differ greatly, and local authorities are best placed to assess their suitability, viability and availability. If desired locally, a local authority may consider having its own Plan policy to increase the take-up and prioritisation of brownfield sites.

​To support development of brownfield land, the Government have accelerated disposal of public sector brownfield suitable for housing, and extended permitted development to give new life to thousands of under-used buildings. We are also introducing Brownfield Registers and Permission in principle. Brownfield Registers will provide up-to-date accessible information on the brownfield sites suitable for housing in each local authority area, giving developers, communities and investors more certainty about the potential of these sites. Permission in principle will give certainty from the outset that the fundamental principles of redevelopment are acceptable. Moreover, the £3 billion Home Building Fund will provide loans for small and medium-sized building firms, custom builders and offsite construction, and help to make more land, much of it brownfield, available for new homes. An additional £1.2 billion will be available to enable starter homes to be created on brownfield land.

​I encourage the Petitioners to contribute to the preparation of Greater Manchester’s Spatial Framework for the period to 2035, and to support creation of a plan where growth can be accommodated sustainably.