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Shortlist - Consultancy

Planning Consultancy

 Myles Smith - WINNER

Rachel Clements

(Shortlisted)

Daniel Gregg

(Shortlisted)

Martin Taylor

(Shortlisted)

 

 

Shortlisted - Rachel Clements

(Lichfields – London)

Entry title

Refused for Good Reason? (August 2018)

Abstract

In the context of the NPPF 2018’s focus on housing delivery and the plan-led system Lichfield’s chose to undertake research analysing the quality of decision making by democratically-elected councillors a topic for which there is limited evidence-based information. Whilst acknowledging the important democratic reasons for local political involvement our research evaluates how resilient such decisions are at appeal. The collection of the data took a period of weeks to assemble and scrutinise as we looked at all 309 appeals for residential proposals of over 50 dwellings decided in 2017. Our research found that 78 appeals related to applications refused against officer recommendation with 65% ultimately allowed on appeal (totalling over 6000 homes). A more detailed review of every individual decision required the handling and processing of qualitative and quantitative data by looked into reasons for refusal and timeframes for the appeal. Further research was also undertaken into local plan status five year housing land supply geography and political control. The research found that where reason(s) for refusal related to highly technical matters the percentage of allowed appeals is higher than where the reasons are more subjective. Furthermore the research found a c.10% increase in the likelihood of an appeal being allowed where no five year housing land supply was demonstrated. Our research concludes with a number of recommendations which aim to reduce the need for an appeal and in turn support the Government’s aim of ‘significantly boosting the supply of housing’.

Motivation

"The judges appreciated the importance of the research in the current debate and the critical rigour that underpinned it"

 

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Shortlisted - Daniel Gregg

(Lichfields – Newcastle)

Entry title

Town Centres: Planning for the Future. (November 2018)

Abstract

Town centres lie at the heart of our communities and are an important hub for local people but are currently facing significant challenges including internet shopping competition from other facilities and wider economic factors. Although often viewed as secondary in planning to other issues they have been at the forefront of the news over the last year or so. This has seen the Government commission its High Street Report as well as the publication of the independent Grimsey Review 2. Our project with the NEEC developed a series of recommendations to help town centres ensure their future roles. We undertook a review of national trends in town centres and the retail/leisure sectors as well as those in the north-east region in particular. It also involved research and examples of best practice focused around workshops with key stakeholders in five city/town centres (Berwick Hexham Stanley Middlesbrough and Newcastle). The broad cross-section of people invited to these round-tables and the different role and function of each town centre helped to ensure a range of perspectives. The recommendations were focused around four themes: ‘Creating a Vision’ ‚’Broadening the Offer’ ‚’Taking a Pro-Active and Holistic Approach’ and ‘Business Leading the Way’. Whilst many go beyond land use planning in a traditional sense the report identified the importance of effective collaboration between different stakeholders. It also highlighted the various tools already at the disposal of local authorities including Area Action Plans Supplementary Planning Documents Local Development Orders and the Compulsory Purchase Order procedures.

Motivation

"The judges valued this research as particularly relevant, as its findings can have an impact on planning policy and practice"

 

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Shortlisted - Myles Smith

(Lichfields – Birmingham)

Entry title

Planned up and be counted. (January 2019)

Abstract

Lichfield’s sixth annual review of Local Plan progress under the NPPF 2012 found that on the eve of NPPF 2019 coming into force only half of Local Planning authorities have put in place a Local Plan since its publication; 13% of plans have been withdrawn from examination; and 60% of plans needing reviews by 2021 face increased housing requirement figures due to the standard method. This primary research into the performance of local plans at examination provides strong evidence that chimes with the February 2019 National Audit Office review on housing delivery and the plan-led system around the performance of the plan making system. For example we found that 39% of plans were withdrawn in relation to housing numbers. Furthermore previous Lichfields research which is built on in Planned up and be counted was referenced in the same report. Lichfield’s detailed review of Inspectors’ reports and the qualitative application of planning judgements within them has set the standard for future research in this area. Additionally the impact assessment of the NPPF draws practical implications from the research in terms of whether policy changes are likely based on analysis of previous trends to speed up plan making.

Motivation

"The judges found the research eminently relevant for planning practice and research and extremely well-documented"

 

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Shortlisted - Martin Taylor

(Lichfields – London)

Entry title

Local Choices? Housing delivery through Neighbourhood Plans. (May 2018)

Abstract

Neighbourhood plans polarise opinion. As a policy commitment to engage more people with planning in their local communities the scale of neighbourhood planning activity shows it has succeeded. However as a policy to increase the delivery of more homes it has been less successful. Local Choices analyses 330 ‘made’ Neighbourhood Plans and finds that 60% of neighbourhood plans do not contain housing figures or allocations indeed many are focussed on local issues such as green spaces and infrastructure provision. Where Neighbourhood Plans do result in delivering ‘genuinely additional’ housing there is just a 3% boost to supply beyond what was planned. This amounts to a cumulative housing growth rate of just 0.8% of stock compared to the 1.1% required nationally to meet need as measured by the Government’s standard methodology. With a majority (55%) of Neighbourhood Plans coming forward ahead of Local Plans and correspondingly less than half (40%) of them making allocations or including a housing requirement. Recommendations from the report are for local planning authorities to have up-to date Local Plans with housing targets for individual areas. Additionally that LPAs work with Neighbourhood Planning Forums to set housing requirements through Local Plan strategic policies underpinned by evidence of local need. Without this Neighbourhood Plans will continue to struggle to be a positive policy tool for delivering new homes.

Motivation

"The judges recognised it as a well-documented and rigorously-led research"

 

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