CPA News Archive: 2022
Following last week’s ‘mini budget’, we are extremely concerned about Government’s new direction of travel. Consultations and planning/environmental regulations have been presented as burdensome, with particular reference to the proposed Investment Zones and to the speeding up of the delivery of infrastructure. We have therefore written to Simon Clarke, MP, in his role as Secretary of state, setting out our concerns and seeking a meeting to discuss things further.
You can read our letter in full by clicking 'here'.
Dr David W. Smith is an Ecologist, becoming increasingly well known as an independent ecology consultant to local authorities, developers and occasionally (if they can raise the funds) residents’ groups. David, who studied at UEA & Reading, has now risen to the position of Eastern Region Director of Ecological Planning and Research (EPR Ltd).
The Community Planning Alliance strives for an evidence-based approach to planning matters, based on solid facts. Noting the disquiet among most residents' groups around whether consultants paid by developers can ever be trusted to give truly impartial advice and evidence, we invited David to submit a guest blog. This enables us to hear the view from the other side of the Planning Inquiry table.
David has a unique view to share. We hope this blog stimulates a debate amongst our supporters in the ongoing discussion on the impartiality and reliability of work by paid specialist consultants.
See what Dr Smith had to say here: communityplanningalliance.org/cpa-blog/guest-blog-balancing-development-with-the-protection-of-sensitive-wildlife
This webinar, recorded on September 6th 2022, focused on how communities can undertake their own 'BioBlitz'. (An intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area.)
The webinar commenced with Lisa Phipps (Keep Nethercote Rural) sharing what she has learned about recording bird and wildlife sightings. Lisa covered a range of points, including the record centres, why recording is important and much more
Lisa was followed by Claire Baker and Sandra Fretwell-Smith (both from the Owlthorpe Fields Action Group), who shared their knowledge about planning and executing a community BioBlitz, including recording the data using iNaturalist and recording systems, identifying species and presenting results.
View the recording here: youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=_XnRTP3YjpA
New Air Quality targets set out by the Government, for consultation until 27th June (2022), were discussed at our webinar on June 9th 2022.
The presentations were led by Delyth Dyne, Deputy Head Air Quality and Industrial Emissions at Defra, and Tim Dexter, Campaigns Manager, Asthma and Lung UK
Delyth leads DEFRA's work on National Air Quality Strategy, PM2.5 targets and the Air Quality Management Framework for Local Authorities. She outlined the background, telling us why these targets and timescale have been proposed
Tim focussed on the health impacts of poor air quality and advocated for more ambitious policies to tackle the health effects of toxic air
The recording is now available on our Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=z5vfN6VwxrU&t=41s
On May 26th 2022, Naomi Luhde-Thompson (Rights Community Action) and Hugh Ellis (TCPA) joined the Community Planning Alliance to provide a review of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which was due to have its second reading on June 8th (2022).
Naomi and Hugh talked about what is in the Bill, what is proposed for change in the current system, how local democracy is expected to be impacted, focusing especially on your Right to be Heard, what is due to change in terms of environmental protections and outcomes and more.
You can view the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=NonNRYOgP8I
CPA's Chairman, Rosie Pearson, joined a panel on BBC Radio 4's 'Positive Thinking' today.
The government has pledged to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s to ease the country’s housing crisis and increase home ownership, but that target is not being met. According to some experts the problem is that the system isn't equipped to deal with the amount of local opposition proposed developments generate.
Architect and game designer Ekim Tan believes the key could be in game play - bringing all the stakeholders together to play games involving design, policy and budgets. Her method has been tried in cities all over the world, could it work here?
Today's panel, consisted of:
- David Rudlin - Master Planner & Principle at the URBED design and research consultancy;
- Rosie Pearson - Chairman & Co-founder of the Community Planning Alliance;
- Dr Zac Baynham-Herd - Advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team.
Hear their thoughts about this innovative idea on the BBC website, here: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0016xj2
Our Chairman, Rosie Pearson, was once again quoted in The Guardian. This time in an article about the importance of protecting our wetlands from pollution and how development can contribute to nutrient neutrality.
Learn more about this important issue here: theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/02/wetlands-protection-law-delays-new-homes-building-england
New environmental targets have been set out by Government in an important consultation, with particular focus on:
- air quality,
- resource efficiency and waste reduction.
This webinar was therefore designed to help campaigners learn more about the new Environmental Targets, and to encourage those who wish to have a say to do so before the consultation ends on 11th May.
Our speakers were:
- Richard Benwell - CEO of the Wildlife and Countryside Link
- Delyth Dyne - Deputy Head of Air Quality and Industrial Emissions at DEFRA.
Watch the recording on our Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=7kJrBo9tRP8
Our Chairman, Rosie Pearson, was today part of a Town and Country Planning Association panel discussion.
The free to attend discussion session considered what ‘levelling up’ should mean for planning, if we are to secure a system that can deliver the outcomes needed for resilient and sustainable communities and the environment.
Chaired by TCPA Chief Executive, Fiona Howie, the virtual panel consisted of:
- Hugh Ellis - Director of Policy at the TCPA;
- Catriona Riddell - Director of Catriona Riddell & Associates;
- Rosie Pearson - Co-founder & Chairman of the Community Planning Alliance;
- Iain Painting - Senior Partner at Barton Willmore.
Unfortunately, this was a live-only event, so we cannot add it to our Webinar Archive page. However, Rosie is in the process of writing a blog on the subject, so watch this space.
Today we submitted a response to the House of Lords' Land Use Inquiry, which included questions such as:
- What are the most notable challenges in relation to land use in England?
- How should competing priorities for land use be managed?
- How can Government develop a strategy to plan for any short-term or long-term changes which may occur?
You can learn more about what evidence the inquiry was seeking - such as the effects of climate change, key threats to biodiversity, and the role of the current Planning System - in the UK Parliament articles here and here.
We will publish our response in full once the Committee on Land Use in England release the inquiry results.
Our latest webinar was a joint endeavour from the Community Planning Alliance and the Solar Campaign Alliance.
Solar promoters are contacting farmers and offering them far more money than they could earn growing food. Yet the cumulative impact on the environment, biodiversity and food security is not understood. Nor are the risks of batteries being taken into account.
We were therefore delighted to hear from three expert speakers:
- Professor Michael Alder - Professor Emeritus of Rural Environment at Essex University;
- Richard Haynes BSc - Chartered Surveyor & Trustee of CPRE Essex;
- Dr Edmund Fordham, CPhys, CEng, FInstP - a physicist and engineer in the energy industries.
This webinar is available to view on our Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=_l6NaQu5cjg&t=3s
Another Leeds Beckett University Planning School webinar that we were pleased to attend and promote.
Today's subject was a critical one for all planning campaigners and included information and advice from four knowledgeable guest speakers:
- David Madden - London School of Economics;
- Peter Bill - Property Week & author of ‘Broken Homes’;
- Jackie Copley & Andrew Wood - CPRE;
- Merle Gering - FOI campaigner.
Hear what they had to say on the LBU Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=ZjOEdJnSUpU
'Garden Communities' are all the rage with developers. They allow the presentation of developments that are much, much larger than normal as something different and special. They invariably are not.
Modern Garden Communities are sprawling, car-dependent and lacking in the 'community' required by the name. Often, the promised infrastructure is not deliverable and affordable homes are few and far between. The 'garden community' label allows developers to propose huge numbers of houses in locations that are often completely unsuitable.
The sheer size of these proposals can make them seem daunting and unstoppable. They are likely to be presented to communities as a 'done deal'. However that is not the case!
In today's webinar, we heard from two successful north Essex campaigners, Richard Pavitt and Rosie Pearson, whose campaign groups saw off five enormous garden communities proposals. The largest being for 24,000 homes.
Find the recording on our Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=H6QK6jbLmLU
Campaign groups operating within the planning system will, at some stage, be very likely called to attend a Local Plan examination or an appeal hearing. In that situation, there will be only one arbiter: a planning inspector.
It can be daunting for community representatives to attend these hearings, where they will be faced with rows of planning officers, consultants and lawyers - all experts in their fields.
We were therefore delighted that the Planning Inspectorate lent us an inspector for our webinar today!
Some of the subjects she advised us on are:
- how community groups should prepare;
- how best to present our evidence - both in writing and in person;
- and what are the most important do's and don'ts.
You can hear her invaluable advice on our Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=AlOibQcCqZM
The Community Planning Alliance was pleased to promote and attend this highly informative webinar, hosted by the Leeds Beckett University Planning School.
Planning for housing supply in England is governed by a presumption in favour of sustainable development, otherwise known as the ‘tilted balance’. The tilted balance makes the proving of harm that might result from a development much more onerous. The question is, has the balance between public and property interests in planning tilted too far?
Chaired by LBU Senior Lecturer in Planning and Housing Studies, Dr Quintin Bradley, we also heard from:
- Bob Colenutt - Author of ‘The Property Lobby’;
- Constanze Bell - Planning Barrister, King’s Chambers;
- Emma Lancaster - Director, Quod Planning Consultancy.
View the recording on the LBU Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=iWE5GDwIcH8
The Community Planning Alliance was shocked by Robert Colvile's "Stuff the nimbys" article in this week's Sunday Times. Not just because the conclusions he drew from his various sources are so very different to those we hear from the 578 campaign groups on our Grassroots Map, but also because he appeared to place helping the current Government to remain in power ahead of protecting the environment and ensuring all in society can afford a safe home.
The members of our Facebook group felt very strongly that his opinions should not go unchallenged, so we have today written to the Sunday Times editor to highlight a few (fully supported) facts and figures of our own.
Read our full response here: communityplanningalliance.org/uploads/1/3/9/4/139430416/letter-sundaytimescolville-feb2022.pdf
And if you would like be a part of the conversation, do please come and join our lively Facebook group today!
To support The Climate Coalition's #ShowTheLove campaign, we have today changed all the markers on our Grassroots Map to green hearts.
The Climate Coalition's aim is, "to show decision makers that we want to see real and rapid action to tackle the climate and nature crisis - for the love of our families, our homes, our livelihoods and our planet."
Learn more here: theclimatecoalition.org/show-the-love
In 2021 the Government announced its intention to build 8 new Freeports, at a cost of £50million per year - despite their pre-2012 trials having proved unsuccessful.
MPs claim these huge expanses of distribution hubs and warehouses will be good for Big Business, as well as bringing new job opportunities to nearby communities. ... But is that really the case?
Learn more in our new guest blog: The True Cost of Freeports, from Freeport Resident Action Group
Today sees us launch the official Community Planning Alliance Manifesto, with full details of our calls for a planning system that :-
- Gives communities power to influence;
- Better protects green spaces, blue spaces, and wildlife;
- Puts the right developments in the right places.
As well as publishing the manifesto on our website and social media channels, we have also sent it to both Michael Gove, as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the new Housing Minister, Stuart Andrew. We look forward to hearing more from them on these matters soon.
Read our full Manifesto here: communityplanningalliance.org/uploads/1/3/9/4/139430416/cpa-manifesto-feb2022.pdf
Today, the Community Planning Alliance held the second of three planned events aimed at engaging communities more actively in the air pollution/air quality debate, continuing the (non-polluting) journey to take action to reduce the harmful contaminants in our air. This second session focused on increasing local measuring and monitoring of air pollution and how communities can get involved.
It was, once again, a very interesting and informative webinar, with three great guest speakers:
- Professor Stephen Peckham, who helped us to understand why we should be undertaking local monitoring of air pollution;
- Graham Turnbull, who provided a very practical demonstration, showing us how to build our own air quality monitors;
- Mike Josephs, who talked about rural air quality monitoring and the concept of the Smart Village.
Their contact details can be found in the presentation pack, which includes all the slides from the event.
You will find the recording on our Youtube channel, here: youtube.com/watch?v=jn5In4pJkPA
The Community Planning Alliance was quoted in The Guardian today, supporting the latest report by Transport for New Homes (TfNH) on the subject of car dependency.
As the Guardian states, the TfNH report found that whilst new developments on urban brownfield sites "generally lived up to sustainable transport pledges, greenfield sites were often far from shops and amenities, without public transport, cycling links or even pavements." Which is something the CPA is desperate to see changed.
Learn more (and see what we said) here: theguardian.com/society/2022/feb/07/new-greenfield-housing-forcing-people-to-use-cars-report-finds
Despite only being founded in March 2021, the CPA has already hosted 8 successful webinars - with 4 more scheduled over the next 10 weeks. Covering everything from preparing for a Local Plan examination and dealing with the press, to how to build your own air quality monitor, our webinars are packed full of hints and tips for campaigners of all types.
Now, for anybody who was unable to attend (or perhaps you did attend, but would like a recap), all our webinars can be found on our new Webinar Archive page - complete with the presentation packs where applicable.
Click here to learn more: communityplanningalliance.org/webinar-archive.html
Our Grassroots Map contains details of groups from all over the United Kingdom. So, today we have added 3 new Resource pages to our website - to help campaigners in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
View the pages by clicking on the links below, and if you know of any other resources that you think might be useful, please do send them to us and we will upload them to the relevant page.
Northern Ireland: communityplanningalliance.org/northern-ireland
Many areas of the UK are holding local elections in May. It's not too late for you to throw your hat into the ring and influence local democracy. But where do you start?
Our first webinar of 2022 is titled Throwing your hat into the ring: how to become a Councillor (and why!) and is scheduled for 7.30pm on Thursday, 27th January. With input from experienced Councillor, Joanne Beavis, and CPA Committee Member, Simon Thomas (both a campaigner and former Parish Councillor), you will learn what steps you need to take and how you can make a difference in your community.
To get your (FREE) tickets, please register here: eventbrite.co.uk/e/throwing-your-hat-into-the-ring-how-to-become-a-councillor-and-why-tickets-239924339157