Saturday, 20 March 2010

The public need info too!

Extracts from the 'Improvement Service' web site:

The Improvement Service was set up in 2005 help improve the efficiency, quality and accountability of local public services in Scotland by providing advice, consultancy and programme support to councils and their partners. Our purpose is to help councils and their partners to improve the health, quality of life and opportunities of all people in Scotland through community leadership, strong local governance and the delivery of high quality, efficient local services.

The Planning Development Programme is a government-funded initiative delivered by the Improvement Service that supports training and development for staff and elected members with planning responsibilities in the 34 Scottish planning authorities. The Programme has been running since April 2006 and will continue until March 2011, providing a range of in-house and multi-authority training events and grant support for authorities to help tackle training and development needs.

Spring workshop - Development Viability:

"The workshop is aimed at planners who wish to understand how developers view potential projects and the significance of risk and return in deciding whether to implement or not. It will also assist in understanding how planning gain fits into a developer's way of approaching schemes.

This event will explain how developers decide whether to proceed with schemes including assessing viability, methods of valuing land and variables of cost and value. What does risk mean and how significant is profit level in deciding whether to proceed? What is the impact of planning gain on viability and what other variables affect profitability? There will be a number of exercises based on real life sites and participants will become familiar with undertaking simple residual valuations as used by the development industry."

As mentioned in the previous post; shouldn't the public know more about this?

The 'Cash Cow' is dead

•How do we stimulate Sustainable Economic Growth?
•How do we finance development?
•How do we finance essential infrastructure and community facilities?
•Who is going to procure and deliver essential infrastructure?
•Who is going to procure and deliver community facilities?

These are some questions posed in a presentation by GVA Grimley after they stated that:

"Development historically contributed to the funding of new infrastructure projects, schools, affordable housing and other projects through planning gain.

The buoyant market conditions that allowed these contributions to be made have gone and are unlikely to return.

Weak market conditions coupled with the inability to obtain debt finance will severely curtail the level of new development. This will have a profound effect on the future level of planning gain contributions.

In short, the current system is broken and unless changes are made, many major development schemes within Scotland will not come forward."

(Click here to read more from this presentation which is located on the Scottish Government web site.)

The Scottish Property Federation has stated that (click here):

"A key ingredient to better decision-making in the planning service must be an enhanced understanding of development viability."

It has become extremely clear to APTSec that if the right balance of development is to be successfully delivered then Government, Local and National Politicians, landowners, developers etc need to start genuinely involving the community in the planning process. It is within the highlighted groups that a change of culture needs to occur. It is important t hat the new realities of development viability are clearly understood by the public. Having a 'generous supply of land' available is not going to solve the problem.

[GVA Grimley describe themselves as:

...a leading property consultant providing a comprehensive range of property solutions to UK and international owners, occupiers, investors, lenders and developers

click here for their web site

Development Viability

Whilst the English, Welsh and Scottish planning systems have their differences, this article from the on line planning newsletter makes fascinating reading:

"Development viability has increasingly become a planning issue in recent years. This is in no small measure due to paragraph 29 of PPS3, which urges local authorities to ensure that affordable housing policies do not make development unviable."

"...developer profit is a key consideration. In normal market conditions, this figure settled at around 15 per cent of gross development value (GDV). In the credit crunch, lenders have been more demanding, with developers needing to show profits of between 20 and 25 per cent."

"In practice, greenfield sites will deliver substantially higher uplifts even with very significant levels of affordable housing and other forms of section 106 benefits. But the precise figure at which landowners will choose to release land will be down to the individual."

For full insight I recommend reading the full item which can be found here

There is also a short item from Huw Morris

"With just 1.1 per cent of the country taken up by homes, it is little wonder that land prices have gone through the roof and affordability is a distant memory."

Click here

Thursday, 18 March 2010

APT at the Crossroads?

Has APT reached a turning point?

APT has built up a considerable body of work over the last 2 years with a strong core of support, but it has become clear that more effort still needs to be made. The future of APT may lie in further 'establishing' our existence, status and influence. Widening the membership may be key to the Council etc, recognising the weight of public opinion with respect to proposals for Inner Moray Firth (and within that the A96 Corridor). The proposals for the Area encompass so many places.

Like many, many other community groups we are overworked and underpaid' (so what's new?) If we cannot expand, we may not be able to go on. We must achieve more. I fully appreciate that people are actively involved in so many things, but a lot of people taking a little interest would raise the profile of the group and allow the work to continue. If this cannot be achieved then perhaps all the work we have done so far may be consigned to history. We will be holding our AGM in May and this may (no pun intended) be make or break for us.

APTSec would like to thank all our core supporters who responded with their views on the future of APT .

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Latest on Development Plans

A 'Report by Director of Planning and Development' - as described below - can be found on THC web pages:

"This report outlines the content of the Development Plan Scheme 2010, including

timescales for production of the Highland wide Local Development Plan and initial
preparatory stages of the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan. The report also identifies key issues raised as part of the Main Issues Report consultation on the Highland wide Local Development Plan which took place between August and November 2009.

This report was presented as agenda item 12 at today's
. Click here

Page 11 (of 36) covers the inital preparatory stages of the 'Inner Moray Firth Development Plan'.

Radical measures for housing policy?

To read more about "New approaches" to housing supply problems click here

APTSec has not as yet however managed to locate any further info about the Scottish Government consultation document on, 'how to meet the challenges facing housing over the next five years and beyond', which the article says will be published in May.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Visitor views needed

The blog gives APT a presence on the web but is APTSec communicating with enough people via the blog?

How many people should a blog like this be reaching?

I'd be grateful if visitors could give me some idea as to how often they visit and what items they have found most useful and or interesting.

Who lives...?

APTSec has spent a little time visiting our old 'homes' and places of work via 'google maps'. There are some places that you cannot go back to because they no longer exist and old photos have to fill the gap.

Attention, Attention!

Highland Council's planning blog reported on 11 March 2010

"As of today you can now view all responses to the Main Issues Report online by clicking here.

Each response has a cover sheet with a brief summary of the response and gives an idea of the topics covered in the response. These summaries are not intended to be a full summary but pull out some of the key themes emerging from the response."

If the above link fails click here

Several responses deal with requests for land to be considered for allocation in the HwLDP; several responses focus on renewable energy; transport is oft mentioned.