Saturday, 7 November 2015

Killer Arguments Against LVT, Not (377)

Peter D Smith (in the pub yesterday) pointed out another inherent contradiction in that anti-LVT squealing by London First:

5. Where land is brought forward for development in response to the LVT, there is an inherent risk that a hastily brought forward scheme will deliver sub-standard development both in terms of mix and scale of uses and overall design quality.

6. An LVT takes no account of optimum land use planning scenarios from a strategic perspective and runs the risk of encouraging land to be brought forward in a piecemeal manner, where consolidation and master planning of a wider area would have been a more sustainable approach leading to better planning, design and placemaking outcomes.

So, under 5, lots of people will be applying for planning permission and wanting to develop at the same. Probably true. Which of course gives local councils the opportunity to look at all sites in the round and decide some vaguely coherent approach. Bearing in mind that all development in London has been pretty haphazard and piecemeal over the centuries with a complete jumble of residential, retail, office and commercial uses all within yards or even above and below each other on the same site, why any planning officer thinks he knows better is unclear.

In an ideal world, if lots of site owners in one area want to apply for planning and develop at the same time, then they together with the planners can work out a coherent approach between them, including sorting out traffic diversions etc.

Which completely negates their argument 6, which says the opposite of argument 5. So either 5 or 6 is correct but probably neither and they both cancel out anyway.

Just preceding these two arguments is this nugget:

3. An LVT system makes no allowance for a land owner’s ability to bring forward a site for development, for example, to address significant constraints such as flood risk, contamination.

Those are qualities inherent in the location so would of course be reflected in the site value and hence the LVT.

Again, a sensible council would not grant planning for a site which is at risk of flooding or which is contaminated, so no LVT would be due at all. With flood risk, it's the council's job to sort out flood defences, having done that, they can then grant planning and recover the cost from the future LVT receipts.

With contaminated sites, a sensible approach would be to give the owner fair warning, tell him he has two years to sort it out and that in two years time, the site will become liable to LVT. In the intervening two years, they can agree what the planning permission will be.


Bayard said...

"Which of course gives local councils the opportunity to look at all sites in the round and decide some vaguely coherent approach."

Indeed, the one thing that "Planning" departments in the LAs don't do and that is plan. They are entirely reactive, assessing each application as it comes in. There was a case in the town where I lived where a huge mixed development was seeking PP. All the housing should have gone where the commercial development was proposed and all the commercial development should have gone on the other side of town, where the heavy traffic wouldn't have to come through the town. I pointed this out to a planner and he said that the problem was that no-one was applying for commercial development on the other side of town.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, I don't understand the layout. Can you draw a sketch of what was applied for and what "should" have gone where, also defined what you mean by "should".

Bayard said...

How do I attach a sketch?

To try and explain it in words, the housing would have been best placed closer to the town, so that the town was within walking distance. This would mean that people had the choice of walking into town and doing their shopping there or driving to the nearest big town and shopping in a supermarket. As it was, the land that was close to the town centre was earmarked for commercial development with the housing was beyond and outside it, so the inhabitants of the proposed houses would have to get in their cars wherever they decided to shop, either putting more load on the town centre parking or shopping elsewhere.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, ah, that's better.

You are right, that is a daft sort of layout. High value uses belong nearer the middle of town. Lower value uses which require large areas and good traffic access and which might cause a bit of noise and pollution i.e. industrial, go on the outskirts.

Random said...