Sunday, March 28, 2021

Green Homes Grant - R.I.P.

After a short, and ineffective life, the Green Homes Grant has joined many other  half-baked, central government, consultant run, initiatives in the great policy graveyard in the sky. At a stroke it also reduces government support to carbon reduction in dwellings from £2.5bn to £1.3bn, with the only bright side being that the latter (up from £1bn previously) will be administered by local authorities focussing on low income households.

One little irony here is that some of the 25 to 30 million dwellings that need improvement would not have needed it if the same central government had not scrapped the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2015.  That would have required new builds from 2016 to be close to zero carbon ('Code 0'), but some of the big housebuilders (eg Persimmon) claimed it was too difficult/expensive...  How much more expensive (to build)?  About 8% more should get you a Passivhaus, which would be close to Code 0.

Jolly glad that I'm not in Alok Sharma's shoes (President of the UN COP26), or is this a strategic move to ditch a widely criticised mess, in order that the PM can introduce another world beating path to the sunny uplands closer to the COP26 date?  (Me, cynical?!?)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Housing - It's a numbers game - Take 3

Previous blogs on housing have outlined the reasons why HDC 'has' to plan for up to 1200 dwellings pa (920 minimum plus 'duty to cooperate') over the next 16 years in its forthcoming revised Local Plan.  This should be set against the latest Office for National Statistics predictionmade pre-Covid, of just under 700 dwellings pa over that period in Horsham District!   

It's likely that a decision on the exact plan to be put forward (with a definitive list of strategic, ie large, sites) - Regulation 19 - will be taken by June.  In the meantime, we can expect to receive a flood of communications on why site A, B or C is clearly unacceptable.  This is clearly going to give Bob & myself a few problems!  

Firstly, without secretarial support, it's just too time consuming to reply to all the e-mails we are receiving - nearly 200 this week, I've just counted them...  Nevertheless, we are both reading them all, although probably not to the end if they are obviously a form letter.  So, 'sorry' if you were expecting a crafted reply.

Secondly, for some of the reasons explained above and in earlier blogs, I agree that the number required by central government is absurd.  It was always absurd, although with the postulated 'mutant algorithm' requiring 1715pa it was risible, but that doesn't make the current requirement any more acceptable.  

So what's it to be?  

a) vote against a plan than contains absurd numbers with inherent poor consequences for the wellbeing of the district, accepting the risk of opening the floodgates for developer applications as the current Horsham District Planning Framework 2015 will be well past its review date?

or:

b) attempt to reduce the plan numbers to something that can rationally be justified on current predictions, with the intention of reviewing downwards further once the full impact of the current pandemic can be assessed and sense prevails in central government?

or:

c) vote for the plan with its absurd numbers, thus upsetting a good number of residents and treating some excellent countryside to a concrete and tarmac overcoat, with the hope of an early downward review once the absurdity of the numbers in the current economic environment is reflected in government actions?

We'd love to hear your views.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Tackling Climate Change in Horsham District

The cogs are starting to turn, probably not fast enough though - of course the pandemic has not helped with the cash flow!  Nevertheless there should be the potential to find a green dividend with the correct investment.  

Related to the environmental actions is food waste minimisation - this (w/c 1 Mar 21) being Food Waste Action Week: perhaps a good lockdown project before the kids go back to school?  According to the UN, if food waste were a country it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gasses after the US and China!

I look forward to reviewing these Horsham initiatives over the coming year.

Why 20 is Plenty for Steyning (and Bramber)

By now, anyone living in the parish of Steyning, or those parts of Bramber potentially affected, will have received a paper survey asking fo...