Developers East Sussex minutes: 7 June 2022

Meeting details

Date: Tuesday 7 June 2022

Time: 2pm

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.


1. Welcome and introductions

  1. JB welcomed the group.

2. Review of previous minutes, 26 April 2022

  1. JB highlighted action 6.3 – Borough and District Authority colleagues were asked to advise NF if they have been contacted by Natural England on the phosphates/nitrates issue – none have contacted NF.
  2. The minutes were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

3. Public Health in Construction

  1. LOC delivered a presentation (to be circulated separately) on Health Impact Assessments in Planning.
  2. Question: SR – Wealden DC does not have an up-to-date plan or 5-year land supply; do you have experience of similar situations where housing is pressing, and should we be setting HIAs aside?
  3. Answer: LOC – HIAs can be used as a tool to show the benefits of the scheme or if there is a tipping of the balance into presumption of sustainable development. It is difficult to require HIAs to be undertaken if it is not in the current planning policy and so not required for validation, but it is recommended that Planners encourage developers to do them as they are to everyone’s benefit.

4. Utilities: UK Power Networks

  1. NM delivered a presentation (to be circulated separately) from UK Power Networks on planning for a net zero future.
  2. UK Power Networks (UKPN) is a regulated business usually run on 5-year cycles but the last one was 8 years. UKPN has just submitted a business plan to Ofgem, which will go out to consultation on the investment CapEx for maintaining the network. The new term will start on 1 April 2023.
  3. The plan is heavily influenced by the uptake of low carbon technology. UKPN is working towards a smart and flexible system, forecasting a mix of low carbon technologies usage. For example, there is a range of estimates of how many heat pumps and electric vehicles there will be, so flexibility is key, plus the appetite for businesses and consumers to get more involved, such as when they are using the power (e.g. charging the car at night). Shifting when consumers use power has a big impact on the network.
  4. A budget of £4.6bn is needed to keep electricity flowing with the projected increased demand, predicting 327,840 electric vehicles in East Sussex by 2050. Modelling is updated every six months to help work out the infrastructure required. This is already happening with electric vehicles, and the increased notifications of householders updating their fuses to charge cars means the forecast demand is now higher than anticipated. All forecasts are available on the UKPN website, updated twice a year. UKPN would also welcome all feedback.
  5. Policy changes mean that future home standards are going to change and drive behaviour. Ofgem is changing accessing charges: currently developers pay for cables and reinforcement of the grid, but from April 2023 reinforcement funding will be through bills and not housebuilders. This is a big change.
  6. UKPN has let tenders to support smoothing out of network usage by increasing flexibility, e.g. batteries. Contracts will go to aggregators and EV chargers.
  7. UKPN expects to grow 40% in the next 5 years, recruiting c500 staff to build the new infrastructure and setting up a Digital Skills Academy to develop the right skills. More information is on the UKPN website.
  8. The group discussed the UKPN presentation and raised the following questions:
  • Question: BH – ‘futurology’; as the range of EV is increasing and rapid charging is getting better, there will be less need for petrol retailers. Demand is high, but while many charge at home I can see this becoming less popular. Developers are being asked to provide domestic chargers.
  • Answer: NM – UKPN has forecast 46% of customers will continue to charge at home, particularly with night-time tariffs. 25% on street, 22% at work, but post-covid less workplace charging. Lots of forecasts are changing, but around 40-50% is right. 3-kilowatt streetlamp chargers are not quick enough, and rapid chargers are already over utilised with queues at chargers. EV charging retailers get more profit than petrol stations but it takes a lot of power. There are 120 planning authorities in this area and UKPN is working with them to get chargers on estates but there is no overall policy (local or national) to determine whether there are enough or too many chargers. For example, as a neutral network they cannot tell applicants that there is another charger going in nearby.
  • Question: NF – good to hear that reinforcement costs coming down as these can hit SME builders hard and make some schemes unviable. How is it going to be reduced down? Also, National Grid does not have enough capacity. Super generators are being proposed.
  • Answer: NM – from 1 April 2023 there will be NO reinforcement fees. Grid level constraints are mainly generational level.
  • Question: NF – the biggest issue for developers is transparency. What will it cost up-front?
  • Answer: NM – we can give price estimates at surgeries to within 10% of cost. Contact details for surgeries is AskTheExpert@ukpowernetworks.co.uk.
  • Question: IS – affordability of bills to residents. Will this investment increase bills a lot?
  • Answer: NM – Ofgem is asking for bills to come down by putting in efficiency drivers to bring the price down over 5 years.
  • Question: MS – do we need specific meters for off peak use tariff?
  • Answer: NM – needs to be a smart meter so can do half-hourly readings.
  • Question: BH – you can’t get smart meters on 3-phase domestic?
  • Answer: NM – correct, no you can’t.

5. Market conditions / open forum

  1. EP – labour and materials continue to be a problem. Scarcity of a range of materials. Labour shortage has stabilised. Costs continue to increase.
  2. BH – continued delays in planning. Advocating support for planners and increased planning fees to be used by local authorities. Applications taking a long time, as well as pre-apps and even registrations.
  3. NF – planners need to allow for changes of materials, for example currently it is difficult getting burnt Siberian wall panelling so it needs to be substituted with a different material.

6. DLUHC / Homes England engagement

  1. RTr – SELEP recently brought senior planners together, and there are monthly meetings to bring private sector voices to Government. RTr is always happy to hear what developers’ issues are, and can be contacted directly via housingintel@levellingup.gov.uk.

7. Local Planning Authority (LPA) updates

  1. LP – Lewes DC is slowing down its Local Plan production due to the White Paper, while Eastbourne BC wants to conclude theirs. First round of open plan expected May 2023.
  2. SR – Wealden DC is still having difficulty recruiting, and are back out to advert with more vacancies. There is also a backlog on validations and they have a triage system in place, particularly on large housing schemes and commercial. Please contact SR directly if you have large schemes that are not validated.

8. AOB (any other business)

  1. KB – the first results from the 2021 Census will be released on 28 June 2022, including population and household estimates for England and for Wales at local authority level by sex and age. More details on the ONS website.
  2. JB – the Leaders Dinner is taking place tomorrow, 8 June 2022. The next DES meeting is on 19 July 2022. Meetings will continue to be held virtually for the time being.

Summary of actions

None.


Attendees and apologies

Attendees

  • BB, Beverley Bayliss, East Sussex CC
  • BH, Brian Horton, SELEP
  • BP, Brett Pearson, Locate East Sussex
  • CBe, Chris Bending, Wealden DC
  • CBr, Chris Broome, Sea Change Sussex
  • CD, Christine Dadswell, Batcheller Monkhouse
  • DMa, David Martin, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
  • DMe, Dan Merriman, Bellway Homes
  • EP, Erica Peck, Rydon Homes
  • ES, Edward Sheath, East Sussex CC
  • IS, Ian Scott, Town & Country Housing Group
  • JB, Jonathan Buckwell, (Chair) DHA Planning
  • JC, Janan Clatworthy, Countryside Partnerships
  • JH, Josh Hemmings, Homes England
  • JM, Joshua Mellor, Stantec (formerly Barton Willmore)
  • KB, Kim Bloxham, East Sussex CC
  • LME, Lourdes Madigasekera-Elliott, East Sussex CC
  • LOC, Lorna O'Carroll, Iceni Projects
  • LP, Leigh Palmer, Eastbourne BC / Lewes DC
  • LS, Lisa Shead, Sussex Weald Homes
  • MB, Mark Bewsey, DHA Planning
  • MS, Mark Sloper, Town & Country Housing Group
  • NF, Nick Fenton, Nick Fenton Associates
  • NM, Neil Madgwick, UK Power Networks
  • NSB, Nichola Simpson-Brown, Countryside Partnerships
  • PM, Patrick MacMahon, Berkeley Homes
  • RM, Ravail Marwaha, Taylor Wimpey
  • RTa, Rebecca Taylor, Dandara
  • RTr, Ryan Trodden, DLUHC
  • SC, Simon Collins, Jones Homes
  • SR, Stacey Robins, Wealden DC
  • VG, Vera Gajic, East Sussex CC

Apologies

  • AP, Andrew Palmer, Hastings BC / ES Housing/Planning Groups
  • CM, Chris Moore, Bellway Homes
  • DE, Dave Evans, East Sussex CC
  • KC, Kirsty Castle, Batcheller Monkhouse
  • PC, Peter Coldbreath, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
  • TH, Tom Hichisson, Clarion Housing Group