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News round-up 15 August 2013

by on August 16, 2013

Two-wheel boost

The Prime Minister announced what is claimed to be the biggest single injection of cash to boost cycling provision and make roads safer for two wheelers.

The £77m expenditure will be divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich, while the New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor will each share a slice of £17m funding for national parks.

With local contributions, the total new funding for cycling is £148m between now and 2015.

The announcement includes a commitment from the Government to cut red tape that can stifle cycle-friendly road design and to encourage changes to the way roads are built or altered. Councils will be expected to deliver infrastructure that takes cycling into account from the design stage.

Also highlighted were proposals for a feasibility study to look into creating a new national cycleway broadly following the route of the High Speed 2 rail line from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, linking communities and rail stations to work, schools and shops as well as countryside and tourist attractions along the way.

Read the Prime Minister’s Office news release.

Morpeth Bypass accepted for examination

The Planning Inspectorate has announced that the application from Northumberland County Council for the proposed Morpeth Northern Bypass scheme has been accepted, by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles for examination as a nationally significant infrastructure project.

The application is for construction of a single carriageway 3.8km long extending from Whorral Bank on the A197, to the north east of Morpeth, westward to the A1 trunk road to include a separate cycleway/footway, and a new roundabout to be created at the intersection of the bypass with the existing A192 at Lane End.

Find out more on the National Infrastructure Planning website.

Cheers as pubs are safeguarded

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis has revealed that 100 community pubs have been listed as assets of community value – a move which will help safeguard their futures.

The Community Rights to Bid measure gives communities the opportunity to nominate an asset to be included on a list of assets of community value which delays the sale should the designated local asset be put up for sale.

This gives communities time to put in a takeover bid of their own.

Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release.

BBC announces second TV series on planning

The BBC has confirmed plans for a second series of its fly-on-the wall documentary programme about the planning system.

It will return  with a new title – Not In My Back Yard – and some new planning officers grappling with  recent changes to the planning regime “not to mention over-ambitious developers, misguided home-owners and furious residents”, the broadcaster said in a statement.

One episode in the new BBC 2 series will return to some of the most memorable disputes and decisions featured in the first series, called ‘The Planners’, to discover whether the decisions have become bricks and mortar reality.

Executive producer Pam Cavannagh said: “The Planners struck a chord with the audience by showing the process of planning across the UK. Not In My Back Yard will continue to do the same as we follow more great characters in Britain’s planning offices.”

Louth urban extension proposed

A consortium of developers have submitted outline plans for a sustainable urban extension at the Lincolnshire town of Louth

Developers Gladman and AR and MA Prigeon have proposed a scheme involving up to 970 homes as well as a primary school, a local neighbourhood centre and public open space.

The site, predominately farmland, is on the south-eastern flank of the existing built-up area of the town.

Capita takes on Barnet planning

Barnet Council in north west London has signed two outsourcing contracts with public services company Capita, one of which involves a ten-year,  £154m joint venture covering the council’s development and regulatory services which includes building control, land charges, planning, trading standards and licensing.

Read the Barnet Council news release.

Minister reviews Watford allotment move

Watford allotment holders have welcomed Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ decision to review his earlier decision to allow the borough council to appropriate their plots at Farm Terrace to make way for a major redevelopment scheme.

The Secretary of State has acknowledged that he did not justify his decision according to the requisite criteria. The allotment holders were due to go to court over the issue.

Zero carbon homes consultation

House builders and developers have welcomed Government proposals, now out for consultation, to allow the industry to meet the target that all new homes from 2016 will be ‘zero carbon’ by permitting some of the requirement to be met by off-site measures.

Various forms of carbon offset measures are now under consideration. Builders could be allowed to buy carbon offsets from third parties (including councils). Other options include connecting the property to a renewable heat network or paying into a nationally managed scheme, based on the Green Investment Bank model, which would then invest in carbon abatement measures.

Supermarket rejected

Scottish Planning Minister Derek Mackay has accepted the recommendation of a Scottish reporter that an appeal by Sainsbury’s over a planning application for an edge-of-town 93,000 sq ft supermarket and petrol station in Motherwell should be dismissed.

The proposal had been rejected by North Lanarkshire Council and Sainsbury’s appealed that decision.

Northern Ireland claims first for urban stewardship guide

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Mark Durkan has launched what is claimed to be the UK’s first ever consultation on an urban stewardship and design guide. The document titled ‘Living Places’ treats urban stewardship and design as equally important.

The minister said: “This design guide is a common sense approach to planning which Northern Ireland is leading the way on. This brings together planning and design but looks beyond to see how this will work on the ground in the management and maintenance of our towns and cities.”

In a separate development, the minister gave the go-ahead for a new hotel and offices in Newry. Newry and Mourne District Council had endorsed the proposal for a 120-bed hotel, above a 22, 000 sq ft  office development, with landscaping and car parking. The scheme is due to be built on a former garage site in Downshire Road.

Read the Northern Ireland Executive news release.

Maidenhead redevelopment approved

Major redevelopment proposals by Sorbon Estates and Shanly Homes for the Chapel Arches area of Maidenhead – one of the Berkshire town’s key ‘opportunity areas’ – have been given the green light by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

The Chapel Arches scheme is designed to transform a substantial part of the town centre with more than 200 new apartments, shops, restaurants, cafés and offices, built around the York Stream which is due to be given a new lease of life under plans by the Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group.

Read the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead press release.

Brixton fire station scheme allowed on appeal

Blackrock Workspace Property Trust proposals for a mixed-use conversion scheme at the site of the former Brixton Fire Station in South London did not have to provide affordable housing, a planning inspector has concluded after allowing the project which had been refused by Lambeth Council. The plans involved three new flexible commercial units as well as nine flats.

Energy-from-waste legal challenge fails

Campaigners opposed to an energy-from-waste project in North Yorkshire have lost their High Court bid to get the planning permission overturned.

A judge ruled the county council did not act unlawfully when it gave the go-ahead for the project earmarked for a site at Allerton Park, near Knaresborough, last October.

Truro development sees off court move

A major development in Cornwall – the Truro East scheme involving a Waitrose store, nearly 100 new homes, a Cornish food hall and a waste and recycling centre – has seen off a legal challenge by Truro City Council and some traders who objected to the permission granted by Cornwall Council for the proposals earmarked for farmland owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

Conservationists go to court over Fort Augustus turbine plans

Conservation group The John Muir Trust has decided to mount a legal challenge over a decision by Highland Council to raise no objection to a 67-turbine wind farm near Fort Augustus.

SSE Renewables had proposed a wind farm with up to 83 turbines at Stronelairg, near its Glendoe hydro electric scheme.

Councillors voted not to oppose the project if certain conditions were agreed, including a reduction in size. The trust has lodged a petition in the Court of Session for a judicial review of the decision.

Gateshead demolition plan on hold

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has issued a notice temporarily halting plans to demolish 291 homes in Gateshead as part of a major regeneration scheme.

Developer Sovereign Land has submitted an outline planning application for a £200m scheme to redevelop Telford town centre. The proposals will see the existing Telford Shopping Centre expanded with a net increase of almost 400,000 sq ft of retail floor space and 250,000 sq ft of restaurants, cafés, bars and other food outlets well as a cinema, hotel and public transport improvements.

Pirate-theme scheme becalmed

A family who built pirate-style buildings and created an island at a lake formed from a former quarry on their own land have been forced to apply for retrospective planning permission by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

New chair named for English Heritage

Sir Laurie Magnus has been appointed chairman of English Heritage by Culture Secretary Maria Miller. Sir Laurie has 35 years’ commercial experience and is currently deputy chairman of the National Trust, a position that he will relinquish shortly after his chairmanship of English Heritage begins.

He takes over from Baroness Kay Andrews who has held the position since July 2009.

Read the English Heritage news release.

Roger Milne

16 August 2013

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