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Planning round-up 13 May

by on May 13, 2015

Developers urge enhanced planning service charging

The new government should consider following in the footsteps of Historic England and introduce a charging system for enhanced planning services, according to the British Property Federation (BPF).

Historic England has consulted on charging for a series of enhanced services which will allow developers to pay for options such as extended pre-application advice and fast-track listing within a guaranteed time frame, whilst still offering its existing advice for free.

The charges will help improve performance by delivering a better-resourced system for all, and will encourage developers to bring historic buildings back into use, while also safeguarding the future of these assets.

The BPF has suggested that a similar structure be considered by the new administration as part of the solution to tackling the lack of resources facing local planning departments.

In its response to the Historic England consultation, the BPF recommended that there should be a regular review of the free services, to ensure that those who are unable to pay do not receive a poor, reduced or slower service.

Read the BPF press release

View further details of the Historic England ‘Enhanced Advisory Services’ consultation


London round-up

  • London Mayor Boris Johnson (who is now a constituency MP in the capital) has started consulting on two sets of minor alterations to the London Plan (MALPs) on housing standards and, separately, on parking standards for outer London boroughs. Both sets of minor alterations will be considered by an independent planning inspector at a joint public examination to be held later this year in City Hall, probably in October 2015.
  • London Premiership club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) has submitted a revised planning application for a new training ground at Warren Farm in Ealing. The scheme will create a new purpose-built training centre for the club’s first team and academy, alongside a new community sports facility.
  • Owners of an illegally converted property in Ealing received more than £104,000 in fines at Harrow Crown Court plus a confiscation order after failing to comply with a planning enforcement notice issued by the west London borough.


Workington solar farm blocked

Solar Park Developments has announced it has appealed the decision by Allerdale Borough Council to refuse it application for a 14-hectare solar farm scheme at Moor House Farm near Workington in west Cumbria. Officials had recommended approval of the 14-megawatt project.

View full details of the refused application


County Durham wind farm rejected

Proposals for a £16m four-turbine wind farm on the edge of a County Durham forest have been rejected by members of the county council’s planning committee.

Green power developer Banks Renewables had originally proposed a five-turbine project at Hamsterley Forest. The scheme, at Windy Bank Farm north of Woodland village, was reduced to four turbines up to 125 metres in height.

The committee rejected the development because of “significant effects” on the character of the local landscape. Natural England had opposed the project because of its adverse impact on the Teesdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

View full details of the refused application


Mineral plan guidance

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) together with the Planning Officers’ Society has published a best practice guide on so-called Local Aggregates Assessments (LAAs). The guidance highlights what can be expected in terms of LAA style and content for all interested parties.

Ken Hobden, director of mineral planning with the MPA, said, “Over the last 2-3 years, mineral planning authorities have been producing LAAs, often to different standards and degrees of consistency with what the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires.

“This document provides mineral planning authorities (MPAs) with advice on good practice in producing LAAs and guides Aggregate Working Parties (AWPs) and the minerals industry in terms of what can be expected to be included in an LAA.”

Download the ‘Practice guidance on the production and use of local aggregate assessments’ (PDF)


Luton legal challenge over urban extension fails

Luton Borough Council has failed in a Court of Appeal challenge to a neighbouring authority’s decision to grant planning permission for an urban extension in the green belt.

Central Bedfordshire Council granted permission on 2 June 2014 to the Houghton Regis Development Consortium for the extension on 262 hectares of land on the Houghton Regis North Site 1.

Luton, which is unable to find land within its own administrative area to meet all of its housing needs, brought judicial review proceedings as it wanted to secure a higher minimum level of affordable housing.

A High Court judge ruled against the borough council, which was given leave to go to the Court of Appeal. However, the higher court has now come down against the borough council.

View full details of the original application


Airports Commission air quality consultation

The independent Airports Commission, which is considering extra runway capacity for London and south-east England, has just begun a quick-fire extra consultation on the air quality impacts of the three short-listed options: the two proposals for Heathrow and the expansion plans for Gatwick.

This exercise has a deadline of 29 May. The commission is due to make its final recommendations to the government in June.

View details of the consultation


Suffolk coastal heath safeguarded

A stretch of coastal heath land in Suffolk has been bought for £200,000 to safeguard its future. Grants were used from two different sources to buy more than 14.5 hectares acres at Dunwich, which will be managed by the National Trust.

It means the land, home to nightjars, woodlarks and warblers, will be open to walkers and visitors. Footpaths around newly re-named Mount Pleasant Heath have been widened and maps of Dunwich Heath will be updated to help visitors explore the area.

View the National Trust news article


 Sussex new town land sale snubbed

A Sussex farmer is reported to have rejected an offer of more than £275m for his land from developers seeking to build a new town.

Robert Worsley, who has run his 220-hectare farm in Twineham for the past 15 years, said he would rather protect the countryside than personally profit.

Developer Mayfield Market Towns wants to build 10,000 new homes on land between Sayers Common and Henfield.

The proposals have generated considerable local controversy and opposition from residents and the local authorities involved.


Preston bus station revamp competition

More than 90 entries have been submitted to the competition, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects, to redesign the listed Preston Bus Station. Lancashire County Council is allocating £13m to the initiative. A short-list will be announced later this summer.

Preston Bus Station was considered the largest bus station in Europe when it opened in 1969. The site, which was under-threat from demolition, was given Grade II listed status in 2013.

View details of the competition


Hall award announced

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has named one of its new awards for research excellence in memory of the late Sir Peter Hall, doyen of planning academics.

The Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement will recognise the very best work of academics which contribute significantly to a stronger policy and public understanding of planning.

View the RTPI press release


Planning shenanigans on new TV series

Channel 4 this week began a three-part series on individuals whose properties have fallen foul of the planning system. The first part of Damned Designs: Don’t Demolish My Home was transmitted at 8pm on Monday night and featured Surrey farmer Robert Fidler who famously built a mock Tudor castle and hid it behind bales of straw.

Next  Monday (18 May)  the second  part will see a Warrington pub landlord, a retired doctor in Bolton, and an eco idealist in rural Wales battling to save their dream homes from demolition.

Roger Milne

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