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Planning round-up 21 May

by on May 21, 2015

Onshore turbines targeted

Energy secretary Amber Rudd has insisted that Conservative manifesto promises to give local communities a final say over onshore wind farms and to axe their subsidy regime would be implemented by May next year.
Her comments came in an interview in the Sunday Times where she highlighted these as departmental priorities.
She is quoted as saying: “I’ve already got my team working on it. That’s going to be one of the first things we’re going to do.”
The department is thought to be considering changing the planning regulations so wind farms of 50 megawatts capacity or more are no longer treated as nationally significant infrastructure projects and subject to the 2008 Planning Act regime.
These moves are not expected to affect onshore wind projects already in planning. Nearly seven gigawatts of new capacity is currently believed to be in the in the pipeline.

View the full interview on the Sunday Times website (subscription required)

View more information on Amber Rudd MP at GOV.UK

 

Inspector considers fate of ‘hobbit house’

The future of a turf-roofed roundhouse in Pembrokeshire, dubbed the “hobbit house”, has been considered by a planning inspector this week who will determine whether the scheme should enjoy retrospective planning permission as a development which meets government guidelines on sustainable development under the so-called One Planet Development policy.

Megan Williams and Charlie Hague, both 27, have now spent more than three years fighting against the demolition of their distinctive home.

 

Welsh round-up

  • The owners of a Welsh ‘holistic’ retreat established on a small-holding near Llandrindod Wells have appealed an enforcement notice requiring them to remove structures that include three shepherds’ huts, an eco classroom and a ‘tree house’ which has a kitchen, a lounge, off-grid electricity, a hot tub and shower. Powys County Council served the order on the couple who have lived at the site for nine years arguing the developments required planning permission.
  • A public inquiry has opened into an appeal by South Wales Land Developments into the non-determination by Cardiff City Council of its proposals for 1,200 new homes on land at Lisvane on the northern edge of the Welsh capital.

 

Legal round-up

  • Neighbours of the Kensington town house painted in red and white stripes to annoy opponents of plans to demolish it and replace with a new house plus a basement are mounting a legal challenge over consent for the scheme, won on appeal.
    The owner of the town house also faces action from Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, which wants the stripes removed as the planning authority claims they adversely affect the amenity of a conservation area.
  • The decision of Northern Ireland environment minister Mark H Durkan to approve a major mixed-used development on the outskirts of Newry was legally flawed, Belfast High Court was told last week.
  • The former lead councillor for planning at Guildford Borough Council has pleaded guilty to a charge of wilfully pretending to be a barrister and will be sentenced later this month. Monika Juneja of Doverfield Road, Guildford also pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to three charges of forgery and one of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.

 

London round-up

  • University proposals to demolish a row of Victorian buildings in central London have been put on hold while ministers consider whether or not to call in the scheme which has been approved by Westminster City Council.
  • Thousands of people have signed a petition to stop King’s College London replacing the buildings on the Strand with a new, bigger academic building and a link to the existing Somerset House. Save Britain’s Heritage campaigners said the new building would be “bland”.
  • Office workers in east London could soon be hanging out among the trees now Hackney Council is providing temporary office space for up to eight people in the canopy of a tree in Hoxton Square from June. The council said the booking fees would help maintain the park and other open spaces, and community groups could book the space free of charge at weekends. Between six and eight people will be able to hold meetings or work on laptops in the weather-proof structure, which will be built around the tree. The tree office has been designed by Australian-American artist Natalie Jeremijenko along with “collaborative artists” Shuster and Moseley, and architect firms Tate Harmer and Gensler.

View more information about the TREExOFFICE on the Groundwork London website

View more information on Hoxton Square

 

Essex nature reserve extension

The Environment Agency has started construction work this week on a major extension to the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve, on the Colne estuary.

The estuary has national and international designations because of its conservation importance and has recently been included in a Marine Conservation Zone designation.

Coastal habitats that make the area special include tidal mudflats, salt marshes and Essex coastal grazing marsh.

The project, which is a partnership between the Trust and the Environment Agency, will see 22 hectares of new intertidal habitat created by breaching the existing seawall – allowing the tide to enter the site. The habitat will be a mix of salt marsh, mudflat and saline lagoon, with a further 1.5 hectares of new reed bed.

View the full press release on GOV.UK

 

County council objects to major Surrey housing project

Surrey County Council has recommended that proposals to build more than 2,000 homes on Wisley Airfield near Guildford on land adjoining the A3 should be rejected because of traffic issues.

 

Go-ahead for Teesside homes

Leading planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore has helped secure outline planning permission on behalf of Leebell Developments for a scheme of up to 500 homes in Upper Warren in the Tees Valley near Hartlepool.

The development, to the north-west of the town close to the A179, includes up to 75 affordable homes. Leebell Developments is a joint venture between Persimmon Homes (North East) Ltd and Bellway Homes (North East) Ltd. The scheme has been brought forward in tandem with the council’s emerging local plan.

View the full press release on the Barton Willmore website

 

Leicester developments announced

A new development combining office space, shops and homes has been announced for the site of the former Leicester City Council offices at New Walk Centre.

Local developer Ingleby has been chosen as the preferred developer to transform the one hectare site at the junction of New Walk, Welford Road and Belvoir Street.

Initial designs for the new development include two buildings up to five storeys high, with a central tree-lined public square linked to New Walk, and an open thoroughfare connecting the development to Welford Road.

Meanwhile, in a separate but related development the city council has outlined plans to renovate and restore an area near the cathedral under an £1.6m scheme which will focus on 20 Georgian buildings. The plan is known as the Greyfriars Townscape Heritage Initiative.

View more information on the Leicester City Council website

 

Flats plan for Reading listed buildings

Three early 19th Century buildings in Reading are to be converted into private homes, under plans published by the University of Reading.

The listed properties on London Road were last used by the Witan International College 10 years ago. The university, which owns the buildings, and a private developer plan to convert them into 53 flats.

View more information on the planning details on the Reading Borough Council website

 

Corrie tram line concern

Coronation Street bosses have objected to a planned expansion of Greater Manchester’s tram network because they fear the noise could disrupt filming.

ITV have raised an official complaint about Metrolink’s plans for a new route – linking central Manchester with the Trafford Centre – which would run past the soap’s Media City set in Salford

The company said it would be happier with earlier plans which bypassed the area. The proposals will be examined during a public inquiry due in July.

 

Derby homes re-think

The Conservative group leader of a Derbyshire council, which until the recent local elections was Labour-controlled, has announced he will try to axe proposals for 400 new homes on a site at Allestree near Derby.

The site is allocated for residential development under Amber Valley District Council’s draft local plan which has yet to complete its examination. The scheme has been put forward by Catesby Estates

 

Kent AONB undergrounding

Overhead power lines have been removed from a 4.5 kilometre stretch of protected countryside in Kent.

UK Power Networks said the £482,000 scheme would improve the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Engineers have replaced electricity lines and 43 wooden poles near Canterbury with underground cables.

 

Underperforming cities report

A report recommending practical steps for regenerating underperforming cities has been published by a group of professional bodies including the Royal Town Planning Institute.

The document ‘A brighter future for our towns and cities’ is the product of a unique collaboration involving the RTPI, Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Trudi Elliott, RTPI chief executive, said: “It is essential that we do not abandon our underperforming towns and cities, and in collaboration with other professional bodies, we have outlined practical measures for boosting local economies.

“We call on the new government to encourage positive regeneration outcomes through investment in local planning, the incentivisation of cooperation between local authorities and better coordination of policies for housing, infrastructure and service delivery.”

View a copy of the full report (1.2mb PDF)

 

Coventry backs West Midlands combined authority

Coventry has moved a step closer to joining the proposal for a West Midlands combined authority. The city council voted to support the move in principle on Monday.

The councils controlling Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Dudley have already backed the plan. Solihull could also follow suit.

View the full press release on the Coventry City Council website

 

Portsmouth minister named

Mark Francois MP, the new Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government has also been confirmed as Minister for Portsmouth, a role which dovetails with his ministerial responsibilities for coastal communities in the department.

View the full press release on GOV.UK

 

Potteries statue taller than the Angel of the North

A 21-metre tall sculpture has been unveiled in North Staffordshire. The work – called Golden – is taller than the Angel of the North and stands on the former Goldendale ironworks site in the Chatterley Valley near Stoke-on-Trent. It is made of corten steel and glass prisms and has LED lights that shine at night.

View the full press release on the City of Stoke on Trent website

 

Roger Milne

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