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Planning round-up 13 August

by on August 13, 2015

L&G invests in Leeds mixed-use development

Investment company and insurer Legal & General has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Thorpe Park Leeds, an 80 hectare mixed-use business development site in East Leeds. The company has entered into a joint venture (JV) with Scarborough Group International (Scarborough Group).

This partnership will deliver phase two of Thorpe Park Leeds which has consent for a 1.35 million square feet mixed-use scheme. Thorpe Park Leeds is set to create a further 13,000 local jobs while potentially unlocking the construction of 7,000 new homes in the East Leeds area through the construction of the first section of the East Leeds Orbital Road, a key piece of road infrastructure.

The deal represents the first project to be delivered since the start of L&G’s Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO) partnership launched at 10 Downing Street in January.

Earlier this year Scarborough Group received planning consent for the first 60,000 square feet of offices and consent for 300 new homes on the site.

View the press release


Success on appeal for major Cornish housing scheme

Developer Jackamax Ltd has won its appeal over an urban extension providing 340 new homes on land at Trenethick to the north east of Helston, Cornwall which the unitary authority had failed to determine within the statutory period.

Costs were awarded against the planning authority which told the inquiry it objected to the outline proposal on sustainability and transport grounds.

The inspector who held the inquiry concluded that the scheme would bring both economic and social benefits. His letter argued “The environmental dimension of sustainability is more finely balanced, clearly there would be the loss of what is presently open land. But the proposal would not appear as an incongruous appendage to Helston and there is no reason why it should not be successfully designed and landscaped.”

The emerging local plan process had been suspended pending further work on housing provision. The appeal site was one of three potential urban extensions under consideration.


London round-up

  • Westminster Council has announced plans to issue an Article 4 direction to remove permitted development (PD) rights for basement development works. The central London planning authority’s proposal is now open for public consultation.
  • East London Tower Hamlets Council has granted planning permission for the first residential tower at the Wood Wharf redevelopment, now known as New Phase. The 57- storey building is located on the waterfront on the south dock. The proposal contains plans for 468 new homes as well as 17,777 square metres of business space, and 2,763 square metres of retail and leisure floor space.
  • Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe has stepped up his campaign against the now amended proposals for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard development. He warned the proposals still threaten the unique character of Shoreditch and its nearby conservation areas and listed buildings, does little to address the east London borough’s housing needs and could be hugely detrimental to Tech City, leading to the loss of local tech and design jobs.


Energy project developments

  • Mining company Miller Argent’s proposals for a new 478 hectare opencast mine in the Rhymney Valley have been rejected by Caerphilly County Borough.
  • Island Gas Limited has submitted an application seeking planning permission to install monitoring boreholes on land off Springs Road, to the north-east of Misson in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire. In May a scoping request was submitted by Island Gas Limited to Nottinghamshire County Council for exploratory shale gas drilling, in relation to the same site.
  • Plans for a hydroelectric power scheme at a stately home in Derbyshire have been approved by the Peak District National Park. Two generators will be installed next to weirs on the River Derwent within the Chatsworth House estate.
  • Proposals by green developer Epsilon for a solar farm in Burton-on-the-Wolds, Leicestershire have been unveiled a week after a larger 12 megawatt project for the same location had been rejected on appeal. The company has now submitted a screening opinion to Charnwood Borough Council for a 5 gigawatt solar farm on the same piece of land.
  • Energy company Europa Oil & Gas has won a long-running battle to carry out exploratory oil drilling in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Surrey. A planning inspector has allowed the company’s appeal over refusal of planning permission by Surrey County Council for the drilling at Holmwood near Leith Hill.


Land-use statistics

New English land use change statistics for 2013/14 covering brownfield/greenfield; green belt, flood risk and density have just been published which indicate that some 60 per cent of new homes over that period were built on previously developed land.

The figures also showed that one in five of the homes built on previously undeveloped land had a previous use of residential gardens (eight per cent of total new homes).

The statistics highlighted that three per cent of new homes were in green belt and that eight per cent of land changing to residential use was in green belt. Of new homes built in green belt, 62 per cent were on previously developed land.

Average density of new residential developments was 32 homes per hectare. On previously developed land average density was 37 addresses per hectare while on non-previously developed land average density was 26 addresses per hectare. Within green belt, average density of new development was 18 addresses per hectare.

Areas with highest density were Tower Hamlets, Lancaster, Kensington and Chelsea, City of London, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Lincoln.

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Housing figures

The number of social rented homes sold under the Right to buy initiative now outstrips the number built, new analysis has suggested.

Government figures analysed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that more social housing tenants exercised their Right to Buy in 2013/14 than the number of new social rented homes built in England and Wales.

In 2013/14, there were 11,514 Right to Buy sales and 10,920 units of additional social rented homes, the Department for Communities and Local Government figures show. In 2012/13, there were 6,114 Right to Buy sales and 17,620 additional social rented homes. In addition to social rented housing, 19,740 ‘affordable rent’ homes were built in 2013/14.

The last time there were more Right to Buy sales than new social rented homes built was in 2005/06 when there were 28,519 sales and 23,630 new social homes.

The number of social homes built has decreased because government programmes now only fund affordable rent homes, which are let at up to 80% market rent.

Analysis by the ONS also shows there is a shortfall in the total number of social properties compared to the number of applicants on housing waiting lists in every English local authority apart from three.

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Starter Home funding announced

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has launched a £26m fund for house builders to demonstrate the range of high quality homes for first-time buyers that will be available as part of the administration’s Starter Home initiative.

The fund will support architects, developers, councils, housing associations and small builders to build properties that will increase the quality of design as the government gears up its pledge to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020.

It will be used to acquire brownfield sites to provide land for starter homes. Money from the sales of these sites will go back to the government.

As well the government has made available up to £10m for local authorities to prepare more brownfield land for development of starter homes.

View the press release


Hull city centre plans goes on display

A new exhibition at Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery shows what the city centre is planned to look like by the year 2020.

The city is spending £25m on the first phase of the scheme ahead of hosting the year-long UK City of Culture festival in 2017.

Parts of the city centre will be pedestrianised, with new paving and fountains installed. Under the proposals for 2017, landmarks will be illuminated with special LED lights to create what is described as “sculptures in the sky”.

Films, videos and displays in the gallery enable the public to ‘walk through’ the proposals for a new cruise terminal and the redevelopment of the Fruit Market, move into city centre streets where ambitious public realm projects that will transform public spaces and down into the Old Town where schemes will re-establish the area as an historical centre.

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Go-ahead for Brummie skyscraper

Doone Silver Architects has won permission to demolish John Madin’s NatWest tower in Birmingham and replace it with what is to become the city’s tallest building

Birmingham City Council has approved the new 26 storey (102.5m) office-block at 103 Colmore Row for Sterling Property Ventures and Rockspring Property Investment Managers.

The decision finally spells the end for Madin’s 1975 city centre block which has been empty for more than a decade.

The 102.5 metre high steel, aluminium and glazed tower will house 18,500 square metres of offices and nearly 1,500 square metres of leisure space and will feature a terrace on the 18th level.

View the press release


Liverpool Lime Street regeneration

Proposals for a £35m revamp of part Liverpool city centre have been approved by the city council. The scheme will focus on the Lime Street area and includes proposals for a new hotel, shops, restaurants and student accommodation.

However there has been concern that the Futurist Cinema building, one of the country’s oldest purpose-built cinemas, will be demolished to make way for the project.

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Redditch offices to flats conversion

A former council office block that stood empty for more than four years in Redditch is to be turned into flats. Threadneedle House, in Walter Stranz Square, has been sold by Redditch Borough Council to developers UVEE.

UVEE said it would turn the 1980s building, which includes old council offices and a former bank, into 37 flats. A post office trading from the block will be unaffected by the sale and development plans.


Crawley town centre revamp

Major improvement plans for Crawley’s Queens Square have been approved. The borough council and West Sussex County Council are investing £3m in revitalising the area, with work starting early next year and expected to be completed by autumn 2016.

Residents were asked to pick their favourite out of three possible designs for the development last year. They chose one based on curved landscaping and planters, with a large space for events and improved lighting. The bandstand will also be refurbished and moved to the Memorial Gardens.

View the press release


Legal round-up


Yorkshire studio project

A new film and television studio facility is to be developed on a former RAF base in North Yorkshire by media company Screen Yorkshire.

Proposals for the change of use of a 9,290 square metre air hangar at Church Fenton were unanimously approved by Selby District Council.

Screen Yorkshire invests in television, film, computer game and digital content projects across the region.

The airbase was established in the 1930s and is around half a mile from Church Fenton village 26 kilometres from Leeds and 17 miles from York.

View the press release


Welsh secondary planning legislation

Consultation on further Welsh secondary legislation for development management has just started. The measures involve statutory consultees, design and access statements (DAS) and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

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Somerset flooding report

Dredging on the Somerset Levels would have significantly reduced the number of houses submerged underwater in the 2013-14 floods, a report by the Environment Agency has concluded.

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Shingle beach estate for sale

A deserted shingle beach next to a nuclear power station on England’s South Coast has been put up for sale at £1.5m.

The 200 hectare Dungeness Estate, in Kent, has been described as “Britain’s only desert” by the Met Office. The headland, which juts out into the English Channel, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has 29 homes built from railway carriages on it.

The Estate, which includes the cottage where film director Derek Jarman lived, has been part of a family trust since 1964.

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Roger Milne

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