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Planning round-up

by on September 3, 2015

First Welsh LDO introduced

Newport City Council has become the first planning authority in Wales to introduce a development control initiative which will reduce the planning regulations for certain types of development in the city centre.

A Local Development Order (LDO) is now in force following a public consultation earlier this year and the approval of Welsh Government ministers.

It streamlines the planning system by granting blanket planning permission for a period of three years for non-contentious forms of development in a defined area covering some 21 hectares of the city centre.

A range of specified uses are allowed on the lower, ground and upper floors of buildings. In order to protect the retail and café functions of the city centre, the LDO is more restrictive and permits only certain changes of use in the ground-floor units of these areas.

Councillor John Richards, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We believe this will have considerable benefits for the city centre by increasing occupancy levels and commercial activity.

“We are working hard to support and stimulate appropriate development to help boost the city centre’s vibrancy while protecting its character and traditional architecture.”

View the Newport City Council LDO

Ellesmere Port scheme won on appeal

A development of 2,000 dwellings proposed by developer Redrow Homes in Little Sutton, Ellesmere Port has been allowed on appeal.

The site had been allocated in the emerging development plan after the application had been submitted and contained a requirement for development to be in accordance with a development brief for the site.

Although there was no such brief the application included a comprehensive master plan which could be used to control development, the inspector holding the inquiry concluded.

Cheshire and West and Chester Council, the local planning authority, dropped its main objections to the scheme a year ago just weeks before the inquiry was held.

The outline application included retail floor space, a new primary school, community facilities, a park, playing fields and other public open space including allotments.

The developer failed in its bid to be awarded costs over the refusal when it emerged the council had approved a scheme for around 1,500 new homes at the same site after its local plan was approved.

View details of the appeal and download the decision

Go-ahead for Grimsby housing

Developer Cyden Homes’ has won its appeal to build up to 160 homes at Scartho near Grimsby originally refused by North East Lincolnshire Council. It blocked the outline scheme after raising issues over highway safety and the scheme’s impact on the village’s strategic gap.

The inspector who held the public inquiry said the impact on the strategic gap would not be as great as feared and allowed the appeal on the grounds the council’s development plan was out-of-date and the planning authority could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing sites.

View details of the appeal and download the decision

Inspector says farmland homes can go-ahead

A planning inspector has allowed an appeal for up to 300 homes to be built on farmland in County Durham after dismissing the local planning authority’s concerns that doing so might prevent the development of brownfield sites in the area.

Durham County Council refused permission for the proposed scheme, earmarked for a site in Spennymoor, last year. The planning inspector who handled the subsequent appeal inquiry concluded the scheme’s limited harm did not outweigh its benefits.

View details of the appeal and download the decision

House of Commons reports on planning reform and right to buy

The House of Commons Library has published separate briefing notes on the Government’s current proposals for further planning reform and the administration’s plans to extend the Right to Buy in England.

Access the reports:

KPMG chairman bangs drum for affordable housing

Simon Collins UK chairman of financial services and accounting giant KPMG, has joined the calls for the Government to make the provision of affordable housing a priority.

Collins warned of the growing inaccessibility of property in major UK cities for a large part of the working population.

Collins said: “There is a widening gap between demand for housing and available supply. As well as specific help for our own people, I would like to use our convening power to help with a range of other things, including brownfield development, new sites, a carrot to encourage building and a stick to develop or let go of land banks.”

Inspector overrules Wigan Council over two housing appeals

Developers have won appeals for nearly 400 new homes on two sites at Standish, Greater Manchester originally refused by Wigan Council.

The council had turned down Persimmon and Morris Homes plans to build a further 250 houses next to the 250 they already have permission for on a former golf course site, and also refused Jones Homes plans to build 110 homes on land adjacent to Lurdin Lane and west of Chorley Road.

The inspector who considered the two appeals concluded they should be allowed because the planning authority could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing sites as required by the National Planning Policy Framework.

View details of the appeals and download the decisions

Worcestershire wood campaign

A campaign to buy an ancient wood in Worcestershire to preserve it as a “haven for wildlife and visitors” has been successful.

The 38.5-hectare Blackhouse Wood on the Suckley Ridge near Alfrick has been bought by the county’s Wildlife Trust. The trust called it one of the county’s most “ecologically valuable” sites.

Read the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust news article

Piano parts site approved for Northamptonshire new homes

Proposals for 292 homes on the site of a factory which once made piano parts have been approved by South Northamptonshire District Council.

The Persimmon Homes’ scheme will be built on the Pianoforte Supplies site off Ashton Road in the village of Roade. The development includes provision for a local doctors’ surgery as well as land for the local football club and further land for an existing cemetery.

New Lime Street station mooted

A new railway station could be built in Liverpool city centre as part of the £35m Lime Street regeneration project.

Proposals for the station, which would be built on the site of Archbishop Blanch School on Mount Vernon Road, will be lodged with the council “by the end of the year”, mayor Joe Anderson has insisted.

The mayor said the station would be a major hub, linking into Liverpool’s local train network and complementing the existing Lime Street station.

Meanwhile, Anderson has confirmed that ministers have decided not to call-in the redevelopment for a public inquiry as requested by campaigners angry at the proposals to demolish the 100-year old former Futurist Cinema.

View the Liverpool City Council news article

Worcestershire green lights transport projects

Worcestershire County Council has given the go-head for ambitious plans for a second train station serving the city of Worcester. The landmark development will reduce pressure on the city’s two train lines and improve journey times to London.

The station will be located just outside the city close to Junction 7 of the M5 near Norton and will link the Cotswolds and Birmingham to Bristol lines. The station – set to open in autumn 2017 – will have a single platform on the Worcester-to-London line and two platforms on the Birmingham-to-Bristol line, together with a new station building and 500 car parking spaces.

View the County Council’s press release

Government to take action on pointless road signs

The Government has announced a new taskforce and consultation as part of its drive to obliterate pointless road signs.

Former Tory MP and Minister Sir Alan Duncan will head a taskforce tackling the overuse of road signs. The administration has started consulting on a range of measures including ensuring road signs that are used far longer than needed have a ‘remove by’ date.

Read the Department for Transport news story

Chilterns HS2 tunnel extension

People living in and around South Heath, Hyde Heath and Great Missenden stand to benefit from an extension to the Chilterns tunnel proposed as part of the HS2 rail project. Under this plan the deep-bored Chilterns tunnel will be extended 2.6km to a new portal just past South Heath. These new proposals would also preserve 12 hectares of woodland.

Read the HS2 press release

Meanwhile, Slough Council is formally opposing government plans to build a depot for Heathrow Express trains at Langley in east Berkshire. The HS2 project includes provisions to move the depot from Old Oak Common in west London to an area north east of Langley.

Read the Slough Borough Council news story

Enterprise Zone statistics published

Latest figures show the country’s 24 enterprise zones have attracted more than 19,000 jobs. That’s the figure highlighted by the administration which claimed the zones have now attracted £2.2bn of private investment and more than 500 new businesses across a range of key industries including the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical and renewable energy sectors.

Ministers said the zones are proving popular with colleges seeking to set-up facilities and training opportunities to fill gaps in the local skills market.

View the press release and statistics

London round-up

  • The ‘Walkie Talkie’ in the City Of London’s Fenchurch Street has won the 2015 Carbuncle Cup organised by Building Design magazine to find the UK’s worst building.

Read the BDOnline news article

  • Westminster Council in central London has published a draft supplementary planning document (DSPD) for public consultation. The consultation, which ends on 25 September 2015, sets out guidance for the use of planning obligations. The council is currently in the process of preparing a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) draft charging schedule; the DSPD will complement this document. Once adopted, the DSPD will provide interim guidance until adoption of the city plan, the revision of which is expected to take place in 2016.

Access the consultation and view the documents

Contempt of court claim in longstanding house dispute

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has lodged a claim for contempt of court proceedings in the latest stage of its long-running battle with a farmer over a house he built hidden behind straw bales.

Warwick Castle glamping wrangle

The owners of Warwick Castle are appealing after a council rejected plans for a permanent “glamping” site in its grounds.

Merlin Entertainments Group (MEG), which runs the attraction, submitted an application last year to build 20 permanent lodges and provide space for some 41 “glamping” tents.

The district council refused the plans after claims the company was turning the attraction into a “theme park”. The planning authority had previously allowed “medieval glamorous camping” at the castle on a temporary basis.

View details of the original application

View details of the ongoing appeal

Energy round-up

  • Planning permission has been granted for part of what is believed to be England’s largest onshore wind farm. Peel Energy and United Utilities want to add a further 16 turbines at Scout Moor, on land between Rochdale and Rossendale. Rossendale Borough Council gave the go-ahead for 14 of them at a meeting this week. Councillors in Rochdale are yet to determine the fate of the remaining two turbines. Government ministers have yet to decide whether the scheme should be the subject of a public inquiry.

View details of the planning application

View details of the Development Control committee meeting

  • Plans to build eight new wind turbines near Leswalt in Wigtonshire in the far south-west of Scotland have been rejected by Dumfries and Galloway Council. Both the planning authority and Scottish Natural Heritage warned that the scheme proposed by Brookfield Renewable UK would have an adverse impact on a designated Regional Scenic Area.

View details of the planning application

  • Proposals by oil and gas company Third Energy to drill boreholes to monitor groundwater at Kirby Misperton where it wants to frack for shale gas have been approved by North Yorkshire County Council.

View details of the planning application

View details of the Planning and regulatory functions committee meeting

Scottish planning review promised

The Scottish Government has announced it will review the operation of its planning system.

This exercise will “identify the scope for further reform with a focus on delivering a quicker, more accessible and efficient planning process, in particular increasing delivery of high-quality housing developments.”

The administration said this review would “ensure that planning realises its full potential, unlocking land and sites, supporting more quality housing across all tenures and delivering the infrastructure required to support development”.

This will involve streamlining, simplifying and improving “current systems and removing unnecessary blockages in the decision-making process.”

View the Programme for Government 2015-16

Roger Milne

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