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Planning round-up 10 September

by on September 10, 2015

Migration figures cast doubt on housing projections

Official figures showing a surge in net migration to the UK cast further doubt on the robustness of key household projections used by councils to assess their area’s housing need, Planning Magazine reported last week.

Concerns have resurfaced about the reliability of the government projections used by councils to help assess housing need, with recent official figures showing that net international migration to the UK has hit record levels.

Commentators say the new figures are evidence that the housing shortfall is worsening more quickly than expected, and some councils may need to look to increase their housing numbers locally.

Simon Coop, planning director at consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners is reported as warning
that councils who relied on the projections risked an under-provision of housing need in their area.


Neighbourhood plans in Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire make waves

Communities secretary Greg Clark has intervened over plans by developer Bellway Homes for 130 homes in Buckinghamshire, which Aylesbury Vale District Council planning officers had recommended for approval despite a conflict with the emerging neighbourhood plan.

The SoS has been asked to intervene over the permission given for the £70m “remodelling” of a shopping centre in Milton Keynes which will add some 100,000 square feet of floor space to the facility.

The planning authority has approved proposals from Intu to include new shops and a five-screen cinema in its Midsummer Place centre. But the town council says the scheme contradicts the local neighbourhood plan and wants the decision “called in” by the government.

Meanwhile Cherwell District Council in Oxfordshire has announced that the Hook Norton Neighbourhood Plan has successfully passed the referendum stage. Some 568 residents voted in favour of the strategy with 16 against the plan on a 34 per cent turn-out.

View more information on the Midsummer Place Centre

View more information on the Hook Norton Neighbourhood Plan


Developer wins appeal over Swansea retail park conditions

A planning inspector has overturned a decision by Swansea City Council to limit Hammerson’s redevelopment of its Parc Tawe shopping centre.

The developer was given permission for a £10m upgrade for the retail park last August but the council imposed 35 conditions, including the ban on approaching major retailers, which it said was needed to protect its own plans for the city centre.

But a planning inspector has overturned that ban, along with other conditions restricting the size of units which it said was unreasonable.

View more information on the Parc Tawe development on the Hammerson website


London round-up

  • Proposals have been submitted to Westminster City Council to increase the height of the grade-II listed Millbank Tower in central London and convert it from office use to residential use. The owners of the Millbank complex, Basio Holdings Ltd, want to increase the height of the existing 32-storey tower and the neighbouring nine-storey ‘Y Building’ by three floors. The tower would contain 215 new one to four bedroom flats under the proposals and the Y Building, which is also currently in office use, would be converted into a 195-bed hotel.
  • London mayor Boris Johnson has sent a 30-page dossier to MPs and peers attacking the Airport Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow Airport. He claimed building a third runway at Heathrow meant “investing in decline”.
  • Camden Council has slammed the latest proposals for a regenerated Euston station as not ambitious enough. HS2 has revealed £2bn plans to extend Euston station to accommodate platforms for high-speed services to Birmingham and the North. The plans, which will now be considered by Parliament, will see up to 11 new platforms built in a bolt-on building to the west of the existing Euston station.
  • The YMCA is putting the final touches to new affordable housing scheme in Mitcham south-west London involving single units costing £30,000 each which can be stacked and moved about where needed’


Legal round-up


Power plans

  • The owners of Eggborough Power Station have said the coal-fired plant located near Selby, north Yorkshire will stop generating power in March 2016, subject to consultations with staff and “government bodies”.
  • Nottingham City Council has launched what it says is the first local authority energy company in the UK.


Charity claims new Traveller and Gypsy policy will backfire

New planning policy affecting Traveller pitches and sites could force thousands of Gypsies and Travellers back onto the road, an influential Gypsy and Traveller campaign charity has warned.

That’s the view of London-based organisation Traveller Movement Resource. It says the new policy could prompt a massive increase in the number of unauthorised roadside camps. It argued that the new policy was unlawful and discriminatory and would be challenged in the High Court.

View the press release


Transport highlights

  • A fourth tram line in Nottingham would cost up to £168m, a study has said. Last week,trams began running on the £570m extensions to Clifton and Chilwell – eight months late. The £70,000 feasibility study looked at a route under the M1 to Giltbrook Retail Park, via Kimberley, with a possible extension into Derbyshire.
  • Ministers have formally granted planning permission for the use of Manston Airport in Kent as a lorry park as part of Operation Stack. The temporary planning will last for nine months.


Taunton redevelopment

A fresh set of plans to regenerate the derelict cattle market site in Taunton into a shopping and leisure complex have been unveiled by developer St Modwen. Part of the Firepool site, which is by the River Tone, has already been developed with flats and offices. A new hotel, shops and restaurants are proposed.

View more information on the Firepool development


Warwickshire snubs west Midlands CBO

Warwickshire county councillors have voted against joining the West Midlands Combined Authority. But they have decided to continue to explore a closer working relationship between the council and Coventry. Seven authorities (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton) want more devolved powers from the government.

View the press release


Go ahead for 550-home Bury St Edmunds scheme

Proposals for more than 500 new homes at Bury St Edmunds, west Suffolk, have been approved by St Edmundsbury Council. Taylor Wimpey has obtained detailed planning consent for 100 homes, including 30 affordable, and outline planning permission for 400 more on land off Mount Road at Moreton Hall, The 22 hectare development site is bounded by the Ipswich to Peterborough train line to the north.

View more information


Maidenhead makeover

A £230m major regeneration project for Maidenhead town centre has been given the green light. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has granted planning permission for the Landing development earmarked for the Broadway.

Under the plans shops, offices, restaurants, up to 225 flats and a central public space will be built at King Street and Queen Street. It is due for completion in 2019 in time for the new Crossrail services.

View the press release


Northamptonshire’s Rushden Lakes scheme expands

A £140m shopping and leisure complex in Northamptonshire is to be larger than first proposed. LXB Retail Properties, which is developing the Rushden Lakes project, has won permission for a new hotel and leisure club on the site. The expanded scheme given the go-ahead by East Northamptonshire District Council last week also increases retail space by around three per cent.



The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has reviewed the content of its continuous professional development (CPD) programme which now reflects eight areas of knowledge and skills which takes on board housing and public health priorities.

Trudi Elliott, Chief Executive of the RTPI, said: “We provide an extensive high quality CPD program that is constantly refined to ensure it addresses the most urgent and topical needs. These priorities for focus were identified following extensive engagement with members and will give planners a sharper focus for their professional development, and help maintain the standards of the profession.”

View the press release


Consultation on revised Welsh retail advice

The Welsh government has started consulting a range of changes to Planning Policy Wales (PPW) and Technical Advice Note 4 (TAN4) as part of a bid to ensure that town centres get as much help as possible to thrive in a rapidly changing retail environment.

Its proposed changes to chapter 10 of PPW and the revised version of TAN4 follow recommendations of a review by consultant Genecon last year.

View information on the consultation


Giant Liver Bird proposed for Liverpool

A giant 100 metre Liver Bird could be built on the banks of the River Mersey as part of a Liverpool architect’s proposals for a development called: Homecoming – The Statue of Liverpool. He explained the landmark could be used for shopping or perhaps student accommodation.

View more information


Roger Milne

One Comment
  1. Nigel Caine permalink

    Wonderful News that the Welsh Wind farms have been stopped

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