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Planning round-up 29 October

by on October 29, 2015

Welsh stalled sites and s106s

New research published by the Welsh Government has identified over 400 sites across the country where development is currently stalled. Nearly half of them are held up because of problems with a Section 106 agreement. Most involve residential schemes, proposals for over 7,600 homes are currently on ice according to Hyder Consulting that carried out the research and produced a report.

The exercise has recommended that all Welsh local planning authorities should produce supplementary planning guidance specifically about planning obligations. The administration has been recommended to produce advice and to encourage planning authorities to seek pre-application advice.

Standard agreements should be available on line and provided at the pre-application stage, Hyder proposed.

While the report found that “no single factor” was responsible for site development stalling, “difficulties and delays in securing finance, resulting in a subsequent need for re-negotiation of s106 agreements” was identified as a key factor.

View the press release


Social town planning manifesto launched

A manifesto calling for the “rebirth of creative social town planning” has been launched by a coalition of organisations and individuals led by the Town and Country Planning Association.

The #Planning4People manifesto urges the Government to give councils back power over permitted development.

It also wants ministers to rebalance the National Planning Policy Framework so that outcomes for people are as important as the needs of land-owners and developers.

The manifesto wants local plans to have a much clearer social function and urges the restoration of a comprehensive framework of place-making standards for housing including mandatory minimum standards for accessibility and space.

TCPA chief executive Kate Henderson said: “The manifesto represents the views of a broad cross-sector coalition of organisations and individuals who share a common belief in the value of planning to improve the quality of our lives and the condition of our communities”.

Manifesto supporters include the Planning Officers Society, Friends of the Earth, the Landscape Institute, the Wildlife Trusts and the LGIU.

View more information on Planning4People


Inspector agrees to suspend Warwick’s local plan examination until May 2016

The Inspector examining Warwick District Council’s draft local plan has agreed to suspend its examination until May next year. This follows progress on addressing housing provision issues including how the planning authority will meet unmet need for neighbouring Coventry.

The draft local plan was rejected earlier this year by the Inspector who advised that it would need a significant review before it could be considered “sound”.

View more information about the local plan examination


Developer’s report spells out how to unlock economic potential of cities outside London

The trade body for the property industry has proposed a clutch of recommendations aimed at local government on how to unlock the economic potential of cities outside London and rebalance the economy.

The British Property Federation’s proposals include; prioritising the upgrade of strategic infrastructure; establishing a shared vision for city-regions and creating a strong identity.

The BPF has also made the case that for devolution to work, all functions must be considered in the round, from planning and skills to health and design, and not be restrained by issues of constitutional governance, such as elected mayors.

The Federation has stressed that housing tenure issues are critical alongside the need for strong leadership. “Areas need a determined leader who will help drive the shared vision and articulate it clearly to potential investors” insisted the BPF.

View the press release


Faith and planning report

The Royal Town Planning Institute has backed a new report from the Faith and Place network containing 15 key recommendations for faith groups, planners, developers and local authorities.

Among the recommendations are:

  • Faith groups should take a more active involvement in the development of local plans
  • Councils should review data on planning applications to ascertain whether refusals are above average from faith groups and take appropriate action if required
  • Planning authorities should prioritise protecting space for social infrastructure, including places of worship
  • Greater use of ‘section 106’ funding from developers for creation of buildings suitable for use as places of worship.

View the press release


Malton urban extension refused

Outline proposals for a 500-home urban extension on land near Malton in North Yorkshire have been rejected by Rydale District Council on the advice of officials.

The Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estate wanted to build the new community, provisionally named High Malton, on land off the Castle Howard Road.

Reasons cited for refusal included concerns over the size of development, air pollution, traffic problems, lack of social housing and damage to the views of areas such as the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

View the application summary


London round-up

  • Transport for London (TfL) is to release more than 121 hectares of land to help create more than 10,000 new homes across London. The land will be developed over the next decade to provide new homes, offices and retail floor space. Some 67 per cent of this phase of development is in travel zones one and two.
  • Newham Council has deferred determining the planning application for West Ham United’s existing Upton Park stadium, the Boleyn Ground, because of a wrangle over the amount of affordable’ housing provision in the residential redevelopment. Currently some 22 per cent of the proposed 838 new homes would be affordable.
  • London Mayor Boris Johnson has published ‘An A-Z of planning and culture’, which, for the first time, outlines the practical steps that can be taken to integrate and protect culture and support new cultural activity in developments. Publication came amid growing concern that artists and creative talent are being squeezed out of the capital because studios and workspaces are becoming unaffordable.
  • Residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in west London’s Hammersmith and Fulham area have urged Communities Secretary Greg Clark to support their case for an alternative plan for the 760 homes threatened with demolition as part of the Earl’s Court redevelopment. The residents want Clark to allow them to exercise their ‘Right to Transfer’ ownership of the two estates from Hammersmith and Fulham Council to a community owned landlord controlled by the residents.
  • Westminster City Council has been granted a CPO to re-develop the 1960s-70s Tollgate Estate in the Maida Vale area of central London.
  • There are persistent reports this week that proposals for a “mega mosque” in east London have been blocked by the Government, ending a 16-year planning saga. The project would have created a mosque three times the size of St Paul’s Cathedral near the Olympic Park in Strafford. Newham Council had refused permission for the plans.


Energy round-up

  • Work has started on installing Europe’s biggest floating solar farm at Hyde in Greater Manchester where the installation of the solar power system at the town’s Godley reservoir is now underway. The development of 12,000 panels, which will cover an area of 45,500 square metres, represents an investment of £3.5m by United Utilities to reduce energy costs.
  • An independent oil firm that predicted there were 100 billion barrels of oil under south-east England has raised its estimate to 124 billion. In April, UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) drilled a well at Horse Hill, Surrey near Gatwick airport, and announced the find. It has since raised its estimate, following analysis done by US Company Nutech.
  • Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal over a two turbine onshore wind project earmarked for farmland near Stone in Staffordshire against the recommendation of the inspector who held the recovered inquiry. The SoS said he was not satisfied that issues to do with the schemes’ impact on landscape and townscape quality had been addressed to meet community concerns.
  • West Dorset District Council has approved an 11-hectare solar farm near Dorchester which will be located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Transport developments

  • Chiltern Railways has started operating new services into London, connecting Oxford with the capital, following £320m investment by the franchise operator and Network Rail. The new rail link to London, the first from a major British city in more than 100 years,  will serve brand new stations at Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village. The stations, specified by Chiltern Railways and built by Network Rail, were officially opened last weekend.
  • Highways England has appointed a consortium comprising WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Halcrow and Steer Davies Gleaveto lead a study worth £512,000 to explore options for creating a dedicated road link between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. The study will consider options for improving connectivity between the towns and cities along from Oxford to Cambridge. It will also extend to the A34 as far as the M4. In particular, it will look at making use of existing roads where possible and considering the case for filling the missing links. The study is due to be completed by autumn 2016.


Legal round-up


Derby flood prevention scheme approved

A major 14-kilometre long flood defence scheme costing over £90m in Derby has been approved by the city council after members were assured that concerns over biodiversity loss raised by the RSPB could be mitigated.

The flood defences along the River Derwent (a mix of walls, embankments, gates and other measures) are designed to protect the city against a 1-in-100-year weather event. The hybrid application was submitted by the ‘Our City Our River’ project.

Councillor Martin Rawson, Deputy Leader of the city council, said: “Planning approval for this scheme marks the start of a new era for Derby with vital flood protection measures and the significant regeneration of key development sites along the riverside.

“We will see the city centre re-connected to the river and the important economic and social benefits associated with a reinvigorated riverside community.”

View the press release


Sheffield recycled container scheme approval

Sheffield City Council has given the go-ahead for a scheme providing a bar, restaurant, offices, a rooftop garden and a health club in more than 20 recycled shipping containers. The project, which will cost £500,000, is the first of this kind to be approved outside London.

View more information


Roger Milne

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