Planning round-up 5 November
Districts pitch their local plan reforms
District councils have outlined a series of reforms aimed at simplifying the local plans regime which have been submitted to the Government’s Local Plans Expert Group.
The reforms outlined in the submission from the District Councils’ Network (DCN) include proposals for a staged-plan examination, the production of strategic plans across housing market areas, slimmed-down plans and more protection for councils with well advanced plans from ‘5-year supply’ appeals.
Councillor Gillian Brown, DCN lead for planning and leader of Arun District Council, said: “From a DCN perspective, our members require a clear explanation from government as to what the early 2017 deadline for producing local plans will actually entail.
“And on a more fundamental level, the Government should review how they envisage resourcing the large number of plans that will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate at around the same time.
“Otherwise we risk creating a frustrating scenario, where districts which have compiled their plans according to the timetable find themselves sat in a long queue, waiting for an inspector to call.”
The DCN stressed district councils must be fully resourced and urged the Government to change the planning fees regime “to enable full cost recovery”.
Latest UK population projections
The UK population is projected to increase by 9.7 million over the next 25 years from an estimated 64.6 million in mid-2014 to 74.3 million in mid-2039. This is 420,000 higher than the 2012-based projection for 2039 according to the latest assessment compiled by the Office for National Statistics.
The 2014-based projections predict a slightly faster rate of increase than the 2012-based projections did, equating to about an extra 14,000 people per year on average over the 25 years to 2039.
The UK population is projected to reach 70 million by mid-2027. Assumed net migration accounts for 51 per cent of the projected increase over the next 25 years, with natural increase accounting for the remaining 49 per cent of growth.
Over the 10 year period to mid-2024, the UK population is projected to increase by 4.4 million to 69 million. This is 249,000 higher than the previous (2012-based) projection for that year.
The population is projected to continue ageing, with the average age rising from 40 years in 2014 to 40.9 years in mid-2024 and 42.9 by mid-2039. By mid-2039, more than 1 in 12 of the population is projected to be aged 80 or over.
Revised CPO guidance published by DCLG
The Department for Communities and Local Government has published revised guidance on the compulsory purchase order regime and the Crichel Down rules for the disposal of surplus land acquired by, or under the threat of, compulsion.
The guidance has been updated to reflect legislative changes and case law since 2004.
Draft updated advice was published for consultation in March and the final version of the document contains minor amendments to reflect comments. The guidance only applies to England. Ministers have announced they will review the delegation to inspectors of compulsory purchase order decisions.
Competition to develop smarter urban spaces launched
Businesses can win up to £35,000 to develop digital projects that help make urban spaces better and smarter for people.
The Government’s Innovate UK’s IC tomorrow programme is looking to award up to £35,000 each to four businesses to meet a series of challenges facing so-called connected cities.
Businesses will have the opportunity to work alongside high-profile challenge partners Transport for London, Centro, Clear Channel and Atkins.
This initiative recognises that cities are becoming increasingly connected with services such as transport and energy managed by intelligent networks. The challenge is to get citizens involved in this evolving digital backdrop.
One area of interest will focus on citizen input to city design. This will concentrate on innovative ways of encouraging citizens to share their data in a bid to improve the planning, design and management of urban space. This will be in partnership with Atkins.
Energy project developments
- Multifuel Energy Limited has obtained a development consent order from the Department of Energy and Climate Change for a 90-megawatt plant which will produce electricity after burning fuel derived from refuse and industrial and commercial waste, such as wood. It will be built at the site of the existing Ferrybridge C power station at Knottingley, West Yorkshire.
- The world’s largest and the UK’s first floating offshore wind development approximately 25 kilometres off the coast of Peterhead has been approved by the Scottish Government.
- Statoil, the Norwegian multinational oil and gas company, has been granted a marine licence for its application for a pilot park of five floating 6-megawatt turbines. Unlike more conventional offshore wind farms, the turbines will be attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system.
- Proposals for a 24-turbine wind farm on moorland between Loch Rannoch and Loch Erich, in Perthshire have been rejected by the Scottish Government on a technicality. The applicant company was not a legal entity when the application was submitted.
- The first planning application for shale gas exploration in Nottinghamshire has been submitted to the County Council. Island Gas Limited (IGas) is seeking planning permission to undertake exploration for shale gas on land to the north east of Misson in Bassetlaw, which is close to the Nottinghamshire, Doncaster and North Lincolnshire local government boundary
- Department for Communities and Local Government ministers have dismissed three appeals involving mosque development in West Ham, east London. One involved an enforcement order. The main appeal was over what would have been the UK’s largest mosque, a scheme refused by Newham Council.
- MCC has been granted planning permission by Westminster City Council to redevelop the south-western corner of Lord’s cricket ground. The so-called South-Western Project, which includes an enlarged stand and a new Tavern Pub, is phase two of the master plan for Lord’s.
- Plans for a second London ‘Boxpark’ has been given the green light by Croydon Council. It will be located on the Ruskin Square site near East Croydon station and is set to open next summer. The development will consist of 97 shipping containers.
- London Mayor Boris Johnson has allowed a controversial scheme for 97 homes in Putney, south west London which had been refused by Wandsworth Council on the grounds the development would be too high.
- Johnson has called in proposals for a housing-led mixed-use development involving a 28-storey residential tower on a site next to Barking station refused last month by the planning authority against the advice of officers.
- Transport for London has begun a further round of public consultation on revised proposals for Crossrail 2. This would connect the National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire via new tunnels and stations between Wimbledon, Tottenham Hale and New Southgate, linking in with London underground, London Overground, Crossrail 1, national and international rail services.
- Councils in the capital are drawing up plans to set up a pan-London vehicle for development, in the wake of the extension of the Right to Buy.
- London boroughs believe that they could deliver more houses in the capital by using economies of scale and sharing development ambitions. Officials at umbrella group London Councils are currently working up detailed proposals for the venture.
Lincoln city centre revamps
Two major developments expected to change the face of Lincoln city centre have been given the go-ahead by city councillors.
Plans for the multi-million pound Lincoln Transport Hub project and the first phase of the Cornhill Quarter regeneration scheme have been approved.
The proposals include the demolition and replacement of the existing bus station and an improved rail station, a multi-storey car park, new commercial floor space, new retail provision and flats.
Newcastle green infrastructure initiative
Funding for a project to investigate new ways of implementing green infrastructure schemes has been secured.
The £110,000 project will see consultancy Arup, Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council join forces to bring best-practice knowledge to the region, drawn from green infrastructure projects that have been developed around the world.
The group will work with colleagues in New York, London and Melbourne to review the latest thinking and develop a new community-led green infrastructure scheme in Melbourne which will shed light on opportunities in Newcastle.
£31m lottery funding for landscape betterment
The landscape which was home to a group of notorious 17th Century witches is to receive a share of £31m Lottery funding.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced it is providing £2m to restore wildlife and the fabric of Pendle Hill in Lancashire. It is one of 31 projects to receive funding across the UK.
The 13 areas benefiting from HLF’s investment stretch from the Orkney Isles in Scotland to Penwith’s peninsula on the south western tip of the mainland.
Go-ahead for Leeds campus homes
WYG planners have secured outline approval for up to 72 new homes at Leeds City College’s Horsforth Campus. The Campus is currently home for a further education facility which is due to close next year. Alternative residential use of the green belt site will provide investment in college facilities elsewhere in the city.
- Robert Fiddler, the farmer at the centre of the long-running planning wrangle over a mock-Tudor house built illegally at a Surrey green belt location and originally hidden behind straw bales, has appeared in court following a contempt of court proceedings instigated by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. He faces jail for refusing to demolish the building. He claimed in the High Court this week that the planning authority wanted to “destroy” his life.
- A Romany gypsy has lost a three-year-legal fight to pitch a mobile home in the New Forest National Park. Robert Whitcher wanted to site the mobile home and a touring caravan on land he owns at Brambly Hedge in Landford in Wiltshire.
- The Appeal Court has reserved judgement over the legal and planning saga surrounding Dudley Muslim Association’s proposals to build a replacement mosque and community centre on land off Hall Street.
Listed building legislation mooted
North Hertfordshire MP Bill Wiggin introduced a 10 Minute Rule bill in Parliament designed to make it easier for energy saving changes to be made to listed buildings and structures within the cartilage of listed Buildings. The legislation is known as the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (Amendment).
Wiggin said his measure would mean that “by slightly altering the rules we would enable owners to make important energy saving changes whilst appropriately protecting our historic buildings.”
Dungeness “desert” sold
A shingle beach in Kent, dubbed as “Britain’s only desert”, has been bought by EDF Energy, the owners of neighbouring Dungeness B nuclear power station.
The 190 hectare Dungeness Estate has been sold to the energy company for more than £1.5 million. 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. Film-maker Derek Jarman lived there before his death.