Planning round-up 12 November
Decision on Taunton urban extension deferred
Members of Taunton Deane Borough Council’s planning committee have deferred a decision on a major mixed-use urban extension between Comeytrowe in Taunton and Trull after insisting the scheme was deficient in respect of highways, education, and health and access provision.
In a statement the Somerset council explained: “Whilst accepting that the site has been identified in the council’s core strategy, members felt that the master plan proposal was currently not adequate particularly in respect of infrastructure proposals for roads, schooling and health.
They have invited the consortium of developers to work with the council, the three Parish Councils and other key stakeholders on a revised master plan that will ensure the development is deliverable and sustainable.”
The consortium is hoping to build up to 2,000 new homes and provide employment floor space, a primary school, a park, a local centre and public open space.
TCPA report calls for 310,000 new homes a year
Figures just published show that young people across England are struggling more than ever to live independently because of the cost of housing and current shortages of new homes.
According to a new research project commissioned by the Town and Country Planning Association the housing requirement to meet projected household formation until 2031 is actually lower than previously anticipated because younger people are already finding they cannot afford to form independent households.
The research highlighted that the Government was already falling short of its targets to build new homes. Only 54 per cent of the homes required have been built since 2011.
To catch up by 2020 with the number of homes suggested by the projections over 310,000 homes a year over the next five years will be required, the report proposed.
The project ‘How Many Homes’ was funded by the Lady Margaret Patterson Osborn Trust, and Places for People.
The research, which drew on data from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Office of National Statistics, was undertaken by Neil McDonald, (previously Chief Executive of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit) and Professor Christine Whitehead from the LSE.
Whitehall cuts accepted by DCLG, Defra and DfT
The Department for Communities and Local Government has agreed to cut 30 per cent from its budget over the next four years after reaching a provisional spending review deal with Chancellor George Osborne.
He signalled that three other Whitehall departments were in the same position: the Treasury, Transport and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Osborne insisted the savings would be made by a combination of “further efficiencies in departments, closing low-value programmes, and focusing on our priorities as a country.”
Cherwell custom-build LDO approved
Cherwell District Council has formally adopted a Local Development Order (LDO) for its Graven Hill custom-build project. Up to 1,900 new homes are set to be built on the former MOD site at Bicester in Oxfordshire.
House builders will have to comply with a master plan and design code but the LDO, the first of its kind at this scale in the UK, will allow “some individuality and variety” according to the council’s lead member for planning, councillor Michael Gibbard.
Green-light for Bradford urban village
Proposals for a new £150m ‘urban village’ between Bradford and Shipley have been approved by Bradford City Council. The scheme, involves up to 1,000 new homes, a school, village centre and shops.
The 30-hectare New Bolton Woods scheme is a joint venture between the local authority and regeneration firm Urbo.
Sport England has objected to the plans because of the loss of two football pitches, triggering government consideration of the proposals.
Prison programme to release urban housing sites
Chancellor George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove have unveiled proposals to build nine new prisons in a move which ministers say will allow the Government to close old Victorian prisons in city centres and sell the sites for housing.
The administration has claimed this will result in some 3000 new homes being built in urban areas. The Victorian prison site at Reading will be the first to be sold.
Five of the new prisons will be open before the end of this parliament, ministers insisted. The Government will also complete the new prison being built at Wrexham in north east Wales, and expand existing prisons in Stocken and Rye Hill over the next five years.
Pocket parks initiative
Community groups supported by local authorities have been invited to apply for a slice of £1.5m funding, which could see up to 100 under-used sites in deprived urban areas outside London turned into small parks.
The scheme to create so-called ‘Pocket Parks’ echoes a successful New York initiative which has been pioneered in London.
Proposals could include creating wildlife habitats, transforming run-down gardens or simply creating green oases in bustling neighbourhoods.
Pocket parks are defined for this programme as a piece of land of up to 0.4-hectares, although many are around 0.02-hectares, the size of a tennis court. The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a prospectus.
- Hounslow Council in west London has given the green light to mixed use scheme in the High Street designed to provide over 134,000 square feet of commercial floor space comprising retail and restaurant use, a new multiplex cinema and 525 new homes, most is a 27-storey residential tower, and a new public square in Hounslow High Street,
- An Opportunity Area Planning Framework designed to deliver more than 25,500 new homes and create up to 65,000 jobs at Old Oak and Park Royal in west London has been approved and adopted by the Mayor of London.
- A joint venture set up last year to build homes at disused gasholder sites in London and the south east of England has announced plans to redevelop the site of the former Fulham Gasworks in south west London into a mixed-use scheme with up to 1,900 homes.
- Southwark Council has given the go-ahead for the redevelopment of Manor Place Depot, Walworth in south London. The approval includes listed building consent for the refurbishment of the existing Grade II listed Pool House and Wash Houses. The scheme will provide 270 new homes and 730 square metres of commercial floor space.
Energy project round-up
- More consultation into plans to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire has started. Third Energy submitted a planning application to frack at a site near the village of Kirby Misperton in Ryedale in May. North Yorkshire County Council said it had requested further information from the company. This has prompted a further round of consultation.
- The community group behind a £1m hydro-electric scheme in Abingdon, Oxfordshire has scrapped its plans, citing financial and organisational problems partly prompted by changes in government support for community power projects. Abingdon Hydro had planning permission to put two 10-tonne hydrodynamic screws at the town’s weir at Abbey Meadow to generate electricity for up to 200 homes.
- Two more power plant schemes have submitted to the Planning Inspectorate as Nationally Significant Infrastructure projects. One is a proposal to convert two disused slate quarries in Snowdonia into a 99-megawatt pumped storage facility. The other is a refuse-burning power plant at Edmonton, north London which would produce 70-megawatts of electricity and low-carbon heat.
- Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal over a three-turbine onshore wind project proposed for a landfill site at Workington, Cumbria. The scheme had been blocked by the county council. The inspector who held the recovered appeal had also recommended refusal. Clark’s decision letter agreed that there would be adverse visual impacts and harm to the setting of heritage assets. He also concluded that local community concerns over landscape and residential amenity had not been satisfactorily addressed.
Crawley local plan endorsed
Crawley Borough Council has announced it will adopt its new local plan next month (December) after the planning inspector who examined the strategy concluded it was sound subject to modifications which the planning authority has agreed. The land-use strategy will make provision for 5,100 dwellings in total over the plan period 2012-2030.
Kent infrastructure spending gap identified
Long-term growth in Kent could be jeopardised by a gap between housing and infrastructure, according to a new report commissioned by Kent County Council.
The report highlights the significant growth anticipated in Kent over the next 16 years and identifies £6.74bn of infrastructure developments required to support approximately 160,000 new homes and over 135,000 jobs. It also recognises a funding gap of £2bn which, if not addressed, will impede the county’s growth.
Merseyside devolution makes progress
The five council leaders of Merseyside plus Halton Borough Council in Cheshire have “agreed in principle” a deal with the Government to devolve more powers from Whitehall.
Part of the proposal will include plans for a directly elected mayor for the Liverpool city region.
The “devolution deal” will still need to be agreed by each of the six councils individually, with St Helens believed to be the most sceptical.
Key WI sites relisted
Four buildings with links to the Women’s Institute have been recognised to mark the organisation’s centenary. The West Sussex home of the WI’s first chairman and its training college in Oxfordshire are to be relisted on the National Heritage List for England. Their listings will now mention the WI.
The listed statuses of The Fox Inn in Charlton, West Sussex, where the first WI meeting was held exactly 100 years ago, and for an early WI building in Northumberland are also being updated.
Go-ahead for Newcastle redevelopment
Newcastle City Council has approved developer McAleer & Rushe’s £100m plans for a mixed-use scheme in the Newgate Street area of the city.
The proposals include a 269-bedrooms hotel, student housing and 2,000 square metres of commercial space for retail, leisure or professional services use.
The 575-bedrooms student housing element of the scheme will be operated by the UK’s leading provider of purpose built student accommodation, Unite Students.
Stafford link road approved
A major road scheme to ease traffic congestion in the centre of Stafford and support new homes planned for the western side of the town has been approved by Staffordshire County Council.
The Stafford Western Access Route will connect the A518 Newport Road with the A34 Foregate Street.
The project is backed by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership, which secured funding through the Government’s Growth Deal.
Woking development makes waves
Woking Borough Council has voted to let New Vision Homes submit a planning application for 984 homes in, the Surrey town as part of a project which will involve the demolition of 600 properties on the existing Sheerwater Estate.
The plans involve at least 460 new affordable homes, a health centre and leisure and retail facilities. The demolition plans are being fiercely contested by some residents.
Top tree named
An ancient pear tree due to be chopped down to make way for the HS2 high-speed rail line has been voted the best tree in England following a poll organised by the Woodland Trust. The Cubbington pear tree is believed to have been growing near the Warwickshire village for more than 250 years.
- A High Court judge has sentenced a man who refused to demolish a house he built behind straw bales in the Surrey Green Belt to three months in prison, suspended for six months.
- A row over plans by CG International for more than 500 new homes in an area of outstanding natural beauty in Kent has taken a new turn now the Campaign for Rural England has announced a judicial review challenge over the approval given by Dover District for a 130-bedroom hotel, 521 homes and 90 retirement homes.
- A West Midlands council has won a Court of Appeal land and planning battle over a site earmarked for a replacement mosque in Dudley.
- The Court of Appeal has rejected a challenge to Selby District Council’s adoption of its Core Strategy Local Plan, in a key ruling on the duty to cooperate.
- Two men have been ordered to pay more than £50,000 after running an unauthorised airport car park near Gatwick which had not been given planning permission by Mid Sussex District Council.
Starter homes will be part of the s106 mix insists minister
Planning minister Brandon Lewis has told Parliament that it will be up local councils to negotiate the mix of starter and affordable homes in s106 agreements.
But the minister made it clear that the Government would expect all reasonably sized schemes to include a proportion of starter homes.
The minister was quizzed by MPs on the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee about government policy on starter homes, which forms a key part of the administration’s new Housing and Planning bill, on Monday evening (9 November).
Lewis told the committee that the government is “very clear that an affordable home does not need to be limited to an affordable home for rent”.
But the minister added that the mix of tenures agreed in a section 106 deal would remain subject to negotiation between developers and planning departments. “A continuation of the current situation” he insisted.
Neighbourhood plans boost housing strategies
New neighbourhood planning powers are boosting plans for house building by more than 10 per cent, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis has claimed.
This is based on data gathered by the Department for Communities and Local Government during May and June 2015 regarding areas with neighbourhood plans that have allocated housing sites and have been in force for over six months.
For these areas housing allocations in the neighbourhood plans were assessed against housing allocations in the corresponding Local Plan.