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Planning round-up 25 February

by on February 25, 2016

Liverpool needs link to HS2 says report

A high speed rail link to HS2 for Liverpool is essential if the Chancellor’s decision to build a Northern Powerhouse is to succeed, according to a report from independent think tank ResPublica.

The report argued that northern cities need a dedicated high speed link to HS2 if they are to reach the level of economic success that the Chancellor wants.

It said Liverpool and other northern cities will be left behind if HS2 doesn’t go beyond favoured cities and locations.

The report claimed the cost of extending HS2 to Liverpool would be less than £3bn and suggested up to two thirds of the bill could be self-financed by the city region through the local retention of taxes.

ResPublica’s proposal would see a dedicated high speed rail line linking the Liverpool city region into the HS2 route to the north of Crewe, and connecting it to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly on high speed track.

This link would also be the westernmost branch of the planned east-west “HS3” or “TransNorth” route running from Liverpool to Hull and reconnecting the great cities of the north.

Read the report.


Green light for Goole employment and distribution hub

An employment and distribution hub at Goole offering around 200,000 square metres of floor space plus a 100 bed hotel has been approved by the East Riding of Yorkshire planning committee.

Yorkshire developers Sterling Capitol and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), advised by Indigo Planning, are involved in the project which could create up to 3,000 new jobs.

The proposed development comprises two elements:

  • Goole36, a 39-hectare site which is being promoted by the HCA for direct development; and
  • Capitol Park, a 13-hectare location controlled by Sterling Capitol and offering design and build development opportunities. It is close to the existing Tesco regional distribution centre, Drax biomass facility and the Guardian glass factory.

The site has direct access to junction 36 of the M62 and the Port of Goole, and sits within the Humber enterprise zone with potential for a dedicated rail link.


Major Welsh wind farm withdrawn by developer

Swedish power company Vattenfall has withdrawn its proposed 122.5-megawatt Mynydd Lluest y Graig wind farm in Powys from the planning regime for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. The project had been registered for the pre-application stage of the NSIP process.

The company blamed “recent changes to planning policy” for its move. The Government is currently legislating to remove on-shore wind farms from the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) regime.

Read the letter from the developer.


Housing statistics published

There has been no change in owner occupation rates over the last two years, according to the latest English Housing Survey for 2014-15.

The survey published by the Department for Communities and Local Government highlighted that the rate of over-crowding remained low while under-occupation has increased and driven by the owner-occupier sector.

The overall rate of overcrowding in England in 2014-15 was three per cent, unchanged from 2013-14 with some 675,000 households living in overcrowded conditions.

Overall the energy efficiency of the English housing stock gas improved with average SAP rating of English dwellings now 61 points up from 45 points in 1996. The improvement was across all tenures.

The number of non-decent homes in England has continued to decline. In 2014 a fifth of dwellings failed to meet the decent homes standard, a reduction of 3.1 million homes since 2006 when 35 per cent of homes failed to meet the standard. The private rented sector has the highest proportion of non-decent homes (29 per cent).


Government consults on new London-only PD proposals

The government has begun consulting on three complementary ways to encourage more housing in London by allowing additional storeys on buildings.

The proposals are: a London-wide permitted development right, with a prior approval, for up to two additional storeys, up to the roofline of an adjoining building; specific planning policies in the London Plan to support upward extensions for new homes and boroughs making local development orders to grant planning permission to extend upwards for all or part of their area, or for particular types of buildings.


London round-up

  • Tower Hamlets Council has approved proposals for what will be Europe’s tallest residential tower, a 67-storey skyscraper designed by architects HOK for a site overlooking West India Quay on the Isle of Dogs. The scheme will provide 861 new flats.
  • Communities Secretary Greg Clark has accepted the recommendation of a planning inspector and allowed a recovered appeal for a 24-storey residential tower proposed by developer Essential Living for a site at Swiss Cottage that was originally refused by Camden Council. Clark concluded that the impact of the Theatre Square scheme on local conservation areas and heritage assets was outweighed by the housing benefits – including affordable homes provision.
  • Lewisham Council is embroiled in a row with Millwall FC over plans to compulsory purchase land for the New Bermondsey regeneration scheme proposed for the area around the club’s stadium. The scheme safeguards the operation of the club and will provide new cladding for the stadium. The New Bermondsey project involves up to 2,400 new homes, a new London overground station and other community benefits.


Report blows cold on developer contribution scheme for NI affordable homes

Plans to require developers to contribute towards affordable housing provision is unrealistic for most of Northern Ireland according to a report commissioned by the Department for Social Development (DSD) and the Department of the Environment (DoE).

Researchers from Heriot Watt University and Three Dragons Consultancy concluded that introducing a scheme would not work given “current market conditions”.

The report argued that a scheme could be considered for greater Belfast but that “timing, percentage target and form of provision are best left to local decision makers”. Developer contribution schemes operate in the rest of the UK and in the Irish Republic.

Environment minister Mark H Durkan said: “My department’s strategic planning policy will continue to recognise the importance of social and affordable housing and encourage its provision through local development plans.”

Read more. 


Cruise terminal

A feasibility study for a new permanent cruise liner facility in Liverpool is to be undertaken, the city council has announced.

It has identified the former Princes Jetty at Princes Parade, close to the landing stage, as its preferred location and a potentially suitable site.

The council will appoint a consultancy next month to undertake a detailed study into the design and cost of constructing a terminal capable of handling 3,600 embarking and disembarking passengers with baggage – twice as many as the existing temporary facility at Princes Parade.

The site would include passport control, passenger lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank, vehicle pick up point, coach layover area and a car park.


Call for tech-savvy planning

Cities need to use better planning to attract the technology and advanced manufacturing (AM) sectors while avoiding the creation of “tech ghettos” that exacerbate social inequality, a new report from the RTPI has stressed.

The report highlighted concern that the presence of technology and AM sectors can lead to a two-speed economy and economic segregation.

The report stressed that policies and incentives that attract those sectors should be balanced by plans to ensure their growth is beneficial to the whole city or region.

Richard Blyth, RTPI’s head of policy, said: “The success of places like Horsham, Temple Quarter in Bristol and Dublin’s Docklands is proof that innovative hubs don’t just thrive by chance, they are also frequently the result of good planning”.

Read the RTPI news release.


Teesside Mayoral Development Corporation proposed

Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine has revealed plans for a new Mayoral Development Corporation – the first of its kind outside London.

This would target regeneration and local economic growth in the Tees Valley area with an initial focus on transforming the former SSI steelworks site at Redcar.

Work will start immediately to form the corporation. This will offer a vehicle for greater powers to be devolved in areas including regeneration planning and business support.


LGA voices starter home doubts

Discounted starter homes could be out of reach for the majority of families in need of an affordable home in many parts of the country, analysis released by the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed.

The LGA acknowledged that the national starter homes scheme could help some people onto the housing ladder but that crucial details are yet to be confirmed.

The association is concerned the initiative will help the fewest numbers of people in areas where the housing affordability crisis is most acute and will be out of reach for many people in need of an affordable home in the majority of local areas.

Council leaders are calling for local flexibility on the number, type and quality of starter homes so that they meet the needs of local communities.


D-Day for Dorset footpath decision

The Environment Secretary has set Dorset County Council a deadline of July next year (2017) to decide whether it should modify its definitive map and statement of public rights of way and add a footpath from Weymouth to Castle Cove beach at Portland Harbour.

Campaigners had applied to the council for modification in October 2014 but it emerged that the council was unlikely to take a decision until 2019.

The Planning Inspectorate has sent a letter to campaigners which made it clear the Secretary State took the view that a period of 18 months should be allowed for the determination of the application.

Read the letter from the Planning Inspectorate.


Bristol surf scheme approved

Planning permission for re-designed engineering works for a multi-million pound surfing lake at Almondsbury near Bristol has been given the go-ahead by South Gloucestershire Council.

The Wave Bristol project is set to create one of the largest artificial waves for surfers in the world. As well as the lake the proposals include an adventure trail, swimming pool, and a camping area with 100 pitches.


Hampshire new town move

Fareham Borough Council has decided to seek a development partner for the Welborne scheme, a proposed new settlement of up to 6,000 new homes, 30 per cent of which will be affordable, earmarked for 400 hectares of land to the north of Fareham near the M27. A special meeting of the council executive also agreed to consider using compulsory purchase powers to expedite the project.


Coastal plans

Coastal community teams around England have submitted over 100 economic plans designed to boost growth and jobs.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said the proposals demonstrated a wealth of creative and practical ideas. They include building a new history centre in Plymouth to redesigning the high street in Scarborough.


Court briefs

  • A Wiltshire landowner has lost a Court of Appeal case over a 22 hectare solar farm located near his £3 million home. The Court of Appeal overturned an earlier High Court judgment which quashed permission for the scheme which has been built. Read the BBC news story.
  • The owner of the George Tavern, a 600-year-old, Grade II listed pub and music venue in east London has won permission to pursue a legal challenge over the effect of new developments on established licensed premises to the Court of Appeal. The challenge relates to Swan Housing Association’s plans to build six flats next door to the pub, on the basis that noise complaints from future residents could pose a significant threat to the venue’s future. Read the news story.
  • Wealden District Council has won a planning court challenge over a planning inspector’s grant of outline permission for a 103-dwelling development at Crowborough, East Sussex, on appeal. Read the news story.
  • West Berkshire Council has accepted a High Court judgment dismissing its challenge over a planning inspector’s grant of planning permission on appeal for a residential development at Burghfield Common. Read more about the development.


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