Latest news

Planning round-up 28 May

Published: Friday, 29th May 2015

Greater Cambridge local plan hiatus. Pickles knighted for services to local government. Go-ahead for Lancashire landfill extension. Brecon Beacon barn conversion charges row. And more stories...

Greater Cambridge local plan hiatus

Planning inspectors considering the local plans for the greater Cambridge area have recommended that examination of the strategies should be suspended while the planning authorities do more work on the housing provision and the sustainability appraisals involved in the focus on new settlements.

However, the inspectors have stressed that this should not be interpreted as “an indication that further releases of green belt land would be necessary to ensure soundness”.

The inspectors questioned whether the way Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have assessed the number of new homes needed has taken account of market signals such as house prices and affordability, a requirement of new national planning guidance published after both councils had already worked with communities for over two years to prepare plans and were ready to submit them to government.

The submitted local plan for Cambridge included provision for 21,100 more jobs and 14,000 new homes. The plan submitted by South Cambridgeshire plan included proposals for 22,000 new jobs and 19,000 new homes up until 2031.



Pickles knighted for services to local government

Eric Pickles, the former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is being granted a knighthood for his service as an MP and to local government. He also has a new role as anti-corruption ‘tsar’, Downing Street has announced.

Pickles has been MP for Brentwood and Ongar since 1992 and served as chairman of the Conservative Party from 2009 to 2010.

Before entering Parliament he was leader of Bradford Council from 1988 to 1990 after first becoming a councillor in 1979.


Go-ahead for Lancashire landfill extension

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has approved a Development Consent Order for the proposed extension of the Whitemoss landfill site at Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

The DCO – the first approved by the new Secretary of State – is for the construction of new hazardous waste management facilities at the site. This will involve the construction of new landfill void to the west of the existing landfill site for the disposal of hazardous waste together with associated development.

The project is earmarked for land in the green belt and was viewed as inappropriate development.

However, Clark agreed with the three planning inspectors who examined the proposals that there were “very special circumstances” which justified approval for the scheme which met national policy objectives, was in a suitable location and was planned to have a limited (20-year) lifespan before being restored.



Brecon Beacon barn conversion charges row

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has come under fire for proposals yet to be finally approved to triple the planning charge for dealing with barn conversions

Groups including the Country Landowners’ Association have expressed concern about the Authority’ s policy on barn conversions and a move to set a fee of £90,000 per conversion.

View the consultation draft (PDF).


Call to protect tranquil areas

Conservationists have argued that national data and mapping are needed to protect most tranquil parts of England.

New research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), just published, shows that better data collection and a new indicator of tranquility are needed to increase protection for England’s most peaceful areas.

In surveying a range of authorities, from National Parks to borough councils, CPRE’s ‘Give peace a chance’ report shows that 90 per cent of authorities would like better guidance and new data to develop tranquility policies.

More than 90 per cent of respondents support the case for new national tranquility maps, which CPRE believes could greatly help local authorities when new infrastructure projects are planned.

View the CPRE’s ‘Give peace a chance’ report.


North Yorkshire fracking proposal submitted

Proposals to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire have been submitted to the county council.

Third Energy has applied to fracture underground rocks at a site near the village of Kirby Misperton in Ryedale and then pump gas from the field.

The site, in the Vale of Pickering, is close to the Flamingo Land theme park and holiday resort. Protests against Third Energy’s plans have already been launched by local residents under the banner “Frack Free Ryedale”.



Wiltshire solar farm appeal dismissed

A planning inspector has backed Wiltshire Council and dismissed an appeal by solar farm developer Sun Edison for a 12-megawatt array on land at Little Chatfield close to listed buildings.

The proposed scheme is a mile from the Norrington Solar Farm, which although developed had its planning application quashed earlier this year after a legal challenge.



London round-up

  • A new report has proposed that London’s Mayor should have a discretionary power to determine all planning applications for 50 homes or more in a borough for a set period of time if, over a three-year period, the borough fails to reach its annual averaged house building target and cannot demonstrate it is trying to improve its performance. That’s the headline recommendation of a London First document: ‘Carrots and Sticks: a targets and incentives approach to getting more homes built in London’, laying out new measures that could help solve the capital’s housing crisis. Also proposed is a new financial incentive – called the London Housing Delivery Bonus – to encourage boroughs to accommodate more new homes in their area. Co-authored with planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, the report shows that only 18 out of 33 London boroughs met or exceeded their annual targets between 2010 and 2013, dropping to only 12 out of 33 boroughs between 2003 and 2013.
  • London Mayor Boris Johnson has issued detailed advice – in the shape of Social Infrastructure Planning Guidance – to ensure the conurbation has the schools, hospitals, open spaces and places of worship it needs to flourish.
  • Meanwhile, Johnson has also asked developers to respond to proposals to redevelop Albert Island, a slab of land owned by the Greater London Authority in London’s Royal Docks, where there is the potential to create hundreds of new jobs and build vital new marine facilities.



Stafford access road project moves forward

A £35m proposed access road in Stafford has received the backing of the county council’s cabinet and will be the subject of a planning application.

The route is being partly funded by £16.1m from a government growth deal. Other funding is coming from the Local Enterprise Partnership and the council itself.

The Stafford Western Access Route will be a new road connecting the A518 Newport Road to the A34 Foregate Street

The road, between Martin Drive and Grey Friars Place, will link into a further section of carriageway being built by developers who are building to build 2,200 homes to the west of Stafford.



Lake District bangs the drum for World Heritage status

A bid for the Lake District to win World Heritage status has been backed by local councils, tourism chiefs, businesses and charities and supported by a detailed report arguing the case for the sub-region’s inclusion on the Unesco list. This will be presented to the government before a formal submission to the UN body in 2016.

View more information on the Lake District website.


Heritage site funding

Lottery funding worth nearly £100m is being given to nine heritage sites, including projects to preserve Britain’s scientific and technological history.

One of the biggest awards – worth £12.1m – is for Jodrell Bank in Cheshire one of the birthplaces of radio astronomy.

In addition, the funding will mean:

  • £8m to revamp the Science Museum’s extensive Medicine Galleries
  • £9.3m to restore and open up Derby Silk Mill in the Derwent Valley
  • £10m to make Great Central Railway a unique double-track ‘preserved’ railway between Loughborough and Leicester
  • £9.5m to digitise the British Library’s Save our Sounds Collection
  • £10.3m to redevelop Dorset County Museum
  • £12.4m to restore Lincoln Cathedral
  • £15m to refurbish Glasgow’s award-wining Burrell Collection
  • £11m to transform East London’s the Geffrye Museum



Exeter homes scheme sorted

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has confirmed his predecessor’s ‘minded to allow’ decision involving Millwood Homes (Devon) Ltd’s appeal over proposals for 420 new homes and two care homes on land at Pinn Hill near Exeter originally refused by East Devon District Council.

As part of this successful appeal determination, the developer will be expected to pay an increased contribution for each new dwelling which will be used for nearby Special Protection Areas and a Special Area of Conservation.

View the decision letter and Inspector’s Report.


Snub for ex-PM Heath’s Salisbury garden plans

Plans for events to be staged in the garden of the former home of Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath in Salsbury have been turned down by Wiltshire Council.

The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation wanted to stage 24 events a year for up to 150 people at Arundells, in Cathedral Close, Salisbury. But the planning committee refused the proposal on the grounds of the impact it would have on neighbours despite officers recommending the use should go-ahead.



Kent council mulls Manston airfield CPO

The new UKIP-led Thanet District Council has confirmed it is reviewing an earlier decision not to pursue the compulsory purchase of the Manston Airport site in Kent.

The council held an extraordinary meeting to decide if it should review the decision made by the previous administration.

Kent County Council has said it cannot support a compulsory purchase order on the information currently available.

The airport closed in May 2014 and several months later, a majority stake was sold to Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner for redevelopment.

View more information on the Thanet District Council website.


Appeal Court judges spell out why Luton’s legal challenge failed

The Court of Appeal has given its reasons for rejecting Luton Borough Council’s challenge to the grant of planning permission by a neighbouring authority, Central Bedfordshire, for a controversial urban extension at Houghton Regis.

View more information.


Roger Milne