Published: Thursday, 19th November 2015
House-building booms. Blackpool Airport gains. Enterprise Zone status. Chippenham sites plan criticised by inspector. Fund to tackle âbeds-in-shedsâ. And more stories...
House-building in England during 2014-15 was up by 25 per cent on the previous year, according to official figures.
Data released last week by the Department for Communities and Local Government also showed the highest annual percentage increase in net additional homes for 28 years.
In addition the statistics indicated that the number of Right to Buy sales had risen by five per cent over the preceding 12 months.
These figures showed that annual housing supply in England amounted to 170,690 net additional dwellings in 2014-15, a 25 per cent increase in net additional dwellings from 2013-14.
The 170,690 net additions figure for 2014-15 comprised 155,080 new build homes, 4,950 additional homes resulting from conversions, 20,650 additional homes resulting from change of use, 630 other gains and a loss of 10,610 homes through demolitions.
Since 2010 there has been a net increase in housing supply of 704,310 new dwellings across England. The Government claimed the figures were evidence that changes to housing and planning policy was having an impact.
Blackpool Airport gains Enterprise Zone status
Blackpool Airport has been given Enterprise Zone status. This will pave the way for the first planning application to be submitted, a proposal for energy headquarters for Lancashire.
Enterprise Zone status, which comes into effect in April 2016, will transform the area into a key employment site with the potential of nearly 140 new businesses and as many as 3,000 new jobs up to 2030.
The airport, which shut last year, has become a new arm of the Lancashire Enterprise Zone currently made up of sites in Warton and Salmesbury.
The Blackpool Airport corridor site provides five development zones capable of supporting some 175,000 square metres of activity.
The layout of the site has been designed so that commercial airport use of the site in the future remains a possibility, particularly with proposals for a new passenger terminal and the runway remaining in place The green belt status of some areas of the site is unaffected by the EZ designation.
Chippenham sites plan criticised by inspector
Wiltshire Council has agreed to review key elements of a draft site allocations plan for Chippenham after a planning inspector raised “fundamental concerns” over the adequacy of the site selection procedure adopted by the planning authority.
At issue was the ranking exercise used, the adequacy of the sustainability appraisal and question marks over deliverability.
The inspector said substantial further information and work was needed which meant the public examination should be suspended for perhaps six months.
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We followed an approach agreed by a previous core strategy inspector. However it became apparent early on that this inspector had concerns with elements of the process.
“The council remains committed to delivering a plan and is keen to develop a process that fully allays the inspector’s concerns. We are considering our response and expect to respond to the inspector around the end of the month.”
Fund to tackle ‘beds-in-sheds’
Ministers have announced a new £5m fund to help councils tackle rogue landlords and crack-down on ‘beds in sheds’. Councils can use the money to:
- Increase inspections of property
- Carry out more raids
- Initiate more enforcement action and prosecutions
- Demolish sheds and buildings that are prohibited.
Turbine trouble in Scotland and England
Scottish minsters have refused consent for a 22 turbine wind farm located at Sallachy and Duchally estate in central Sutherland and a 23 turbine wind farm situated at Glencassley Estate, by Lairg also in Sutherland.
Ministers decided the projects would have an unacceptable impact on a National Scenic Area (NSA) and the Reay-Cassley wild land area.
Meanwhile south of the Border Communities Secretary Greg Clark has refused another two onshore wind projects.
This time the schemes, each for a single turbine, were on neighbouring farms at Thorpe Satchville near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. Both had also been the subject of a legal challenge.
In the case of the proposal for Hall Farm, which had been built, the inspector who had held both recovered appeal hearings had recommended the appeal should be successful. In respect of the Park Farm scheme he recommended dismissal of the scheme.
Clark determined that neither turbine should be allowed, citing conflict with local development policies, the cumulative effect when taken into consideration with other projects and the fact local concerns had not been addressed.
Three more neighbourhood plans voted through
Three more neighbourhood plans made the grade last week after referendums including one (for Elkesley in Nottinghamshire) which was the first for anywhere in that county and the first involving Bassetlaw District Council. On a 36 per cent turn-out the strategy polled a swingeing 93 per cent in favour.
The other two plans were for South Wootton in west Norfolk and Ringmer near Lewes in East Sussex. The former polled 90 per cent approval on a 23 per cent turn-out. The latter came home comfortably with 92 per cent voting yes on a turn-out of 42 per cent.
- A multi-million pound project to extend the Nottingham tram system to Derby is being treated as a “priority” for the devolution package under consideration by East Midlands local authorities The tram scheme, which currently serves the Nottingham area, would also run to East Midlands Airport and the proposed HS2 station at Toton.
- Oxfordshire County Council has started consulting on two route options for a so-called South East Perimeter Road in Bicester. The new road would support employment and housing growth in the town and relieve pressure on the A41.
- Leeds City Council starts public consolations shortly on three options for improving access to Leeds Bradford Airport. Two would see the creation of a new link road while the alterative would involve widening existing roads and upgrading junctions. The project could cost between £15m and £75m.
- A 46-strong team has been appointed as the independent design panel that will support the High Speed 2 (HS2) project. The Panel is chaired by Sadie Morgan, a founding director of dRMM Architects who will act as the project’s independent advisor.
- Bath and North East Somerset Council has agreed in principle on a new park-and-ride site on the outskirts of the city but has deferred a decision of the exact location at Bathampton Meadows. The council will review the three alternatives. Local residents are concerned the proposed facility could compromise Bath’s World Heritage Site status.
- Plans for a major new energy infrastructure project linking Great Britain’s electricity transmission network to France will go on display at a number of venues in the Fareham and Gosport areas of Hampshire. The high voltage direct current (HVDC) 1,000 megawatt power link will involve sub-sea cables under the Channel between Hampshire and Normandy and a convertor station at the Daedalus airfield near Fareham.
- Doncaster Council has voiced concern over potential health and safety issues at the Hatfield Colliery site in the wake of Historic England’s decision to spot-list the former colliery’s two headstocks as Grade 11 structures. The South Yorkshire planning authority says it faces a £1m bill to make the structures safe. They were due to be demolished.
- Hinkley & Bosworth Borough Council has approved proposals for two separate solar power projects on Leicestershire farmland with a combined capacity of nearly nine megawatts.
New Truro stadium inches closer
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has decided not to call-in proposals for a new 4,000-seater stadium which Truro City Football Club wants to build which would be paid for by the redevelopment of its existing home in Treyew Road as a retail park.
What is claimed to be the UK’s most comprehensive guidance on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) has just been published by construction industry body CIRIA. The advice focuses on the cost-effective planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of SuDS.
Fields in Trust, the successor to the National Playing Fields Association, has published its latest and most up to date guide to open space provision and design.
Called ‘Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play: Beyond the Six Acre Standard’ the publication is aimed at local planning authorities, developers, planners, urban designers and landscape architects involved in the planning and design of outdoor sport, play and informal open space.
Reading BC mulls further controls on HMOs in conservation areas
Further measures to curb the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Reading’s conservation areas are being considered by the borough council. These include the making of a ‘non-immediate Article 4 Direction’ to remove permitted development rights to convert property into HMOs.
While this will not ban the future creation of HMOs it means planning permission will be required. There is already an Article 4 Direction in place for the Jesse Terrace area covering all external alterations.
- An egg producer has withdrawn plans to build a huge chicken farm in Kent big enough to accommodate 64,000 birds. The company, Fridays Ltd, has decided not to proceed with the scheme earmarked for a site on the outskirts of Hormonden claiming the local planning authority, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, wanted further technical material to support the application.
- Sevenoaks District Council has announced it is starting work on a new master plan as part of proposals to regenerate Swanley and Hextable which will include a major revamp of Swanley’s town centre and its ageing shopping centre. The council has been approached by U + I Group (formerly called Development Securities) the major landowner in Swanley town centre. The company has signalled interest in redeveloping the centre with a mix of retail and business space as well as new housing and a new hotel.
- Kingston Council has confirmed that a developer is eyeing up the possibility of building hundreds of flats as well as providing a swimming pool, leisure centre and a football pitches at the Chessington Golf Centre which is located in green belt on the south west flank of London.
- Haringey Council has announced plans to create a company to help build 5,000 new homes across 20 different council sites in Tottenham and Wood Green in north London.
- The City of London Corporation has approved Lipton Rogers’ 62-storey skyscraper proposed for 22 Bishopsgate in the heart of the Square Mile.
- The Court of Appeal has granted Central Bedfordshire Council permission to appeal against a judge’s decision to refuse permission for judicial review after a planning inspector found that the authority had failed to comply with duty to cooperate when preparing its local plan.
- The High Court last week heard a challenge brought by the French Government over the validity of certificates of lawfulness issued by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea for works to the basement of a property next door to the French embassy. The owners of the property (the former Soviet mission) are Jon Hunt, founder of the Foxtons estate agency, and his wife Lois. They intend to house their collection of vintage cars in the expanded basement.
- Three separate groups of campaigners are using the Crowd Justice website in a bid to fund legal battles over renewable energy projects. Two are in Devon (at Harberton and on the Frogmore Estuary) while the third is the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.
- A High Court judge has dismissed a judicial review challenge over the introduction of a so-called ‘mini- Holland’ cycling scheme in north-east London drawn up by Waltham Forest Council with £27m of funding from Transport for London secured in 2014. The project is intended to make the borough more cycle friendly and encourage more people to take up cycling and walking.
A French architect has won the competition to design a new bridge across the River Avon in Bath. Marc Mimram’s pedestrian and cycle bridge, called Between History and Modernity, will link the new Bath Quays development with the city centre.
Heseltine to chair new Tees Valley initiative
The Government has appointed Lord Michael Heseltine to chair a new inward investment programme initiative for the Tees Valley, following the closure of the SSIsteelworks in Redcar. This move will support existing local plans.
Circuit of Wales project common land deal approved
Welsh ministers have approved plans to deregister common land needed for the controversial Circuit of Wales project near Ebbw Vale.
A land swap is part of the deal which now means the £315m scheme should start to climb off the drawing board in earnest. However, questions still remain over the funding for the proposals.