Latest news

Planning round-up 21 January

Published: Thursday, 21st January 2016

Coastal ‘Blue Belt’ designations. Former MoD sites earmarked for homes. Clark approves gypsy change of use scheme. Factory built zero-carbon homes mooted for UK. And more stories...

Coastal ‘Blue Belt’ designations

23 new areas along the UK coast have been named as Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) by the Government, extending the country’s ‘Blue Belt’ to over 20 per cent of English waters.

Marine environment minister George Eustice announced the new sites, which will protect 4,155 square miles of UK marine habitats and bring the total number of MCZs in waters around England to 50.

The new MCZs will cover areas across the country from as far north as Farnes East off the coast of Northumberland down to Land’s End in the south west, and will protect 45 different types of habitat, geological features and species – including stalked jellyfish and spiny lobsters.

View the press release

Former MoD sites earmarked for homes

Defence minister Mark Lancaster has announced the release of 12 Ministry of Defence sites, all of which will be sold for new housing.

The disposal, slated to generate £500m, will provide the land for around 15,000 new homes in support of the Government’s objective of releasing sufficient publically-owned land to build 160,000 by 2020.

These sites will form the first tranche of the MoD’s plan to reduce by 30 per cent the size of its built estate. The MoD estate spans one per cent of all UK land and covers 452,000 hectares.

The 12 sites are:

  • Kneller Hall in Twickenham and MOD Feltham, both in south west London
  • Claro and Deverell barracks in Ripon
  • RAF sites Molesworth and Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, and Mildenhall in Suffolk
  • Lodge Hill in Kent
  • Craigiehall in Edinburgh
  • HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsmouth
  • Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire
  • RAF Barnham in Suffolk.

The MoD will announce further sites in due course.

View the press release

Clark approves gypsy change of use scheme

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has approved a change of use application for a residential site for three gypsy families each with two caravans on land formerly used as a builders yard at Newton-with- Scales, a village eight kilometres from Preston, Lancashire.

The SoS recovered the proposal from Fylde Borough Council for his determination. The inspector who held the inquiry recommended the three pitch scheme should be approved. An alternative scheme involving four pitches was rejected.

Clark’s decision letter made it clear that the use of previously-developed land, the location adjacent to a settlement and the unmet need for gypsy sites in the borough and wider area were factors that weighed in favour of the development.

He also agreed that the use of land as a small scale self-contained Gypsy site was sustainable. Planning permission would have benefits for the children involved in terms of education and health care, Clark concluded.

View the recovered appeal, The Old Builders Yard, Thames Street, Newton with Scales, Preston, Lancashire

Factory built zero-carbon homes mooted for UK

Specialised solar power company WElink Energy (UK) Ltd has announced a £1.1bn strategic framework agreement with China National Building Materials Group to build zero carbon affordable housing developments in the UK.

The companies will work with Somerset based British Solar Renewables and plan to deploy thousands of factory-built zero-carbon homes designed by the European architectural firm Cesar Martinell & Associates.

Some £800m is being committed to a programme of 4,000 units in 2016-18 with a further 4,000 units to follow, the companies explained in a statement.

View the press release on the British Solar Renewables website

Removing on shore wind from the Planning Act 2008 regime

The Government has tabled the statutory instruments that will eventually remove onshore wind projects from the Planning Act 2008. This honours the election pledge that local people would have a final say on wind farm planning applications.

View the statutory instruments:

The Onshore Wind Generating Stations (Exemption) (England and Wales) Order 2016

The Infrastructure Planning (Onshore Wind Generating Stations) Order 2016

Devolution developments

  • Councils in the Midlands have published a summary of the draft North Midlands Devolution Agreement which is currently waiting for a government response The proposal is based on a new combined authority involving all 19 boroughs, districts and city councils in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The strategy includes building 77,000 new homes by maximising surplus and brownfield land and creating publically-owned and controlled local development corporations. Additional planning powers are being sought and the plans include a revised system of planning fees and volunteering to pilot the new ‘permission in principle’ approach proposed in the Housing and Planning bill.
  • In a separate development a report commissioned by Hull City Council has backed the concept of merging the former with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to maximize the economic potential of the area. The East Riding council is against any merger. The report also argued that a combined authority for the Humber ‘region’ involving Hull and East Riding and the North and North East Lincolnshire councils would make strategic sense.
  • Meanwhile the legislation required for the government’s devolutionary agenda the Cities and Local Government Devolution bill has been signed off by Parliament and is waiting for the Royal Assent.

Exeter bus station redevelopment

The Crown Estate’s proposals to develop Exeter’s bus station site have been recommended for approval by council officers.

The scheme, known as Princesshay Leisure, involves restaurants, significant new retail floor space, a cinema, a new bus terminal and a public amphitheatre. It would sit alongside the city council’s £26m new swimming pool and gym.

View the press release

London round-up

  • The latest London New Homes Monitor compiled by property agency Stirling Ackroyd showed that just 5,740 new homes were fully approved in the third quarter of 2015. That figure represented a fall of nearly 30 per cent compared with the previous three months. Planning approvals in the southern boroughs of Southwark, Croydon and Lambeth outpaced the rest of London.
  • The capital must build on low quality green belt locations around existing commuter infrastructure to solve its housing crisis, according to a new paper from the Adam Smith Institute. Building on 8,000 hectares of the Metropolitan Green Belt (roughly 3.7 per cent) would create room for the one million new homes needed (at a density of 50 houses per acre) all of which could be built within a 10 minute walk of a station.
  • CNM Estates residential-led mixed-use development of the Tolworth tower site in south west London has been approved by Kingston Council. The residential-led mixed-use scheme involves the revamp of the existing building and four new blocks providing hundreds of new flats.
  • Mayor Boris Johnson has approved British Land’s plans for a scheme in Tower Hamlets on the edge of the City at Norton Folgate involving the mixed-use redevelopment of Victorian warehouses to provide offices, flats and shops.

Sargeant minded to approve major Cardiff residential development

Welsh Planning Minister Carl Sargeant has announced he is minded to allow an appeal by South Wales Land Developments Ltd for a scheme providing up to 1,200 new homes at Lisvane on the north eastern edge of Cardiff earmarked for residential development by the recently revised and approved local development plan for the Welsh capital.

The final green light for the scheme, known as Churchlands, is subject to successful negotiations on an s106 agreement

View more information

Bridge plans for Lowestoft and Ipswich

Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership have submitted outline business cases to the Department for Transport for two separate new road and bridge links, one for Lowestoft and the other for Ipswich.

The former scheme would involve a third crossing of Lake Lothing between the two existing bridges, linking Peto Way and Tom Crisp Way. The latter project would involve a new crossing at the waterfront in Ipswich linking the east and west banks of the River Orwell. Each scheme is costed at around £90m.

View more information

Devon and Lancashire solar farms refused…

West Devon Borough Council has refused permission for the 58-hectare North Tawton Eco Park, a proposed 22-megawatt solar power farm, planned by Kinetica Solar for land to the rear of the Taw Valley Creamery. Planning officers told members that the scale, visibility and dominance of the development would result in an “unacceptably adverse impact”.

Meanwhile Communities Secretary Greg Clark has agreed with the inspector who considered a proposed 17-megawatt solar farm on a 37 hectare site in a green belt location at Aughton, Lancashire originally refused by West Lancashire Borough Council.

Clark agreed that Hive Energy’s appeal should be dismissed as it represented inappropriate development and would be detrimental to the landscape.

View the planning application details for land to rear of Taw Valley Creamery North Tawton Devon

View the recovered appeal for land off Butchers Lane, Aughton, Lancashire

…and Rugby wind farm blown away

The Secretary of State has dismissed an appeal by RES UK & Ireland Ltd’s over the company’s four-turbine wind farm proposed for land at Pailton near Rugby. Like the inspector who held the recovered inquiry, Clark concluded the eight megawatt facility would be detrimental to local heritage assets and would have harmful impacts on the landscape and visual amenity.

View the recovered appeal for land at Cestersover Farm, Cestersover, Pailton, Rugby

Thurrock design help

Design Council Cabe has created a design review and support panel to help Thurrock Council in south Essex prepare for major growth and investment.

View the press release

Legal round-up

Historic and listed building round-up

  • Part of a settlement made up of circular wooden houses built on stilts has been discovered at Must Farm quarry in Cambridgeshire. The settlement is thought to date to about 1000-800 BC. A fire destroyed the posts, causing the houses to fall into a river where silt helped preserve the contents. Pots with meals still inside have been found at the site.
  • The world’s first operational radar station, at Bawdsey on the Suffolk coast, has been awarded a grant of £1.4m to help preserve it. The transmitter block, built in 1938, is crumbling and letting in water.
  • A DIY nuclear fallout shelter built in a back garden during heightened Cold War fears has received Grade II-listed status. The bunker, built in Taverham, Norfolk, in 1982, was a reminder of the public’s “fear” in the Cold War years, Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said.

Roger Milne