Published: Thursday, 24th March 2016
Scottish rail prospects. Deprivation counts. Brownfield best says CPRE report. Growth deal funding. Tunbridge Wells town centre revamp. Clark unmoved by Staffordshire turbine project. And more stories
Scottish rail prospects
HS2 Ltd has published a report on broad options for upgraded and high speed railways to the north of England and Scotland. This explores options to improve journey times from Edinburgh and Glasgow to cities further south, including options that could reduce journey times to London to three hours or under. It also considers how additional passenger and freight capacity could be met.
The report considers various options for building on HS2, including:
- Upgrades within the footprint of the existing railway
- New high speed bypasses of constrained track sections
- Complete new lines on either the east or west of the Pennines.
These alternatives range in cost between £17 and £43bn to reach a three hour journey time, although some are capable of being constructed in stages.
Latest analysis of data from the 2011 Census by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the 28 English towns and cities out of 109 under scrutiny with the largest percentage of deprived areas were in the North or Midlands of England.
Oldham and West Bromwich both had over 60 per cent of their local areas ranked in the most deprived 20 per cent of areas in England.
The towns and cities with the largest percentage of least deprived areas of England were Guildford, Woking and St Albans which each had over 50 per cent of their so-called Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) ranked in the least deprived 20 per cent of areas in England.
Brownfield best says CPRE report
Brownfield sites are being developed more than half a year faster than greenfield sites, according to research published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
This follows on from CPRE research carried out in late 2014, which found that there are enough suitable brownfield sites for at least one million new homes.
The new research involved logging development activity at 15 local authorities across England between March 2012 and December 2015.
Construction consultants Glenigan collected and analysed the data which revealed that the time between planning permission being granted and construction work starting was generally the same for brownfield and greenfield sites. However work on brownfield sites was completed more than six months quicker.
CPRE insisted this work illustrated that prioritising investment in brownfield sites was a highly effective way of building the new homes needed.
The campaign group claimed the research undermined claims that brownfield was either too slow or inconvenient to develop in comparison to greenfield sites.
Growth deal funding
Local leaders wanting to boost skills, support business and build more homes will be offered the chance to apply for the latest round of Growth Deals worth billions of pounds, Communities Secretary Greg Clark said this week.
Under the Growth Deals, England’s 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships, made up of council leaders and business representatives, will be able to apply for a share of £1.8bn to support projects in their areas that boost local economic growth and create jobs.
The money forms part of the government’s £12bn Local Growth Fund, which is already being used to support successful projects, chosen by communities themselves.
Tunbridge Wells town centre revamp
Proposals for a £70m revamp of the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells have been approved by the borough council.
The town centre scheme, which will involve the demolition of some existing buildings, will add an extra 3,395 square metres of floor space and provide new shops, restaurants and an eight screen rooftop cinema.
Clark unmoved by Staffordshire turbine project
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has agreed with the inspector who held a recovered appeal inquiry over a two-turbine wind project earmarked for farm land at Haunton, Staffordshire and dismissed the proposal.
Clark’s decision letter said the scheme was in conflict with the 2015 Lichfield Development Plan, would have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the area and that the turbines would stand out as “alien industrial features” in a pleasing rural landscape.
Ferdinand bids to score as developer
Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has unveiled government-backed plans to partner Central Bedfordshire Council and regenerate Kingsland, one of the most deprived areas in the town of Houghton Regis, with a world-class sports academy, education and community facilities as well as 1,000 new homes.
Legacy, the former Manchester United defender’s regeneration company set up in 2015 with footballers Mark Noble (West Ham) and Bobby Zamora (Brighton), will now work up the scheme for a 22-hectare site in an area already approved for major urban extensions.
The site includes various education establishments, the council’s Adult Skills Service and Houghton Regis Leisure Centre.
Council Leader James Jamieson said “Kingsland will help further regenerate Houghton Regis, an important town in which we are already committed to two planned major extensions. These will provide up to 7,000 new homes, 40-hectares of employment land, and a range of retail, leisure and other facilities, plus community infrastructure, including education, sports and green spaces”
- London Mayor Boris Johnson has published a report which claims the environmental cost of expanding Heathrow is so enormous that the only credible solution to Britain’s aviation dilemma is to pursue plans for a new hub airport to the east of the capital, away from populated areas.
- Consolidated Developments has been granted planning consent by Camden Council, for the final piece of its £90m St Giles Circus development in the West End. The scheme includes new buildings and refurbished listed buildings and will provide both an 800-saeater music venue and a smaller 280 venue at the site of the former 12 Bar Blues Club in Denmark Street. Cartoon drawings and graffiti scrawled by Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten on property in the same street has helped two buildings (no 6 and 7) be awarded Grade 2* listed status.
- British Land has submitted a planning application for a 32-storey tower in Finsbury Avenue Square in the City of London despite protests from heritage groups about the demolition of the existing building, which houses the British headquarters of UBS.
- The Royal Docks and Beckton Riverside Opportunity Area Planning Framework has been published and is now out for consultation. It focuses on releasing surplus industrial land and intensifying other sites, which City Hall believes will open up further developable land, potentially leading to the delivery of 24,000 homes and 60,000 new jobs.
- International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has been formally appointed to advise Tideway, the new company created to finance and deliver London’s £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel. BLP will provide expertise in planning, environment, compulsory purchase and asset protection as well as real estate advice.
- The Court of Appeal has ruled on the meaning of the expression in paragraph 49 of the NPPF, “relevant policies for the supply of housing”. The importance of the paragraph is that if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites, such policies are not to be considered as up-to-date. The ruling follows some seven or more High Court decisions offering significantly differing takes on the import of the paragraph. The two cases at the centre of this judgment involved Suffolk Coastal District Council and Cheshire East Council.
- The Court of Appeal has upheld a challenge brought by traders against a High Court ruling that the decision by former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to confirm a compulsory purchase order for Shepherd’s Bush Market in west London was lawful. In confirming the CPO made by Hammersmith & Fulham Council Pickles had gone against the recommendation of a planning inspector.
- Leicester University has won a High Court battle over Oadby & Wigston Borough Council’s refusal to grant an application for a certificate of lawful use for a hall of residence for students and conference delegates. The planning authority’s stance had been backed by a planning inspector on appeal.
- Two north London landlords who breached planning regulations by converting a house into seven studio flats have been ordered to pay a total of £116,000 in fines and costs by Blackfriars Crown Court following action by Islington Council.
- South Cambridgeshire District Council’s decision to approve a new ground for Cambridge City FC at a green belt location at Sawston has survived a High Court challenge.
- A High Court judge has upheld a planning inspector’s decision to grant permission on appeal to a developer for a 32-dwelling scheme in Worcestershire originally refused by Wychavon District Council despite the Communities Secretary conceding that the decision should be quashed.
- Somerford Parish Council has won a High Court challenge over Cheshire East Council’s refusal to register land in its area as a village green.
- Cheshire East Council has lost its legal challenge over an appeal approval for a 150-home scheme at Wistaston which the planning authority claimed breached its green gap policy.