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Planning round-up 24 March 2016

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.

View the news story

Deprivation counts

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.

View the article

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.

Read the article

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.

View the press release

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.

View more information

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.

View the recovered appeal: Haunton Manor Farm, Haunton, Staffordshire

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”

View the press release

London round-up

  • 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.

Legal round-up

Roger Milne