Published: Thursday, 31st March 2016
On yer bike? Brand-new Welsh heritage law comes of age. Commons green light for HS2 bill. RTPI urges monitoring of locations of new homes. More MoD land releases. And more stories...
On yer bike?
Last weekend the government published a blueprint designed to encourage more walking and cycling. The strategy envisages a doubling in cycling activity by 2040, a reverse in the decline in walking activity, a reduction in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on English roads and an increase in the percentage of children aged 5 to 10 that usually walk to school.
The Department for Transport expects that local authorities and the new breed of Sub-national Transport Bodies created as a result of the local devolution agenda will play a key role in delivering these aims. The department will be issuing guidelines on the preparation of so-called Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs).
The DfT has also promised to provide a way of sharing knowledge the lessons learnt by the eight Cycling Ambition Cities and the five Walking Cities and others places involved in similar initiatives.
The strategy which stresses the need for the provision of a safe and attractive infrastructure to encourage journeys by bike and on foot is now the subject of consultation.
Ministers claimed some £300m in funding would be available over the next four years to realise the strategy.
Brand-new Welsh heritage law comes of age
The Historic Environment (Wales) Act is now in force after the measures received the Royal Assent last week. The Act is the first legislation on the historic environment ever drafted specifically for Wales.
The Act makes important changes to the existing laws for the historic environment to deal with current weaknesses and inconsistencies. Some of the Act’s provisions make it harder for those who unlawfully damage a scheduled monument to escape prosecution.
The Act will simplify and modernise the current scheduled monument consent procedure, making it easier for landowners to obtain consent and carry out small-scale works of maintenance and repair that have been agreed in advance with the Welsh government’s Historic Environment Service (Cadw).
Commons green light for HS2 bill
The hybrid bill for phase one of the High Speed Rail project between London and Birmingham (HS2) successfully passed its third reading in the Commons with MPs voting 399 to 42 in favour of the legislation.
The bill will now pass to the House of Lords. Subject to completing its parliamentary passage, construction is currently scheduled to begin next year (2017).
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin insisted in the Commons that changes required as a result of select committee deliberations would mean “less land take, more noise barriers, and longer tunnels”.
He also confirmed that ministers have agreed to the transfer of land at Old Oak Common in west London which is due to be the site of a major new station providing interchange facilities with the London Crossrail scheme. The land is being transferred to the recently established Mayoral Development Corporation for the area.
RTPI urges monitoring of locations of new homes
A new report from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has urged ministers to monitor the effectiveness of changes they have made to national planning policy to ensure new homes are being built in the right places, close to jobs and supported by schools, hospitals and sustainable transport.
The report ‘Location of development: mapping planning permissions for housing in twelve English city-regions’, was carried out for the RTPI by Bilfinger GVA, one of the UK’s largest commercial property advisors.
In what is thought to be the largest study of its kind, over 165,000 new homes granted planning permission across 12 English towns and cities between 2012 and 2015 were mapped. Analysis revealed that almost 75 per cent were within reach of major employment opportunities, but only 13 per cent within easy walking distance of a railway station.
Institute president Phil Williams said: “Given the current need to increase housing supply, we think it is crucial to monitor these trends and make sure that new housing is built in the right places.
“Ultimately, we may need greater emphasis within national planning policy on the importance of ‘location’ as an important factor in determining development. “
More MoD land releases
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced the release of further land intended to provide thousands of new homes and generate around £140m.
The 10 sites are expected to provide land for around 7,000 new homes, the vast majority of which will be released in time to contribute to the government’s target of 160,000 by 2020. The money raised will be ploughed back into defence spending.
The 10 sites just named are:
- Thornhill Barracks (part of Clayton Barracks, Aldershot)
- Burgoyne Barracks (part of Shorncliffe Barracks, Folkestone)
- Clive Barracks (Tern Hill, Shropshire)
- Fitz Wygram House – Royal Army Vet Corps (Aldershot)
- Army Officer Selection Board, Westbury (Wiltshire)
- Defence Training Estate land near Cove (Farnborough)
- Rylston Road ARC (London)
- MOD Wethersfield (Essex)
- Chetwynd Barracks (Chilwell, Nottinghamshire)
- MOD Cheadle Hulme (Greater Manchester).
Key Brummie city centre master plan consultation
Birmingham City Council has begun consulting on a master plan for the regeneration and redevelopment of the Smithfield area of the city centre over the next decade.
The ten year plan will see the redevelopment of 14-hectares of prime city centre land delivering over 300,000 square metres of floor space (retail, bars, restaurants and hotels), 2,000 new homes, up to 3,000 new jobs and a series of new squares, parks and gardens.
Smithfield is currently home to the city’s wholesale markets which will be re-located next year.
Peel Group pitches for housing partners
Peel Land and Property has announced ambitious proposals to deliver over 30,000 residential units across its seven so-called ‘Strategic Waters’ sites in England and Scotland.
Peel is seeking institutional and residential development partners to help deliver a mixture of medium and high rise flats as well as town houses at sites in Manchester, Liverpool, Chatham, Glasgow, Wirral and MediaCityUK in Salford.
These sites have either planning permissions or approved regeneration master plans. Peel’s ambition is to regenerate and transform these former industrial sites on dockland, canal and river banks into sustainable waterfront living locations that will bring new infrastructure, public realm and environmental improvements. These mixed use schemes will also feature commercial, retail, educational and leisure activities.
Canterbury garden suburb unveiled
Developer Corinthian Land has submitted proposals to Canterbury City Council for a ‘garden suburb’ of 4,000 homes (1,200 affordable), 70,000 square metres of employment floor space, 2 primary schools, extensive areas of woodland and open space, a reserve site for a hospital, and a community hub to include health services, local shops and community facilities plus a new civic square.
The site is on the southern edge of the Kent city. The scheme includes package of measures to promote sustainable travel including a new junction on the A2 near the village of Bridge, an enlarged park & ride scheme, provision for fast bus travel to the city centre and pedestrian and cycle connections.
The hybrid application involves detailed proposals for the first phase of 140 homes. The rest is in outline.
Planners recommend refusal for 2,000-home scheme at Surrey airfield
Guildford Borough Council is holding a special planning committee meeting next week (6 April) to discuss proposals for a new settlement of over 2,000 new homes on the former Wisley Airfield at Ockham. Planning officials said the scheme represented inappropriate development for what is a green belt location. It would “seriously harm the openness of the green belt” they argued.
- Merton Council has confirmed that in one of his final acts as London Mayor Boris Johnson has called-in the proposed redevelopment of the Wimbledon greyhound stadium in Plough Lane to provide both a new 20,000-seater stadium for Wimbledon AFC as well 602 new homes, retail space, a squash and fitness club, car and cycle parking.
- Johnson has also called in plans for the Alpha Square mixed-use redevelopment on the Isle of Dogs in east London. Tower Hamlets Council’ planning committee had resolved to refuse to grant planning permission for the proposals which included two tower blocks and was intended to provide 634 new homes, a hotel, primary school, healthcare facilities, new office floor space and car parking .
- Meanwhile Planning Minister Brandon Lewis has revealed that the government has approved the business case for a new Thameslink station at Brent Cross in north west London paving the way for 7,500 new homes. The news came in a speech to the Home Builders Federation.
- Richard Blakeway, the deputy London mayor, is to join Number 10 to advise PM David Cameron on housing policy. He will replace Alex Morton from think tank The Policy Exchange.
- A judge has rejected Medway Council’s High Court bid to overturn an inspector's decision to release a developer of a 300-flat mixed-use scheme at Chatham Quays in the Thames Gateway from a requirement to pay a £1m off-site affordable housing contribution.