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Planning round-up 14 April 2016

Published: Thursday, 14th April 2016

Green light for 1950s town in Co Durham open air museum. Basingtoke and Deane and Guildford local plans make waves. Quartermain communication. Greater Manchester CIL proposal. And more stories...

Green light for 1950s town in Co Durham open air museum

Council has approved ambitious proposals lodged by the North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish to expand the facilities to include a 1950s ‘town’ as well as a 1820s area with a coaching inn, thatched cottages and a windmill.

Tie 1950 proposals include a trolley bus service and infrastructure (including over head lines) terraced and semi-detached housing, shops (including a fish and chip shop) community facilities and bowls pavilion, a gents urinal and miners homes.

The museum is located to the north of the A693 midway between the towns of Chester-le-Street and Stanley. The new facilities are expected to increase visitor numbers by 100,000 a year.

View the press release

Welsh round-up

  • Members of the Gwynedd County Council planning committee last week refused a 366-home scheme in Bangor claiming it breached national and local policy on Welsh language issues. Their decision was against the advice of planning officers who warned members the authority risked “substantial financial costs” if the plans were refused. The committee was also told the proposals were in line with local development plan policies. Local residents had raised concerns about the impact on local infrastructure as well as the Welsh language.
  • Meanwhile the team behind the £360m Circuit of Wales project has claimed it should have a new deal agreed to allow the proposals to go ahead within six to eight weeks. Last week the Welsh government said it was not prepared to underwrite the project because of risks associated with the ambitious scheme earmarked for a huge site in Ebbw Vale.

Basingtoke and Deane and Guildford local plans make waves

The inspector examining Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s local plan has decided the strategy is sound. The objectively assessed needs of the district has been increased from 748 dwellings per annum in the original submission plan to 850 dwellings per annum in the finalised plan.

Meanwhile Guildford Borough Council has published its revised local plan and will hold a further round of consultation shortly.

The strategy is designed to provide 693 new homes per annum over the plan period and will involve the loss of some 1.5 per cent of the borough’s green belt land. The planning authority has insisted it will give greater protection to its AONBs.

The strategy directs development initially to Guildford town centre, urban areas, inset villages and identified green belt villages. Development is also proposed for the countryside beyond the green belt, in urban extensions and around villages and at the former Wisley airfield at Ockham near the A3.

However proposals for a new settlement there were refused last week in line with the recommendation of officials.

View more information on the Basingstoke and Deane local plan

View more information on the Guildford local plan

Quartermain communication

Chief planner Steve Quartermain has returned to the Department for Communities and Local Government after a spell as temporary chief executive at the Planning Inspectorate.

He has just sent out a briefing note to all chief planning officers updating them on developments since his last general newsletter in October 2015.

This latest communication details such matters as the recent Budget proposals and changes to the Permitted Development regime which have just kicked-in.

View the letter

Greater Manchester CIL proposal

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has started consulting on the exercise of new powers including a Community Infrastructure Levy system which could be used to fund infrastructure improvements across the city region.

Under proposals out for consultation, Greater Manchester’s Mayor would take on the same powers as those currently enjoyed by the Mayor of London to impose an additional levy on developments.

Other measures would mean the new entity would have the power to create a statutory spatial framework for Greater Manchester, have compulsory purchase powers in line with those held by the Homes and Communities Agency and the ability to establish Mayoral Development Corporations.

View more information on the consultation

Thames Estuary initiative

The indefatigable Lord Heseltine has started work as chair of the newly minted Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

The Commission will develop a delivery plan for North Kent, South Essex and East London up to 2050.

This will focus on supporting the development of high productivity clusters in specific locations. It will examine how the area can develop, attract and retain skilled workers.

It will also look at how to make the most of opportunities from planned infrastructure such as the Lower Thames Crossing. It will report back in the Autumn Statement 2017 with a clear and affordable delivery plan. The Commission was announced as one of the Budget initiatives in March.

View more information

London round-up

  • Think-tank the IPPR has published a new report, ‘London: Global green city’, which highlights the formidable environmental challenges facing the conurbation which the new Mayor will have to tackle. These include air pollution, traffic congestion and loss of green space.
  • Housing and Inequality in London, a new study from the think-tank Centre for London, looks at how sky-high housing costs are increasing income inequality in the capital.
  • Communities Secretary Greg Clark has confirmed Hounslow Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order required for a 20,000 seat community football stadium for Brentford Football Club in west London. The CPO will underpin a redevelopment which includes 910 new homes and a hotel.
  • Acorn Property Group has secured planning permission from Southwark Council for a £50m residential-led development in Borough, south London.
  • Plans by HUB and Bridges Ventures to transform a disused office block into twin residential towers containing 239 mid-market homes have been approved by Brent Council.
  • Greater London Authority planners have recommended that the controversial Bishopsgate Goodsyard redevelopment should be rejected.

Clark blocks Hampshire solar power park

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal over a five megawatt solar farm proposed for a site at Exbury, Hampshire originally refused by the New Forest National Park Authority. He agreed with the inspector who held a public inquiry that the scheme would have significant adverse landscape and visual effects. Clark concluded that the exceptional circumstances needed to justify approval in the National Park had not been demonstrated.

View the recovered appeal land off Lepe Road, Exbury

Green light for Bristol Arena project

Bristol City Council has given the go ahead for the 12,000 capacity Bristol Arena and approved outline plans for the rest of Arena Island. Two applications were brought back to committee following a deferral last month to allow for additional transport information to be provided.

Both applications received unanimous support. A detailed planning application for the arena building with a public plaza and new access routes, and an outline application for the future development of housing, business and leisure uses close to the venue.

The new venue is due to be located on the derelict former diesel depot site, close to Temple Meads station.

The Bristol Arena is a flexible indoor venue with spaces for public exhibitions, fashion shows and conferences, and is able to accommodate from 4,500 theatre-goers to 12,000 live music fans.

Work is already underway to create new access routes to Arena Island with work on the arena building due to start later in the year. The venue is due to open in 2018.

View more information

Oxfordshire quarry proposal

Hills Quarry Products has submitted a planning application to Oxfordshire County Council for the development of a sand and gravel quarry in South Oxfordshire, to be known as Fullamoor Quarry. The 104-hectare site is located south of the A415 opposite the Culham Science Park. The company is proposing to work 76-hectares of the site over 10 years.

Once all the sand and gravel has been extracted, existing material on site will be used to restore a large portion of the quarry back to agricultural use. The two remaining voids will be allowed to fill naturally with water to create two new lakes. The scheme faces opposition from local residents over flooding and traffic issues.

View the press release

Rugby road link loan

RadioStation Rugby, a joint venture between Urban&Civic and Aviva Investors, has received a £35.5m loan from the Homes and Communities Agency’s Large Sites Infrastructure Fund to bankroll a new link road connecting its 6,200-home urban extension to Rugby town centre. Outline planning permission for the redevelopment was granted in May 2014

View more information

Leominster NP non-conformity glitch

Herefordshire Council has confirmed that it is not prepared to support a neighbourhood plan for Leominster drawn up by the town council. The planning authority said the strategy did not conform to the strategic policies of the local development plan.

In a statement the unitary council said it had given advice on several previous drafts of the neighbourhood plan over the past two years “but the advice hasn’t been reflected in the submitted plan prepared by the Town Council.”

The statement added: “A meeting has been arranged between the Town Council, the plan writers and Herefordshire Council to look at a way forward to ensure that the plan can meet both the community’s aspirations and the legal requirements of such planning documents.”

View more information on the Leominster Neighbourhood Plan

New Northumberland CC HQ

Plans for a smaller, more cost-effective headquarters have been granted planning permission by Northumberland County Council.

The new council headquarters in Ashington is anticipated to save the authority £630,000 a year and almost £16m over the next 25 years, compared to staying at its current home, a 1980s office block in Morpeth.

Members of the council’s strategic planning committee unanimously agreed the application by developer Arch for the five-storey building and associated car parking.

The new building will form part of the wider Portland Park development in the town and construction could start as early as October 2016, with staff moving in by end of 2018.

View more information

Byker Wall makeover

The multi-million refurbishment of the iconic Byker Wall housing estate in Newcastle upon Tyne has been completed. The listed development has been repainted in its original colour scheme and fitted with solar panels. Designed by architect Ralph Erskine, the landmark block of 600 flats was built between 1969 and 1982 to replace demolished terraced houses.

View the press release

Roger Milne