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Planning round-up 28 April 2016

Published: Thursday, 28th April 2016

PAS grant cut by cash-strapped DCLG. Social housing funding boost. Rushden Lakes new development. Ipswich core strategy review makes progress. And more stories...

PAS grant cut by cash-strapped DCLG

The Department for Communities and Local Government has halved its grant to the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) for the current financial year, 2016/17. This move was confirmed in a letter to the Local Government Association which administers the service.

A DCLG spokesman said: “The Planning Advisory Service will continue to play a valuable role in helping councils deliver effective planning.

“We are still supporting the Service with a £1m grant. However, all parts of the public sector need to play their part in tackling the deficit and delivering greater value for money for the taxpayer.

“PAS will become more focused and targeted on working with councils whose performance needs to improve, while improving value for money.”

View more information about PAS

Social housing funding boost

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide £1bn for new social housing across the UK, in partnership with the Housing Finance Corporation (THFC). Over 20,000 new affordable homes backed by EIB are expected to be built under this initiative.

The sum represents the largest ever support for social housing by the EIB anywhere in Europe, and follows the successful allocation of a previous £500m loan (signed in December 2013 under the Affordable Housing Finance initiative) to registered providers of social housing in the UK.

This new loan will be matched by THFC over its 30-year term. The funding will support £2bn of overall investment in new social housing and urban regeneration schemes by housing associations across the country.

View the press release

Rushden Lakes new development

East Northamptonshire Council has approved LXB RP (Rushden) Limited’s application to replace proposals for a garden centre at its Rushden Lakes development. The new building will provide a multiplex cinema, a bowling alley, an indoor climbing structure, restaurants, shops and a cycle hire facility. Both Bedford and Kettering Borough Councils objected to the proposals.

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Ipswich core strategy review makes progress

The inspector appointed to consider Ipswich Borough Council’s core strategy review has set out his interim findings and concluded that the strategy can go to the next stage of examination.

The inspector has stated that the objectively assessed need (OAN) for housing is at least 10,435 dwellings across the 2011-2031 plan period (conceivably significantly more) at an average of 522 dwellings per annum. The council has identified an unmet housing need of 3,778 dwellings based on its OAN assessment of 13,550.

The inspector has noted that proposals for the so-called Ipswich Garden Suburb could provide around 3,500 new homes. The inspector noted that it was unlikely that the council would be able to demonstrate a five year land supply owing to the shortage of land within Ipswich. The inspector also said that the target of creating 12,500 new jobs in Ipswich during the plan period was challenging,albeit not wholly unrealistic.

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Sunderland’s Vaux brewery site redevelopment

Sunderland City Council has approved the planning application for phase one of developer Siglion’s redevelopment of the former Vaux Brewery site as a new gateway to the city centre. Siglion is a joint venture between the council and Carillion.

At the heart of the plans is a landmark 5,575 square metre office building looking out across the Keel Line, along the river towards the sea. This will be the first speculative office space to be built in Sunderland for many years and one of the few sites in the city centre offering Grade A office space to attract new businesses.

The planning authority has also granted outline planning permission for Siglion's master plan for the 5.5-hectare site including 200 new homers, shops, cafes and restaurants with public spaces providing views of the River Wear and Sunderland's bridges.

View the press release

Hull urban village mooted

Regeneration company Wykeland Group and residential developer Beal Homes have unveiled their proposals for the multi-million pound revamp of Hull’s Fruit Market as the city’s most significant urban regeneration project.

In prospect is an “urban village” featuring business, arts, cultural, retail and leisure uses, together with more than 100 one, two and three bedroom homes arranged in mews style around private courtyards. A planning application for the new homes is due to be submitted next month.

The two Hull companies have formed a joint venture company, Wykeland Beal, to breathe new life into the Fruit Market, in partnership with the city council.

View the press release

Gladman Developments wins Wellington homes appeal

Gladman Developments has won on appeal an outline proposal for nearly 300 new homes on a greenfield site near Wellington originally refused by Telford & Wrekin Council.

The inspector concluded that the scheme represented a sustainable form of development and that the harm to the setting of a non-designated historic park was less than substantial. The maximum number of homes allowed was reduced from the original figure of 330 to 290.

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Brighton barracks and campus scheme

Draft plans for the Momentum Lewes Road scheme in Brighton, which involves the regeneration of Preston Barracks and the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus, have been unveiled.

At the heart of the project will be a 4,645 square metre ‘central research laboratory’, designed as an incubator centre which will support new, hi-tech and design-led manufacturing start-up companies. A new home for the university’s Brighton Business School is planned along with new teaching and learning facilities and around 1,300 student bedrooms.

Also proposed are 350 new homes, including affordable housing, alongside new green public spaces as well as independent retail units, workshops and cafes at street level. New routes will be created to provide better connectivity from neighbouring residential streets to the Lewes Road and Moulsecoomb Railway Station.

A joint planning application for three sites: the University of Brighton’s Watts car park and Mithras car park sites on either side of the Lewes Road and neighbouring Preston Barracks are due to be submitted to Brighton & Hove City Council by developer U+I Plc and the university later this year.

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Minister bangs drum for office to resi conversion permitted development scheme

Government minister Baroness Williams of Trafford has claimed in Parliament that the office to residential permitted development right (PDR) is making “a very important contribution to delivering the one million homes we need by 2021”.

Her comments came during the reports stage of the housing and planning bill in the Lords. She told peers: “Take-up of the temporary permitted development right has been very high, with more than 6,500 applications since April 2014, demonstrating the demand for such conversions. This has led to over 5,300 permissions for office to residential conversions.

“Our data show that in 2014-15 we saw a 65 per cent increase in the number of new homes created through change of use, and the office to residential permitted development right will have helped to deliver around 8,000 new homes.

“Data from the sector also indicate that the temporary right has delivered much-needed new homes to buy or rent, including in London and the south-east, where we continue to face a housing shortage. The British Council for Offices has estimated that, nationally, 7,600 dwellings have been delivered since May 2013.”

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Power projects

  • Hadstone Energy Limited has obtained planning permission from the Department of the Environment for what will be Northern Ireland’s biggest solar power scheme, a 46 megawatt project earmarked for a 79-hectare site in Co Antrim.
  • Opponents of the National Grid’s plan for a new power grid link along the Cumbrian coast on the western edge of the Lake District National Park are stepping up the pressure for the scheme to be undergrounded.
  • A state-of-the-art tidal energy generation project involving some 60 seabed turbines is to be constructed off the Isle of Wight following approval by the Marine Management Organisation The go-ahead for the offshore elements of the Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre scheme follow local planning approval for the land-based elements of the 30 megawatt project last September. It is the largest consented tidal stream energy project in England and Wales.
  • Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal over a single wind turbine at Cotwalton near Stone in Staffordshire which had been refused by Stafford Borough Council. He agreed with the inspector who held the recovered appeal that the scheme would have had an adverse impact on its Green Belt location and local heritage assets.
  • The SoS has also cited Green Belt issues in rejecting an appeal over a 16-hectare solar power project proposed for land at Claverdon, Warwickshire originally refused by Stratford on Avon District Council.

London round-up

  • Communities and Local Government minister Baroness Williams of Trafford has confirmed that the government will carry out a review of the planning law and regulations relating to basement developments and will publish a call for evidence this summer. 
  • The Victoria & Albert Museum has unveiled proposals for a seven storey building providing 18,000 square metres of floor space to be known as V&A East, designed to be part of the Olympic legacy project taking shape at Stratford Waterfront in east London.
  • Wandsworth Council has approved plans for more than 350 homes at Vauxhall submitted by joint developers Bellway and L&Q. The scheme is an extension to a 510-home development being built by Bellway on an adjacent site on Ponton Road, part of Nine Elms regeneration proposals in south west London.
  • Failure to comply with an enforcement notice has led to a building demolition by Ealing Council. The large unauthorised building at 46-52 Beresford Road in west London was taken down by the council’s contractors after the owner failed to comply with an enforcement notice which required its removal.

Legal round-up

Roger Milne