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Planning round-up 20 May 2016

Published: Friday, 20th May 2016

A14 upgrade consented. Legislation changes big onshore wind farm planning regime. Developers pledge to boost home delivery. And more stories...

A14 upgrade consented

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has approved the Development Consent Order for a 34 kilometre section of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingon.

The Highways England scheme includes the widening of the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury; a new Huntingdon Southern Bypass; downgrading of the existing A14 trunk road between Brampton Hut and Swavesey to county road status; demolition of the A14 viaduct and the construction of a new link road in Huntingdon.

The project will also involve widening of the existing A14 between Swavesey and Girton, construction of a new local access road between Fen Drayton and Girton, widening of a section of the Cambridge Northern Bypass between Histon and Milton and improvements to existing junctions.

The strategic objectives of the scheme were to combat congestion, unlock economic growth, improve connectivity and safety, and provide enhanced facilities for pedestrians and equestrians.

The route is heavily used by lorries travelling to and from ports in East Anglia, particularly Felixstowe. The road was originally going to be tolled, but that proposal was dropped well before the application was made.

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Legislation changes big onshore wind farm planning regime

The government’s Energy Bill, which amongst other measures changes the planning regime for larger onshore wind farms, has gained the Royal Assent and is now law.

The legislation removes the need for the Secretary of State’s consent for large onshore wind farms (over 50 megawatts) in England and Wales under the Electricity Act 1989.

The Act also brings forward the closure of the subsidy arrangements for new onshore wind developments across Great Britain which will reduce dramatically the number of wind turbine schemes proposed in the future.

View more information on the Energy Act

Developers pledge to boost home delivery

The Home Builders Federation, on behalf of its larger members, has published a statement of intent committing them to help deliver the government’s ambition of one million new homes by the end of the decade.

HBF members have committed to see whether build-out rates on large sites can be increased. This will involve diversifying the range of homes sold on sites, reviewing scheme phasing and considering releasing later phases to other builders including smaller firms.

HBF’s members have also committed to provide annual returns to local authorities on actual and projected build out rates of current and future sites.

And the bigger building companies have pledged to set up a land exchange service which will enable smaller house builders to advertise or purchase sites, including phases of larger sites.

HBF members now have an ambition for 2019 to build more than double the number of homes they built during the trough of 2010.

View the press release

Meadowhall expansion

British Land, joint owner of Meadowhall in Sheffield, has unveiled details of its latest proposals for the retail centre in the shape of a new mall called the Leisure Hall.

The scheme has a price-tag of £300m and would involve some 27,800 square metres of new floor space including plans for a new cinema, gym, restaurants, ten-pin bowling and indoor golf. It has also been designed to accommodate large outdoor events including live music.

A detailed planning application for the Leisure Hall will be submitted in late summer this year following consultation.

View the press release

Hampshire new settlement partner sought

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have launched a search for a development partner for the first phase of a major residential project initially involving 3,400 new homes. Ultimately the Manydown project could provide some 8,000 homes. The development opportunity covers an area of around 843 hectares of greenfield land.

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North Yorkshire shale gas test case

North Yorkshire County Council planners have recommended that Third Energy should be allowed to test for shale gas at an existing well site near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, North Yorkshire and ultimately produce gas from that well.

In a statement the company said “Third Energy has been drilling wells and producing gas safely and discreetly from this site in Kirby Misperton for over 20 years and we will continue to maintain the same standards in the future.”

The county council is due to decide the fate of the application this week (20 May).

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Heathrow pledges green moves

Heathrow chief executive officer John Holland has written to the Prime minister with proposals designed to ameliorate the environmental impact of expansion. These include support for an early introduction of a ban on scheduled flights for six and a half hours every night, measures to reduce car-use and improve rail connectivity plus a pledge there will never be a fourth runway.

The west London airport operator has also promised to spend £1bn on community compensation in terms of noise and property.

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South coastal protection

A £30m coastal defence project, the Broonhill Sands scheme, protecting more than 1,300 homes and 100 businesses has been completed. It covers two kilometres of beach from Camber in East Sussex to Lydd Ranges in Kent.

It will reduce flood risk for 14,500 homes, numerous businesses, the Dungeness nuclear site, significant areas of designated habitat and two Ministry of Defence firing ranges.

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London round-up

  • The revised master plan for a £2.5bn regeneration scheme around Wembley Stadium has been given the green light by Brent Council in north west London. Provision for up to 4,850 homes is involved, a third affordable, as well as new office space, shops, two new hotels, a public park, student accommodation and a primary school.
  • The new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has lifted a block on London City Airport's plans to compulsorily purchase public land for its proposed expansion.
  • Images revealing what some stations will look like on the new Elizabeth line when it opens in 2018 have been released by the company behind the multi-billion pound Crossrail project. They are also on display at the London headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
  • Peabody has submitted proposals for phase one of the multi-billion pound transformation of Thamesmead to Bexley Council in south east London. The plans, focusing on South Thamesmead, will create more than 1,500 new homes alongside new retail development and public realm improvements. A total of four planning applications have been submitted as part of the borough’s Abbey Wood and South Thamesmead Housing Zone.
  • The developers who demolished a Maida Vale pub hours before it was due to be listed have been pilloried at a public inquiry this week which considered the company’s appeal against being required to rebuild the 1920’s Carlton Tavern.

Everton stadium hunt changes tack

Liverpool City Council and Everton Football Club have confirmed they have red-carded moves to relocate the club’s stadium to Walton Hall Park and are now focusing on two other locations, both involving brownfield sites within the city boundary.

Media reports indicate that a site in the north docks area of Liverpool and another at Stonebridge Cross off the East Lancs Road in Croxteth are the front-runners.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Most people will be aware that I did give a commitment to Everton to support a potential scheme at Walton Hall Park with the aim of regenerating the area and creating new jobs.

“However, through the work that the Club and the council have done, we have concluded that effectively building a new village in North Liverpool with lots of retail space is a step too far in this current economic climate.”

“On the subject of the park itself, I can now say that the park will remain a park and will be designated as such in our local plan which will be out for consultation this summer.”

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Star struck

A public inquiry opened this week which is considering an appeal over proposals for a 119-home scheme at Goostrey, Cheshire and whether the development will pose a problem for the nearby Jodrell Bank facility. There is concern that the operation of household appliances at the development will have an adverse impact on the activities of the famous radio-telescope.

Top TCPA team publish book on English planning crisis

The English planning system has been transformed from a “visionary utopian and progressive social force” into “little more than a residual form of land licensing,” according to a new book by the Town and Country Planning Association’s head of policy Hugh Ellis, and its chief executive, Kate Henderson. The 104-page publication ‘English planning in crisis’ is published by the University of Bristol’s Policy Press.

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Legal round-up

Roger Milne