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Planning round-up 26 May 2016

Published: Thursday, 26th May 2016

RPTI Cymru welcomes new Welsh Cabinet Secretary appointment. Housing ‘Pink Zones’ urged. Salford’s green space plea. Clark allows single wind turbine appeal. And more stories...

RPTI Cymru welcomes new Welsh Cabinet Secretary appointment

RTPI Cymru has welcomed the appointment of Lesley Griffiths AM as the new Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, with responsibility for planning.

Roisin Willmott, Director of RTPI Cymru, said: “We look forward to working with Lesley Griffiths at an important time for planning in Wales. The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 is its infancy and needs leadership to implement it successfully, building on the work of the former Minister, Carl Sergeant.”

View the news article

Housing ‘Pink Zones’ urged

Ministers have been urged to establish a new breed of simplified planning zones called Pink Zones designed specifically to boost house building.

The call came from the Centre for Policy Studies in a report which said the initiative would provide a diluted regulatory regime compared with the red tape that characterises the current ‘paralysed’ planning system.

The think-tank said Pink Zones would provide a streamlined planning system for the construction of vibrant, attractive and prosperous new residential developments underpinned by social and physical infrastructure. Such zones would bypass many current planning regulations and improve design standards.

The report said Pink Zones have already been successfully implemented in the US, in cities such as Phoenix, Arizona. The think-tank has claimed the support of a number of public figures including London Mayoral candidate Steve Norris, LSE Professor Paul Cheshire, Argent Group chairman Peter Freeman, former Cabinet minister Peter Lilley and Hank Dittmar, former Chief Executive of The Prince's Foundation for Building Community.

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Salford’s green space plea

City Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett has called on the government to join the fight against a major development between Monton and Worsley proposed by Peel Group. The proposal to build 600 houses on land at Broadoak was refused by the council. Its stance was upheld following an appeal inquiry.

However the council is concerned that a recent Appeal Court ruling relating to a similar case in Cheshire has weakened national protection for green space as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Salford wants the NPPF revised because it fears the policies it relied on in rejecting Peel’s proposals do not appear to have the force they should following a recent Appeal Court interpretation of the NPPF.

The case in question was a Court of Appeal judgement involving a 146-home development proposed for a ‘green gap’ by Richborough Estates originally refused by Cheshire East Council. The planning authority lost the subsequent appeal but received backing for its stance in the High Court.

“Our main reason for refusing these 600 homes was to preserve much valued open space between Monton and Worsley but that has been undermined by this court ruling” explained the mayor.

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Clark allows single wind turbine appeal

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has allowed a single wind turbine scheme at a Yorkshire farm at North Newbald, York, originally refused by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Clark agreed with the inspector who held the recovered appeal that the project would not have a significant effect on the character and visual amenity of the landscape nor result in undue cumulative impact.

Significantly he agreed that the planning concerns of the parish councils involved had been addressed. Clark also acknowledged that the wind turbine would make a modest but significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and would also result in the enterprise at Newbald Farm being self-reliant on electricity.

Like the inspector he agreed the scheme was in line with policies in the emerging East Riding local Plan.

View the recovered appeal: Humberside Farmers Ltd, Newbald Lodge, North Newbald, York

Bolton plan handling probe

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council has confirmed that the Planning Advisory Service is to carry out an independent review of how the local authority handled planning applications following concerns raised by opposition councillors over “improper practices”. The issue was the subject of a motion agreed by the Labour-led council late last year.

A council spokesman said: “The Planning Advisory Service (PAS) will be carrying out the review. It is an independent, nationally recognised body who are an expert in this field.

“We are working with them as to what shape the review will take and how it will be conducted, and once this detail is confirmed we will be letting committee members know.

“The scope of the review will be in accordance with what was requested in the motion, and it is expected that it will start in the next few months.”

Neighbourhood planning progress

This month there was a bumper crop of 17 neighbourhood plan referendums including one for St Ives and one for the town of Newport Pagnall in Buckinghamshire which saw a yes vote of 83 per cent on a turn-out of 34.4 per cent. Nearly 12,000 residents were entitled to vote.

Meanwhile some 47 neighbourhood plan referendums took place between January and April 2016 including one for Compton Bassett in Wiltshire which had a very healthy 94 per cent 'yes' vote on a 57 per cent turnout.

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Housing and Planning Act 2016 published

The final version of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which received the Royal Assent on 12 May, has been published.

View the legislation

Poole marina redevelopment approved

Proposals for the £100m revamp of Salterns Marina have been approved by Poole Borough Council. The scheme, which attracted considerable local opposition, includes the redevelopment of the Salterns Harbourside Hotel. The redevelopment will change the face of the marina with a brand new seven-storey development overlooking Poole Harbour, a five-star hotel and luxury flats.

The application includes the demolition of all the existing buildings, including the hotel, and the erection of two multi-storey mixed use developments containing 73 flats, a 60-bedroom hotel as well as restaurants, offices and marina service facilities.

It also includes the construction of a new quay wall around the development and raising the site by 3.6 metres as part of the sea defences for the area.

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Redhill town centre scheme

Proposals for a new multiplex cinema complex and flats in Redhill town centre have moved a step closer following the submission of a planning application by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

The plans include a six-screen cinema, up to eleven shops, restaurants and some 153 studio, one and two bedroom flats for private rent. The scheme also includes basement parking for residents and a new pedestrian route connecting the High Street to Marketfield Way.

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Green light for hybrid energy parks

Green energy company Ecotricity has gained planning permission to build two new solar power projects in Devon and Leicestershire which will involve development at existing wind farms to create so-called hybrid energy parks. In each case the proposals will mean five megawatts of new capacity.

It has also won permission to extend Britain’s first hybrid energy park at Fen Farm in Lincolnshire, by adding an additional five megawatts of solar capacity.

The planning authorities involved are Torridge District Council, Melton Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council.

View the press release

Seaside regeneration fund

Businesses and communities around the British coast have been invited to bid for a share of £90m government funding available UK-wide over the next four years to support plans to provide new jobs and help revitalise seaside areas.

Grants of up to four million pounds for individual schemes are on offer under a scheme administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

View the press release

Manchester student village under a cloud

Manchester University is re-thinking ambitious plans for its proposed Fallowfield student village after contractor’s bids for the accommodation campus for over 3,000 students came in way over target costs.

The university has also confirmed it has wound-up up its partnership deal with the Mubadala Development Company over the redevelopment of the 29 hectare Owens Park site. The company is owned by the Abu Dhabi government and run by Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

The university has had planning permission since last December for the three-phase development of the site to provide accommodation for 3,000 students in a scheme which will involve the demolition of the existing Owens Park tower.

In a statement the university said: “It has become clear that an alternative funding model will be optimal for the delivery of the new accommodation. The University of Manchester and Mubadala have therefore mutually agreed not to proceed with their current collaboration agreement.

 “The University of Manchester is committed to redeveloping the Fallowfield student village to provide new student rooms and facilities and is now developing a new business plan and funding model to enable this exciting development to proceed. “

View more information about the student village

Sunderland road link consultation

The city council has started consultations on proposals for a £60m dual carriageway into Sunderland’s city centre.

The road scheme would run from the eastern end of the new Wear crossing through Pallion, Deptford, Farringdon Row and St Mary's Boulevard.

It would mean there is a continuous dual carriageway between the A19 and city centre, which the council said would reduce congestion and provide a link to key employment sites and help in the regeneration of riverside sites including Pallion, Deptford and Farringdon Row.

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Secret Norwich radio station listed

A Second World War underground wireless station in Norwich, part of a secret communications network set up in 1940 by Churchill in response to the threat of German invasion, has been safeguarded as a scheduled monument by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

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London round-up

  • Greystar, a leading developer and operator of managed rented flat schemes, has begun consultation with the public on the redevelopment of the former GSK and J. Lyons site in west London where it plans 2,060 new homes for sale and rent as well as shops, restaurants, cafes, offices and extensive areas of public open space.
  • Incoming London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the HS2 redevelopment of Euston station to be parked, while a less disruptive plan is developed than the existing proposals which threaten hundreds of homes and businesses.
  • Khan has named his top team, including deputy mayors for policing, transport and housing. James Murray will spearhead his ambitious housing programmers as Deputy Mayor for Housing. He is currently the lead councillor for housing and development at Islington Council, a role he has held since 2010. Murray will stand down as a councillor. Lord Adonis has been nominated as chair of the Crossrail 2 Board.
  • The bill for the Northern line underground extension to Battersea Power Station is set to soar by as much as £240m following reports of “significant” design changes.

New CPRE president

Pottery designer and businesswoman Emma Bridgewater is to be the new President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), succeeding former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, who served four years in the role.

View the press release

Turley founder dies

Rob Turley, the founder of and driving force behind national planning consultancy Turley (originally known as Robert Turley Associates) has died after a battle with cancer. Born in Belfast in 1950 and subsequently an adopted Mancunian, he established the planning practice in 1983 after jobs with Manchester City Council and Warrington Borough Council. When he retired from the business in 2008 the practice had grown to be one of the largest in the UK with 200 staff across 10 regional offices.

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Legal round-up

· Nottingham City Council has applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal after the Upper Tribunal dismissed its challenge to terms of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences that involved a dispute over bedroom size. 

· An oral hearing will take place in the High Court next month over an application by campaigners for permission to bring a judicial review challenge over a decision by Canterbury City Council to sell land near the seafront in Whitstable involved in a planning row. 

· The London Borough of Lambeth has agreed to the quashing of planning permission for redevelopment of the site of a well-known nightclub in Brixton following a high court challenge.

Roger Milne