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Planning round-up 2 July

Published: Thursday, 2nd July 2015

DCLG reveals timetable for latest planning reforms and initiatives. Population growth statistics. Clark blocks major Yorkshire housing schemes and Essex Sainsbury’s store. And more stories...

DCLG reveals timetable for latest planning reforms and initiatives

Ministers plan to unveil the government’s housing bill in September, a senior civil servant told a conference in London last week.

Ruth Stanier, the Department of Communities and Local Government’s director of planning, also confirmed that officials were working on proposals to speed up the delivery of local development plans, reforms to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) regime and changes to the compulsory purchase process.

Speaking at a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors event Stainer said that under the new ‘starter homes’ initiative the maximum prices for starter homes would be £250,000 outside London and £450,000 within London.

Stainer said developers of starter homes would be exempted from the CIL and section 106 infrastructure contributions, though infrastructure contributions could be voluntarily provided.

Delegates were told that measures to speed up local plans and neighbourhood plan-making, initially earmarked for the housing bill, would be introduced instead in an enterprise bill in October or November.

Stainer said this legislation would also introduce CIL reform, particularly for large sites, and reform of section 106 agreements, including a mechanism for resolving disputes.

Population growth statistics

The UK’s population grew by 0.77 per cent over the past 12 months, slightly above the previous year, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics for mid-2014.

These highlighted that the population of the UK at 30 June 2014 was estimated to be 64,596,800.

The number and proportion of older people continued to rise, with over 11.4m (17.7 per cent of the population) aged 65 and over in mid-2014, up from 11.1m (17.4 per cent) last year.

Population growth in the year to mid-2014 was greatest in southern and eastern England. London had the highest population growth, with population up 1.45 per cent. The East and South East regions of England increased by 1.08 and 0.92 per cent respectively.

The lowest regional population increases in the year were seen in Wales, North East of England and Scotland growing by 0.31 per cent, 0.32 per cent and 0.37 per cent respectively. The population of Northern Ireland grew by 0.59 per cent. No country of the UK or region of England experienced a population decrease.

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Clark blocks major Yorkshire housing schemes and Essex Sainsbury’s store

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed appeals by St Modwen Developments Ltd over two housing-led mixed-use schemes proposed for land to the east and west of Brickyard Lane, Melton originally refused by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

He agreed with the planning inspector who held the recovered appeal hearings that the proposals were contrary to the development plan and that the housing benefits were outweighed by the adverse effect on housing and employment land strategy as well as the urbanising impact on North Ferriby.

The Secretary of State has also turned down a recovered appeal over proposals for a Sainsbury’s development on a largely disused industrial estate at Braintree, Essex, refused by the district council.

Clark agreed with the inspector who held the recovered inquiry that the scheme posed an adverse impact on Braintree town centre and was contrary to both the development plan and the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

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Energy developments round-up

  • Developer Wessex Solar Energy has successfully appealed refusal of its scheme to build a 5.5 megawatt solar farm at Shillingford, Devon originally blocked by Mid Devon District Council.
  • Hatfield Colliery near Doncaster – one of the last three deep coal mines in the UK – is to be shut by the end of this week with the loss of 430 jobs. It is closing a year earlier than planned because it cannot find a market for its coal. The pit has been run by an employee-owned trust since 2013.
  • An application for a twelve-turbine wind farm at Rooley Moor, Lancashire, has been refused by Rochdale Borough Council. Developer Coronation Power has indicated it will appeal. The proposed site straddles the border with Rossendale Borough Council which has yet to determine its part of the scheme, originally planned to involve 17 turbines.

New homes claim

The number of new homes granted planning permission is now higher than before the 2008 economic crash, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis has insisted.

In the twelve months to March 2015, councils across England granted permission for 261,000 new homes, the highest annual total for eight years.

The Minister also said nearly a third of local planning authorities now had an adopted local plan.

View the press release

Oxford Area Action Plan approved

Oxford City Council’s plans to develop a science and research-led business park and 500 new homes in the Northern Gateway area of the city have made significant progress now a planning inspector has approved the action area plan for the scheme. Hotel, retail and leisure facilities are also included in the proposals.

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Hull projects make waves

Proposals for a 3,500-seater music and events centre in Hull with a price tag of £36m have been approved by the city council. The chosen site is derelict area behind the Princes Quay shopping centre.

In a separate move the council has backed a scheme for a new cruise terminal and riverside berth at either Sammy’s Point next to the Deep aquarium or Alexandra Dock.

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Cambridge new town takes another step

Plans for the centre of the proposed new town of Northstowe near Cambridge have been given the go-ahead by Cambridgeshire councillors.

The Northstowe Joint Development Control Committee has backed the outline planning application by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for the town centre. This second phase of the development involves around 3,500 homes and three schools.

The committee also granted detailed planning permission for a new southern access road for the town that will provide a link to the A14. Northstowe is England’s biggest new settlement since the development of Milton Keynes in the 1960s.

View the press release

London round-up

  • Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced four more housing zones to fast-track thousands of new homes. The zones in the boroughs of Havering, Enfield, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets will together deliver over 12,000 new homes, nearly 3,500 of which will be affordable housing. Included will be two new rail stations, a large new park, primary schools and retail and entertainment facilities.
  • East London’s Hackney Council has approved plans for an Article 4 Direction covering the borough’s key town and retail centres in a bid to safeguard employment and shop space. The proposed direction will mean planning permission will be required for many activities currently allowed under the change of use regime in areas such as Dalston, Hackney Central, Stoke Newington and Hoxton.
  • Southwark Council has announced it has formally listed two pubs as assets of community value. Involved are the Elephant and Castle on Newington Causeway and the Thomas A ‘Becket pub on the Old Kent Road.
  • Victoria Hills, a professional planner and former Head of Transport at the Greater London Authority, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation.
  • After a five-year wrangle involving the opposition of Southwark Council and its development partner Lend Lease, campaigners have finally been able to publish the viability assessment drawn up as part of the Heygate outline master plan. This was the subject of a bitterly contested Freedom of Information request.

Legal round-up

  • St Albans City and District Council has been refused leave to appeal the dismissal of its court challenge against the decision of former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles for a strategic rail freight interchange at a green belt location at Radlett in Hertfordshire. Campaigners have been using a crowd funding website to finance a judicial review of the development consent order granted for the Whitemoss landfill extension scheme in Lancashire.
  • The First-Tier Tribunal has ruled that Aylesbury Vale District council was entitled to refuse to disclose correspondence passing between one of its solicitors and various members of its planning department about an unauthorised development and its possible demolition.

RTPI calls for health-conscious city planning

Although there has been much focus on the need for cities to plan for growth the value of planning in promoting health has often been overlooked, the Royal Town Planning Institute has argued.

Institute President Janet Askew, speaking at an international conference in Bristol this week, said “Health problems such as obesity, chronic heart disease, stress and mental health issues are intricately linked to the physical environments in which people live and work.

“Cities need growth, but at the heart of that must be citizens’ well-being. It makes economic sense and good planning can help to achieve both” she insisted.

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Manifesto launched by TCPA

Environmental charity the Town and Country Planning Association has published a new manifesto for planning, designed to put people rather than economic growth at the heart of the planning system.

View the press release

Short shrift for supernatural objection

Developing a Grade II listed building would bring “tragedy” and a “curse” on Leicester, according to an objection to the £2m scheme to convert the 18th Century Braunstone Hall lodged with Leicester City Council. However officers have told members that “supernatural activity is not a material planning consideration”.

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