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Planning round-up 30 June 2016

Published: Thursday, 30th June 2016

Wolverhampton tram expansion. Ashford redevelopment approved. London round-up. Bradford consents homes in flood-risk area. Clark blows away single turbine near M1. And more stories...

Wolverhampton tram expansion

Proposals for an extension of the Midland Metro tram system in Wolverhampton have been given the go-ahead by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin who last week confirmed the Transport and Work Act Order for the £18m scheme.

The Order means the scheme now has deemed planning permission and the compulsory purchase powers required to allow the tram system to proceed along Pipers Row, to the city's bus station and on to the railway station which is being redeveloped. The tram extension is a key element of the £120m redevelopment of the city centre.

A planning inspector had recommended the project should go ahead. The Secretary of State agreed that the Order was justified “on its merits”.

The decision letter said the SoS was satisfied that “the substantial transportation and economic benefits of the scheme would outweigh private losses and that there would be no other unacceptable adverse effects of the scheme or likely impediments to its implementation”.

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Ashford redevelopment approved

Ashford Borough Council has approved a hybrid application from Development Securities for detailed permission for 400 homes on a 3.6-hectare brownfield site in the town, and outline consent for a further 260 homes.

The homes with detailed permission would be delivered in seven blocks of up to eight storeys in height.

The consent also includes parking and 61 square metres of retail space at the site, which is a cleared former base of energy firm PowerGen.

The scheme will be delivered by regeneration specialist U+I, in partnership with Canterbury-based developer Quinn Estates and private rented sector operator, Neighbour.

View the press release

London round-up

London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a formal review of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), the mayoral corporation established by Khan’s predecessor. He wants to be reassured the organisation charged with regenerating a huge swathe of west London delivers the maximum amount of affordable housing.

A new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail station complex is due to be constructed at Old Oak Common by 2026 and publicly owned land is being vested in the OPDC. Khan is concerned at the price-tag and how the costs of remediation will impact on the pace and scale of development.

The OPDC has full planning powers for an area of 650-hectares of land in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent.

Meanwhile is a separate but related move Khan has announced a review of Housing Zones in the capital, again with an aim of increasing the delivery of affordable homes.

Separately, Hackney mayor Jules Pipe has urged City Hall to send the Bishopsgate Goodsyard Scheme back to the boroughs (Tower Hamlets and Hackney) that initially rejected it. 

Former London mayor Boris Johnson intervened but failed to determine the highly controversial proposals before his term ended.

Bradford consents homes in flood-risk area

Countryside Properties has been given the go-ahead by the city council planning committee to build a residential development of 190 homes at a site at Silsden near Bradford in an area affected by River Aire flooding last December. The committee was told there would be alleviation measures such as large underground tanks to store excess water.

The development includes 20 per cent affordable housing, £100,000 towards a new footbridge to cross the A629 and nearly £203,000 towards primary school places in the area.

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Clark blows away single turbine near M1

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal over plans for a single wind turbine on land north east of Bugbrooke, in Northamptonshire. The inspector who held the recovered inquiry described the area as a “gently undulating working agricultural landscape where man-made intrusions such as flour mills, power lines tall buildings and the M1 motorway are easily accommodated”.

The schemes had been refused by South Northampton shire District Council and were opposed by the local MP Chris Heaton-Smith who has been a vocal and high-profile campaigner against onshore wind projects.

The inspector had recommended the single turbine should be allowed but Clark disagreed as the project, he stressed, did not have the backing of the local community.

View the recovered appeal: land north-east of Bugbrooke, Kislingbury, Northamptonshire

Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s core strategy is sound

The inspector examining Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s Core Strategy has reported that the strategy is sound and legally compliant provided agreed modifications are accepted by the local planning authority. The strategy has had a bumpy ride including a period when the development plan’s examination was suspended.

The housing requirement is determined as a minimum of 14,600 dwellings, an increase of 3,800 dwellings above the originally submitted figure. In addition to the housing requirement there is a policy commitment to identify a further 20 per cent on reserve sites to provide a contingency if delivery on proposed allocated/consented sites is delayed and to make a contribution to meeting unmet housing needs arising elsewhere in neighbouring Birmingham and/or Coventry.

As a consequence additional sites have been allocated including a new settlement at Long Marston Airfield associated with a new bypass for Stratford-upon-Avon, and significant additional allocations at Stratford-upon-Avon and Southam. Also in the mix is a new settlement at Gaydon Lighthorne Heath and an additional employment allocation to meet the needs of Aston Martin Lagonda.

View the press release

Humber Bridge mooted as tourist attraction

Planning consultancy Barton Willmore has submitted a planning application to East Riding of Yorkshire Council on behalf of the Humber Bridge Board designed transform the iconic Humber Bridge into the region’s largest tourist attraction.

The structure, the seventh longest suspension bridge in the world (and the biggest in the UK), is currently open to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The new facilities are anticipated to attract up to 400,000 visitors to the area each year.

Proposed is a visitor centre comprising a restaurant, exhibition space, cafe and shop, as well as glass lifts, gondolas and viewing platforms which will provide uninterrupted views across the estuary.

The plans also include a mixed-used development consisting of a 60-bed hotel and 7,000 square metres of office space with associated landscaping and car parking.

View the press release

Waverley banks on airfield to meet housing delivery

Dunsfold Aerodrome near Cranleigh in Surrey has been identified in Waverley Borough Council‘s proposed draft local plan as suitable for over a quarter of the 9,861 additional homes it must deliver over the plan period from 2013 to 2032, equivalent to 519 homes a year.

The draft strategy says the aerodrome can be sustainably developed “for a mix of uses, including up to 2,600 homes, as long as the necessary supporting infrastructure is provided including highways improvements”.

Proposals for a new settlement of 2,600 homes there was rejected in 2009 by the then Communities Secretary.

Currently the Rutland Group, who manages the aerodrome and adjoining business park, has submitted plans for a new ‘sustainable’ Surrey village of 1,800 new homes at the site. The scheme would also see the business park expanded by 30,000 square metres and the creation of a ‘substantial’ country park surrounding the village. These proposals are unlikely to be determined before August this year at the earliest.

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Hampshire brewery site revamp

East Hampshire District Council are due to discuss a development brief for a residential-led mixed-use scheme for the Molson Coors brewery site in the centre of Alton next to a conservation area and close the much filmed heritage Watercress Line.

Proposed for the 5.1-hectare site alongside the River Wey are between 140 and 200 new homes, a hotel, employment uses and a new community facility for the town. Local conservation body the Alton Society has suggested that up to 250 flats and maisonettes could be accommodated on the site as well as a new plaza and a multi-purpose building that could be used for music, theatre, and perhaps as a cinema.

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Norfolk tree house saved

South Norfolk Council members have gone against recommendation of officers and given retrospective planning permission for a child’s tree house in a garden at Harleston built three years ago by a scaffolder.

Legal round-up

Roger Milne