Latest news

Planning round-up 7 July 2016

Published: Thursday, 7th July 2016

Milton Keynes 2050 vision. Lincolnshire Lakes development mooted as a ‘Garden City’. Latest stats on home approvals. Local plan round-up. RTPI bursary initiative. And more stories...

Milton Keynes 2050 vision

By 2050 Milton Keynes could be home to 400,000 residents and recognised internationally as a centre of learning and innovation at the heart of a cluster of high-performing universities in the Cambridge- Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc leading the UK’s bid to compete for the advanced industries driving global economic growth.

That’s the prospect held out by a report published this week by a commission of independent experts who have been considering what sort of city MK could become by 2050.

Chaired by Sir Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor of Cranfield University, the Commission has suggested how MK could become a preeminent cultured, green, creative and smart city.

The report highlighted the potential of the Arc as “a single knowledge intensive cluster as envisaged by HM Treasury and the National Infrastructure Commission.

“It would harness the proposed investments in East-West Rail and the A421 Expressway. It would look at the potential of Cranfield airport.

“This is a major opportunity for Milton Keynes to work more closely with Oxford and Cambridge, and particularly with adjacent councils to attract investment to promote inclusive growth.”

View the report

Lincolnshire Lakes development mooted as a ‘Garden City’

North Lincolnshire Council is consulting on its plans to apply for Garden City status for the ambitious Lincolnshire Lakes development and the areas surrounding it.

The proposed ‘garden city’ would involve over 10,000 new homes. The local authority is hoping to make a formal submission to the government by the end of this month.

It has stressed that developing a new settlement using the New Towns Act would give the council powers to speed up the initiative. Garden City status would also allow the council to compulsory buy land and provide long-term planning certainty for private sector investors and landowners



Latest stats on home approvals

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes in England during the first quarter of this year was four per cent higher (at 66,102) than the same period last year according to the latest report compiled for the Home Builders Federation by industry consultancy Glenigan.

The last 12 months have seen a 66 per cent increase in permissions granted compared to the worst year of the recession which was 2009.

Over 180,000 new homes were added to the housing stock in 2014/15 up 22 per cent on the previous year.

Meanwhile the Homes and Communities Agency has released its latest figures for housing starts between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

These show there were 33,332 housing starts on site and 25,315 housing completions delivered through programmes managed by the Agency in England (excluding London for all programmes except those administered by the HCA on behalf of the Greater London Authority).

Some 64 per cent of the housing starts on site in 2015-16 were for affordable homes, a decrease of 19 per cent compared to 2014-15.

View the HBF press release

View the HCA statistics


Local plan round-up

South Oxfordshire District Council has begun consulting on options for a new sustainable settlement of 3,500 homes as part of its updated housing strategy for its local plan. The council’s preferred option (from seven) is Chalgrove Airfield, a former Second World War airfield located directly north of the village of the same name 11 miles to the east of central Oxford.


The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead is carrying out its final consultation on its local plan which sets out proposals to provide up to 13,500 new homes between 2013 and 2032. Two previously developed locations in green belt areas have been identified as suitable for major new housing: the Heatherwood Hospital site in Ascot and the former Civil Service college site at Sunningdale.

East Lindsey District Council draft local plan provides for a housing target of 7815 new homes over the plan period to 2031. This includes a maximum target of 1308 dwellings in the coastal zone and a minimum target of 6534 for the inland part of the district.

Meanwhile the inspector examining the Forest of Dean District Council’s latest core strategy has called for more work to ensure the objectively assessed housing need evidence is robust enough to meet the anticipated annual need for around 340 new homes annually up to 2026.


SUE proposed for site near Bicester

Developers Redrow and Wates have submitted an outline planning application to Cherwell District Council for a sustainable urban development of 1,500 new homes called Wretchwick Green, located to the south-east of Bicester on a site allocated in the planning authority’s adopted local plan. Some 30 per cent of the new housing would be affordable.

The proposals also include up to 18-hectares of employment land, a primary school, a multi-purpose local centre to include a community centre and retail space. Green infrastructure would cover nearly 50 per cent of the site.



Airport capacity decision delayed

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told MPs that a decision on new airport capacity in south-eastern England, originally expected this summer, has been put back.

McLoughlin said that the prospect of a new prime minister meant there would not now be an announcement “until at least October.”

He added: “We aim to publish the further analysis on air quality soon. Separately, promoters have announced undertakings that would increase the compensation available for residents living near the airports and the connectivity between other UK airports.”



Energy developments


  • Proposals for an opencast mine at Highthorn near Widdrington on the Northumberland coast near Druridge Bay have been given the green light by the county council. The scheme which will now be considered by Communities Secretary Greg Clark would be operational for seven years and see 3,000 tonnes of coal extracted by mining company Banks.
  • Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal over a four-turbine wind farm in Nottinghamshire against the recommendation of the planning inspector who held the recovered appeal. Earlier Newark & Sherwood District Council had blocked the scheme. The SoS said the proposals would result in harm to the landscape, to the setting of a church and to the visual amenity of neighbouring properties and that some of the planning impacts had not been addressed “in the circumstances of this case” and in line with the most recent written ministerial statement.
  • Northamptonshire County Council has given the green light to a power project which will turn manure and crops into biogas at Wormslade Farm near Kelmarsh in the vicinity of Grade1 listed Kelmarsh Hall.
  • Communities Minister Mark Francois has offered seaside areas the chance to bid for a share of £200,000 to help set up 20 new coastal communities teams to progress regeneration projects.



London round-up


  • Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has launched plans for what he claimed would be the toughest crackdown on the most polluting vehicles by any major city around the world. A £10 charge for the most polluting vehicles and an extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone form part of a major public consultation launched on 5 July, the 60th anniversary of the pioneering Clean Air Act.
  • Khan has appointed councillor Jules Pipe, a vocal opponent of the controversial Bishopsgate Goodsyard redevelopment to his top team as deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills. He will lead on the revision of the London Plan and work closely with James Murray, deputy mayor for housing and residential development, to tackle the city’s housing crisis. Pipe will stand down from his role as Hackney mayor and, separately, Chair of London Councils.
  • Khan used a speech at a Times chief executives conference last week to confirm he wants more fiscal and tax raising powers, as well as more control over business and skills, housing and planning, transport, health and policing and criminal justice.



Green belt mock Tudor castle planning saga ends

A decade-long planning wrangle over the building of a mock Tudor castle in the Surrey green belt without permission has finally ended.

Reigate & Banstead District Council has notified the High Court that the site has now been cleared in line with a previously contested enforcement notices.

Robert Fidler illegally built the property at Honeycrock Farm, initially hiding the new house behind straw bales in an unsuccessful bid to avoid planning issues.

Most recently the planning authority had to go to the High Court in a bid to ensure the building was fully cleared away. In a statement the council said “Following our visit to Honeycrock Farm we are satisfied that Mr Fidler has complied with the requirements of the outstanding enforcement notices.

“We have updated the High Court and the Judge has vacated the hearing scheduled for Monday 4 July. This now brings matters to a close.”

View the press release


RTPI bursary initiative

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has announced it will fund four undergraduate bursaries for the 2016-17 academic year to help high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds or living with a disability to study planning and gain Chartered membership.

The new bursaries, worth £2000 each, will be offered to undergraduate students already enrolled on an RTPI accredited planning course in the UK or Ireland.


Legal round-up




Roger Milne