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Planning round-up 21 July 2016

Published: Thursday, 21st July 2016

Liverpool snubs UNESCO request over World Heritage site. Park homes boost? Peers criticise government housing policy . Maidenhead moves to boost housing. And more stories...

Liverpool snubs UNESCO request over World Heritage site

Liverpool City Council has given the cold shoulder to a recommendation from UNESCO that there should be a moratorium on new development within the city’s world heritage site and the surrounding buffer zone. Mayor Joe Anderson has said he will write to the UN body rejecting its request.

A council spokesman said: “We work extremely hard to balance conservation with the development needs of a growing city, and UNESCO recognises we have made progress in addressing their concerns.

 “The number of buildings in Liverpool on the at-risk register is at a 25 year low and Historic England says the city is an example of best practice nationally.

 “Liverpool remains open for business and all planning applications will continue to be determined in the usual way in line with national planning policies and guidance.

 “We can’t place developments in large parts of the city centre on hold as it would send out completely the wrong message to investors, cost jobs and leave us open to expensive legal challenges by developers.

 “We are working with the government, who make representations on behalf of World Heritage Sites at the UNESCO Committee, to look at how best to resolve the situation.”

View the new article in the Liverpool Echo

Park homes boost?

Park home operators could benefit from Housing and Planning Act 2016 because it identifies residential caravans as an additional type of housing for the first time, national property consultant Sanderson Weatherall has argued.

Clause 124 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which came into force on 12 July, recognises residential caravans as having a role in contributing towards the supply of housing in a given area.

In a significant step change from previous planning guidance, it means local housing authorities will need to start forward planning for the provision of park homes – increasing the prospects that new park home applications will be given planning approval.

The government’s online Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) is now expected to be updated in line with Clause 124, to specifically identify park homes as an additional type of housing that needs to be considered and planned for.

Owen Pike, associate partner and planning expert at Sanderson Weatherall, said: “For the first time, residential caravans have been identified as contributing towards housing supply and that could be great news for those sites looking to increase in size.”

Peers criticise government housing policy

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has taken the government to task for setting a new homes target which it says will fail to meet the demand for new homes or moderate the rate of house price increases.

The peers have also criticised the administration for restricting local authorities’ access to funding to build more social housing.

In a report the committee accused the government of creating uncertainty “in an already dysfunctional housing market by frequent changes to tax rules and subsidies for house purchases, reductions in social rents, and the extension of the Right to Buy. “All of these changes reduce the supply of homes for those who need low cost rental accommodation.”

The Committee has recommended that council tax should be charged on development that is not completed quickly. It also argued that the government’s reliance on private developers to meet its target of new homes was misguided.

View the report

Maidenhead moves to boost housing

The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead and Maidenhead Golf Club has signed a contract which will see the council buy back the Club’s lease, opening up the opportunity for the 55-hectare site to be brought forward for development delivering around 1,500 new homes, including 30 per cent affordable housing for local people.

New infrastructure, including road improvements, new schools, health facilities and public open spaces would also be part of any future development. 

In a separate but related move the council has announced it is looking for a development partner for four major mixed-use sites in Maidenhead in York Road, West Street, Reform Road and St Clouds Way.

View the press release

Wilmslow green belt office approval

Insurance giant Royal London's bid to expand its Wilmslow campus on land in the green belt, creating up to 600 jobs, has been given the go-ahead by Cheshire East Council.

Its planning committee has approved an outline application by the Royal London Mutual Insurance Society and Property Alliance Group for a new office development to the east of its existing site and south of the town centre, subject to referral to the Communities Secretary. HOW Planning is the agent on the scheme.

An illustrative master plan accompanying the AHR Architects-designed proposal shows how the site could incorporate an office with an internal floor area of 182,986 square feet alongside up to 1,100 parking spaces.

View the planning application

Rotherham master plan

Rotherham Council is proposing to draw up a master plan which will provide further details on how the town centre will be developed in the next five to ten years.

This initiative would build on the work of the Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

Councillor Denise Lelliott the council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy said: “The master plan would be an important tool in marketing the wider town centre to potential investors and encouraging further regeneration.

“Although the SPD is a useful document and identifies specific sites for development, it isn’t designed to consider the full range of development issues within those sites such as viability and deliverability of proposals. Neither does it focus in detail on how each of the key sites could be delivered.”

The master plan would cover a larger area than the SPD, identifying key development sites in the town centre and surrounding areas. It would also focus on transport issues in more detail, including car parking, and identify the key issues and challenges that are likely to affect the town centre.

View the press release

Caerphilly replacement LDP withdrawn

Caerphilly County Borough Council has formally agreed to withdraw the authority’s draft replacement local development plan (LDP).

The blueprint for development across the county borough until 2031 has been the subject of wide-scale public consultation. Thousands of individuals and organisations submitted comments and five petitions were received objecting to a number of key proposals for new housing sites.

Council leader councillor Keith Reynolds said, “It is clear that many local people have significant concerns about some of the proposals within the LDP, therefore we need to reflect these views and reconsider a way forward.”

He said an emerging regional agenda to develop a more strategic approach to planning across wider South Wales was also giving pause for thought.

The council is proposing further discussions with Welsh government and local authorities within the Cardiff Capital Region over the possible development of a strategic development plan.

The council was the first local authority in Wales to formally adopt a local development plan in 2010.

View the press release

Albert Dock development

A joint venture between Patten Properties and Panacea Property Development has confirmed submission of plans for a major residential development overlooking Liverpool’s Albert Dock.

The joint venture proposes a stepped development rising to 19 storeys at its highest point. The proposals include the demolition of a four-storey office building, Strand House, and the creation of a new development of 395 residential units with private roof terraces at the upper levels and ground floor space for restaurants, bars and cafés.

View more information on Panacea’s website

Garden city report

New garden cities could help a generation of young people “locked out” of home ownership according to a research paper produced for the International Garden Cities Institute.

The paper suggested that government funding for infrastructure as well as private finance from pension funds could support a new wave of garden cities

Read the news article

Legal round-up

Roger Milne