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Planning round-up 18 August 2016

Published: Thursday, 18th August 2016

Treasury claims EU funding will be honoured. 2,750-home Horsham scheme makes waves. Business Secretary Clark stresses role of ‘place’ in industrial strategy. And more stories...

Treasury claims EU funding will be honoured

Chancellor Philip Hammond has insisted that key projects supporting economic development across the UK and reliant on the promise of EU funding will be guaranteed financial support from the Treasury.

These assurances mean that all structural and investment fund projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed before the upcoming Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Treasury has also announced it will put in place arrangements for assessing whether to guarantee funding for specific structural and investment fund projects that might be signed after the Autumn Statement, but while the UK remains a member of the EU. Further details will be provided ahead of the Autumn Statement.

Financial streams involved include the European Regional Development Fund which provides backing for some Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “LEPs are a vital part of our efforts to rebalance the economy, and have helped create thousands of jobs over the past five years.

“Guaranteeing EU funding will further support this work by enabling them to plan ahead with certainty so businesses, universities and local authorities across the country can enable economic growth.”

View the press release

2,750-home Horsham scheme makes waves

Developer Liberty has submitted an outline planning application to Horsham Borough Council for a residential-led mixed use strategic development of up to 2,750 new homes, a business park with 46,450 square metres of floor space, retail units, a community centre, leisure and educational facilities and public open space.

The original plan for the scheme, known as Land North of Horsham, was for 4,500 homes and a new acute hospital, but this was revised to around 2,500 units and a business park in 2013.

The proposals are earmarked for land north of the A264 between Langhurstwood Road and Wimlands Road.

View more information

Business Secretary Clark stresses role of ‘place’ in industrial strategy

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has highlighted the role of local growth and the importance of ‘place’ in developing and delivering the government’s industrial strategy.

His comments came during a visit to Belfast last week when he revealed that for the first time, all ministers in his department will act as local growth champions across the UK and will be tasked with building relationships with a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

View the press release

Changes to Welsh appeals regime out for consultation

The Welsh government has started consulting on proposed changes to the planning appeals regime. This consultation also considers updates to standard daily amounts charged by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of Welsh ministers and updated guidance for awards of costs.

In particular the administration is seeking views on:

  • Aligning the appeals process for different types of appeals to improve speed and consistency
  • The earlier submission of key documents
  • The procedure for considering and determining an appeal
  • Participation at hearings and inquiries
  • Updates to the standard daily amounts the Planning Inspectorate can recover on behalf of Welsh ministers
  • Updated guidance on awards of costs to replace Circular 23/93: Awards of costs incurred in planning and other (including compulsory purchase order) proceedings.

View the consultation

Right to Buy replacement rate falls

The number of homes sold under Right to Buy (RTB) in England that councils have been able to start replacing fell by more than a quarter last year with national restrictions increasingly hampering their ability to build, the Local Government Association has warned.

Latest figures show 12,246 council homes were sold to tenants under RTB in England in 2015/16 but just 2,055 replacements were started by councils – a drop of 27 per cent on the year before.

Councils only keep a third of all receipts from sold RTB homes and further complex rules and restrictions mean councils are struggling to rapidly replace them.

The LGA said the current RTB scheme needs urgent reform to ensure councils are able to replace housing sold quickly and effectively. It argued that councils need to be able to retain 100 per cent of receipts from any council homes they sell and RTB discounts should be set locally to reflect local house prices.

The LGA forecasts that 66,000 council homes will be sold to tenants under the existing RTB scheme by 2020 and fears councils will struggle to replace the majority of those homes.

View the press release

Devon turbine toppled

Another single wind turbine scheme has been blown away by the Communities Secretary against the recommendation of the planning inspector who held the recovered appeal.

This latest case involved a 50kW turbine proposed for a farm at Chulmleigh, Devon originally refused by Mid Devon District Council.

The Secretary of State’s decision letter concluded that the scheme had not addressed the planning impacts identified by the local community in terms of noise, tourism, heritage sites and landscape.

View the recovered appeal: Stone Barn, Philham Farm, Chulmleigh, Devon

Go-ahead for Cumbria rad-waste facility

Cumbria County Council has approved planning permission for a 45-hectare extension of the existing Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLW) facility and site restoration at the national waste repository near the Sellafield nuclear complex in West Cumbria.  Planning consultancy Turley provided strategic planning advice.

View the press release

Liverpool city centre developments

A major new event space is set to be created outside Liverpool’s iconic St George’s Hall as part of a multi-million-pound regeneration programme for the city centre.

That proposal is one of eight major connectivity projects that will transform how people move around Liverpool city centre by foot, bike, car, coach and bus

These projects under consideration by Liverpool City Council would see a major reworking of the Strand into a four-lane highway, the construction of bus and coach parks, and upgrades to public realm and cycle routes.

The council’s cabinet meets this week (19 August) to progress the projects which have a £43m price-tag.

View the press release

New goals for Luton Town FC

Luton Borough Council has confirmed that Luton Town FC has submitted plans for a new 17,500-seater stadium at the former Power Court site as well as proposals for a business and retail park development on land adjacent to Junction 10a of the M1. Hotels are proposed for both locations.

View more information

Plans for Melton Mowbray ‘suburb’ submitted

Proposals to build up to 1,500 homes on a 72-hectare site to the south of Melton Mowbray as well as sections of a southern link road for the town have been submitted to the borough council.

The scheme, proposed by Davidsons Developments Ltd and Melton Mowbray Town Estate, would form a large part of the proposed Melton south sustainable neighbourhood outlined in the council’s draft local plan.

Also planned is a local centre with provision for a day nursery, medical centre, pub/restaurant and a community building alongside new areas of public open space.

View more information

Warwickshire ‘big box’ project approved

North Warwickshire Borough Council has approved proposals for a ‘big box’ warehouse scheme known as Core 1, part of Hodgetts Estates’ Core 42 distribution hub next to Birch Coppice Business Park and close to junction 10 of the M42 motorway.

The scheme involves a warehouse with associated office space, totalling 32,089 square metres as well as extensive trailer parking and associated service yard, infrastructure, landscaping and amenities, including foot and cycle paths.

View more information

Gloucestershire green belt helicopter base cleared for take-off

Proposals for a new helicopter base on a 29-hectare green belt site adjoining the Almondsbury M4/M5 Interchange have been granted planning permission by South Gloucestershire District Council.

The facility, a new base for the National Police Air Service and the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, had been opposed by many residents from both Almondsbury and Bradley Stoke over noise pollution, night flights and infringement of the green belt.

The air ambulance service, currently situated at the former Filton Airfield, has been looking for a new home following plans to develop the airfield with up to 2,675 new dwellings.

Officers argued that “very special circumstances” justified the scheme which they acknowledged would harm the openness of the green belt.

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Dorchester prison redevelopment blocked

West Dorset District Council members have slammed the door on proposals to convert Dorchester Prison into a development providing 189 new homes. Officers had recommended that the scheme should be allowed despite the provision of no affordable housing.

Although this issue was a major source of controversy for the scheme proposed by developer City and Country the reason for refusal focussed on the “over bearing” impact of the project on neighbouring properties.

View more information

London round-up

  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written to PM Theresa May urging her to make the decision on new airport capacity in south east England a top priority for the government and to opt for a second runway at Gatwick Airport. Khan argued a second runway at Gatwick would bring substantial economic benefits to London without the significant environmental cost of expanding Heathrow.
  • Historic England has called on the Communities Secretary to call-in proposals for a 25-storey residential tower at Somers Town near St Pancras Railway Station which the heritage advisor claimed would blight views of Chester Terrace, a Grade 1 Listed row of neo-classical homes in nearby Regent’s Park. The scheme has been approved by Camden Council and the London mayor.
  • Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is involved in a fresh planning row following one with singer Robbie Williams, his Holland Park neighbour in west London. Page is now up in arms over City hedge fund tycoon Sir Harvey McGrath’s proposals for a basement development close to Page’s Grade 1 listed property, Tower House.

Green light for Lincoln bus station

A new bus station and 1,000 space car park will be built in Lincoln now the government has committed £11m to fund the project.

The £29m scheme will help improve city centre journeys for people living, working or visiting the town and deliver a boost to the economy.

The government funding comes after the Transport Secretary approved plans for a new eastern bypass earlier this year. There will also be improvements to Lincoln Central railway station and a pedestrianised plaza connecting the bus and rail stations.

View more information 

Inquiry into accessibility

The House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee has launched an inquiry on disability and the built environment. The all-party group is seeking evidence on government policy on and current provision of accessible properties (including homes and commercial premises).

The committee wants to know whether existing planning and building regulations systems are effective in ensuring the provision of new accessible / lifetime homes.

As well the MPs are seeking views on whether financial or other mechanisms could be used to encourage developers to go beyond minimum standards of accessibility.

View more information

MPs probe public land disposals

The Commons Public Accounts Committee has launched a further inquiry into the disposal of public land for new homes. This will examine the government's progress on selling land for more than 160,000 homes by 2020.

This work follows on from the Committee’s June 2015 investigation and the January 2016 progress review.

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Fracking payments poll results published

A YouGov survey, published this week, has shown that 33 per cent of people polled would support fracking in their local area if households were paid up to £10,000, while 43 per cent ‘strongly’ or ‘tend to’ oppose fracking. Some 25 per cent remained ‘unsure’ according to the poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth.

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People news

  • Alice Lester is leaving her role as programme manager at the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) after more than 11 years at the organisation. She is set to join the London Borough of Brent in mid-October where she will become head of planning, transport and licensing.
  • Business Secretary Greg Clark has appointed Michael Mire as the new chairman of the Land Registry. The agency maintains the register of ownership of land and property containing more than 24 million titles. Controversially the organisation is due to be privatised.
  • Ben Derbyshire has been elected the next President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).  He will take over the two-year presidential term from Jane Duncan on 1 September 2017; from 1 September 2016 he will officially become RIBA President-Elect.

Legal round-up

Roger Milne