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Planning round-up 25 August 2016

Published: Thursday, 25th August 2016

HS2 safeguarding announcement. Liverpool local plan progress. Council approves Wigan colliery site redevelopment. Kent shopping centre regeneration. Birmingham city developments. And more stories...

HS2 safeguarding announcement

The government has updated the safeguarding directions to local planning authorities along the phase one route of HS2, the planned high speed rail network.

The update follows a number of changes to the route, that were agreed when the House of Commons Select Committee scrutinising the proposed legislation for phase one of HS2, between the West Midlands and London.

The improvements to the route will mean fewer properties are affected by HS2. These changes include a 1.6­mile extension to the deep bored tunnel under the Chilterns.

The new directions also cover the realignment of the route near Lichfield to allow the railway to pass under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire Line rather than run over them on viaducts and make two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal.

As well as protecting the land required for HS2, safeguarding directions trigger statutory compensation arrangements for affected homeowners.



Liverpool local plan progress

Liverpool City Council has announced it will begin public consultation on its draft local plan over a six week period starting in September. It has acknowledged that updated population forecasts mean it is likely to need to provide for a further 9,000 new homes on top of the 29,600 figure it was already considering.

Where development will go was an important issue at May’s local elections. Local discontent around the sale of green spaces for housing in areas such as Allerton and nearby Sefton Park helped bolster gains for both the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats.



London developments


  • The chair of the trust behind London's controversial Garden Bridge has urged the government not to axe the project, after a Newsnight investigation revealed that its funding shortfall is now over £20m larger than thought. The Department for Transport is currently considering whether to extend its £15m underwriting of the scheme.
  • A ‘boutique’ hotel earmarked for a site in the Covent Garden area of central London has been granted planning permission by Westminster City Council. The hotel will include 83 rooms, a spa, restaurant, retail, private members club and office. The site is bounded by Wellington Street, Tavistock Street, Exeter Street and Burleigh Street and consists of a group of six buildings, three of which are Grade ll listed. Film star Robert de Niro is a partner in the scheme.
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan this week released the first details of proposals to set up a powerful 'Homes for Londoners' team at City Hall to oversee homebuilding in the capital and boost delivery of new and affordable homes. This move came as the first surplus site owned by Transport for London (TfL) has been released for development and is set to provide 400 new homes, 50 per cent of which will be affordable. It is in Greenwich.
  • An analysis of latest data on new build house sales in the capital has highlighted that sales are plummeting despite a surge in planning approvals. Those are the headline findings of research by specialist property advisor London Central Portfolio Ltd.



Council approves Wigan colliery site redevelopment

Wigan Council has approved outline proposals for a residential scheme of up to 470 new homes on a 21­hectare former colliery site on the north side of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh. The scheme is a joint venture by the Canal & River Trust and the local authority.

The officers’ report concluded that the site was “in a highly sustainable location within the urban area. It is an area of despoiled land and will bring benefits such as the canal path and proposed new bridge connecting the wider area to Pennington Flash Country Park.

“It will also contribute to the council's five­year housing land supply. The proposals will have some limited environmental impacts. However, these can be satisfactorily mitigated and minimised to an acceptable degree, and furthermore the resulting effects of development on the amenities of surrounding residential properties are not of a magnitude which would justify withholding planning permission.”


Transport projects

  • Two councils have urged Highways England to back a new M5 junction and bridge over the River Severn in Gloucestershire. Stroud and Forest of Dean district councils have written to the roads agency to request a new Junction 13A.This would be would be located between J13 for Stroud and J14 for Wotton­under­Edge. A bridge linking the junction to the Forest of Dean would also create a third major route into Wales. A feasibility study into the project is scheduled for later this year. The councils see a new junction as providing growth opportunities for Sharpness, Berkeley, and Oldbury.
  • The Department for Transport has published its latest studies on proposals to improve the A1 east of England route and, separately, the Cambridge to Oxford expressway, a scheme to link existing roads between the two university cities which would also involve Bedford and Milton Keynes.



Welsh schemes

The redevelopment of the derelict site of a former fire extinguisher factory in the Rhondda Valley with a 172­home scheme has been approved the Rhondda Cynon Taff Borough Council.

The site, on the Maerdy Industrial Estate at Ferndale, has remained empty since Chubb moved its manufacturing to China 12 years ago.

Meanwhile environmental services giant Viridor has applied to Cardiff City Council to vary the existing planning permission for its Splott energy from waste facility in Cardiff Bay.

And last week fresh plans have been lodged for a controversial £12m hydroelectric scheme on the River Conwy.

RWE Innogy UK wants to build the power station on the Conwy Falls, south of Betws­y­Coed ­ one of the most scenic stretches of the river. The Snowdonia National Park Authority rejected the initial plans.

Kent shopping centre regeneration

Sevenoaks District Council has confirmed that developer U+I has submitted proposals to regenerate the existing Swanley Square Shopping Centre by developing the large car parking areas to the rear of the complex with 340 new homes, some 4,300 square metres of new shops and restaurants and community facilities. Also planned are a refurbished public square and a new multi­storey car­park.


Birmingham city developments

The new­look Centenary Square in Birmingham city centre could be open by summer 2018 now the city council has approved planning permission for the £10m project which will see a 'grid' of 43 lighting columns erected around the square outside the Library of Birmingham along with pools and fountains, resurfacing works and new trees and benches.


The project was designed by Edinburgh­based Graeme Massie Architects after an open competition.

Meanwhile Glenn Howells Architects’ plans for a 26­storey hotel next to the revamped New Street Station and Grand Central shopping centre are set to be approved next week.

Oxfordshire garden village settlement mooted

West Oxfordshire District Council, with the backing of Oxford City Council, has made an ‘Expression of Interest’ to central government to create a locally-led ‘garden village’ settlement of some 2,200 new homes on land north of Eynsham.


Taunton major office proposals

Plans have been lodged for new Taunton headquarters for the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office as well as a residential development on the site.

An application for its new offices on the site has now been submitted to Taunton Deane Borough Council.

Land at the front of the current Admiralty Way site would be sold for redevelopment and outline planning permission is also being sought for a residential scheme.

View the news story

Legal round-up


  • Dartford Borough Council has obtained permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal a High Court ruling in what is billed as a key case on ‘garden grabbing’.
  • Development work that restricts natural sunlight to property can in principle be a breach of a 'quiet enjoyment' covenant in a lease, even where no formal right to light exists, according to the county court.


Roger Milne