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Planning round-up 8 September 2016

Published: Thursday, 8th September 2016

Neighbourhood Planning Bill published. Parliament says health should be a ‘material consideration’ for planning proposals. Moorland transformation. New Welsh flood advice. And more stories...

Neighbourhood Planning Bill published

The government this week (7 September) published its latest planning-related legislation in the guise of a Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

Contrary to the Queens Speech announcement in May the name of the bill has been changed. It no longer contains infrastructure in the title and the legislation itself does not include provisions about the National Infrastructure Commission.

The Bill includes measures to simplify and speed up neighbourhood planning, a substantive package on compulsory purchase orders, simplified pre-commencement conditions and a new requirement for local planning authorities to capture data on permitted development approvals.

View the press release

Parliament says health should be a ‘material consideration’ for planning proposals

MPs have urged ministers to stipulate that health should be a material consideration in both planning and licensing law.

That’s the recommendation of the Commons Health Committee in a report on public health which warned of widening health inequalities now councils have taken over more responsibility in this area at a time of cuts to budgets and front-line services.

The all-party committee considered evidence it would be “beneficial” if health and well-being was treated as material consideration in planning applications.

Ros Jervis director of public health at Wolverhampton City Council told MPs: “it could make a real impact rather than us trying to fudge it with some of the other four licencing objectives that we have. They do not have to be onerous, there are some quick mini-health impact assessments, but they need to be systematic, so not ad hoc just when you can persuade them to be undertaken”.

View the report.

Development Control Order for Lincolnshire power connection project

The Development Control Order for the power connection project which will link the 288-turbine Triton Knoll offshore wind farm to the National Grid has been approved by Energy and Business Secretary Greg Clark. The array is located 33 kilometres off the Lincolnshire coast.

The scheme will involve some 66 kilometres of submarine cable; landfall at Anderby Creek in East Lindsey; on shore underground cable along a route of 60 kilometres; an intermediate electrical compound to provide voltage stability and compensate for electrical losses; a new on shore substation west of Bicker and a high voltage connection (undergrounded) between the new substation at Bicker Fen and the existing National Grid 400 kilovolt substation at Bicker Fen.

View the associated documents.

MPs urge clear transport strategy to tackle environmental issues

The Department for Transport (DfT) must develop a clear strategy to increase the use of ultra-low emission vehicles and reduce air pollution so it can meet decarbonisation and air quality targets, a report from the Common’s Environmental Audit Committee insisted last week.

The report highlighted that in 2013 only five of 43 clean air zones in the UK met EU standards on levels of NOx, a pollutant which causes respiratory diseases.

Committee chair Mary Creagh said: "The uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles like electric cars, is too low to meet the UK's climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public. Air quality targets that were supposed to be met in 2010 won't be hit until 2020 at the earliest”.

She added: "Transport authorities throughout England told us they have had problems with getting sustainable transport projects off the ground, because the DfT places more importance on economic benefits rather than the health benefits of improving air quality.”

Creagh urged ministers to commit to keep existing European air quality standards. And she called on the DfT to work with the Treasury, Health and Local Government departments “to ensure the benefits of clean air are properly costed in transport investment decisions."

Read the news story.

Moorland transformation

A major programme to help protect and transform moorlands across the South Pennines and the Peak District National Park is now underway. Work has started on the Derwent and Howden moors, as part of the €16m five-year MoorLIFE 2020 project

Over the next four years the project will work to protect the integrity of 95 square kilometres of active blanket bog through re-vegetating bare peat, improving hydrology and diversifying existing vegetation.

In this first phase of work, erosion gullies on Howden and Derwent Moors will be blocked to raise the water table and rewet the moors.

Read the Moors for the Future press release.

Latest DCLG plan insists a million new homes is “our ambition”

The Department for Communities and Local Government’s latest departmental plan, just published, commits DCLG to “driving up housing supply” but insists the one million figure over the next five year quoted by ministers is “our ambition”.

The plan does highlight the prospect of 400, 000 affordable housing starts by 2020/21 and measures to unlock at least 30,000 Starter Homes on brownfield land.

The plan says DCLG will lead the government’s programme to release land for 160,000 homes by 2020 with the department directly contributing land for 36,000 new homes.

The department says it will ensure 90 per cent of suitable brownfield sites will have planning permission for housing by 2020 and that 95,000 homes will be created through the funding of Housing Zones.

It has also committed to doubling the number of custom-built and self-built homes by 2020. The plan says the government’s estate regeneration schemes will deliver more than 8,000 additional quality homes.

Read the corporate report from DCLG.

New Welsh flood advice

Welsh chief planner Neil Hemington has written to planning authorities highlighting the latest guidance on climate change allowances in areas at risk of flooding.

His letter stated: “The risk of flooding is expected to increase as a result of climate change and it is important for consideration to be given to this increased risk when considering planning applications and preparing and reviewing local development plans.”

The advice sets out how projected increases to peak river flows and sea levels, resulting from climate change, should be incorporated into flood consequence assessments (FCAs), both for individual planning applications and for the purpose of development planning.

These climate projections should be incorporated into FCAs accompanying planning applications submitted from 1 December 2016. The guidance will be updated when the next climate projections are produced.

Read more information.

London developments

Taunton set-back

Developer St Modwen is licking its wounds after Taunton Deane District Council rejected outline planning consent for its £105m Firepool development in Taunton. The council is the landowner and St Modwen’s development partner.

The proposals for the site include a 600-seater cinema, a hotel, offices, new shops, waterfront restaurants, car parking and up to 200 new homes.

Councillor John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: "Firepool’s regeneration remains our priority.  We have come a long way since development on the site was proposed and we are most definitely not back to square one.

"The concerns of the planning committee centred around layout and design, rather than the principle of development and the mix of use, so we will now address these with our development partner St Modwen with the aim of finding a way forward as soon as possible.”

The Firepool site comprises an old livestock market and former Great Western Railway depot as well as undeveloped land. It is allocated as a strategic office/employment site as part of the Taunton Town Centre Area Action Plan.

Find out more about the Firepool development.

Bradford local plan marches on

Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s core strategy has been declared sound by a planning inspector subject to certain modifications.

The local plan is designed to deliver over 42,100 new homes over the 15-year plan period and brownfield sites will be prioritised. However, some green belt land will have to be released to meet the scale of the new-build required.

The strategy includes two Area Action Plans: for the Canal Road Corridor and Bradford City Centre areas.

View the press release

Liverpool housing boost

Liverpool City Council has approved schemes providing around 600 flats and more than 300 student bedrooms.

One project in Benson Street will involve the demolition of Renshaw Hall, formerly a skating rink and more recently used as an indoor car park. It will be replaced by three buildings providing a hotel and student accommodation.

Preston projects

Lancashire County Council has put three 1960s office buildings up for sale in Preston City centre with development potential including for residential use.

Two of the buildings up for sale are Hinckley House and Guild House, which overlook Winckley Square, on either side of Cross Street. 58-60 Guild Hall Street, located around the corner from Winckley Square, is also available.

Lancashire County Council is in talks with Preston City Council’s planning department over potential demolition. Others uses being considered include retail, restaurants and hotel.

The square is in the Preston housing zone where the city council has identified potential for up to 750 units.

Meanwhile a Barratt Homes development of 140 houses on the edge of Preston is set to be approved without provision of 40 affordable homes. An error on the original outline planning permission omitted a condition requiring that 30 per cent of the scheme should be at less than market value.

Separately a planning application has been submitted for the £13m youth facility due to be built next to Preston’s grade two-listed bus station.

Help for heat networks

A further 38 local authorities are sharing £2.8m funding from the government to work on feasibility studies for local heat networks and district heating projects.

This will bring the total number of local authorities working on such plans to 131, out of the 381 in England and Wales.

GLA’s Murray joins GL Hearn

Capita Real Estate has announced that Stewart Murray will join property consultancy GL Hearn as head of its Development Group.

Stewart is currently the assistant director of planning for the Greater London Authority and has been responsible for shaping the Mayor’s London Plan and leading on strategic planning opportunities in the capital.

Stewart will take up his role at GL Hearn later this autumn. He will be responsible for strategic direction and new growth opportunities as well as providing high level advice to clients.

Legal round-up

Roger Milne