Latest news

Planning round-up 20 October 2016

Published: Thursday, 20th October 2016

Clean air zones consultation. More funding for garden villages. London tidal flood risks. Room size matters. City regions on the increase. Cheshire green belt home extension allowed. And more stories

Clean air zones consultation

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a new consultation on establishing Clean Air Zones in key cities as part of plans to improve air quality.

New Clean Air Zones are required in five cities: Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton, by 2020. However, all local authorities can introduce such zones should they wish to do so.

Following government-funded scoping studies, councils will carry out further consultation on the details of zones next year.

Local authorities will only be able to set charges at levels designed to reduce pollution, not to raise additional revenue beyond recovering the costs of the scheme.

In addition, applications are now open for councils to bid for a share of at least £3m as part of an Air Quality Grant to help improve air quality in their area.

The consultation comes after a £35m package to boost the uptake of ultra-low emission cars and scooters was unveiled by the Department for Transport.

Access the consultation.

More funding for garden villages

The government has announced an extra £1m funding to support councils bidding for help to progress their plans for garden villages. Originally the fund totalled £6m.

Now some £7m will be made available for schemes involving smaller garden villages between 1,500 and 10,000 homes. To date there have been 51 expressions of interest for government funding.

London tidal flood risks

Over £275bn of residential property and some 1.3 million people are at risk of flooding within the tidal floodplain of London and the Thames estuary, according to the Environment Agency’s latest five-year review of tidal flood risk indicators.

This assessment said that some 98 per cent of the 3,800 flood defence structures in the estuary are currently in good or fair condition.

Read the press release.

Room size matters

The government has announced proposals to introduce a minimum bedroom size for houses in multiple occupation.

The government’s proposals, which apply only to England, include the introduction of a minimum bedroom size of 6.52 square metres in shared houses that are classed as houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

The size would be applied for each individual or couple living in the property, so landlords could not squeeze in bunk beds.

Other proposals in a consultation paper published this week include:

  • Extending mandatory licensing rules for HMOs to flats above shops and other business premises
  • Requiring landlords to provide decent storage and disposal of rubbish
  • Tightening up the “fit and proper person” test for landlords.

The rules only apply to HMOs requiring licences, which are shared homes with five or more people from two or more households.

The government is also consulting on whether the licensing arrangements for purpose-built student accommodation are appropriate.

Read the press release.

City regions on the increase

Latest official statistics indicate that the UK’s 11 largest city regions grew by nearly 900,000 between 2011 and 2015.

According to an analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Greater London is by the far the most populous city region with 8.7 million residents, three times more any other area. All the city regions have over one million residents, with Bristol as the smallest at 1,119,000 residents.

Greater London has had, and is projected to have, the most rapid growth. On average other city regions have grown slightly more slowly than the Rest of the UK but there is considerable variation with the fastest growth in Bristol and the slowest in Glasgow.

London moves

  • West London could support 100,000 new homes and 200,000 new jobs, according to a report due to be launched on 20 October. The report, commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group for London’s Planning and Built Environment and co-written by property consultancy Colliers International, calls for a new Garden City at Northolt Airport, a new orbital railway linking Uxbridge and Staines via West Drayton and Heathrow. The report, published by The London Society, also urges the densification of suburbs.
  • Southwark Council has reported it has completed 227 new local authority homes since summer this year. These will contribute to the council’s ambitious target to build 11,000 new council homes by 2043 and 1,500 by 2018.
  • Media reports are highlighting the likelihood that a key Cabinet sub-committee will decide on further airport capacity in south East England next week. D-day is apparently 25 October and a third runway at Heathrow is the anticipated outcome. Legal challenges are already gathering momentum.
  • Greenpeace UK has joined forces with Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils to prepare grounds for a joint legal challenge against Heathrow expansion.

Cheshire green belt home extension allowed

A major extension to a large family home at Plumley in Cheshire’s green belt has been approved on appeal. The consent means the property can be expanded by a third, with the addition of a 180 square metre two-storey extension. Part of the extension will involve a leisure suite including a swimming pool. The house is surrounded by mature trees and is not visible from neighbouring properties. The building has not been enlarged since it was built in 1940s.

Boost for Warwickshire housing

Stratford-upon-Avon District Council’s planning committee has approved an outline planning application by IM Land for a new neighbourhood of 1,000 homes, retail and public open space, and recreational areas, part of the 3,000-dwelling Gaydon Lighthorne Heath new settlement. The planning authority approved proposals for a further 2,000 homes at the project in May. That involved land controlled by CEG Bird Group.

Local plan moves in Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire

Craven District Council officers have recommended delaying its local plan timetable to take account of a potential reduction in housing requirements and the impact of Brexit on job growth forecasts.

It had been intended that the plan would be published in September and submitted in December 2016, with adoption in 2017.  The revised timetable envisages publication in May 2017 and submission in July next year.

Public consultation is about to begin on the possible release of 15 green belt sites as part of the latest stage of the joint local plan being developed by Chiltern District Council and neighbouring South Bucks District Council.

The sites under consideration include land in the Chalfonts, Chesham, Old Amersham, Beaconsfield, at a number of locations in Iver Heath (including near Pinewood Studios) and adjacent to Taplow Station.

Green light for Brighton zip-wire


Brighton & Hove City Council has approved a 300-metre-long zip wire attraction to replace the Brighton Wheel at Dalton’s Bastion. A 22-metre tower will be located 100 metres east of the Palace Pier, and two cables will carry thrill-seekers 300 metres eastwards along the seafront to a landing area on the beach. A café seating up to 140 people, with an open glass-fronted terrace, was approved as part of the application.

Wigan development

Members of the public are being consulted about a master plan for a major mixed use development in Wigan.

The council and Peel Land & Property are proposing a scheme providing up to 2,000 new homes, some 12-hectares of employment activity and a new east-west road link on a 112-hectare brownfield site to the south of Hindley.

The site will also include 40 hectares of open space including play areas and sports pitches.

Green gas mill allowed

Ecotricity, Britain’s leading green energy company, has received planning permission from Winchester City Council for what the company has claimed will be the first of a kind ‘Green Gas Mill’ in Hampshire.

Located at Sparsholt College in Hampshire and fuelled by locally sourced grass, the facility will produce enough clean gas to heat over 4,000 homes every year.

As part of a unique partnership, Ecotricity will finance and build the ‘Green Gas Mill’ with an investment of £10m, and also help fund the development of a Renewable Energy Demonstration Centre. 


Newt claims made in the Lords

Conservative hereditary peer Lord Borwick, a developer, gathered a lot of media coverage last week when he suggested campaigners were guilty of “planting” great crested newts at sites earmarked for development in a bid to thwart schemes.

He told a debate in the Upper Chamber “I have mentioned before the difficulty of getting planning permission and the slow processing of large applications.

“One quick win might be to look at the protection of great crested newts as the rules on this awful amphibian are said to be entirely from the EU. This benighted creature is, I am told, endangered on a European scale but not on a British scale.

“I ask my noble friend the minister to look at this problem with a post-Brexit eye. The danger is that newts can be, and are, transported to controversial sites by objectors in order to delay property developments that they dislike.”

Friel’s less than domestic bliss

Actress Anna Friel has been ordered to remove or rebuild an extension to her Grade II-listed home close to Windsor Castle. The star built a one-storey extension on the back of her home in Kings Road.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said it had not been built in line with the planning permission granted in 2014 and its requests for changes had been ignored. It has served Friel with an enforcement notice.

Court Briefs


Roger Milne