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Planning round-up 27 October 2016

Published: Thursday, 27th October 2016

National Grid proposes major undergrounding project for National Park. Latest Heritage at Risk Register published. Sheerness redevelopment project. Social housing sales figures. And more stories...

National Grid proposes major undergrounding project for National Park

National Grid has unveiled detailed proposals for its £2.8bn project to connect a proposed nuclear power station at Moorside in Cumbria to the electricity network. The transmission company is proposing extensive undergrounding and the removal of some existing pylons in the Lake District National Park.

Formal public consultation starts on 28 October. The company is proposing extensive measures to reduce the impact of the project on the landscape of Cumbria.

It is considering putting 23.4km of new line underground through the entire western section of the Park. This could see the existing lines there being removed completely, leaving this part of the national park free of pylons for the first time in 50 years.

This is in addition to putting cables through a 22km-long tunnel under Morecambe Bay to avoid the south part of the national park and removing many of the existing pylons owned by Electricity North West, replacing them with fewer, taller pylons of its own operating at a greater voltage.

The company has also announced proposals to replace the low voltage line in the area around the Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site with underground cables.

Latest Heritage at Risk Register published

Historic England’s latest Heritage at Risk Register (for 2016) was published last week, providing a snapshot of the state of England’s most valued historic places. The Register highlights the sites that are at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

The register noted that a 16th century ship wreck, a fort which defended Portsmouth from attack by the French and Brighton Old Town are all now at risk, as well as a Hawksmoor Church immortalised in T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, where William Wilberforce worshipped.

Newington Green Unitarian Church, in London, often dubbed the “birthplace of feminism” where Mary Wollstonecraft was inspired, is also now at risk.

The Register pointed out that Castle Howard grounds, Crowland Abbey, Wilton’s Music Hall and a Gothic temple in Oxfordshire have all now been rescued. There are 137 fewer entries on the Heritage at Risk Register than in 2015.

Historic England revealed that a shortage of scaffolding and skilled tradespeople is contributing to the increasing gap between the cost of repairs and the end value of heritage sites, especially country houses, public baths and textile industry buildings.

Read the press release

Sheerness redevelopment project

Swale Borough Council has approved Peel Port’s proposals for the redevelopment of the 20-hectare former Thamesteel site at Sheerness as a logistics complex handling vehicles, steel products and forest commodities. The change to port-related activities will involve the demolition of existing buildings but not the Grade II listed former military hospital, a key heritage asset.

Major Bournemouth redevelopment mooted

Plans to transform and rejuvenate one of Bournemouth’s most famous town centre locations have been unveiled.

The former Winter Gardens site is the focus of plans featuring a £150m mixed-use scheme combining up to 400 flats as well as leisure, restaurant and retail space with new parking facilities and public realm.

The scheme has been proposed by the Bournemouth Development Company, a town centre regeneration partnership between Bournemouth Council and Morgan Sindall Investments. A planning application for the scheme is expected to be submitted early in 2017.

Read the press release

Woking proposes new strategic green belt site release

Woking Borough Council has decided to change tack on the possible release of green belt land to meet housing provision in its local plan.

The Surrey district had originally identified six sites in Byfleet, Hook Heath and Pyrford. Now it has decided to consult on just one strategic location, a site of around 106-hectares to the east of Martyr’s Lane and the A320.

Social housing sales figures

Latest annual official figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government show there were 21,992 sales of social housing dwellings, 12,557 by local authorities and 9,435 by private registered providers (PRP) (housing associations) over the period 2015-16. This represents about 0.5 per cent of the total stock of four million social houses. Local authority Right to Buy sales amounted to 12,246, a similar number to the previous year.

Read the National Statistics

Leeds edge of centre retail scheme

Planning consultancy DPP has submitted a detailed planning application to Leeds City Council on behalf of Commercial Development Projects Ltd for a new edge of centre retail park off the Middleton Ring Road.

The proposals are earmarked for the currently derelict site of the former Benyon Centre. Involved are plans for two anchor developments: a new format Lidl facility and a B&M Homestore as part of a scheme providing around 7,400 square metres of floor space.

Capital moves


  • Brent Cross Shopping Centre owners Hammerson and Standard Life Investments have begun a public consultation on a £1.4bn revamp of the facility as part of plans for the £4.5bn regeneration of Brent Cross and Cricklewood. Involved in the revamp will be new retail floor space, housing, restaurants, a cinema complex, a hotel, a new bus station, a riverside park and a new public square. The complex will double in size under these proposals.
  • A £27m project to restore the iconic Hornsey Town Hall and deliver a new community arts centre, housing, an improved town hall square, new café / restaurant and a boutique hotel has been agreed by Haringey Council.
  • The Indian-based Hinduja Group, which acquired the Grade II-listed Old War Office in Whitehall in central London, has unveiled proposals to restore and convert the building’s 1,100 rooms into a five-star hotel with conference and banqueting space and luxury flats.
  • Kensington and Chelsea Council has confirmed that the owner of a property in Brompton Square, at the epicentre of the capital’s longest-running basement row, has submitted a planning application to fill in a huge crater with a four-storey underground complex.


Legal round-up

Roger Milne