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Planning round-up 3 November 2016

Published: Thursday, 3rd November 2016

Greater Manchester blueprint makes progress. NIC gathers momentum. Farm turbines allowed in Yorkshire and Cornwall, Herts solar farm blocked. HCA shake-up on the cards… And more stories...

Greater Manchester blueprint makes progress

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has approved the initial draft of the spatial framework to guide the next 20 years of development in the city region.

The framework was published last week, the first statutory planning blueprint to be produced for all ten local authorities in the conurbation. The plan is expected to be adopted in 2018, subject to further consultation in 2017 and a final vote by council leaders and the new city region mayor.

The bulk of new housing allocation of 227,200 new homes will be on brownfield sites, with a town and city centre first approach. However, around 28 per cent is earmarked for existing green belt locations.

Under these proposals Bury will lose around 20 per cent of its Green Belt while Trafford could see some 11 per cent of its green belt developed for new housing.


NIC gathers momentum

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has started the next phase of its National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) with a call for evidence on shaping the NIA.

The call for evidence poses a range of questions divided into: cross-cutting themes, transport, digital communication, energy, water and wastewater (drainage and sewerage), flood risk management and solid waste.

The NIC has also announced the formation and membership of two new expert advisory groups, a technical panel and an analytical panel.

In addition, it has published its response to the consultation on the process and methodology of the NIA. It has asked for local and regional infrastructure plans across the UK.

The commission has highlighted that some respondents wanted its remit extended to cover housing and social infrastructure.

The NIC pointed out that these are issues are not in its remit set by the government. However, it has said it intends “to consider the interactions between infrastructure and housing, in line with its remit”.

Read the call for evidence

Farm turbines allowed in Yorkshire and Cornwall, Herts solar farm blocked

Proposals for two separate single wind turbines on farms in West Yorkshire and Cornwall have been allowed on appeal by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

In both cases the inspectors who held the recovered appeal hearings recommended that the projects should go ahead.

In the case of a turbine refused by Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council at a green belt location at Soyland near Halifax the Secretary of State argued that the scheme was partly in accordance with local policies and “very special circumstances justified the turbine” even though it constituted inappropriate development in the green belt.

In the case of the Cornish turbine proposed for a site near Liskeard the Secretary of State argued that the economic and environmental benefits of the scheme outweighed harm to the landscape.

He has separately dismissed an appeal over a five megawatt solar farm project proposed for an eight-hectare site at Codicote originally refused by North Hertfordshire District Council. Javid agreed with the inspector who held the recovered appeal that the scheme was “inappropriate development” in a green belt location.

Read the Hertfordshire decision letter.

Read the Halifax decision letter.

Read the Liskeard decision letter.


HCA shake-up on the cards…


A new English social housing regulator is likely to be created following a government review of the Homes and Communities Agency.

According to the Inside Housing website the review launched in March and due to report soon will recommend splitting the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) regulation function off into a separate body.

The move follows increasing concern about the potential for conflicts of interest caused by the HCA carrying out both regulation and investment activities.


Cardiff container ‘city’ mooted

Proposals have been unveiled for what would be the UK’s most ambitious shipping container development, a mixed-used scheme earmarked to rejuvenate the Porth Teigr area of Cardiff Bay in Wales.

The Welsh government has given its initial approval to lease a 0.64-acre part of the Porth Teigr site to Box City, the developers behind Cardiff’s Tramshed. 

The innovative quayside scheme would see around 400 shipping containers used to create an environmentally-friendly four-level development providing hotel accommodation, office and retail space as well as an outdoor cinema.

Read the news story.

Green light for Cornish ‘six-star’ resort

A so-called ‘six star’ holiday resort proposed for a location near Wadebridge is set to be developed by Alton Towers founder John Broome following planning approval from Cornwall Council.

He plans to build more than 200 lodges, a "tropical pool", restaurants and an activities centre. The development, known as the Camel Creek resort, would be sited next to the Camel Creek Adventure Park.

Find out more about Camel Creek Resort.

Capital moves

  • London mayor Sadiq Khan has reported that his predecessor’s plans to regenerate Old Oak in west London were flawed because the agreement with government to transfer land to the development corporation was rushed and made on unfavourable terms. A review of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) also criticised the positioning of a crossrail depot and maintenance facility in the core development area which meant that valuable development land was lost, land values for adjacent sites depressed and the ability to create an attractive place compromised. The report also called for the appointment of a new corporation chair and the development of a “credible longer-term plan” for bringing forward a new commercial centre at Old Oak South.


  • Separately, Khan has announced two more sites that Transport for London (TfL) will bring forward as part of his plan to fast-track public land to deliver more genuinely affordable homes for Londoners. The two sites are at Landmark Court in Southwark and Fenwick South, near Clapham North station, in Lambeth. Both sites have the capacity to deliver new homes alongside commercial and retail space.


  • Bexley Borough Council has granted the housing association, Peabody, planning permission for over 1,500 new homes on four sites at Thamesmead in south east London, close to the new Elizabeth line station at Abbey Wood.
  • Tower Hamlets Council has approved Swan Housing Association’s proposals for Phase two of the £300m 1,500-home Blackwall Reach Regeneration Project in Poplar, east London. Phase two, to be completed by 2026, involves 268 new homes and community facilities, commercial units and improved access to Blackwall Dockland Right Railway station.


  • Proposals for the tallest development in the City of London are set to go-ahead now developer Axa Investment managers real Assets has confirmed the 62-storey scheme, known as 22 Bishopsgate will climb off the drawing board. It will be 278 metres high.
  • A 19th Century building in west London used to store the dead prior to burial has received Grade II listing from Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch. The reception house in Hammersmith’s Margravine Cemetery is a rare example of buildings used during the repeated cholera outbreaks in the capital between 1832 and 1866.

Hertfordshire council’s basement advice surfaces

Hertsmere Borough Council has published draft guidance on basement development. The

proposals which clarify what is acceptable around the design, size, proportion, access and other characteristics of basements in new or existing homes, as well as their impact on rear gardens, trees and car parks, are set out in the Hertfordshire council’s updated draft planning and design guide.


Key Worcestershire SPDs published

Two key planning documents have been adopted by the three councils behind the South Worcestershire Development Plan which covers the period up to 2030.

Supplementary planning documents on affordable housing and developer contributions have now been approved by Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council, following public consultations earlier this year.

Salford development

Planning consultancy DPP’s Manchester office has secured planning permission, on behalf of English Cities Fund, for a new development which is part of the regeneration scheme in the New Bailey area of Salford Central.

The new building will provide around 24,000 square metres of B1 office floor space and 830 square metres of commercial ground floor space. The 11-storey building, designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, will complement the recently completed One New Bailey development.

DPP has also gained planning permission in Salford for the English Cities Fund for a four-building scheme providing 843 new flats, a 33 storey tower, multi-storey car park and space on the ground floor for commercial units.

Read more information

Severn wildlife project

A major new wildlife project to reopen the River Severn has secured almost £20m of funding, £10.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £6m from the European Union LIFE programme.

The scheme will re-open the river and its major tributary for fish and wildlife whilst reconnecting millions of people and local communities with the lost natural, cultural and industrial heritage of the river.

This is the largest project of its kind ever attempted in Europe and will reopen the UK’s longest river to all fish species, many of which became extinct in the upper reaches following the installation of weirs required to power the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s.

The work will remove blockages and secure the long-term future of many of the UK’s declining and protected fish species by substantially increasing access to important spawning grounds.

The project was developed as part of a three-year collaborative partnership between the Severn Rivers Trust, the Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency and Natural England.

Read the press release.

PINs bankrolls RTPI bursaries

The Planning Inspectorate has contributed £5,500 to two student bursary schemes the Royal Town Planning Institute has set up to tackle the shortage of planners. 

Legal round-up

Roger Milne