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Planning round-up 10 November 2016

Published: Thursday, 10th November 2016

Major housing scheme timelines. Enforcement boost in Northamptonshire. RTPI bangs drum over green belt and greenfield homes. Basement review. CBI urges more coherent housing strategy. And more stories

Major housing scheme timelines

A new report from consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners on large-scale housing schemes found that the average planning approval period for projects of more than 2,000 new dwellings is 6.1 years.

Schemes of less than 500 new homes took on average less than 2.5 years. These findings were highlighted in the report, Start to Finish, following an assessment of 70 sites outside London.

Read the Start to Finish report.

Enforcement boost in Northamptonshire

The number of people sanctioned for flouting planning laws has almost trebled after South Northamptonshire Council streamlined its approach to enforcement, the local authority has announced.

Between April 2014 and the end of March 2015 the planning authority issued 22 formal planning related enforcement notices.

That rose to 62 enforcement notices in 2015/16 and the trend for the current financial year continues to demonstrate what the council calls its more “robust approach”.


RTPI bangs drum over greenbelt and green field homes

England’s greenfield sites, including green belts, need to be considered alongside brownfield land as locations for new housing, the Royal Town Planning Institute has insisted.

In a policy statement ‘Where should we build new homes’, published 9 November after canvassing members across England and Wales, RTPI said the Government’s impending Housing White Paper would require a “fresh approach” to directing where new housing should be located.

The statement said “green belt boundaries may well need to change, but only after a careful review over wider areas than single local authorities, where safeguards are put in place to ensure development is sustainable, affordable and delivered in a timely manner, and without prejudice to the renewal of brownfield land”.


Council borrowing freedom needed to increase affordable housing delivery

Allowing local authorities to borrow to build affordable homes could both help tackle the housing crisis and mitigate any emerging economic uncertainty. This was claimed this week by the Federation of Master Builders as it urged the new Chancellor to be bold in this month’s Autumn Statement.

Key Liverpool master plan unveiled

The master plan for Liverpool’s £1bn Paddington Village project, the flagship development in the city’s Knowledge Quarter, is now out for consultation.

A draft spatial regeneration framework has just been approved by the council for what it claims will be “a globally attractive, investment-ready business environment and high quality residential neighbourhood close to the city centre”. Paddington Village is less than a mile from Lime Street station.

The development comprises of three zones within a 12-hectare, broadly triangular, site. The first phase, the 4.5-hectare Paddington Central will feature tall buildings, intended to complement the neighbouring university buildings and a new urban square.

Occupiers have already been secured in the shape of the Royal College of Physicians, for a northern centre of excellence, and Liverpool International College, which will build a 4,180 square metres “live-learn” facility.

The second phase, Paddington South, will feature medium-to-high density development and will be largely residential and education-focused, with green space.

Phase three, Paddington North, will be predominantly residential. Development in this area will complement the scale and form of the existing Kensington Fields.


Basement review

The government has called for evidence and examples of good practice in managing basement developments.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has asked whether there are any other means which would be appropriate for the planning process to use “to mitigate potential adverse impacts of such developments”.

The department would also welcome evidence of where the planning system is working well and where it might be improved.

It wants submissions detailing experiences with the planning process or use of permitted development rights and information on the number of basement developments and areas where they take place. Ministers committed to this review during the passage of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Read the Call for Evidence.

CBI urges more coherent housing strategy

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for a strategic housing strategy in the promised white paper and urged a bigger capital spend on affordable housing.

A report from the business lobby group has also pressed for greater flexibility for housing associations and the inclusion of housing in the National Infrastructure Commission’s forthcoming National Infrastructure Assessment.

In addition, the report makes the case for “exploring the value of broadening the category of new homes that can be built on brownfield sites in the green belt”.

As well the CBI has argued for measures to improve the attractiveness of the private rented sector and urge collaboration between new players in the market, from hedge funds to construction contractors, as well as further support for innovation in the sector, such as off-site manufacturing.

Read the news story.

Think-tanks urge Welsh Valleys enterprise zone

A new enterprise zone across the whole of the area of the South Wales valleys has been recommended by two think-tanks in a report proposing a strategy for alleviating poverty.

The report, drawn up by the Bevan and Joseph Rowntree foundations, calculated that the impact of poverty was costing local and central government services some £3.6bn a year.

The report called for a new enterprise zone across the whole of the valleys area which would use local planning powers and financial incentives (including tax breaks) to encourage job creation and employment of people at risk of poverty.

The foundations also suggested designating a limited number of ‘growth poles’ at strategic locations in city regions. For example, in the Cardiff capital region this could include Merthyr Tydfil to counterbalance the emphasis on Cardiff.


Faked support for blocked Welsh development

Some letters supporting controversial proposals to build 200 homes on the BP Sports Field at Sully between Penarth and Barry on the South Wales coast may have been faked, Vale of Glamorgan Council has confirmed.

The local authority has issued a statement explaining that the issue is now in the hands of the police after an internal council audit was triggered by a resident’s complaint.

The statement said “the council took the complaint and the integrity of the planning system seriously and it is for this reason that the matter was investigated and subsequently brought to the attention of the police.”

The hybrid application for up to 200 new homes, sporting facilities and a touring caravan facility at the 15-hectare site was rejected last week after officers recommended refusal.

The scheme, put forward by developers St Modwen and the Sully Sports and Social Club, has divided the local community.

Lincolnshire solar farm refused

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has agreed with the recommendation of planning inspector and dismissed an appeal over a five megawatt solar power farm, near Spalding in Lincolnshire, proposed for a site close to an existing large-scale array. The proposals had been refused by South Holland District Council.

The Secretary of State’s decision letter noted that the project was in conflict with the development plan and represented “substantial harm to the character and appearance of the countryside, both alone and cumulatively”.

Read the decision letter.

Meadowhall expansion

British Land, joint owner of Meadowhall in Sheffield, has submitted a detailed planning application to Sheffield City Council for a £300m leisure hall extension to the complex.

The extension comprises a 30,660 square metres multi-level extension housed under a glazed roof. The scheme will provide new restaurants, a state-of-the-art cinema, a new café court, gym, open-air terrace an internal and external space for events and community use.

Read the press release.

Green stadium plan

Zaha Hadid Architects has won the competition to design a new sustainable stadium for Forest Green Rovers football club in Gloucestershire. Dale Vince, the founder of pioneering green energy supplier Ecotricity, is chairman of the club.

The 5,000-seat carbon neutral scheme for the ambitious all-vegan club will be built entirely from wood, a world first for a football ground.

The stadium will be the centrepiece of a proposed £100m Eco Park next to junction 13 of the M5, straddling the A419 heading into Stroud.

Read the news story.

Durham development

Durham City Council has approved the redevelopment of a major riverside site in Durham city centre.

Backed by a development consortium of Carillion, Arlington Real Estate and Richardson Capital, the project will see the 1960s Milburngate House demolished to make way for a £150m mixed-use regeneration scheme.

The nine-storey office block, once the home of National Savings and Investments and the Passport Office, will be replaced by 41,800 square metres of offices, shops, restaurants, a boutique cinema, a hotel and 400 flats. This second phase of the riverside development called Milburngate, will be split into three zones and will create a new quarter on the city’s northern fringe.

Find out more about Milburngate.

Nearly £12m pay-outs over appeals

New research by property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP has highlighted that English local authorities paid out nearly £12m in costs over lost planning appeals between 2010 and 2016.

Cornwall Council topped the list with £981,322.40, with Derby City Council coming in second, having paid out £866,975.00. Halton Borough Council paid on average the highest sum over the past six years, which worked out at £360,735.24 per lost appeal. Poole Borough Council had the highest number of cost decisions made against it.

Nottinghamshire local plan makes progress

Ashfield District Council has begun consulting on the latest version of its draft local plan which makes provision for nearly 7,700 new homes in the Nottinghamshire planning authority over the period between 2016 and 2032. Over 5,000 of these are allocated in the two market towns of Sutton-in-Ashfield and Kirkby-in-Ashfield. Over 2,100 new homes are scheduled for sites in and around Hucknall, according to the strategy.

Capital moves


  • Planning consultancy, Turley, has secured outline planning permission from Bexley Council on behalf of Balmoral International Land for a development of up to 336 new homes, 25 per cent of which will be affordable, 500 square metres of retail and community floor space and green public areas, at Erith in south east London.
  • Nicky Gavron deputy chair of the London Assembly planning committee has launched a review to assess the potential of offsite-produced housing to bridge the gap between the capital’s housing need and supply.
  • Developer Stanhope (in partnership with property firm Mitsui Fudosan UK and fund managers AIMCo) has submitted an application to the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham for three new buildings on the seven-hectare gateway site at west London’s White City Place. The scheme would provide a total of 100,000 square metres of employment floor space. White City Place is part of the regeneration of the wider White City area, which includes plans for 2,500 new homes and more than 180,000 square metres of office space.
  • Central London Investments Limited has been given the go ahead for the change of use of part of an underground car park to a 166-room hotel on Great Russell Street in central London, despite concerns about the hotel’s ventilation scheme.


Legal round-up

Roger Milne