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Planning round-up 22 December 2016

Published: Thursday, 22nd December 2016

Proposals for 2,000-home Northumberland garden village submitted. Latest development control stats. Northamptonshire housing scheme rebuffed again. And more stories...

Proposals for 2,000-home Northumberland garden village submitted

Newcastle developer Lugano Property Group has formally submitted an outline planning application for a 2,000 home garden village on a 210-hectare site at Dissington near Ponteland in Northumberland. Under these proposals the site would be deallocated as green belt.

The county council earlier this year backed an expression of interest submitted by Lugano to the government for the project to become one of England’s 12 chosen garden villages.

The developers say 600 of the new homes will be affordable and will include government starter homes as well as supported housing for the elderly.

Education, leisure, medical, retail and employment facilities are also part of the master plan which makes provision for 130 hectares of public open space and landscaping, with sports pitches, parkland, allotments and walking and cycle routes.

The development would include a new relief road bypassing the centre of Ponteland and a flood alleviation scheme to protect Ponteland town centre.

The scheme has already generated opposition from local residents.

Read the details.

Latest development control stats

The latest development control statistics for England for the three months between July and September 2016, showed that district level planning authorities in England received 120,800 applications for planning permission, up one per cent on the corresponding quarter of 2015.

101,800 decisions were granted, up three per cent from the same quarter in 2015, this is equivalent to 88 per cent of decisions, unchanged from the same quarter of 2015.

The figures showed planning authorities decided 85 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks or the agreed time, up from 80 per cent a year earlier.

Planning authorities granted 12,900 residential applications, up six per cent on a year earlier; and received 10,900 applications for prior approval for permitted development rights from July to September 2016, up one per cent from the same quarter of 2015.

Some 9,000 of these applications were approved without having to go through the full planning process, up two per cent on a year earlier.

See the live tables.

Northamptonshire housing scheme rebuffed again

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has gone against the advice of a planning inspector and refused outline proposals for an 85-home development on pasture land on the southern edge of the village of Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, originally refused by Wellingborough Borough Council.

An appeal over the scheme had been dismissed by the former Communities Secretary Sir Eric Pickles in 2015 but a subsequent successful legal challenge by the developers, which includes Redrow Homes, led to the redetermination of the proposals. The redetermined and recovered appeal is in an area covered by a neighbourhood plan.

The Secretary of State said the proposals were in conflict with both the development plan and the Earls Barton Neighbourhood Plan. He disagreed with the inspector who had concluded there was a lack of demonstrable environment harm. The Secretary of State also pointed to the fact that the council could demonstrate a housing land supply of approximately eight years.

Read the decision letter.

New Nantwich neighbourhood approved

A major new neighbourhood of almost 1,000 homes has been given the go-ahead by Cheshire East Council.

The application for 997 new homes at Kingsley Fields in Nantwich was the largest reserved matters planning application ever considered by the planning authority

The application was submitted by How Planning on behalf of housebuilders Taylor Wimpey, Redrow Homes and David Wilson Homes, supported by a design principle document prepared by Broadway Malyan.

On the 143-acre site, 366 homes are to be delivered by Taylor Wimpey, 319 by Redrow and 312 from David Wilson.

The land is currently owned by Reaseheath College and the development will help fund a range of new facilities including a new agricultural technology centre.

In a related but separate move, a planning inspector has found the council’s local plan to be “sound”.

It will now consult on the inspector’s draft recommended main modifications to the plan before its final amendment and adoption by the council early next year.


Peers call for changes to HS2 Bill powers and compensation package

Peers sitting on the Lords Select Committee considering the bill covering the construction of the London to Birmingham stretch of the HS2 have recommended that the government drops measures which would give ministers powers to compulsory purchase sites “for regeneration or development of any land”.

The committee said such wide-ranging powers were “unnecessary and undesirable”.

The committee has also urged much better compensation terms for urban residents affected by the construction of the project.

In addition, the peers agreed with Camden Council that more needed to be done to ensure the high-quality comprehensive redevelopment of Euston station, so that the developed station integrates plans for both HS2 and Crossrail 2.

Read the Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill.

Stratford on Avon acts to safeguard jobs on contested airfield site

Stratford on Avon District Council has confirmed it is considering compulsory purchasing Wellesbourne Airfield in a bid to block moves by the owner to demolish buildings on the site which house businesses employing around 200 people.

The Warwickshire district council has already removed the owners permitted development rights and has threatened legal action if the owners attempt any further demolition work.

Councillor leader Chris Sant said it was duty-bound to consider all options to try and save the airfield, its businesses and their respective employees. “At this point in time, compulsory purchase has now presented itself as an option we should further investigate, and are actively doing so.”


Bucks councils at odds over housing

Buckinghamshire councils are at odds over housing allocations and whether some green belt sites should be released for development.

The issues have come to a head following the county council’s formal objection to proposals by Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils to use areas of green belt for potentially over 2,800 houses.

The county council has recommended the housing is moved elsewhere in the county. But Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) has remonstrated that as much of Wycombe District Council is also covered by green belt designations, the most plausible place these houses can go is in Aylesbury Vale.

By cooperating with the other district councils, AVDC had recently reduced the level of housing the Vale would need to accommodate by 6,500. However, it has complained that the county’s stance puts this initiative in jeopardy.

AVDC leader Neil Blake commented: “This announcement appears to set the precedent for sacrificing Aylesbury Vale to save the rest of the county.”

Relations between the county and the districts are currently strained. Earlier this month the districts announced they will be submitting a joint proposal to the Department for Communities and Local Government for two unitary authorities, based on a north/south split.

Read Aylesbury Vale District Council’s news story.

Javid blocks solar farm near Heathrow

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has dismissed an appeal by Sirius SBC Renewables over a 4.5 megawatt solar farm earmarked for a 10-hectare former sand and gravel extraction site to the south east of the village Colnbrook and to the south west of Poyle originally refused by Slough Borough Council. The site is in a green belt location near Heathrow Airport.

The Secretary of State agreed with the inspector, who held the recovered appeal, that the scheme represented inappropriate development in the green belt and would harm the openness of the countryside and the Colne Valley Regional Park.

Read the decision letter.

Think-tank warns that housing supply crisis worst in high growth areas

Think-tank Civitas has published a briefing note on household supply and household growth which highlighted that while housing output is below the required levels nationally, it is particularly inadequate in those areas that are expected to experience the highest growth in the years ahead.

The national figures therefore disguise the scale of the housebuilding challenge, claimed the briefing note’s author David Bentley.

He noted: “While housing supply is 90 per cent of long-term household growth for England as whole, there are wide variations from area to area. Worse, those areas that are expected to grow most rapidly over the next 25 years are, on the whole, already performing least well against their household formation projections.

“Housing supply is failing to keep up with household growth most in London and the South-East, where affordability pressures are already most acute. Measured in this way, there are also considerable supply issues in the North West and West Midlands, two areas that are the focus of concerted regional growth strategies for the years ahead.”

Read the article.

London round-up

· Developer Thornsett has been given the go-ahead by Croydon Council to build a 17-storey residential tower on the former site of the Purley Baptist Church in south London as part of a development involving 220 new flats and a series of new blocks between three and eight storeys in height. Some 18 per cent of the housing will be affordable. A community and church space will be part of the scheme.

· London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that Transport for London will begin construction of another key new cycling ‘superhighway’ which will provide a dedicated route between Swiss Cottage and the West End. The 2.5-mile route has been developed in collaboration with Camden Council, Westminster City Council and the Royal Parks.

· Lewisham Council has postponed until the New Year a decision on whether to approve a compulsory purchase order of land owned by Millwall Football Club. If approved, the forced purchase of Millwall’s land would include its car park, cafe, and the Lions Centre, which includes its astro turf pitch.

· A new report on housing in the capital by think-tank the Smith Institute makes the case for greater burden sharing among the London boroughs and suggests investment should be focussed more in outer London.

· Author Paul Hunter also considered how the creation of mixed income/mixed tenure communities could be given a higher profile. 

· Artist Tracey Emin is leaving London after losing a bruising planning battle over her proposals to demolish a listed building in Spitalfields and replace it with a new five-storey house and studio space.

Legal round-up

Environmental campaigners in North Yorkshire have lost their landmark High Court challenge over the county council’s approval of Third Energy’s proposal for a project involving fracking at a site in Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. Third Energy is now free to extract shale gas at the village.

Fracking has been approved at just two sites so far in the UK, the other is in Fylde, Lancashire.

Read the news story.

Devon estate building mix up

A mix up between two developers of an estate in Dawlish has resulted in a 1ft height difference in the road where the two sites meet. A dividing fence erected at the site of the variation has resulted in drivers facing a two mile diversion to get down what should be one straight connecting road.

Read the news story.

Roger Milne