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Planning News - 8 June 2017

Published: Thursday, 8th June 2017

Revised regime for Welsh historic environment comes into force, Indoor air quality is ‘a planning issue’ and S106 agreement for Kent garden suburb signed. And more stories...

This weeks planning news in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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Revised regime for Welsh historic environment comes into force

Planning authorities have been notified of a swathe of new regulations that have come into force as a result of the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016.

The act involves the historic environment, listed buildings and conservation area consent procedures.

Welsh Government chief planner Neil Hemington has written to all planning authorities explaining the changes, which also involve a new Technical Advice Note (TAN 24) covering the historic environment.

New supporting historic environment guidance is also available.

The letter provides detailed information on the following:

  • The commencement of provisions within the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016;
  • New regulations relating to the historic environment;
  • Changes to the listed building consent checklist;
  • Publication of a new Technical Advice Note 24: The Historic Environment;
  • Changes to directions on listed building and conservation area consent procedures; and
  • New supporting historic environment guidance.

The letter was co-signed by Gwilym Hughes, assistant director at CADW.

The letter can be found on the Welsh Government website (pdf).

1 June 2017
Roger Milne, The Planner

Indoor air quality is ‘a planning issue’

Developers could be required to achieve a certain indoor air quality (IAQ) when trying to get planning permission for new buildings, as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is urged to consider it for his London Plan.

The Clean Air London campaign has called on Khan to include IQA levels in his revised London Plan for buildings over a certain size.

Simon Birkett, the campaign’s founder, has also called for more measures to turn buildings into “safe havens” in the face of rising outdoor pollution.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has given its support to the proposal to make achieving a certain standard of IAQ necessary to gain planning permission.

Paul McLaughlin, chief executive at BESA, said focusing on IAQ could make an immediate difference.

“While the lengthy debates and legal challenges over how to address outdoor air pollution rumble on, our industry can make an instant impact by putting measures in place that protect the health of building occupants.”

In January 2017, Khan announced £1.4 million worth of funding for six neighbourhoods to tackle London’s air quality at a local level. The funding will be matched by £1.1 million from the London boroughs involved and Heathrow Airport.

Birkett said he thinks Khan would supports an IAQ planning proposal, which would be a “game changer”.

Birkett noted that the building regulations already contain requirements for maintaining NO2 at a safe level that should be enforced.

“People spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors and the cost of filtration is about 10 per cent of the cost of actually getting air into the building,” said Birkett. “The cost of filters is tiny compared to salaries and the impact of poor air quality on people’s health and productivity.”

Earlier this month (June 2017), ClientEarth launched a High Court Challenge against the UK Government’s draft consultation on its plans to improve air quality, saying they contain “major flaws”.

7 June 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner

S106 agreement for Kent garden suburb signed

Work has begun on the Chilmington Green development after Ashford Borough Council and the developers signed a section 106 agreement worth £125 million.

In October 2014, Ashford Borough Council approved a hybrid application for a mixed-use development after a several years of consultation and masterplanning. The plan applies nationally recognised garden city principles but adapted for the 21st century.

Following consultation, Chilmington Green became established within the council’s adopted Core Strategy in 2008. A government-appointed independent planning inspector supported an Area Action Plan, which took the allocation forward, in 2013.

Now, the section 106 deal has been signed. The development, located to the south west of Ashford, will provide around £125 million towards local amenities including five new schools, shops, healthcare, sports and leisure facilities and community facilities. These will be created as each phase of development comes forward.

In addition approximately, £40 million will be invested in improving the A28 Chart Road in an attempt to tackle congestion and create access to the development.

Chilmington Green will comprise 5,750 homes, a district centre and community infrastructure. It is expected to create about 1,000 jobs in the next 20 years, which will come forward in phases as the development is built out. About 60 per cent of the development will be green open space.

Gerry Clarkson, leader of Ashford Borough Council, said the delivery of Chilmington Green is “key” to meeting the borough’s growth needs, “a place where families and people of all ages will want to live, enjoy and call home”.

According to the council, although the development is not a garden city, it does reflect some of the design principles, such as tree-lined streets and a strong local community managing local facilities.

Hodson Developments is the lead developer, alongside other developers, including Pentland Homes, Jarvis Homes and BDW (Barratt/Ward Homes).

7 June 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Planning vital in helping rural estates diversify

Tourism is a low-hanging fruit that could help diversify what rural estates can offer and boost their finances, with planning ‘vital’ to achieving this, a new report claims.

Rural estates: Economic benefits of rural tourism, by planning consultancy Lichfields, states that rural estates are a mainstay of rural economies across Britain and it is “important” that they thrive.

However, many rural estates face increasing financial pressures and are looking to reduce reliance upon traditional sources of income and explore opportunities for diversification”.

Planning plays a vital role in helping estates to diversify their revenue stream and unlocking value, the report says. It can secure longer-term sustainability of estates as well as “beneficial impacts for individuals, communities and the economy as a whole”.

Policy support for rural development is underpinned by an acknowledgement of the need to stimulate rural economies. “It is important that these benefits are clearly articulated in promoting diversification schemes through the planning system.”

In both England and Scotland, planning guidelines are focused towards supporting the rural economy, Lichfields said. Tourism-related developments can create new employment opportunities for local residents; stimulate demand for existing tourism assets in the local area and increasing the overall value of rural economies.

“Good planning will unlock value, provide greater stability and boost the local economy” - report on development on rural estates

Gordon Thomson, an associate director at Lichfields’ Edinburgh office and the report's author, said: “It is important that these impacts are robustly evidenced in order to maximise their ability to influence the decision-making process.”

Lichfields' report notes that for estates looking to “dip their toe” into the tourist accommodation market the development of campsites and pitches for touring caravans represent the best initial prospect.

Thomson said: “While these offer the lowest annual returns per bed-space, they also area likely to be subject to the lowest start-up and staffing costs. In addition, they can be low impact in land use terms, allowing estate owners to work around the limits of their land and the existing fabric of the estate.”

On the other hand, the planning consultancy said that hotels offer the greatest immediate revenue potential but require greater start up and running costs.

However, the report continues, most hotel stays are shorter than self-catering breaks and consequently average spend on accommodation for self-catering breaks is almost double that a hotel.

Thomson explained that it is important that rural estates seeking to diversify take this dynamic into account.

“For instance, locations with a wide variety of outdoor activities in the local area could hold more appeal for tourists seeking a longer break, in such circumstances, a lower cost accommodation offer, such as a hostel or campsite, may prove more successful than a hotel.”

Tourism-related development may not be right for every location, he added, suggesting that renewable energy projects and housing development might be more suitable.

“Tourism may be the low-hanging fruit for development which can provide significant financial benefits,” Thomson concluded.

Download Rural estates: Economic benefits of rural tourism here (pdf).

5 June 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner

560 homes approved in Hampshire

Eastleigh Borough Council has approved the initial phase of a 1,100-home community at North Stoneham Park in Eastleigh, with work expected to begin in August.

Outline planning permission was secured in January 2016.

A team from planning consultancy WYG secured the permission for reserved matters on behalf of developer Highwood Group using a Planning Performance Agreement with the council.

This phase will deliver a mix of 560 homes, 196 of which will be affordable. Plans also include public open space and play areas, pedestrian and cycle links and supporting infrastructure.

Proposals for the full 1,100-home scheme comprise a primary school, a pre-school nursery, housing for older people, retail space and offices. It will facilitate improvements to local infrastructure, such as road junction improvements.

Eastleigh Borough Council the new community will see “great improvements” to parts of the historic park and restoration of historic buildings.

“More people than ever before will be able to have access to this land and understand the historic value with its restoration. It will also provide much needed affordable housing allowing local people to be able to have a home of their own.”

1 June 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News round-up

A round-up of planning news

Student accommodation approved in Newcastle

Newcastle City Council has approved a 10-storey student accommodation development in St James’ Boulevard in the city centre.

Designed by TP Bennett, the 8,350 square metre building will replace a group of single and two storey L-shaped buildings currently on the site.

The new development will provide 246 bedrooms in a mix of studio and cluster apartments of three, five and six bedrooms. Plans also include open space areas, a terrace area on the first floor, and a gym.

The project forms part of the Science Central masterplan, a 24-acre city development that aims to support a thriving community, jobs, and scientific advances.

Development site screening tool launched

A new development site screening tool that provides immediate access to information to aid land viability assessments has been launched.

LandSearch, by Landmark Information, a property, land and environmental data specialist, collates multiple sources of information for developers, real estate developers, local authority planners and land agents.

One report provides details in an interactive online viewing tool, including:

  • Local authority policy designations;
  • Planning application data within 1km;
  • Land Registry title and ownership data; and
  • Neighbourhood and amenity information, such as transport links.

The tool aims to highlight potential opportunities and risks at an early stage. LandSearch’s findings are visualised using interactive mapped data via a unique online viewing tool in an attempt to make it simple for users to be able to assess the viability of a plot of land for future development. An easy-to-digest PDF report containing all the information is also provided following each order.

More information can be found on the LandSearch website.

Work begins on Kent residential scheme

Developer Investin plc has started construction work on a scheme in Ashford, Kent, that will complete a 352-unit residential mixed-use development.

Designed by Holder Mathias Architects, the residential scheme will be built on either side of the former Charter House.

The scheme will comprise two buildings of four and six storeys, creating 109 one and two-bedroom apartments.

There will also be communal roof gardens.

The design was adapted to integrate Ashford Borough Council Residential Space Standards.  

Surrey council makes appointment to design residential schemes

Surrey Heath Borough Council has appointed Holder Mathias Architects to design two residential schemes in Camberley.

Led by the council’s development partner Berklet Homes, the redevelopment of Ashwood House and Pembroke House aims to support the regeneration of the town centre and to facilitate its future growth.

The council acquired Ashwood House, on Pembroke Broadway, in 2015. It will be converted and extended to provide 116 one and two-bedroom flats. Pembroke House, on Frimley Road, will be redeveloped to provide 25 ‘affordable’ flats and retail space.

Max Poole, partner at Holder Mathias, said: “Our design approach draws inspiration from traditional materials used locally, but also adds a contemporary edge that will future-proof the area’s appearance and character.”

Davenham residential site sold to Bellway Homes

Richborough Estates has secured the sale of a 12-acre development site in the village of Davenham, Cheshire, to Bellway Homes.

The site has been sold with planning consent for the delivery of 70 homes comprising two, three, four and five-bedroom homes, of which 30 per cent will be affordable.

The plans also include public open spaces and a network of cycle and pedestrian paths. Existing trees and hedges will be retained.

Richborough Estates is a strategic land company.

6 June 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner