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Planning news - 31 August 2017

Published: Thursday, 31st August 2017

Khan announces first 100 per cent affordable housing site, Housing plans dropped owing to government ‘indecision’, says NHF, Whole Estate Plan endorsed in South Downs. And more stories...

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

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that a former industrial site in Walthamstow has been released for development with 100 per cent affordable homes for first-time buyers.

After taking over as mayor in May 2016, Khan instructed the Greater London Authority to buy the former Webbs Industrial Estate, a site that had been standing derelict for seven years.

The site attracted 13 bids, with housing association Catalyst selected as the preferred bidder. Catalyst will work in conjunction with partners including Swan Housing Association and architects C.F. Møller Architects, said the mayor’s office.

The former glass lampshade and bulb factory site will be regenerated to comprise 330 homes that will be available as shared ownership. In addition, the site will host a creative hub that is to provide more than 3,000 square metres of new affordable workspace and artist studios, a park area and retail space.

Khan said the profit from the sale of the land would be reinvested into providing more affordable homes.

“I’m working hard to identify more brownfield sites across London that we can use to build the thousands of genuinely affordable homes London so desperately needs. This site in Walthamstow shows the benefit of City Hall taking a greater role unlocking and bringing forward land for development – working closely with housing associations like Catalyst to deliver a scheme that is 100 per cent affordable for Londoners struggling to buy a home,” he said.

Clare Coghill, the leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “We are really pleased that the first site of 100 per cent affordable London housing will be found in Waltham Forest, regenerating an old disused factory. We fully support the mayor’s affordable homes ambition and we are committed to making sure our residents have access to these homes.

“This is a great step forward to helping meet this need. At the same time, we want to grow the local economy and create jobs and opportunity, so the additional creative hub provides much-needed space for businesses, artists and residents. It is a win-win situation for all.”

The deal comes ahead of Khan setting out his plans for City Hall to take a greater role intervening in land decisions across the capital. More detail about the mayor’s plans will be in his London Housing Strategy, which is due to be published in draft for consultation next month.

24 August 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


HS2 Ltd has begun searching for the companies that will transform London Euston station and build a new transport hub at Old Oak Common ready for the high-speed rail line.

The investment into the two stations for HS2 is expected to help to unlock 79,000 jobs and 29,000 homes in the surrounding area.

Contracts for HS2’s Birmingham stations, which are expected to create up to 52,000 jobs and 6,000 homes, will be awarded in 2018.

Transport minister Paul Maynard said: “The winning bidders will need to ensure that the stations provide the best possible customer experience. But there will also be huge and exciting opportunities for development around all HS2 station sites, not just in London and the West Midlands, but also in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and the East Midlands, unlocking huge opportunities for new jobs, homes and economic growth.”

Mark Thurston, chief executive at HS2 Ltd, said: “We’re looking for the best the construction industry has to offer. Companies that share our commitment to safety, efficiency, environmental protection and value for money. Together, we will create two iconic stations, gateways to the capital and to the nation that local communities and the travelling public can be proud to call their own.”

The successful bidders will act as construction partners that will work with HS2 and the Euston and Old Oak Common designers. They will be responsible for programme management as well as procuring, integrating and managing the supply chains.

It is expected that about 4,000 jobs will be supported during construction of the two stations, with around 700 during operation.

30 August 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


The South Downs National Park Authority has endorsed Wiston Estate’s Whole Estate Plan, which proposes to create tranquillity zones and regenerate a quarry into a sustainable tourism base.

The plan is the first one to be set out by an estate in the national park. It considers planning, farming, woodland management conservation and access.

It doesn’t guarantee planning permission, but will be a material consideration in determining planning applications.

The Whole Estate Plan states that the estate will work alongside local neighbourhood planning groups to enable future housing to sustain a diverse community.

It also looks at climate change, pressure of development, changes to subsidies following Brexit, and rural business adaptation.

Wiston Estate worked with Rural Solutions, which provides planning and development support to landowners on developing their estates on the Whole Estate Plan.

Tim Slaney, director of planning for the South Downs National Park Authority, said the authority is impressed by how the Wiston Estate and their consultants Rural Solutions worked with it on this “progressive approach”.

“Wiston’s Whole Estate Plan sets a high bar which we will encourage other estates, farms and landowners across the national park to meet.”

Rob Hindle, director at Rural Solutions, said: “The plan is grounded in sustainability and stewardship and will play a key part in enabling the estate’s plans for projects to enhance environmental quality, improve access and deliver significant social and economic benefits. It really is a notable example and I hope that other authorities will take notice of this approach.”

Richard Goring, manager of Wiston Estate, said: “When the national park invited landowners to produce a Whole Estate Plan we could see the value that it would bring to the Wiston Estate, particularly given that we are in a period of succession between generations.”

He said the process of producing the plans has helped it address issues across the estate.

The Whole Estate Plan can be found on the South Downs National Park website.

21 August 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


If the current rate of housebuilding and replacement continues, the average new home in England will have to last for 2,000 years, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.

The representative body for councils in England said the country is spending nearly as much on the repair and maintenance of the existing housing stock as it does building new ones.

Analysis by the LGA suggests that one in 10 buyers are not satisfied with the quality of the home they buy. One in six would not recommend their housebuilder to a friend.

Most areas have more homes built before 1930 than from any other period, according to the report, The Quality of Housing, which was compiled by Residential Analysts for the LGA.

The LGA has called on the government to assist councils in building “a new generation of high-quality, genuinely affordable and additional homes” that are supported by adequate infrastructure and services. For this to be achieved, housebuilders would need to work with councils to ensure that the new homes are built to a good quality and would stand the test of time, it added.

Council leaders are also concerned about the quality of private rented homes, with 28 per cent not considered decent. On the other hand, 85 per cent of council homes meet the decent homes standard, an increase from 70 per cent in 2008.

They think a “national renaissance” in council housebuilding is central to solving the country’s housing shortage and to improve the quality of homes. To do this, the LGA said councils needed to be able to borrow to build – and keep 100 per cent of the receipts of homes they sell.

Judith Blake, housing spokesperson at the LGA, said: “Families are having to spend more on rent or mortgages every month and deserve a decent home that is affordable. But as costs are rising, so is dissatisfaction with the standards of new homes.

“Everyone deserves an affordable and decent place to live. It’s crucial that all new and existing homes are up to a decent standard.

“Councils need to be able to ensure quality through the planning system, and to encourage high standards in rented and owned properties across the board.

“To spark a desperately needed renaissance in council housebuilding, councils also need to able to borrow to build new homes and keep all receipts from any homes they sell to reinvest in building new homes that are of a good quality and affordable.”

Brian Berry, chief executive at the Federation Master Builders (FMB), said in order to address the problem of undersupply of housing, it is “vital” that the government acts on proposals laid out in the housing white paper, published in February, including diversifying the housebuilding sector.

“The concern is that almost six months after the white paper was published, we’ve seen limited movement on a range of policies that if implemented, could start making a difference today,” Berry said.

“The LGA report also raises concerns regarding the quality of new homes and points to one in ten home buyers being dissatisfied with the end result. To put this another way, that means 90 per cent of consumers are satisfied with the quality of their new home, which is a high customer satisfaction rate. Furthermore, this satisfaction rate is likely to be higher still among customers of SME house builders like the ones represented by the FMB. Our members market themselves on building high quality bespoke homes for their clients and this is their unique selling point.”

21 August 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Manchester City Council has approved developer’s plans by Far East Consortium (FEC) and The Co-op for a £200 million, 756-home development in the city.

The development, designed by 5plus Architects, will be located at Angel Meadow, and is adjacent to the NOMA neighbourhood.

Four residential towers will be built – a 40-storey building, a 22-storey building, a 17-storey building and a part-12, part nine-storey building. The towers will comprise 756 residential apartments, none of which will be affordable, and ground floor space for commercial use.

The development also features car parking, landscaping and amenity areas, and creation of new public realm following the closure of Aspin Lane, Mincing Street and Irk Street.

A report by planning officers refers to policy H8 of the city’s core strategy, which requires consideration be given to the provision of affordable housing within all new residential developments on sites of 0.3 hectares and that are above 15 units. A supporting supplementary document states that affordable housing is not necessary when a financial viability assessment suggests that it would not be viable to deliver affordable housing or when material considerations suggest social rented housing would be inappropriate.

A viability assessment suggests that the development is viable with factors such as highway mitigation measures and space standards, but providing affordable housing as well makes it unviable.

The report notes that the developer has been selected as a development partner for the Northern Gateway and therefore “there may be other opportunities to secure commuted sums for affordable housing, or on site provision, as part of wider development opportunities in the area”.

This, said planners, is “likely to be considered on an holistic basis with affordable housing being secured through developer agreements with the city council, and landowner”.

Documents associated with this application can be found on the Manchester City Council website.

29 August 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


A round-up of planning news.

Seven storey installation approved in Bristol

Bristol City Council has approved a seven storey installation on the exterior of 3 Glass Wharf in the city’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

The installation has been created by British contemporary artist Terry Haggerty. 3 Glass Wharf, currently under construction, was designed by Darling Associates and will be an office building.

The installation will be presented on the eastern elevation of the office building, facing the railway line approaching Bristol Temple Meads.

Haggerty explained: “For the façade of 3 Glass Wharf I felt it was important to work with the core element of the building’s exterior structure – the glass windows and the metal panels – and to give the impression that these window elements enter a playful section of the building where things go a little awry. The building is thrown into a random system where channels and passages are created to reveal a different kind of logic.”

Housing construction values positive, says Barbour ABI

Construction contract values for the housebuilding sector reached £2.5 billion, but values for the infrastructure sector reached the lowest total for more than six years.

The latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from construction industry analysts Barbour ABI, notes that the levels of construction contract values awarded in July across all regions of Great Britain totalled £5.4 billion based on a three-month rolling average.

This is below this year’s peak of £6.5 billion accrued in March.

The infrastructure sector produced £784 million worth of construction contract value, an annual decrease of 97 per cent.

Four of the top 10 biggest construction contracts agreed in July were for the housebuilding sector, including the Charter Square development at Staines in Surrey, valued at £120 million.

Greenwich delivers 786 affordable homes

The Royal Borough of Greenwich delivered 786 new affordable homes in 2015/16.

This is according the Mayor of London’s London Plan Annual Monitoring Report.

Over a three-year period, 40 per cent of the new houses built in Greenwich were affordable.

Construction begins on Lanarkshire council houses

Construction has begun on the latest phase of South Lanarkshire Council’s Home+ house building programme.

The site of former primary school – Belstane Gate in Carluke – is one of nine sites where South Lanarkshire Council says building will begin in this financial year.

This development will deliver 22 family homes in Carluke.

The project has been designed by the council’s design team and is being constructed by Cambusland-based CCG.

Supported by Scottish Government funding, the development will comprise two, three and four-bedroom homes. They are expected to be completed in spring 2018.

£11m for cleaner buses

The government has awarded £11 million to local authorities and bus companies in Bristol, York, Brighton Surrey, Denbighshire, and Wiltshire.

The funding comes from the government’s ‘Low emission bus scheme’ to help them buy 153 cleaner buses, that could be electric or gas, and install stations to charge or fuel them.

Transport minister Paul Maynard said: “Low-emission buses are an important part of our plans to make motoring cleaner and improve air quality across the country.

“New greener buses will be more comfortable for passengers, they are cost efficient and are good for the environment.”

The councils and bus companies will get:

  • Denbighshire County Council, Wales – £500,000 for four electric buses on mid-Denbighshire services.
  • City of York Council – £3.3 million for 24 electric buses to be used on park-and-ride services in York.
  • South Gloucestershire Council – £4.8 million for 110 gas buses for services around Bristol.
  • Surrey County Council, Guildford – £1.5 million for nine electric buses to be used on park-and-ride services in Guildford.
  • The Big Lemon –  £500,000 for three electric buses to be used in the Brighton area.
  • Go South Coast/Wiltshire County Council – £500,000 for three electric buses to be used on park-and-ride services around Salisbury.

29 August 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner