Latest news

Planning news - 12 October 2017

Published: Thursday, 12th October 2017

Development approved after mayor doubles affordable housing, Silvertown Tunnel decision delayed, Builders pledge to recruit and train workforce. And more stories...

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

RTPI logo
Planner jobs

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has approved a new residential development in Mill Hill, North London, after he stepped in to double the level of affordable housing.

Barnet Council refused permission for the development, to be located on the former National Institute for Medical Research site, in February this year, against the advice of its planning officers.

The plans at that time included 20 per cent affordable housing – 92 homes for shared ownership. Khan called in the plans and at this point the application also included a £4.56 million contribution to affordable housing.

Khan used his planning powers to negotiate an increase in the amount of affordable housing to 40 per cent, meaning 185 homes will be affordable (131 for shared ownership and 54 at social rent levels).

Khan said: “Delivering more of the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need is one of my top priorities as mayor, and I will use all the tools at my disposable to do so.

“This development offers a significant number of high-quality homes which will be available through shared ownership, to help people struggling to buy a home on the open market. I have also been able to secure new homes at social rent levels within the development, which is key to helping Londoners on low incomes and to making sure we build a mixed community here.”

The mayor said he and his team had ensured that 119 trees on the site that would have been felled will now be retained, and another 91 trees will be planted.

A number of sports pitches owned privately will be transferred to the local council for community use as part of the development.

9 October 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Transport minister Paul Maynard has announced that a decision on development consent order (DCO) to build a road under the River Thames in East London has been delayed by one month.

The application by Transport for London is going through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) system.

There is a three month deadline for ministerial decisions on such schemes from when the government received the Planning Inspectorate’s examination report.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling received the report on 11 July and a decision was due today (11 October).

Maynard announced that the deadline would be extended to 10 November 2017 to enable further consideration of responses to a consultation on the UK Government’s updated plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide, which was published in July.

“The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to give development consent,” said Maynard.

The DCO would see a twin bore road tunnel built under the River Thames between Silvertown and north Greenwich.

11 October 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


A Skills Pledge has been launched by the Home Building Skills Partnership to recruit and train more people to tackle the continuing skills shortage.

More than 50 members of the Home Builders Federation (HBF) have signed the Skills Pledge, including all of its large members and an increasing number of medium and small companies, said the representative body for the home building industry.

The Home Building Skills Partnership is part of the HBF. The Skills Pledge was set up by the HBF and its members in an attempt to tackle the growing building skills shortage and to future-proof workforce skills.

The Skills Pledge covers five key areas:

  • Collaborate and share;
  • Train to a standard;
  • Engage and support;
  • Champion diversity and inclusion; and
  • Promote careers.

Speaking at the launch of the Skills Pledge at HBF’s annual Housing Market Intelligence event in London, John Tutte, group chief executive at Redrow plc, and chair of the Home Building Skills Partnership, said: “If we are to develop the capacity and build the high-quality homes the country desperately needs, we as an industry must commit to recruiting and training the right people – now and in future. The skills gap, whilst acknowledged by the sector, requires a collective and committed response if we are to tackle it sustainably in the long term.

“The challenges posed by Brexit with regard to skills only make the need for effective collaboration more acute.”

Jenny Herdman, director of the Home Building Skills Partnership, added: “It is extremely encouraging to see momentum building for collectively solving the housing skills crisis. We face a huge challenge but also have a unique opportunity to make a difference, and be part of a combined demonstration that a career in housebuilding provides huge opportunities and prospects.

“We want to see the whole industry getting on board in the coming weeks, and working to make the skills gap a thing of the past. We urge all home builders to join us and sign up now.”

Housing and planning minister Alok Sharma said: “This government is committed to building many more homes in the places people want to live across the country. To do that we need an industry that has the right skills to build, including new and innovative methods.

“The Home Building Skills Pledge shows the industry working collaboratively to ensure they’ve got a sustainable supply chain, and I look forward to seeing it result in even more skilled workers on the ground ready to build the homes this country needs.”

5 October 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Finance secretary Mark Drakeford has unveiled a draft budget for Wales covering the period 2018-19, which confirms the release of £340 million to support the building of 20,000 affordable homes.

It also includes £50 million to develop a new rail station and park-and-ride facility at Llanwern, Swansea.

Further detailed spending plans will be published in three weeks’ time.

As part of the Budget announcement, the minister revealed he was considering a shortlist of four new Welsh tax ideas, including a levy on vacant land and a tourism tax. Each of these will be developed further over the course of this year and one new tax idea will be proposed to the UK Government in 2018 to test the Wales Act powers.  

The Budget is a significant milestone in Wales’s devolution as from April 2018 Wales becomes responsible for raising a proportion of its own revenue from Wales’s two new taxes – land transaction tax and landfill disposals tax – to spend on public services.

The figures published this week (3 October) include £7.5 million for targeted flood prevention measures around Newport, £140 million for flood and coastal management and an additional £14.9 million for regeneration projects, chiefly in the shape of community facilities and hubs.

5 October 2017
Roger Milne, The Planner


A round up of appeal decisions.

Short-term let refused in light of Kensington housing shortage

An inspector has refused permission to use a Kensington flat for short-term holiday letting, ruling that it would set a precedent that could lead to a 'serious loss of housing' in the area.

‘Brash’ commercial flags not comparable to national symbols

Plans for two flags advertising a restaurant in a central London street have been refused, because the ‘brash’ emblems were not comparable to ‘dignified and appropriate’ national flags on neighbouring civic buildings.

AONB cottage rebuild will be three times bigger than local size guidelines

Plans to rebuild a Dorset cottage 2.55 times larger than its existing size, despite council guidelines limiting expansion to 50 per cent, will go ahead because the new home would be screened from public view.

Staff changeover at children‘s care home would ‘disrupt neighbours’

An inspector has rejected a proposal to convert a house in a residential area of Chelmsford into a care home for teenagers, ruled that vehicle noise during the nightly staff handover would disturb neighbours.

Historic munitions store conversion refused on ecological grounds

A dilapidated munitions store within a former military depot in Hampshire cannot be converted into a home because harm the to area’s ‘outstanding’ ecology would be unavoidable.

Smells and queues scupper Oxfordshire fish and chip shop

Plans for a fish and chip shop in Bampton have been refused on the grounds that the ‘very high odour’ food and queues area would harm neighbours’ living conditions.

Affordable housing requirement halved after developer's High Court challenge

A 103-home scheme in Skipton, North Yorkshire, approved subject to 40 per cent affordable housing provision can be built with half that amount following a successful challenge to local housing policy.

Traveller pitches approved despite government ‘adjustment’ to NPPF

Eight traveller pitches near Canterbury have been permitted because for ‘personal and general need’, despite a change to the NPPF to prevent travellers from using housing supply shortfalls to engage paragraph 14's ‘tilted balance’.

Textile mill redevelopment blocked after ‘misleading’ traffic report

A 19th century textile mill restoration in West Yorkshire to provide housing, a hotel and offices has been blocked following a ‘misleading evaluation’ of the scheme’s impact on traffic.

Council drops objection to 80-home scheme in light of Supreme Court ruling

Plans for 80 homes near the New Forest have been approved after the local authority dropped its objection to the scheme in light of the Supreme Court ruling on NPPF paragraphs 14 and 49.

You can access the full decision letter and supporting documents relating to the appeal stories by searching the Planning Inspectorate's Appeals Casework Portal.

Search Appeal decisions

6 October 2017
Matt Moody, The Planner


A round-up of planning news.

Homes for Scotland appoints new chair

Trade body Homes for Scotland has appointed Ken Gillespie as chair for a three-year term with immediate effect.

With 33 years of experience, Gillespie has been responsible for the development and delivery of residential, commercial and infrastructure schemes both nationally and internationally.

Gillespie said: “My philosophy is clear: whether public or private sector, local or national government, we all need to work together, positively and progressively, to an agreed common objective which should be increasing and accelerating housing supply across Scotland to meet the needs of our growing population.”

More about this appointment can be found on The Planner Jobs website.

£1.8m homelessness action plan in Greater Manchester

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has invested £1.8 million to help homeless people get off the streets.

He said the money, one of just eight social impact bonds (SIB) approved, will help to provide accommodation, intensive health support and improvements in the way homeless people are encouraged into education or work for up to 200 people.

The money comes two weeks after Burnham asked all public bodies in the region to work together to end homelessness and rough sleeping with immediate action.

Representatives from all of those organisations attended a meeting of Greater Manchester’s Reform Board to suggest actions, including calling on the government to halt the roll-out of the Universal Credit benefit scheme.

Countryside to deliver Hoxton regeneration scheme

Housebuilder Countryside has signed a development agreement with Hackney Council to develop new homes for social renting, shared ownership and outright sale at St Leonard’s Court in Hoxton, East London.

The development is located near Shoreditch Park and Tech City, as well as Hoxton and Old Street stations.

It comprises one, two and three-bedroom apartments, landscaped open space, bicycle storage and a central courtyard.

Of the homes, 21 per cent will be for social rent and 11 per cent for shared ownership.

The council has secured detailed planning permission for the development.

Countryside will start on site in 2018.

Fareham bids £10m housing grant

Fareham Borough Council has submitted a bid for £10 million of grant funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) Housing Infrastructure Fund.

If approved, the money would be the last piece of finance required to upgrade J10 of the M27 to an ‘all-moves’ junction.

The bid has been supported by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Hampshire County Council, Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, and Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery.

The council said £29 million of public funding has already been secured through the Solent LEP and the Department for Transport. However, the total estimated cost, which includes allowances for inflation and contingency works, and associated highways works, is in the region of £60 million.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Seán Woodward, said: “Securing funding to ensure this infrastructure is in place upfront will unlock any barriers to the housing requirements for the area and ensure timely delivery of housing and Welborne Garden Village.”

Welborne Garden Village is expected to deliver 6,000 homes and 5,700 jobs.

245 homes approved next to Crossrail

The Royal Borough of Greenwich Council has approved developer HUB’s proposal for a mixed-use scheme at Abbey Wood, south-east London.

Abbey Place will comprise 245 one to three-bedroom homes for rent and will be near the new Abbey Wood Elizabeth Line station, which is set to open in 2018.

The 23,000 square metre scheme, designed by architects at shedkm, will also deliver flexible space at the ground level for future retail and commercial use. Abbey Place features two residential buildings of 21 storeys and 13 storeys. More than 400 cycle spaces will be provided on the ground floor.

The development will be delivered by HUB in partnership with sustainable and social impact investor Bridges Fund Management.

Planning consultancy appointed by Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office has appointed planning and development consultancy Montagu Evans as the property management and finance services provider for the shadow Government Property Agency (GPA).

The GPA is part of the Cabinet Office.

Montagu Evans, working with partner organisations CBRE and Moore Stephens, will work for the GPA over a three-year period, supporting it with a range of back-office services. These include paying and receiving rents and other costs associated with a complex property portfolio – managing property transactions, maintaining property data and providing full reporting and accounting services.

Ian Playford, interim chief executive of the GPA, said: “The signing of this contract represents real progress towards the creation of the Government Property Agency. It will allow us to develop the high-quality property management and finance services we need to realise our objectives of increased efficiency and reduced operating costs across the government estate.”

The GPA has been shadow running since January 2017 to test processes and structures in preparation for its official launch in April 2018.

10 October 2017

Laura Edgar, The Planner