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Planning news - 11 January 2018

Published: Thursday, 11th January 2018

Date set for 20 per cent planning fee increase, Khan approves £1.4bn regeneration plans for Croydon, Revamped Newport Docks scheme will delay M4 project. And more stories...

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

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A letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s chief planner reveals that a 20 per cent increase in planning fees will come into effect on 17 January.

The House of Lords approved the regulations that introduce the fee increase as well as other changes to the fees regime in December.

According to the letter from Steve Quartermain CBE, the regulations – No. 1314 – will also introduce a new fee of £402 per 0.1 hectare for permission in principle application; the ability for local authorities to charge for applications for planning permission following the removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 directions or by condition; and for mayoral and urban development corporations to charge for providing a pre-application service.

In addition, the regulations introduce a fee of £96 for prior approval applications to permitted development rights that were introduced in April 2015 and April 2017.

These include the rights for the installation of solar PV equipment on non-domestic buildings, the erection of click-and-collect facilities within the land area of a shop and the provision of temporary school buildings on vacant commercial land for state-funded schools.

The government has also published regulations – No.1309 – that enable applications for permission in principle to be made for minor housing-led development. These will come into force on 1 June, with planning guidance aimed at supporting authorities to be published “in due course”.

Quartermain’s update can be found on the UK Government website (pdf)

Read more:

Find out how the Planning Portal is responding to this change.
Regulations no.1314 (planning fees) (pdf)
Regulations 1309 (permission in principle) (pdf)

3 January 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner


The Mayor of London has green-lit Croydon Partnership’s plans to revamp the Whitgift shopping centre, which will see more than 500,000 square metres of new shops and restaurants established.

Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning at Croydon Council, said: “The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre will transform Croydon town centre and today’s green light brings us a step closer to the works getting under way.”

The joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson is expected to create 7,000 jobs, 1,000 new homes and provide the community with new leisure facilities and “rejuvenated” public spaces. Plans also feature space for future student accommodation or a hotel.

Khan gave his approval after Croydon Council’s planning committee approved the plans, which will see the city gain its third Westfield shopping centre alongside those in Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford.

He said: “Today marks a crucial step forward in the regeneration of Croydon town centre.

“This development will play a key role in unlocking the borough’s potential and is set to deliver huge economic benefits to residents and businesses in the borough.

“As well as the creation of 7,000 jobs and the delivery of almost 1,000 new homes, it will also attract many visitors to its brand new leisure facilities and public spaces. I’m confident the benefits of this scheme will be felt for generations to come.”

John Burton OBE, Westfield UK/Europe’s head of development, said: “The London Borough of Croydon responded positively to our revised outline planning application, and we’re pleased that this has now been approved by the mayor. Our plans will help establish Croydon as South London’s best retail, dining and leisure destination and deliver new homes and 7,000 jobs.”

8 January 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Major new proposals for a £136 million revamp of Newport Docks as part of the building of the M4 relief road have been unveiled by transport and economy secretary Ken Skates.

The proposed work will mean a delay of up to two years for the scheme, Skates told Assembly Members in a letter.

Port owner Associated British Ports (ABP) had objected to the government’s preferred route for the new M4 relief road, the so-called Black Route, which would involve building a bridge over the docks.

The letter explained that collaboration between the government and ABP had resulted in proposals to integrate the docks facility with the M4 Project.

The works include construction and refurbishment of quays, rearrangements of tenants and replacement of cranes, shaped around the new section of motorway and its new junction connecting the docks to the Trans European Motorway Network.

Skates said the new proposals would address the concerns of the port, which “supports approximately 2,500 jobs and contributes £173 million per year to the Welsh economy”.

“The enabling works would safeguard employment across the many sectors the port serves including steel, timber, agriculture, renewable energy generation and recycling.”

The M4 relief road project is currently the subject of a public inquiry.

5 January 2018
Roger Milne, The Planner


The government has announced that £67 million worth of road improvements will create more than 4,300 jobs and more than 1,700 homes for people in England.

Wigan in Greater Manchester, Marlow in Buckinghamshire, Newton in Nottinghamshire, Cumbria, and Plymouth are all set to benefit, according to the government.

Highways England will make a £16.6 million contribution towards the schemes from its Growth and Housing Fund, with private sector contributions and other public funding making up the rest of the investment.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive at Highways England, said the “improvements will ensure England’s strategic road network continues to make a valuable contribution to the prosperity of our country”.

“We will continue to use our Growth and Housing Fund, working with a range of local stakeholders to unlock further development sites around the country.”

The £100 million fund was set up as part of the government’s £15 billion investment in roads. It contributes financial support towards the cost of road improvements needed for new developments.

The five schemes are:

A404/A4155 Westhorpe Interchange improvements, Buckinghamshire

Expected to create the opportunity for up to 560 jobs at the Globe Business Park and enable over 22,000 square metres of vacant space to be used by businesses. The project will receive £1.75 million, comprising £1.18 million from the Growth and Housing Fund, £500,000 private finding and an additional £63,000 provided by the Local Enterprise Partnership. Work on the scheme is expected to start late this year/spring 2019.

M58 Wigan Link Road, Greater Manchester

The government said the project is designed to improve accessibility in the area, help to reduce congestion and create smoother journeys for drivers. The scheme will also unlock the Pemberton Park development site and 250 new homes and support the delivery of another 170 homes and 2,600 jobs at the neighbouring ‘Bell Site’. The £23.6 million package includes £5 million from the Growth and Housing Fund, a public funding contribution from Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council, £10.9 million from the Greater Manchester growth deal, and £3.1 million provided by private developers.

A46 RAF Newton, Nottingham

A new link bridge over the A46 will be installed with the aim of connecting the former RAF Newton site with transport links and public amenity services in central Bingham. The scheme will receive £2.9 million from the Growth and Housing Fund and £970,000 of private funding. It is expected to unlock the land to create up to 550 local homes, said the government.

A590 Cross-a-Moor, Cumbria

An upgrade of the existing junction at Cross-a-Moor, Cumbria, will see it changed into a four-arm roundabout that will provide a number of local development sites with direct access to the A590 trunk road. The £5.05 million scheme is made up of £3.05 million from the Growth and Housing Fund and £2.03 million in third-party match funding.The scheme is expected to unlock 106 local homes, and three further sites with the potential to deliver 895 more homes.

Forder Valley Link Road, Plymouth

The £37.84 million package of works includes the construction of the Forder Valley Link Road, which will connect the A386 at Derriford to the A38 to the east of Plymouth. Allocated £4.47 million from the Growth and Housing Fund, the link road forms part of a range of transport interventions that aim to accommodate a number of developments and will unlock up to 651 homes, and 1,227 additional jobs, according to the government. The scheme will be funded by a private match of £6.4 million. The local enterprise partnership and the local authority support the project, with £22.55 million of other public (LEP) funding also being brought forward.

3 January 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner


The Woodland Trust and the Community Forests has received government support for its plans to create a Northern Forest comprising more than 50 million trees over 25 years.

The forest is expected to cover Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Chester and Hull, as well as major surrounding towns.

It aims to deliver major environmental, social and economic benefits that “complement the significant growth, investment and new infrastructure that is planned for the north of England”.

The two trusts said the Northern Forest would accelerate the creation of new woodland and support sustainable management of existing wood across the planned area.

More trees, woods and forests will improve air quality in towns and cities; mitigate flood risk in key catchments; support the rural economy and connect people with nature.

In 2016, just 700 hectares of tree planting took place – at least 4,000 hectares fewer than the government’s target of 5,000 hectares to be planted a year.

Austin Brady, director of conservation, Woodland Trust said existing work to increase woodland cover are “stalling”, with current delivery mechanisms, such as Community Forests, under threat.

“A new Northern Forest could accelerate the benefits of community forestry, support landscape scale working for nature, deliver a wide range of benefits, including helping to reduce flood risk, and adapt some of the UK’s major towns and cities to projected climate change.

“The North of England is perfectly suited to reap the benefits of a project on this scale. But this must be a joined-up approach. We’ll need to continue to work with government, and other organisations to harness new funding mechanisms such as those promised in the Clean Growth Strategy to plant extensive areas of woodland to lock up carbon. This will ensure we can make a difference long term.”

Paul Nolan, director of the Mersey Forest, added that the Northern Forest, which has five community forests within it boundaries, will “complement” the planned £75 billion of infrastructure investment across the M62 corridor.

The government has provided £6 million to launch the project, with the announcement forming part of its upcoming 25 Year Environment Plan, which will set out how “we can be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it”.

Further details on this will be set out this week, said the government.   

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This new Northern Forest is an ambitious and exciting project that will create a vast ribbon of woodland cover in northern England stretching from coast to coast, providing a rich habitat for wildlife to thrive, and a natural environment for millions of people to enjoy. This new forest will help us deliver a green Brexit and help to deliver on our pledge to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”

There are five community forests that sit within the proposed area for the Northern Forest including, City of Trees, White Rose Forest, Mersey Forest, HEYwoods and South Yorkshire Forest.

8 January 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner


A round-up of planning news

Government rebrands DCLG

Prime Minister Theresa May has reshuffled her cabinet and rebranded the Department for Communities and Local Government as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Sajid Javid will remain in post as secretary of state at the department.

“The name change for the department reflects this government’s renewed focus to deliver more homes and build strong communities across England.”

Alok Sharma, who was the housing and planning minister for nearly seven months, has been moved to the post of employment minister. Dominic Raab becomes the new housing minister.

Rich Sunak has been appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the MHCLG.

Greg Clark also kept his post in the reshuffle as business and energy secretary.

Responding to the changes, Stephen Wilkinson MRTPI, RTPI president said the institute welcomed Javid’s reappointment. "His reappointment provides continuity to this crucial portfolio. While the elevation of ‘housing’ to the cabinet is welcome and reflects its importance, action on delivering more homes which people can afford is key."

Welcoming Raab to the housing portfolio, Wilkinson said: "As the largest professional body to represent planners and planning in the UK, the RTPI is looking forward to working with the new minister, Dominic Raab in his new position as housing minister. Planners are critical to the successful delivery of more homes, of all types and tenures, in locations across the UK supported by the right infrastructure."

Council makes affordable housing key for Holloway Prison site

Islington Council has adopted a planning document that requires that at least 50 per cent of new housing built on the Holloway Prison site be genuinely affordable.

The site, formerly home to Europe’s largest women’s prison, is now up for sale by the Ministry of Justice.

The supplementary planning ocument was adopted last week following a “record” consultation response. The council said it has been produced to provide clarity and set out clear parameters as to what is expected to be delivered on the site.

It requires that 50 per cent of the homes delivered on site should be “genuinely affordable”, with a mix of housing types, including a significant proportion of family accommodation, social infrastructure such as a women’s centre, and “high-quality”, publicly accessible green space.

Humber flood scheme progresses

Funding has been secured for a £42 million upgrade to the tidal flood scheme in the Humber Estuary.

Led by the Environment Agency, the Humber Hull Frontages scheme will present an opportunity to review and improve a 19km stretch of tidal flood defences in the Humber Estuary to better protect 113,000 properties at risk of flooding in the city.

Contractor BMM JV – a joint venture between BAM Nuttall and Mott MacDonald – has been appointed to develop a detailed design-and-build plan. This work follows the review of existing flood defences along the banks of the Humber Estuary in Hull conducted by built environment consultants at Arup.

Plans submitted to transform former Glasgow police HQ

Developer and operator of rental homes Moda has submitted plans to Glasgow City Council to transform the former Strathclyde Police headquarters in central Glasgow into high-tech rental housing.

The company wants to turn the Pitt Street complex into a “build-to-rent” neighbourhood that also has co-working space for start-ups, cafés, restaurants, and health and well-being facilities.

Holland Park will offer 433 homes for rent, comprising a mix of studios to three-bedroom dwellings.

Designed by Glasgow architects HAUS Collective, the homes will be spread over four blocks arranged into a square. A courtyard will be in the middle of the development, which will be open to the public during the day. Moda is also in discussions with the city council on improving the surrounding public realm and installing new green infrastructure.

Lichfield consults on local plan

Lichfield District Council has published a consultation on its revised local plan allocations draft document.

Following consultation in spring 2017 and new evidence, the councils has made a number of changes to the draft Lichfield District Local Plan Allocations (Focused Changes) document.

This is the second part of the district’s local plan and covers issues from housing and employment land allocations through to reviewing the planning policies used to determine planning applications.

The consultation closes on 19 February. It can be found on the Lichfield District Council website.

Retirement development approved in Edinburgh

Edinburgh City Council has granted detailed planning permission for Edinburgh Marina Holdings for a luxury waterside retirement living scheme.

The site is 2.5 miles north-west of the city centre.

The Living for Retirement development will form a key part of the forthcoming £500 million, 28-hectare Edinburgh Marina development.

Living for Retirement has been designed to provide over-55s with the means to “lead an active, fulfilling retirement”. It will comprise 104 high-end spacious one, two and three-bedroom luxury apartments, with a wide range of amenities specifically tailored for the over 55s.

The development will include dedicated guest accommodation, a 24-hour concierge service, secure private storage spaces and car parking (all with provision for electric power) for every apartment, set around a private one-acre landscaped garden close to the new Edinburgh Marina.

Residents will have access to a health and wellness centre as well as a cinema, bistro, lounge, library and laundry room.

Detailed planning permissions for the remaining elements of Edinburgh’s new waterside residential quarter are expected in early 2018, and construction is scheduled to begin in the latter part of the year.

New plan commissioned for New Cross

The London Borough of Lewisham, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Transport for London (TfL) have jointly commissioned a team to formulate a plan for New Cross because of the potential extension of the Bakerloo line.

Architects and urban designers 5th Studio and We Made That will develop a Masterplan and Station Opportunity Study for New Cross Gate. Supporting consultants include Alan Baxter Associates and Lambert Smith Hampton.

The area has more than 350 artist studios within the study area, demonstrating the huge influence of Goldsmiths, University of London, which must be factored into forthcoming development plans.

The study’s purpose is to develop a “visionary and practical” plan to maximise the benefit of infrastructure investment to support good growth, through coordinating, negotiating and integrating the needs and desires of all those that have a stake in the future of New Cross. The study area forms a radius of approximately a kilometre around the station, addressing a gap between the area-wide plans of the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area, Deptford Creek & Greenwich and the regeneration around Lewisham Gateway.

Consortium confirmed for local authority cycling plans

Independent transport planning consultancy Phil Jones Associates has been appointed to a consortium with engineering consultancies WSP and Mott Macdonald to support the development of the first local cycling and walking infrastructure plans (LCWIPs).

The plans will be led by local authorities across England.

A team of project managers will support 35 local authorities that have been awarded LCWIP assistance by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The plans form part of the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, which aims to making cycling and walking the natural choice for short journeys.

The three specialist companies have been appointed to the project by the DfT following their previous work producing the LCWIP guidance and involvement in Highways England’s Cycling, Safety and Integration programme.

Lincolnshire water tower restored

Civil engineering and infrastructure specialists Barhale has restored Chatterton Water Tower in Spalding.

The tower, opened in 1955 by the Marquess of Exeter, is in the centre of town. It is a cubic structure 30 metres tall and 29 metres wide.

As part of Anglian Water’s Integrated Operational Solutions (IOS), Barhale steam-cleaned and repainted the tower, which provides drinking water and essential pressure to more than 22,000 properties in Spalding and the surrounding rural areas.

9 January 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner