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Planning news - 8 February 2018

Published: Thursday, 8th February 2018

Quartermain: Revised NPPF to be published in draft in spring, Javid proposes extending upwards in cities, Khan publishes guide to estate regeneration. 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 to England’s local authorities from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) chief planner states that the government intends to publish a draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) before Easter.

The NPPF is being revised to include planning reforms outlined in the housing white paper, which was published in February 2017; the Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places consultation published in September 2017; and announcements in the Autumn Budget.

Steve Quartermain CBE wrote: “We will consult on both new policies from the Budget, and the text of the framework, to make sure the wording is clear, consistent and well understood. Our ambition is to publish a final revised framework in the summer.”

The letter also contains details on Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations. On 24 January, Parliament considered regulations that would amend Regulation 128A of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these will come into force in February.

The full letter can be found here on the MHCLG website (pdf).

31 January 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Housing secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that the government supports the creation of a new generation of town houses in cities in an attempt to ease pressure on ‘valuable’ open spaces and to help growing families.

The changes are expected to make it easier to build upwards on existing blocks of flats and houses, as well as shops and offices.

Javid said: “The answer to building new homes isn’t always an empty plot, or developing on a derelict site.

“We need to be more creative and make more effective use of the space we already have available.

“That’s why we are looking to strengthen planning rules to encourage developers to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible when delivering the homes the country needs.”

An additional two levels could be added to a property, providing it was in keeping with roofline of other buildings in the area.

The government said the measure will help council protect “valuable open space” in inner city areas, maintain the character of residential areas, safeguard people’s privacy and stop unwanted garden grabbing. Any changes must be in keeping with character of the local area.

This policy will included in the revised draft of the National Planning Policy Framework, which is expected soon.

Melanie Leech, chief executive at the British Property Federation, said: “If we're going to successfully address the UK’s housing supply-demand imbalance, it's critical that we find bold new ideas. Making it easier to add floors to a property, so that an under-used house, becomes several flats, is a good example of an initiative which should encourage local authorities to think creatively about solutions in their area.

“Communities, however, will only accept development at greater density if local services and infrastructure can adequately support the growing population of a particular area. Inadequate planning or funding of school places, healthcare or leisure facilities will inevitably create animosity towards proposed development.”  

5 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has proposed that mandatory balloting of residents living in estates where demolition is planned should take place if he is to provide funding for the development.

Better Homes for Local People sets out Khan’s guidelines for estate regeneration in the capital. It has been published following a consultation.

A statement from the mayor’s office states that while Khan has “limited sway” on estate regeneration, he is “determined to use his funding and planning powers to the fullest extend to protect social housing and give its residents a voice”.

Khan hopes his guide will empower tenants, leaseholders and freeholders in developing regeneration plans with their landlords.

Ballots were first suggested in the mayor’s draft good practice guide in December 2016 and has since been developing plans to make ballots a condition of future City Hall funding for new estate regeneration projects.

The guide lays out what Khan thinks Londoners living on social housing estates should expect from their landlord when regeneration is proposed, with consultation and involvement from the beginning “crucial”.
If demolition is proposed, the mayor wants councils and housing associations to follow his Better Homes for Local People principles by providing:

  • An increase in affordable homes – and as a minimum, no loss of social housing.
  • Full rights to remain or return for tenants.
  • A fair deal for leaseholders and freeholders.

Khan will use his draft London Plan to ensure that there is no net loss of social housing and an increase in affordable homes wherever possible.

He said: “My guide sets out how I will use my investment powers in a way they have never been used before, by requiring resident support through a ballot for new plans involving demolition where City Hall funding is involved.    

“I want to make sure people living on social housing estates, who have the greatest interest in their future, are at the heart of any decisions from the outset. By involving residents and putting social housing first, we can make sure plans for estate regeneration help build a city for all Londoners.”

Both Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth Council, and Lord Bob Kerslake, chair of Peabody housing association, welcomed the guide.
Peck said: “I fully support the mayor’s view that residents must be at the heart of decision-making when it comes to estate regeneration, which reflects our approach in Lambeth.  

“We’re building a new generation of estates with no loss of social housing and a guarantee of a new home for every resident on each rebuilt estate having secured the largest mayoral grant funding of any London borough, without the involvement of private developers.

“We will continue to work closely with the mayor on building more and better homes for local people as we tackle the London housing crisis together.”
Information on the guide and consultation on the ballot proposals can be found on the Greater London Authority website.

5 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The Communities and Local Government Committee (CLG) has announced that it will examine whether local authority guidance on fracking applications needs to be updated or improved.

The examination will consider whether or not there needs to be a “comprehensive document” that brings all existing guidance together for all those involved in the planning process.

The committee said it will also look at whether fracking applications should be determined by the national planning regime or at the local level.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the CLG committee, said: "The debate over fracking has aroused strong views on both sides but with large reserves of shale gas prevalent across northern England, applications for its extraction are only likely to grow over the next few years.

“It's important all parties, from applicants to local authorities, are clear about the planning process so we will be looking at whether the guidance is adequate or whether the government could do more to bring all the relevant directions together.   

“The guidance needs to be as clear and straightforward as possible so those involved in the decision-making process can judge whether any bids for fracking are in the interests of the local community and the country as a whole."

The committee’s questions are:

  • Is there the need to update and improve the guidance available?
  • Is there the need for a comprehensive document incorporating existing and updated guidance?
  • What is the status – in planning terms – of the extant government guidance?
  • Should applications for fracking be dealt with as national infrastructure under the 2008 Planning Act?

A written submission can be submitted on the CLG Committee website. The deadline for submissions is 14 March.

31 January 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced proposals to transform the Limmo Peninsula, East London, into a neighbourhood with 1,500 homes.

Transport for London (TfL) is seeking a partner to develop its largest plot of land, a key Elizabeth line tunnelling area.

Of the planned homes, 600 – 40 per cent – will be “genuinely affordable”.

Khan pledged in his election manifesto to bring forward public land to build affordable homes for Londoners and so far, in partnership with TfL, has brought forward several sites, including one in Kidbrooke (400 homes with half designated affordable).

Khan said: “The Limmo Peninsula has the capacity to be transformed into a booming new East London neighbourhood. With Elizabeth Line works almost complete, I am pleased that Transport for London is now in a position to bring forward this site for development.

“It is part of my strategy to free up public land and to use it to build the homes that our great city so desperately needs. It is no secret that it will take many years to fix London’s housing crisis, and we ultimately need government support – but schemes such as this prove that we are can make a real difference now by delivering high-quality neighbourhoods with a large proportion of genuinely affordable homes.”

Limmo Peninsula is near Canning Town station, which is served by the Jubilee line and DLR, and forms a key part of the Canning Town and Custom House regeneration area.

6 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A round-up of planning news

RTPI journal gets academic listing

The RTPI’s academic journal Planning Theory and Practice (PTP), published jointly with Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, has been accepted by Clarivate Analytics for inclusion in the Social Sciences Citation Index.

This means the journal is now ranked among the top planning journals in the field and will be included in the next Journal Citation Reports Impact Factor releases.  

Trudi Elliott, chief executive of the RTPI, which co-owns the journal, said: “The RTPI prides itself on advancing the art and science of spatial planning and the journal does this justice. This recognition would not have happened without the enthusiasm, creativity and dedication of everybody involved. PTP is very much the product of a great team: contributors, editors, our editorial board, staff and other supporters of the institute.” 

Ombudsman Services withdraws from property sector

Ombudsman Services (OS) has announced that it will withdraw from complaints handling in the property sector.

It has instead launched a dialogue with consumers to help tackle an “imbalance in power” in the housing sector.

The not-for-profit organisation, which is the largest multi-sector Ombudsman in the UK, said it will work with charities, consumer groups, property professionals and the public on a major report on the creation of a single housing ombudsman for submission to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in the spring.

Ombudsman Services will now begin a managed withdrawal from the current schemes it operates for surveyors, managing agents, estate agents and letting agents by 6 August 2018.

It will consult with the public to understand “key pain points”. 

University business school approved

Leicester City Council has approved two developments at the University of Leicester, which are part of the university’s £500 million estates investment programme.

The Brookfield campus, on London Road, will see a renovation scheme create a new home for its School of Business.

The historic 19th century Brookfield House, once home to Thomas Fielding Johnson, who was an original benefactor of the university, is at the centre of the London Road site. The original house and stable blocks will receive a comprehensive renovation and upgrade to bring them back to their former glory, according to the university.

The university will also redevelop an extension to the main building to provide a new lecture theatre and seminar rooms, alongside a full scheme of landscape improvements.

The second application approved will see an expansion of the university’s central campus Percy Gee building, which houses the Students’ Union.

Construction is due to begin in March and April, with contractors still to be announced.

Both schemes were designed by Shepheard Epstein Hunter with planning advice from Montagu Evans. 

Worcestershire planning policy consultation

People across Worcester, Malvern Hills and Wychavon are being encouraged to have their say on new planning guidelines that will affect how housing and other developments take place over the next 12 years.

Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council have launched consultations on three new draft supplementary planning documents (SPDs) that set out proposed policies on renewable energy, water management and the financial contributions developers make to local infrastructure when they start building.

Once formally adopted, the three SPDs will support the South Worcestershire Development Plan, which sets out where new homes and employment development should take place up to the year 2030.

The SPDs cover renewable and low-carbon energy, water management and flooding, and developer contributions.

The consultations close on 16 March 2018. 

Development for London fire station approved

The London Borough of Southwark Council has granted approval for the redevelopment of the former Southwark Fire Station and Grotto sites to create a large mixed-use scheme.

Architect ColladoCollins secured the permission on behalf of client Hadston Limited and in collaboration with Peter Taylor Associates.

The scheme consists of 199 residential homes, a 900-place secondary school plus a 250-place sixth form, as well as a sports hall and outdoor community green space.

Plans will see the grade II listed former fire station, built in 1777, refurbished to become home to 35 homes, while a 10-storey tower will house the rest of the residential units.

The homes will comprise one, two and three-bedrooms. The development will also feature 300 square metres of flexible commercial or community use space, which will front Southwark Bridge Road.

A new secondary school with a sixth form designed by Peter Taylor Associates, across 10,500 square metres, aims to address demand from the local community for new education facilities. The first phase of the school is planned to open in September 2019. Winchester House, another grade II listed property on the grounds, will be restored and used as a part of the new school building.

Residential development green-lit in Aldridge

Walsall Council has approved Silverlane Developments plans for Sunnyside Farm, Northgate, which comprise 62 units and open space.

The site lies in the West Midlands green belt, between Walsall Wood and Aldridge. It includes part of the Kings Hayes Fields Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). Part of the SINC will be relocated.

The 1.68-hectare brownfield site currently comprises a haulage yard, open storage, workshops, two residential properties and a paddock. The redevelopment will see one to four-bed properties through detached, semi-detached and terrace housing built, as well as an apartment block.

The scheme was designed by Sutton and Wilkinson Architects.

Plans for over 200 apartments submitted in Salford Quays

Planning consultancy Lichfields has submitted plans on behalf of developer Forshaw Land and Property Group for 216 apartments in Salford Quays.

The scheme, for Clipper Quay, has been designed by SimpsonHaugh.

The £45 million scheme outlines plans for a 34-storey building comprising commercial units on the ground floor, a residents’ gym, community room, landscaped areas, a pocket park, roof terrace, and car and cycle parking, as well as the apartments.

There would 54 one-bed, 152 two-bed and 10 three-bed apartments if approved.

Existing office space will be demolished to make way for the development.

Welborne Garden Village developments

A new railway station and custom and self-build plots could be coming to a new garden village in the South East.

Fareham Borough Council has been working with Network Rail to try to bring a railway station to Welborne Garden Village, which is currently in the planning stages.

The council commissioned a feasibility study in November, which was carried out by Network Rail engineers. It suggests that a railway station at Welborne would be well used. Potential sites have been identified along the existing Fareham to Eastleigh line and the recommended option is within the boundaries of Welborne itself.

The council is also working with the Right to Build Task Force to consider opportunities to include a range of custom and self-build properties as part of the 6,000 homes planned.

The advice from the Task Force will inform the planning application for the future development of the Welborne site by the promoter, Buckland Development Limited.

6 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner