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Planning News - 1 March 2018

Published: Thursday, 1st March 2018

Raab announces cash to speed up planning decisions, Construction growth sees a slowdown in January, Lendlease appointed lead planner for Euston development and more stories...

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

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Housing minister Dominic Raab has announced that £15.8 million will go towards speeding up planning decisions to help to deliver new homes.

This is the first round of funding from the Planning Delivery Fund, which aims to enable councils to process more applications, implement new reforms and train planners to tackle housing challenges in their area.

Raab said: “This cash boost ensures councils have the resources needed to make quicker decisions on planning applications, delivering quality housing at a faster rate.

“It’s part of our strategy to build the homes this country needs while also supporting residents to have their say on the kind of development that takes place in their area.”

Councils, who had to bid for a share of the funding, will be supported in working together on ambitious new joint local plans and core strategies, engaging residents on how future development could take place as well as outlining the locations suitable for new homes where demand is high.

The funding has been split into three streams: the £9.4 million for the Joint Working Fund; £4.82 million for the Design Quality Fund; and £1.07 million for the Promoting Innovation Fund. In total, 68 projects will receive cash from the three funds until 2019.

Where the funding will go

  • Bath and North East Somerset Council will receive £310,000 to deliver a new masterplan and implement an independent design review.
  • £212,000 will go to the London Borough of Hackney so it can implement new planning applications manager software to increase the rate at which decisions are made.
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council is set to £570,000 as it looks to bring forward a second Black Country Joint Core Strategy and support the development needs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
  • The Greater Manchester Combined Authority wants to deliver a new Place Team, create new Mayoral Development Corporations and provide additional resource to deliver investment, receiving £950,000 towards these plans.

The full list of successful projects can be found on the UK Government website (pdf).

26 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The value of construction contracts awarded in January 2018 was £5.4 billion, 10.6 per cent lower compared with a year earlier.

According to the latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts at Barbour ABI, residential housing and infrastructure dominated the construction sector in January 2018.

There were £1.9 billion worth of residential housing and £1.7 billion worth of infrastructure contracts awarded, amounting to 65 per cent of the total value of construction for the month.

The largest project in the first month of 2018 was the £800 million Spire London Hertsmere House development at West India Quay in the capital, which is worth more than four times the next biggest development.

Eight of the biggest 10 projects were residential housing or infrastructure, although according to Barbour ABI, they were smaller in value than those regularly seen. The projects include the £100 million Blackburn Waste Water Treatment Works and the £200 million Wednesbury-to-Brierley Hill Metro Extension.

The report notes that the education and hotel, leisure and sport sectors saw monthly decreases in value in January. The residential housing, infrastructure, commercial and retail, industrial and medical & health sectors all saw increases on December 2016 – traditionally a quiet month. However, the values were, overall, lower than the levels of January 2017.

London had a contract award value at 32 per cent of the UK total, the North West had 13 per cent of contract awards, and Scotland saw an 11 per cent share.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “The recent collapse of Carillion has not done much for confidence in the sector, which is already facing a number of headwinds. Mainly due to a lack of major projects, construction has been held back in January. Nevertheless, encouraging figures from the residential housing and infrastructure sector are pleasing, but other sectors now need to help pick up the slack, such as hotel, leisure & sport, which produced its lowest figures in January since October 2015.”

Economic & Construction Market Review can be found on the Barbour ABI website (pdf).

21 February 2018
Laura Edgar , The Planner

HS2 Ltd has appointed property and infrastructure group Lendlease as the master development partner (MDP) for the development of London Euston station.

The company will work with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the London Borough of Camden to develop a masterplan for the 54-hectare site, taking forward opportunities for mixed-use development following the completion of station works for HS2.

Lendlease was the planning company behind the 2012 Athletes’ Village at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

HS2 is set to double the number of seats available out of Euston Station during peak hours, as well as providing the opportunity to improve accessibility to the station, and deliver up to 1,700 new homes and 19,000 jobs.

Dan Labbad, CEO, international operations at the Sydney based company, said: “The redevelopment of Euston stands to be a real game changer for commuters across London and the UK.

“Euston will be much more than a transport hub – and we’ll work closely with project partners to provide benefits to local people, foster business growth and deliver new homes.”

Mark Thurston, chief executive at HS2, said Lendlease’s “experience of delivering some of the world’s most challenging transport and development projects will be vital as we move forward with this exciting new phase in the story of Euston station”.

Euston first opened in 1837 and now caters for around 42 million passengers a year – more than double its current design capacity.

According to the government, a coordinated approach with Network Rail, who own and run the station, and pooling publicly-owned land across the site, the appointment of the MDP will allow a unified approach to long-term development.

The masterplan will be in line with Camden’s local area plan.

23 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

England’s metro mayors have come together to call on the government for further investment and devolution for each of their city-regions.

They met at a summit in Birmingham hosted by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the University of Birmingham and the Local Government Association (LGA).

The five mayors – Street, Steve Rotherham (Liverpool City Region), James Palmer (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough), Tim Bowles (West of England), and Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester) – signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that calls on the government to review the way funding for new housing is allocated to city-regions.

The letter notes the needs of each region, including the need to regenerate brownfield sites and improve the viability of development where land values are lower than in London and the South East. They want the formulae used to allocate housing investment to be reviewed so that city-regions outside London and the South East “do not lose out on vital funding”.

For the mayors, investment in housing supply, as well as skills and innovation in the construction industry, will accelerate economic growth and the rebalancing of the UK economy.

The city-regions are currently negotiating housing deals with the government, which would see them commit to building more homes in return for infrastructure and housing funding.

Street said: “As metro mayors, we are in a unique position to contribute to solving the housing challenge for the government.

“Because we each represent and work with several local authorities, we can provide the coordination and direction to accelerate the building of homes in our respective areas.

“But that requires the government to provide the investment and powers so that we can deliver the new homes our regions and the country need.”

22 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A fund for transforming coastal communities in the UK has opened for a fifth round of applications, says coastal communities minister Jake Berry.

There is £40 million available for councils and organisations to bid for during this round, he announced on a visit to Barrow-in-Furness.

The town has benefited from multiple rounds of coastal communities funding, which has been used to improve business support in the coastal area, from north of Millom across the Furness peninsula to Grange.

Berry said: “Coastal communities up and down the country from Barrow-in-Furness to Brighton have been boosted by this funding, which has spurred inward investment, sustainable growth, new jobs and exciting economic opportunities for local businesses.

“By 2020, we’ll have invested nearly a quarter of a billion pounds in our seaside areas, providing thousands of jobs, training places and opportunities along the Great British Coast.”

The Coastal Communities Fund supports the economic transformation of coastal communities in the UK by disbursing money towards creating sustainable economic growth and jobs.

Since 2012, the Coastal Communities Fund has awarded grants to 295 projects across the UK, totalling over £174 million. Projects include:

A pilot-scale internship scheme in Barrow-in-Furness, placing young people in high-tech firms. This led the OGDEN Trust to agree to fund 60 placements between 2018 and 2020.

Cornwall Council received a £1.95 million grant in 2014 to repair and relaunch the grade II listed art deco ‘Jubilee Pool’ in Penzance to create an all-year-round visitor attraction sustaining existing jobs and creating new positions.

Northumberland County Council was awarded £1.8 million in 2014 to improve the economy of seafood town Amble, through infrastructure works to transform the town into a visitor destination promoting seafood, attracting new visitors and creating jobs. The project has provided two new restaurants, improved facilities incorporating a Harbour Village with retail space, and enhanced access along the shore.

Funding for round five will cover the period 2019-20 to 2020-21. Funds will become available from April 2019.

More information about the fund can be found on the UK Government website.

26 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A round-up of planning news.

Khan announces national park city week

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced the inaugural London National Park City Week, as he looks to make the capital the world’s first National Park City.

The week aims to celebrate the capital’s natural environment and encourage Londoners to make it greener.

Running from 21 to 29 July 2018, National Park City Week will kick off the school summer holidays with a range of activities across the city, including guided walks, talks, food-growing, community clean-ups and improving spaces for wildlife.

Khan has invited community groups, boroughs and other local networks to organise their own events, and for the public to get involved by revitalising a green space or exploring some of the capital’s natural areas.

Working with the National Park City Foundation and other partners, he aims to declare the capital a National Park City in 2019.

Carillion contracts reappointed

Amey Rail has secured a ‘significant’ number of Carillion’s Network Rail contracts, after the firm went into liquidation in January.

The transfer of contracts is for projects in the East Midlands, London and north-west England.

Network Rail said it is likely that around 700 Carillion jobs will be “safeguarded’.

Matthew Steele, commercial director at Network Rail, said: “This is a positive step for the industry, ensuring the delivery of a number of major rail projects across the country whilst safeguarding an expected 700 jobs and the wider supply chain. We look forward to working with Amey to enable a smooth transition and ensure the ongoing safe working on our sites.

“We do recognise that this has been a very unsettling period for the employees of Carillion and would like to thank them for the continued commitment to the delivery of these projects. We remain focused on the transfer of remaining projects and employees to new arrangements over the coming weeks and months.”

Remaining contracts continue to be delivered under an arrangement with PwC to enable an orderly transition, said Network Rail.

Lichfield parish council submits neighbourhood plan

Armitage with Handsacre Parish Council has submitted a neighbourhood plan to Lichfield District Council, outlining how Armitage with Handsacre could be shaped in the future.

This is the ninth community within Lichfield District to submit a neighbourhood plan and it will, if approved, provide a framework for development that will form part of the development plan for Lichfield District.

The council is now holding a six-week consultation so that local people, organisations and agencies can consider the Armitage with Handsacre Neighbourhood Plan and give their views.

Views will then be collated and passed on to an independent examiner.

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 6 April 2018. It can be found on the Lichfield District Council website.

Barton Willmore to manage Stornoway projects

Stornoway Port Authority has appointed planning consultancy Barton Willmore to support the development of two new harbour facilities aiming to bring economic benefits to the Isle of Lewis.

The Edinburgh office will work with Stornoway Port Authority on plans to regenerate the harbour area as part of a 20-year masterplan.

The plans include the creation of a deep-water port that aims to capitalise on the growth of the cruise sector by allowing visits from larger ships, as well as improved facilities for the energy sector.

A new marina would be developed within the town at Newton to meet the growing demand for yacht berths. 

Barton Willmore will be responsible for a variety of applications, including ones for a Harbour Revision Order, Marine Licences and securing the necessary planning consents. The firm will oversee engagement with local residents and businesses.

Work will be undertaken in collaboration with environmental consultancy EnviroCentre, which will be responsible for preparing the associated Environmental Impact Assessments.

Midlands consultancy wins Telford construction contract

Commercial planning, development and environment consultancy apT has been appointed as the approved building inspector for a construction contract in Telford.

The development is a six-deck multistorey car park that is being built on land adjacent to Telford Ice Rink.

The 300-space car park forms part of a wider development that includes a hotel and restaurant, being undertaken by Southwater Event Group, which runs the Telford International Centre.

As the approved inspector for the £4 million build, apT will ensure that it meets all the relevant building regulations from general construction compliance to fire safety and disabled access ramps before it can be signed off for completion, which is expected in early summer.

The development was designed by architects Corstorphine + Wright and the contractor is Bourne Construction, a specialist in car park design-and-build.

Galliford Try Partnerships starts work on £14m Princess Road apartments

Galliford Try Partnerships and One Manchester Housing Group have this week started work on a new £14.2 million apartment scheme on Princess Road, Manchester.

The development – the Clockworks – will see 105, two-bedroom apartments built across six storeys, as well as a landscaped roof terrace for residents.

Regeneration specialist Galliford Try Partnerships will be the developer and contractor for the project, which has been designed by Northern Quarter-based architects IDP.

The apartments are being developed for One Manchester and will be available as rent-to-buy apartments that residents will be able to rent for up to five years initially at a discounted rent, giving them a chance to save for a deposit.

The land is owned by Manchester City Council and Kirkland Developments.

Rented family home scheme launched

Residential landlord Grainger plc has launched the first wave of family homes designed exclusively for rent at its Berewood development in Waterlooville, Hampshire.

The development comprises 29 two, three and four-bedroom houses, with rents starting at £1,025 a month for a two-bed home. The houses at Berewood follow the release of 24 rental apartments last autumn, with more due for completion this spring.

Today nearly one in three renters are families. Many new ‘build-to-rent’ schemes are targeted specifically at young professionals, despite the growing demand for renting among young families. Berewood is one of the country’s first family-focused rental schemes.

The development is Portsmouth’s first build-to-rent scheme, with Grainger offering up to five-year tenancies. It also includes a fully operational primary school.

27 February 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner