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Planning round-up 30 July

Published: Tuesday, 11th August 2015

Keele University housing scheme blocked by Clark. Suffolk housing scheme approved again. Green light for new Gloucestershire neighbourhood. Housing permission figures. And more stories...

Keele University housing scheme blocked by Clark

Proposals by developer Keele Seddon to replace student accommodation on the campus of Keele University as well as making provision for 92 new homes on nearby green belt land has been refused by Communities Secretary of State (SoS) Greg Clark in line with the recommendations of the planning inspector who held the recovered appeal.

All the development proposed was within a conservation area. Newcastle-under-Lyme District Council had refused the scheme.

The SoS agreed the council could not demonstrate a five year supply of housing land and acknowledged that the scheme had benefits as it would have resulted in the removal of unattractive campus accommodation blocks and administrative buildings and the refurbishment of and re-use of undesignated heritage assets.

However, Clark’s decision letter concluded that the benefits of the appeal scheme “though considerable, are insufficient to outweigh the irreversible and serious harm that would be caused to the conservation area”.

View the decision

London round-up

  • The multi-million pound improvement and expansion of London Waterloo, the capital’s busiest rail terminus, has moved an important step closer this week now a planning application for works to enable more trains to run in and out of the station has been submitted. These will be the first major changes to Waterloo since the 1930s, providing five new platforms for London commuter services and completely redesigning the concourse and platforms to be suitable for the hundreds of thousands of passengers passing through every day.
  • A judicial review prompted by Sainsbury’s of Hillingdon Council’s decision to approve planning permission for a £100m regeneration of the former Arla Foods site on Victoria Road, South Ruislip has been dismissed. The development including 132 new homes, restaurants, a cinema and an Asda supermarket, can now go-ahead.
  • Social housing provider Notting Hill Housing (NHH) has announced a record surplus of £121.3m which it says will be used to build thousands of new homes across London. NHH’s future development pipeline will deliver 8,300 homes within Greater London, with 4,990 of these as rented social housing, shared ownership housing or supported housing.
  • A plan for the future of Romford town centre, developed by Tibbalds, BBP Regeneration and CampbellReith, has been agreed by Havering Council. The document defines nine areas, each with a distinct character and focus, and identifies key opportunity sites with the potential to deliver around 2,200 new homes, approximately 29,000 square metres of commercial space, and over 4,000 square metres of public open space.

Suffolk housing scheme approved again

Babergh District Council members have reconsidered proposals for 166 new homes, a third of which would be affordable, near the historic Abbas Hall in Great Cornard near Sudbury, Suffolk and once again approved the project.

Grade 1 listed Abbas Hall has a cultural association with painter Thomas Gainsborough whose famous work ‘Mr and Mrs Andrews’ is said to have been painted in the vicinity of the historic building and grounds.

Three years ago developer Persimmon Homes was refused permission for an earlier scheme and lost the subsequent appeal. Its current proposals are designed to meet the objections from the South Suffolk planning authority and the planning inspector who heard the appeal.

Members were recommended to approve the new proposals earlier this year but agreed to reconsider their stance under threat of a judicial review. The site is earmarked in the council’s core strategy for new housing.

Last week members decided to approve the scheme which generated objections from Great Cornard Parish Council, Sudbury Town Council, Suffolk Preservation Society and English Heritage as well as the owners of the 13th-Century Abbas Hall.

Green light for new Gloucestershire neighbourhood

A new neighbourhood consisting of 3,000 new homes to the north of Yate, South Gloucestershire has been given the go ahead by the South Gloucestershire Council. Independent design consultancy, LDA Design has prepared a master plan for 2,750 of the homes.

The revised scheme provides a green corridor, a new woodland area and a new meadow landscape area incorporating the site’s existing watercourses and floodplain.

The scheme will create a mixed-use development with residential areas and over four hectares of employment land.

The scheme will be set around a new local centre with shops, a pub, two primary schools, a mixed-use community centre, sports facilities, informal open space, allotments and play areas. Of the new homes, 35 per cent will be affordable.

The site, which lies to the north of Brimsham Park, is earmarked for residential development in the council’s core strategy and will make up the main part of the 3,000 home North Yate ‘new neighbourhood’.

View the press release

Housing permission figures

Figures just released today in HBF and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report show that planning permissions for 52,167 homes were granted in England during the first quarter of this year, a 19 per cent increase on the 43,926 permissions in the corresponding quarter last year. As a result the Moving Annual Total has passed the 200,000 mark for the first time since early 2008.

Figures in the latest report show that 203,810 permissions were granted in the 12 months to April. This is the highest ‘four quarter’ total since early 2008. The number of permissions granted in Q1 was twice that in the corresponding quarter in both 2011 and 2012.

The report – which only measures permissions on sites of over 10 units – also shows that the number of sites consented has been fairly stable over the last 18 months, though at a higher level than previous four to five years.

View the report

Energy developments

Two gas fired power stations have been given development consent by the Department of Energy and Climate Change following examination by the Planning Inspectorate who had recommended approval.

Both the Progress Power Station located on the Eye Airfield Industrial Estate, mid Suffolk and the Hirwaun gas-fired power station, located on the Hirwaun Industrial Estate in South Wales, have a nominal generating capacity of up to 299 megawatts.

The shale gas firm Cuadrilla is to appeal Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse permission to drill and frack at two sites in the county: Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood.

View the press release

Peak Park road tunnel study

Plans to build a road tunnel through the Peak District National Park aimed at improving links between Sheffield and Manchester are to be examined by consultancies Mouchel and Hyder operating as a joint-venture.

The JV has been awarded a £1.3m contract to carry out the work which will also include a possible combined road/rail link. This strategic study has been commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for the North (TfN).

View the press release

Exeter redevelopment

The Crown Estate and TH Real Estate’s Princesshay Partnership has submitted an outline planning application to Exeter City Council for the £70m redevelopment of the city’s bus and coach station.

The plans offer over 180,000 square feet of retail and leisure space, including a new cinema, along with proposals for a public amphitheatre.

The Partnership’s, John Grinnell said: ”There’s still a long way to go in planning and design terms, but this an important step in unlocking the true potential of this gateway to Exeter.”

View the press release

Parliamentary watch

  • The Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee is to question Planning Minister Brandon Lewis on the planning proposals set out in the Treasury’s recent Productivity Plan. The all-party committee is due to quiz the minister on 7 September when MPs return to Westminster after the summer recess.
  • A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning has been formed to address the national housing emergency, supported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Group, previously chaired by Tim Yeo MP, will now be chaired by James Cartlidge, conservative MP for South Suffolk. It will focus on recommending wide-ranging solutions to reshape the housing market: increasing the housing stock for both rental and private ownership and speeding up building of sustainable housing in the UK, which now faces an annual shortfall in the region of 130,000 homes.

Reading offices to become student flats

Plans to transform a Reading town centre office block into flats for 400 students have been given the go-ahead. The six-storey Yell House building in Queen’s Walk will get a two-storey extension and feature a gym, cinema room and dance studio. The block is four kilometres from the University of Reading campus.

Rural development boost

New £24m Growth Programme fund for rural businesses and communities administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is now open for applications to help people expand or set up new businesses, develop new food processing facilities and promote tourism.

View the press release

Ecological links

Bridges built to carry wildlife over roads and railways are preventing species from becoming isolated and reducing the number of accidents, according to a study just published by Natural England.

Known as “green bridges”, they are usually planted with a variety of local trees or shrubs and other vegetation to allow animals such as birds, mammals and insects to remain mobile despite the barriers that can be imposed by transport infrastructure. Although common in Europe and North America, only a handful have been built in Britain.

View the report

Legal round-up

Top planning QC to chair Irish PINs review

Top UK planning QC Gregory Jones has been named as the chair of a four-person group which will undertake an organisational review of An Bord Pleanála (the Planning Board), the Irish Republic’s equivalent of the Planning Inspectorate.

Alan Kelly the Republic’s Environment Minister has set up the group which is expected to report whether the organisation is fit for purpose by the turn of the year.

View the press release

Clooney CCTV wrangle

Hollywood star George Clooney’s neighbours in Sonning have lodged objections to the A-Lister’s proposals – which require planning permission – to install 18 CCTV cameras at his Oxfordshire home.

Roger Milne