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Planning News - 5 July 2018

Published: Thursday, 5th July 2018

MPs vote to expand Heathrow, London’s Royal Docks regeneration approved, Derbyshire council backs 1,800 homes in Clowne, Housebuilders should belong to independent ombudsman and more stories...

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

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MPs have voted 415 to 119 to approve the government's chosen scheme, as detailed in its Airports National Policy Statement, of expanding Heathrow Airport by building a third runway.

Conservative MPs were under orders to support the government, the BBC reports, while Labour’s position was to oppose the expansion but allow its MPs to vote freely. The SNP abstained.

It follows a vote by the government’s economic sub-committee to back plans for a third runway at the airport earlier in June. Plans were then approved by Prime Minister Theresa May’s full cabinet.

According to the government, construction on the third runway would start within three years, meaning the runway could be operational in six years.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has formally designated the Airports NPS, paving the way for Heathrow to now submit a formal planning application to the Planning Inspectorate.

A part of this, Heathrow have to carry out further consultation with local communities on the finer details of their scheme design; the associated compensation and mitigation packages; and plans for airspace changes which will then be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils have said they will be seeking a judicial review of the decision. Last week, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he would join the legal fight should MPs vote in favour, and stated on social media that he will follow through with this last night (25 June).

Grayling said the government will defend this decision against any legal challenges.

26 June 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) has given its consent to plans that could see 4,000 homes built at the Royal Docks.

As well as the homes, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Mayor of Newham Rokhsan Fiaz’s £314 million plans could also generate 35,000 jobs and attract more the £5 billion of inward investment by 2037/78.

These estimates are contained in a statement from Khan’s office.

The Royal Docks is the capital’s only enterprise zone, and LEAP, London’s local enterprise partnership, responsible for allocating funding raised through the enterprise zone. The enterprise zone is part of the larger Royal Docks & Beckton Riverside Opportunity Area, which could deliver 60,000 new jobs and 25,000 new homes.

The planned investment will be carried out over the next five years and is expected to support the regeneration of the area.

The Royal Docks formed part of the role in the capital’s economy from the mid-1800s but fell into decline in the 1960s and 1970s.

The investment package will go towards transport infrastructure, connectivity, economic development, placemaking, creative programming, promotion and estate management to transform the area.

Key projects in the plans include creating an attractive waterside residential, leisure and business district for the borough and engaging the local community and businesses in and around the Royal Docks to ensure they have a stake in the area’s regeneration.

The mayor is a major landowner in the Royal Docks – which includes Silvertown Quays, Royal Albert Dock and Albert Island – along with the London Borough of Newham. He recently established a Royal Docks Delivery Team at City Hall to lead on the implementation of the plan.

The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “The potential of this investment to improve the lives of our residents, and benefit the whole of London, is great and will fully involve our local residents. I am pleased that they will be at the heart of this exciting regeneration project with businesses from around the world. I am really excited to be working with residents, partners and the Mayor of London to help deliver this ambitious plan.”

Lead LEAP member for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone, Colette O’Shea, added: “It is a unique opportunity for the LEAP to invest in affordable workspace, skills and business support, paired with public realm and infrastructure improvements, all in one distinctive location. It demonstrates a great piece of joint working between the mayor, Newham and the LEAP.”

27 June 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Bolsover District Council’s planning committee has approved an application that includes up to 1,800 on partly green belt land to the north of Clowne.

The application, which was submitted by developer Waystone Ltd, also comprises up to 24 hectares of employment land, green infrastructure, a retirement village, education, recreational and health facilities, and the demolition of the existing Station Road Industrial Estate where applicable.

A new link road will be constructed.

The planning officer’s report notes that the site does not accord with the district’s local plan because it lies outside of the defined Settlement Framework for Clowne.

However, it “does not address key sustainability issues affecting Clowne such as an absence of capacity in primary education, the capacity of the transport network to support future developments, the availability of local employment opportunities and long-term housing needs beyond the immediacy of five-year supply”.

Therefore the officer concluded that it is “appropriate to consider” the emerging local plan, which plans for the growth over the next 15 years. In this, Clowne is identified as the “preferred option” for development despite encroachment on the green belt.

The planning committee’s decision was line with that of the officer.

Approval comes with a number of conditions and will see contributions made to local infrastructure.

A statement on the council’s website says it will refer the application to the secretary of state to determine whether the application will be called in for further consideration.

27 June 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Excellence in the Built Environment called on the government to make it mandatory for housebuilders to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman.

In its report published yesterday (26 June), Better Redress for Homebuyers, the APPG says the New Homes Ombudsman should be independent, free to consumers and provide a quick resolution to disputes.

The report recommends that the government, warranty providers, housebuilders and consumer groups should work together to draw up a code of practice that would be used by the New Homes Ombudsman to adjudicate on disputes.

This latest inquiry, which investigated how an ombudsman scheme could operate, follows a report – More Homes, Fewer Complaints – from the APPG in July 2016 on the quality and workmanship of new housing in England. It called for a New Homes Ombudsman after the evidence submitted during the inquiry indicated high levels of frustration and disappointment from buyers of new homes regarding the number of defects and problems in getting them fixed.

The recent inquiry highlighted similar issues, according to a statement from the Construction Industry Council (CIC), which provides the secretariat for the APPG, including a “plethora” of warranties, housebuilding codes and complaints procedures.

“Buying a new home is stressful enough but buying a defective one, as we heard from submissions and witnesses, can take a massive toll on people’s well-being as they wrestle with an almost Kafkaesque system seemingly designed to be unhelpful,” said APPG vice-chair Richard Best.

“The purchaser of a new home in this country should be confident that they are buying a high-quality product, no matter where they are or who built it. Our proposals could help to make this a reality.”

The report recommends that there is a single entry point for ombudsman services spanning the entire residential sector. This would cover the conduct of estate agents through to social housing.

“Within this overarching service, there would be either a number of specialist ombudsmen or specialist divisions. One of these would cover new homes – and this is the aspect our report is concentrating on with a view to establishing the case for a New Homes Ombudsman,” adds the CIC statement.

The APPG has also proposed that disputes taken to the New Homes Ombudsman should be noted in an annual report. Funding for the scheme would be paid for by a levy on housebuilders, with larger companies paying proportionately more.

27 June 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced today (26 June) that the government will invest £1.67 billion in delivering 23,000 affordable homes in England.

Of those 23,000 homes at least 12,500 have been designated as social rent homes, which will be built in high-cost areas to help families who are struggling to pay their rent.

The money is part of the government’s £9 billion investment in affordable homes. This year’s Spring Statement saw £1.67 billion go to London from the fund, which will go towards building another 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021-22.

Brokenshire also invited local authorities to bid for a share of £1 billion extra borrowing to build council homes. The money will be allocated to areas that have the highest affordability pressures to “ensure homes are built where they are most needed”.

The measures form part of the government’s plans to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

A bidding process begins today for both programmes.

Successful bids for the affordable homes funding will be notified through the year, while a list of councils who have had their borrowing caps increased will be announced “in due course”.

Brokenshire said: “The government has ambitious plans to fix the broken housing market and build the homes our communities need.

“Today’s announcement is a further milestone. It will secure the delivery of an additional 23,000 much-needed affordable homes as well as paving the way for a new generation of council houses.

“The majority of these new homes will be in high-cost areas helping to ease the burden of rent on hard working families and delivering stronger communities.”

Speaking about the programmes, Martin Tett, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “The LGA has been clear that councils must be given greater freedom to borrow to build desperately-needed new homes in their local areas and play a leading role in solving our housing shortage. Today’s announcement is a positive step in the right direction towards triggering the renaissance in council housebuilding that we urgently need to ensure more affordable, secure and stable homes for everyone.

“The next step for the government now is to accept the calls of the LGA and the influential Treasury Select Committee to scrap the cap on council borrowing in every community across the country. This would free councils to make the investment decisions that will boost housebuilding in their local areas unencumbered from rules and regulations created in Whitehall.”

26 June 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A round up of planning news:

Burnham concerned by Heathrow expansion plans 

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has asked Prime Minister Theresa May for a guarantee that the Heathrow expansion will not reduce or delay transport investment in the north of England.

Burnham remains concerned that the expansion of Heathrow could leave the North waiting even longer for the investment to build modern rail infrastructure linking its big cities to Manchester Airport.

The government’s bill for public transport improvements to support the Heathrow expansion could be up to £16 billion, he warned. This would take transport spending in the capital to around £50 billion in the coming years.

With the government committed to major investment in London to build HS2, and signs of support to the £30 billion Crossrail 2 project, Burnham raised fears that the vast majority of the transport capital budget is effectively committed to the capital city, leaving little for the rest of the country.

Burnham said: “If the expansion of Heathrow is to go ahead, it should be on the basis of a clear guarantee from the government that it won’t delay or reduce much-needed transport investment in the North.”

Galliford Try takes on Wolverhampton housing schemes

Galliford Try Partnerships has been announced as the developer on two new housing regeneration sites in the city of Wolverhampton. It follows the developer’s acquisition from Bouygues (which is withdrawing from the low-rise family housing market) of the Tower and Fort Works site in Graiseley as well as the former Tap Works site in Low Hill.

At the Tap Works site, 40 units will be council homes for rent, the remainder to be sold as market housing. The first council homes are set to be completed within a year. The remaining council homes as well as market housing for sale is expected to be completed within three years.

The Tower and Fort Works contract will deliver 77 homes at the historic Great Brickkiln Street location, with a quarter of the homes on the site set aside as affordable council houses. The remainder will be sold as market housing, with the development consisting of a mixture of two, three, four and five-bedroom houses, plus five apartments, including two wheelchair-accessible flats.

Plans for a West Midlands national park unveiled

Proposals to create a national park in the West Midlands that would cover more than seven cities has been published.

Kathryn Moore, professor of landscape architecture at Birmingham City University drew up the proposals.

There are currently 15 national parks in the UK.

The idea, which was unveiled at the Critical Artistic Thinking in Design Conference, would have the potential to support further regeneration, boost environmental conservation, improve transport link and drive inward investment and tourism into the region, explained Moore.

If it could be delivered, a West Midlands National Park could also help create new jobs across the West Midlands region and boost the economy by transforming the image of the area.

The vision will also be on show at the university’s open day on Saturday 30 June at its City Centre Campus.

The next steps will see case studies undertaken on the Tame Valley, Curzon Street and Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games bid to decide possible revenue streams and how the vision may be realised.

Arlesey development approved

Central Bedfordshire Council has granted approval for Telereal Trillium’s plans to build 950 private and affordable homes at Chase Farm, Arlesey.

The development is the first to be delivered through the Central Bedfordshire Promoter Framework, which was established to accelerate the supply of new housing in the area using surplus council land.

The development of the 168-acre greenfield site also includes a two-form entry junior school, a care home, a GP surgery and dental clinic, new sports facilities and a retail centre.

A new link road, connecting Arlesey High Street in the west to the A507 in the east, will provide access to the development and help to reduce congestion in other parts of the town.

Hotel plans for Dagenham

Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company, has agreed a deal to build a new 78-room hotel adjacent to the site of the soon-to-be largest film studios in London.

The hotel will be run by Travelodge and built by Barnes Construction through a funding agreement with Berkeley Square Developments on behalf of Be First.

The £7 million deal comes hot on the heels of the announcement by Be First of a preferred partner to build and operate new film and TV studios and a movie-themed visitor centre on the 22 acre-site at Dagenham East.

The new hotel will also feature a ground-floor restaurant, and Berkeley will develop a Costa drive-through outlet.

The hotel is due to be built in 2019.

Developer appointed to build 145 Liverpool homes

Housing provider Liverpool Mutual Homes has appointed Galliford Try Partnerships to build 145 affordable homes in the city centre.

The homes, which were approved by Liverpool City Council in November 2017, will be built at Edge Lane.

The £20 million scheme will comprise 107 one and two-bedroom apartments available as Rent to Buy, while 38 two and three-bed houses will be built for shared ownership.

Completion on the development is expected in 2020.

Manchester mixed-use St Michael’s scheme will not be called in

The St Michael’s development in Manchester is to go ahead after the secretary of state confirmed that the application will not be called in.

An economic impact study for the scheme has estimated that the £200 million development will contribute more than £80 million in gross value added to the local economy and £147 million in government tax revenues over 10 years.

The project is linked to the former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. It will include an international luxury five-star hotel featuring 216 bedrooms and 189 high-end apartments in a tower reaching 39 storeys. There will also be 148,000 sq ft of office space, 33,000 sq ft of leisure space. A public square will also feature.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, called St.Michael’s “the type of high-quality development that our city centre needs”, while architect Stephen Hodder MBE, chairman of Hodder + Partners, said: “This development will regenerate a pivotal city block adjacent to the city’s civic core, and I applaud the evident passion, ambition and vision of all those behind St Michael’s.”

Nexus to conduct retail studies for Warrington, Stoke, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Nexus Planning’s Manchester office is to prepare retail and leisure studies for Warrington Council and the joint client of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent Councils, with both studies contributing to the local plan evidence base of the respective councils.

For Warrington, Nexus Planning will advise on any gaps in provision and any communities that may be disadvantaged by lack of access to retail services. For Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent Councils, the consultancy will advise on retail capacity up and to 2033, inclusive of the future role of the city centre and town centres.

Councillor Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We realise how concerned residents and businesses are at a time when retail is contracting generally across the UK and more people are shopping online.”

26 June 2018
The Planner