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Planning News - 20 September 2018

Published: Thursday, 20th September 2018

PPG updates published, Brokenshire prevents adoption of East Hertfordshire’s local plan, Bradford to probe Shipley bypass potential, Breach of HMO rules results in £30k fine and more stories...

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

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published new and updated guidance on assessing housing need and plan-making, following  publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in July.

The updated guidance forms part of a series of changes to Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). The guidance reflects changes in the NPPF.

New guidance has been published on:

Updated guidance has been published on:

The full collection of PPG can be found here on the MHCLG website.

14 September 2018
The Planner

The housing secretary has issued a holding direction on the adoption of the East Hertfordshire District Local Plan amid concerns about the release of green belt land.

The intervention came yesterday afternoon (11 September), not long before East Hertfordshire District Council was due to adopt the plan.

In his letter, James Brokenshire said he had received several requests to intervene, including from Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, the Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), and a number of parish councils.

Among the complications with the plan is the release of land within the green belt.

Consequently, Brokenshire wrote: “I hereby direct East Hertfordshire District Council not to take any step in connection with the adoption of the plan, while I give the issues raised in the letters further consideration.”

Linda Haysey, Leader of East Hertfordshire District Council, said: “I am, of course, very disappointed with this decision both because it has been made at such a late stage in the process and also because the plan was inspected by a senior and experienced planning inspector (appointed by the secretary of state) and the council has fully accepted all of her recommendations and suggestions.”

She said the council remains confident in the “soundness” of the plan and will work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to resolve any issues it has with the plan.

“Due to the impact that this will have on the local and wider community and in view of the thorough examination of the plan that has already taken place, we will encourage the secretary of state to act expeditiously to avoid further uncertainty.  We are all too well aware of the speculative development that has taken place in parts of our district because of the lack of a five-year land supply.  None of us want to be in that position again.”

12 September 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A £300,000 feasibility study into creating a bypass around the east of Shipley will be carried out by Bradford Council after the government agreed funding.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the study would “provide clarity on whether an eastern bypass can deliver tangible benefits for the area, as well as improve the lives of people in and around Shipley”.

The study will consider wider benefits of new bypass by reducing congestion in the town centre while exploring how the route could improve air quality and remove barriers to economic growth.

If found to be viable, a relief road would provide a second crossing of the River Aire at Shipley and potentially create access to future development opportunities – including new housing.

The Department for Transport said any decisions on whether a bypass is built would depend on the outcome of the feasibility study.

Meanwhile, Highways England will spend £500,000 on upgrading the A1 at junction 47 near Harrogate. The work will be carried out by North Yorkshire County Council to support future jobs at the planned Flaxby Green Business Park.

10 September 2018
Huw Morris, The Planner

An agent who let a tiny room behind a property’s kitchen in Brent has been ordered to pay more than £30,000 in fines after appearing at Willesden Magistrates Court.

Viviane Almieda, of Falcondale Court, Lakeside Drive in Park Royal, ignored warnings from enforcement officers at Brent Council that a room behind the kitchen was not safe to rent out as it was a fire hazard.

The room in a three-bed conversion in Redfern Road, Harlesden, measured less than 6.5 square metres, which is the minimum legal requirement for a single bedroom.

Almieda pleaded guilty to breaching HMO licensing conditions, including failing to comply with the council's amenity and space standards as well as obstructing the council's investigation.

Almieda, whose agency My London Services Ltd is based in Furness Road, Willesden, was given a £30,000 fine plus £2,090 in court costs and a £170 victim surcharge this week (11 September).
Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “Housing tenants in rooms that are too small and hazardous to fire risks is illegal. There's no excuse for it. Landlords, agencies or subletters who exploit tenants will pay heavily in court. Every resident in Brent has the right to a decent standard of living.”

13 September 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Barclays and the government have joined forces to provide £1 billion of development finance to help increase the pace and volume of housing provision across England, as the government looks to make good on its promise to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

John McFarlane, chairman of Barclays, said: “There is a vital need to build more good-quality homes across the country. This £1 billion fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of housebuilding that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need.”

Loans will be made available to developers and housebuilders that can demonstrate the necessary experience and track record to undertake and complete their proposed project.

The funding will range from £5 million to £100 million and will be open to new clients as well as existing Barclays clients. It aims to put a greater emphasis on diversifying the housing market, with a key priority for the Housing Delivery Fund to support small and medium-sized businesses.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire explained that the fund, which will see Homes England working with Barclays, “is a further important step” to building the homes the country needs “by giving smaller builders access to the finance they need to get housing developments off the ground”.

He added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to not only get more homes built, but also promote new and innovative approaches to construction and design that exist across the housing market.”
Chairman of Homes England Sir Ed Lister commented: “Homes England has been established to play a more active role in the housing market and do things differently to increase the pace, scale and quality of delivering new homes.

“The Housing Delivery Fund demonstrates Barclays’ commitment to the residential sector and will provide a new funding stream for SME developers to help progress sites and deliver more affordable homes across England.”

Barclays is providing £875 million towards the fund, while Homes England will contribute the remaining £125 million.

12 September 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A round-up of planning news

First planning technical support apprentices graduate

The first town planning technical support apprentices in the country have completed their course at Chichester College.

The entry-level apprenticeship programme was introduced at the college in 2015. Five apprentices started on the course, which was developed by the RTPI and the Construction Industry Council.

Jamie Alley, Nicholas Whittington, Greg Anderson, Alex Carruthers and Andrew Pommells were the first five to sign up and completed their course in 2017, followed by 20 more completing their studies this year.

There are now 60 apprentices that have either completed or are currently studying the apprenticeship around the country – Bridgwater and Taunton College, Chichester College, Oaklands College and Moulton College.

The scheme is aimed at people working in a technical or administrative support role in the field of planning and can lead to membership of the RTPI.

Three neighbourhood plans approved in Lichfield

Residents in Alrewas, Armitage and Handsacre, and Longdon have voted in favour of their area’s respective neighbourhood plans.

In total, 94.5 per cent supported the Alrewas plan, 90.7 per cent voted to approve the Armitage and Handsacre plan and 66 per cent supported the Longdon plan.

The neighbourhood plan referendums were held to determine local support, and whether the plans should form part of Lichfield District Council’s process for assessing future planning applications across the neighbourhood areas.

The plans will now go before a full council meeting.

Government urged to stop unwanted phone boxes

Camden Council has written to the government stating that planning policy that makes it “difficult” for councils to challenge permitted development rights for new phone boxes needs to be changed.

In the letter sent to housing minister Kit Malthouse, Danny Beales, Camden’s cabinet member for investing in communities explains that planning law is being exploited by telecoms companies to create advertising space in the shape of phone boxes.

As a result, Camden has received planning applications for 170 new phone boxes in the past two years – 30 of which have been approved as the council can only reject them on limited grounds, while some were approved on appeal.

Beales said: “In the modern age phone boxes have become somewhat redundant. We certainly don’t need the amount of them that we are receiving applications for.

"Camden’s residents don’t want this unwelcome street clutter, nor the antisocial behaviour issues that are often linked to unused telephone boxes. Our local planning system is also under significant pressure and could do without this level of demand for infrastructure that the borough doesn’t require.”

Consultation launched on Scotland’s historic environment policy

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has launched a consultation on its draft Historic Environment Policy, a document comprised for decision-makers in the planning process as well as others that manage heritage assets.

The document will replace the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement in 2019.

Based on the campaign and stakeholder feedback so far, the new policy aims to:

  • Consolidate HES’s role as the lead public body for the historic environment.
  • Focus on the whole of Scotland’s historic environment, not just the properties HES is responsible for or designates.
  • Demonstrate that everyone has a stake in the historic environment and how it is looked after.
  • Provide leadership and best practice direction for heritage management issues.
  • Show that HES has responded to public and stakeholder views.
  • Align with the ‘Our Place in Time’ strategy, the first Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland.

Three developments approved in Macclesfield

Cheshire East Council as approved three housing applications in Henley, Macclesfield, which total almost 400 homes.

All of the sites are allocated for development in the area’s local plan.

Consultancy GVA HOW Planning acted for Jones Homes, Redrow, and brewery company, Frederic Robinson’s.

Frederic Robinson’s owns one of the sites, and is supported by Bellway Homes as a potential future developer.

Collectively, up to 398 houses will be delivered across the three sites, with 30 per cent designated as affordable.

Student accommodation approved in Surrey

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has approved an application for a 99-bed student development in Epsom.

Property consultancy Carter Jonas secured the permission on behalf of private residential developer Willco Properties Ltd.

Willco Properties Ltd has an ongoing relationship with the University of the Creative Arts to provide student accommodation across Epsom.

Known as Bradford House, the six-storey building will also comprise 2,384 square feet of grade A office space and basement parking.

Designed by architects Geoffrey Sloan Associates, it will replace the vacant office building located on East Street.

New shipyard proposed for the Thames

A new shipyard is being proposed for the River Thames in London as part of a regeneration plan to counter the loss of creative and productive land use in London.

Owned by the Mayor of London, Albert Island is a 25-acre site in the Royal Docks – the capital’s only enterprise zone, and is part of the wider docks regeneration.

The site is being developed by London and Regional, with LDA Design set to work as landscape architects on the masterplan with lead Haworth Tompkins.

Plans for the £300 million development include a state-of-the-art shipyard with Europe’s biggest ship lift to service and repair Thames riverboats, industrial units, and a makers’ yard.

Full public access to the island will be restored, with plans aiming to attract a mix of businesses, supported by the development of a transport and engineering education hub, and an innovation and research quarter.

11 September 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner