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Planning News - 4 October 2018

Published: Thursday, 4th October 2018

Funding window opens to unlock surplus public land, Heybridge homes plan to be reconsidered without flood scheme, Northern Powerhouse sees ‘building boom’ 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 £15 million fund is now open to bidders to enable the public sector to build homes.

The latest funding round of One Public Estate, a partnership between the Local Government Association (LGA), the Office of Government Property within the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), will see the programme place particular emphasis on unlocking surplus public land for housing supply.

New and established partnerships are invited to apply.

This year’s fund comprises £12 million in grant funding with £3 million allocated as a “recyclable” grant to be returned to the programme within three years and reinvested in future projects.

One Public Estate, which was launched in 2013, now works with 318 local authorities in 76 partnerships on 450 projects to transform local communities and public services.

By April 2020, current partnerships are set to release land for 25,000 homes, create 44,000 jobs while raising £615 million in capital receipts and cutting costs by £158 million.

Further details are available here.

28 September 2018
Huw Morris, The Planner


Maldon District Council will redetermine a proposal for more than 1,100 homes after the developer removed a flood alleviation scheme from the original successful application.

Outline plans for North Heybridge Garden Suburb by Countryside Properties were originally approved in December 2016. However, the £11 million price tag for the flood alleviation scheme has forced the developer to submit amended plans.

The new application increases the amount of affordable housing from 15 per cent to 30 per cent. It also includes a residential care home for up to 120 beds, a retail neighbourhood, primary school, childcare facility, relief road, open spaces, electric sub-stations, footpaths and cycle links.

The new proposal is now out for consultation and Maldon said the Environment Agency and Essex County Council would advise on the application.

“I am very disappointed that the flood elevation scheme is no longer included, however, it is very important that interested parties understand that they can respond during the statutory consultation process and that their comments will be considered,” said Maldon’s leader Adrian Fluker.

“Once the consultation has concluded, members of the council will determine the application in the usual way.”

27 September 2018
Huw Morris, The Planner


Northern cities are witnessing a ‘building boom’ with Manchester leading the way, according to an economic analysis for the Royal Mail.

Other Northern Powerhouse towns and cities, including Leeds, Salford, Liverpool and Wigan are close behind Manchester, which is the epicentre of the boom with 9,127 schemes in the past three years.

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research analysis of the Royal Mail’s ‘Not Yet Built’ database, which compiles new developments, this reflects growing confidence in the Northern Powerhouse idea.

Housing is the main driving force behind the surge across the country with other construction activity benefiting from the boom including office space, which saw a 92 per cent increase in the past five years, schools and universities with 35 per cent and entertainment venues, ranging from theatres to bowling alleys, at 62 per cent.

Birmingham, Edinburgh, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Wiltshire local authorities have seen a particularly high surge in schemes in the past three years with on average 8,303 new developments in each area.

In the past five years the value of constructed housing has doubled. Tower Hamlets recorded the largest rise in new homes, with a 14 per cent upturn between 2010 and 2017, followed by Corby at 11 per cent.

Flats are the fastest-growing type of new housing to be built and now account for almost a quarter of UK residences. Detached houses have also seen growth of 4 per cent in the past five years.

Across England and Wales, the top 15 local authorities with the highest share of properties as flats are in Greater London. In the City of London, 98 per cent of residential properties are flats. However, towns and cities on the South Coast also feature highly, with flats making up half of the properties in Brighton and Hove and Bournemouth.

27 September 2018
Huw Morris, The Planner


Transport for London (TfL) has struck a partnership deal with specialist modular developer Apartments for London to build affordable homes on its land.

The move follows a property partnership programme launched by Tfl in 2016 to develop sites that would otherwise not come forward while generating revenue to be reinvested into the transport network.

Under the latest deal, Apartments for London will build modular homes over car parks and other available TfL sites. The partnership is expected to submit planning applications for its first developments totalling around 450 homes later this year.

TfL commercial development director Graeme Craig said the latest deal would “deliver homes at a considerably quicker pace than is offered through traditional construction”.

TfL has plans for more than 10,000 homes on its portfolio across the capital. It has other partnerships with Barratt Homes, Berkeley Group and Taylor Wimpey.

27 September 2018
Huw Morris, The Planner


A major redevelopment site in Maidenhead, Berkshire, has been approved in principle as part of a wider plan to regenerate the town.

The Countryside scheme includes 229 homes alongside community space and food and café outlets on the banks of Maidenhead waterways.

The York Road site is the first of four schemes under a joint venture between Countryside and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to develop more affordable homes.

A total of 68 homes in the scheme will be for shared ownership, affordable rent set at local housing allowance levels and social rent.

The council is also delivering a further 20 affordable homes on site.

The scheme includes commercial space for food and beverage outlets and a new home for Maidenhead Heritage Centre.

Construction is expected to start on the site in spring 2019 with the first homes scheduled for completion by autumn 2020.

Council leader Simon Dudley described the scheme as “a major milestone for Maidenhead’s regeneration”.

28 September 2018
Huw Morris, The Planner


Nearly three-quarters of real estate professionals now regard distribution and logistics as the most appealing property asset class for investment.

A survey by FI Consulting for law firm CMS underlines the changing fortunes of the UK property market, the underlying future demand for planning applications and the continuing decline in retail.

Just 7 per cent of professionals are seeing retail as the most appealing sector – a dramatic fall on the 35 per cent who favoured it in 2016.

CMS UK said that even in 2013 warehouses were seen as “the Cinderella of property, with the greater appeal and perceived glamour of mainstream office and retail assets often leaving logistics and industrial properties neglected among investors”.

But its head of real estate, Ciaran Carvalho, said logistics and distribution are now attracting significant international capital investment.

“Global players have been captivated by the transformative impact of e-commerce on the sector,” he said. “Its appeal is clear, with online fulfilment requiring about three times the warehousing space of traditional, store-bound models.

“While some high street retailers have had very public troubles this year, it’s fascinating to see how other major retailers are turning place and the creation of experience to their advantage in the battle for customers with their large online competitors.”

The vast majority of real estate professionals and retailers – 85 per cent and 83 per cent respectively – felt strongly that the future health of the logistics industry depended on securing a balanced trading agreement between the UK and the EU, the poll shows.

They also predict continued high demand for large out-of-town warehouses and believe such property would have to become “vertical” or be built taller to accommodate demand. But space and planning constraints are seen by 96 per cent of real estate professionals as the most challenging issues facing the sector, particularly for urban logistics.

“The UK logistics sector is facing varied challenges as it evolves in the face of rapid technological change and intensifying consumer demands,” added Carvalho.

The poll surveyed 353 real estate advisers, developers and investors controlling combined assets worth £400 billion.

1 October 2018
Huw Morris, The Planner