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Planning News - 25 October 2018

Published: Thursday, 25th October 2018

£10m cash boost for London council’s planning teams, Consultation opens on national parks review, Hampshire council to ‘rip up’ its draft plan 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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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched a £10 million fund that aims to ‘beef’ up councils’ housing and planning teams to help them build more homes.

Council budgets in London have fallen by 50 per cent in London, which Khan says has prevented housing growth and planning for new council homes.

The Homebuilding Capacity Fund will see council bid for up to £750,000 each to boost housing and planning teams. The money can be used for hiring new staff.

Khan will also consider bids that help to deliver a new generation of council homes, social rented and other affordable homes on small sites, masterplans in areas that have significant growth potential, and optimal density across new residential development in an area.

The fund will work alongside a number of the other schemes that aim to deliver council housing, including a new council-led housing forum, run by Future of London, which will provide technical advice to practitioners involved in council-led delivery of homes.

Khan said progress on meeting housing demand would only be achieved if councils could take a lead in getting new homes built.

“Despite wanting to do far more, councils have been hamstrung by swingeing cuts from government for far too long. My new Homebuilding Capacity Fund won't reverse those cuts – but it will help ambitious councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes.

“I am able to do this thanks to the business rates devolution deal between the capital and central government – giving us more control to spend more money on the things that matter most to Londoners.”

Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for housing and planning, said: “This support from the mayor will help boost boroughs’ ability to deliver the homes our communities need. It’s a welcome development and boroughs will be keen to make good use of these much-needed resources.”

23 October 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Environment secretary Michael Gove and writer Julian Glover have called for evidence to support the review of national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

The public will be able to comment on whether housing and transport in protected landscapes could be improved, the role these play in the UK’s cultural cultural heritage, and how such iconic areas can boost habitats for wildlife.

The review is considering whether such areas meet the nation’s needs in the 21st century and whether there is scope for the network to expand, as well how to boost wildlife, support the recovery of natural habitats, and connect more people with nature.

Glover, who is leading the review, said that he had already seen pressures in national parks and AONBs.

“Local people need jobs and housing, farmers who look after the landscapes need help to survive, and biodiversity is under threat as the numbers of things such as birds and butterflies decline.

“The good news is that I know we can do better – and in this review we are hearing lots of ideas about how to do it. Now we’re offering a chance for everyone who loves our national parks and AONBs to have a say.”

The review forms part of the government’s 25-year environment plan, which was launched in January 2018.

Sir Arthur Hobhouse’s report in 1947 bought about the creation of England’s network of designated landscapes, and the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act was passed in 1949. There are 10 national parks in England and 34 AONBs.

More information can be found here.

22 October 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Fareham Borough Council has said it will tear up its draft local plan because of the new way to calculate housing need introduced in revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The changes came into force in July. Since then, council leader Seán Woodward has worked with Fareham MPs Suella Braverman and Caroline Dineage to try to get reassurance from the housing secretary.

The new standard methodology for calculating housing need sees Fareham needing to provide 30 per cent more homes. However, the government said it would consult on revisions to this new method after the publication of the Office for National Statistics household projections in September 2018. Revised figures will now be published in December 2018.

The council said such uncertainty over housing numbers affects in the immediate term its five-year land supply, as well as the housing requirements that need to be met in the new local plan.

Woodward said: “I am extremely disappointed that we have not been able to secure the necessary protection that would have allowed us to continue with our existing draft local plan. Without that protection we will have to effectively rip it up and start again to include the government’s extra housing numbers – once there is final agreement about what they actually are!”

The council added that it currently has “approximately” a five-year housing land supply. However, the Housing Delivery Test launches in November, also introduced in the 2018 NPPF revision, and will assess the council’s delivery over the past three years. The council thinks it will fail the test, which will result in a “significant and immediate 20 per cent increase” in the council’s five-year housing land supply requirement.

Earlier this month Greater Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham and its 10 council leaders demanded that ministers should urgently clarify and publish the housing need methodology to determine the number of homes the city region would be required to build.

They said the region’s spatial framework faces fresh delays and further rewrites after latest government household projections disrupted the standard method for calculating housing need.

18 October 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Research by planning consultancy Bidwells states that the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Corridor could contribute £400 billion to the economy by 2050.

The delivery of the planned expressway and a re-opened Varsity Line, now known as East West Rail, is “essential” to maintaining the impressive growth seen in the corridor since 2013.

If it continued to expand at this rate, the corridor’s economy would grow to £398 billion. Its gross added value (GVA) would surpass £300 billion by 2050 even if the rate slowed below the long-term average rates seen since 1998, Bidwells explained.

The research considers the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) defined growth corridor area and the latest ONS statistics from 2016. It found that the corridor delivered a GVA of £105 billion in 2016 and it is likely to surpass £113 billion by the end of 2018, having grown at 4 per cent per year since 1998.

The research also found that an estimated 15-20 million square feet of further office and lab space, across approximately 540 hectares of land, will be needed to accommodate this projected growth.

Sue Foxley, research director at Bidwells, said: “With one million new homes jobs proposed for the corridor, significant infrastructure investment is required now to ensure that the economy pushes to the top of our forecast.

“The government’s industrial strategy puts this region at the heart of the UK economy but infrastructure investment, in the right places, must follow to facilitate this impressive rate of growth and make the UK economically self-sufficient in a post-Brexit world.”

17 October 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Gatwick Airport has outlined plans that could see its standby runway being used routinely to increase operational resilience.

The current planning agreement dictates that the runway is only used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies. This 40-year agreement ends in 2019.

A draft masterplan, put together by the airport for the independent consultative committee GATCOM, sets out how the standby runway could be used routinely for departing flights by 2020.

The airport notes that this would be delivered without increasing its noise footprint and would provide “greater operational resilience”. It is confident that such a project would remain within the existing airport footprint, and if the airport went ahead with the plan it would apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Planning Inspectorate.

The draft masterplan satisfies a Department for Transport requirement that the airport should provide regular updates on long-term plans, as well as meeting the government’s call for airports to make the best use of existing runways.

Gatwick is looking at how technology can be used to increase capacity of the main runway by improving efficiency. Land allocated for a new runway for the Airports Commission, the process from which the government chose to support expansion of Heathrow Airport, will be safeguarded for the future.

The airport is holding a 12-week public consultation to gather feedback and views on the draft masterplan before a final version of the masterplan is agreed on early next year.

The masterplan and details of public exhibitions can be found here on the Gatwick Airport website.

22 October 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A round-up of planning news

Student accommodation application submitted in Leicester

A full planning application has been submitted to Leicester City Council for the second phase of a student accommodation development next to the railway station.

Multidisciplinary design practice rg+p submitted the scheme on behalf of developer Student Urban Living (Leicester) Ltd.

Proposals comprise 99 student bedrooms, arranged in two, three and four-bed cluster flats as well as studio apartments. A landscaped amenity space, covered cycle and refuse storage is also provided.

rg+p secured planning permission for phase one of the scheme, including 159 bedrooms, in September 2017. Student Urban Living exchanged contracts for the purchase of the land for phase two from Leicester City Council earlier in October 2018. The intention is to develop both phases simultaneously, subject to approval.

Mixed-use site in Cornwall green-lit

Cornwall Council has approved mixed uses for Kernick Industrial Estate in Penryn.

Known as Studytel Penryn, the site will be redeveloped to provide student accommodation, employment space and a café. The student accommodation will include a mix of self-contained studios and cluster apartments, with a shared kitchen and communal space for more than 500 students.

Gary Wilkinson from Studytel, the company behind the scheme, said: “We have spent 18 months working with the authority, Falmouth University, the

University of Exeter and the local community to deliver a scheme that will provide many benefits to the local and wider economy.”

It has the potential to help to deliver over £835 million of economic benefit for Cornwall, he added.

Micro homes approved in Worcester

Worcester City Council has granted approval for the ‘UK’s first’ iKozie micro-home community.

The 16 single-person iKozie homes will be built on a former brownfield site on Cecil Road in the city centre. 

Of those homes, five will be affordable homes to be allocated to individuals on the city council’s housing list. The remainder will be for private rent. Two will be designed for disabled people.

iKozie director Kieran O'Donnell believes that the home could be a template for similar housing solutions across the country.

Designed by O'Donnell and Andrew Eastabrook, Eastabrook Architects, the homes are 17.25 square metres in size. The iKozie features a bedroom, shower room, living area and full kitchen including all appliances. The home was inspired by yacht interiors and first-class airline suites.

Worcestershire-based Planning Prospects Ltd helped to secure planning permission.

Construction will begin early in 2019.

Rental homes get the go-ahead in Sheffield

More than 300 build-to-rent homes have been approved for a site in Sheffield city centre.

The site, which is near The Moor shopping centre will comprise 335 homes specifically for rent as well as 2,500 square feet of amenity space, two residents’ lounges, a gym, and bike storage.

The homes will comprise studio, one, two and three-bed apartments and will be built across five to 14-storey buildings.

The development forms part of the wider £480 million regeneration of the Retail Quarter, which is expected to be completed in 2019.

Consultancy appointed to regenerate Walsall

Walsall Council has appointed design consultancy Arcadis to develop a masterplan for the town centre.

The masterplan will include proposals to make the town more sustainable and resilient over the next 15 to 20 years. It will build on the evidence base that supports the soon-to-be adopted Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan.

Simon Marks, Arcadis city executive for the West Midlands region, said: “In developing the regeneration masterplan, we’ll be focusing on improvements to the shopping area, leisure, culture, public realm, transport links and housing, whilst still ensuring we protect and enhance the historic character of the town and its green space. The new masterplan will help to rejuvenate not only the town centre, but also deliver ongoing investment into the region.”

Site bought for mixed-use development near Clapham

Developer Regal London and joint venture partner and investment firm KKR have acquired a site on Clapham Road for a mixed-use development.

Situated between Stockwell and Clapham North, the development will be residential-led, delivering 62 one, two and three-bedroom apartments across nine floors. Of those homes, 12 will be available for shared ownership.

The ground and lower-ground floors will comprise approximately 18,250 square feet of flexible B1/A1 commercial space.

Planning permission was granted in June 2017 following a collaborative working relationship with the London Borough of Lambeth.

Work on the site will begin in 2019.

Housing association to deliver 57 homes

Future Housing Group will deliver 57 new homes in Derby, following a Section 106 acquisition.

The homes form part of a Miller Homes development on Hackwood Park, Mickleover.

The East Midlands housing association will build 31 homes for affordable rent homes, 14 for social rent, and 12 for shared ownership.

Marcus Keys, group director of business growth and transformation at Futures, said: “This is our largest Section 106 acquisition ever and helps us provide some much-needed new homes in the Derby area.

“Alongside our affordable and social rent units, which is at the heart of what Futures does, we also have the 12 shared ownership properties, which is a fantastic way for people to get on the property ladder.”

The first new homes will be available in early 2019 with the scheme expected to be completed in 2025.

Kirklees industrial development approved

GVA has secured full planning permission from Kirklees Council for a new 19,202 square metre industrial development on land adjacent to Bradley Business Park, near Huddersfield.

The permission was secured on behalf of Aflex Hose, a hose manufacturer. The firm operates from four sites in Calderdale and this development permits the consolidation of its operations into one site.

It will house its existing 280 employees and allow the business to continue to grow and meet its ambition to employ 500 people over the next decade.

23 October 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner