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Planning News - 22 November 2018

Published: Thursday, 22nd November 2018

NPPF should include guidance on transport interchanges, Huge Newport solar farm is first of a kind, Community group established for Old Oak, Housing investment unfairly distributed 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 government has been urged to ensure that better integrated public transport is a defined planning policy objective.

Integrated Transport: A New Generation of Interchanges says that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) should be supplemented to guarantee that it contains more detailed guidance on planning and locating interchanges.

Commissioned by the Foundation for Integrated Transport (FIT) and published by the Campaign to Protect Better Transport, the report finds that current bus, rail and coach services are poorly integrated. This makes door-to-door public transport journeys difficult and forces people to be more reliant on cars.

The operation, investment and planning of different modes of public transport is made in isolation so opportunities to link them are missed. The resulting network doesn’t provide connections between the different modes of public transport – and it is also expensive.

Integrated Transport considers the newly redesigned Catthorpe Interchange in the East Midlands, which is at the junction of the M1 between Northampton and Leicester, and the A14 / M6 between Cambridge and Birmingham. The report highlights a number of concerns, including that north-south and east-west travel by public transport was not given due consideration in consultation or the final product. Therefore, public transport provisions remains poor: the rail journey from Cambridge to Birmingham is 45 minutes slower than by car. The failure to consider the potential for public transport now has made it “significantly more difficult to realise such improvements in the future”.

The charity says better interchanges are needed to make the system work for passengers.

Darren Shirley, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Public transport that does not connect up discourages people from using it and leaves more people choosing to drive, increasing congestion on our roads. We need more rail, bus, and coach interchanges to join up part of the fragmented public transport network so that it works for passengers.”

To make sure that public transport serves communities better, the report recommends that the government should develop priority national transport interchanges and examine opportunities for regional ones – and prioritises them in the planning system.

Regional bodies with devolved transport powers, such as combined authorities, should plan to deliver integrated local public transport networks. Additionally, a national investment strategy for buses – the most used form of public transport – would ensure that they are a key part of the transport mix, which would start a reverse in the decline of services that leave communities disconnected.

Alastair Hanton, from FIT, said: “Interchanges are at the heart of integrated transport. Each of the report's examples shows how creating links between services could help existing passengers and attract new passengers.”

Integrated Transport can be found here on the Campaign for Better Transport website (pdf).

19 November 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A large solar farm has been approved near Newport, the first green energy scheme to receive planning permission as a Development of National Significance under the Planning (Wales) Act 2015.

The project involves the site of the former Llanwern steelworks in Newport.

Once operational, it will provide enough electricity to power 15,000 homes and save 21,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Planning specialists from Savills submitted the application on behalf of the Gwent Farmers Community Solar Scheme.

The solar farm is designed to have 250,000 solar panels and 200 battery storage units. It will have a capacity of 49.9 megawatts.

The site is located to the south of the former steelworks, on land owned by nine local farmers.

Savill’s Nick Beddoe is reported as saying: “This is an excellent result for the future of renewable energy production in Wales.

"Not only does the scheme make good use of the existing infrastructure previously used to service heavy industry, it will support the future prosperity of the local farming community through diversification."

16 November 2018
Roger Milne, The Planner

A Community Review Group has been formed to represent local people when planning outcomes are decided in Old Oak and Park Royal.

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) is aiming to deliver 25,500 new homes across the area, as well as 65,000 new jobs.

The group is expected to review development proposals from the perspective of those living, working and spending time in the area. The outcome of the discussions will influence planning decisions.

Members have been selected to reflect the diversity of the area. The 12 people either live or work nearby, and span multiple generations, with the youngest being 21 years old.

OPDC partnered with Frame Projects to recruit the group, which runs independent design review panels for local authorities and for other public sector organisations, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the OPDC Place Review Group, a group of leading built environment professionals. This group will sit alongside the Community Review Group and will review planning proposals from the perspective of industry experts.

Liz Peace, OPDC chair, said: “Insights from the community are extremely important to ensure the benefits from the investment in the area meets the needs of those who live and work there. It is thrilling to see the interest in the development and regeneration of Old Oak and Park Royal from local people who are invested in positive change. We hope that the Community Review Group will help strengthen OPDC’s existing relationships with local people.”

Community Review Group Chair, Tony Burton, said it is an opportunity for local voices to be heard and for the group’s recommendations to change the area for the better.

19 November 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Government investment in five housing programmes across England over the next five years is skewed in favour of the South East.

Of the £7 billion allocated, 80 per cent will be channelled towards the areas with the “highest affordability pressure”, largely in the south and east of England.

This is according to analysis by Core Cities UK and the Key Cities Group of the government’s policy document Geographical Targeting Across 5 Housing Programme Funds.

The organisations say the figures show how applying the government’s definition, using a ratio of median house prices to median workplace-based household incomes, “skews the allocation of around £5.6 billion available from these programmes”. This definition, when applied, favours the more affluent areas of the country.

A colour-coded map by Core Cities UK and the Key Cities Group demonstrates shows three areas north of the M62 in receipt of significant investment.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of Core Cities UK, insisted it is vital there is a fair approach to government housing investment across the country.

“The way funding for housing and infrastructure is currently being prioritised is already putting many of our major towns and cities at a disadvantage. We should be moving away from competitive and ultimately counterproductive drivers of investment such as mortgage affordability and land value uplift towards a collaborative and place-based approach where national and local governments work together to tailor cross-tenure solutions to meet local demands and opportunities.

“The current proposal is likely to further consolidate the economic gaps between London, the South East and the rest of the country.”

Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council and chair of Key Cities Group, added: “We are particularly disappointed that areas that Key Cities represent appear to suffer as a result of this formula, particularly the north of England and the Midlands. We call on government to reconsider the methodology being used to calculate these grants.”

The organisations represent 30 key urban centres across England, Scotland and Wales including Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

15 November 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has said it will serve an enforcement notice on the owner of a barn in Maulds Meaburn for deviating from plans that received planning permission.

The planning committee approved plans to convert Snowdrop Barn, a large detached barn, into a home in 2016, with conditions.

A series of unauthorised works have been carried out on the barn, the national park alleges, including sandblasting of the exterior and repointing with a pink mortar. Conditions that relate to archaeology, protected species, surface water and landscaping have not been discharged.

Judith Fraser, a resident of Maulds Meaburn, told the committee that the village had welcomed the original “sensitive” conversion, but the unauthorised works had “radically” changed the appearance of the barn.

Julie Martin, member champion for cultural heritage at the park authority, said: “I think it’s fair to describe the way in which this development has taken place as a truly shocking act of vandalism. Maulds Meaburn is an outstanding village in landscape and historic environment terms. The barn is on its northern edge and is a key part of the setting of the village and conservation area.”

She added that the work is seriously damaging the area’s historic assets.

At a committee meeting last week (13 November), applications to vary conditions and change land use were refused. Members approved enforcement action.

19 November 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A round-up of planning news:

Funding for Notts construction jobs

Partners in Nottingham have been given a slice of a £22 million government fund, which will be used to launch construction academies with Nottingham College.

The academies will bring training to construction sites – allowing learners to apply their knowledge in a real-world environment. The money will be used to help local residents secure industry jobs and will pay for training and resources.

The Construction Skills Fund was launched in June 2018 and Nottingham has been chosen as one of 26 successful bidders from across the country.

The bid was led by Nottingham College, along with partners Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Council, Wates Construction and local construction firm Robert Woodhead.

£2.3m for West Midlands construction jobs

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has received £2.3 million from the Government’s Construction Skills Fund to help local people get jobs in the region’s booming construction industry.

WMCA said two hubs will initially be set up by spring 2019. One will be located at the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village in Perry Barr, to provide on-site training for housebuilders of the future; and the other will be at the M6 smart motorway project between junctions 2 and 4.

It is hoped that 1,450 local people will be trained at the first two hubs – with more hubs planned for other large construction projects in the West Midlands in the next few years.

Homes approved for Bilston urban village

The City of Wolverhampton Council has approved 420 homes south of Bilston town centre.

Countryside will build the homes across a 27-acre site. They will range from two to four bedrooms, with 192 for market sale, 123 for private rent, 85 for affordable rent and 20 for shared ownership.

Investment by the council and Homes England enabled the site to be brought forward for development. The cash saw a range of major works so the site was fit to be developed, including the clearance of trees, removal of the old railway embankment, and installation of highways and drainage infrastructure.

Council cabinet member for city economy John Reynolds said: “Our plans to develop almost 500 homes on the site will make a significant impact in achieving our housing targets in the City of Wolverhampton.

“The council has spent a lot of time making sure there is good road access, and ensuring that, with a bus-only link, cycle ways and pedestrian routes, the new housing will be well connected to the town centre.”

Warehouse regeneration approved in Leicestershire

Plans for the regeneration of a former warehouse in Moira into a residential development has received planning permission.

Local developer Wheatcroft Land plans to build nine family homes on the north-west Leicestershire site, which is next to a canal. A total of 200 square miles of woodland development surround the village, which is close to a Forestry Commission national cycle centre, Moira Furnace museum, Donisthorpe Country Park and Conkers Discovery Centre.

The development, named Swingbridge Wharf because of the nearby swing bridge that provides access across the canal to the museum, will comprise three and four-bedroom homes. Three will be detached and six semi-detached, with access to the public footpath and cycleways along Ashby Canal.

CIC to create map for change

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) celebrates its 30th year by initiating a ‘Roadmap for Change’. It will explore working practices and inclusive environments – both culturally and physically.

People in the built environment industry are being asked to fill out a short survey about how they would like to see the industry changed over the next 30 years.

It is hoped that that everyone within the industry, from students to retirees, completes the survey to help CIC get a robust picture of the sector and build on future aspirations in the roadmap.

The survey can be found here.

Refurb of William Morris’s home approved

Cotswold District Council has approved plans for a new education centre at Kelmscott Manor, as well as the conservation and refurbishment of the estate’s grade I listed buildings.

Carter Jonas secured the permission on behalf of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Kelmscott Manor is built of limestone and dates from 1570. Built by farmer Thomas Turner, the estate is best known as the home of write, designer and socialist William Morris.

The consultancy worked to vary a restrictive covenant in favour of Kelmscott Manor and negotiated with a neighbouring landowner to rent a small area of land for a new car park, which involved the surrender of a long-term lease from the agricultural tenant, a change of use and settling terms for a new long-term lease direct with the landowner.

The 969 square foot education centre will be built on the south side of the farmyard with construction due to start in the second quarter of 2019. Conservation repairs will begin a year later in 2020, to the listed buildings, including the house itself.

2,800 homes approved for St Neots extension

Proposals comprising the residential development of up to 2,800 homes in St Neots have been granted planning permission.

Dentons advised Huntingdonshire District Council on the planning agreement and conditions for the urban extension for the town, which is 15 miles west of Cambrige.

Up to 63,500 square metres of employment development, a district centre including health services, two primary schools and open space play areas also feature in the plans.

The agreement for this scheme included the negotiation and drafting of a viability review mechanism, which is to be undertaken at various stages of the development in order to increase the level of affordable housing on the site as scheme viability allows.

20 November 2018
Laura Edgar, The Planner