Published: Thursday, 6th August 2015
Stricter green belt safeguards sought. Clark backs Sheffield warehouse to academy conversion. Kent theme park operator deal over energy scheme. Plymouth cruise terminal study. And more stories...
Stricter green belt safeguards sought
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has called on the government to strengthen green belt protection. The countryside lobby group wants greater clarification on the limited circumstances in which green belt boundaries can be changed through local plans.
CPRE has also urged ministers to call in or direct local authorities to refuse damaging developments in the green belt that are not identified in existing local or neighbourhood plans. In addition the CPRE would like to see bodies like Natural England and Local Enterprise Partnerships funding measures to improve the quality of and access to green belt.
These initiatives form the cornerstone of a new campaign by the group timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the introduction of green belt planning policy.
To mark this anniversary CPRE has just published the results of a poll by Ipsos Mori which found that nearly two-thirds of people surveyed believe that green belt land should not be built on.
Clark backs Sheffield warehouse to academy conversion
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has agreed with the recommendation of a planning inspector and allowed an appeal over Sheffield City Council’s refusal of proposals to convert a warehouse and distribution centre on a business park at Ecclesfield into a post-16 Academy.
Clark’s decision letter concluded that the proposals were in accord with the development plan and satisfied the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework which said great weight should be given to the need to “create, expand or alter schools”.
The SoS also noted that the NPPF advised against the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use “where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose”.
Kent theme park operator deal over energy scheme
Teal Energy Ltd has agreed to drop its plans for a £100m energy from waste scheme originally proposed for land on the Swanscombe Peninsula, Kent also earmarked for the London Paramount Entertainment Resort.
The latter is currently the subject of an application for a development consent order under the nationally significant infrastructure project regime (NSIP)
The parties have reached an important agreement for both projects and Teal Energy will now seek an alternative site.
Paul Sadler, Chief Executive of Teal Energy said: “The Swanscombe Peninsula will be transformed as a result of London Paramount and the Ebbsfleet Garden City. Teal Energy is keen to find an alternative site in North Kent.”
David Testa, Chief Executive of London Paramount, said: “We’re delighted to have reached an agreement with Teal – without doubt this is another important step in the right direction for the future of the project.”
- The Mayor of London has announced three more Housing Zones – in Brent, Westminster and Sutton – which means the number of such designations in the capital now totals 18. A further two will be named later this summer. The Mayor will invest nearly £44m in these three new Zones which will provide nearly 6,600 new homes as well as improved transport links, more than 13,000 construction jobs and new retail precincts.
- Plans to create the world’s “longest and tallest tunnel slide” down the Orbit Tower, next to the Olympic Stadium have been approved. The Royal Borough of Greenwich has resolved to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of land at Enderby Wharf in London docklands. The scheme includes amended proposals for a cruise liner terminal, known as London City Cruise Port, as well as new housing.
- A developer has submitted proposals to convert two Croydon town centre office blocks into up to 1,500 flats. The move came 24 hours before a deadline involving an article 4 Direction which will remove permitted development rights in the area.
- A planning inspector has dismissed an appeal over a mixed use scheme in Lamb’s Passage, Islington, north London, because the development offered only 14 affordable housing units.
Energy projects round-up
- Swedish energy company Vattenfall has scrapped a planned 69-megawatt onshore wind project involving 20 turbines at Nocton Fen near Lincoln. The company said government subsidy cuts and the proposal to remove wind farms above 50 megawatt capacity from the Planning Act 2008 regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects “introduced increased risk in the process”.
- Hadstone Energy’s proposals for a five megawatt solar farm on an 11 hectare site in East Sussex have been refused by members of Lewes District Council against the advice of officers.
- Scottish Ministers have refused consent for a proposed 31-turbine wind farm at Allt Duine near Kincraig because of its impact on the Cairngorms National Park and on wild land.
Plymouth cruise terminal study
Leading marine consultants GP Wild International have been commissioned to look at the economic case for a cruise terminal for Plymouth.
A consortium comprising Plymouth City Council, Associated British Ports, the Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce, Destination Plymouth and Plymouth Waterfront Partnership have commissioned the company who will be putting together the report over the summer.
City Council leader Tudor Evans said: “We need to look at a whole range of issues to get a clear picture of the market and its future directions, the infrastructure needed, the sort of costs we are looking at and some of the unique challenges we face.”
- Developer DLA Delivery Ltd has failed in a High Court bid to quash the Newick Neighbourhood Plan, recently “made” by East Sussex planning authority Lewes District Council.
- A wildlife charity has failed in a High Court challenge to Teignbridge District Council’s grant of outline planning permission for a 230-home development at Chudleigh, Devon, over the impact of the proposed scheme on a rare type of bat.
Middlesbrough snow project
Proposals for a £30m snow and leisure centre in Middlesbrough have been unveiled. The indoor facility at Middlehaven would include a 170 metre high ski-slope, climbing area, trampoline park, indoor sky diving centre and shops and cafes.
Birmingham BID failure
Traders have refused to back plans to set up Birmingham’s 12th business improvement district (BID). Campaigners in Bournville, Cotteridge, Kings Norton and Stirchley had hoped to set up the Lifford BID which would have seen at least £1m extra invested in the area over the next five years.
But 52 per cent of businesses polled did not believe it was worth paying an extra levy on their rates to cover the cost and voted against. The turnout was 36 per cent.
Milton Keynes badminton centre pulled
Plans for a new £22m national centre for badminton in Milton Keynes have been scrapped due to a growing “funding gap”.
Badminton England had planning permission for a 17-court arena with 3,000 seats at the National Bowl site in Milton Keynes.
The sport’s governing body said rising costs in the construction industry would have placed the project at “considerable risk”. The proposals involved building 100 homes on Badminton England’s existing site in the city.
Cornish stadium moves
A supermarket development planned to help fund a 6,000-seat sports stadium on the outskirts of Truro for Cornwall has been approved by the unitary council.
The Cornish Pirates rugby club, Inox Group, Truro and Penwith College and Henry Boot Developments were behind the plans for the multi-use stadium. Members also approved plans for a new football stadium on a separate site nearby.
Didcot retail centre expands
South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee has voted in favour of nearly doubling the size of the Orchard Centre in Didcot.
Owner Hammerson plans to extend the centre and create 24 new shops, including an M&S Food Hall store, as part of a mixed-used extension project that will add 150,000 square feet of shopping and leisure space to the existing 200,000 square feet Orchard Centre which opened in 2005.
The Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the “viability and sustainability” of housing associations. The investigation will examine the proposals to extend Right to Buy to housing associations and the impact of this and other government measures on housing associations’ ability to build and develop social housing.
In a related but separate move the all-party committee has requested written evidence on local “devolution deals,” agreed between combined authorities and central government, like the Greater Manchester Agreement and what lessons can be learnt in general from the existing City Deals programme.
Helen Hayes MP, a backbench Labour member of the committee is a former planner.
The British Library has been listed Grade I by Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch on the advice of Historic England and joins the top 2.5 per cent of listed buildings in England.
Originally designed by architect Sir Colin St John Wilson and his partner MJ Long between 1982 and 1999, it was the largest UK public building to be built in the 20th century.
The listing coincides with seven libraries from across England that have been awarded Grade II status. These are in Eastleigh, Hampshire; Epsom, Surrey; Leamington Spa; Milton Keynes; Suffolk; The Wirral and West Sussex.
Size matters in Bedfordshire home extension saga
A home owner involved in a planning saga over an extension may have to demolish part of his house after a planning inspector refused a bid for retrospective permission for the work.
Syed Raza Shah got permission to increase the floor space of his home in Barton-Le-Clay, Bedfordshire, by 45 per cent, in 2011.
But Central Bedfordshire Council said he increased the house’s-size by 165 per cent triggering planning action, claims and counter-claims and legal challenges over the property which is in a green belt location.
Property developer and former AFC Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell is to submit plans for a 2,000-seat complex on the Sandbanks Peninsula. The £7-10m stadium at the mouth of Poole Harbour would host beach sports and entertainment events.
It would also contain 40 ground-floor beach huts as well as 20 exclusive glass boxes with interior views of the stadium and exterior balconies overlooking Sandbanks.
Separately plans have been submitted for a £100m facelift of the Salterns Marina at Poole including proposals for a luxury hotel, 73 new flats and a rooftop restaurant.
Meanwhile villagers and tourists have started a petition opposing Purbeck District Council’s enforcement action over a wooden version of Stonehenge built by a pub landlord in a field at Worth Matravers near Swanage.