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Planning News - 21 February 2019

Published: Thursday, 21st February 2019

High Court rejects Tate Modern neighbours’ privacy challenge, £9m cash boost for garden community housing, Government announces £250 million in new housing deal funding and more stories...

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

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The High Court has thrown out a challenge by residents of luxury flats overlooked by Tate Modern who tried to block visitors looking into their homes from the gallery’s viewing platform.

Mr Justice Mann rejected the claims by residents of flats in the Neo Bankside development on London’s South Bank and said they had “created their own sensitivity” by buying apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows. He told them to protect their privacy with “net curtains” or lower their blinds.

The flat owners launched the action against the Tate’s board of trustees demanding part of the open-air viewing gallery to be either cordoned off or screened to provide greater privacy. The gallery’s board of trustees said the viewing platform provides “a unique, free, 360-degree view of London”.

Mr Justice Mann said: “These properties are impressive and no doubt there are great advantages to be enjoyed in such extensive glassed views but that in effect comes at a price in terms of privacy.”

He rejected the claim for privacy and nuisance, and dismissed an application for permission to appeal against the ruling.

13 February 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner


Housing minister Kit Malthouse has announced that £9 million will be used to speed up the building of new garden towns and villages.

The money has been split between projects already under way, including the North Essex Garden Communities and Bicester’s 2,000-home custom and self-build site in the garden town.

The funding will be administered by Homes England.

Malthouse said: “This £9 million funding boost is giving councils the support and cash injection they need so they can finish planning new developments and get diggers on site.”

The garden communities project is expected to deliver 200,000 properties on large sites by 2050. The government said the latest funding would help to get 21 sites ready for development, contributing towards the cost of masterplanning and technical studies.

Three garden communities are being planned for North Essex in collaboration between Braintree District, Tendring District, Colchester Borough and Essex County councils. It is hoped that three communities across the council areas will deliver 43,000 homes.

John Spence CBE, chairman of North Essex Garden Communities (NEGC) Ltd and Essex County Council representative on the NEGC board, explained that the funding will enable NEGC to continue the work it needs to do to bring forward new garden communities.

He said: “The partnership of councils has been very clear that housing, jobs, economic growth, skills and infrastructure are inextricably linked. The best way of achieving these aims in the long term is through the creation of purpose-built new communities.

“This is, of course, a long-term project and NEGC is undertaking the preparatory work that a traditional developer would do ahead of any large scheme coming forward. It should be welcomed that the government recognises this approach and has continued to have confidence in what is a nationally important project. Equally, we recognise the need to spend the money of national and local taxpayers carefully and responsibly.”

Will Jeffwitz, policy leader at the National Housing Federation (NHF), said: “It’s always welcome to see the government putting more money into solving the housing crisis. New garden towns and villages will play an important role in this, and housing associations will be at the heart of many of these. Spending money in a targeted way to speed up their development is worthwhile. But it will take much more than £9 million to make a dent in the 340,000 homes the country needs every year.

“To meet the desperate need for new homes, including the 90,000 social homes we need to build every year, we will need significant new government investment. Ministers must make a real commitment to invest in new homes and communities in the spending review due this year.”

The funding has been allocated as follows:

  • Aylesbury – £420,000
  • Basingstoke – £695,000
  • Bicester – £770,000
  • Harlow & Gilston – £715,000
  • North Essex (Colchester, Tendring & Braintree) – £1,000,000
  • North Northants (Corby, Kettering & Wellingborough) –    £725,000
  • Otterpool Park, Folkestone – £1,250,000
  • Taunton – £550,000
  • Bailrigg – £100,000
  • Culm, Mid Devon – £300,000
  • Dunton Hills – £100,000
  • Halsnead – £300,000
  • Handforth – £150,000
  • Infinity, Derbyshire – £150,000
  • Longmarston – £300,000
  • Longcross – £125,000
  • West Oxfordshire – £150,000
  • Tresham – £300,000
  • Welbourne – £300,000
  • West Carclaze – £300,000
  • St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle – £300,000

13 February 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


The government has announced a series of new housing deals through which £250 million will be allocated with the aim of delivering close to 25,000 new homes.

Some £157 million is allocated for the development of transport and green infrastructure in Devon and Cumbria to support housing development in those counties, as well as:

  • Arrangements with Homes England to build on seven former Ministry of Defence bases.
  • A £78 million loan to help fund development of more than 1,500 new homes at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  • £10.6 million in funding awarded to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council – the first award through the government’s £450 million Accelerated Construction Programme – for up to 670 new homes.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire said that through these and other measures, the government was “invoking the spirit of Britain’s post-war push to build” as it focused on its target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year.

“By investing in infrastructure, freeing up public sector land and offering targeted loans, we are making the housing market work. These deals struck today will help us build almost 25,000 more homes – which is another symbolic step towards our homebuilding targets.”

Key points

The government will invest £157 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for schemes in Devon and Cumbria.

  • In Devon, £55 million will be spent on road improvements and other infrastructure, allowing 2,500 homes to be built to the south-west of Exeter.
  • In Cumbria, the money will pay for a motorway link road between south Carlisle and the M6, “unlocking up to 10,000 new homes” at St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.
  • Homes England has agreed a partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to build more than 10,000 homes on seven different sites from land released by the Ministry of Defence. There is also potential for further surplus army land to be made available in the future.
  • Two new neighbourhoods of 1,500 homes will be built in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  • The £78 million loan from Homes England is part of the government’s £4.5 billion Home Building Fund.
  • Up to 650 new homes will be built on three sites in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, Hertfordshire, using Modern Methods of Construction – which mean properties can go up more quickly. Work is due to start on the first site in Hatfield town centre in June.

14 February 2019
Martin Reed, The Planner


Newcastle University is proposing a significant redevelopment of the former general hospital into a centre of excellence for care of older people after buying the site.

The university has unveiled plans to develop the Campus for Ageing and Vitality, which occupies part of the 29-acre site. It has bought the former hospital from Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for £7.5 million.

The proposal is for a mixed-use development covering three zones – elderly care, research facilities and a residential zone for housing and business development.

To the north of the site, the university is proposing a ‘Discovery Crucible’, which would house laboratories alongside cutting-edge clinics. This would allow NHS patients to be seen by experts across all disciplines and as part of university research projects, providing teams with the opportunity to learn from expertise outside their field.

The central zone would encompass a ‘spectrum of independence’ test-bed development, which would provide a range of care for older people and a centre of excellence in dementia care. This could encompass a dementia care village, as modelled in the Netherlands, a care home, intermediate care facility and assisted living, such as prototype homes for older people using innovative technology to enable them to live independently.

The vision also proposes a southerly residential zone with potential for business development encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises and commercial partners, as well as opportunities for creative arts.

“Our unique position with expertise in ageing, nutrition, digital science and tech combined with the forward-thinking nature of our city partners, particularly around the challenges of supporting an ageing population, could help transform this site,” said vice-chancellor and president Chris Day. “This is an exciting and ambitious vision which looks to the next 10 to 15 years to ensure that we are a world-leading hotbed of innovation and creative research in the field of ageing.”

The university said the proposal is consistent with Newcastle City Council’s planning framework although its plans are at an early stage.

13 February 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner


The £500 million redevelopment of a former biscuit factory into a build-to-rent scheme has been rejected by the London Borough of Southwark because of its lack of affordable housing.

Grosvenor’s scheme near Bermondsey Tube Station would have provided 1,342 build-to-rent properties on the 6.2-hectare site of the former Peek Freans biscuit factory, which adjoins the old Lewisham and Southwark College campus.

The scheme, one of London’s largest build-to-rent developments, also comprised office, retail and leisure space and a 600-place secondary school in buildings ranging from four to 28 storeys in height.

The developer’s offer of 27.5 per cent of the homes at below market rents was rejected by Southwark for failing to meet its target of 35 per cent affordable homes and the project would not provide any significant number of social rent or London Living rent homes. The council’s viability adviser, GVA, estimated that it should be offering 32 per cent affordable housing.

Planners recommended refusal because the development failed to provide the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing. The affordable homes on offer would be out of reach of those in greatest housing need. The proposal did not comply with local, mayoral or London Plan policies, they decided, while the scheme did not “provide an exemplary quality of accommodation for its future residents to combat the potential negative impacts of high-density living”.

Grosvenor chief executive Craig McWilliam said he was “obviously disappointed” by the committee’s decision. “Our proposals are for a neighbourhood accessible to the growing majority of Londoners who simply cannot afford to buy, do not qualify for social housing and want the many advantages of a secure, professionally managed home to rent.

"This includes Southwark’s many health, education, public order and fire service workers who can, through our proposals, afford to live close to where they work.

“We have talked openly to many in Southwark on the opportunities build-to-rent brings, but also the difficult choices, often between competing benefits, that must be made to deliver these new homes. We have also consistently acknowledged and sought to explain why the economics of our proposals mean they cannot support social housing.”

13 February 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner


The latest round of the government’s One Public Estate programme has been announced, with more than 100 local public sector partnerships set to receive a share of £15 million.

The cash will support plans that will bring forward 10,000 new homes and 14,000 new jobs.

One Public Estate was launched in 2013 to make better use of public sector sites to deliver new homes and jobs. It aims to encourage local councils, emergency services and government departments to work closely by sharing sites and creating public sector “hubs” where services are delivered in one place. The government said the programme has so far created 5,745 jobs, released land for the development of 3,336 homes and saved taxpayers £24 million in running costs.

Funding for the latest round of the programme will help with the creation of feasibility studies and masterplans for the potential development sites. Money allocated to partnerships include:

  • £680,000 for projects in Waltham Forest, including plans to bring forward the redevelopment of the 100-year-old Whipps Cross Hospital.
  • £505,000 for projects in Devon and Torbay, including the regeneration of land around St David’s station in Exeter.
  • £405,000 for projects in Northamptonshire, including plans to release land around Kettering railway station for new houses, as well as improvements to the station.
  • £410,000 for projects in Worcestershire, including delivering new housing and regeneration around Redditch station, which is part of the Rail Quarter development.

Oliver Dowden, minister for implementation, said: “Getting the best use out of publicly owned land can help to regenerate our towns and cities and give people improved access to the services they need.

“This programme shows that when government works smarter, with public authorities coming together, taxpayers get better value for money, new jobs are created and space is freed up for vitally needed new homes.”

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “I’m pleased to see One Public Estate continue to grow from strength to strength. This latest round will see the programme now deliver more than 650 projects in total, all of which support councils to work with the wider public sector to deliver the best public services and place for their local communities.

“The delivery of new homes remains a national priority and with 95 per cent of councils now part of the programme, it’s clear to see that local government remains committed to building the right homes for the places they serve.”

14 February 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner