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Planning news - 21 March 2019

Published: Thursday, 21st March 2019

Brokenshire outlines permitted development plans, Highways England reveals plans for ‘Missing Links’ scheme, Carlisle appoints garden village masterplanner. And more stories.

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

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Housing secretary James Brokenshire has outlined plans to extend permitted development on the high street, and to review conversions to residential use amid quality concerns.

In a written ministerial statement, published after the Spring Statement, Brokenshire confirmed the reforms initially announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

In order to support the high street, the statement says, several “additional flexibilities” will be introduced for business. In particular, shop use classes will be amended to ensure they “capture current and future retail models”. This includes:

  • clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area;
  • introduction of a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1); and
  • to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3).

According to the statement, the temporary change of use to a building will be extended from two to three years so that more community uses can take advantage of the temporary right. 

Like the chancellor, Brokenshire says in the statement that the permitted development right for upwards extensions on buildings will go ahead, but the existing streetscape must be respected. “We would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered. We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwelling houses and to introduce a proportionate fee.”

Additionally, the housing secretary intends to review permitted development rights for the conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered. "We will continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes," he says.

Permitted development rights for new telephone kiosks will be removed; the right to install off-street electric vehicle charging points to allow for taller charging upstands to address advances in rapid charging technology will be amended; and a draft listed building consent order to grant a general listed building consent for works to listed waterway structures owned, controlled or managed by the Canal & River Trust will be brought forward.

An immediate package of permitted development right measures will be implemented in the spring, Brokenshire concludes, with the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in the autumn.

The full ministerial statement, which also includes an update on Sir Oliver Letwin’s review and housing diversification, can be found here on the UK Parliament website.

14 March 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Highways England has unveiled plans for a multi-million pound scheme to upgrade a key route linking the Midlands and South West.

The improvement planned for the A417 near Gloucester will upgrade the last stretch of single carriageway of the road linking the M5 with the M4, commonly known as the ‘Missing Link’, to dual carriageway.

The plans for the Missing Link route scheme were made possible by the government’s £15 billion road investment programme.

A new climbing lane at Crickley Hill will be developed for slow moving traffic. Additionally, a new section of road built through Shab Hill to the east of the existing A417 will re-join the road near the current location of Cowley roundabout and a new junction will be created at Shab Hill with links to Birdlip and the A436. The Air Balloon Roundabout and Cowley Roundabout will be removed as part of the scheme.

Highways England says that the scheme will improve journey times and safety for drivers, while communities would experience reduced air pollution from queuing traffic.

Walkers will benefit from safer access to public footpaths including the Cotswold Way National Trail and the Gloucestershire Way.

Michael Goddard, senior project manager at Highways England, said: “This scheme will improve the lives of people who live close to the route and make it easier for drivers, walkers and other local road users to get around.

“Improving this key road connection complements the landscape in this area, and also supports the predicted growth in jobs and housing in Gloucestershire.”

Highways England will devise a detailed design for public input later this year before submitting a planning application known as a Development Consent Order.

The project will be subject to funding from the second Road Investment Strategy, which covers the period between 2020 and 2025.

Further details about the A417 Missing Link scheme can be viewed on the Highways England website.

15 March 2018
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

Carlisle City Council has appointed Arup as the masterplanner in the next phase for St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.

St Cuthbert’s is part of the first round of the government’s garden communities programme. It is expected to deliver approximately 10,000 homes and new schools, as well as improvements to infrastructure and services.

The project is set to complement plans to deliver the Carlisle Southern Link Road (CSLR) – a strategic link road connecting junction 42 of the M6 with the A595 Carlisle Northern Development Route. This has been allocated £300,000 from the garden communities programme and £102 million from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF). Cumbria County Council worked with Carlisle City Council and Homes England to develop the HIF bid.

Arup will be supported by Hive Land and Planning, who will provide strategic advice. They will bring together and build upon the work already undertaken by Carlisle City Council, its partners and consultants to deliver the Stage 2 Framework Masterplan, which will include community and stakeholder engagement.

Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: “The masterplanning appointment is another important step forward for our ambitious plans for Carlisle and the Borderlands region. We are a growing city and as part of the garden village proposal, we aim to create increased high-quality housing and employment opportunities, together with new community facilities. We want to positively plan for the continued sustainable growth of the city adding to Carlisle’s offer as a place to live and will diversify the city’s overall housing offer.

Kathryn Donnelly, project manager at Arup, added: “St Cuthbert’s Garden Village will create significant growth for the Borderlands region by providing high quality homes and vital transport links for local people. We can’t wait to start work with Carlisle City Council and its partners to support the delivery of this truly transformational project.”

14 March 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has submitted plans for a major hospital development in the city centre.

Proposals for the ‘state-of-the-art’ adults’ hospital include theatres for day case procedures and added critical care facilities, as well as a new Leeds Children’s Hospital at the Leeds General Infirmary site, opposite Millennium Square.

In autumn 2018, the trust held a two-month engagement period with people from Leeds and the wider region ahead of submitting the outline planning application.

The trust’s acting chief executive Yvetter Oade said the engagement period led to an increase in the number of parking spaces outlined in the planning application in response to concerns expressed by the community.

The development of the hospital is part of an ambitious 10-year programme to transform healthcare for patients in Leeds and the wider region, called Hospitals of the Future. 

Leeds City Council’s planning department will consider the outline application while the trust continues its planning process, which involves submitting an outline business case for the development. This will then be subject to the appropriate NHS review and approvals process.

Planning consultancy Lichfields provided the trust with strategic town planning and heritage advice. 

13 March 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Professional services firm WYG has secured planning permission for a £6 million road development scheme in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

WYG will support the development of Wakefield Council’s new Glasshoughton Southern Link Road, which starts this week.

The new development aims to improve congestion on local roads and includes a residential scheme for 1,300 new homes. It will also create sustainable facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, helping to improve local air quality and benefiting local wildlife through the creation of wetland and planting of bee-friendly wildflowers.

The development scheme is part of the Leeds City Region’s £1 billion-plus local growth deal, which will enable the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to deliver local economic growth, improving access to better jobs, housing, and transport services.

Tracey Brewer, associate director at WYG, said: “It’s an important scheme because it will, on the one hand, supply much-needed housing, but on the other also act as a cornerstone for ongoing economic growth in both Glasshoughton and the resurgent Castleford area.”

13 March 2019
Prithvi Pandya

Construction work is due to start on a number of important schemes to fight coastal erosion and flooding as part of a £150 million programme of investment over three years, Welsh environment minister Lesley Griffiths announced this week.

She told Assembly Members (AMs) the programme would reduce risk to over 18,000 properties. Projects will repair, replace and create new coastal defence systems. Coastal schemes due to start this coming year include:

  • strengthening existing defences at East Rhyl;
  • sea wall strengthening and maintenance at Aberavon; and
  • construction of setback defences at Y Felinheli.

In addition, over the next 12 months more than £50 million will be invested in flood and coastal erosion risk management initiatives across the country.

This includes a capital programme of £27 million for new schemes, maintenance of existing assets and the development of future schemes; as well as a revenue programme of nearly £25 million. This funding will support the completion of schemes at Beaumaris, Llanfair Talhaiarn and Talgarth and kick-start construction works at Llansannan, Llanmaes, Newport and Welshpool.

On completion of schemes within this year’s programme, over 1,200 properties across Wales – including over 850 homes – will benefit, Griffiths claimed.

The minister also confirmed funding of more than £2.8 million for local authorities and Natural Resources Wales to develop future schemes to improve protection and resilience. Additionally, there will be support for schemes incorporating natural flood management at Betws-y-Coed and Abergele in Conwy and at Cwmaman in Rhondda Cynon.

“I am encouraged to see a number of schemes not just looking at the issues in one location but taking a whole-catchment approach, tackling risk across a wider area. This is something I want to promote, and I will be setting out our thinking in our new national strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management,” she explained.

In an oral statement to Senedd the minister highlighted that a new statutory Flood and Coastal Erosion Committee for Wales had been established.

15 March 2019
Roger Milne, The Planner