Latest news

Planning News - 23 May 2019

Published: Thursday, 23rd May 2019

Extended permitted development rights take effect this month, 6,500 homes approved in Cambridgeshire, Garden community to be built in greater Exeter area and more stories

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

RTPI logo
Planner jobs

The extension of permitted development rights to allow high street conversions to offices and homes is to come into effect on 25 May.

The regulations were laid before Parliament earlier this month. They do not include the right to allow upward extensions.

The legislation creates a new class, JA of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO). It allows local authorities to consider proposals for the conversion of shops and other high street uses such as takeaways and launderettes to offices under the prior approval process. Class M already allows retail and sui generis uses to be converted to residential without the need for planning permission, but the new regulations would allow takeaways to be converted to housing.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has responded to the legislation, claiming that making some development easier risks undermining local community and authority influence.
CPRE said it fears that extending this policy would enable developers to convert shops and local businesses without scrutiny, removing decisions and control from local authorities. Furthermore, local people would have little say over the type and tenure of developments on their high streets.

Matt Thomson, head of planning at CPRE, said: “We welcome any reasonable measures that lead to the more effective use of previously developed land, and support the increased densification of urban areas. However, this plan is of deep concern. It presents a short-sighted attempt to increase housing numbers, undermines the planning system and ignores a variety of issues and complexities which should be taken into account for such proposals.

“A blanket approach for uncontrolled redevelopment of commercial buildings is unlikely to lead to good placemaking. It remains unclear how extending permitted development rights will ensure high-quality, affordable redevelopment – that connects with existing, and contributes to, new infrastructure – without the intervention of a normal planning application.”

A number of organisations have expressed concerns about extending permitted development rights, including the RTPI. In March, the institute urged housing and planning minister Kit Malthouse to scrap proposals that would see commercial buildings on high streets converted into homes without planning permission.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
15 May 2019

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee has backed outline plans to develop the former Waterbeach Barracks site.

The proposals are for the western half of the site, which is allocated for a new town in the authority’s recently adopted local plan.

Urban&Civic’s plans include up to 6,500 homes, 1,950 of which will be affordable. They also include road, cycle and public transport upgrades; community facilities, a secondary school, three primary schools, seven hectares of allotment and community orchard space, and parks.

The application notes that 43 per cent of the site would be open space, including recreation areas. The developer plans to enhance and create woodlands, grasslands and wetlands to improve the green environment for plants, animals and residents. A local centre would be set around an existing lake.

A legal agreement alongside the approval would see Urban&Civic provide £141 million in funding towards new local services, facilities, and local transport upgrades such as improving junctions on the A10 at Car Dyke Road/Waterbeach Road, and Landbeach Road/Humphries Way.

The council said traffic-calming measures are planned in Waterbeach and neighbouring villages, and local bus services will run more often and a temporary park-and-ride scheme will be established on the new town site.

Dr Tumi Hawkins, the council's lead cabinet member for planning, said in supporting this application the council had carefully considered the concerns and the opportunities entailed in delivering housing on this scale.

“We know transport is one of the main concerns with any new development. That’s why we’re working extremely closely with Urban&Civic to agree a package of transport upgrades that not only include improvements to junctions on the A10, but also major improvements to local cycle and walking routes and bus services. We’re also continuing to work with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority on larger-scale options to improve the A10.
“This proposal plays an important part in ensuring that the council can secure the delivery of the new homes and high-quality places to live and work that we know we need.”

Urban&Civic was appointed by the Ministry of Defence to develop the site. Tim Leathes, development director, said: “It has been a very intense five years of work, pulling together with local communities and partners the right vision for the unique opportunity that the barracks presents economically, environmentally and socially, to create an exemplar sustainable community.

“With medical staff from Papworth already living in refurbished accommodation and local residents using facilities on site every day, we are looking forward to getting going with the next stage of planning and preparatory works over this summer, opening up the amazing lake next year and delivering much-needed homes and facilities from 2022.”

A detailed planning application will be submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council by Urban&Civic soon.

A separate application for up to 4,500 new homes on the eastern half of the planned new town site, submitted RLW Estates in June last year, is still being assessed by the council.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
15 May 2019 

Housing minister Kit Malthouse has announced that a garden community comprising 20,000 homes will be built in the Exeter area.

The homes are part of a deal for the South West and will be built by 2040.

Government funding of £750,000 will support the project. It will be used to fund dedicated project teams, masterplanning work, and studies to anticipate and offset the impact of housing growth, the government explained.

Malthouse said: “We are making an urgent push to build more, better, faster, and it is good to see the authorities working together to plan 20,000 much-needed properties built in Devon.

“This project is the next latest step towards meeting our aim of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s in the areas where people need them the most.”

The councils working together on the plans are Exeter City Council, East Devon Council and Teignbridge District Council.

This is the 29th garden community to be supported by the government.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
16 May 2019 

Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) has published plans to build 2,708 new homes by 2029.

The 10-year programme includes a mix of housing styles. Larger family-style homes will be built using traditional construction methods, while modular homes will allow the Birmingham City Council to unlock previously unused, smaller sites.

Homes will be built for both sale and affordable rent, with “quality, sustainability and design at the heart of their construction”, said the council. The programme also covers an estimated £346 million of housing sites across the city including larger regeneration projects.

BMHT, the council’s housebuilding arm, started 10 years ago, and has so far built 3,126, with another 365 homes currently under construction.

Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council, said: “With the city’s population set to grow by a further 10 per cent over the next 15 years, there is a pressing need to deliver more affordable, family housing within accessible locations to relieve the increasing burden… Birmingham City Council is leading the way in social housing and is moving forward with its ambitious plans for the next 10 years.”

The programme can be found here on the Birmingham City Council website (pdf).

Laura Edgar, The Planner
15 May 2019 

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has been urged to reject planning permission for an opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay because the UK has enough coal.

Northumberland County Council approved the proposals, from Banks Mining, in July 2016.

The coal mine was originally recommended for approval by a planning inspector in November 2017, but former communities secretary Sajid Javid overruled this recommendation in March 2018. His decision was in turn overruled in the High Court in November 2018, and Brokenshire is now considering it.

The plea to reject the plans comes from campaigners at Friends of the Earth (FoE). The group says UK power stations already have enough stockpiled coal to last until 2025, which is when coal-fired generation is due to end.

The government's latest projections estimate that 2.17 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity will be generated from coal between 2020 and 2025, which is 95 per cent lower than the projection of 48.73 TWh made for the same period in the previous set of projections.

FoE campaigners highlight that if electricity generation from coal in 2019 (projected at 2.03 TWh) is included, total generation from the start of this year to 2025 is 4.2 TWh.

Generating 1 TWh of electricity uses about 400,000 tonnes of coal, so generating 4.2 TWh of electricity will require approximately 1.68 million tonnes of coal.

Other government figures suggest that total coal stocks at the end of 2018 were 5.2 million tonnes, 4.1 million tonnes of which is held at power stations. Friends of the Earth say this is “clearly substantially” more than will be needed to generate the estimated electricity from coal to 2025.

Further to this, last week, Britain went a week without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since 1882.

Friends of the Earth fossil-free campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “Power stations already have enough stockpiled coal to last until they close down in 2025, so giving new climate-wrecking coal mines the green light would be ludicrous.

“James Brokenshire must reject the Druridge Bay planning application and protect this wildlife-rich beauty spot from devastation.

“With the world facing a climate emergency, it’s time to consign coal to the history books and build a cleaner, safer future based on energy efficiency and the UK’s vast renewable power potential.”

Laura Edgar, The Planner
15 May 2019 

A round up of planning news

RTPI to partner BAME planning forum
The RTPI has announced that it is to become one of 10 partners of BAME in Property.

BAME in Property is an ethnic diversity network for the built environment sector and a forum for BAME and non-BAME professionals who aspire to make the industry more attractive to talented professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Through discussions, round tables, workshops and networking events, RTPI will help BAME in Property to support and promote this.

Victoria Hills MRTPI, chief executive at the institute, said: “At a time when the Royal Town Planning Institute moves forward to increase the diversity of the planning profession to ensure that planners reflect the communities they represent, I'm delighted the RTPI will be a founding partner to BAME in Property.

“We look forward to promoting our shared agendas and priorities to deliver and protect quality places that communities want.”

Priya Shah, BAME in property founder, said: “Some of the biggest issues and opportunities facing the built environment sector are recruitment and retention of diverse talent, emerging technologies, the housing crisis and Brexit. What diversity within companies and around the boardroom table brings is diversity in thought and, ultimately, more informed outputs."

York plan amendments to be consulted
York residents, businesses and other interested groups can comment on additional evidence and modifications to the city’s local plan.

Planning inspectors have asked for a six-week consultation period before examining the plan at public hearing sessions later this year.

The council’s executive agreed to submit the new evidence and modifications on Wednesday 7 March. The submission included the removal of housing site allocations at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall and Land at Howard Road, Strensall); formally revising the objectively assessed housing need (OAN) from 867 to 790 dwellings in York each year for the duration of the plan; and amendments to the green belt boundary have also been proposed.

The inspectors have also advised direct consultation with the Ministry Of Defence, which owns the barracks, and Natural England, as well consultation with the public.

Lichfield plan found sound
Lichfield District Council’s local plan allocations document has been deemed sound and legally compliant by a planning inspector.

The document is the second part of the district’s local plan. It allocates sites to meet future development needs, including for housing and employment.

A planning inspector said the document is sound as long as some changes are made.

Industrial buildings approved in Tilbury
Plans for a new depot in Tilbury, Essex, have been granted planning permission.

The 6.8-acre site is adjacent to Tilbury Port, east of a new Amazon distribution centre.

Two new industrial buildings, one 10,000 square feet in size and the other 8,000 square feet, will accommodate three divisions: plant, tools and lifting; non-mechanical; and welfare.

GAP purchased the Tilbury site in 2017. Property consultant Carter Jonas secured the permission.

Plans submitted for NOMA speculative development
Development manager MEPC has submitted plans for 4 Angel Square for its latest office project at NOMA to Manchester City Council.

The new 11-storey office building will sit on the corner of Corporation Street and Miller Street in the 20-acre neighbourhood. It is NOMA’s first speculative new-build office development.

Designed by Manchester-based architectural practice SimpsonHaugh, the grade-A office building will be able to accommodate 2,000 new workers.

In addition, shops or restaurants will be provided on the ground floor with new public realm as part of a “much-improved” link to One Angel Square, which will be “crucial” to unlocking the other new-build development opportunities.
The inspector's report can be found on the Lichfield District Council website.

Specialist appointed to national frameworks
Homes England has appointed 13 specialists to three national framework panels to help to prepare public sector land for housing across England.

The frameworks will run for four years and aim to enable procurement of up to £30 million of services. They are:

  • The Asbestos Framework – it will facilitate services of £10 million to de-risk sites in advance of their delivery to market.
  • The Estates Management Services Framework – it will enable procurement of £15 million to manage land.
  • The Land Survey Framework – it will make available up to £5 million of specialist land survey services.

A number of SMEs have been appointed to the frameworks. Stephen Kinsella, executive director for land at Homes England, said: “Specialists appointed to these frameworks bring with them a wealth of knowledge and technical expertise that will enhance the work of Homes England."

£8m Belfast hotel approved
Belfast City Council has granted planning approval for a new boutique hotel, restaurant and bar on Ormeau Road in the capital.

It is expected that 100 new jobs will be created from the development.

The plans will regenerate the former derelict Holy Rosary Church and an adjacent Parochial House building at 348-350 Ormeau Road.

Turley provided planning and strategic communications services for the project. Knox & Clayton Architects designed the new 18-bed hotel and restaurant.

Town and Country Housing to be subsidiary of Peabody
Town and Country Housing has joined housing association Peabody.

The move aims to enable Town and Country to build 800 “quality” new homes a year, which is 500 more than the Kent-based housing association can build alone.

Originally announced in November 2018, consultations have been held with residents and stakeholders. The relevant consents were achieved on 9 May.

Town and Country will retain its name and operate as a subsidiary. Bob Heapy, CEO at Town and Country, joins Peabody’s executive team, and chair Francis Salway joins the Peabody board.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
15 May 2019