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Planning News - 20 June 2019

Published: Thursday, 20th June 2019

Inspectors will evaluate Esso’s South East pipeline project, Mixed-use development approved in East London, First strategic development plan takes shape for Cardiff region 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 Planning Inspectorate is to examine Esso Petroleum Company’s development consent order (DCO) application for a 97-kilometre replacement pipeline project.

The application, which is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, was submitted on 14 May.

It says that the pipe would run from Boorley Green in Hampshire to Esso’s West London terminal storage facility in Hounslow. The line would replace the existing one, which is approaching the end of its economic life.

The replacement pipe would have a normal internal diameter of 30cm – slightly larger than the existing pipe at 25cm.

A new “pigging” station at Boorley Green also features in the plans. This would allow entry and exit points for pipeline inspection gauges. The application also outlines pipeline markers along the route at road crossings and boundaries, and new red and black colour-coded flight marker posts to track the pipeline route when inspected by helicopter, and modifications to the pigging station at the London storage facility.

More information about the project, including the application form, can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
13 June 2019

The Mayor of London’s office has granted planning approval for four cultural and education buildings at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as well as up to 600 homes.

It is thought the scheme will deliver 2,500 jobs and contribute £1.5 billion to the economy.

The four cultural and education buildings are a key part of the Stratford Waterfront element of the East Bank scheme. The buildings are for Sadler’s Wells dance theatre, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) including a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, the BBC, and a new campus for University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion.

The East Bank scheme will be delivered across three sites in the Olympic Park, totalling 4.25 hectares in size.

Joanne McCartney, statutory deputy mayor, considered the planning application. She said: “East Bank is central to the mayor’s vision of creating a powerhouse for artistic excellence, learning, research, performance and exhibitions on the site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It represents a unique prospect for London that is almost unparalleled on the international stage.”

She added that the project would “touch the lives of everyone visiting, living and working in and around the park”.

Last year, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan confirmed that at least 50 per cent of new homes across the remaining development sites on the park – Stratford Waterfront, Pudding Mill and Rick Roberts Way – will be “genuinely” affordable.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
13 June 2019

The 10 unitary authorities in the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) have decided in principle to work together to produce what would be the country’s first-ever statutory strategic development plan (SDP).

The initiative was agreed at this week’s CCR cabinet meeting. The move will require formal approval from each of the councils involved: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.

Part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, which has its own planning authority, overlaps with areas of Monmouthshire and the Valleys. The national park authority has said it doesn’t want to be part of the SDP exercise.

A report considered by Monday’s (10 June) cabinet stresses the need for “joined-up strategic planning for the CCR” that would provide “an enabling tool for the region’s economic growth, transport/connectivity and other ambitions”.

An SDP is needed to provide a regional spatial framework for the future development and use of land in the CCR, says the report.

It would be the mechanism for consensus on significant strategic and cross-boundary land use issues as well as providing “certainty, transparency and democratic accountability for decision-making on land-use planning matters at a strategic/regional level”.

This blueprint would also guide strategic and public and private investment decisions, including those made under the city deal and “enable true collaboration between LPAs working together on a development plan framework for the region, with associated benefits such as shared resources, resilience and savings”.

It is expected that the SDP will be produced by a team of planners drawn from the 10 local authorities and will cost around £3.14 million. The plan is likely to cover the period 2020 to 2040.

The current timeline would see councils agreeing to participate this autumn with a deposit plan published by 2023, which would go for examination and adoption by 2025.

Welsh Government officials are reported to be keen to work with the region to progress the SDP.

Roger Milne, The Planner
14 June 2019

Islington Council has successfully prosecuted a rogue landlord for failing to comply with fire safety regulations and carry out repairs to his property.

A complaint from a tenant living at Flat C, 98 Petherton Road saw a council environmental health officer inspect the property, which had four unrelated occupants sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities.

The house in multiple occupation (HMO) did not have a mains wired smoke alarm system, or a fire door to the kitchen as required by HMO licensing. There was also a bedroom window in a poor state of repair. The officer issued an improvement notice under section 12 of The Housing Act 2004 to the owner David Simons, requiring him to remedy these defects and provide an electrical installation condition report.

The council officer returned to the property on two more occasions to find the notice had not been complied with.

Simons was found guilty of failing to complying with the notice at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on 11 April. He was sentenced on 16 May and fined £12,400. Costs of £600 were awarded with a victim’s surcharge of £175.

In sentencing him, the magistrates stated that they take very seriously any breaches relating to fire risk in multiple occupancy housing.

Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development at the council, said: “Everyone has the right to a safe, genuinely affordable home and we will not tolerate dodgy operators taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home. Where we find unacceptable conditions we will act to protect tenants.”

Laura Edgar, The Planner
7 June 2019

There is a 50 per cent divergence in planning approval rates across the planning committees at London boroughs, suggests a consultant’s report.

The Built Environment Communications Group (BECG), a development communications group, tracked the approval rates in the 12 months to April 2019.

It found:

  • Harrow, Kingston-upon-Thames and Tower Hamlets approved 100 per cent of the planning application considered.
  • Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hackney and Wandsworth approved 97 per cent and came in second.
  • Bromley and Lewisham approved 50 per cent, leaving them at the bottom of the table.
  • Westminster saw a 50 per cent drop in large applications considered.
  • Nearly half of planning committee meetings in Kingston-upon-Thames were cancelled owing to a lack of applications being ready for a decision.
  • Lewisham’s strategic planning committee, which considered the borough’s largest applications, had just one application come before it.

Max Camplin, director and head of London at BECG, said the research “comes at an important time, following May 2018’s local elections, and ahead of next year’s London mayoral elections”.

Across the capital, there is an “acute” housing shortage and many are unaffordable, Camplin said, “so we expect planning to be a prominent topic debated by the candidates”.

“However, while being vital for London’s future social and economic success, delivery of housing across the capital is still very much dependent on the postcode location. The risk profile based on our performance data should give pause for a major developer if they are considering investing in one of the clusters of the worst performing London boroughs.   

“Key issues continue to revolve around delivery of affordable housing contributions by developers, the provision of supporting infrastructure, design and height – all of which accounted for the failure of some of the most notable major applications in the past year.”

Laura Edgar, The Planner
12 June 2019

Less than 25 per cent of homes outside of London to be built by 2030 will be suitable for older and disabled people, a housing association has warned.

Habinteg has analysed 322 local planning policies, set out in local plans, which suggests there is an “imminent crisis” in the all types of accessible homes.

A Forecast for Accessible Homes finds:

  • 23 per cent – The percentage of homes outside London due to be built by 2030 that will be affordable.
  • 1 per cent – The percentage of homes outside London that are set to be suitable for wheelchair users. There are 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK.
  • There is a postcode lottery in the supply of new accessible and adaptable homes. By 2030 there will one accessible home built for every 270 people in the West Midlands, one for every 52 people in the East of England and one for every 24 people in London.

There are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK, but just 7 per cent of English homes currently provide even the most basic accessibility features, said Habinteg Housing Association.

Unless suitable new homes are provided, older and disabled people “will be excluded” from aspects of daily life, which will increase the demand on public services.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) requires 90 per cent of new homes to be built to accessible and adaptable standards (known as building regulations M4 category 2*), while 10 per cent must be built to wheelchair accessible standards, “bolstering” the national forecast.

Habinteg is calling on the government to change national policy so that all new homes are built to be more accessible and adaptable, as in London. Further, local authorities should set a defined percentage of new homes as wheelchair-accessible M4(3) Category 3.

The housing association's chief executive Sheron Carter said: “We would encourage national government to take a more strategic approach to accessible homes delivery. The optional approach is not only putting older and disabled people’s health and independence at risk but creating costly housing problems for the future.

“While the government has stated its ambition for getting more disabled people into work, our research shows that this will fail unless the housing crisis for disabled people is urgently tackled. We strongly urge the government to raise the mandatory baseline standard for accessible homes.”

Habinteg also wants the housing secretary to issues new guidance to local planning authorities on how they should reflect the housing needs of older and disabled people in their plans – a duty that was set out in the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 but for which guidance has not yet been issued.

Martin Tett, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “Councils want to ensure the right homes are built in the right places but currently don’t have the powers or funding to build the homes that are desperately needed.

“We believe that new homes should be accessible or easily adaptable for people of all generations and needs, and it is vital that the government ensures national rules incentivise the building of accessible homes.

“Furthermore, it is crucial to acknowledge that the majority of people will live in existing housing. The government needs to continue to invest in supporting the adaptation of homes to meet the needs of people as their circumstances change.”

Laura Edgar, The Planner
10 June 2019