Latest news

Planning News - 27 June 2019

Published: Thursday, 27th June 2019

Application is submitted to breathe new life into Wandsworth estate, Housing design audit to assess large developments, Homes England completes 40,000 homes in past year and other stories...

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

RTPI logo
Planner jobs

A planning application for the regeneration of the 31-acre Alton Estate, Roehampton, has been submitted to Wandsworth Council.

The proposals would see 1,103 homes delivered, including 256 new and replacement affordable homes. The homes have been designed to be energy-efficient and for flexible long-term use.

All secure council tenants will be offered a new home at the development, named Alton Green, while resident leaseholders and freeholders will be offered the opportunity to buy a new home on the estate through a shared equity scheme.

Housebuilder Redrow is the council’s development partner, chosen after a competition in 2016. The firm has pledged to create a range of jobs, training and apprenticeships for the local community.

The application also proposes two ‘interlinking’ neighbourhoods that comprise a range of amenities. The urban quarter would feature a new village square and multipurpose building that will host the new Roehampton Library, a health centre space to rehouse the BASE Youth Club and a community hall. The retail area would include a convenience food store and range of new and replacement shop units. New office accommodation would also be provided.

Additionally, a new community hub within the Parkland Quarter would host the new Eastwood Nursery School Centre for Children & Families, alongside health, retail and residents’ facilities. The masterplan also seeks to preserve Downshire Field and establish a wildflower meadow to encourage biodiversity.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “Alton regeneration will deliver more than new homes, it will re-energise Roehampton and provide state-of-the-art community facilities that will benefit the Roehampton community and wider Wandsworth.

“Regeneration of the Alton Estate will also offer opportunities for people to train, learn new skills and improve their general well-being. We want to ensure that people of all backgrounds can fulfil their ambitions in Wandsworth and that is why this regeneration programme and partnership is so important.”

Mark Parker, managing director at Redrow East London, explained that Redrow has worked closely with Wandsworth Council and the local community, building on earlier engagement to develop a set of proposals that “will breathe new life into Alton Estate”.

“The area has a strong cultural identity and a number of important heritage buildings that we have taken into consideration during the design process. The new homes will be delivered in accordance with the design code that has taken inspiration from the modernist buildings of Alton West and the Victorian streetscape of Roehampton village.”

Laura Edgar, The Planner
17 June 2019


Built environment organisations have come together to support the UK’s first national housing design audit, which plans to examine large-scale housing developments.

To measure the standard of design and the quality and sustainability of environments, the Place Alliance (University College London) and Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) have joined forces to support the first national housing design audit. They are supported by:

  • Home Builders Federation (HBF);
  • Urban Design Group;
  • Civic Voice;
  • Academy of Urbanism;
  • Design Council;
  • UK Green Building Council; and
  • Institute for Highways and Transportation.

The work is also supported by professional input from Arup, JTP, Spawforths, URBED and a network of specially trained volunteers across the country.

The Place Alliance and CPRE highlight that research has shown that high-quality design makes new residential developments more acceptable to local communities.

The audit aims to assess at least 100 large-scale developments across England to provide enough data for comparisons to be made between regions and different approaches to the delivery of new housing.

It will use broadly the same methodology as earlier housing design audits conducted between 2004 and 2007 on a regional basis by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) before it was disbanded in 2011. The intention is to see how the design of housing developments has changed over the past decade and to provide a baseline against which to measure progress on placemaking in new housing development, said the two organisations.

UCL’s professor Matthew Carmona, who is leading the research, said: “We know much about the numbers of houses we are delivering nationally, but almost nothing about their quality. This housing design audit represents an ambitious attempt to address that gap and provide a baseline from which to make more informed judgements in the future about the standard of housing design that we should be expecting, both nationally and locally.”

Paul Miner, who leads on strategic planning at the CPRE, added: “We need to build many more new homes but we should also expect future housing developments to meet high design standards, not just in terms of appearance but also in helping us to move towards a zero-carbon economy."

The audit is expected to be completed in the autumn and will feed into the work of the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
17 June 2019


Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator, completed 40,289 houses between April 2018 and March 2019.

During that same period, 45,692 homes were started on site under programmes managed by Homes England.

According to the organisation, these are the highest levels of completions for fours years and the highest levels of starts for nine years.

Of the starts, 67 per cent (30,563) were for affordable homes. This is 10 per cent up on the affordable home starts between April 2017 and March 2018. This includes 17,772 homes for affordable rent, 11,560 under schemes such as shared ownership and rent to buy, and 1,231 for social rent.

There were 28,710 affordable housing completions last year, which accounts for 71 per cent of all completions, and is an 11 per cent increase compared with a year earlier. This comprises 18,895 for affordable rent; and 8,854 under schemes including shared ownership and rent to buy.

Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, said: “At a time where the average house costs around eight times the average income, these are positive signs that the delivery of homes, and particularly affordable homes, is on the up.

“However, there is still a huge amount of work to do to make sure this trend continues. We’re just getting started and need the sector to join us in our mission to make sure we continue to deliver homes across the country for the people who need them the most.”

Housing minister Kit Malthouse added: “It’s great to see our housing accelerator has its foot firmly on the gas with nearly 29,000 new affordable homes finished last year. Getting these properties built is all part of our cast-iron commitment to making sure everyone has the opportunity to realise the dream of a stable home.

“But there is more to do, and so this government is providing serious support, including £44 billion of funding and guarantees, to build more, better, faster.”

The statistics can be found here on the Homes England website.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
24 June 2019


Legal & General (L&G) has confirmed to The Planner that it has identified a site for a 45-hectare business park on land it owns at Rhoose, next to Cardiff Airport.

The project could provide 158,035 square metres of offices, light industrial, warehousing and distribution floorspace as well as car parking, landscaping and biodiversity enhancement.

Consultancy RPS is preparing an outline planning application for the scheme, called Porth Busnes Parc Cymru, which is due to be lodged with the Vale of Glamorgan Council next month (July).

As part of the proposals L&G is planning to transfer 42 hectares of land to allow the district council to extend the Porthkerry County Park to the south of the development.

The business park would be sited within the Cardiff Capital Region and within the St Athan-Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone.

Once fully operational, the proposals could provide 2,000 new jobs. A briefing note about the scheme claimed that it would offer “significant cluster opportunities for aerospace-related advance manufacturing, research and development and innovation”.

Roger Milne, The Planner
21 June 2019


Housing minister Kit Malthouse will announce today (25 June) that Homes England and Barclays Bank have agreed to £155.3 million in load funding to accelerate the construction of homes in Wimbledon and Southampton.

Malthouse will announce the deals at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s conference in Manchester.  

In September last year, housing secretary James Brokenshire and former Barclays chairman John McFarlane publicised the set-up of the £1 billion Housing Delivery Fund. These are the first two deals to be agreed through the fund. Loans will be made available to developers and housebuilders that can demonstrate the necessary experience and track record to undertake and complete their proposed project.

Merton Catalyst LLP, a joint venture between housing association Catalyst and developer Galliard, will receive a £150 million load to help bring forward 604 apartments on the hybrid residential-led scheme at the former Wimbledon

Greyhound Stadium site in Plough Lane. The mixed-use development will also include commercial space, improved public realm and a new sports stadium delivered by AFC Wimbledon.

In Southampton, Cannon Capital Developments will receive a £5.3 million loan to convert a former commercial building into 56 apartments for private sale in the city’s Ogle Road.

Sir Edward Lister, chairman of Homes England, said: “This is a real milestone moment as we announce the first loan deals to come to fruition, which will see new housing be delivered in two areas where it is needed most.”

Laura Edgar, The Planner
25 June 2019


A round-up of planning news

Leeds councillors consider flood prevention plans
Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked to consider and approve the Otley Flood Alleviation Scheme to be formally submitted to the Environment Agency for its consideration.

A planning application for the scheme will also be considered before it is put forward.

The scheme proposes an investment of up to £3.3 million in a range of measures to protect Otley from the risk of flooding from the River Wharfe. The river reached its highest flow level on record in the Christmas floods of 2015, and 74 properties in the town were flooded.

The preferred scheme has been put forward following research and survey work by the council, the Environment Agency and engineering consultant WSP, along with consultation with local residents, businesses, landowners and stakeholders.

The plan would see a flood embankment created to the west of Billams Hill, running from Otley Bridge to property gardens at Newall Mount. This would be supported by the management of vegetation on the islands downstream of Otley Weir.

The scheme will be considered by the executive tomorrow (26 June).
 
Fareham consults on affordable housing
Fareham Borough Council has launched a consultation to gather views on the provision of affordable housing in the borough.

The council's affordable housing strategy sets out how affordable housing will be delivered over the next five years, including a vision for council house delivery.

There are about 4,200 affordable homes in the borough, but the council estimates that another 3,500 will be required by 2036 to address current and future need.

The consultation on Fareham’s draft affordable housing strategy can be found on the council website.
 
Connaught Barracks development approved
Dover District Council has approved the details of the planning permission for the first phase of the redevelopment of the Connaught Barracks site, which is owned by Homes England.

Ramac Holdings, a Kent-based developer, has received approval to build 64 new two, three and four-bedroom homes on land previously occupied by the officers’ mess.

The site sits adjacent to Fort Burgoyne, which The Land Trust is currently restoring with a view to opening it permanently to the public.

Work on phase one is expected to start this summer.

The district council is currently considering a planning application for 300 new homes on the rest of the Connaught Barracks site (planning reference number: 19/00447).
 
Dacorum to protect employment space
Dacorum Borough Council has decided to introduce an article 4 direction to protect a number of its employment spaces.

This follows recent relaxation of planning rules that mean the change of use from office, light industrial or warehouse use to houses or flats can be made without planning permission.

The council said permitted development schemes already completed or approved since 2014 under these new rules are likely to result in the loss up to 3,000 office jobs in Dacorum. Most of these job losses are occurring in the main employment areas, including Maylands Business Park and Hemel Hempstead town centre.

The article 4 direction will cover: Maylands Business Park; Doolittle Meadows, Hemel Hempstead; Whiteleaf Road, Hemel Hempstead; Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead; Bourne End Mills, Bourne End; Northbridge Road and River Park, Berkhamsted and Icknield Way, Tring.

The direction will come into force on 7 January 2020.
 
Jessup Brothers to deliver 300 Telford homes
Homes England and Bourneville Village Trust have appointed developer Jessup Brothers to deliver the final phase of 300 homes and a new park at Lightmoor Village, Telford, Shropshire.

The 300 homes will comprise private rental properties and affordable homes.

So far, 638 homes have been developed at Lightmoor, and another 99 homes are currently in development.

Lightmoor is one of Telford’s most significant housing developments of the past decade, with 638 homes developed so far and 99 more homes currently in development. The village has its own primary school and village centre, which includes GP facilities, an extra care housing scheme, nursery, shop, café, and areas of open space and parks.
 
Partnership announced to deliver housing in Kidbrooke
L&Q and Berkeley have partnered to deliver affordable homes at Kidbrooke Village.

The deal sees L&Q boost its affordable housing pipeline and continue to deliver high-quality homes at pace by acquiring 642 properties from Berkeley at its south-east London site.

The homes will be a combination of shared ownership and London affordable rentals, helping to bring much-needed new homes to the capital.  

Kidbrooke Village is a £1 billion regeneration project that aims to transform the area into a new neighbourhood in South London. The finished scheme will consist of around 5,000 homes of mixed tenure and type alongside shops, community and leisure facilities.

In November 2018, the two housebuilders announced the beginning of their partnership with joint plans for the New Riverside Development in Reading.
 
Brighouse business park application submitted
A planning application has been submitted for a business park in Clifton, near Brighouse.

Creation of a business park on the site at Clifton is a long-standing ambition of the council. The submission of the planning application is the next step in transforming the site to create significant new business and employment opportunities in Calderdale.

The planning application was submitted following public consultation, which took place during February.

The planning application can be found on the council website by searching 19/00612/LAA.

Laura Edgar, The Planner
25 June 2019