Latest news

Planning news - 11 July 2019

Published: Thursday, 11th July 2019

Planning toolkit to help LGBT+ community set to be unveiled, Jodrell Bank is declared a World Heritage Site. And more stories...

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

RTPI logo
Planner jobs

A toolkit for planners to shape policy and encourage best practice to meet the needs of the LGBT+ community is due to be unveiled later this week.

The move by Planning Out, a forum of LGBT+ planning professionals, aims to provide guidance and improve understanding of the various types of regulation to protect LGBT+ venues from acquisition or development, to hold an event or festival, to temporarily use a space for community purposes or “even fly rainbow flags”.

The toolkit builds on the findings of the UCL Urban Laboratory study of LGBTQ+ Cultural Infrastructure in London in 2017, which found that 58 per cent of LGBT+ clubs, bars and performance spaces in the capital had closed, dropping from 125 to 53.  

“We believe that LGBT+ venues and businesses provide a rich and diverse array of facilities and services, not just supporting the lives of the LGBT+ community, but enriching the overall fabric of our society,” said Planning Out committee member Yohanna Weber.

“The toolkit aims to ensure that LGBT+ spaces and places continue to form an important part of the social framework of our communities, facilitated by a planning system that seeks to be fully representative of the diversity of the community it serves.”

9 July 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner

Jodrell Bank Observatory has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding contribution to scientific history.

The site, which is in Cheshire, features the landmark Lovell Telescope and has been at the forefront of radio astronomy since 1945.

The Lovell Telescope, which was the world’s largest when it was completed in 1957, tracked the first spacecraft to land on the Moon in 1966, and was the UK’s standby early-warning system against any nuclear attack during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Today it is still the world’s third-largest steerable radio telescope.

The observatory, which is owned by Manchester University, joins other illustrious sites such as The Great Wall of China, Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal on the world heritage list.

Jodrell Bank currently operates the UK’s national e-MERLIN radio telescope and hosts the global headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope project that will build the world’s largest telescope, comprising a network of instruments sited in South Africa and Australia.

The observatory is the UK’s 32nd site of world-heritage status and joins around 1,100 sites internationally.

8 July 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner

The government today unveiled a £37 million investment into UK engineering to transform the nation’s electric vehicle charge point network.

Twelve projects are set to receive a share of the funding to support the creation of innovations including wireless charging technologies to allow electric vehicles of the future to charge without the need to plug in a cable.

The move comes on the first anniversary of the government’s Road to Zero Strategy, which set out measures to clean up road transport and poise the UK to lead the world in developing, manufacturing and using zero emission road vehicles.

Among the schemes, Urban Foresight, a smart city consultancy, has been awarded over £3 million to roll out ‘pop-up’ chargers that are built into the pavement and provide a discreet, safe and low-cost charging solution for electric vehicle drivers with no access to off-street parking.

Other projects to receive funding include:

  • A renovation project, installing EV charge points in car parks to allow for mass charging at night.
  • A project leveraging existing Virgin Media physical and online infrastructure to deliver cost-effective and widespread charging, using high-speed internet connections to share information online on charging progress and parking spaces; and
  • A storage and advanced electronics project that will deliver semi-rapid charging using a low-power grid connection, minimising the need for costly substation upgrades., an electric charging company, has also been awarded £2.3 million for wireless charging technology on residential streets without the need for trailing cables and additional infrastructure.

9 July 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner

Scunthorpe United FC has received planning consent for a £30 million redevelopment of their existing stadium almost a year after submitting plans to North Lincolnshire Council in August 2018.

The proposal has taken over three times longer than the government’s 13-week guideline for major applications. The delay so far remains unexplained, despite repeated requests from the club for a reason.

The club was originally set to relocate to a new stadium as part of the Lincolnshire Lakes project, led by North Lincolnshire Council, which aims to create 6,000 homes and new community facilities on land between Scunthorpe and the River Trent.

It was forced to abandon the Lakes plans after having obtained planning consent because of a lack of progress and stalled development.

The Lakes project has currently received more than £26 million of taxpayers’ money and tens of millions more in government loans to the private sector.

North Lincolnshire Council has since returned the £56,117 planning fee for the stadium application and a £2,310 fee for its outline application for 160 apartments. This follows action taken by the football club’s lawyers over the council’s failure to determine the applications in the government’s prescribed time period.

Scunthorpe United’s chairman Peter Swann said: “The delay in developing a new stadium, firstly at the Lincolnshire Lakes and now for a simple redevelopment of our existing grounds has cost the club millions. The club are currently in dialogue with their lawyer as to further legal action and are calling for a full investigation into the planning delays and the Lincolnshire Lakes.”

An application for 160 apartments at Glanford Park submitted with the stadium proposal remains undetermined.

4 July 2019
Lydia Till, The Planner

Around 50 areas are going through to the second phase of a £675 million fund to revitalise struggling high streets.

The Future High Streets Fund was launched last December under government moves to help local communities reinvent their town centres.

The successful areas will now receive up to £150,000 to work on detailed project proposals from their initial plans, with the government focusing on places with ‘shovel-ready’ schemes.

In other government moves, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, together with the Architectural Heritage Fund and National Lottery Heritage Fund, announced a £62 million package last month to breathe new life into historic high streets.

Meanwhile, the government has also announced that it is extending the deadline for entries into the Great British High Street Awards until July 11. More than 200 entries have been so far received and an independent panel is set to shortlist 40 finalists later this year.

A list of the local authorities invited to develop their business cases under the Future High Streets Fund is available here

8 July 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner

A round-up of planning news.

Gatwick Airport train station set for £150m upgrade

The Department for Transport (DfT) is to invest £150 million into upgrading facilities at Gatwick Airport’s train station.

The revamp aims to reduce train delays caused by platform overcrowding and congestion as well as providing easier connections to other destinations.

Upgrades will include doubling the size of the station concourse, adding five new lifts and eight escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening two platforms to reduce overcrowding.


Outline consent granted for commercial floor space in Coalville

Outline planning consent for more than 32,500 square metres of commercial floor space has been granted to land and property regeneration specialist Harworth Group in Leicestershire.

The scheme is at the company’s 21.4-hectare Bardon Hill site near Coalville. Pegasus Group’s East Midlands office advised on the application to North West Leicestershire District Council.

The indicative layout for the outline consent includes the creation of five industrial units, which can be developed for manufacturing, distribution and roadside uses delivering hundreds of new jobs to the East Midlands.

Harworth’s Midlands regional director David Cockroft said Leicestershire is “a hugely important market” for the company, “given our 2,000 home residential scheme at Coalville and the area’s strong prospects for further growth”.


Fund launched to improve accessibility for disabled rail passengers

Disabled rail passengers have been promised accessibility improvements at train stations with the launch of a £20 million fund.

The fund marks the first anniversary since publication of the government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy. The money will go towards small-scale accessibility improvements at rail stations, including tactile paving, handrails and Harrington Humps to increase platform heights.

The Department for Transport (DoT) unveiled a progress report marking the anniversary, citing the introduction of the first Rail Ombudsman and the launch of a £2 million fund to bring Changing Places accessible toilets to more motorway service areas. It also issued guidance for local authorities on extending the Blue Badge scheme to people with non-visible disabilities.
A total of 73 stations will also benefit from accessible routes to and between every platform under the government’s £300 million Access for All fund.


Marches partnership unveils low-carbon strategy

A 10-year energy plan to create 1,000 low-carbon jobs and slash emissions has been unveiled by a local enterprise partnership (LEP).

The Marches LEP, which covers Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, aims to see half the region’s electricity generated by renewable sources by 2030.

The strategy also involves developing a pilot project for overcoming disruption to the National Grid as well as developing the region as a national centre of innovation in agriculture and low-carbon transition.

It aims to cut carbon emissions, excluding agriculture, by 57 per cent from 1990 levels in line with UK targets while fuel poverty will be reduced below 10 per cent.

“The Marches is an area with ambitious growth plans – we want to create 58,700 new jobs and 54,400 new homes over the next 20 years – and energy is a vital component in making sure we can meet those targets,” said LEP chairman Graham Wynn.

“The current energy infrastructure is already at capacity in many areas and while this is a threat to plans it is also an opportunity for us to invest in innovative solutions which also meet some of the environmental challenges facing us all.”


Barking estate regeneration enters new phase

Wates Residential is to carry out a £55 million project for the next major phase of rebuilding the Gascoigne estate in Barking.

The work was awarded under a framework by Be First, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s regeneration company, which is delivering a £1 billion programme to regenerate the town centre in the next four years.

Under phase one, part of the 1960s estate will be redeveloped with 200 new homes. More than 526 homes are eventually planned across the estate in 11 buildings, of which 65 per cent will be affordable or shared ownership with the remainder for private sale,

The framework is designed to accelerate development and growth in the borough. As part of the project Wates Residential will also deliver a lasting legacy for the community through investment in education, skills and training.


Newcastle affordable homes scheme under way

A £6.9 million scheme to deliver 46 affordable homes in Newcastle has begun.

The development in Kenton will include family homes, accommodation for the elderly and bungalows for people with learning disabilities, autism or both, who need support to live independently. The project includes bungalows and flats available for affordable rent by people aged 55 or over as well as a mix of 21 two, three and four-bedroom homes.

The scheme is a key project identified by Newcastle City Council as a priority in its housing statement for 2017-20.

Gateshead-based Tolent was awarded the contract and work is expected to be completed in early 2020.

9 July 2019
Huw Morris, The Planner