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Planning News - 24 July 2019

Published: Wednesday, 24th July 2019

Consultation begins on electric vehicle charge points for new homes, London mayor rejects Tulip Tower, SuDS hold up planning applications in England 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 government has published a consultation on proposals that would require all new-build homes to be fitted with electric car charge points.

Proposals aim to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK and make charging easier, cheaper and more convenient for drivers.

The legislation, which the government claims would be a “world-first”, seeks to complement wider government measures set out in the £1.5 billion Road to Zero Strategy.

In addition to the consultation, the government wants all newly installed public rapid and high powered charge points to provide debit and credit payment by spring 2020.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: "With record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads, it is clear there is an appetite for cleaner, greener transport. Home charging provides the most convenient and low-cost option for consumers – you can simply plug your car in to charge overnight as you would a mobile phone."

For existing homes, the government is providing up to £500 off the costs of installing a charge point.

The consultation, which closes on 7 October, can be found on the UK Government website.

17 July 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Sadiq Khan has directed the City of London Corporation to refuse planning permission for the controversial skyscraper on land adjacent to 20 Bury Street.

The proposals were for the demolition of existing buildings and structure and their replacement with a 305.3-metre tall building. It would be a mixed-use visitor attraction with viewing area and a restaurant/bar areas, with retail use at ground level. A new two-storey building would accommodate a visitor entrance and public roof garden.

The applicant was Bury Street Properties with the scheme designed by architect firm Foster + Partners. The planning committee at the City of London Corporation approved the application on 2 April.

In a planning document on the application, the London Review Panel says the building, known as the Tulip or the Tulip Tower, “would not constitute the very highest quality of design required for a tall building in this location” due to its height, form, design and appearance. It would “compromise the ability to appreciate the outstanding universal value of the Tower of London World Heritage Site”.

The panel called the public benefits of the scheme limited and insufficient to outweigh the harm, resulting in a “poor quality, unwelcoming, unnecessarily confined pedestrian environment”.

It concluded that it was "unable to support The Tulip because it does not think it represents world class architecture, it lacks sufficient quality and quantity of public open space, and its social and environmental sustainability do not match the ambition of its height and impact on London’s skyline".

The planning document can be found on the Greater London Authority website.

17 July 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A report suggests that planning applications in England are twice as likely to be blocked or delayed due to sustainable drainage system (SuDS) design compared to applications in Wales.

The report, produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), and piping manufacturer Wavin, is entitled SuDS – Perception and Progress: A Comparison of England and Wales.

The key finding is that 60 per cent of SuDS professionals in England experienced planning application delays or blocks in comparison to only 30 per cent in Wales because of refusals on the grounds of the SuDS design.

The regulatory frameworks for SuDS in England and Wales are different. Wales introduced legislation in January 2019 that makes SuDS a mandatory requirement for all new developments of more than one house or where the construction area is 100m2 or more.

According to the report, SuDS is more likely to be the preferred method of surface water management in Wales than in England. In Wales, 62 per cent of professionals consider SuDS to be the default option in all projects compared with only 39 per cent in England.

Nathan Baker, knowledge director at ICE Engineering, said: “SuDS are increasingly needed in both urban and rural developments to cope with flood risk due to climate change and changes in land use as a result of increasing population.

“As well as helping to protect homes and businesses from flooding, SuDS also provide benefits such as improving water quality, protecting biodiversity and increasing the amenity of developments. Delivering SuDS requires an appropriate regulatory framework and also effective collaboration between different stakeholders and professional groups.”

The report highlights 62 per cent of SuDS professionals in Wales rate the framework more positively, with only a 40 per cent rating that way in England.

18 July 2019
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

Developer Urban Centric has submitted a second application to build a 25-storey block of flats on a site at Curran Road, just south of Cardiff Central station.

The company, part of the Portabella group, already has permission for a tower housing 150 units at the same location with a scheme called Gramercy.

Now it wants to construct a building of similar height but with 194 flats, a ground-floor cafe and a roof terrace. Just eight parking spaces are planned for the development.

In 2014 the city council approved the redevelopment of the site with a six-storey office block. However, this was never realised.

Should the development gets the green light, the new tower block would become the first scheme in a wider redevelopment of the Dumballs Road area of the city centre where the council and developer Vastint are contemplating around 2,00 new homes.

19 July 2019
Roger Milne, The Planner

Runnymede Borough Council has approved plans for more than 100 new homes, shops, restaurants and a cinema in Egham, Surrey.  

The project, known as Egham Gateway West, is one of several phases of the £200 million Runnymede regeneration programme run by Runnymede Borough Council in the local area.

The programme will see several sites redeveloped across the borough over the next eight to 13 years. This includes the new Egham Orbit leisure centre that opened in February, and the Addlestone One development housing Waitrose, Premier Inn, shops and restaurants.

The development will provide a new gateway to the town centre from Egham rail station, Station Road North and Church Road to the south and Grange Road and High Street to the west.

An existing building on Church Road will be restored to create offices and workspaces, and a new four screen Everyman cinema will open on the corner of Station Road North and Church Road.

The plans include 28 affordable for rent and six shared ownership homes, as well as 23 properties for sale and 44 for open market rent. A student accommodation block will offer 100 study bedrooms.

Nick Prescot, leader of Runnymede Borough Council, said: “The new homes, shops and entertainment which will be created in Egham through this substantial and ambitious plan will deliver a significant boost for the north of the borough. The commitment to affordable and shared homes is absolutely key to the council’s aim of supporting local people and creating a vibrant town.

“The student accommodation is essential for the viability of the scheme, and when it’s occupied, I’m sure local businesses will see the benefit. It will also support the renowned Royal Holloway, University of London, as it continues to grow and educate more young people.”

The site clearance work will begin in autumn 2019 with the main building works set to be complete in late summer 2021.

17 July 2019
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

A report by a group of MPs and peers has warned that unaffordable rents could cause a surge in pensioner poverty over the next 20 years.   

The Rental Housing for an Ageing Population report suggests that the number of pensioners in the private rented sector (PRS) could more than treble to around 1.5 million in the decades to come.

The report forecasts that, in terms of quality of accommodation, the number of older disabled households living in unfit and unsuitable private rented accommodation could leap from around 56,000 to 188,000 in 20 years’ time and to 236,500 in 30 years’ time.

As people’s incomes halve after retirement, and because tenants in the PRS currently pay 40 per cent of their earnings in rent, they could be forced to spend up to 80 per cent of their income on rent in retirement.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Care for Older People has called on the incoming prime minister to prioritise low-cost rented housing to protect the pensioners of tomorrow.

Analysis for the APPG inquiry by the Social Market Foundation think tank shows that by 2038, if private sector rents rise at the same rate as earnings, more than 630,000 older people households might struggle to afford to stay in their homes and could be forced to move.

The inquiry estimates that 1.1 million low-cost rented homes will be needed to adequately house older people by the late 2040s – an average of 38,000 homes a year. The report makes a series of recommendations for government and social housing providers, and puts forward reforms that are needed in the PRS.

Lord Richard Best, who chaired the APPG’s inquiry, said: “We urgently need a national strategy for renting in later life. This must include a plan to build more low-cost rented homes, and a programme of investment in care and support to prevent a housing catastrophe for the pensioners of the future.

“Social housing providers are the key players in this. But their current programme of around 3,000 homes a year for older people will be not be enough even to help the existing social housing tenants who need to downsize in older age – and release family homes for the next generation.

“I hope our report will alert government, planners, housing associations and housebuilding councils to the vastly greater numbers of older people for whom low-rent, secure accommodation will be needed by our ageing population in the years to come.”

17 July 2019
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner