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Planning News - 29 August 2019

Published: Wednesday, 28th August 2019

Guidance published for s.78 appeals, Garden town approved in the South West, Mixed-use plan submitted for Bristol 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 has published new guidance for the submission of the Statement of Case and Statement of Common Ground for s.78 appeals. There is also a new process for each.

The changes follow the review by Bridget Rosewell of planning appeal inquiries, the conclusions of which were published in February this year. The new guidance relates to the second and seventh recommendations made in the review.

Recommendation two stated that the Planning Inspectorate “should work with representatives of the key sectors involved in drafting statements of case to devise new proformas for these statements which can then be added to the new portal and include, where appropriate, the introduction of mandatory information fields and word limits”.

In response, the inspectorate has published new Statement of Case guidance appellants to follow. A digital document will be available on the new portal that the inspectorate is currently developing.

The seventh recommendation was for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the inspectorate to "substantially overhaul the approach to the preparation of statements of common ground".

The new guidance for Statements of Common Ground sets out a number of changes, including:

  • Appellants must submit a draft main statement of common / uncommon ground upon appeal submission.
  • Within five weeks of the start date, the local planning authority must submit an agreed main statement of common / uncommon ground. A suggested format is provided in the guidance and will later be available on the new portal.
  • A topic-based approach to ensure that disagreement on some matters between parties does not hold up the submission of agreed positions on others.
  • Early identification for areas of disagreement.

The planning appeals procedural guide has been updated to reflect the changes.

19 August 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has secured £41 million to help ‘unlock’ former industrial land for housing.

The funding is part of a £350 million housing deal agreed between the WMCA and the government last year.

The region has increased housebuilding by 30 per cent, with numbers rising from 11,288 in 2014/15 to 14,628 in 2017/18. The majority of these new homes are being built on derelict industrial sites.

The first housing development on brownfield land to be delivered through the £41 million Land Fund is Cable Street / Steelhouse Lane in Wolverhampton, with further sites to follow in Walsall, Willenhall, Coseley and Solihull.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said that the latest funding " will enable us to continue to buy and clean-up derelict sites that would otherwise lie vacant".

“We can then sell the sites on or develop them in partnership with house builders, making sure the new homes are affordable, well-designed and energy efficient.”

The region has a target of building 215,000 new homes by 2031 to meet its future housing and economic needs. The WMCA want the majority of them to be on brownfield land.

The cash will pay for remediation of the land, the combined authority said.

Minimum standards of affordability, design and energy efficiency will be laid out for developers that buy the site, it added.

Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio lead for housing and land and the leader of Walsall Council, explained: “The West Midlands has a vast amount of former industrial land crying out for redevelopment and we see this as an asset.

“By using it for new homes we can relieve pressure on the green belt and help protect our environment for future generations while providing them with a decent and affordable home.

“So this latest payment should be seen as a ringing endorsement by government of our ‘brownfield first’ policy.”

19 August 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Chancellor Sajid Javid has announced that up to 50,000 new homes are to be delivered in England through investment of a further £600 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).

The homes will be delivered in “high demand” areas in the South East and East of England.

The HIF was launched by Javid when he was communities secretary. So far £1.3 billion has been allocated to deliver housing in England as the government looks to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Javid said: "I want to see more homes built in the places people want to live, so more people realise the dream of homeownership.

"But we need the roads, rail links, and schools to support the families living in those homes, which is why I set up a fund to put in place the infrastructure to unlock new homes in these areas."

Javid added that the money will help more people get on the property ladder and allow more communities to flourish.

The HIF is designed to support local authorities to increase the overall housing supply in their area; make more land available for housing; and deliver new physical infrastructure that supports new and existing communities.

The five projects are:

  • £218 million for the Beaulieu Station and North-East bypass in Chelmsford. Essex County Council plans to deliver a new train station and road improvements with the aim to ‘unlock’ 14,000 homes.
  • £99.9 million for the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community. A second bid from Essex County Council for a new single carriageway link road and works to enable the delivery of up to 7,500 homes.
  • £156 million for the Meridian Water bid from Enfield Council to deliver rail works, road infrastructure, land remediation, flood alleviation and utilities for up to 10,000 homes.
  • £69.6 million for the Transformational Growth in Biggleswade bid from Central Bedfordshire Council to deliver a new secondary school and transport infrastructure to deliver around 3,000 homes.
  • £80.8 million for the ‘East London Line – Growth Capacity’ bid from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to deliver transport upgrades to unlock up to 14,000 homes.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: "To build more, we need to provide the infrastructure and public services to match. This package will support existing communities and ensure they receive the roads and schools to sustain the homes being built."

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “The announcement is truly reflective of just how key road, rail and public transport networks are for Essex’s growth, helping create the conditions for our economy and communities to grow in a sustainable way. We are pleased that government has recognised this with over half of the £600 million HIF money being directed to Essex.

“Chelmsford and Colchester are already great places for people to live and for businesses to thrive and this funding will help grow the attraction of both places for generations to come.”

Kevin Collins, executive member for planning and regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Securing this advance funding for vital services and infrastructure demonstrates our commitment to planning for, and delivering, sustainable growth. During the local plan consultations, we heard loud and clear from the public that they want to have the right schools, facilities, health services and transport links in place ahead of the houses: that’s exactly what we’ve done here, and why we’ve worked so hard to secure this money.”

19 August 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

A round-up of planning news

Last chance to book European Biennial conference tickets
The 13th European Biennial of Towns and Town Planners 2019 is being held in Plymouth from 11 September to 14t September, tickets for which are still available.

This coming Saturday, 31 August, is the deadline for planning professionals to book their place at the event.

It aims to launch a debate on how planners and urban designers can help create sustainable cities. The central theme is to investigate planning in places that are defined by their peripherality or location between two or more boundaries.

The European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP) Biennial conference is in association with Plymouth City Council, Destination Plymouth, the University's Planning School and the RTPI.

Tremor at Lancashire fracking site
A tremor with a magnitude of 2.9 has been recorded at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, where it is exploring for shale gas.

It was recorded at 8.30am on 26 August. It was stronger than those that forced the firm to suspend test fracking in 2011.

Cuadrilla acknowledged the tremor in a statement on its website.

“We can confirm that no hydraulic fracturing was being carried out at the time and no hydraulic fracturing has been carried out over the weekend. We are investigating the event alongside the regulators who monitor Preston New Road.”

A 1.0 magnitude tremor was then recorded at the site last night at about 10:20pm.

Operations at the site remain suspended.
Affordable housing for Coalville residents
The latest phase of North West Leicestershire District Council’s housebuilding project is set to begin on the site of the former Cocked Hat pub in Greenhill, Coalville.

Seven new houses and a bungalow will be built by the council’s contracted partner Woodhead Construction, which is part of the Woodhead Group.

The homes are part of the council’s new-build programme, which aims to provide about 30 new homes for rent each year – adding to its stock of around 4,300 council homes. The waiting list for council housing in the district currently stands at more than 600 households.

Bristol to develop low-carbon development
Bristol City Council is building 133 homes at Ashton Rise using the high-efficiency Sig iHouse solution.

They will be heated by individual Kensa ground source heat pumps connected to a shared ground loop array of boreholes.

The installation will see each home making lifetime carbon savings of 30 tonnes compared with using individual gas boilers, while also removing all local NOx emissions to ensure that local air quality is not affected by the choice of heating system.

The homes form part of Bristol’s commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2030.

Developer Wilmott Dixon has begun works on site with the aid of UK ground source heat pump specialist Kensa Contracting. Completion is expected in 2021.
Agreement signed on Ayrshire harbour plan
North Ayrshire Council and NPL Group have signed an agreement setting out the terms for how both parties will work to deliver a multimillion-pound action plan.

The plan is aimed at unleashing the potential of the coastal setting around Irvine Harbourside.

It is hoped that the project will bring in tens of thousands of extra visitors each year to North Ayrshire, making it a destination of choice for leisure activities, businesses and families to live and work.

As well as transforming the Irvine Harbourside area, the scheme should create a sustainable development of the Ardeer peninsula while preserving its natural beauty and environment.

27 August 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner