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Planning News - 11 September 2019

Published: Wednesday, 11th September 2019

New CIL rules come into force, Controversial Jaguar Land Rover application approved for campus in Leicestershire, Fears mount over Cardiff skyline dominated by empty tower blocks and more stories...

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

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Updated Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) rules, which mean that communities will be able to see what developer contributions are spent on, have come into force.

The cash is for establishing community infrastructure to support new homes, including roads, schools, GP surgeries and parkland.

Previous rules meant that councils did not have to report on the total amount of funding received through CIL. Now, though, they will be legally required to publish the deals done with housing developers so that residents can see how money will be invested in their community.

Councils will be required to publish an annual report on CIL agreements with developers from December 2020.

Housing minister Esther McVey said the new rules, which came into force on 1 September, “will allow residents to know how developers are contributing to the local community when they build new homes”.

The government explained that the revised rules would help developers to “get shovels in the ground more quickly”, to help it meet its ambition to deliver 300,000 extra homes a year by the mid-2020s. The rules are designed to support councils and give greater confidence to communities about the benefits that new housing can bring to their area.

New Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) has been published alongside the new rules. It intends to further simplify advice on the CIL regime, helping communities and developers understand what is required, added the government.

The Local Government Association’s planning spokesman David Renard said: “Councils support the principle of infrastructure funding statements showing how much developers’ money is spent on local communities, and many councils already publish them. This work needs to be fully funded and councils also need sufficient lead-in time.

"The government should further reform the Community Infrastructure Levy in the upcoming Spending Round.

“This includes removing national exemptions – which reduce the amount of funding to invest in critical infrastructure to facilitate development - and allowing them to be decided by councils at a local level.”

CIL PPG can be found here on the UK Government website.

2 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


North West Leicestershire District Council’s planning committee has approved Jaguar Land Rover’s plans for a new distribution centre at junction 11 of the M42 near the village of Appleby Magna.

The decision was in line with the planning officer’s recommendation.

Farmland will be developed into the firm’s new distribution campus (use class B8), which will be 273,229 square metres in size.

The full application, submitted by developer IMP Hill Top Estates on behalf of the carmaker, also includes ancillary offices, an electricity sub-station, pumping station, the creation of access points from the B5493, cycleways, 2,235 car parking spaces and landscaping.

Outline consent was sought for additional employment spaces and ancillary offices. Any existing buildings on the site will be demolished.

The application was a controversial one. Objections were submitted from 16 parish councils and North Warwickshire Borough Council. However, the planning officer's report notes that no technical issues were raised by other statutory consultees.

The report highlights that the development site is outside the limits to development as set out in the adopted North West Leicestershire Local Plan, but that policies S3 and Ec2 allow for provision of employment development outside limits to development where certain criteria are met.

But residents were concerned about increased traffic – and the implications for the environment, wildlife and air quality.

Nigel Smith, chairman of North West Leicestershire District Council’s planning committee, is reported in Leicestershire Live as saying: “This has been an emotive and challenging planning application which has sparked lots of passion and interest in the community.

“As a committee, we must assess all applications against material planning considerations, planning legislation and guidance and our own local plan.

“This development fits within these considerations and promises to be a significant boost for the local economy and levels of employment.

“Our planning officers will now continue to work with the developers and the local community as this plan moves forward to the construction phase.”

A transport strategy will be introduced to minimise impact on local roads, said IMP Hill Top Estates, which will also aim to improve accessibility to the site. More than 30,000 trees will also be planted.

The new facility, the developer has explained, will service 80 countries and “provide a major boost to the local economy".

“It will enable Jaguar Land Rover to sustain and create jobs, both in its business and its supply chain, with 1,200 positions required from day one and 3,000 forecast by 2030,” said IMP Hill Top Estates.

The site will allow Jaguar Land Rover to integrate its separate Jaguar and Land Rover operations into one single common logistics platform, which will in turn lead to a more efficient and sustainable supply chain, added the developer.

4 September 2019 
Laura Edgar, The Planner


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13 September

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The Cardiff skyline is at risk of being full of vacant buildings after an ‘over-saturation’ of luxury student flats, warns a leading architect.

In the past five years, proposals to create approximately 7,400 new student rooms have been approved.

However, a number of schemes have since been let to professionals and tourists, as it has been a struggle to fill the rooms.

Jonathan Adams, who designed the Wales Millennium Centre, said the buildings might have to be demolished.

The city council said that despite a number of applications for new student blocks, the number of beds remained fewer than the student population.

According to BBC analysis, about 7,400 new rooms, most in so-called purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs), have been approved since 2014.

With more applying for a change of use, some schemes not yet built and plans for more student rooms on City Road, there are concerns the city will be left with student rooms that cannot be filled.

Adams fears PBSAs will have a limited lifespan and is concerned that converting them into flats is not straightforward and developers could face hefty bills to adapt them.

"It is difficult not to see a scenario in the future where we would not know what to do with them," he told the BBC.

Cardiff Civic Society has voiced concern that the city’s identity could be lost to high-rise buildings and student flats.

The city council has put policies in place for student flats and tall buildings to advise the planning committee and developers.

A spokesman said: “A planning authority cannot refuse an application because we don’t believe there is a need for the development.

“Whilst Cardiff has seen a number of applications for new PBSA in recent years, the number of bed spaces remains significantly less than the student population of Cardiff.”

6 September 2019
Roger Milne, The Planner


Highways England has published the six options that aim to address congestion for drivers using the A27 around Arundel, West Sussex.

This is the only section of single carriageway between Worthing and the New Forest.  

Highways England explained that each option seeks to protect Arundel’s historic town centre and draw long-distance traffic away from other, less suitable roads through the South Downs National Park.

All of the routes include creating a new dual carriageway to join up two existing sections of dual carriageway either side of the town.

It is hoped that journey times, reliability and road safety will be improved.

A public consultation on the routes is under way and closes on 24 October.

Highways England A27 Arundel Bypass programme leader Jason Hones said: “Arundel has a unique cultural heritage and is surrounded by precious special environments, which are rightly protected. We have assessed all the viable options in greater detail than before so that people can see and understand all the factors and help us decide which one strikes the right balance.

“We very much would like to hear people’s ideas and feedback on the proposals in this consultation; all the information is available online and my team and I will be out at public events over the coming weeks, ready to answer people’s questions.”

The plans for upgrading the A27 at Arundel include six new options, and feature a mix of improvements along the existing road, and other new sections south of the town. The consultation includes updates and variants to all three routes, which were consulted on during the original consultation in 2017.

The options:

All six options feature a new bridge that will span the River Arun and a bridge over the Arun Valley Railway, as well as a new junction at Crossbush.

  • Option 1 v5: Improvements mostly along the route of the existing A27, with around 4.5km (2.8 miles) of new dual carriageway between Crossbush and the west of Arundel.
  • Option 1 v9: Improvements mostly along the route of the existing A27, with around 4.5km (2.8 miles) of new dual carriageway between Crossbush and the west of Arundel.
  • Option 3 v1: Around 6km (3.7 miles) of new dual carriageway located to the south of the existing A27, between Crossbush junction and a new junction at Havenwood Park, with around 4km (2.4 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.
  • Option 4/5A v1: Around 7.2km (4.4 miles) of new dual carriageway located to the south of the existing A27, from Crossbush junction to just west of Yapton Lane. Features a new bridge over Binsted Rife, with around 6.1km (3.7 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.
  • Option 4/5A v2: Around 6.9km (4.2 miles) of new dual carriageway to the south of the existing A27, starting at the Crossbush junction and ending just west of Yapton Lane. Features a new bridge over Binsted Rife, with around 6.2km (3.8 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.
  • Option 5B v2: Around 8km (4.9 miles) of new dual carriageway to the south of the existing A27, from Crossbush to Fontwell roundabout. Features a new bridge over Binsted Rife, with around 6.6km (4.1 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.

2 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner 


Plans for a spaceport that will launch communications satellites into orbit from Sutherland will soon be available for the public to view.

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) lodged a proposal of application notice with Highland Council this week.

The notice triggers the start of the process that will lead to the submission of formal planning application for the development on Moine peninsular. It is hoped that the application will be submitted to the council at the end of December.

Roy Kirk, HIE’s Space Hub Sutherland project director, said: “We’ve been holding informal drop-in sessions at different locations for a few months now and delivering presentations to community groups and business organisations, which have been well received. It’s really important for local people to have a chance to find out what the spaceport will mean for the area, and that we listen to their views to help shape our planning application.”

As part of pre-planning consultation, HIE has organised public events at Melness Community Centre on Wednesday 2 October and Monday 25 November, each running from 3.30pm to 8.00pm. They are designed to enable anyone with an interest in the project to find out more, question the design team and developers, and comment on the plans before they are finalised. Details about additional events and copies of the plans can be found here.

HIE commissioned an economic impact assessment in 2018, which concluded that the project could generate approximately 400 jobs across the Highlands and Islands, including 40 skilled positions at the space hub itself.

In addition to a launch-pad complex, the spaceport development would comprise an operations and control centre, launch towers, an assembly building, an antenna farm, access roads, car parking and security fencing.

HIE has approved £9.8 million to develop Space Hub Sutherland, while the UK Space Agency has awarded £2.5 million and a further £5 million is being sought from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. UKSA has awarded grants to two companies that plan to launch satellites from Sutherland – Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Orbex, which has already established a manufacturing facility in the Moray town of Forres.

Melness Crofters Estate, which owns the land on which the launch site will be located, signed a lease option agreement with HIE that came into effect on 1 August this year. HIE anticipates that there would be up to 10 launches a year from Sutherland, with the first taking place in the early 2020s.

5 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner  


A round-up of planning news

Horwich link road green-lit
Bolton Council’s planning committee has approved a £12 million link road in Horwich.

The link is part of the £262 million Rivington Chase Regeneration site, which is set to deliver 1,700 homes and was granted planning approval in 2015.

The route will connect Horwich Town centre and Chorley New Road to Middlebrook retail park, Horwich railway station, and the M61 via the new Rivington Chase development.

The road is seen as a critical part of the former Horwich Loco Works regeneration scheme. It will unlock the site, enable better access, and relieve pressure on other roads. The £12 million grant was secured earlier this year from Homes England.

Alongside the link road there will be extensive open spaces for residents of Rivington Space and Horwich, including cycle paths, footpaths and green spaces.
 
Monmouthshire County Hall to be redeveloped
Torfaen County Borough Council has granted approval for the redevelopment of the former Monmouthshire County Hall site in Cwmbran.

The plans comprise 143 homes, 42 of which have been designated as affordable; associated open space; landscaping; access; and infrastructure works.

The homes will have two, three or four bedrooms.

The site is vacant, and was the subject of two applications rejected since former county hall buildings were demolished in 2013.

Planning consultancy WYG secured the permission on behalf of Kier Living.
 
Listed Birmingham building to be converted
A listed building in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is going to be redeveloped into apartments.

The Reliance Works, at 41-42 Caroline Street, will be converted into nine apartments and a small commercial unit. Planners at Harris Lamb secured the permission and listed building consent for the site on behalf of developer The Urban Project.

The Urban Project is the new residential arm of CityBlock, a student accommodation provider. This will be The Urban Project’s first venture in Birmingham.

Sam Silcocks at Harris Lamb’s planning team, said: “This is a well-known building and an excellent example of the early historic evolution of buildings within the Jewellery Quarter, which are now considered to be of international significance.

“Planning policy would normally resist a residential scheme in this location. However, through detailed negotiations with [Birmingham City Council], it was agreed that a residential conversion would be appropriate to make the conversion viable and to secure the future of this important site.”
 
Application submitted for Birmingham surf facility
Plans for a £25 million surf centre have been lodged with North Warwickshire Borough Council.

Submitted by Emerge Surf, the scheme is for a 15-acre site approximately seven miles to the east of Birmingham’s city centre at Coleshill.

Plans include a 5.4-acre surf lagoon, powered by Wavegarden’s Cove technology, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a perimeter track for Onewheel self-balancing electric skateboards and a 1,600 square metre hub building.

The park would be named Emerge Surf Birmingham and will also be home to a surf school, surf shop, café and restaurant.
 
Swansea seeks views on regeneration scheme
Swansea Council has asked residents for their views on a concept plan for the £30 million development now being planned for the former Oceana nightclub at 71-72 The Kingsway.

The development will cater for new and existing digital businesses, bringing them together in an ‘ultra-modern flexible” workspace environment.

The scheme – originally known as the Digital Village – will stand six storeys, with a further two floors below ground level.

Led by Swansea Council, the project is part of the wider regeneration of The Kingsway. It also forms part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District, for which the Swansea Bay City Deal will contribute £13.7 million.
 
Villiers appoints NPA and AONB boards
Environment secretary Theresa Villiers has made appointments to the National Park Authorities (NPA) and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) conservation boards.

Appointments and reappointments have been made to a number of the national parks, including the Lake District and Exmoor.

Several appointments have been made to the Chilterns AONB conservation board too.

More information about who has been appointment can be found on the UK Government website.

3 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner