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Planning News - 18 September 2019

Published: Wednesday, 18th September 2019

PINS to consider A1 Newcastle bypass improvement scheme, NOMA office scheme submitted for planning, 100 towns to benefit from funding and more stories...

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

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Housing minister Esther McVey has committed £2 million to aid councils to ‘crack down on illegal developments’ in the green belt.

Councils will be able to use the money to hire enforcement officers, use new technology and help to meet the legal costs of bringing rogue local developers to task for illegal developments.  

McVey said 37 councils would be receiving a total of up to £50,000 each to help with the clampdown.

“Once the green belt is built on it’s often gone for good, that’s why we are determined to protect it. The public have told us loud and clear they want it kept for future generations to enjoy.

“The funding announced today will help councils clamp down on rogue developers, giving the areas with the highest levels of green belt the funds needed to punish those who build illegally.”

The one-off cash boost is coming from the Planning Delivery Fund.

As well as the money, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is teaming up with the RTPI to overhaul the national enforcement handbook.

The handbook is intended to provide the latest best practice and expertise on shutting down illegal building and preventing it from happening. Updates will also aim to guarantee that developers obtain full planning permission before work starts.

Neill Whittaker, chair of RTPI network the National Association of Planning Enforcement (NAPE), said: “The updated handbook will provide guidance on how to deal effectively with a range of challenges and help ensure enforcement officers have access to the latest best practice advice. This will support them in carrying out their roles covering a range of topics including the Proceeds of Crime Act, lone working, gypsies and travellers, the General Permitted Development Order and advances in technology.

“The NAPE project team are currently working on the details for the updated handbook and three launch events are due to be held across England in Spring 2020.”

The councils who applied and were successful in receiving funds are:

Cheshire West and Chester Staffordshire Moorlands
South Staffordshire North Warwickshire
Epping Forest Rushcliffe
Kirklees North Somerset
Guildford Selby
Tandridge Leeds
South Cambridgeshire Northumberland
South Gloucestershire Sevenoaks
York Central Bedfordshire
Rugby Bath and North East Somerset
Mole Valley Wakefield
Warwick Doncaster
Barnsley Dorset Council
Shropshire Cheshire East
Bradford Windsor and Maidenhead
Calderdale Chiltern
Tonbridge and Malling East Hertfordshire
Stratford-on-Avon Rotherham

12 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Plans to transform the grade II listed Old Bank Building in Manchester so that it comprises 140,000 square feet of office space have been submitted to the city council.

NOMA, the 20-acre mixed-use neighbourhood in Manchester City Centre, submitted the proposals.

Under the plans, a new seven-storey extension would be built to the rear of the Old Bank to provide 83,000 square feet of office space over six floors.

A redeveloped ground floor space would provide 6,900 square feet of retail and leisure over four units, as well as 2,600 square feet of co-working space.

Existing stairs, windows, lobby and former banking hall areas would be repaired and refurbished, according to the plans designed by Sheppard Robson.

In total, NOMA is expected to provide 2.5 million square feet of both new-build and renovated office space situated alongside housing and public realm, as well as retail and leisure opportunities.

Hermes Investment Management is the investment manager of the NOMA development, working on behalf of an institutional investor, with development and asset manager MEPC taking forward the new-build elements of NOMA.

Stephen Bradley, senior asset manager at Hermes Investment Management, said: “Our plans for Old Bank will provide yet more much-needed quality office space to support the city’s growing economy and build on recent planning and construction activity across the whole NOMA neighbourhood.”

11 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers has announced a new round of flood defence investment for communities across Yorkshire, Cumbria, the North East and the South East of England.

Thirteen projects across England will benefit from a share of over £62 million, which as well as helping to develop existing flood defences, will boost economic regeneration and increase prosperity in those areas.

Many of the projects are aimed at communities that suffered from flooding during winter 2015. More than 3,000 properties flooded in the West Yorkshire valley during the 2015 floods, leaving communities in the area badly affected.

In total, more than 9,004 homes will be better protected against flooding through this round of funding. The extra money is in addition to the government’s commitment to invest a record £2.6 billion over six years up to 2021 to better protect 300,000 homes across the country.

Funding will support the development of 11 projects in the Northern Powerhouse, including seven in Yorkshire, four in Cumbria and Lancashire, and two in the North East.

Jake Berry, minister of state for the Northern Powerhouse, said: “This new funding for flood defences in the north of England adds to the £5.4 billion already invested into the Northern Powerhouse to drive jobs and economic growth, and a record £13 billion to upgrade transport infrastructure across the North.

“We’re investing in public infrastructure so that local communities have the support and backing they need to flourish and seize all of the opportunities that come with leaving the European Union on the 31st October.”

Cumbria and Lancashire are due to receive the second-largest amount of funding, with £22.8 million now available to support four flood projects in Kendal, Egremont, Flimby and Preston and South Ribble.

This round of funding will also allocate £6.3 million to projects outside of the Northern Powerhouse, in Essex and Lincolnshire.

By the end of this year, the government said it will have set out measures to better prepare the country for flood and coastal erosion in a government policy statement. Informed by this policy, the Environment Agency would update its national strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management, which sets out a long-term plan for tackling, preparing for, and adapting to the additional risks that climate change will bring.

12 September 2019
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner 

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has accepted for examination an application for proposed improvements to the A1 Newcastle Gateshead Western Bypass.

Highways England wants to widen the A1 south of Gateshead from three to four lanes, between junctions 65 and 67 on the southbound carriageway.

Proposals also include widening the northbound carriageway from two to three lanes – with an additional lane between junctions – between junctions 67 and 65.

The improvements are intended to provide additional capacity.

The section of the A1 in question is located in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead Council.

Plans also include a replacement bridge structure where the A1 crosses over the East Coast Main Line, 40 metres to the immediate south of the existing Allerdene Bridge structure, which would tie into the existing carriageways at junction 67 and north of junction 66, according to the application form.

Sarah Richards, chief executive of the PINS, said: “A major priority for us over the next few weeks is to ensure that the people and communities who may be affected by this proposal have the opportunity to give us their views.”

The application can be viewed on the PINS website.

11 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that 100 towns that are eligible for support from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, which was founded in July.

The government said the list of towns includes places with “proud” industrial and economic heritage which but have not always benefited from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous towns.

Communities, businesses and local leaders will work together on plans that aim to transform their town’s economic growth prospects with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.

Of the 100 towns, 45 are located across the Northern Powerhouse and 30 places are in the Midlands Engine area.

Jenrick said: “Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government."

He explained that the government want to raise living standards and ensure that towns can thrive with “transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture”.

“I will now work with local people from the 100 communities announced today to agree proposals to invest up to £25 million in each place. I hope these deals will provide the investment and the impetus for long-term renewal ensuring each town can look to the future with a new optimism."

Nuneaton, in the West Midlands, is set to benefit from the fund. Julie Jackson, leader of the Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “Following the success of our Future High Street bid, this is more fantastic news for Nuneaton. We have high ambitions for our town centre and this could help immensely to put our ideas into practice and help us to recognise our plans to regenerate the town. We are seeking some further information from the government on what the bid process and timescales will be.

“We will also be seeking confirmation of whether there will be any opportunities for Bedworth town centre amongst this funding. We are still aiming to submit a bid for Bedworth in the next Future High Street bid, when fresh submissions are invited in the new year.”

A full list of the 100 towns can be found here on the UK Government website (pdf).

Laura Edgar, The Planner
9 September 2019

A round-up of planning news

Prince of Wales continues as RTPI patron
Prince Charles has agreed to be patron of the RTPI for another term, the institute has announced.

RTPI chief executive Victoria Hills said: “As patron of the RTPI since 1989, His Royal Highness has inspired us with his strong belief and work in the creation of genuinely sustainable and resilient communities both in the UK and internationally.

Over the years, the RTPI has worked with The Prince’s Foundation on a number of projects, such as the international Planning for Rapid Urbanisation initiative and the Beauty in My Back Yard online resource.
City council to use CPO for key site
The City of Wolverhampton Council has announced that it will exercise its Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers on the owner of the former Post Office building in Lichfield Street.

The site has not been used for several years. It forms part of the council’s city centre regeneration plans.

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has an aspiration to expand its premises to the neighbouring site for theatre, education and hospitality uses. In March, the theatre had a detailed planning application approved and the council said its intention is to exercise its CPO powers, as the development is likely to contribute to the improvement of the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of the area.
Council homes to be built at Northstowe
Affordable council homes are to be developed at new town Northstowe.

Homes England has chosen South Cambridgeshire District Council to provide 81 affordable rental properties at the first neighbourhood in the town.

All of the homes will be built using modern methods of construction (MMC).

The council will work with developer Urban Splash to deliver the project, which will include 60 homes specially designed for residents over 55. All 81 homes will be either one or two-bed and available at affordable rents.

The apartments will form part of a 406-home site Urban Splash is delivering at Northstowe, all of which will be built at the developer’s factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire.
Hull to invest in public realm
Hull City Council has announced that it will invest a further £1.2 million to improve the public realm in the city centre.

The money will spent on improving areas on Brook Street and Prospect Street, as well as the links with the St Stephen’s Shopping Centre, Prospect Centre and the proposed Albion Square development.

The work is the third phase of public realm improvements in the city.

Contractors can now submit a tender for the works, which are due to begin in October and should be completed by next summer.
Ebbsfleet acquires land
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation has bought its third piece of land for the garden city.

The site is within the Grove Road area in Northfleet. This follows two previous land purchases in Northfleet and Gravesend.

The latest land purchase is the first step in the corporation’s aim of creating a new riverside residential quarter near Ebbsfleet United Football Club.

Following a public consultation last year, the corporation said the plans could include 450 new homes – a third of which would be affordable – restaurants, employment space, new and improved roads, a new park and better access to the River Thames.

In 2018, 530 homes were approved on an adjacent site in nearby Northfleet West.
Industrial development approved in Yorkshire
Detailed planning consent has been granted for a two-unit industrial development scheme for a site at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The units will be 45,876 and 59,159 square feet in size.

Trebor Developments and partner Hillwood agreed terms with Peel Investments earlier this year to acquire the site.

Work on site will start in November with the date for completion set for Q2 in 2020.

10 September 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner