Latest news

Planning News - 24 October 2019

Published: Thursday, 24th October 2019

McVey backs PropTech, 6,000-home garden village approved, Planning application submitted for £70m Alexander Stadium redevelopment and more stories...

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

RTPI logo
Planner jobs

Housing minister Esther McVey has voiced her support for PropTech, saying the UK property sector is ‘on the cusp of a digital revolution’.

There has been a revolution in the way financial services, online banking and transport are provided, she noted, “turning once unimaginable possibilities into everyday realities”.

It is now the turn of the UK property market, said McVey.

The government stated that new technologies could allow communities to see models and interactive maps of planned development and comment on planning applications online – on phones and on the go, similar to online banking.

Developers would be able to identify sites so that more houses could be built more quickly and suitable brownfield sites earmarked more swiftly for development.

McVey, who is hosting a round table discussion with some of the 700 PropTech firms in the UK today (21 October), said: “Whatever homebuyers prioritise, whether it’s the quality of local schools, the probability of getting a seat on a train, or having easy access to leisure facilities, these technologies will transform the way we find and purchase homes.

“And new technology will link builders to brownfield sites more easily, enhance how developers engage with local communities, help builders deliver new homes and modernise the way we buy and sell land and houses, cutting the time it takes to get housing from the drawing board to families getting the keys.

“The UK property sector is on the cusp of a digital revolution. It’s time to harness new technology to unlock land and unleash the potential of housebuilders in all parts of the country and to revolutionise the way in which we buy homes.”

McVey has asked her team to “push forward” work with PropTech firms to consider how more local data held by local bodies can be released to innovative companies.

In addition, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government said it would be opening up data about compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to make it more transparent. It will enable PropTechs to obtain things like energy performance certificates.

A national index of all brownfield data would also be introduced, "simplifying and improving the quality of brownfield land registers to help developers to find brownfield land to build on”. According to the government, new guidance has been written to support local planning authorities in implementing the new standards.

21 October 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee has granted outline planning permission for Welborne Garden Village.

Submitted by Buckland Development Ltd, the application aims to deliver up to 6,000 homes.

These 6,000 homes will include C3 and C2 units, including a care home. The community will also comprise:

  • a district centre with 2,800 square metres of food store retail (A1) and 2,419 square metres of non-food retail (A1);
  • a village centre that includes a pub;
  • up to 30,000 square metres of commercial and employment space. (B1);
  • a hotel;
  • health centre;
  • veterinary services;
  • a secondary school and three primary schools;
  • green infrastructure including open and amenity space; retention of some existing hedgerows, grassland, woodland, allotments, and wildlife corridors; and
  • remodelling J10 of the M27 including a noise barrier and work to the A32, including the creation of three junctions.

The council said there is a “significant” funding gap for the M27 works. It will now begin lobbying the government for funding as development cannot start until this is in place.

Nick Walker, chairman of the planning committee, said: “This is by far the largest planning application the committee has ever considered. We have carefully looked at the proposals and believe the development will play a crucial part in delivering much-needed new homes for the borough in a desirable new setting.”

Buckland Development Ltd said it has several key next steps, including develop a strategic design code; secure formal consent once s106 agreement is finalised with the council; support key stakeholders to secure additional funding for the new M27 motorway j10; and prepare the submission for a Reserved Matters application for the first phase of Welborne.

Mark Thistlethwayte, chairman at Buckland Development Ltd, said: “Reaching this point has taken more than a decade of carefully considered work, resource and investment by Buckland. Our approach has always been about creating a place everyone will be proud of and will be of benefit to residents for generations to come. As master developer of Welborne, Buckland is in a unique position to make Welborne special – this decision is a significant milestone enabling us to continue with our long-term vision and commitment to delivering Welborne.”

A detailed planning agreement between the council and Buckland Development Ltd will be finalised over the next few months.

17 October 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


A £70 million planning application has been submitted to Birmingham City Council to redevelop Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr.

The plan, at the heart of the wider effort to regenerate Perry Barr, would see the venue become a high-quality venue for diverse sporting, leisure, community and cultural events over decades to come.

The stadium at Walsall Road is set to be the focal point of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and will host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics events.

The redeveloped stadium should have an increased permanent seating capacity from 12,700 up to 18,000, – allowing more than 30,000 people in during the games through additional temporary seating.

Post-Games, it would be at the centre of a regenerated Perry Barr, which is to receive more than £500 million of investment in the coming years. The scheme also includes new housing, improved transport and related upgrades to infrastructure and public space.

The revamped stadium is set to host a range of tenants including Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club and Birmingham City University.

The stadium will provide a new home for the university’s sports and exercise students, bringing a new partnership and purpose to the stadium beyond athletics – as well as becoming a focal point for a range of leisure, health, wellbeing and community activities for local residents and the wider general public.

During the summer’s pre-consultation engagement activity more than 120 stakeholders and about 2,000 neighbouring residents and businesses were consulted on the proposals.

Ian Ward, councillor and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The application will now be considered by the planning department over the next few months and we welcome further feedback and comments from anyone with an interest in the stadium and its future. This is about creating a destination venue, shaping a legacy beyond the Commonwealth Games.”

It is expected that a final decision will be taken on the proposals by the city council’s planning committee in early 2020.

Subject to planning approval, construction of the new stand will begin in spring 2020, with completion in late 2021 ahead of test events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The design now out for consultation will also facilitate the temporary games overlay elements and additional infrastructure needed to deliver the 2022 games. Further detail regarding the games overlay will be consulted on at a later date.

16 October 2019
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner


Oxford City Council has called on short-term let landlords renting out a full house in the city for more than 140 nights a year to apply for planning permission.

In response to escalating calls for new national laws to tighten regulation of short-term lets – including from Oxford City Council and the letting industry itself – the council is urging landlords to get ahead of a potential rush and submit their applications now.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires landlords to apply for planning permission when there is a material change in the use of the property. The council, though, has described the phrase “material change” as “ill-defined”.

It means that local authorities are not automatically notified when entire homes become used for short-terms lets, so notification of a ‘material change’ in the use of a property often depends on complaints from members of the public, lengthy investigations and case-by-case assessments, it explained. Furthermore, family homes have been lost.

The council highlighted that short-term letting firm Airbnb has recommended that the UK Government should change the law to require landlords to gain planning permission before they rent out an entire house on a short-let basis for more than 140 nights in a year. This already happens in London if the property is going to be let out for more than 90 nights a year.

Such a law across the country would, said Oxford City Council, enable it to attach planning conditions to the property, such as measures to reduce the impact on the community and prevent the loss of housing. The council would also have a list of properties being let out, which would make it easier to monitor, investigate and take action where necessary.

Linda Smith, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, said: “Oxford has a housing crisis, and landlords have exacerbated the situation by removing permanent housing from the market, and further increasing rents by renting their homes on short-let websites.

“In Oxford, we have seen houses rented through short-let websites used as brothels and for loud parties. But short lets are currently a grey area of the law – there is little regulation to enable local authorities to protect communities from unlawful use of the houses.

“But the tide is turning and, with Airbnb recommending new regulations, it seems increasingly likely that the government will have to act. With that in mind, we are calling on short-let landlords who rent out an entire house in Oxford for more than 140 nights a year to immediately seek planning permission.”

The council has issued an enforcement notice against the owner of a property on William Street, and is considering action against three other landlords operating short-term let properties.

22 October 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner 


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has granted planning permission to a 168-home development in Wandsworth, London.

Wandsworth Council's planning committee rejected the application by Hollybrook Ltd in May.

The proposal comprises the demolition of existing buildings to make way for a mixed-use development. Buildings will range between 10 and 14 storeys in height, and deliver business floor space, commercial floor space and bike-parking spaces.

The mayor called in the scheme, on Osiers Road, in June to subject it to further scrutiny. It was approved following a public hearing at City Hall. Local residents, councillors and other interested parties spoke for and against the application.

The level of affordable housing has been increased from 39 per cent to 100 per cent. Of these, 55 per cent – 93 homes – will be available as shared ownership and 45 per cent – 75 homes – will be available at social rent levels.

The mayor's office said the development would meet 12 per cent of the affordable housing target in the Wandsworth Local Plan (294 homes a year between 2015 and 2020).

Khan said: “This development will provide a significant number of much-needed new social rented and other genuinely affordable homes in an area where supply has consistently failed to meet targets.

“Since I called in this application for further scrutiny, my team has been successful in ensuring every new home in this development will be genuinely affordable. The design is of a high quality and includes commercial space which will have a positive impact on the local economy.

“Having considered all the evidence available to me, I’ve decided to approve this development.”

The developer will make a contribution of more than £80,000 to fund local apprenticeships both during and after construction.

21 October 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner
 


A round-up of planning news

Extra care homes approved in Greater Manchester
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council has granted planning permission for a £20.5 million development of 95 specialist retirement apartments in Standish, Greater Manchester.

The permission is subject to the completion of a legal agreement.

Of the homes, 64 apartments will be built to McCarthy & Stone’s Retirement Living PLUS specification – a form of extra care housing that offers a range of facilities to residents, including a wellness suite and a guest suite. These will be made up of a mix of self-contained one and two-bedroom apartments, alongside the option of flexible domestic and personalised care and support packages from McCarthy & Stone’s on-site team.

Another 31 apartments will be built to McCarthy & Stone’s Retirement Living specification, which is aimed at the more active older homeowner, but still provides on-site support and maintenance for peace of mind, as well as a shared homeowners’ lounge.
 
Edinburgh seeks development partner for regeneration scheme
The City of Edinburgh Council has launched the bidding process to appoint a development partner to regenerate the former Fountain Brewery site at Fountainbridge.

A contract notice published by the council calls for expressions of interest from potential developers. The responses will be used to draw up a shortlist, and the council hopes to have a development partner in place by the summer.

The redevelopment will transform three hectares of canal-side brownfield land into a ‘vibrant’ new place to live and work. Plans include more than 400 new homes, 177 of them affordable, and a 10,000 square-metre office building aimed at growing technology companies, along with over 4,500 square metres of floor space for shops, eateries and space for social enterprises. High-quality public realm and green space also form part of the plans.

The contract notice can be viewed here.
 
Wolverhampton approves housing strategy
The City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet has approved a new five-year housing strategy for the city.

Better Homes for All sets out the council’s ambitions from 2019 to 2024.

It outlines the three key priorities as more and better homes, safer and healthier homes, and access to a secure home.

Since the last housing strategy was put in place, the council has built the first new council homes in over 30 years in the city; established its own housing company, WV Living; and started to deliver the Heath Town regeneration programme.

The council said the revision of the housing strategy would ensure that there continues to be a supply of housing and housing services to meet the needs and aspirations of the city’s current and future residents.
Better Homes for All can be found on the council website.
 
Neighbourhood plan adopted in Stockport
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has adopted the Woodford Neighbourhood Plan as part of the council’s development plan.

A referendum was held on 12 September 2019, and 95.8 per cent of those who voted did so in favour of the plan.

The plan and associated documents are available to view on the council’s website.
 
Regeneration plans submitted in Bristol
Plans have been submitted to Bristol City Council for the first phase of a masterplan that sets out the transformation of Southmead, a community-led regeneration project.

Nash Partnership has put forward the plans on behalf of the Southmead Regeneration Team to redevelop Glencoyne Square as part of the wider Southmead Regeneration Project.

The team is made up of Southmead residents and the community’s charity, Southmead Development Trust.

If approved, the first phase of mixed-use development would comprise 120 one and two-bedroom homes – 106 apartments and 14 duplexes – of which 85 per cent would be for affordable rent, shared ownership and market sale or rent.

It would also include up to 1,650 square metres of space for a purpose-built relocated health centre, a new library and space for other uses such as office, laundrette or activity space and two live/work units.

The proposed development is the first built phase of a wider, ground-breaking masterplan prepared by Southmead Regeneration Team and Nash Partnership in consultation with the wider local community.
 
Go ahead for Loughborough Junction development
Lambeth Council has granted planning permission for the redevelopment of the Hero of Switzerland House at Loughborough Junction, near Brixton in London.

Gensler’s plans will see the redevelopment of the public house, alongside staff accommodation and 35 apartments in a 13-storey building – seven of which will be affordable units. The redeveloped pub will keep a number of original features including its original sign and mural.

The building has been designed to be sustainable and will feature photovoltaic panels and a dual heat pump system.

Acting on behalf of UDN Redevelopments Ltd and working alongside Town Quay Developments, Gensler, Portland and ROK undertook “extensive” pre-application engagement with the council, the Greater London Authority, the Campaign for Real Ale, and other key local stakeholders.  

22 October 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner