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Planning news - 12 December 2019

Published: Thursday, 12th December 2019

Rise in energy storage projects, research suggests, Welsh climate change strategy outlines flood-risk planning measures, Developer to fund road improvements for approved homes plan. 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 number of planning applications for battery storage projects in the UK continues to increase ‘rapidly’, according to recent research.

RenewableUK explained that its latest Project Intelligence report shows that the total cumulative capacity of battery storage planning applications has soared from nearly 6,900 megawatts (MW) a year ago to over 10,500MW today.

This is enough to fully charge over a million electric vehicles.

It notes that the market has developed "extremely rapidly". In 2012, applications stood at just 2MW. In the last 12 months, the number of UK companies involved in the sector has grown from 300 to more than 450, while the average battery project size has increased from 27MW to 28MW.

RenewableUK said the pipeline of storage projects is expected to continue growing, with an increasing number of grid-scale battery projects of over 50MWs also expected, after the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy agreed earlier this year to change planning rules.

RenewableUK’s director of future electricity systems, Barnaby Wharton, said: “As we build the net-zero energy system of the future based on renewables, we’re changing the way we manage the entire network, using a wide variety of extraordinarily innovative storage technologies. The pace of change in the industry is hugely exciting.

“Energy storage has reached a tipping point with major companies entering this new market, providing new services to guarantee the security our energy supplies and maximising the amount of power available, providing massive benefits to consumers”.

More information on the Project Intelligence series can be found on the RenewableUK website.

4 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The latest Welsh climate crisis mitigation strategy, just published, commits ministers to strengthening planning policy to prevent housebuilders from building properties on medium and high-risk floodplains in Wales.

This move includes a proposal to develop a companion guide advising developers, householders and landlords on how homes and premises can be adapted to be resilient to the climate crisis in Wales.

Prosperity For All – A Climate Conscious Wales highlights the administration’s pledge to increase woodland cover by at least 2,000 hectares a year from 2020 to 2030.

Also stressed is the importance of more urban ‘greener infrastructure’. This includes open spaces and networks of habitats, parks, playing fields, allotments, private gardens, grasslands, ponds, rivers, canals, woodland and hedges. It involves street and garden trees.

The strategy points out that green infrastructure can be engineered to form green roofs and walls or sustainable urban drainage, but it can also be part of transport corridors and other links between built-up areas and their surroundings.

Environment minister Lesley Griffiths has promised to promote a renewed focus on the “small things” that can create local, accessible green spaces.

Prosperity For All – A Climate Conscious Wales can be found here on the Welsh Government website.

5 December 2019
Roger Milne, The Planner

South Northamptonshire Council’s planning committee has granted planning permission for 410 homes, subject to the completion of a section 106 agreement for developer contributions.

The homes will be located between Wootton and Brackmills.

Northampton Borough Council has already approved the 115 homes that are part of this development but outside of South Northamptonshire’s boundaries.

The applicants, Martin Grant Homes Ltd and Harcourt Developments Ltd, will have to contribute nearly £600,000 towards improvements to the Queen Eleanor and Tesco Mereway roundabouts.

Improvements will also have to be made to various junctions and pavements in the areas closer to the development, such as a new roundabout on the Newport Pagnell Road to give access to the site itself.

A contribution of £1.8 million will go towards health services, parks, open spaces, refuse and recycling, and public transport. Contributions to education and libraries will depend on the final mix of housing.

Jim Newton, assistant director for planning and economy at South Northamptonshire Council, said: “The principle of building homes in this area is well established under the West Northants Joint Core Strategy, but that was always on the condition local roads were improved.

“South Northamptonshire Council and Northampton Borough Council have worked closely together to ensure the development will be of very high quality, and that the essential infrastructure will be put in place to support the new homes.

"It is pleasing that the developer has chosen to invest in the area, which continues to be a highly attractive place to live, work and invest."

2 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee has approved plans for a road linking the town’s proposed New Eastern Villages development with the M4 and A419.

The road would be a single carriageway highway, approximately 2.5 kilometres in length.

The proposals include improvements to the existing A419 Commonhead roundabout and Pack Hill; a new roundabout junction at Pack Hill; new T-Junction with The Marsh; a new crossroad junction with Wanborough Road; a new single-span bridge over Liden Brook; two new culverts on tributaries of Liden Brook; and an extension to an existing culvert under Pack Hill.

According to the agenda document for the planning committee meeting, the New Eastern Villages development is planned to "deliver sustainable economic and housing growth" including the provision of about 8,000 homes, 40 hectares of employment land and associated retail, community, education and leisure uses.

This application, which was submitted by the council, relates to the Southern Connector Road, which forms part of the strategic transport package for the villages, which is identified by Policy NC3 of the local plan.

Planning officers recommended the application be approved.

Speaking to the Swindon Advertiser, cabinet member for strategic planning at the council Gary Sumner said the road will be built before major housing developments on land to the east of the A419, to ensure the infrastructure is already in place.

The agenda document for the planning committee meeting can be found on the council website (pdf).

5 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Warwick District Council has granted outline planning permission for up to 2,500 homes and 4,000 square metres of mixed-use floor space.

The development, which will be located on land at Kings Hill Lane, also includes:

  • A primary school;
  • A secondary school;
  • Open space; and
  • Associated infrastructure.

The land is within the H43 housing allocation, which was removed from the green belt within the Warwick District Local Plan. According to the document for the planning committee, the site is allocated with a guide capacity for up to 4,000 dwellings with 1,800 to be delivered within the plan period, which is up to 2029.

It notes that this application includes a large proportion of the overall allocation for housing and community infrastructure.

Planning officers recommended that Lioncourt Land Limited’s application be granted permission subject to a section 106 agreement to secure several obligations, including:

  • Affordable housing
    • 450 units for social rent;
    • 250 units for affordable rent;
    • 150 units for shared ownership; and
  • 150 units for discount market value.
  • £1,710,755 and 0.501 hectares towards an on-site health centre or £1,283,113 for off-site expansions/improvements.
  • £9,012,000 for road Infrastructure works.

A number of objections to the development were submitted, including from several town and parish councils, for reasons relating to transport congestion, as well as the fact the development intends to meet the housing demand Coventry can’t meet. One parish council noted that currently there isn’t any overspill from the city.

This development is linked to a full application due to be considered by Coventry City Council’s planning committee on 19 December. It is for the installation of two new highways access junctions on land west of Green Lane and the junction of Saint Martins Road / Green Lane / Howes Lane.

The document prepared for the committee can be found on the Warwick District Council website.

4 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A round-up of planning news.

Energy record set in Britain

Wind generated 16.162 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in Britain for the first time on Sunday (8 December), which provided more than 40 per cent of its power.

This is according to National Grid.

Its data shows that wind provided 43.7 per cent of British electricity, more than double the amount that nuclear produced at 20.5 per cent.

Energy was also provided by:

  • Gas - 12.8 per cent
  • Biomass - 7.9 per cent
  • Imports - 7.4 per cent
  • Coal - 3.1 per cent
  • Hydro 1.7 - per cent
  • Solar - 1.3 per cent
  • Storage 1.1 per cent
  • Other sources - 0.5 per cent.

The previous wind energy record of 15.32GW was set on 8 February this year.


RTPI member appointed as a deputy judge

Tim Smith has been appointed a deputy High Court judge for England and Wales.

He is a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) LLP and a member of the RTPI’s Conduct and Discipline Panel.

The announcement was made following an open competition run by the Judicial Appointments Commission, open to practitioners with or without previous judicial experience, which has resulted in 24 new deputy High Court judges.

Smith studied law at the University of Nottingham and qualified as a solicitor in 1994. He joined what is now BCLP, specialising in planning and environmental law in 1996.

He was appointed as a fee-paid judge of the First Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) in 2013. As well as his voluntary work for the RTPI, Smith is the current chair of the Law Society’s Planning & Environmental Law Committee, and a Council member of JUSTICE.


Lincolnshire garden village achieves BREEAM certificate

Newton on Trent Garden Village in Lincolnshire has achieved its first BREEAM Communities certificate and is on its way to achieving an ‘Excellent’ mark, the Rural Land Group has announced.

This, it said, is a first in the UK for rural development.

The £74.9 million scheme will provide up to 325 new sustainable homes that are built to high sustainability standards. Affordable, custom and self-build homes are available.

All homes will be built to lifetime standards so that older people can stay in the village, said the Rural Land Group.

Other facilities include open and public spaces, a village green, new footpath and cycle path networks, sustainable transport options, a new village hub, café, bar and business barn.

The applicants are locally based farmer-landowners whose family have lived in the village for three generations.


Build to Rent scheme approved in Birmingham

Birmingham City Council has approved a ‘luxury’ residential-led scheme, which will be built in the centre of the city.

The scheme – One Eastside – will deliver: 667 one and two-bedroom apartments; on-site recreation – sport and leisure facilities including a gym, cinema, yoga and games room; a rooftop sky lounge and roof terrace; and residential gardens.

Planning consultancy Turley acted on behalf of Court Collaboration to secure the permission.


Second phase of Somerset development to go-ahead

North Somerset Council has granted planning permission for the second phase of a development in Locking, Somerset.

The phase includes 27 homes comprising one and two-bedroom apartments, and three and four-bedroom homes. Nine of the properties will be affordable.

The homes will be delivered by St Modwen Homes at its Locking Parklands development, which is being delivered on the former RAF site.


Development at science park approved

Perkins and Will have been given permission for the designs of two new buildings on plot 16 at The Oxford Science Park, a UK science and technology park.

The new buildings will contribute 168,000 square feet of flexible office and laboratory space to the 500,000 square feet expansion planned for The Oxford Science Park by 2025.

Plot 16 is a linear site at the north-east corner of the park between railway tracks and Littlemore Brook, and Network Rail plans a rail station to go next to the site.

10 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner