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Planning news - 19 December 2019

Published: Thursday, 19th December 2019

Runway at Southampton Airport could be extended, Sevenoaks successful in hostel enforcement trial, Plans for development near River Tyne submitted. And more stories...

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

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Southampton Airport has submitted an application to Eastleigh Borough Council for the extension of its runway by 164 metres.

The planning application represents the first phase of growth outlined the airport's masterplan, A Vision For Sustainable Growth.

As well as extension of the northern end of the runway, the proposal comprises construction of an associated blast screen to the north of the proposed runway extension, removal of existing bund, and the reconfiguration and extension of existing long-stay car parking to the east and west of Mitchell Way to provide an additional 600 spaces.

According to the airport, extending the runway within its existing boundaries would allow the airport to increase passenger numbers from two to three million a year. It would also be able to “significantly” increase route choices for business and leisure passengers, bringing destinations in Scandinavia, the Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe within reach.

Managing director Neil Garwood said: “Our plans will make the airport resilient to changes in the aviation market as the longer runway permits year-round viability for an increased number of airlines.”

He explained that the longer runway would enable the airport to increase its financial contribution from £160 million to £400 million a year and create more than 500 new jobs.

“Our development plans have been carefully prepared by a project team including ecologists and technical experts, sensitive to the needs of the local community, including comprehensive noise and air-quality management plans.

“The airport has nearly four million people in its catchment area, and we firmly believe enabling them to fly from their local airport and taking tens of thousands of needless car journeys off of our already congested roads is the most sustainable way to fly.

“In construction terms, the runway extension is relatively small, but the benefit it will make to our region’s connectivity is significant.”

11 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Woolwich Crown Court has fined the owners of a hostel in Swanley £14,000 for failing to comply with two planning enforcement notices.

Sevenoaks District Council issued Bhupinderjeet Kullar and Narinder Kullar with a notice that required them to stop using The Convent of Mercy as a hostel. A second notice required the removal of a wooden shed that had been put up without permission.

The owners did not comply with the notice. The building continued to be used as a hostel until 11 March 2018 until the council obtained a closure order from Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court, which came after repeated anti-social behaviour.

In a four day trial beginning on 2 December 2019, Woolwich Crown Court fined Kullar and Kullar, who owned the land, £4,000 and £10,000 in costs.

In August of this year, Mustafa Kemal Mustafa, who ran the hostel, was fined £15,000 for failing to comply with the planning enforcement notice to stop using the building as a hostel.

Alison Salter, planning team manager at Sevenoaks District Council, said: “Mr and Mrs Kullar did not comply with our planning enforcement notices for a number of years. Only by taking action in the courts was it possible to close this unlawful hostel.

“The building was not fit to be a hostel and there were numerous reports of anti-social behaviour associated with its tenants. The safety of our residents is our top priority and thanks to colleagues across the council and partnership working with Kent Police, the Fire Service and the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), we were able bring Mr and Mrs Kullar to justice.

“The £14,000 fine sends a clear message that we will not tolerate people who ride roughshod over the law.”

12 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


A planning application for a residential-led mixed-use development that would be located on the banks of the River Tyne has been submitted to Gateshead Council.

The development, located in the Bridges Conservation Area, would deliver 262 apartments for the private rented sector.

It also comprises offices, retail units, cafés and restaurants.

Known as Brett Wharf, the proposals have been designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects on behalf of The High Street Group.

The proposals represent a phase in the development of the wider Gateshead Quayside from an industrial landscape to a cultural destination.

FaulknerBrowns explained that the Brett Wharf development will integrate the site back into the fabric of the Gateshead Quayside, while it has been designed to respect the lower pedestrian deck of the High Level Bridge at its closest point.

Niall Durney, senior associate at FaulknerBrowns, said: “This is a great opportunity to design a prominent piece of the Gateshead Quayside. With such a long narrow site next to the Grade I listed High Level Bridge we focused on breaking down the building into a series of well-crafted masonry blocks, stepping in height and width to animate the waterfront. The feedback we have received from Historic England has been extremely positive and this gives us great confidence as we progress the scheme.”

12 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Hard on the heels of last week’s climate change strategy, environment minister Lesley Griffiths has published a draft clean air plan for Wales.

This sets out measures to improve air quality and promises primary legislation during the lifetime of the current administration.

The plan, set out in a 123-page document, includes:

  • Increasing air quality monitoring outside areas such as schools and hospitals to protect those most vulnerable from transport emissions.
  • Investing an additional £60 million over 3 years to implement the Active Travel Act, requiring local authorities to consult with communities and develop a safe network for walking and cycling.
  • Reviewing powers local authorities have to tackle emissions from the indoor burning of solid fuels such as wood and coal.
  • Investigating measures aimed at reducing personal vehicle use such as road pricing, Clean Air Zones and/or Low Emission Zones.
  • Increasing the proportion of vehicles which are electric and ultra-low (ULEV) emission.
  • Extending strategic tree and hedge planting and expanding woodland which support air quality improvements.

Griffiths stressed to AMs this week the importance of reducing airborne pollution in public places.

She pointed out that Planning Policy Wales recognised the importance of air quality and appropriate soundscapes to the health and wellbeing of people and the environment.

“We are producing further guidance for local planning authorities and developers to support the detailed consideration of air quality and soundscapes in the planning process.

“A joined-up approach between national transport and planning policy supports an increase in public transport use and active travel, reducing emissions and public exposure.

“We will work with stakeholders to encourage a modal shift from private vehicle dependency to sustainable forms of transport,” she explained.

The document highlighted that air pollution remains the largest environmental risk to the public’s health.

“Public Health Wales estimates it contributed to between 1,000 and 1,400 deaths in 2017. Long term exposure to pollution in the atmosphere shortens lifespans and damages the quality of life of many. It also affects the quality of our habitats, levels of biodiversity and the economy,” said the plan.

The consultation on the draft Clean Air Plan for Wales, as well as the strategy, can be found on the Welsh Government website. It closes on 10 March.

12 December 2019
Roger Milne, The Planner


In 2018/19, 19,389 social homes were sold – a 12 per cent decline on the number sold in 2017/18, according to government statistics.

Of these sales, three-quarters were made through the scheme, including preserved and voluntary Right to Buy. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) release states that this is consistent with previous years.

During this period, local authorities received 26,250 Right to Buy applications, a 4 per cent decrease compared with a year earlier, while they sold 11,059 properties.

Local authority Right to Buy sales had an average discount of 42 per cent of the selling price in 2017/18, which is 15 percentage points higher than in 2011-12 (pre-reinvigoration).

Private registered provider Right to Buy sales had an average discount of 54 per cent of the selling price in that year, according to the statistical release, which is 24 percentage points higher than in 2011/12 (pre-reinvigoration).

Local authorities were responsible for three out five social housing sales in 2018/19, which is “consistent” with the previous three years.

In 2018/19, 4,351 demolitions of social housing stock held by local authorities and private registered providers took place. The release states that “there has been a general decrease in number of demolitions since 2001/02”.

Social Housing Sales: April 2018 to March 2019, England can be found on the UK Government website (pdf).

10 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner


A round-up of planning news.

Membury plan to be consulted on

Membury Neighbourhood Plan will be subject to further consultation following examination of the plan by an inspector.

Membury Parish Council has resolved to accept the examiner’s recommendations, except one – that policy H1 should allow a maximum of 10 new-build properties across the parish rather than the maximum of 15 in the examiner’s report.

East Devon District Council supports this reduction in principle, subject to consultation, which will be carried out until 10 January 2020.

If no substantive objections are received, the neighbourhood plan will proceed to a referendum in spring 2020.

Lichfield wins biodiversity model award

Lichfield District Council won the Local Government Changing the Way We Work award for its biodiversity net gain model at a ceremony held on 3 December.

The awards were given out by the Association of Local Government Ecologists.

Lichfield won the award for its contribution to ecology and the environment through its approach to biodiversity net gain to encourage nature conservation.

Ecology manager Justine Lloyd, who accepted the award on behalf of the council, said: “In designing our net gains system, we wanted to make it easy for developers to understand, that it would not overburden officers, that it ensures measurable net gains, and allows our planning system to support ecological work.”

The judging panel noted that Lichfield’s work on biodiversity net gain has been instrumental in demonstrating that gains could be delivered through development and has shown how local planning policy could be designed to enable this. In doing so, the council has played a significant role in influencing the introduction of a mandate for biodiversity net gain in England.

Caddick transforms printworks in Leeds

Property development and construction firm Caddick Group has completed the transformation of an old six-acre printworks in central Leeds into a creative complex where Channel 4 will be opening its new headquarters.

The site will feature 110,000 square feet of studio space after extensive refurbishment, including the demolition of the Petty House office building and removal of abandoned plant machinery and asbestos.

New landscaping and access points have been provided, along with charging points for electric vehicles. Local contractor CBM Construction carried out the refurbishment.

Caddick has already secured Opera North as a tenant for a 9,000 square feet unit on the six-acre site that is being used for storage and rehearsals.

The remaining space will be occupied by studio operator Leeds Studios, which is subletting the property from Leeds City Council after a deal with Caddick Group that saw the local authority take the head lease. The facility is due to open in May 2020.

Planning application for office development in Edinburgh submitted

A planning application to develop office accommodation has been submitted to Edinburgh City Council by property developer Summix Capital Ltd.

Earmarked for 179 Canongate, Edinburgh, the proposals seek to deliver a “characterful” office development that provides much-needed workspace within the heart of the capital’s Old Town.

There will be four floors designed for small and medium businesses, as well as co-working space. Each floor will have 5,000 square feet with accessible breakout spaces on the upper two floors.

The building has "strong sustainability" credentials including dedicated on-site cycling provision and facilities for greener commuting.

The London Assembly makes recommendations on planning process

The London Assembly planning committee has made recommendations on the way the mayor’s office reviews and decides on planning applications.

These include that:

  • The mayor should disclose the identities of anyone that has lobbied for and against a call-in, including any informal requests.
  • For all outstanding and future call-ins, the mayor must be clearer on how the three specific threshold policy tests for call-in have been applied.

Committee chair Andrew Boff said: “The committee met with industry experts, who have first-hand experience in dealing with planning applications that have been ‘called in’ by the mayor, to hear their views on the current structure and what needs to change.

“Their information made it clear to us that there is a need to reform how the mayor deals with planning applications in London. That’s why we’re recommending a review to assess if the current mayoral planning process is still fit for purpose.

“Approved planning applications can have a huge impact on the landscape of communities, areas and boroughs in London. That is why the decision on whether to grant planning permission or not, needs to be made on the basis of what’s best for London and the Londoners living in the area in question.”

Future Homes Standard consultation extended

The government has extended the consultation on the Future Homes Standard.

Originally set to close on 10 January, it will now close on 7 February.

The consultation sets the government's plans for the Future Homes Standard, including proposed options to increase the energy-efficiency requirements for new homes in 2020.

The consultation can be found on the UK Government website.

17 December 2019
Laura Edgar, The Planner