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Planning news - 23 January 2020

Published: Thursday, 23rd January 2020

McVey promises cash for garden communities, Nottingham approves plan for where homes can be built, Man fined for illegal extension in Barking. 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 announced £8 million in funding to help deliver ‘new, better-designed’ homes for communities across England.

About £6 million would be spent on helping 21 new garden towns and communities to progress their plans.

The money can be used for preparing environmental assessments and applying the latest design techniques to “develop areas people will be proud to be a part of”, the government explained.

The latest garden community to receive support is Wynyard, a 6,800-home development in Durham. It has so far received £150,000.

An additional £1.9 million will be given to councils in England to support new neighbourhood plans. Since these were introduced in 2011, more than 2,600 communities have come forward with proposals for neighbourhood plans.

McVey said: “Communities have the local insight to decide what new homes should look like and the kind of infrastructure they need in their area. This is what neighbourhood planning is all about, so I’m pleased this funding will ensure that the right homes are built in the right places.

“I am also announcing extra cash to deliver new, vibrant garden communities, which will help deliver tens of thousands of well-designed new homes for hardworking families.”

The government said the neighbourhood planning cash would go towards:

  • Providing advice and expertise to communities that want a neighbourhood plan.
  • Organising an independent examination of draft plans.
  • Hosting local referendums that give communities a final say on these plans supporting communities who want to deliver new neighbourhood plans but have not been able to.

16 January 2020
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Nottingham City Council's full council has given the go-ahead for the adoption of a document that identifies potential sites for development and their uses.

The Land and Planning Polices Document (LAPP) Part 2 includes guidance for developers on what and where development can be built, as well as the areas and heritage assets that should be protected.

It identifies the type of development that will be permitted on each site, whether that be office space, retail, employment or residential.

It will guide how Nottingham develops over the next 10 years. Planning officers and the planning committee will use the document when deciding whether to grant or refuse planning permission.

The council explained that at the heart of the plan is a greater emphasis on housing, including the delivery of more affordable housing, and a mixed tenure of housing that meets the needs of the city's residents.

The council is seeking to protect current housing from being converted to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) as well as making sure that at least 10 per cent is accessible and adaptable to support vulnerable people with specific needs.

New developments will be required to give consideration to the surrounding biodiversity and environment and the greater requirement for open space.

Linda Woodings, portfolio holder for planning, housing and heritage at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is an important document, which has been developed and consulted on over a number of years. Now adopted, it will help us identify opportunities for growth and set out guidance on what will be permitted and where it will go.

“The sites identified in the plan are not necessarily owned by the council or will definitely be developed, but as the city grows, it’s important that we plan ahead and ensure polices are in place. They will help guide developers and planners to ensure the right things are developed, in the right places and where they are needed for Nottingham and its citizens to prosper.”

16 January 2020
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A Barking resident has been fined £15,000 for illegally extending his property without planning permission.

Laurence Albert Hill applied for planning permission to build a first-floor rear extension to his property in 2005.

The council refused permission and the Planning Inspectorate dismissed his subsequent appeal.

In 2014, planning enforcement officers at the council became aware that Hill had proceeded with the extension. He was issued with an enforcement notice in February 2015, which stated that the extension must be removed by June 2016.

Hill appealed against the enforcement notice and the action was put on hold.

The Planning Inspectorate dismissed Hill’s appeal, but he refused to take down the extension.

In 2018, street enforcement officers noticed the structure and reported it to the planning enforcement team because they felt it presented a danger.

Hill was invited to attend a voluntary interview under caution to explain why he had not complied with the notice, which he ignored.

In January at Barking Magistrates Court, Hill pleaded not guilty.

He was ordered to pay a fine of £15,000 fine and £1,490 in costs, as well as a victim surcharge of £170. He has three months to make the payment.

Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety said: “It is regrettable that people feel they can choose not to follow planning rules, and residents contact me because they want this stamped out. This case demonstrates that the council will do everything in their power to make sure the rules apply to everyone.

“Sometimes those that flout the rules will do all they can to drag out the legal process – in this case almost 15 years. However, that won’t deter us from taking you on.”

20 January 2020
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Plans for an onshore wind farm comprising up to 22 turbines have been announced by energy firm EDF Renewables (EDF R) for what would be a Development of National Significance in Wales.

In advance of lodging its full planning application at the end of this year, the firm has made a submission to the Welsh Government for an environmental scoping report and an application to Powys County Council to erect a wind speed data mast.

The firm has already carried out ecological and feasibility surveys.

The wind farm proposals, for a site at Garn Fach in the hills above Newtown, Powys, include having the farm run in partnership with 14 local farming families.

Each turbine, up to 150 metres high, would be designed to produce around 5MW, creating circa 110MW and providing “enough low-carbon electricity for the domestic needs of 66,000 households”, according to the firm.

EDF R has also announced plans to create an annual community benefit fund based on a percentage of the farm’s output, which it calculates will amount to £16.5 million over the 30-year lifetime of the project.

Local MP Craig Williams MP, responding to the announcement, said that more needed to be established, in particular “as to how the wind farm would connect to the National Grid. I believe that a grid connection application is still to be submitted and that there are currently no fixed plans as to how power would be transferred to the grid”.

Russell George AM, the local Welsh Government member, agreed. “As I understand it, there has been no agreement on the grid connection. Disappointingly, the wind farm application will be determined by the Welsh Government, rather than by Powys County Council and local communities. I passionately believe that important planning decisions should be made closest to the people they affect.”

The proposed site includes some of the land that formed part of the previous Llaithddu wind farm proposal, which was ultimately refused by the UK Government in 2015.

In a statement, EDF R couched its intended investment as coming at a time of growing concern about climate change and in the light of the Welsh Government’s target for Wales to have 70 per cent of its electricity consumption coming from renewables by 2030. The company also spoke of onshore wind being now “one of the cheapest ways of generating renewable or low carbon energy”.

Mark Vyvyan-Robinson, EDF R’s director of developments and investments, expressed hope “that the wind farm will be seen as an asset in the community in our fight to tackle climate change.”

20 January 2020
Martin Read, The Planner

Birmingham City Council has published its draft transport plan, which sets out its plans to limit the access private cars have to the city with no through trips.

This includes considering various options for the central section of the A38, such as rerouting it to an upgraded ring road.

The draft Birmingham Transport Plan is aimed at guiding future investment in transport so it serves more people, homes and jobs while simultaneously creating a better environment in which to live and work, regardless of age, disability or income.

The council explained that the measures are designed to reduce the “damaging” impact transport has on the environment and support Birmingham's commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2030. It wants to make roads safe, and ensure that people are better connected to job and training opportunities.

The transport plan prioritises people over cars, it added.

Four “big moves” are identified in the plan. Limiting access for private cars to the city with no through trips sits under the heading ‘Transforming the city centre’. This also aims to create a network of pedestrian streets and public spaces that are integrated with public transport and cycling infrastructure.

The three other big moves are:

Reallocating road space – The council wants to move away from single-occupancy private cars to support the delivery of a public transport system fit for a global city, fundamentally changing the way that people and goods move about the city.

Prioritising active travel in local neighbourhoods – Walking and cycling will become people’s preferred mode for travelling around their locality. A limit of 20mph will be standard on all local roads and residential neighbourhoods and local centres will be places where people are put first.

Managing demand through parking measures – Parking will be used as a means to manage demand for travel by car through availability, pricing and restrictions. Where development potential exists, land currently occupied by car parking will be put to more productive use.

Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “As a city, we have been over-reliant on private cars for too long and with more people choosing to live and work in Birmingham, we need to find innovative new ways to keep the city moving in an efficient but sustainable way.

“The more journeys we take by walking and cycling, the more we will improve air quality and our health and the more we will reduce congestion. For longer journeys, buses, trams and trains will be the backbone of a new, go-anywhere transport system.”

The introduction of Birmingham's Clean Air Zone, Zaffar continued, reinforces the council’s commitment to establish a zero-emissions city.

“On the ground, we have started to put things right through investments in projects including the city’s first fully segregated cycle ways, extensions to the Metro tram network and introduction of 20mph speed limits on residential streets.

“The Birmingham Transport Plan, once adopted, will continue to build on these strong foundations, future-proofing our transport system and ensuring that we are able to move around our city in a faster, more efficient way with cleaner air and less congestion.”

The transport plan is subject to cabinet approval at a meeting on Tuesday 21 January. If it is given the go-ahead, it will go out to public consultation from 28 January.

More information about the plan can be found on the Birmingham City Council website.

15 January 2020
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Sheffield devolution deal agreed

Political leaders in Sheffield have agreed on the Sheffield City Region devolution deal, which will now go out for consultation.

Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield council leaders with Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, said they are pleased that the housing secretary has confirmed that he will be working with them to progress the deal.

The original deal was struck in October 2015 proposing a directly elected mayor, but work to secure an agreement was disrupted by a rival plan for a pan-Yorkshire agreement.

Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “This is a deal for people, in particular young people across Sheffield and South Yorkshire, and it will enable us to invest in their skills and equip them to take jobs in growing sectors. It’s about investing in infrastructure, including transport links, and supporting local businesses to become good employers and provide jobs. But at the heart of all this is investment in the future for people who live, work and learn in Sheffield.”

Fine issued over national park tree felling

A South Lakeland woman has been fined £2,000 for carrying out unauthorised works to a healthy and prominent 200-year-old tree in the Dent Conservation Area.

Margaret Taylor, of High Laning caravan and campsite in Dent, had the canopy of the sycamore completely removed in March 2019. Only the stem of the tree was left.

She admitted breaching section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act, but was absent from the court hearing at York Magistrates’ Court earlier this month. In addition to the fine, Taylor was ordered to pay the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s legal costs of £1,322.50 and a victim surcharge of £170.

The tree surgeon who carried out the unauthorised works pleaded not guilty and will appear before York Crown Court in February.

A member of the public reported the unauthorised work to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. In a witness statement to the court an authority officer said the tree would now “die slowly”, therefore the extent of the damage was “tantamount to felling”.

Midland Metro extension approved

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has approved the Birmingham Eastside Extension of the Midland Metro.

The extension to Digbeth will serve the planned HS2 station at Curzon Street.

It will separate the existing West Midands Metro line at Bull Street, with around 1.7km of twin-track set to run from here to a new terminus at High Street Deritend.

Four additional West Midlands Metro stops will serve the east of Birmingham city centre.

61 homes approved in Purfleet

Thurrock Council's planning committee has granted permission for 61 family homes close to the train station in Purfleet.  

The homes form the first phase of the £1 billion regeneration of the town centre to connect the existing Purfleet with the new development and ensure that the whole community benefits.

The project is being delivered by joint venture partners Swan Housing Association and Urban Catalyst, which together form Purfleet Centre Regeneration Limited (PCRL).

The homes will be a mix of two, three and four bedrooms, and up to 30 per cent will be available to purchase under the government’s shared ownership scheme. Work on the 61 homes is due to commence this spring/summer.

The phase will also provide a children’s play area, orchard walk and reinstate public access to Hollow Woods.

Worcestershire looking for mineral sites

Worcestershire County Council has announced that it is looking for new mineral extraction sites in the county.

This consultation and call will close on 13 March 2020.

The county council is preparing a mineral site allocations development plan document. It will allocate specific sites and preferred areas for mineral development to support the delivery of the minerals local plan and aims to provide greater certainty about where such development will take place.

Suggestions for potential mineral sites are being invited from landowners and mineral operators across the county.

The consultation will help with the allocation of specific sites and preferred areas for mineral extraction in the future.

More information can be found on the county council website.

Manchester Town Hall to be restored

Purcell and Manchester City Council have been granted planning approval to restore the grade I listed Manchester Town Hall.

The ‘Our Town Hall’ project aims to make the site more accessible to the public and adapt the building in order to secure its long-term future as a functioning, efficient town hall.

The proposals seek to take care of the site’s heritage features and cut carbon emissions.

Purcell, a firm comprising architects, masterplanners and heritage consultants, created the plans for the town hall, while public realm specialists Planit submitted an application for upgrading the building’s setting in Albert Square.

The scheme is set to be delivered by management contractor Lendlease on behalf of the council.

Brett Wharf plans approved

Gateshead Council has approved plans for Brett Wharf, a £35 million residential-led development on the south bank of the River Tyne.

Designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects on behalf of The High Street Group, the scheme forms part of a major phase in the development of the wider Gateshead Quayside. It was submitted to the council late in 2019.

The mixed-use development comprises up to 262 residential apartments for the private rented sector, as well as offices, retail, cafés and restaurants.

Retirement scheme approved in Kinross

Perth and Kinross Council’s planning committee has granted planning permission for a retirement living scheme on the site of the former Windlestrae Hotel.

Juniper Residential’s plans will see a mix of 41 houses and flats built specifically to meet the needs of the retirement market.

Eight of the 41 units will be delivered as affordable properties, with the remaining two-unit requirement covered through a commuted sum in lieu of on-site provision.

21 January 2020
Laura Edgar, The Planner