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Planning news - 11 March 2021

Published: Thursday, 11th March 2021

Framework for successful community development set out, Revised local plan submitted for Old Oak Common, London council announces design team for regeneration scheme. And more stories...

Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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A framework that identifies a set of principles to ensure that large-scale development delivers the high-quality homes needed to meet demand and the needs of local communities has been published as a poll finds that two-thirds of the public think new development is poor.

21st Century New Communities: Raising the Ambition, the Urban Land Institute UK (ULI UK) and urban design and planning practice Prior + Partners, aims to establish a “new paradigm” for large-scale development that “unites and inspires all those involved in the delivery of new towns, villages and urban extensions”.

The government wants to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s to meet housing demand and a shortfall in past delivery. As part of this it has set up a garden communities programme, which includes funding. It is also reforming the planning system to help in meeting its target.

The report notes that alongside the development of brownfield land and high-density urban regeneration, large-scale development such as new towns and garden cities will have a role in meeting the housing shortage while providing “unique opportunities to explore and demonstrate new models of creating thriving, sustainable communities”.

A poll gathered by ULI UK and YouGov highlights that support for large developments depends on their quality. It found that 67 per cent of 2,057 respondents felt that the quality of current new community development is poor overall.

Vanessa Hale, chair, ULI UK, said: “Everyone is well aware of the housing crisis which the UK is facing, but the built environment industry and public sector tasked with meeting that challenge are facing their own crisis: a crisis of public confidence that not only can it deliver required housing volumes but that large-scale new development can be part of the solution which meets the needs of local communities with high-quality, sustainable places where people will, fundamentally, love living.

“We know that the industry possesses the skills to deliver amazing places, as evidenced by the quality of some of our large-scale urban regeneration schemes, but also that we can and must do better to raise the level of ambition for what new developments can provide.

“Drawing on examples of best practice, this report builds on previous work to date exploring how to address the supply, diversity, and quality of UK housing and, we hope, provides a new framework for successful and sustainable new community development.”

ULI UK and YouGov said green space and parks was the number one factor that would help gain the support of the public. The top five factors were:

  • 39 per cent - Green space.
  • 35 per cent - Affordable housing.
  • 33 per cent - Provision for wildlife.
  • 32 per cent - Community services.
  • 26 per cent - New employment opportunities.

ULI UK pointed out that these factors align with the attributes set out in the report as being fundamental to successful development.

Jason Prior, Prior + Partners, commented: “The UK’s housing challenge is deep and the creation of high-quality new community developments that are distinctive, resilient and well connected, where people can live healthy and productive lifestyles, can be part of its solution.

“Future new communities will need to be very different to those of the recent past to be truly inspirational and sustainable places to live and they must focus centrally on what it is that the people who live in them value most. Delivering on this ambition will require robust engagement, new stewardship models and new thinking on funding and investment from both the public and private sector. This will ensure that there is early and sustainable investment in placemaking and strategic infrastructure, which are central to effective community building and to delivering both economic and social value.”

The report can be found here on the ULI UK website.

8 March 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has submitted a revised draft local plan to the Planning Inspectorate that aims to support the creation of more than 25,000 new homes.

It also seeks to deliver “tens of thousands” of new jobs in the area.

The changes to the draft plan were made after an inspector advised the development corporation to remove two sites during public examination in 2019. The inspector considered the corporation’s plans for phase 1a to be deliverable and has directed the development corporation to make changes to the local plan to support the delivery of this phase of development.

The corporation said the local plan intends to “exploit” the transport hub that is located in West London, as it will be the only place where HS2, the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) and Great Western Rail services will meet.

Homes are already being constructed, but it is expected that the revised local plan will help to accelerate the building of a new urban district comprising affordable homes, jobs, public space and local facilities by making the new Old Oak Common Station the focus.

The local plan designates key sites in Old Oak North for long-term employment to protect existing businesses.

The corporation said it is continuing to work with local landowners to prepare the local plan, as well as its three London boroughs – Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Brent – plus HS2, the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the local community.

The development corporation plans to submit a bid to the government infrastructure fund shortly for support to deliver new access roads, bridges and utilities.

David Lunts, the corporation’s chief executive, said the new proposals “make for a better and more deliverable” local plan.

“By focusing on public sector-owned sites we can coordinate major regeneration at scale, fully exploiting the amazing potential created by the  largest new rail station to be built in over a century here at Old Oak Common. Our aim, though, is not just new homes and jobs; we are creating a desirable, exceptionally well-connected and bustling series of districts for London where ‘live, work, play’ is more than just a slogan.

“We will be consulting the community in the months ahead and, subject to the planning inspector’s approval, hope to see the local plan adopted before the year is out.”

8 March 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Southwark Council has announced the appointment of a team of architects who will design plans to transform the Currys PC World site on Old Kent Road.

The design team was chosen using the council's new Architect Design Services Framework (ADSF).

Morris + Company, Weston Williamson + Partners, and West Portand all have prior experience of working in Southwark and will collaborate on the masterplanning project.

Their bid was supported by landscape architect BBUK, sustainability consultancy Greengage, which assisted with the social value commitments, and by Soundings with their community engagement work.

The mixed-use development will include the delivery of around 500 new homes, half of which will be council homes. The scheme forms part of the council’s programme to build 11,000 new council homes across the borough by 2042.

The also includes 5,000 square metres of commercial space and land which could be used for a new further education facility.

The site is currently occupied by Currys PC World and a B&M store, which was acquired by Southwark Council in 2019. The council want it to be net carbon-neutral.

Shaun Ihejetoh, director at West Port, said: “The next 10 to 15 years will see a lot of change in this part of Southwark. We look forward to helping shape a scheme that is responsive to local needs, embodies sustainable development principles and works with the wider regeneration masterplan of the area. The Old Kent Road embodies many things that make London unique: the buzz, the diversity and the potential of the area drew us to this project. Through sharing and building upon our existing knowledge and experiences with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups in the area we hope to help deliver a scheme that is made by and representative of the communities it will serve.”

Johnson Situ, cabinet member for climate emergency, planning and transport at Southwark Council, said: “Our vision for the Old Kent Road is to harness its unique character as London’s oldest thoroughfare to create a go-to destination, where our diverse communities can thrive, with the addition of new homes, business space, and quality open spaces.

“As part of our wider Old Kent Road plans, this new scheme is a fantastic opportunity to build council homes and continue our work to ensure that the people who design our homes better represent the rich diversity of the people who live in them.”

Public consultation on the scheme is expected to begin in 2022.

4 March 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

A huge new two-storey data centre has been approved by Newport City Council.

The scheme, proposed by Next Generation Data, is set to be built on land south of The Courtyard at Imperial Park, near the company’s existing facility.

Plans for four data centre pods on land north of the latest application site were approved in September last year.

The project includes 10 data halls, 60 back-up generators, car parking for 40 vehicles, a security cabin and a four-metre-high security fence.

The building will be 20.6 metres high, 142 metres long and approximately 100 metres wide. The anticipated gross floor area is 25,500 square metres.

The officer’s report, which recommended approval, said: “The proposed development would, on balance, have significant economic benefits and would not cause unacceptable impacts on the environment or surrounding land uses. The proposed development represents a sustainable development which accords with national policy and the local development plan.”

5 March 2021
Roger Milne, The Planner

A planning application for a development in the centre of Hull has been submitted to the city council.

The application is for Shirethorn House and the adjacent land and buildings at the corner of Ferensway and Spencer Street. It has been submitted by FFH Ferensway and supported by Ferensway Developments.

It comprises more than 250 residential and retail units and an internal winter garden for residents. The homes will feature one, two and three-bed apartments, as well as townhouses.

Plans outline that the development will incorporate the look of nearby historic buildings and feature modern elements, including three towers – one 14 storeys in height.

Hull City Council said it welcomes the proposals saying it “demonstrates the continued confidence in the Hull economy”.

FFH Ferensway director Steve Crane says: “Hull City Council still has a positive and forward-looking view and that has provided us with confidence to invest in the city.

“Collaboration has been key to making this project a reality and the feedback we’ve had so far has been fantastic. This site is at a key gateway to the city centre and it will be a fitting addition to the city council’s plans to regenerate Hull.”

Daren Hale, Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for economic investment and regeneration, added: “Hull City Council has ambitious plans to regenerate the city centre and this development will be key to realising those ambitions.

“This project will be a striking addition to Hull and it will provide high-quality homes as people look to move back into the city centre once again.”

4 March 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Planning ‘buddy’ scheme launched for women

Women in Planning has launched a mentoring scheme with the intention of bringing together individuals who are seeking support and guidance on their career development from experienced professionals. It was published on International Women’s Day (8 March).

The scheme will see applicants ‘buddy up’ with a mentor during a matching process that best suits both the mentee and the mentor.

Applications are open to all those working within the planning sector, from students through to women in the boardroom.


Contractor appointed for brownfield institute

The University of Wolverhampton has appointed ISG as the main building contractor for the National Brownfield Institute (NBI) at its £120 million Springfield Campus.

Planning permission for the National Brownfield Institute was granted by the City of Wolverhampton Council in December 2020. The £17.5 million research centre was designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects.

The institute will develop modern methods of building through innovation and partnership with the construction industry, focusing on the practical application of future brownfield regeneration through the work of research teams, leading policy development and commercial services.

Work will start later this month.


Council appoints firm for carbon-neutral bus station

Leicester City Council has appointed Arcadis to deliver what is believed to be the UK’s first carbon-neutral bus station. The station will replace St Margaret’s Bus Station

The new design includes mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, air source heat pumps and 750 square metres of solar panels. These will generate enough energy to power the station and feed extra energy back into the grid.

The project is a fast-track inner city regeneration scheme and is due for completion in May 2022. Planning approval was granted in January 2021.


Outline consent granted for mixed-use Warrington scheme

Warrington Borough Council has granted outline planning permission for an eight-storey apartment block on Stanley Street, Warrington.

The development will deliver 39 affordable self-contained apartments and 112 square metres of commercial space.

The scheme represents the first residential-led scheme to come forward as part of the town centre Bank Quay Gateway regeneration area.

Developer Chesro Ltd, represented by planning consultants County Planning Ltd, submitted the scheme for permission.


Maidenhead town centre plans approved

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s development management panel has approved plans to build a new town centre designed in partnership with the local community. The plans will see £500 million invested in Maidenhead.

Nicholson’s Quarter is planned for the site of a failing single-storey 60s shopping centre, the Nicholson’s Centre. The scheme is considered to be one of the UK’s first shopping centre to town centre conversions.

The mixed-use project comprises around 660 new homes, workspace for more than 2,000 thousand people, 60 shops and restaurants. There will be 1.5 acres of public space.

A Sir Nicholas Winton Square will also be created, which has been named by local residents in honour of Sir Nicholas' act of bravery during the Second World War.

9 March 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner