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Planning news - 15 April 2021

Published: Thursday, 15th April 2021

Government announces a Towns Fund Deal for Truro, Permission sought to redevelop former Kent power station, Government agency seeks affordable housing partners. 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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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a £23.6 million deal for Truro, Cornwall, that is intended to boost the local economy, create jobs and improve skills in the area.

The deal is also designed to transform Truro into a ‘connected river city’ and support its vision of becoming a modern economic, cultural and green capital by 2030.

Mark Duddridge, chair at Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), commented: “The award of £23.6 million for Truro, as the country begins to emerge from the restrictions of lockdown is a fantastic boost for Cornwall and the city. The environmentally sensitive development of the town will create welcome employment and will bring a new vibrancy to many areas of Truro.”

New spaces will be created for business, green event areas, promenades and ferry terminals. One project, the New Life for City Buildings, aims to transform and regenerate unused historic buildings in the city centre by improving access to them to celebrate Truro's heritage and culture offer. This includes launching a scheme to enable the wider repurposing of Truro buildings so spaces are future-proofed for modern use.

According to the government, green and sustainable travel is central to the plans, and key locations and attractions will be connected by accessible walking and cycling routes. The funding will also help to convert some of Truro’s unused buildings into much-needed homes.

Truro's deal is the 53rd deal to be agreed from the Towns Fund. Johnson said the deal “will help to unleash [Truro’s] tremendous potential”.

“Through a range of innovative projects including greener transport links and the restoration and renewal of spaces in the city centre, we will be able to rejuvenate the local economy, support businesses, boost connectivity and create new jobs.”

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick added: “By revitalising the waterfront, breathing new life into unused historic buildings and investing in new cultural and tourist attractions, it will make a huge difference to the local economy and create much-needed jobs and homes.

The deal comes after Cornwall Council submitted a proposal to the fund.

8 April 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Energy company Uniper has submitted an outline planning application to Medway Council for a mixed-use development on the site of the former Kingsnorth power station.

The 279-acre site is on the Hoo Peninsula in Medway, Kent. It includes 152 acres of readily developable brownfield land.

Uniper said that once occupied, the development  – named MedwayOne – could create more than 2,000 full-time permanent jobs, as well well as about 700 temporary construction jobs during development.

It plans to deliver a mix of commercial, manufacturing and industrial spaces, as well as lorry park. Storage, distribution and data centre uses could also be delivered.

Uniper is also seeking permission to establish an energy hub that could provide power, steam and heat for neighbouring businesses and a district heating scheme for the proposed housing development – Hoo Rural Town.

The submission follows a period of consultation earlier this year in which more than 4,800 residents, stakeholders and businesses were invited to attend online public exhibitions.

If approved, before construction begins detailed applications for the development of individual parcels of land will be submitted by businesses wishing to locate to the site in the future.

Adam Archer, project manager for MedwayOne, said: “If our application is approved, MedwayOne will provide exciting long-term investment opportunities with the ability to attract a range of dynamic businesses. It is anticipated that MedwayOne will be developed over a period of around 10 years, with the potential to attract investment into the area and create new job opportunities that could complement and support future planned growth in Medway.   

“Uniper is committed to ongoing dialogue with local residents, elected members, businesses and community groups, and will keep all communication channels open and interested parties updated of MedwayOne’s progress.”

Kingsnorth power station was demolished three years ago.

Uniper is based in Germany. it was formed by the separation of E.ON's fossil fuel assets into a separate company in 2016.

The application can be found here on the Medway Council website.

12 April 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Homes England is seeking ambitious strategic partners that can deliver affordable housing at scale.

This latest competitive round of bidding closes at midday on 18 May 2021.

A strategic partnership is one of two routes by which grant funding from the government’s housing agency can be accessed, which is distributed from the Affordable Homes Programme (2021-2026).

Partners enter into a multi-year grant agreement with Homes England, rather receiving funding on a scheme-by-scheme basis through Continuous Market Engagement.

In previous rounds, strategic partnerships have been available to not-for-profit providers only, but this time Homes England has said it is welcoming  proposals from for-profit affordable housing providers and developers, as well as local authorities.

Successful bids will benefit from the certainty of affordable homes grant funding for the duration of the deal, alongside “bespoke access to the agency’s land and investment capabilities”.

Strategic partners must demonstrate how they are supporting Homes England’s strategic objectives within their development programme, including by using modern methods of construction (MMC) and a commitment to working closely with SMEs.

Gordon More, interim chief executive at Homes England, said: “Our strategic partnership model is about working with ambitious organisations to maximise successful delivery through government funding and use of our wider resources so we can increase innovation, diversify the sector and increase the supply of much-needed affordable homes.

“Building on the successes of our existing strategic partnerships, we’re welcoming bids from a broader set of partners that are as committed as we are to design quality and modernisation.”

12 April 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Chichester District Council’s planning committee has approved an outline planning application for up to 1,300 homes in Tangmere, West Sussex – 30 per cent of which have been designated as affordable.

Countryside Properties’s plans also include a primary school, several community and commercial facilities at Tangmere and areas of public open space, such as allotments, across half of the site.

The housebuilder was appointed by the council to work with it and Tangmere Parish Council to bring forward the strategic site. Two years of work with the community and stakeholders followed to create one connected village.

Martin Leach, managing director of strategic land at Countryside, said the plans had evolved to “create an attractive place that responds positively to the context of Tangmere, with the community at its heart”.

The outline planning application was progressed alongside a compulsory purchase order process. A decision on this is expected from the secretary of state later this year, after which Countryside anticipates that it will submit the initial reserved matters applications in early 2022.

8 April 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Student accommodation specialist Watkin Jones has unveiled proposals for a 350-bed scheme in the centre of Swansea on the site of a former HM Revenue and Customs office.

The site, which previously housed the Valuation Office Agency, is next to Swansea railway station.

The developer has begun consultation with the local community ahead of submitting a planning application later in the year, which will include studios and cluster accommodation, alongside communal and amenity facilities.

Watkin Jones is already active in Swansea, having recently developed and completed a three-phase 967-bed scheme in the city.

The company states that the project will add much-needed student housing capacity as Swansea University student numbers have increased 11.5 per cent over the past three years, while students from Trinity St David’s University have increased by 47.9 per cent.

9 April 2021
Roger Milne, The Planner

Housebuilder secures land for 1,250 homes

A housebuilder has secured land for around 1,250 new homes across two different locations in Cheshire. 

Redrow’s North West division acquisitions are a 63.5-acre site in Congleton for homes, a primary school and local shops and a series of land deals that secure 120 acres for around 800 new homes at Daresbury Garden Village, near Warrington.

The Congleton site has outline planning consent from Cheshire East Council for up to 500 new homes, including 79 affordable homes. Redrow said it is preparing a reserved matters application for 452 homes, including one and two-bedroom apartments and two, three, four and five-bedroom houses.

The housebuilder’s acquisition of former farmland off Delph Lane, Daresbury, alongside the Bridgewater Canal, comes after a year of work, it explained. The site first gained outline consent for up to 850 new homes from Halton Borough Council in 2018.

Under the detailed consents Daresbury Garden Village will be developed in three parcels:

  • North – 330 two, three and four-bedroom homes.
  • Central – 200 three and four-bedroom family homes.
  • South – 260 larger three and four-bedroom detached homes.

Work is due to begin on the south parcel this month, while work on the north area will follow around six months later. The whole development is expected to take approximately 11 years to complete. A total of £8.5 million of community payments will be paid by Redrow to Halton Council.


Judicial review to take place this week on carbon emissions

The High Court will preside over a judicial review on the volume of carbon emissions permitted and the exclusion of waste incinerators from the UK’s new emissions trading scheme.

It will take place on Wednesday 14 April and Thursday 15 April 2021 remotely.

Georgia Elliott-Smith, a waste industry expert and environmental consultant, is challenging the UK, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments over their joint decision to omit municipal waste incinerators from the scheme that has replaced the EU emissions trading scheme since January 2021.

A press release from her solicitors, Leigh Day, says the emissions from incinerators are equivalent to approximately 5.4 per cent of the entire volume of greenhouse gas emissions covered by the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS).

Elliott-Smith argues that the cap on the volume of emissions permitted under the emissions trading scheme is too high and was chosen for the improper purpose of ensuring that the UK’s exit from the EU would be smoother. She maintains that the government did not consider the short and medium-term aspects of the Paris agreement.

The Paris agreement requires substantial immediate emission reductions, not just net-zero by 2050.

Leigh Day solicitor Rowan Smith commented: “Our client’s legal case is extremely timely, given all eyes are on the UK government to set an ambitious example at the COP26 climate change conference scheduled for the end of this year. Her arguments are clear: a scheme set up without proper consideration of either the need to apply downward pressure on emissions, or the nearer-term aspirations of the Paris agreement, is unlawful and should be redesigned.”

As well as Leigh Day, Elliott-Smith is represented by David Wolfe QC at Matrix chambers and Ben Mitchell at 11KBW chambers.


Developer selected for extra care site in Wigan

Vistry Partnerships has been selected by Wigan Council to oversee the construction of its Wharfdale Extra Care facility in Leigh.

The £7.5 million contract will see Vistry Partnership work with Wigan Council to build 56 extra care apartments. Each of the specialist properties will be affordable and available for rent through the council.

The one and two-bedroom apartments will be delivered across a three-storey L-shaped complex. The development will also include a communal lounge, assisted bathroom, quiet room and landscaped garden areas accessible to residents.

Wigan Council is funding the scheme with support from Homes England and the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).


Deal secures affordable housing in Greater Manchester

Trafford Housing Trust has purchased 74 affordable homes at Heath Farm Lane LLP's flagship regeneration project in Partington.

The joint venture seeks to help local people get on the property ladder. The homes will be available for shared ownership and rent-to-buy through Trafford Housing Trust and its Laurus Homes brand.

The development at a former National Grid facility off Heath Farm Lane, Partington was approved by Trafford Council in 2019. After this, Heath Farm Lane LLP was established by Vistry Partnerships and Trafford Housing Trust to oversee the construction of 148 two, three and four-bedroom homes.

Outline consent has also been granted for another 452 homes and apartments at the site.

Work is already under way on the site, with the first homes expected to be completed this summer.


North West London scheme approved

The London Borough of Brent Council has granted planning permission for all four phases of developer Countryside’s plans for Peel in Kilburn. A detailed planning application was submitted by CGL Architects.

Countryside will lease the second and third phase to housing association Home Group at the end of this month.

The development will deliver 308 new homes to the London Borough of Brent, increasing the affordable housing offering on site to 40 per cent, up from 18 per cent. 

Plans also include a health centre, gym, a new public plaza and retail and commercial spaces. The site will connect to the council’s proposed district energy network, providing heating and hot water for all residents.


Avison Young to market Lincolnshire development site

Avison Young has been appointed to market a 550-acre development site near Scunthorpe town centre.

The site forms part of the wider Lincolnshire Lakes project, which comprises up to 6,000 new homes, a commercial park and associated uses.

Avison Young is marketing the opportunity to housing providers that can deliver “quality new homes at scale and at pace”.

The site is one of the largest UK residential development opportunities on the market. It has the potential to contribute to reshaping Scunthorpe and the surrounding area.

Previous plans for the site include delivering sustainable village communities along the western edge of Scunthorpe and the nearby River Trent, which could be replicated by the site’s purchaser.

Avison Young has been appointed as sole agent on behalf of LPA Receivers A D Foster & N Pask. Offers are invited for the freehold of the whole site. Smaller lot offers will be considered.

13 April 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner