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Planning news - 30 September 2021

Published: Thursday, 30th September 2021

45 per cent increase in planning applications submitted, Partnership seeks to help small builders, Planning and historic environment law set to be simplified. 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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Statistics published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) show that 128,400 applications were submitted to district-level planning authorities in England seeking planning permission between April and June 2021.

This is an increase of 45 per cent when compared with the same quarter in 2020, when the country was in and coming out of the first lockdown implemented to stem the spread of Covid-19.

District-level planning authorities granted 99,200 decisions, up by 38 per cent compared with April to June 2020.

Of the major applications considered, 87 per cent were decided within 13 weeks or the agreed time, two percentage points less than in the same quarter in 2020.

The statistical release states that 9,600 residential applications were granted between April and June 2021, 5 per cent more than a year earlier. This breaks down to 1,200 major and 8,400 minor developments.

It also states that 2,000 commercial development applications were granted in April to June 2021, 19 per cent more than the same period in 2020 and 68,900 householder applications were decided, a 59 per cent increase on April to June 2020.

A total of 351,700 decisions were granted in the year ending June 2021, 9 per cent more than the year ending June 2020. Of these, 39,500 residential developments were granted – 5,100 major and 34,300 minor developments, down by 3 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

Planning Applications in England: April to June 2021 can be found on the UK Government website (pdf).

27 September 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Lloyds Banking Group and Homes England have announced that they will invest an additional £300 million commitment to SME and regional housebuilders in the UK.

The Housing Growth Partnership II aims to bridge the homebuilder funding gap so housebuilders can “build more homes across the UK and grow their businesses”.

This additional funding should support a wider range of housing tenures including build-to-rent, regeneration and retirement living units, building on the first Housing Growth Partnership fund announced in 2016. Lloyds Banking Group and Homes England said this new money would help them to achieve their target of supporting the development of 10,000 new homes by 2025.

The partnership also plans to prioritise projects with a focus on sustainability, using modern methods of construction and other evolutionary building methods.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “It is a top priority of this government to increase housing supply so hard-working people can be helped into home ownership.

“A thriving SME sector is crucial to our housebuilding targets and ambitions. This significant amount of funding will help smaller and regional housebuilders by providing them with the financial support necessary to deliver much-needed new homes.”

The partnership is introducing a Regional Growth Initiative, which will see it commit “a higher level of dedicated equity support” to SME housebuilders over a defined period so they can invest in their businesses and target larger and more strategic sites.

The first five regional partnerships with Genesis Homes, Durkan Homes, Stonewood Partnerships, Briar Homes and Cruden Homes are in place across four different regions of the UK.

Vic Hepburn, CEO of Housing Growth Partnership, said: “We are pleased to be building on the success of the Housing Growth Partnership by extending the range of support we can provide to the UK housebuilding market. This includes our new multi-tenure approach, which will provide more flexibility for housebuilders and more choice for homebuyers.

“The introduction of the Regional Growth Initiative will also allow the Housing Growth Partnership to support the most ambitious housebuilders in a more substantial way with additional financial and strategic support.”

Harry Swales, chief investment officer at Homes England, added: “By injecting this additional investment and harnessing Lloyds Banking Group’s commercial skills we’re able to diversify the market, support increasing numbers of builders and provide the homes the country needs.”

23 September 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner


The Welsh Government has launched a new programme to simplify planning and historic environment law, part of a long-term project to create Codes of Welsh law.

A consolidation bill will bring together provisions from the “multiple, heavily amended” planning acts that currently set out the main framework, said the government.

This move would enable people using the planning system in Wales to refer to a single, fully bilingual act containing all the relevant law.

A consolidation bill that will form a coherent body of historic environment law for Wales is also promised.

“Owners of scheduled monuments or listed buildings currently face a complex challenge in understanding the relevant legislation, which has provisions that apply differently in England, Scotland and Wales.

“The consolidation bill will result in clear, distinct and modernised legislation for Wales,” insisted the administration.

The programme will also increase the accessibility of law through digital solutions, promised Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for Constitution.

24 September 2021
Roger Milne, The Planner


Landlord Orofena St John has been issued with a penalty for building a number of extensions and converting them into seven flats and two bedsits without planning permission.

Brent Council had issued St John, owner of 39 Clarendon Gardens, two enforcement notices in 2017. These required her to demolish the extensions and restore the premise back to one house.

The notices were ignored, so the council took the matter to court. In 2019 St John was convicted of breaching the notices, and the matter was referred to Harrow Crown Court under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

These proceedings also revealed that St John was in breach of an enforcement notice issued to 13 The Paddocks, a property that had similarly been illegally converted into two homes. Rooms were being rented out to multiple students on a short-term basis without permission.

On 1 September, the court ordered St John to pay £111,582.57 for the income received from illegally renting the properties to tenants for a profit and she was fined £18,000 in council legal costs and £15,000 for the breach of the notices.

Shama Tatler, lead member for regeneration, property & planning at Brent Council, said: “This is a significant win for Brent. This penalty sends a clear message that people will not be allowed to get away with ignoring planning laws and renting out properties illegally.

“These laws are in place to protect our residents from being exploited in inferior accommodation and to ensure that Brent’s environment is a great place for everyone to live in.”

23 September 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Nottingham City Council has granted planning permission for the latest phase of The Island Quarter, which will see a 12-storey purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) building delivered.

The scheme, drawn up by DAY Architectural, will deliver 702 student bedrooms.

The Conygar Investment Company plc is delivering The Island Quarter scheme in full.

Amenities for students include sky lounges, a pavilion with views onto a private courtyard space, multi-media lounges, co-working spaces, gaming zones and areas for study and relaxation.

Construction work is expected to start on site shortly and the units will be available for students from the 2023/24 academic year.

Christopher Ware, property director at Conygar, said: “Nottingham is a world-renowned university city and the student population is growing rapidly to reflect that. Add in the demand from second and third-year students to remain in PBSA, and it is clear there is a real need for quality student beds in the city.

“This element of the scheme really supports our plans for intergenerational living across the site. One of the biggest impacts of the pandemic has been that people of all ages are reassessing their relationship with where they live, and we want to create places and spaces where people can live, work and thrive.”

The Island Quarter masterplan was granted outline planning approval in April 2019. The Planner recently reported that a series of changes to the masterplan have been made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Leonard Design Architects (LDA) and placemaking specialist Studio Egret West said the green space offering has been enhanced on the 36-acre site, as have the multifunctional public areas for outdoor events.

23 September 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Health centre in Peak District town approved

Architectural practice Race Cottam Associates has had its plans for a new £10.5 million health centre in Bakewell approved.

The 16,000-square-foot centre is expected to provide healthcare services for about 5,000 people.

It will be shared between Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).

It will feature a clinic, treatment and waiting areas, administration offices, dedicated staff and client parking. It will also house a number of existing services including mental health, children’s services, speech and language services, podiatry and physiotherapy.

 

Temporary changes to planning application process extended in Northern Ireland

Nichola Mallon, Northern Ireland's infrastructure minister, has announced that the temporary suspension of the requirement to hold a public event as part of pre-application community consultation on major planning applications has been extended for another six months.

The legislation will cease on 31 March 2022.

The measure was introduced as part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Applicants will still need to comply with other requirements to ensure that communities are aware of and can contribute to major development proposals.

Mallon said: “While we continue to recover from the Covid crisis I am not convinced that now is the right time to remove the temporary suspension. Doing so now could lead to less community engagement as many members of the public may not have confidence attending indoor public events and applicants may find it difficult to comply with the risk assessment requirements of the guidance.

“Public participation, however, remains an important part of the planning process. To ensure that this is not compromised the published advice and guidance on appropriate measures to replace face-to-face public events, such as online engagement will remain in place. This will ensure that pre-application public participation in the planning process can continue across the 11 council areas.”

 

RTPI president visits London boroughs

President of the RTPI Dr Wei Yang FRTPI has praised two east London councils for their "outstanding" regeneration efforts.

She toured multiple regeneration projects lead by representatives from both Redbridge Council and Barking and Dagenham Council.

In Redbridge, Yang met several council figures including council leader Jas Athwal and Brett Leahy, head of planning and building control, regeneration and culture.

Yang also toured Ilford town centre, including an overview of the ongoing transformation of the high street.

The president later visited the borough of Barking and Dagenham, where she was shown a range of housing schemes, including a new development at Burbridge Close, Dagenham, which provides eight socially-rented homes for people aged over 60.

 

Floating wind turbine reaches 54 gigawatts

Research has suggested that the pipeline of floating offshore wind projects is 54GW worldwide.

RenewableUK said 30.9GW of this is in Europe, with the UK pipeline amounting to 8.8GW and Ireland having a pipeline of 7.7GW. Sweden has a pipeline of 6.3GW and Italy 3.7GW.

The world’s first floating wind farm, Hywind, has been operating in Scottish waters since 2017. A second floating project, Kincardine, is almost fully operational.

 

Regeneration adviser appointed for shopping centre transformation

Sefton Council has appointed real estate and regeneration adviser Avison Young to help it with the transformation of the Bootle Strand Shopping Centre.

The council purchased the centre in 2017.

Regenerating the area is part of the council’s improvement plans for Bootle, which have been supported by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Avison Young will be supported by K2 architects. They are tasked with providing strategic advice to identify the best options for investment in the centre so that it delivers more appropriate amenities for Bootle residents and makes better use of the shopping centre itself.

Avison Young will also consider the contribution the Strand Shopping Centre makes to the long-term regeneration of Bootle Town Centre to support the preparation of a transformative Area Action Plan for the town.

Avison Young was selected following a competitive tender process.

 

Present Made to develop smart homes for Cambridgeshire development

The University of Cambridge has selected Present Made, the UK’s ‘first’ purpose-built and designed single-family rental housing platform, to develop sustainable smart homes as part of its 150-hectare Eddington masterplan.

Under plans that have been submitted to Cambridge City Council, Present Made will develop and operate nearly 370 rental homes. This includes the UK’s first family houses to be designed and built for rent.

The homes would be delivered using smart technology and modern methods of construction to guarantee that they are energy efficient.

The £160 million scheme, and the broader Present Made concept, has been curated by award-winning Jo Cowen Architects.

 

Partnership to deliver Birmingham development

Lovell Partnerships and the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) will team up to create an affordable housing and open market residential development on Monmouth Road in Bartlet Green, Birmingham.

Senneley’s View comes after an extensive regeneration programme that required years of site clearance and planning permission for development has since been granted.

The scheme will feature two-bedroom bungalows through to four-bedroom family homes. Of the 68 homes, 24 will be affordable.

28 September 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner