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Planning news - 1 June 2023

Land-use task force required in the UK 

The Geospatial Commission recommends that a Land Use Analysis Taskforce should be established to make sure national priorities related to infrastructure, housing, agriculture and the environment are delivered across the UK. 

In its report Finding Common Ground: Integrating Data, Science and Innovation for Better Use of Land, the commission explains that the task force should bring together, “through appropriate new cross-departmental governance”, a shared, spatial evidence base to “help decision-makers consider the range of opportunities and trade-offs, ensuring national priorities are delivered within the land available in the UK”. 

Although the UK does have a “wealth” of data and data companies serving some sectors well, the report says there is a “growing need” for decision support tools that help landowners, land managers and local communities to understand the opportunities for multifunctional land use. There are challenges in integrating these datasets, as well as bridging analysis across different sectors and spatial scales. 

Better use of land is part of the government’s plans to deliver economic growth, as well as the fair distribution of opportunity. Changes will be required to both protect the environment and address climate change while meeting the demands of a growing population. 

Viscount Camrose, minister for AI and intellectual property at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “Land is fundamental for how we live our lives – it produces the food we eat, supports ecosystems that we rely on for clean air and fresh water, and provides the space for us all to live and work in. As we face new economic and environmental pressures, we need to make smart choices to get the best from our land. 

“We should capitalise on advances in data science and modelling technologies to help us bring together data from a range of sources, and present it accessibly, in order to support better use of land.” 

For the report, the Geospatial Commission initiated the National Land Data Programme (NLDP). It explored key land use challenges to demonstrate where data analysis and evidence can support better land use decisions. 

The study acknowledges that although some land will not be suitable for multiple purposes, there are opportunities for multifunctional land use, such as rooftop solar energy. It considers these opportunities in six sectors: energy, housing, biodiversity, food, water and transport. 

The report makes three other recommendations: 

Champion the market for decision support and visualisation tools to enable better land use decisions which create multifunctional benefits. Innovative tools could provide better information about land use choices, and enable local stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to land use frameworks. 

Strengthen the links between land use policy design, academic research and industry practice. The creation of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is an opportunity to encourage and capitalise on vital interdisciplinary collaboration between academia, government policy and industry in the context of land use decision-making. The report notes that information about land ownership and control can be “opaque”, which causes inefficiencies in the property development and planning system. 

Develop a standard taxonomy for key land use data to support improvements to the interoperability of land use data and analysis. A common land use Data Product Specification, building on the prototype developed by NLDP, could help to encourage, coordinate and track improvements to key data. 

Finding Common Ground: Integrating Data, Science and Innovation for Better Use of Land can be found on the UK Government website. 

24 May 2023 
The Planner 

Stockport names its partner for town centre scheme

Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) has announced that it is partnering with The English Cities Fund (ECF) on a long-term joint venture that will see the development of an eight-acre site in the town centre. 

The agreement to join forces comes after the opportunity launched to market at UKREiiF in 2022.   

The site is known as Stockort 8; it is one of the largest sites within the 130-acre Town Centre West regeneration masterplan. Overall, the Town Centre West masterplan is intended to create up to 4,000 new homes, a million square feet of employment space, public transport improvements, new green space and local amenities over the next 15 years.    

Stockport MDC, established by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, using devolved powers, is the delivery vehicle for the masterplan. 

The joint venture partners will invest more than £250 million to transform the site into a “new digitally enabled, green and fully walkable neighbourhood”. It is set to comprise more 1,200 new homes, retail, leisure and office space.   

Lord Kerslake, chair of Stockport MDC, said: “The interest from the industry was overwhelming, but ultimately, ECF demonstrated a shared long-term vision for the site, and for Stockport. This vision was one that clearly reflects the ambitions laid out in our strategic business plan, including a way forward that delivers against our guiding principles of community, sustainability and innovation, and, most importantly, one that best serves the needs of local people. Added to this, ECF’s shared ethos for public and private sector collaboration, and it was clear that ECF was the right partner for this next phase in Stockport’s transformation. 

“Work to deliver the Town Centre West masterplan is continuing at pace, with a number of our landmark schemes such as the Interchange, Weir Mill and the latest phase of Stockport Exchange, completing this year and next. This latest milestone is another major step forward in our plan to create one of the most liveable town centres, not only in the region but in the UK.” 

Sir Michael Lyons, chair of ECF, added: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Stockport Council and the local mayoral development corporation. We understand what can be achieved with strong local leadership, effective collaboration between public and private sectors and patient investment. Our shared emphasis on quality homes, public realm, and commitment to creating an inviting place bodes well.” 

A planning application for the site will be submitted during summer 2024, with completion of the first phase by summer 2027. 

ECF is a development company set up by the financial services group Legal & General, government housing agency Homes England and placemaker Muse. 

Laura Edgar, The Planner 
24 May 2023 

Consultation begins on revised transport plan for the North

Transport for the North (TfN) has launched a 12-week statutory consultation for its revised Strategic Transport Plan (STP) for the north of England. 

After consultation, the STP will be used to shape TfN's advice to the government on the transport priorities for the north of England. 

It will also form the blueprint for ensuring that economic investment will decarbonise the transport system, as well as create more opportunities. 

TfN said the revised STP has been updated to reflect a wider set of outcomes the North wants to achieve by 2050, including with a clear vision for the region's transport network. It is supported by three strategic ambitions: transforming economic performance, rapid decarbonisation of the transport network, and significantly reducing transport related social exclusion. 

The updated STP features a “right share” metric that is intended to support efforts to reduce car dependency and create the capacity required to accommodate growth on public transport networks and sets out a pathway for near-zero emissions from surface transport in the North by 2045. 

Lord McLoughlin, chair of TfN, said: “Our strategic transport plan will set out our advice to government on how best the North, speaking with one voice, thinks we can reach a sustainable, socially inclusive transport network for the future. 

“We need to change how we plan for, develop, invest, and deliver transport infrastructure and services. The evidence in this STP shows how with sustained investment, the right policy levers and enabling behaviour change, we can truly transform the North.” 

The final STP is expected to be published in early 2024. 

The 12-week consultation runs from Thursday 25 May to Thursday 17 August. More information can be found on the TfN website.1 

Laura Edgar, The Planner 
26 May 2023

Agreement aims to strengthen London’s archaeological planning advice

The City of London Corporation and Historic England have made an agreement to strengthen protection for the capital’s ‘significant’ archaeology. 

It will see the the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service (GLAAS), an experienced specialist team within the government’s advisory body on heritage, counsel the corporation on archaeological planning. 

The GLAAS team already provides most of the capital’s local government archaeological advice through the planning system to best protect, manage and interpret archaeological heritage from pre-application stage onwards. 

Its work will extend to include planning applications affecting the City of London itself, covering the Roman and medieval core of England’s largest historic city.   

The three-year paid-for service-level agreement builds on a temporary arrangement that has been in place since September 2022. 

Duncan Wilson, chief executive at Historic England, said: “We are excited and proud to be championing the positive contributions archaeology can make to aid sustainable development within the City of London, and securing tangible benefits for local communities. At the heart of this new agreement is a proactive approach to revealing and celebrating the city’s archaeological treasures to a wider audience – through open days, accessible publications, displaying new discoveries and more.” 

Shravan Joshi, planning and transportation committee chair for the corporation, commented: “The city is a unique place in which 24/7 business districts and busy transport hubs rub up against historic buildings and important urban archaeology, so striking the right balance between conservation and development is crucial. 

“That is why developments like the recently approved 85 Gracechurch Street are so important. As well as addressing the city’s demand for high-quality office space, the scheme will feature a free-to-access public exhibition of the Roman Forum, Basilica, and an educational facility, intended to inspire children from under-represented communities to forge a career in archaeology.” 

The City of London contains 52 of the 173 scheduled monuments in Greater London as well as archaeology that is not scheduled but managed through the planning system. Much of the city’s archaeology lies buried beneath its streets and buildings, with new developments offering an opportunity to discover and display this heritage, as was done for the Roman Amphitheatre under the Guildhall. 

25 May 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Green light for major scheme at former London barracks

Inland Homes has been granted planning permission by the London Borough of Hounslow for 1,525 homes on the site of the former Cavalry Barracks. 

The mixed-use scheme in West London, which also includes around 2,700 square metres of commercial space and nearly 4.3 hectares of green space, will see 14 grade II listed and nine locally listed buildings retained and brought back into use. A total of 35 per cent of the properties on the site will be affordable homes.   

Inland Homes said the former barracks, founded in 1793, is one of the largest remaining brownfield sites in London at nearly 15 hectares. 

It was one of 40 barracks established around the country as part of the British response to the threat of invasion during the French Revolution. 

24 May 2023 
Huw Morris, The Planner

News in brief

Planning tracker launches in Tewkesbury 

A planning application tracker has been launched by Tewkesbury Borough Council to enable people to follow planning application submissions more easily. 

The tracker will help people stay up to date with applications as they progress through the stages of the planning process, from ‘application received’ to ‘decision made’. It is directly linked to the council’s planning department’s database, so is updated as soon as an application reaches the next stage in the process. 

The tracker is fully accessible to the general public, and both applicants and members of the public with an interest in following the progress of an application can sign up to receive live updates by email or text message. 

Courtyard forest plans in Hackney approved 

Hackney Council has approved plans by Mowat & Company for Benyon Properties to create a forest in a courtyard at the junction of Kingsland Road and Forest Road in Hackney. 

The approved designs place a forest at a cluster of Victorian warehouses that are adapted into a mix of retail, residential homes and creative studios. 

The proposals include the introduction of a new forest comprising a diverse selection of trees to ensure its resilience to climate change and to encourage insects, fungi and birds to flourish. 

The creative studios and flats around the forest will meet BRE guidelines, ensuring a good amount of daylight inside. 

Permission sought for Devon new town 

Plans have been submitted for the next stages of an expanding new town in Sherford, Devon. 

Phases 3A and 3B will be located on the eastern edge of Sherford. More than 1,024 homes will be built in this new section, with a variety of house types and designs that “reflect a village look and feel”. 

Spanning 45 hectares, these phases will be surrounded by open green space, including the South Hams landscape of Sherford’s expanding country park. It will provide 35 hectares of publicly accessible green space and communal areas, which includes Sherford Stream Valley, urban parks, playgrounds, wildflower meadows, avenues of trees and vast amounts of parkland. New woodland totalling 4.5 hectares is to be planted. 

The new community is being delivered by the Sherford Consortium – a partnership of Taylor Wimpey, Countryside Partnerships, and Vistry Housebuilding. 

Council submits Riverside shopping centre demolition plans 

Shropshire Council has submitted plans for partial demolition of Riverside shopping centre in Raven Meadows, Shrewsbury. 

The planning application sets out the intention to demolish the exterior canopy of Riverside shopping centre, part of its adjacent unit and the former police station. 

The scheme is intended to create a mixed-use, low-carbon waterside development, “significantly improving” Shrewsbury’s employment and productivity and bringing more private sector investment into the town. 

It forms part of a wider, transformational programme to redevelop the Smithfield Riverside area of the town centre. 

Public Notice Portal launched 

The local news media sector has launched the Public Notice Portal, which is an initiative by media outlets to further promote public notices to communities and enhance local democracy by harnessing the sector’s online audiences. 

The portal had a soft launch in September. It is backed by local publishers in membership of the News Media Association. 

The site displays more than 10,000 live notices at any given time with an average of 2,500 notices being added by local publishers every week. 

The portal has been developed by the local news media industry with £1 million from the Google News Initiative. It is fully searchable by postcode or type of notice. 

Newsquest’s chief executive Henry Faure Walker said: “Highly trusted local news media has a critical role to play in ensuring public notices reach as many people in local communities as possible, ensuring the fullest possible scrutiny of the information they contain. 

“As a sector, we have invested in the Public Notice Portal to further enhance and strengthen the role of local news media in promoting public notices by leveraging our large digital audiences.” 

Housing plans approved near Rearsby 

Charnwood Borough Council’s planning committee has approved plans by Fisher German on behalf of land promoter Clarendon Land & Development to deliver up to 65 homes at a site south of Gaddesby Lane, near Rearsby. 

The 8.3-acre site, which is part of Charnwood Borough Council’s emerging local plan, will have an allocation of 40 per cent affordable homes. The development will also feature common green space for residents to enjoy, including a village green, a natural play area, and a circular pedestrian and cycle route connecting them together. 

Biodiversity net gain will be ensured through the planting of a 1.5-acre orchard and wildflower meadow to the south-east of the site, which can be accessed via a cycle link to the main site and Gaddesby Lane. 

Boston Leisure Centre extension plans gets green light 

Boston Borough Council has approved plans to redevelop and refurbish a two-storey extension to Boston Leisure Centre. 

Proposals for the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre are part of the £21.9 million of funding received from the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities Towns Funding programme. It includes a new entrance, gym facilities, and a new changing village suitable for all users. 

The access to the centre will be remodelled and there are plans for a shared pick-up/drop-off and coach facility, along with a new public plaza to bring together the two schemes. 

The scheme is expected to be delivered by spring 2025. 

Council opens redevelopment procurement process in Camden

The London Borough of Camden has launched its procurement process to find a development partner for a mixed-use redevelopment opportunity on Camley Street. 

The Camley Street development opportunity comprises 3.56 acres across two council-owned sites at 120-136 Camley Street and 3-30 Cedar Way.   

The transformation of this part of Camden includes the delivery of flexible, creative workspace, a mix of housing tenures including new affordable homes, and an attractive public realm. 

Conditions discharged on Anglesey pub 

Work on a former Anglesey pub can begin after the conditions of the planning application were discharged by the Isle of Anglesey County Council. 

The Crown Hotel, in Bodedern, will be refurbished and extended to feature a pub, an Indian restaurant and three apartments. Outdoor eating areas will also be created. 

Nia Borsey of property consultant Fisher German led the planning application process. She said that the plans would bring a pub that was once at the heart of the community back into use. 

Deadline extended on energy NPS consultation 

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (ESNZ) has extended the deadline for the consultation on the revised energy national policy statements (NPS). 

It will now close at 11:45pm on Friday 23 June 2023. 

The consultation covers renewables, carbon capture and hydrogen, oil and gas pipelines and electricity networks. The updates intend to speed up the planning process so that low-carbon generation “can be brought forward at the right time and in the right places whilst protecting and enhancing the environment on land and sea and ensuring local views are taken into account”. 

The consultation can be found on the UK Government website.2 

Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner 
30 May 2023


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

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    Planning news - 1 June 2023

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      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2023 Planning Portal.