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Weekly planning news

Planning news - 12 January 2023

Mandatory second staircases subject to consultation

The government is consulting on proposals to mandate second staircases in new residential buildings over 30 metres height.

The proposals also include sprinkler systems for new care homes, regardless of height.

They are part of the government's work to update the statutory guidance that underpins building regulations for new buildings to guarantee the safety of those living and working there.

Building safety minister Lee Rowley said: “There are undoubtedly lessons still to be learned from the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the department for housing is committed to working with the sector and residents to explore what more needs to be done to make new homes across the country safe.

“This consultation is the next step in the department’s work to improve building regulations and make sure they are as clear and effective as possible.”

The consultation closes on 17 March. It can be found on the UK Government website.1

4 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

New homes to have gigabit broadband

The government has amended the Building Regulations 2010 so that new homes built in England will be fitted with infrastructure and connections capable of delivering gigabit broadband.

Gigabit broadband is available in more than 72 per cent of the UK.

The updated regulations mean that more people moving into new homes will have a gigabit-capable broadband connection ready when construction is completed.

This avoids costly and disruptive installation work after the home is built.

Another new law makes it easier to install faster internet connections in blocks of flats when landlords “repeatedly ignore requests for access from broadband firms”, said the government. The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act (TILPA), now in force in England and Wales, makes it easier for broadband providers to gain access to install equipment in blocks of flats when a faster connection is requested by a tenant.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “Nothing should stop people from seizing the benefits of better broadband, whether it is an unresponsive landlord or a property developer’s failure to act.

“Thanks to our new laws, millions of renters will no longer be prevented from getting a broadband upgrade due to the silence of their landlord, and those moving into newly built homes can be confident they’ll have access to the fastest speeds available from the day they move in.”

Under the updated building rules, developers are legally required to future-proof new homes in England for next-generation gigabit broadband as standard practice during construction. Connection costs will be capped at £2,000 per home for developers. They will work with network operators to connect developments to the gigabit network.

10 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Plans submitted for 144ha site near Bognor Regis

Planning permission is being sought from Arun District Council for a mixed-use masterplan for land west of Bersted, near Bognor Regis.

The masterplan, which is for a 144-hectare site, has been designed by Scott Brownrigg for Church Commissioners for England and and Landlink Estates.

It includes 2,200 homes, employment space and social infrastructure.

The illustrative masterplan sets out two “distinctive” character areas and a “diversity” of residential settings to cater for different living needs and preferences.

Bruce Calton, head of masterplanning at Scott Brownrigg, said: “Inspired by the site’s former history and its landscape setting, the two main residential areas have their own distinct identity whilst both sharing a major landscape centrepiece containing sport and recreation, health and wellbeing at the heart of the community.”

Community orchards, allotments and waterways, along with green corridors with views to the South Downs and Chichester Cathedral Spire, form part of the wider placemaking strategy. A 5km wellness trail loops around the development, and a network of pedestrian and cycle routes also feature in the masterplan.

Joanna Loxton, head of strategic land investment at the Church Commissioners for England, said: "This mixed-use masterplan will deliver much-needed high-quality housing alongside community facilities and employment space within a design that promotes personal health and wellbeing and sustainability. As a long-term investor with a unique status and special responsibilities, we recognise the importance of delivering developments that have successful placemaking at their heart."

4 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Councillors to consider York Local Plan

York Local Plan will be subject to a consultation in February and March if a recommendation to accept proposed modifications is agreed later this month.

A report will be considered by the City of York Council's Local Plan Working Group (LPWG) on Monday 16 January.

It features modifications requested by a planning inspector. Councillors will decide whether or not to recommend to the council’s executive that the proposed modifications and associated evidence base are agreed upon.

If matters are agreed on, the modifications will be consulted on in February and March, before being submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for approval.

The local plan is intended to: create and protect a "permanent" green belt; support the creation of 18,00 homes – including 4,000 affordable homes; support transport infrastructure investment; and create up to six schools.

Nigel Ayre, the executive member for finance, said: “This is a significant milestone after years of work, as we enter the last stage towards adopting a Local Plan for York – the first for over 60 years. As we begin 2023, we want to build on the significant progress made and have the plan adopted this year.

“This is a robust and sound plan, which will ensure York is able to deliver the housing, jobs, growth and facilities our city needs, whilst also protecting the city’s unique character, green belt and natural beauty.”

9 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Expansion of Cardiff studio complex to go ahead

Cardiff Council has granted full planning permission for proposals to expand the Great Point Seren Studio site on Wentloog Avenue, Capital Business Park.

The plans include three film and television studio buildings totalling 5,700 square metres, vehicular, pedestrian and cycle access, car and cycle parking and landscaping.

Great Point Studios, which is a UK subsidiary of Great Point Media, is behind the application.

The site is located in the designated employment site known as Wentloog Road (Capital Business Park, Lamby Way Industrial Estate, Wentloog Corporate Park, Rail Freight Terminal) identified in the council's local development plan.

The planning officers' report states that the uses proposed are policy compliant with the site’s designation for B use class employment activities. Although large, the buildings are "not considered to be incongruous" additions to the development site or wider area and, on balance, the scheme is considered to be an acceptable form of development in terms of trees, landscaping, ecology and biodiversity.

Great Point Studios took over the lease and management of the site from the Welsh Government in 2020. Arup prepared the plans.

5 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News round-up

Permission sought for 50 homes in Derbyshire

Housebuilder Honey has submitted plans to deliver a £14 million development in the village of South Normanton, Derbyshire, to Bolsover District Council.

It would comprise 50 two, three and four-bedroom homes.

Located on Lees Lane, the 4.5-acre development will be the developer's first since launching in October last year if permission is granted.

Honey would make a £160,000 contribution to initiatives that will benefit the local community.

Honey was founded by former Avant Homes chief executive officer, Mark Mitchell.

Rowcroft Hospice redevelopment plans approved in Torquay

Torbay Council's planning committee has approved plans for the redevelopment and expansion of Rowcroft Hospice in Torquay.

The hospice sits on an 8.9-hectare site in secluded woodland behind Torre Station and will “significantly” enhance care for people in Devon with life-limiting illnesses.

A remodelled in-patient unit with an increased number of beds and a 60-bed specialist nursing home, created around a ‘village green’ concept will be at the heart of the scheme. A village hall, restaurant and allotments are also planned that will see Rowcroft enabled to operate an assisted living complex to meet the growing demand for elderly care in the Torbay area.

Building work is expected to start early in 2024 which will generate in the region of 600 construction jobs, and staff employed by Rowcroft on completion will almost double from 60 to 110, across a range of positions.

Crest Nicholson acquires Rowden Gate site in Wiltshire

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has acquired land for a new site in Rowden Gate on the edge of Chippenham, Wiltshire.

As part of a wider 126-hectare garden village development, Crest Nicholson has secured 17.2 hectares of land to deliver 453 new homes to the area. Phase one and two will consist of 152 and 64 new houses respectively, with one to five-bedroom homes and a variety of house types available to suit a range of purchasers, from first-time buyers to those looking to upsize.

Rowden Gate garden village will offer footpaths and cycle paths in and around the site, providing access into Chippenham town centre and connectivity with the surrounding countryside.

A new riverside park near the River Avon will also be developed, stretching from Rowden Gate into the town.

Once complete, the masterplan will include a village centre, food retailer, primary school and three play areas. There will also be enhancements to the local bus service, which will travel through the tree-lined streets of the development.

Work is due to start this year, with the entire development anticipated to be complete by 2029.

Homes secured for residents in Hastings

Hastings Borough Council’s cabinet has recommended that the full council agrees to release funding to buy up to 50 homes to provide housing for Hastings residents in need of somewhere safe and stable to live.

The proposal would see the council buy properties for temporary accommodation that support residents in housing need to stay within Hastings and close to their families, friends, schools for children and work. The properties would be owned and managed by the council.

The properties will have to meet the council’s Fit to Let standard, which is intended to ensure that they provide residents with good-quality housing that meets a minimum EPC rating of C.

The council said it will explore options to install insulation and renewable energy solutions so that bills are more affordable.

The council will be required to borrow to purchase the properties, however, it expects to receive grant funding from Homes England to support the proposal.

The full council meeting will be held on Wednesday 8 February.

Another renewable energy record set

According to National Grid ESO, wind generated 20.918 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in the half-hour period between 6 and 6.30pm on Friday 30 December.

This beats the previous record of 20.896GW set on 2 November.

On the same day, National Grid ESO also announced that a record was set for the percentage of low-carbon electricity (renewables and nuclear) generated in a half-hour period. It reached 87.2 per cent. Overall, wind provided 61.4 per cent of Britain’s electricity on 30 December.

Wandsworth Council approves Tooting redevelopment plans

Plans submitted by LSI Architects for the redevelopment of land to the rear of 102-104 Upper Tooting Road have been approved by Wandsworth Borough Council to provide five residential mews.

LSI developed the designs for a private developer in Tooting with the project aiming to kick-start the regeneration of the area.

Each home will be made up of three floors, providing three bedrooms and associated living accommodation. A lightwell will ensure that natural daylight is provided throughout, even on the lower ground floor. Each residential unit will also benefit from the provision of private outdoor amenity space.

PCH submits affordable housing plans in Plymouth 

Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) has submitted plans for its £33.5 million scheme for an eco-friendly new neighbourhood in Plymouth city centre, which would create 136 affordable homes for local people to rent and buy.

PCH has prepared proposals to develop land off Bath Street in the Millbay regeneration area in close partnership with Plymouth City Council. The masterplan for the Millbay area will see residential-led, mixed-use development of this site.

The proposed mixed-use development will create 136 new, energy-efficient affordable homes along with commercial units, communal gardens and children’s play areas in open green spaces. Links to cycle paths are planned, and bike stores and pedestrian footpaths would be included to help create a sustainable, low-carbon neighbourhood.

Apartments would be available in buildings ranging from three to five storeys, with a duplex block alongside 20 townhouses and mews houses.

Ninety homes would be available for affordable rent, 19 offered through the government’s Rent to Buy scheme and 27 would be available for shared ownership sale.

Consett hospital plans submitted in Durham 

Plans for a new community hospital in Consett have been submitted to Durham County Council, designed by Medical Architecture for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

The project is in Cohort 2 of the New Hospitals Programme, the plan by NHS England and NHS Improvement to see 40 new healthcare facilities built by 2030.

Shotley Bridge Community Hospital is designed to provide opportunities for patients and staff to connect with the outdoors and benefit from the therapeutic qualities of nature.

The new hospital is arranged around two landscaped courtyards and will offer a range of facilities including outpatient services and diagnostics, an urgent care centre, medical investigations unit for cancer services alongside a chemotherapy day unit, family health services and a 16-bed rehabilitation inpatient ward.

The proposed site is located just 1.8 miles from the existing Shotley Bridge Hospital, which will be replaced as it requires significant investment to maintain the outdated estate.

L&G SBTR secures housing in Crowthorne 

Legal & General’s Suburban Build-to-Rent business (L&G SBTR) and Cala Homes have agreed on a deal for 107 homes at Buckler’s Park, Crowthorne, in the south-east of England.

This transaction is the first between L&G SBTR and homebuilder Cala, which are both owned by Legal & General Capital.

The 107 homes are expected to be completed in 2025 and will comprise two and three-bedroom homes constructed to the new Part L standards with electric vehicle charging (EVC) points and air source heat pumps.

The wider Buckler’s Park 1,000-home masterplan, led by Cala’s Thames business, will include a community and sports hall, nursery, café, flexible meeting spaces, and a new primary school.

10 January 2023
Laura Edgar and Prithivi Pandya, The Planner


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

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    Planning news - 12 January 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.