Weekly planning news
Planning news - 13 October 2022
Plans for Thames waterfront development submitted
Outline plans for the development of Northfleet Harbourside have been submitted to Gravesham Borough Council.
The plans for the new neighbourhood are being brought forward by Landmarque Property Group, in partnership with Ebbsfleet United FC.
Permission is sought for an 8,000-capacity stadium for Ebbsfleet United Football Club, which will also be a multipurpose venue for sports fixtures, cultural, music and community events throughout the year for up to 20,000 people.
Development of the 50-acre brownfield site would also feature 3,500 homes, 225,000 square feet of shops, restaurants, bars, cafés, a hotel, offices, a community retail centre and community and medical services.
The masterplan sets out that there would be 9.5 acres of green space, including publicly accessible river and harbour frontages, pocket parks and pedestrian and cycle links.
As part of the application, work would allow access to Gravesend town centre to be improved. Local transport would link to Northfleet and Ebbsfleet international stations, as well as fast trains to London.
A spokesperson for Northfleet Harbourside said the application is intended to safeguard the future of the club in a new stadium. “The community, the football club and local heritage are central to our plans to improve Northfleet for all.”
Landmarque Property Group and Ebbsfleet United FC's team includes planning and development consultancy Montagu Evans (planning, viability, townscape, socio-economic and retail impact), UNStudio (masterplanning), HLM Architects, C+W O’Brien Architects, Cascade (community engagement), Trium (environment) and Vectos (transport).
12 October 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Legal action threatened against freeholder for not fixing building defects
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has taken the first step of legal action against Grey GR Limited Partnership for failing to fix fire safety defects on a building in Stevenage.
Grey GR is owned by RailPen. It is the freeholder of Vista Tower, a 15-storey tower block.
It has been given 21 days to commit to remediating the tower’s fire safety defects or an application will be made to the courts.
This move from DLUHC follows two years of delays for more than 100 residents living in the tower and Grey GR is one of the first freeholders to face action by the newly created Recovery Strategy Unit, which was set up to identify and pursue firms that repeatedly refuse to fix buildings, working closely with other enforcement authorities.
Levelling Up secretary Simon Clarke said: “The lives of over 100 people living in Vista Tower have been put on hold for over two years whilst they wait for Grey GR to remediate unsafe cladding. Enough is enough.
“This legal action should act as a warning to the rest of the industry’s outliers – big and small. Step up, follow your peers and make safe the buildings you own or legal action will be taken against you.”
The building was registered with the Building Safety Fund in 2020, but the funding agreement has not been signed, so the government cannot release any money.
Clarke is also considering issuing an application for a Remediation Contribution Order against other entities associated with Grey GR, including Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited (RailPen) and Railtrust Holdings Limited (Railtrust), which would require them to financially contribute to the remediation costs.
10 October 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Resolution secured for Stowmarket housing plans
Mid Suffolk District Council has granted outline planning permission to Fisher German and land promoter St Philips Land for up to 300 homes at a site in Stowmarket, Suffolk.
The resolution is subject to a section 106 legal agreement for the homes across 32 acres of land just off Newton Road and adjacent to the A14.
The council originally deferred approval of the plans in July, saying it wished to consider the plan alongside a separate application for 258 homes by housing developers Crest Nicholson on an adjacent site.
Angela Brooks, partner at Fisher German, said: “This was a complex case where even though the whole site was allocated within the area’s development plan, the plans for homes there had to be agreed upon in two separate applications.
“Whilst the applications were separate, the council wanted to hear both at the same time to ensure that members could consider the allocated site as a whole and understand the possible impacts on the local and wider community.
“We were able to demonstrate the value of this application and its synergy with the application on the adjacent site, which meant the council was minded to grant permission after officers recommended approval.
“The plans were originally submitted in February 2020, so it’s fantastic to have finally secured permission for our client and to help bring much-needed housing to Stowmarket.”
6 October 2022
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner
Clarke committed to the environment but is determined to speed up processes
Levelling up and housing secretary Simon Clarke has set out the government’s commitment to speeding up 'processes to get growth going’ and the outcomes for the environment.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on 4 October, he said the Growth Plan announced in September was “defined by its ambition and scope” and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is “really are hitting the ground running”.
Clarke believes that investment zones “represent an amazing opportunity” and they “illustrate perfectly how this government intends to go further on levelling up”.
They will “accelerate” homes, development and enterprise across the UK.
He maintained that the government is committed to the environment, saying: “We remain committed to the same outcomes we always have been clear on, on the environment and beyond, but are determined to speed up processes to get growth going."
Investment zones are defined by three things, Clarke explained. First, consent: “There will be no top-down imposition of these arrangements on anywhere that does not want them.”
Second, the principle of targeted and precise action. They “will target specific and effective sites that would benefit from accelerated development and a tax structure that incentivises investment”.
Third, pragmatic acceleration. “This is an outcomes-focused policy that seeks to accelerate investment, development and growth. That means finding where things can be sped up and doing it, not revisiting already shovel-ready projects, slowing them down.”
The housing secretary also emphasised his commitment to increasing home ownership – giving people security and “a stake in society”.
He explained that in the coming weeks he will set out how the government intends to get more homes on the market and improve access to them.
“This will build on the work of both this government’s recent measures to lift the worst of the stamp duty burden and of previous Conservative administrations, which is paying dividends in the form of record numbers of homes being built today.”
He is committed to accelerating development on brownfield sites and to “building beautifully”.
“We want to grow organic communities, not impose cardboard boxes across our shires. As with investment zones, local consent will sit at the heart of our plans,” he told the conference. “Because it is not the case that home ownership, investment zones, or the wider challenge of levelling up, can be addressed from Whitehall."
Clarke plans to create “many more mayors”, in areas like the East Midlands, “where even if the title may differ, the principle of strong, directly elected leadership is central to enabling the highest level of devolved government”.
He concluded his speech by committing to “working with and for you to deliver on the extraordinary opportunities that lie ahead”.
5 October 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Factory Lane plans submitted to Croydon Council
A speculative planning application has been submitted to Croydon Council to build 95,000 square feet of grade A urban logistics space on a four-acre site on Factory Lane in Croydon, South London.
A joint venture (JV) between developer Chancerygate and SGN Place, the property development subsidiary of gas distribution company SGN, proposes to develop a scheme comprising 14 units ranging from 1,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet. All units will be available on a leasehold basis.
The Factory Lane site is located on the outskirts of Croydon town centre and is 10 miles south of Central London, providing good access to the A23, A232 and M25. Neighbouring occupiers include a Tesco distribution centre, Sainsbury’s, Royal Mail and Decathlon.
If approved, work on the proposed development will begin in January 2023 and will be ready for occupation at the end of next year
Jonathan Lee, Chancerygate development director, said: “There is very strong demand for high- specification, new-build urban logistics space in the town and the development has been designed to provide best-in-class last-mile facilities with the highest ESG credentials.
“Subject to planning, we look forward to working with our partner SGN Place to revitalise the site and create an enduring and sustainable asset for Croydon. We anticipate that the development will enable the creation of more than 250 jobs providing further economic benefit for the town.”
5 October 2022
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner
A round-up of planning news:
Wedding venue to be built on site of former farm
Harborough District Council has approved plans to turn Scraptoft Lodge Farm into a luxury event space.
Local entrepreneur Mehul Somani was supported by Marrons Planning. The farm is located on Keyham Lane, Scraptoft.
A full renovation of the derelict farm will now take place; the farmhouse will be converted, outbuildings rebuilt and an extension to facilitate an events space, restaurant and bar, alongside 109 car parking spaces – eight of which will include electric vehicle charge points – will be built.
The 350-capacity venue has been designed, inside and outside, by Leicester-based architecture firm DSA.
Government plans to ban solar projects from farms in England
Ministers are planning to ban solar farms from the majority of England's agricultural land, according to The Guardian.
It is thought that environment secretary Ranil Jayawardena is opposed to solar panels on farmland because he believes it impedes his programme of growth.
Government sources say he has asked his officials to redefine “best and most versatile” land (BMV), which is earmarked for farming, to include the middling-to-low category 3b, which is the type of land most farms are built on and planned for.
Graded from 1 to 5, at the moment BMV land includes grades 1 to 3a, with planning guidance stating this land should be avoided.
If BMV land is extended to grade 3b, solar projects would not be allowed to be built on about 41 per cent of the land area of England – 58 per cent of agricultural land.
A lot of grade 4 and 5 land is in upland areas, which are unsuitable for solar developments.
Hertsmere consulting on SPDs to reduce carbon
Hertsmere Borough Council has published three draft supplementary planning documents (SPD) for consultation.
These include details on:
- how the council intends to promote sustainable transport and parking through changes to off-street parking requirements for new developments, including electric car charging points, and the provision of electric car clubs and bike hire schemes;
- how it intends to collect payments for carbon emissions and use the money for carbon-reduction projects; and
- how it intends to guarantee that developments over a certain size result in an increase in biodiversity.
The consultation closes on 15 November.
More information can be found here on the Hertsmere Borough Council website1.
Protections sought for the Irish Sea
Conservationist groups are seeking to ensure that the Irish Sea and all its inhabitants are protected.
The conservationists note that although 36 per cent of the Irish Sea is designated as a Marine Protected Area, only around 5 per cent has any management in place and less than 0.01 per cent is fully protected.
The Irish Sea, already considered to be in a "degraded" state, is under "significant and increasing pressure", particularly from the changing climate and activities such as fishing and aquaculture.
Manx Wildlife Trust, North Wales Wildlife Trust, the North West Wildlife Trusts, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Sustainable Water Network (Ireland), The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Ulster Wildlife have come together to press for action.
Georgia de Jong Cleyndert, head of marine at the North West Wildlife Trusts, commented: “Working together is essential. Wildlife does not adhere to lines drawn on maps, so we need to think at an Irish Sea scale. Whilst there are some protective measures in place for the Irish Sea, management is weak.
“We must ensure that damaging activities like dredging, development and damaging fishing practices are managed to ensure that vitally important areas for the environment are protected and we give space for nature’s recovery.
“We are also calling on politicians and business leaders to work with us to make sure this is a sea where wildlife can flourish.”
More from the Irish Sea Network can be found on the North West Wildlife Trusts website2.
North Wales housing development given approval
Wrexham Council has approved plans for a residential development in a North Wales village.
Bellway Homes Limited (North West Division), supported by planning and development consultancy Lichfields, has secured planning approval for a mix of 112 one, two, three and four-bedroomed homes, including affordable properties, on a site to the north of Gatewen Road in New Broughton, near Wrexham.
The scheme will provide suitable and sustainable residential housing development that will also contribute to meeting the need for good-quality local housing stock.
The approved plans, which will see properties designed with spacious rear gardens and parking, also include landscaping and the planting of large trees within or close to the residential boundary, with improved main access to the development from Gatewen Road.
Westminster to hold a resident ballot on housing estate
Westminster City Council has announced plans to hold a resident ballot to decide the future of the Church Street regeneration site.
Regeneration plans include more community centres, sports facilities and pedestrianised green spaces, as well as "high quality" new homes.
The ballot will ask qualifying residents in sites A, B and C if they are in favour of the proposals for the regeneration of the Church Street area.
More information can be found here3.
Hackney approves De Beauvoir Estate housing plans
Hackney Council has approved plans for a new infill development creating 189 new homes in the De Beauvoir Estate in Hackney, London.
The scheme will provide nearly 19,000 square metres (204,514 square feet) of new residential space including a total of 189 mixed-tenure homes, non-residential floor space, plus green spaces and new play areas.
The development will deliver six new buildings making use of five undeveloped and unused plots without demolishing any existing homes. Half of the new homes will be affordable, with 59 being social-rented homes and the remaining 36 residences shared ownership.
The scheme will help to improve the urban environment around the blocks, creating more active street-level frontages and providing a public realm that integrates the current estate buildings with the new developments and the surrounding streets.
Edinburgh launches planning consultation
The City of Edinburgh Council has announced that it is consulting on new planning laws as it became the first short-term let control area in Scotland last month.
The laws will now mean if you offer a flat or a house for a short-term let that is not the home you live in, you will need planning permission for it.
The council has updated its proposed guidance now that it is a control area. It intends to garner views on it from anyone with an interest including residents, those operating short-term lets and those involved in the tourism industry by Thursday, 22 December.
Emmanuel House submits plans to Nottingham Council
Emmanuel House has submitted plans to Nottingham City Council to create 20 bedrooms for its support centre to provide short-term emergency accommodation for people who find themselves homeless in Nottingham.
Its £2 million ‘New Vision’ scheme will provide two floors of bedrooms along with en suite facilities, food and 24-hour support provided by the charity’s team of trained specialists.
The scheme is for a change of use for the first and second floors of its existing Goose Gate premises, which currently house office and storage space.
Plans also include one-to-one meeting spaces, 24-hour security, common rooms, computer suites, consultation spaces and rooms with disabled access.
The charity’s vision will see its day and night support services come together on a single site, with the second phase of work assigned to upgrading the current ground-floor support centre.
C20 Society launches leisure centre protection campaign
C20 Society has launched a campaign to protect 10 historic leisure centres in the UK.
From Cornwall to the Shetland Islands, C20 has identified examples of leisure centres to be considered for listing to Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and Cadw (Wales).
In England, these include Center Parcs Dome, Sherwood, Coventry Sports Centre, Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington, The Dome, Doncaster, Ships and Castles Leisure Centre in Falmouth and Walker Activity Dome, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
In Scotland, it includes Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth, Clickimin Leisure Complex and Perth Leisure Centre. In Wales, it includes the Wrexham Waterworld.
11 October 2022
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner