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Planning news - 16 March 2023

Money to deliver new building safety standards announced 

The government is to allocate £42 million over the next three years to support the delivery of new standards for managing building safety for higher-risk buildings set out in the Building Safety Act 2022. 

The money includes a £16.5 million grant to Local Authority Building Control (LABC), the representative body for local authority building control in England and Wales. 

There is also £26 million to support the Fire and Rescue Services in England and the National Fire Chiefs Council. The bodies will support the work of the new Building Safety Regulator in overseeing the safety and standards of the design, construction and management of higher-risk buildings. 

The money will aid in recruiting about 110 building inspectors and 111 new fire protection officers across England. The government said they would “receive high-quality” training through a three-year programme that is “designed to direct skills and resources to areas with a greater distribution of high-rise buildings”. 

Building safety minister Lee Rowley said: “The government is delivering important reforms under the Building Safety Act 2022, including introducing the new Building Safety Regulator to oversee building safety and performance. This taxpayer funding will give additional resources to local regulators who will support the work of the regulator in making buildings safer.” 

LABC chief executive Lorna Stimpson commented: “We are delighted to have secured this funding to provide much-needed additional resources for our local authority members in England. Building control surveyors are a scarce commodity and so it’s important that we start to invest in this previously underfunded but vital public service role. We welcome the role that local authority building control will have as part of the new building safety regulator’s multidisciplinary teams, and in helping to implement the reforms recommended by Dame Judith Hackitt.” 

13 March 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Masterplan for Earls Court outlined

The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) has published a draft masterplan for the redevelopment of a largely derelict 40-acre site in Zone 1 London. 

It comprises the delivery of up to 4,500 homes, with a target of 35 per cent across all tenures. The company is seeking to deliver a “climate-positive neighbourhood”. 

Rob Heasman, CEO of ECDC, commented: “Like a London jigsaw missing its final piece, this 40-acre site is perhaps Central London's most significant redevelopment opportunity. The site has an illustrious past which is a continual source of inspiration for us as we look towards the future. 

“We want to create a place which reinstates ‘wonder’ in this incredible part of London. We will help to create a more inclusive and equitable piece of the city with homes for all incomes and stages of life, and thousands of jobs from training to start up to scale up. The development will integrate culture and public realm throughout, responding to the number one stated desire from local people; to have green and open spaces across the site. We have an ambition to be a global exemplar of responsible, sustainable development, putting people’s health and wellbeing first.” 

The company aspires to incorporate in the development the first large-scale zero-carbon energy-sharing network in the UK to enable local people to benefit from cost-effective heat networks. 

The masterplan follows two years of discussion and engagement with local communities and stakeholders to understand the priorities of those who live and work in the area. 

According to the masterplan, 40 per cent of the site would have buildings on it, with the aim to prioritise the streetscape and public open spaces. 

In recent years the site has lain derelict; the exhibition centres closed in 2014 and were demolished in 2015 by the previous owners. Opening up the site with free access to all is a key priority, said the Earls Court Development Company. 

A planning application is expected to be delivered by the end of the year, with the first phase of development comprising 1,300 homes. 

10 March 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

8,500 garden village homes approved

East Herts District Council has granted planning permission for 8,500 homes delivered across six garden villages. 

The planning application, lodged by social enterprise Places for People, is the largest that has ever been presented to the council. 

The six villages will be located to the north of Harlow on the Hertfordshire and Essex border on 1,000 hectares of land. 

Plans include two secondary schools and up to six primary schools, healthcare facilities, a leisure centre and sports facilities, a community centre and 29,200 square metres of commercial space and 25,100 square metres of retail and leisure space. 

Of the homes, 2,000 have been designated as affordable. 

The site forms part of the wider Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The government has earmarked the town for the delivery of 23,000 homes. 

Gilston Park Estate is set to encompass large areas of green open space, including two country parks and community gardens. Enhancing biodiversity is also part of the plans. 

It is expected that 1,500 permanent jobs will be created. 

Adrian Bohr, CEO of Places for People Developments, said: “We are delighted to reach this significant planning milestone, getting the go-ahead for our 20-year plan to build an inclusive and attractive new village community in Gilston.” 

He added that the firm is committed to adding lasting social value to the communities it builds. 

Places for People said it would now work in “close collaboration” with HGGT Partners to finalise the section 106 legal agreement, which secures the infrastructure set to be provided. It will invest almost £1 billion in new infrastructure and social facilities “to ensure the community thrives for generations to come”. 

Architects JTP and landscape architects Grant Associates will progress with the masterplan for the first village, which will contain about 1,800 homes. 

9 March 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Permission sought for more than 300 homes in Milton Keynes 

An application for 355 ‘sustainable’ homes has been submitted to Milton Keynes City Council. 

Of the homes, 110 have been designated as affordable. 

Build-to-rent (BTR) developer and operator PLATFORM_ submitted the application. 

The scheme, branded as PLATFORM_ MK, would be located along the Milton Keynes central spine road of Midsummer Boulevard. It would also comprise 8,000 square feet of “state-of-the-art” resident amenities, 7,500 square feet of landscaped terraces, and a flexible commercial offering. 

Plans include three outdoor areas for residents including a dedicated pet zone, child-friendly play area, and a landscaped garden on the first floor, as well as more terraces with panoramic views across the city and facilities for entertaining friends and family on the 14th and 17th floors. 

The homes would be a mix of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, and they would be delivered across a building up to 20 storeys in height. 

According to the developer, the design is “energy-conscious and sustainable” and the development would feature renewable energy sources, smart in-home technologies, and energy-efficient heating and lighting systems, to create a low-carbon development. 

Jean-Marc Vandevivere, CEO at PLATFORM_, said: “Milton Keynes is enhancing its reputation as a destination of choice for skilled workforces and businesses alike as it continues to diversify its offering and celebrate its new city status. Through the delivery of high-quality homes for a wide demographic, PLATFORM_ will further establish Milton Keynes as one of the fastest-growing UK cities. 

“MK City Council is a forward-thinking local authority that, like PLATFORM_, prioritises sustainability by targeting carbon-neutral operations by 2030. We’ve actively engaged with the council and a range of local stakeholders to create our proposed vision for homes that respond to the city’s needs, and importantly, positively deliver against Milton Keynes’ Housing Strategy 2020-2025." 

It is expected that the scheme would deliver a biodiversity net gain of 79 per cent. 

9 March 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner

No ministerial intervention in key Cardiff Bay developments

Hybrid planning applications - part of a masterplan and a full application - for key development in the Butetown area of Cardiff Bay have been formally approved now ministers have decided not to intervene and call them in. 

The full application is for a multi-use 17,000-seater indoor arena with supporting uses and café; a 182-bed space hotel and associated public realm; hard and soft landscaping; drainage; walking; cycling; car parking; and other transport infrastructure. It will be located at Red Dragon Centre and County Hall, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff. 

The mixed-use consented masterplan envisages almost 900 homes, more than 1,000 hotel bed spaces and in excess of 18,580 square metres of employment floorspace. 

Also included is almost 27,870 square metres of leisure floorspace and 12,263 square metres of retail floorspace. 

A committee report for Cardiff Council last year said: "The masterplan development represents a positive next stage in the future of Cardiff Bay, which has the potential to drive economic recovery and facilitate improved links to the Bay based on good placemaking principles." 

9 March 2023 
Roger Milne, The Planner

News round-up 

Elan Homes draws up housing application in Bewdley 

Elan Homes is working on a reserved matters application to provide new homes in Bewdley, Worcestershire, which it anticipates will be submitted this summer.   

Last summer, Wyre Forest District Council approved outline plans for 100 homes on the 8.25-acre site at Stourport Road. 

The proposed scheme would provide a mix of properties ranging in size from one to five bedrooms, including private sale homes and affordable housing. 

It will provide designated public open space including a play area as well as a series of financial investments in the local community worth more than £340,000, which Elan will make once development begins. 

These include almost £220,000 for education; a health contribution of almost £40,000; funding of almost £55,000 towards highways and traffic measures; plus more than £30,000 in sports facilities contributions. 

Views sought on built environment carbon assessment 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is seeking views on the second edition of its Professional Standard, RICS Whole Life Carbon Assessment for the Built Environment. 

Views are sought from both its members and those working in the built environment worldwide. 

The updated methodology, designed to be used by its global membership, aims to provide a consistent approach to calculating whole-life carbon emissions within the built environment. RICS said this new edition is “more ambitious as it extends to cover all built assets and infrastructure, throughout the whole built environment life cycle”. 

More information can be found on the RICS website1

UKSPF project applications opens 

Neath Port Talbot Council has opened applications for projects that can be delivered as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). 

The UKSPF is a part of the UK Government’s levelling-up agenda providing £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the fund. 

Neath Port Talbot’s total three-year allocation is £27.3 million in core funding plus £5.7 million for projects to improve adult numeracy (in those over 19) under the ‘Multiply’ programme. 

The fund will be ‘unlocked’ through a three-year investment plan that has been approved by the UK Government. 

All UKSPF-funded projects will need to address the challenges and opportunities as outlined in the South West Wales Regional Investment Plan, which can be accessed here (pdf).2 

250 Nottinghamshire homes approved 

Avant Homes has been granted planning permission for 250 homes in Awsworth, Nottinghamshire. 

The 25-acre site was acquired by Avant Homes last April and is located two miles from Ilkeston town centre on Shilo Way. 

Called Bennerley View, the development will comprise a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes and feature 15 of Avant Homes’ house types.   

Of the 250 homes, 20 per cent have been designated to affordable housing. 

Avant Homes has committed to make a community contribution of £1.7 million to support local education, public transport and open green space maintenance. 

£173m housing upgrade plans approved in Edinburgh 

Councillors in Edinburgh have approved funding of £173 million from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Capital Programme to upgrade and build new homes. 

Under the plans for the 2023/24 HRA Capital Programme, an extra £50 million will be invested compared with last year. This will continue the city’s pipeline of new-builds and ramp up capital investment into existing homes including energy-efficiency upgrades. 

The council will pilot a “whole-house retrofit’ approach which will focus on improvements to the fabric of buildings and energy performance including design and development work for at least four multistorey blocks. 

It will also include improvements to common areas and stairwells, adapting homes in response to people’s health needs and transforming derelict sites and void properties into much-needed new homes for tenants and people experiencing homelessness. 

C20 Society launches 2023 buildings ‘Risk List’ 

The Twentieth Century Society has launched ‘The Risk List’, highlighting the top 10 UK buildings most at risk of demolition, redevelopment or neglect in 2023. 

The list includes a Bengali women’s centre in London’s East End, a 1930s Art Deco holiday camp on the English Riviera, a 1980s pop pyramid in Milton Keynes and the Channel 4 HQ. 

The Risk List also encourages members of the public to get involved, with specific actions to help save each building – from writing to an MP or the Secretary of State, to joining grassroots campaigns fighting for local buildings. In marginal cases, individual voices. 

More information can be found on the Twentieth Century Society website3

Fareham prosecutes Borderland for planning breaches 

Fareham Borough Council has prosecuted Borderland Fencing Limited for failing to comply with planning permission conditions. 

The matter concerned its failure to comply with conditions imposed on planning permission granted on appeal in 2021 to allow the expansion of the company’s premises at New Road, Swanwick. 

The prosecution case was submitted by Southampton, Fareham and Havant Legal Partnership for the council and the trial hearing took place at Portsmouth Magistrates Court. 

The judge found the defendant guilty of four charges laid in relation to the height of materials stacked on the premises. Sentencing was passed for these charges, plus an additional six charges to which the defendant had already pleaded guilty. These are related to issues such as working outside of permitted hours and failure to provide required turning space within the site. 

Borderland Fencing was fined, and the council was awarded costs with the overall amount totalling in excess of £16,000. 

Learning centre for Lincolnshire college approved 

A bespoke learning centre for young people and adults studying at Boston College has been granted planning permission. 

Planning adviser Marrons provided support. 

The two-storey Mayflower building – which is one of the Boston Town Deal projects – will comprise more education training facilities alongside public access spaces, including a café, restaurant, and hair and beauty salon. These will be managed by the college and staffed by students to provide real work experience opportunities. 

Exhibition and events spaces, a digital hub, business incubation units for local start-up companies, conference facilities and meeting rooms, and 74 car and 60 bicycle parking spaces are also part of the plans. 

Claire Foster, Boston College principal and CEO, said: “We are thrilled that planning permission for the iconic Mayflower, the flagship project of Boston’s Town Deal fund, has been granted. The state-of-the-art facility will provide a shining beacon of aspiration for higher level and adult education at a time when our town needs it most.” 

The existing Ingelow Centre will be demolished to make way for the 1,940-square-metre building. 

Old Oak West public consultation opens 

The Mayor of London’s development corporation for Old Oak and Park Royal (OPDC) has invited the local community to a series of public engagement activities to help to shape the future of Old Oak West. 

The OPDC will be holding a series of ‘place lab’ co-design workshops throughout March for the local communities’ views and to explore how to jointly create a new urban district that reflects local needs and aspirations. 

Feedback from the events will be used to shape detailed planning guidance that will be used to develop the vision for the area. It will be published in an ideas book that reflects the community’s aspirations for the area, shaping the neighbourhood, workspace, shops, facilities and green space. 

14 March 2023 
Laura Edgar and Prithvi 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 - 16 March 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 © 2024 Planning Portal.