Weekly planning news
Planning news - 17 August 2023
290 homes approved for Newham
The London Borough of Newham has granted planning permission for the second phase of Manor Road Quarter, a new neighbourhood being created in Canning Town.
Consent was granted to development partnership The English Cities Fund (ECF), which is a joint venture between placemaker Muse, the government’s housing and regeneration agency Homes England, and the financial services group Legal & General.
Plans will see the creation of 290 homes across four buildings, as well as family-friendly leisure and amenity space. This second phase is scheduled to start on-site in summer 2024.
Elizabeth Wright, senior development manager at ECF, said: “With phase two of the project receiving consent from the London Borough of Newham, we’ll continue the valuable work the project started during phase one to deliver vital benefits for the local area. This has included generating jobs, apprenticeships, and training opportunities for the community, along with bringing investment into Canning Town’s economy.
“Delivering regeneration of this scale that addresses community need, can only be delivered when the public and private sector join forces, and we’re delighted to have a strong partnership here, building a brighter future, together, for all in Newham.”
Work on the first part of Manor Road Quarter began in September 2021; it features a 32-storey tower and 335 new homes, as well as ground-floor retail units and public spaces. The planning application for the project’s third phase is due to be submitted to the London Borough of Newham in early 2024.
In total, the phases will deliver 804 homes in Canning Town, 50 per cent of which have been designated as affordable.
10 August 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
More than 300 homes approved in Chippenham
Wiltshire Council has granted reserved matters approval for 329 homes at Langley Park in Chippenham, half of which have been designated as affordable.
The homes will be built on a brownfield site that was used for industrial purposes but has sat vacant.
Countryside Partnerships is behind the scheme. It has agreed on a £40 million deal with Gresham House Residential Secure Income LP (GH ReSI LP), a partnership that invests in shared ownership housing, to deliver 167 of the homes as affordable housing through accessing government grant funding.
Alongside the 159 to be delivered by GH ReSI LP as shared ownership, there will be eight affordable rented homes. The rest of the site will be sold on the open market.
The shared ownership homes will include private gardens or balconies, and heat pumps will be fitted to the apartments so the homes are built to an EPC A standard.
Darren Dancey, managing director of Countryside Partnerships West, commented: “We’re thrilled to have received approval to bring 329 much-needed homes to Chippenham, 50 per cent of which will be affordable."
Ben Fry, managing director of housing at Gresham House, said: “It is a pleasure to be working with Countryside Partnerships on this scheme, which will help to support economic growth and social well-being in the local area and provide more much-needed affordable homes.”
Construction is set to begin later this year, with the first new-builds due to be completed in early 2025.
Laura Edgar, The Planner
14 August 2023
Greater Manchester authorities to consider recommendations for spatial plan
The Planning Inspectorate has recommended a series of main modifications for Greater Manchester's Places for Everyone plans, which must now be subject to a consultation.
Places for Everyone sets out a long-term vision for sustainable development in nine council areas up to 2037, creating homes and jobs, maximising brownfield land use and protecting green belt.
The nine districts are Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.
Inspectors have recommended that the nine authorities consult on a set of modifications to clarify the wording of the policies, but have said the objectives and spatial strategy for the joint development plan remain unchanged.
One modification tweaks the period the plan covers. Initially, it was until 2037, but inspectors recommend that it should cover the years 2022-2039.
Therefore, using the government's standard methodology for calculating local housing need, another modification takes this figure from 165,000 to just over 175,000 homes during the plan period of 2022 to 2039.
The modified plan period will see the net amount of green belt land proposed for release rise from 1,754 to 2,213 hectares. In relation to the nine districts preparing this plan, this means a 4.1 per cent reduction in the size of the green belt. The majority of development will take place within the urban area, most of which is brownfield land; 90 per cent of housing, 98 per cent (down from 99 per cent owing to the plan period change) of offices and 51 per cent (down from 47 per cent) of industrial and warehousing development.
The examination-in-public hearing sessions took place between November 2022 and July 2023. This letter from the inspectors confirms the outcome of the hearing sessions.
These modifications will shortly be consulted on, with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority saying that it will "endeavour to make the information on the modifications consultation available as early as possible". The consultation will last for eight weeks, longer than the guidance requires.
Council cabinets or executives will need to approve the modifications1 for consultation.
Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) portfolio lead for Places for Everyone, said he is "pleased that after a vigorous process of public examination, the planning inspectors have supported the overall ambitions" of Places for Everyone.
Having a city-regional spatial plan, Dennett explained, "has always been about providing clarity about future development within our city-region to ensure that we genuinely work towards meeting housing need, avoiding to the best of our ability costly planning by appeal, ensuring we meet the government's requirements on land-supply for housing need whilst also utilising this clarity on future development sites as a framework to assist in tackling the housing and homelessness crisis through new housing supply, acknowledging that every residents and family in Greater Manchester should have a place to call home".
“Ultimately, having a city-regional spatial plan of the nine local authorities will be a critical tool in supporting Greater Manchester's case for further devolution from central government whilst also providing us with a strategic blueprint, along with district's local plans to further advocate for the residents, families and communities of Greater Manchester with the national government, the investment and development communities and within a global economy."
14 August 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
FMB members report increase in workload
Members of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) have reported an increase in total workload and enquiries, driven by a continued ‘strong rebound’ in the repair, maintenance and improvement sector.
The FMB's latest State of Trade Survey found that overall, 40 per cent of members reported an increase in workload in the second quarter of this year, with 18 per cent reporting a reduction compared to last quarter.
However, members also said that housebuilding workloads and enquiries continue to struggle.
The Q2 survey also found:
- While recruitment difficulties are easing, 38 per cent of members are struggling to hire carpenters with 29 per cent struggling to hire bricklayers.
- 25 per cent of members can’t get hold of general labourers.
- More than half of members report that jobs are delayed because they are struggling to hire skilled workers.
- 79 per cent of members report that material costs increased in Q2 2023. 72 per cent expect this to continue into Q3.
- This has led to 69 per cent of members increasing the prices they charge, with just under half reporting that the business is on track to make a loss.
- 19 per cent report that they are restricting hiring new staff as a consequence of increased outgoings.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “While there are plenty of positives to take from this quarter’s State of Trade Survey, there are still worrying signs for housebuilders. Workloads are up, driven by a strong repair, maintenance and improvement sector and encouragingly we’re also seeing pressure on obtaining skilled labour easing.
“Housebuilding has been hit badly, despite a slight increase on last quarter more members are reporting less work than they are more, and enquiries continue to look bleak. The fall in housebuilding is worrying because the of housing supply is a key component of growing the economy and unlocking a mobile workforce. The government needs to step up its efforts if its own ambition to build 300,000 each year is to be met because the figure is expected to be less than half that this year.
“The survey also points towards other areas of concern, with just under half of FMB members saying they expect profits to be lower than expected and around one in five saying they are restricting hiring new staff. With inflation dipping marginally, we’ll need to see over the coming months if this has any positive effects on bottom lines.”
10 August 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Police investigating Crooked House fire as arson
Staffordshire Police are now treating the fire that burnt down the Crooked House pub in Himley in the West Midlands as arson.
The statement issued on 9 August2 acknowledges the upset that the incident has caused and promises a “robust investigation” into the causes of the fire – which preceded the fire-damaged structure being entirely demolished, without the benefit of planning permission.
The police noted that speculation about the fire was “unhelpful”, following widespread discussion about the damage on social media.
“We understand the significance of this much-loved building and the upset and anger felt by many so want to reassure you we’re doing all we can to understand more about what happened, and who was responsible,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Chisholm, head of specialist crime.
“There is lots of misinformation circulating within communities and online and this is unhelpful. We’re trying to provide accurate and timely updates, but as I am sure you can appreciate, there is a lot of work and liaison with a number of partners which needs to be completed and this takes time.”
South Staffordshire Council has announced that it is investigating “potential breaches”3 of the Town and Country Planning Act following the demolition of the Crooked House pub in Himley.
The police urge anyone with information to get in touch using 101 quoting incident 761 of 5 August or message via live chat on their website.
10 August 2023
Ben Gosling, The Planner
Industrial development plans approved in Lancashire
Bolton Metropolitan Council has approved plans for a new £3.9 million industrial development on the outskirts of a Lancashire town.
It will see Panattoni UK Developments Ltd proceed with the development of an industrial unit (use class B2/B8) with 36 on-site car parking spaces on land at the Wingates Industrial Estate in Westhoughton to the west of Bolton.
New landscaping and trees are also included together with electrical vehicle charge points, a concrete service yard to allow lorries to manoeuvre and waste storage facilities as part of a commercial development package that will create 4,329 square metres of modern storage and distribution facilities on a 1.04-hectare brownfield site.
Work on the unit, which will be on the site of the former Bernstein’s Kitchen Factory and will benefit from access to good local transport links when completed in 2024, is expected to create a number of jobs during the initial build-out phase.
Plans announced to redevelop Birmingham race track
West Midlands property developer Corbally Group is planning to regenerate Perry Barr Racetrack in Birmingham with 427 homes.
The Racetrack is currently operated as a greyhound racing track. The lease is due to expire in 2026, with the operator planning to move to new premises at Monmore Green in Wolverhampton.
A planning application is being prepared and is expected to be submitted in the coming months.
A spokesperson for Corbally Group – Perry Barr, said: “Perry Barr has been identified as a priority area for growth within Birmingham. The city council has invested heavily to enable regeneration and deliver a legacy from the Commonwealth Games. The regeneration of the Perry Barr Racetrack is part of this vision.
“The current site offers little in terms of wider community value and we’ve worked closely with the racetrack operator to support its move to new premises within the region.
“We have developed an exciting scheme which not only delivers new homes but will create attractive new public spaces and unlock access to the riverfront. It will vastly improve Perry Barr and deliver real value for the established and emerging community in this location.”
Hanwell science campus plans approved
The Vale of White Horse District Council has approved plans for a new 53,000-square-foot (GIA) office building for a science campus.
National property consultancy Carter Jonas secured planning consent on behalf of Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.
The new office building will be occupied by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), but has been designed to provide flexibility.
In addition to workspaces, the planning consent also includes breakout areas inside and outside of the building for staff and visitors, enhanced landscaping and tree planting, and car and cycle parking provision next to the building.
Harwell Campus is located within The Science Vale UK area, an internationally significant location for innovation and science-based research and business. The 700-acre campus is home to several organisations, predominantly in the innovation technologies sector, and provides employment for about 6,500 people working in more than 225 organisations.
Fareham regeneration plans announced
Fareham Borough Council has announced its £30 million plans to regenerate Fareham town centre.
The council says it wants to ensure that the town centre responds effectively and takes the opportunity to “reinvent itself” by offering a wide range of uses alongside well-connected public spaces to guarantee long-term success.
Work will be undertaken over coming months to create a draft regeneration framework for public consultation and partner engagement alongside a detailed request for appropriate funding to support a further programme of regeneration work.
Countryside set to deliver housing in Ilford
Mixed-tenure developer Countryside Partnerships has agreed to deliver 98 affordable homes on land next to Barkingside Underground Station in Ilford.
Located on land previously used as a builder’s yard and owned by TfL, the residential development is being brought forward as part of TfL’s property company’s wider programme which will see thousands of new homes including affordable housing, built on its land across the capital.
Known as Barkingside Yard, the scheme will deliver 98 new affordable homes through a mix of shared ownership and social rent.
With construction set to complete in 2025, these new one, two, and three-bedroom homes will be split across three distinct buildings ranging up to five storeys in height.
Life science campus approved in Stevenage
Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee has granted planning permission for one of Europe’s largest life science campuses in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
Elevate Quarter will be a 15-building campus set around a central green with an interconnecting network of paths and open spaces.
The buildings will comprise various uses, including R&D labs and offices, GMP manufacturing facilities and flexible lab buildings, as well as training, innovation and collaboration spaces.
There will also be restaurants, cafes, leisure facilities, and three Green Transport Hubs providing multi-storey car parking, bike parking and potential scooter/e-bike hire spaces.
UBS Asset Management and Reef Group (Reef) are behind the scheme.
Avant Homes acquires County Durham site
Avant Homes has acquired a 21-acre site in Willington, County Durham.
Westward Green will comprise 200 homes with a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes.
Every home at the development will be energy efficient and feature exclusive kitchen designs with integrated appliances and spacious gardens, said the housebuilder.
Avant Homes is also making a £730,000 contribution toward initiatives that will benefit the local community in terms of open space, education and healthcare.
UK to host energy conference next spring
The London Energy Security Conference will be hosted in the UK next year to bring countries together from around the world to shore up critical energy supplies and make the system more resilient to shocks.
Energy secretary Grant Shapps will invite senior government ministers and industry bosses to the conference.
The conference will take place in the spring and focus on:
- building energy resilience nationally and internationally;
- speeding up the deployment of clean and resilient energy infrastructure;
- advancing technologies and innovation to promote greater energy independence;
- cooperating internationally to boost energy security around the world; and
- helping to provide consumers and businesses with cheaper, more secure energy.
15 August 2023
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner