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Planning news - 17 November 2022

Regeneration scheme in Blackpool gets levelling up cash

Levelling up Secretary Michael Gove has announced that the Blackpool Central project will receive £40 million in levelling up funding.

It stalled because there wasn't any funding to move the Magistrates and County Courts located within the proposed site. This risked the £300 million private sector-led regeneration scheme.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the funding will go towards the relocation of the courts to a "state-of-the-art" complex in the town centre, though the specific location has yet to be announced.

This means the scheme, which could create an estimated 1,000 jobs, can go ahead as planned.

Gove said: "Blackpool is a town full of life, energy, and immense potential but for too long it has been overlooked and its communities undervalued. Our £40 million levelling up investment will revitalise this great town by delivering much-needed homes, more jobs and new opportunities for local people."

Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "The funding will enable this huge development in the heart of Blackpool to bring jobs, investment and visitors to our town. When finished, the scheme will be an amazing future-proofed attraction for all to enjoy for many years to come."

Blackpool Central is the largest single investment in Blackpool for more than a century.

15 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Permission sought for 2,200 homes in West Sussex

An outline planning application for a mixed-use development in Bersted, West Sussex, has been submitted to Arun District Council.

The Church Commissioners for England and Landlink Estates submitted the application.

It comprises 2,200 homes, including up to 750 affordable homes, 80,000 square feet of employment space, local retail opportunities, a primary school, sports pitches, space for healthcare facilities, a public library, significant new parkland and community allotments, as well as new footpaths and cycleways.

A spine road from Chalcraft Lane to the A259 to the north features as part of the plans in an attempt to ease congestion.

The site, which is allocated in Arun District Council's local plan, is located to the west of Bersted to the north of Chalcraft Lane. The 144-hectare site is made up of agricultural land.

Joanna Loxton, head of strategic land investment at Church Commissioners for England, said they "believe the new community proposed will have much to offer both new and existing residents".

John Weir, head of real estate at Church Commissioners for England, said: “This scheme allows us to honour our ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality homes to support the economic and social development of local communities.

“Front and centre of the Church’s commitments in the Coming Home1 report is the creation of healthy and vibrant housing, providing homes which are safe, sustainable and satisfying, and where residents feel able to put down roots for the future. This scheme supports a range of different housing needs and will make a positive contribution to the development of the Bersted area.”

Scott Brownrigg designed the masterplan. 

14 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Go-ahead for Afan Valley adventure resort

Detailed proposals for a £250 million tourist attraction in Neath Port Talbot’s Afan Valley were given the go-ahead this week by the council.

The project, now called the Wildfox Adventure Resort, will occupy a 132-hectare site at Pen Y Bryn, by Croeserw and Cymmer.

The scheme involves 570 holiday lodges, a 50-bed hotel, and a 15-bed apartment-hotel, as well as an indoor water park and canyoning facilities.

When complete, the resort will also provide a spa, a restaurant with a viewing area, a climbing and bouldering building with a small retail central plaza, along with a forest hub and arrivals building.

In addition, there will be a series of mountain bike trails linking the various activities and the accommodation, a 650-space guest car park, and a 250-space staff car park.

Salamanca Group, the company behind the proposals, has agreed on a number of habitat management plans as well as the provision of a solar farm site.

11 November 2022
Roger Milne, The Planner

North Herts adopts local plan

Following an extraordinary council meeting, North Herts Council has adopted its local plan for the period 2011-2031, which designates a new area of green belt.

The local plan aims to encourage “good design” throughout the district. It highlights the need for environmental considerations, including:

  • Encouraging walking and cycling, with strategic housing sites having to create integrated, accessible and sustainable transport systems.
  • Reducing water use in new properties.
  • Providing appropriate spaces and new habitats for nature known as biodiversity net gain (separate national legislation has mandated this should be 10%).

The local plan sets out that 11,600 homes are needed across the plan area and expanded employment sites at Baldock and Royston.

Land to the east of Luton around Cockernhoe, Mangrove Green, and Tea Green has been identified as appropriate for a neighbourhood of more than 2,000 homes and supporting facilities such as schools. Many of these homes will go towards meeting the needs that cannot be accommodated within Luton itself.

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, leader of North Herts Council, said: “I would like to thank members of the previous administration for their hard work in getting the plan submitted for inspection. Developing a local plan is a long and complex process, but I am pleased that we finally have a strategy supported by the government’s inspector that will give the council greater control over where new developments will go – and will also ensure that up to 40 per cent of our largest housing schemes will be reserved for lower cost options, such as affordable rent and shared ownership. It is also great news that land between Hitchin and Luton will now be designated a new area of green belt, linking to green belt in Bedfordshire.”

Councillor Ruth Brown, the executive member for planning and transport, added that through the plan, the council requires “new developments to deliver high-quality sustainable design, open space, and routes for pedestrians and cyclists to help the fight against climate change”.

The plan will be reviewed by the end of 2023 and a decision made on when it should be updated in the future.

10 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Landowner fined for leasing green belt land without planning permission

Kirklees Council has been successful in its prosecution of three defendants for breaching a planning notice issued in respect of land at Heator Lane, Upper Cumberworth, Huddersfield.

The enforcement action was brought against landowner Christopher Hitchins for leasing green belt land to The Yorkshire Stone Company Limited, which was processing stone without planning permission.

Two enforcement notices had been served previously. The first was on 1 July 1991, which prevented the storage of stone. The second was issued on 3 September 2007, which prevented the processing of stone through cutting, chipping, sorting and dressing.

District Judge Capstick found Hitchens and the directors of The Yorkshire Stone Company Limited, Alan Pogson and Shaun Lockwood, guilty.

Hitchins was fined £8,000, Pogson was fined £6,000, and Lockwood was fined £6,000. They were also ordered to pay Kirklees Council’s court costs of £18,000.

Graham Turner, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This prosecution sends out a clear message that you cannot just ignore planning and enforcement notices in Kirklees. It shows our commitment to upholding planning rules and holding those who break them to account. I hope this example gives reassurance to our communities that where harm is caused by a breach of planning control, appropriate action will be taken.”

10 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News round-up

Second Planning is Global report published

The second edition of Planning is Global has been launched by the RTPI in Dubai to showcase the work of planners outside of the UK and Ireland.

The report comprises case studies to demonstrate how planners, as international professionals, generate economic growth in both the countries they work in and for UK-based companies and universities, exporting skills, experience, trusted advice, and world-class solutions to global issues.

Victoria Hills, chief executive at the RTPI said: “It is an explicit aim of our international strategy that we should promote the value of our membership internationally and this latest edition of Planning is Global is an attempt to do just that.

“The strategy also sets out our ambitions to connect planners around the world through internationally focused networks, continue to make the case for planning as a positive force for sustainable development and climate action globally, promote planning knowledge and practice for the greater good, and support our growing numbers of international members.”


Consultation to begin soon on a Hampshire local plan

A consultation on East Hampshire District Council's local plan will begin on 21 November.

Running for eight weeks, it will cost 16 January.

The local plan sets out how and where homes will be built, as well as jobs and services to the parts of East Hampshire outside the South Downs National Park over the next two decades.


Starmer pledges a Labour government would help renewable industry to 'thrive'

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has met RenewableUK’s chief executive and deputy chief executive in Lincolnshire to discuss renewable energy and the planning system.

They agreed on the urgent need for reforming the planning system in England to enable onshore wind farms to go ahead, alongside wider measures to boost renewables and cut bills.

Current planning rules have led to a 95 per cent drop in the amount of onshore wind capacity being built.

Starmer said: “The solution to the energy crisis is clear – we need to go all out for cheap, clean, homegrown power as fast as we can. From green hydrogen to offshore wind, gigafactories to new nuclear and tidal power, Labour will help these new industries to thrive. And we will reverse this government’s policies that are blocking the growth of onshore wind and solar, which are vital sources of cheap power for bill payers."


Victorian workshop housing plans approved in Northampton

West Northamptonshire Council has approved plans to convert a former Victorian leather workshop in Northampton into starter homes.

The plans were submitted by local entrepreneur Paresh Parmar and supported by Marrons Planning.

The Dunster Street unit was constructed in 1895 and has been derelict for the past two years. It will be transformed into four one-bedroom apartments consisting of an open plan living and kitchen area, bathroom and bedroom. A courtyard area will be constructed for the ground floor apartments.

Dunster Street comprises two-storey terraced and semi-detached houses, interspersed with historic workshops and factories, some of which have been converted to residential use. The former leather warehouse was most recently used as a model supply shop.

The homes are due to be complete in 2023 when the apartments will be available to purchase.


'Ultra-prime residential scheme' approved in North London

Camden Council has granted planning permission for 12 "bespoke residences" in nearly one acre of private landscaped gardens at 52 Avenue Road.

Boutique developer Domvs London, in partnership with UAE investor-developer Select Group, are behind the scheme.

The "ultra-prime residential scheme" also comprises a health and wellness spa, 5-star concierge with commensurate services and the "very latest leading" sustainability technologies.

The development has a 2 and a half-year construction programme.


MTVH and LGAH announce JV housing partnership

Housing association MTVH via its shared ownership brand So Resi, and Legal & General Affordable Homes (LGAH) have partnered to create a 50:50 joint venture targeting the delivery of over 2,500 shared ownership and affordable rent homes over the next seven years.

Around 2,000 of the homes will be sold through shared ownership via MTVH’s SO Resi brand, boosting access to affordable homeownership. The remaining homes will be available for affordable rent.

The first homes built under the Joint Venture are expected to be completed by 2025, with construction set to begin on these homes within the next 12 months. All homes will be built to meet or exceed EPC B energy efficiency standards.


Weston Homes announces five-year land plans

Weston Homes has announced plans to invest up to £500 million in strategic land acquisitions over the coming five years.

The house builder will focus on buying new homes sites across outer London and the South East in locations such Bracknell, Barking, Watford, Hayes and Harlow. Sites will be acquired within a 10-15 minute walk of a railway station or public transport facility.

It says it will look to purchase sites that can deliver between 100 to 1,000 units on any individual sites which will be either brownfield or greenfield. These would be on sale with an existing planning consent or subject to planning permission.


Granton gasholder restoration work set to begin

Restoration work will begin on Granton gas holder which is located in the centre of a planned new sustainable coastal town at Granton Waterfront.

The future vision for the space within the restored gas holder is to have multi-sensory play zones, space for permanent and temporary public art, relaxation area, outdoor trails and tracks for exercise. It also includes using a large outdoor space for sports, markets, seasonal events, community use, festivals, performance arts, exhibitions and play.

Work will also be carried out to plant trees, shrubs and wildflowers improving biodiversity and local habitat in the area.

A report approved by the City of Edinburgh Council’s finance and resources committee recommended McLaughlin & Harvey Limited carry out the work which is anticipated to  start in January and finish in 2024.

15 November 2022
Laura Edgar, 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 - 17 November 2022

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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.