Weekly planning news
Planning news - 18 August 2022
LDO granted for manufacturing scheme
A local development order (LDO) has been granted by Sedgemoor District Council for a development that has the potential to create jobs for more than 7,500 people.
The scheme has been designed as a net-zero smart campus to accommodate large-scale advanced manufacturing businesses.
It is hoped that it will attract automotive and battery manufacturing businesses – gigafactories – among other relevant commercial enterprises.
Gravity is 616 acres in size remediated and market-ready. It is situated near the UK’s national rail and motorway network, and near Bristol Port and airport.
Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) advised landowner This is Gravity Ltd on promotion of the LDO. The site was home to the Royal Ordnance Factory and has been identified as an Enterprise Zone. WBD supported a review of the environmental statement and the finalising of the drafting of the LDO and accompanying planning agreement.
Kevin Gibbs, senior counsel at WMD, said: “This is a positive planning tool to support investment, widespread growth and prosperity in the area and, in the case of This is Gravity, it will deliver high-quality, skilled jobs along with many other benefits.
“It follows many years of engagement with the community and businesses and a six-week period of formal consultations, with modifications to the scheme proposed to positively respond to matters raised, including additional technical matters.
“The LDO sets parameters under which development proposals are effectively granted planning permission provided they accord with the requirements of the order. The vision for Gravity is to drive the UK’s shift towards a zero-carbon economy and place Sedgemoor at the centre of the ‘clean’ growth revolution.”
Through the LDO, Gravity intends to provide a skills charter to connect local people to new opportunities, a business charter to help local businesses respond to supply chain opportunities and homes to encourage young people to stay, train and work locally.
Claire Pearce, director of planning and economic development at Gravity, commented: “The development of a clear ambition to host a new generation of clean and inclusive growth in the UK and to accelerate progression towards a net-zero economy has been paramount to Gravity. We are delighted to have achieved the adoption of the LDO, and are focused now on securing occupiers to enable us to initiate workforce development planning to ensure communities can access training and job opportunities.”
Gill Slocombe, deputy leader and portfolio holder at Sedgemoor District added that the LDO “is an important step to accelerate the delivery of the enterprise zone to create jobs and opportunities for local communities and businesses in the supply chain”.
11 August 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Primary school proposed for Leicestershire town
Leicestershire County Council is seeking to build a primary school that meets the needs of Hinckley's growing population.
The authority’s development control and regulatory board will consider the application tomorrow (11 August).
The school is planned for land off Normandy Way and would accommodate up to 210 pupils in seven classrooms.
It would also have a specialist teaching room for practical subjects such as cookery, as well as a hall, library, garden and wildlife area. The building would have solar panels and air source heat pumps.
If approved, contractors will build the school to the county council’s specifications. Most of the expected £6 million cost is being provided by developers Bloor Homes as part of the developer’s section 106 planning obligations arising from its housing developments in the area.
Construction work is expected to begin on site in September this year, with an expected opening date of September 2023.
10 August 202
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Team appointed to scope out new town for Devon
East Devon District Council has commissioned real estate adviser CBRE to inform the council on the design and delivery of a potential new community in the east of the district.
CBRE will work with the council, leading a multidisciplinary team to identify a suitable site. It will also advise on development viability, infrastructure, planning, urban design/vision, environmental strategies and delivery options.
The work will help East Devon District Council to decide whether to include a new town in its next local plan.
This would comprise up to 8,000 “high-quality, sustainable” homes and a range of community facilities and amenities set in a biodiverse and zero-carbon environment.
Louise Wyman, executive director strategic development, will lead CBRE’s team. She will work alongside Simon Phillips, director of planning, and senior director Andrew Round.
Technical support will be provided by partner organisations including Hydrock, Tibbalds and Pinsent Masons.
Wyman said: “The next decade is likely to see significant changes to placemaking, due to the impact of climate change policy. The multidisciplinary team led by CBRE commits to producing proposals that are future-proofed, where the principles of sustainable development and delivering a net-zero community are embedded in our approach.”
Paul Arnott, leader of the council and the authority’s portfolio holder for strategic planning, said: “Over the last three years, our council’s priority has been to make sure that the views of the public on major initiatives such as this are heard through high-quality consultations. In our renewed local plan process, we welcome both members of the public and industry experts to share their opinions on how we shape the future of East Devon.
“As one of the cornerstones to this, we have commissioned CBRE to start the process of informing the council on preferred routes of travel to deliver a true 21st-century community with net zero and sustainability at its core.”
11 August 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Long Wittenham man fined for not complying with enforcement notices
Simon Courtney-Worthy, of Oscar’s Gardens, Ward’s Field, Long Wittenham, has been fined £13,000 for failing to comply with two enforcement notices for an illegal development by the banks of the River Thames at Long Wittenham.
He was also ordered to pay £5,511 in costs towards South Oxfordshire District Council, which brought the prosecution. A victim surcharge of £181 was also imposed.
The case centred on a change of use and development on land at Ward’s Field. Officers found it was in breach of planning control and has caused harm to a conservation area.
South Oxfordshire District Council issued an enforcement notice to Courtney-Worthy in January 2019 to demolish the timber deck and the shed that had been built at the site, remove all the materials and re-grass the affected area.
The deadline of this enforcement notice – 1 September 2019 – was not met. Courtney-Worth continued to fail to comply with the notices between 2 September 2019 and 17 February 2021.
He also failed to comply with a second enforcement notice issued on the same date that required him to stop using the land for mooring a boat for residential purposes, storage and garden, and remove the boat.
Courtney-Worth did not appeal against the notices.
At Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 28 July, Courtney-Worthy pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
The judge noted that the harm to the area was great. Courtney-Worthy was ordered to pay within four months.
10 August 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Network Rail granted newt licence
Natural England has granted Network Rail's eastern region a special licence to safely relocate the UK’s largest native newt species – the great crested newt – to protect them from engineering works.
The project is being carried out in collaboration with NatureSpace, which works with conservationists, industry experts and developers to understand, grow and protect the protected species’ habitat.
The licence “removes the need for individual licence applications for routine works, and will fund habitat creation along a significant part of the rail network,” explained Duncan Brown, operations manager for district-level licensing at Natural England.
“The largest-scale licence of its type, this has been developed with Network Rail and NatureSpace to deliver habitats at the landscape scale and benefit this iconic species.”
Specialists will build new, large-scale habitats for great crested newts to be moved to when crucial railway upgrades disrupt their existing homes. The licence is intended to allow the amphibians to live in a safe environment while reducing any delays to engineering work.
The granting of the licence was made following a successful trial of the scheme on the Midland Main Line Upgrade last year. The licence sees it extended to the entire Eastern region, which encompasses places like Newcastle, York, Leeds, Sheffield, Derby, Peterborough and East Anglia.
Hamish Critchell-Ward, environmental manager for Network Rail’s Eastern region, said: “This is a significant win for sustainability across the region. Our lineside habitats are a valuable asset that need management and protection in order to improve biodiversity and create an environmentally friendly railway that’s fit for future generations.
“This licence will help us strike the balance between helping lineside wildlife to thrive, while allowing essential railway upgrade work to get under way. It’s great that Natural England have been so supportive of this initiative, and we’re really looking forward to working with our partners at NatureSpace in an approach that’s more streamlined and results in more habitat creation.”
Dr Tom Tew, NatureSpace CEO, added: “The licence provides a quick and simple option that both ensures newts are conserved and allows critical rail work to proceed without delay. It’s not generally known but the rail-side vegetation can provide really important terrestrial habitat for newts, and so it’s great to see major infrastructure providers embracing their environmental responsibilities and delivering conservation gain for our endangered species – we hope others will follow Network Rail’s example.”
10 August 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Granton Waterfront housing scheme approved
City planners have approved net-zero housing plans by City of Edinburgh Council as part of its £1.3 billion Granton Waterfront regeneration project.
The 142 sustainable homes will include wheelchair-accessible ground-floor dwellings in a mix of 91 social rent and 51 mid-market rent homes, which will feature coastal views and access to parkland.
Jane Meagher, housing, homelessness and fair work convener, said: ”The homes that we build here will make such a difference for wheelchair users and others who find it so difficult to get a home that meets their needs. Our proposals for the site have been carefully designed to improve the quality of the surrounding green space and to make it easier for people to walk or cycle around the area.”
Work is set to begin on site at Silverlea in 2023 by Hart builders.
Welsh Traveller communities being failed
The Senedd’s Local Government and Housing Committee report reveals a series of failures by the Welsh Government and local authorities to provide adequate sites for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
The report found that many sites are located inappropriately, such as on the side of dangerous roads or far away from services and amenities. Neither are there facilities provided for children or the elderly.
It notes that despite previous commitments made by the Welsh Government to improve the situation, “this has not translated into any meaningful changes for families”.
John Griffiths MS, chair of the Local Government and Housing Committee, said; “The situation facing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Wales is very concerning and the committee is united on what the Welsh Government and local authorities need to do next.
“Many sites are in completely inappropriate areas next to A-roads with uneven paths and blocked drains. Some people are stuck on multiple-year waiting lists with no end in sight.
“The Welsh Government must make sure that local authorities have the resources to tackle these issues, but they must also hold them to account when things do not improve. It is clear that anti-Traveller prejudice on a local level, and throughout society, is still quite prevalent and that tackling this should be a priority.
“The committee is urging both the Welsh Government and local authorities to act on our recommendations with urgency or members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities will continue to be treated like second-class citizens in Wales.”
York approves Ordnance Lane housing plans
City of York Council has given its approval to plans to build 85 sustainable homes at Ordnance Lane in York.
The 85 new properties will range in size from one to five-bedroom multigenerational homes and have been designed to guarantee easy accessibility. A minimum of 40 per cent of the properties will be affordable, comprising 20 per cent social-rented homes and another 20 per cent shared ownership. The remaining homes will be for market sale.
The new homes will be built to certified Passivhaus standards and will have net-zero carbon emissions in operation with energy generated by renewables on site.
It will provide pedestrian and cycle access and make sure that the new homes are easily navigable without the need for vehicles.
The scheme will also include safe communal space for social interaction between residents, including an urban orchard, natural play area, communal growing beds in the centre of the development and both shared and private gardens.
Evictions up 39 per cent
Government figures show that 3,405 households in the private-rented sector were evicted by bailiffs in England between April and June 2022. This is an increase of 39 per cent on the previous quarter.
Shelter has warned that the number of eviction proceedings is now back at pre-pandemic levels, before the eviction ban took effect.
The housing charity said it fears that the situation will get worse, given the cost of living crisis.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the figures “paint a grim picture of households across England unable to keep their heads above water as the cost-of-living crisis bites”.
“People who don’t leave their home before the bailiff comes are the ones who have run out of options and have nowhere else to go.
“Every day our emergency helpline supports people having to make impossible choices between putting food on the table or paying their rent. Housing costs are people’s biggest outgoing and those who have nothing left to cut back will soon be left with nowhere to call home.
“The government must urgently unfreeze housing benefit so it covers the true cost of renting before more families are evicted and pushed into homelessness. Whoever becomes the next prime minister needs to get a grip and put ending the housing emergency at the top of their to-do list.”
Eco-friendly affordable homes planned for Plymouth
Plymouth Community Homes has set out plans for a £33.5 million eco-friendly neighbourhood in partnership with Plymouth City Council.
It would comprise more than 140 new affordable homes in the city centre for rent and purchase. The homes would comprise one, two and three-bedroom apartments and town houses.
They would be developed on land off Bath Street in the Millay regeneration area, alongside communal gardens and tree-lined open spaces.
The site is currently being used as a temporary car park.
This project is one of many that features as part of the partnership agreement between Plymouth City Council and the city’s largest social housing landlord. It aims to deliver more than 600 new homes in Plymouth, with at least 444 for affordable housing.
Dacorum submits social housing plans
A planning application has been submitted by Dacorum Borough Council for 11 new homes on Bulbourne Road, outside Tring.
The development will be subject to Tring Town Council’s final approval to the sale of the land.
Set back behind a row of trees and near the Tring Garden Centre, the 11 new homes will consist of two and three-bedroom detached homes and small terraces of houses.
The homes will sit near the existing allotments and will include a new parking area for the allotments.
The proposed plans include houses which will have private gardens, solar PV panels, high levels of thermal insulation and heating provided by way of individual air source heat pumps. Each home will have its own EV charging point and private parking bay.
There will be a three-bedroom wheelchair accessible home, designed in accordance with Nationally Described Space Standards, within an inclusive environment that is adaptable to the changing demands of residents.
All the homes will be available for social rent through the council’s housing register.
Leeds submits six bids for levelling-up fund
Leeds City Council has submitted six constituency bids totalling £120.8 million as part of its round two levelling-up fund to deliver change for communities across the city.
In Leeds Central, the bid is intended to deliver transformative change in Holbeck to renew essential local infrastructure.
For Leeds West it would deliver quality green space enhancements across five community parks.
Redevelopment of the existing Fearnville Leisure Centre into a 6,000-square-metre wellbeing centre forms the focus of the bid in Leeds East.
In Elmet and Rothwell, the funds would deliver a series of linked habits in a coherent connected corridor activating the River Aire.
For North West Leeds, investment in transport infrastructure would accelerate delivery and unlock the benefits of the 90-acre North West Leeds employment hub site.
In North East Leeds the bid would prioritise sustainable transport options through a new park-and-ride site.
Public consultation opens for Edinburgh student accommodation scheme
A public consultation is set to be held for proposed student accommodation by Alumno Group at Jock’s Lodge in Edinburgh.
The development would include 188 student rooms set over seven storeys. It will comprise a mix of single bedrooms with shared kitchens and larger studio-style bedrooms. Largely car-free, it will have two parking spaces included for staff use.
It would be located on the corner of Restalrig Road South and London Road, close to Edinburgh’s universities and colleges.
Facilities include a ground-floor lounge, study and social spaces, cycle storage provision, laundry and storage. External amenity provision includes a rear landscaped courtyard and external terraces at roof level.
Feedback can be provided by the public on its website.
16 August 2022
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya