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Planning news - 19 April 2023

1,500 homes approved for garden town

East Herts District Council has granted planning permission for the seventh Gilston village, which will complete the planned development at Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. 

Taylor Wimpey sought outline permission for up to 1,500 residential market and affordable homes on land off Church Lane, north of the A414, Hunsdon and Eastwick, Hertfordshire. 

The development also comprises: 

  • demolition of existing structures, refurbishment, and a change of use of existing grade II listed Brickhouse Farm Barn and structures; 
  • local village centre; 
  • retail, business, commercial and community uses; 
  • primary school, early years and nursery facilities; 
  • leisure and sports facilities; 
  • eight pitches for Gypsies and Travellers; 
  • open spaces, ecological areas and woodlands; and 
  • public realm. 

The planning officer's report states: “The delivery of the strategic site allocation and the provision of the residential and community infrastructure to meet identified needs carries significant positive weight and the development is acceptable in principle.” 

However, the officer does note that development at this scale will result in a “fundamental change” to the nature of the locality and it will have “adverse effects” on the setting of listed buildings and scheduled monuments on the site. 

“Rural villages will be surrounded by or will be adjacent to a new urban environment, with its visual impacts and intensity of activity currently not experienced in a landscape that is largely agricultural in nature. These potential harms were acknowledged in the allocation of the site and officers consider that the benefits of the new development outweigh the visual and landscape harm that will arise from the delivery of the proposals,” states the report to the development management committee. 

It was recommended that the application be approved, subject to a legal agreement. 

The outline permission follows the approval of 8,500 homes1 to be delivered across the other six garden villages earlier this year. Social enterprise Places for People was behind the application. The six villages will be located to the north of Harlow on the Hertfordshire and Essex border on 1,000 hectares of land. 

13 April 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

DLUHC proposes planning permission requirement for short-term lets

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is consulting on proposals that would see planning permission required for an existing home to be used as a short-term let, introduced through a new use class. 

The aim is to give communities more control over short-term lets in tourist hotspots where local people are struggling to buy affordable housing. 

Also under consideration is a proposal that would give owners the flexibility to let out their homes for a specified number of nights in a calendar year without the need for planning permission. The consultation asks whether this should 30, 60, or 90 nights a year. 

The government recognises that short-term lets are a “significant” part of the UK's visitor economy, stating that it wants to support it, but it also wants to protect local communities and guarantee the availability of affordable housing to rent or buy. 

13 April 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Plans submitted for redevelopment of RAF Quedgeley

An outline planning application for nearly 28,000 square metres of new flexible employment floor space at the former RAF Quedgeley site has been submitted to Stroud District Council. 

P4 Planning submitted the plans on behalf of logistics real estate company Mileway. 

The site has been vacant for nearly 20 years following the closure of the RAF site, which is enclosed on three sides by existing employment uses. 

P4 Planning said it undertook detailed consultation with Stroud District Council, local parish councils and the surrounding community prior to submission. 

Chris Watkins, associate director at Mileway, said: “This application represents a key stage in securing quality new employment at this site. We’ve been working hard to devise a scheme that meets the council’s ambitions for the site, and we’re committed to investing in the local area.” 

Thomas O’Kane, an associate at P4 Planning, added: “The proposal submitted aligns with the council’s vision for the site and will represent the final piece in the puzzle at one of the council’s strategic locations for new employment growth. We are looking forward to working with the council through the determination period to achieve a positive scheme that will bring about opportunities for businesses in Gloucestershire and farther afield.” 

It is estimated that the proposal could create about 500 new jobs. 

P4 Planning worked with AEW Architects, Vectos SLR (highways), Roberts Environmental Limited (ground conditions/contaminated land), FPCR (ecology and trees) RPS (flood risk) and Hann Tucker (acoustics). 

17 April 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Bellway development approved near Warrington

Warrington Borough Council has granted planning permission for the development of a 3.8-hectare plot at Tanyard Farm in Lymm, near Warrington. 

Bellway Homes Limited's (North West Division) plans feature a mix of 108 detached, semi-detached and terraced properties, including 32 affordable homes. Twelve flats are also included. 

Outline planning permission has also been granted for the development of a new primary health care facility, which Bellway has committed to supporting through a five-figure health care contribution package. 

Planning and development consultancy Lichfields supported the housebuilder throughout the application. It explained that the scheme has been designed to create a “strong sense of place and community, and will feature new landscaping and tree planting alongside the construction of new access roads and footpaths within the site”. 

Kirstie Oakey, planning director at the Manchester office of Lichfields, said: “Tanyard Farm is a terrific community development, creating a sustainable residential neighbourhood within walking distance of local schools, shops and amenities. Together with the addition of a new healthcare facility, it will undoubtedly contribute positively to this part of Lymm and the wider area.” 

Building work is due to start on site “as soon as possible”, creating up to 223 jobs in the construction and local supply chain. 

17 April 2023 
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Proposals lodged for Caerphilly solar farm

Caerphilly County Borough Council has submitted proposals to develop the largest publicly-owned solar farm in Wales. 

The scheme, known as Cwm Ifor, is earmarked for farmland near Penyrheol and is expected to cost between £12 and 16 million. It has been designed to generate enough electricity to power 6,000 homes and have an operational lifespan of 35 years. 

The council’s cabinet gave the go-ahead for the 20-megawatt project last October. Now a planning application for it has been lodged. No decision has been made about whether the council will develop the solar farm or sell the project. 

It has been classified as a development of national significance, so the Welsh Government will determine the proposal. 

The council hopes that the solar farm will support decarbonisation of the local electricity system, as well as provide an opportunity to generate additional income. 

Councillor Jamie Pritchard, the council's deputy leader and climate change cabinet member, said: “In 2019, the council declared a climate emergency and has committed to being carbon neutral by 2030. 

“The solar farm is a very exciting development and just one of a number of innovative initiatives planned by the council to reduce carbon emissions.” 

The council currently spends just over £4 million annually to meet its electricity demand of 28 megawatts. 

13 April 2023 
Roger Milne, The Planner

News round-up

Government cancels smart motorway plans 

The government has announced that smart motorway plans have been cancelled, owing to financial pressures and lack of confidence felt by drivers. 

The smart motorway to be removed from the government/building plans are: 

  • The 11 already paused from the second Road Investment Strategy (2020 to 2025). 
  • The three earmarked for construction during the third Road Investment Strategy (2025 to 2030). 
  • The cost of constructing smart motorways is estimated to be more than £1 billion. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “All drivers deserve to have confidence in the roads they use to get around the country. That’s why last year I pledged to stop the building of all new smart motorways, and today I’m making good on that promise. 

“Many people across the country rely on driving to get to work, take their children to school and go about their daily lives and I want them to be able to do so with full confidence that the roads they drive on are safe.” 

Fareham Local Plan 2037 adopted by council 

Fareham Borough Council has adopted Fareham Local Plan 2037 at a full council meeting, following its decision to accept the modifications set out by the Planning Inspector. 

Fareham Local Plan 2037 will become part of the council’s policy framework that will be used by the planning committee when considering planning applications and will sit alongside the Welborne Plan. 

Simon Martin, executive member for planning and development, said: “I am pleased to say that the local plan with the main modifications set out by the Planning Inspector has been accepted by council members and the local plan has been formally adopted with immediate effect. This means we can now set out how the borough develops and grows sustainably to meet future social, economic and environmental needs, while safeguarding our green spaces and historic environments for the future.” 

BPF and UK PropTech Association to merge 

The British Property Federation (BPF) and the UK PropTech Association (UKPA), which represents all parts of the proptech ecosystem, have announced an intention to merge to drive innovation in the property sector. 

The planned merger will bring together the BPF’s membership of nearly 400 property owners, investors, developers and advisors with the UKPA’s community of more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, solution providers, venture capital investors and proptech innovators. 

The partnership will aim to "help drive deeper collaboration between property and proptech businesses". Current UKPA board members and the executive team would work with the BPF board on an integrated strategy to drive innovation and tech adoption across the property sector. 

The integration of the two organisations is expected to be formalised in June following consultation with UKPA members. 

Tower Hamlets named ‘Tree Cities of the World’   

Tower Hamlets has been awarded ‘Tree Cities of the World’ status for the second year in a row for its greening work, including tree planting, increasing biodiversity, and expanding and nurturing urban and community forestry.  

Tower Hamlets joins the 168 cities from 21 countries across the world to be recognised by the global programme this year, run by Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.   

Since being recognised last year, Tower Hamlets Council has planted more than 3,000 new trees in its streets and parks. 

The council is working closely with its partners to deliver community-led tree planting across parks. Trees for Cities, which regularly facilitates tree planting and tree maintenance events across the borough, has recently hosted several planting events with the help of dedicated volunteers. This has seen 100 new trees planted in Victoria Park, 50 in Weavers Fields and 12 in Bethnal Green Gardens. 

House of Hammonds building awarded government grant 

The government has awarded a levelling up grant of £750,000 to ResQ Limited, which will create almost 300 new jobs at Hull City centre’s House of Hammonds building. 

The funding will be used to refurbish the second floor by the call centre company that currently occupies the first floor. The total project will cost more than £2 million. 

It will include the creation of office and reception areas with new doors, walls, handrails and fob-controlled entry/exit, as well as the installation of new electrics, plumbing and heating and decoration throughout. 

Garry Taylor, assistant director of major projects, culture and place, said: “This project shows real commitment from ResQ Limited to a key city centre heritage building, with the creation of almost 300 jobs a huge benefit to the city. 

“The levelling up funding scheme continues to benefit many buildings and businesses in the city and this is another great example of this.” 

18 April 2023 
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 - 19 April 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 © 2023 Planning Portal.