Weekly planning news
Planning news - 19 January 2023
Plans for mixed-use scheme in Leeds submitted
A planning application has been submitted to Leeds City Council for a £300 million mixed-use scheme on a site in the South Bank regeneration area of the city centre.
The Shelborn and Stamford joint venture is behind the scheme.
Working with Zerum Planning Consultants, DLA Architecture submitted designs for ‘Westbank Leeds’, the site for which is located next to Bridgewater Place on Water Lane.
The plans include 500,000 square feet of grade A office accommodation within four buildings alongside a hotel with a sky bar and more leisure space within the ground floor of the offices.
Uri Goldberg, managing director at Stamford Property Holdings, said: “After many months of collaboration with DLA and Zerum, we are delighted to submit this planning application for a very important strategic site. With its proximity to Leeds Central Station and the extent of residential development in the immediate vicinity, our site will provide an office-led environment, based on the highest standards of sustainability and wellness, helping to reinforce Leeds’s pre-eminence in the north of England.”
Jonathan Knowles, director at DLA Architecture, added: “The proposed massing and scale of the buildings sit very well with Bridgwater Place and we have given careful consideration to the positioning of the leisure offers within the public spaces to ensure strong connectivity with the surrounding amenity.”
12 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Decision deadline for A47 scheme extended
Transport minister Huw Merriman has announced that the deadline for a decision to be made on the A47 Wansford to Sutton National Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) has been extended to 17 February.
The extension was made by way of a written ministerial statement.
The application was submitted by National Highways. A development consent order (DCO) is sought for, among other things, approximately 2.6km of new dual carriageway constructed largely offline of the existing A47, including the construction of two new underpasses, in Bedfordshire. A new free-flow link road connecting the existing A1 southbound carriageway to the new A47 eastbound carriageway also features.
Under section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the transport secretary must make a decision within three months of receiving the examining authority’s report unless exercising the power under section 107(3) to extend the deadline. The secretary of state received the examining authority’s report on 11 October 2022 and the current deadline is 11 January 2023.
The extension has been made to allow for further consultation on some outstanding issues and to allow sufficient time for the analysis of responses to the consultation.
The written ministerial statement can be found on the UK Government website1.
13 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Solar farm approved to power water treatment facility
Torbay Council has granted planning permission for a solar farm that will provide clean energy for a water treatment works.
The solar farm will be delivered on a 16.5-acre site next to Bridge Road in Brixham. It will provide 2MW of power to treatment works on the adjacent site. Significant ecological and landscape enhancements are also part of the scheme.
Torbay Development Agency identified the site for a solar farm after Torbay Council declared a climate change emergency in June 2019.
Fisher German secured the permission on the agency's behalf. Planner Victoria Heath said the solar farm will go “a long way to helping tackle the climate emergency while improving biodiversity and preserving important archaeological remains on-site”.
“The revised plan we produced was able to reassure Torbay’s planning committee that the impact of the solar farm would be minimal while providing valuable green energy to the adjacent water treatment works.
“We also included landscape and ecological enhancements in our plan, resulting in a gain in biodiversity on land where bats are known to roost in hedges.”
12 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Research: City dwellers in the UK ‘need more botanical beauty’
A study published today (16 January) to mark Blue Monday – dubbed the most depressing day of the year – reveals that city dwellers feel that a lack of greenery adds to their blues.
Research by Mitie’s living wall specialist Biotecture highlights that 66 per cent of people living in urban environments want to see more botanical beauty where they live and that more than 26 per cent are demotivated by the lack of green space, with one in five feeling isolated.
Biotecture’s living walls are panels of plants, grown vertically on structures that are either freestanding or attached to walls containing plants that help to clean the air, provide enhanced insulation and shading for buildings, and improve the aesthetics of an area.
More than half of the 2,000 people surveyed think there is a lack of investment in urban greening and 43 per cent observe that there is too little space for nature to thrive.
As there is limited horizontal space for parks and open areas, 57 per cent of respondents said they wish to see more vertical greenery – such as living walls up the sides of buildings – to make up for the sparsity of ground-level plant life. Others want more trees (43 per cent), flower beds (38 per cent) and grass (36 per cent) – with 78 per cent saying that greenery improves their mental wellbeing.
Although 79 per cent of respondents cite the convenience of urban living for work opportunities and social life, 67 per cent would consider moving to a suburb or the countryside to get more out of nature. However, 62 per cent would consider staying in a metropolitan environment if there was more investment in urban greening, citing the key benefits of having cleaner air (47 per cent) and more wildlife (45 per cent).
Richard Sabin, managing director of Biotecture said: “Having access to green space shouldn’t just be a bonus when it comes to living in a city, everyone should be able to easily enjoy nature. It’s no surprise people feel demotivated and isolated if they don’t have access to greenery, whether that’s at their place of work, where they live or where they socialize.
“But it’s true cities can lack the space, which is why vertical living walls can be a great solution. The countryside has its draws, but it’s easy to see why people love living an urban life. Plants and greenery can make our cities healthier, happier, and more resilient to climate change.”
16 January 2023
Deborah Shrewsbury, The Planner
Permission sought for care home in Abergavenny
A planning application for a care home in Abergavenny has been lodged with Monmouthshire County Council.
Muller Property Group's plans involve the demolition of an existing dwelling at 54 Pen-y-Pound Road to make way for the care home.
The facility would feature 60 en suite/wetroom bathrooms and a range of communal facilities such as a cinema, hair and nail salon, and café/bistro. A garden for residents, designed to be dementia-friendly, is also included in the proposals.
The building will be a T-shaped, two-and-a-half-storey property nestled behind existing greenery.
To assess the need for care home beds in Abergavenny, Muller Property Group said it worked with health and social care experts at Carterwood. According to their research, there is an undersupply of 139 beds within a five-mile catchment of the proposed site.
Colin Muller, chief executive at Muller Property Group, commented: “The efficient redevelopment of this brownfield site will deliver new residential opportunities for those in later life while also potentially freeing up existing property stock for the wider community.
“Further, it will result in the creation of new jobs, both in the short-term during construction but also in the longer term for health care professionals, cleaners, maintenance teams and auxiliary services such as hairdressers and catering. This is our first care home application for Abergavenny and we are very much looking forward to demonstrating the value Muller can deliver to local communities.”
16 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Lords to discuss levelling up bill
The House of Lords will today (17 January) discuss the purpose and main principles of the levelling up and regeneration bill during its second reading.
Members will also identify any concerns or specific areas where they think amendments are needed.
The Conservative's Baroness Scott of Bybrook, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, will open the debate and respond on behalf of the government.
RTPI opens entries for awards
Entries are open for the 46th RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence.
There are 15 categories.
Entries from across the nations and regions are initially judged across 10 categories and awarded Best Plan, Best Project, Planning Authority of the Year, Small Planning Consultancy of the Year and Young Planner of the Year. The winners go through to the national awards.
The winners and commendations will be announced at the national ceremony in November.
More information can be found on the RTPI website.
Wind sets first record of 2023
Wind-generated 21.6 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in the half-hour period between 6-6.30pm on Tuesday 10 January, providing 50.4 per cent of the UK’s power.
The previous record of 20.9GW was set on 30 December.
RenewableUK said it has been tracking the amount of electricity being produced by low-carbon sources throughout the winter. Its latest update shows low-carbon power sources produced 82.5 per cent of Britain’s electricity from the 27 December to 9 January.
The membership body for wind and marine renewables said this cut gas demand by 1.31 billion cubic meters, which would have cost £2.1 billion.
Westminster residents vote for regeneration
The residents ballot for the regeneration of three sites in the Church Street neighbourhood in Westminster saw 73 per cent vote in favour of the proposals.
Westminster City Council's plans intend to re-provide all existing 228 council homes and deliver at least 156 new council homes at social rent levels, create new jobs and training opportunities as well as new shops and community facilities.
There was a voter turnout of 56 per cent. Residents who have moved off the estate but have the ‘right to return’ were able to vote.
The council will build the homes using funding from the Greater London Authority (GLA). Plans also include creating pedestrianised routes, green public spaces and a building a new library.
100% affordable homes scheme approved in East London
Redbridge Council has approved plans for a 100 per cent affordable residential scheme next to Barkingside Tube station.
The development will be deliver on an area previously used as a builder’s yard. It comprises 98 homes in three buildings and an enhanced public area.
The homes will be a mixture of one, two, and three-bedroom properties and provide a mixture of both shared ownership and social rent.
Regeneration specialist Vistry Partnerships and housing association Peabody have worked together to bring the development forward, alongside Transport for London's (TfL) wholly-owned commercial property company TTL Properties Ltd. The scheme was designed by Sheppard Robson architects.
RTPI past president helps to launch Davos Baukultur Alliance Founding Act
As president of the European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP-CEU), Janet Askew has attended a meeting of the Davos Alliance 2023 to launch The Davos Baukultur Alliance Founding Act.
The meeting follows the first, which happened in 2018. It took place on Sunday, on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Davos Alliance is a group of persons from the public and private sectors and civil society (NGOs) interested in creating a high-quality living environment that relates to culture-centred and sustainable approaches to development everywhere, which is referred to as ‘Baukultur’.
The meeting launched The Davos Baukultur Alliance Founding Act, which outlines the ambitions and objectives of the group. It was addressed by the chair of the World Economic Forum. The act will be presented to the World Economic Forum to seek their endorsement and adoption of its principles.
Janet Askew, past president of the RTPI and president of the European Council of Spatial Planners, said: “Our goal is to promote the important role of planners in approaches to development. I will be calling upon the public and private sectors and civil society to work together to adapt to the needs of all people to create an inclusive society in which everyone can expect a decent way of life in high-quality built and natural environments.”
Avant Homes acquires Eastwood housing site
Avant Homes Central has acquired an 11-acre site in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, to deliver 107 homes.
The development is named Lawrence Point and is located eight miles from Nottingham city centre on Lynncroft.
If approved, the development will comprise a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes and feature 14 of Avant Homes’s “design-led” house types.
Of the 107 homes proposed, 10 per cent have been designated as affordable housing. Avant has also committed to community contributions of around £680,000 for the provision of local education, healthcare, improvements of bus stops and library facilities, a travel plan, and public open space.
RIBA launches Mansfield residential scheme competition
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched a design competition following the ‘Competitive Procedure with Negotiation’ on behalf of Mansfield District Council.
The competition is seeking a multidisciplinary design team for a sensitive residential scheme in Mansfield town centre. The council is hoping that through a design competition they will secure an exemplar development that will have a significant impact on Mansfield’s town centre.
The council has acquired the White Hart Street site, which sits within a conservation area and contains a listed building and non-designated heritage assets. It forms a key part of the Church Street Quarter in the emerging town centre masterplan.
Mansfield council plans to sensitively redevelop the site for residential purposes in a mix of elderly people's apartments and family housing.
City of London approves Red Lion Court refurb plans
The City of London has approved plans to refurbish and retrofit Holyer House at Red Lion Court, which is in the Fleet Street conservation area.
The offices are to be occupied by membership organisation Dentists’ Provident, which commissioned LOM architecture and design to retain the 1970s building structure and reconfigure the interior, as well as new cladding and glazing.
The proposals aim to transform 5,600 square foot of office space to improve the user experience and enable the space to perform more effectively for occupiers. The refurbishment intends to enhance the building’s sustainability and energy efficiency through improved thermal performance and building services. Retention of the existing structure will save approximately 175 tonnes of carbon when compared to an equivalently sized new-build.
An extension at the roof level will allow access to a new outdoor terrace that will provide space for outdoor work, leisure and collaboration. On the ground floor, bike storage and shower facilities will make it easier to cycle to work, encouraging sustainable travel for building users.
Cruden Homes opens Jedburg housing consultation
Cruden Homes will seek views from the public on plans to deliver 76 homes for social rent, on the site of the former Howdenburn Primary School on Howdenburn Drive in Jedburgh.
The school, which was built in 1970, was closed in 2020 and subsequently demolished, with pupils transferring to Jedburgh Grammar Campus at Hartrigge Park.
In addition to the new homes, the 5.57-acre site would also include associated infrastructure such as roads, footpaths, a SUDS (sustainable urban drainage) system and open space.
A consultation event will take place on Wednesday 18 January between 4pm and 8pm at Jedburgh Town Hall, with the public given the chance to view proposals, ask questions and provide feedback.
Proposals can also be viewed on the project website.
Muller submits Leverhulme Park plans in Bolton
Muller Property Group has submitted a planning application to Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council for a brownfield site fronting Leverhulme Park.
Outline planning permission is sought for 100 dwellings on the site, alongside an application to regulate the topography of the former railway cutting to a level platform for the residential development.
The application proposes a mix of two, three and four-bed homes. Areas of informal green space, alongside pedestrian and cycle links, are included within the proposed layout to encourage use of neighbouring open spaces and recreational areas.
The 6.8-acre site is located along the east and west of Long Lane on the northern periphery of Darcy Lever, adjacent to Leverhulme Park and approximately 2.2km east of Bolton town centre.
Acorn buys housing land in Gloucestershire village
Acorn Property Group has purchased land for a £6 million GDV site in the village of Greet in Gloucestershire.
Manor Court is set within an area of outstanding natural beauty near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. The development will feature a mix of four and five-bedroom houses with views of the surrounding countryside.
Each house will benefit from electric car charging ports and battery storage, along with air source heat pumps giving homeowners a low-carbon and renewable energy source.
The development will include hedgehog corridors, a hedgehog house and new bat and bird boxes to preserve and enhance existing biodiversity.
Construction work will begin by Acorn’s construction arm Acorn Homes Construction Solutions (AHCS) in Spring 2023, with the first homes expected to complete in Winter 2023/24.
Cala Homes purchases land in Kirkintilloch
Cala Homes (West) has purchased land at its new Fauldhead development located at Market Road and Chryston Road in Kirkintilloch.
The development site sits adjacent to Woodilee Village and will be connected to the surrounding local area by a network of footpaths, providing the missing link between the Woodilee Village South footpath.
The development will incorporate 228 homes, including 171 private homes with options ranging from one-bedroom cottage flats, three bedroom terraced and semi-detached homes, and four and five-bedroom detached villas.
The remaining 57 plots will deliver affordable homes to the local community. These homes will be developed in partnership with Hillhead Housing Association, a Kirkintilloch based community-run organisation.
On the site, biodiversity specialists will create three new ponds and will sow hundreds of established and sapling trees, as well as over 4,000 square metres of hedgerow that complements the character of the surrounding area.
The Fauldhead development is estimated to start in January 2023 with construction projected to last five years.
17 January 2023
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner