Weekly planning news
Planning news - 2 December 2021
Mayor secures housing funding for older and disabled Londoners
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that he has obtained £43.5 million of funding to help to develop specialised housing for older and disabled people in London.
The funding is being provided through the Government’s Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) programme.
This is administered by City Hall. Homes for older people with care needs and adults with physical and learning disabilities will be developed.
The mayor's office said it is available for developers building a variety of specialised housing including:
- assisted living;
- dementia care;
- retirement housing;
- supported housing for disabled adults and people with mental health problems;
- wheelchair-adapted homes; and
- housing specifically designed for people with learning disabilities and autism.
Such housing would enable people to live as independently as possible, with carers and the wider health and social care system able to offer support more effectively.
The homes delivered are expected to be lifetime homes that have the flexibility to adapt to meet care and mobility needs of the people living there as they might progress or change.
Khan said: “All Londoners deserve a safe, secure home with enough space to live comfortably. This funding will help deliver a new generation of genuinely affordable specialised housing in London, where older adults and people with disabilities can live independently, but with good access to care and support, for the rest of their lives.”
The programme has so far funded schemes totalling £112 million, with 1,657 homes started and 830 completed in London, including Reardon Court, a former council-owned residential care home. The London Borough of Enfield will redevelop the site to provide 70 modern, flexible and accessible extra care homes, with fully accessible communal space.
The programme is currently open for bidding to schemes that can start on site by March 2022.
30 November 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Action on second homes and holiday lets boosted by Senedd pact
A cap on second and holiday homes is one of 46 policy areas in which radical action is promised following a deal struck between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru this week.
This should make it easier for key measures to progress in the Welsh Assembly Senedd, where Labour has not currently got a working majority.
Under this three-year agreement the two parties are committed to developing proposals for both a national construction company to boost the supply of social and affordable housing as well as a publicly owned energy company for Wales to expand community-owned renewable energy generation.
The two parties want Transport for Wales to explore the development of transport links between North and South Wales.
Also in prospect is an agreement on biodiversity targets, the creation of an environmental governance body and a big drive to encourage woodland creation on less productive land and through agroforestry.
In addition, there is a commitment to spending more on flood management and mitigation.
The deal is a bespoke agreement – it is not a coalition. Plaid Cymru AMs will not be joining the government as ministers or deputy ministers.
26 November 2021
Roger Milne, The Planner
Permission for 39 homes granted on appeal quashed by High Court
The High Court has quashed a decision by a planning inspector to allow a developer to build 39 homes near Clitheroe owing to a misunderstanding of policy.
Developer Oakmere Homes (NW) Limited sought to build on land near Clitheroe. Alongside the homes, plans featured landscaping, associated works and an access route from the junction of Chatburn Road and Pimlico Link Road.
Had the council determined the application, it said the planning committee would have rejected it for being in an unsuitable location. The core strategy seeks to protect the open countryside from development.
Policy DMG2 is intended to support the core strategy's DS1, which sets out that development proposals in principal settlements such as Clitheroe should “consolidate, expand or round-off development so that it is closely related to the main built-up areas”. Development should be in keeping with the existing settlement.
Inspector Graeme Robbie allowed the appeal against the council’s failure to give notice of a decision within the prescribed period. He also concluded that the development would consolidate development in a manner closely related to the main built-up area of Clitheroe.
In the case, Ribble Valley Borough Council maintained that the inspector had erred in law, deciding that he had misinterpreted local planning policy set out in the area's core strategy.
Judge Bird considered the planning inspector’s decision to be “firmly rooted in a misunderstanding of the policy and so must be quashed”.
The full decision can be found here1.
25 November 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Government to invest in tidal power
As part of its renewable energy auction scheme, the UK Government has pledged to invest £20 million a year in tidal stream electricity.
It said the investment starts a “new chapter” for the tidal industry and will create jobs across the UK.
The ring-fenced money will be allocated as part of the fourth round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme, which is due to open in December. It is hoped that the money will enable the marine energy sector to develop its technologies and lower costs.
This means the total funding for this Contracts for Difference Scheme allocation round is £285 million a year.
The government noted that the “clockwork predictability of the tides” means that tidal energy could be a most reliable source of generation.
Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “As an island nation we are perfectly placed to capitalise on clean marine energy, building on our booming offshore wind sector which is now a British industrial success story.
“We hope to see marine energy follow in the successful footprints of other renewable technologies, where we’ve seen costs fall dramatically in recent years, thanks to UK government support.
“The investment provides a major push for tidal power to become a key part of the next generation of renewable electricity projects needed to strengthen energy security as we work to reduce our dependence on volatile fossil fuels.”
29 November 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Government supports Hendy’s recommendation to establish UK strategic transport network
Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review recommends the creation of UKNET – a strategic transport network spanning the United Kingdom – and that the UK Government should plan improvements to the transport network using multimodal corridors.
The UK Government has indicated that the Prime Minister intends to accept the proposal to create UKNET.
Launched in October 2020, the independent Union Connectivity Review was tasked with reviewing the quality and availability of transport infrastructure across the UK and how it can support economic growth and quality of life.
National recommendations in the report include:
- The UK Government should design and implement UKNET – a strategic transport network for the whole of the UK, and commit to providing additional funding to improve the network, in particular the parts that are not performing well, with funding commitments targeted at parts of the network that require the most improvements.
- The UK Government should plan improvements to the network using multimodal corridors, which should be reviewed regularly and appraised on a wider economic basis in order to support government objectives such as the levelling up and net-zero agenda.
- The UK Government should support the development of sustainable aviation fuel plants in parts of the UK that are particularly reliant on aviation for domestic connectivity.
The final report also sets out the importance of cross-border travel between Wales and England because many people travel for work, services and leisure.
The UK Government should work with the Welsh Government to review the route connecting the north of Wales with the north-west of England, a “key” link for communities and businesses. Improvements for this route should focus on better connectivity with HS2 and major electrification schemes; upgrades to the A55, the M53, M56; and improving onward travel to and from the island of Ireland.
The report also advises the UK Government to:
- Support measures to reduce congestion on the M4.
- Provide targeted improvements at the junction of the M4/M5.
- Upgrade and build new stations on the existing South Wales Main Line.
- Develop a package of railway improvements to increase connectivity and reduce journey times between Cardiff, Birmingham and beyond, such as better rolling stock, timetable changes and enhanced infrastructure.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps stated: “Modern, rapid transport links between Wales and England are not just vital for economic growth and spreading opportunity across these two great nations. They will create the ties that bind our communities closer together, ensuring our investment works for everyone across the United Kingdom.”
Shapps and Johnson said they would consider Hendy’s recommendations.
Hendy said: “My recommendations provide comprehensive, achievable and clear plans forward to better connect the whole of the United Kingdom, leading to more growth, jobs, housing and social cohesion.
“I welcome the enthusiasm shown by the prime minister and the government to my final report and I look forward to their formal response to my recommendations, which aim to spread opportunity and prosperity right across the United Kingdom.”
Other recommendations in the report:
- Reduce rail journey times and increase rail capacity between Scotland and London, the Midlands and North West England by upgrading the West Coast Main Line north of Crewe and reviewing options for alternative northerly connections between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line.
- Seek to work with the Scottish Government to develop an assessment of the East Coast road and rail transport corridor from North East England to South East Scotland, including improvements on the East Coast Main Line and the A1.
- Offer funding to support the upgrading of the A75 to improve journeys between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
- Support the Northern Ireland Executive to develop, fund and implement a long-term pipeline of improvements to transport infrastructure.
29 November 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Clerkenwell warehouses to be refurbished
The London Borough of Islington Council has granted planning permission for the refurbishment of the Farringdon Road Estate.
BentallGreenOak’s scheme, designed by Fathom Architects, is aimed at improving the carbon footprint of the site.
The project at 143-157 Farringdon Road will increase the space by almost 10,000 square feet with upgrades to the quality of workspace, the creation of private and communal terraces and improving circulation. The basement will feature cycle storage, lockers and showers.
Waterside development in Wembley approved
The London Borough of Brent Council has given planning permission to Regal London’s plans for a mixed-use scheme on Fulton Road in Wembley.
The scheme has been designed by architects and masterplanners JTP.
The site was previously the headquarters of Euro Car Parts. The plans provide for 759 homes – 35 per cent of which will be affordable. The homes will be arranged over five tenure-blind buildings.
The scheme also includes more than 33,000 square feet of flexible commercial space, including retail, light industrial and logistics uses. Publicly accessible green space, highway improvements and a pedestrian crossing on Fulton Road also feature.
As part of the commitment to the local area, Regal London said it has pledged that 20 per cent of those employed on-site will be local residents, which is double the requirement by the London Borough of Brent.
Holiday lodge plans submitted in Northumberland
A planning application for a holiday and leisure complex in Northumberland has been submitted.
It features 30 dormer-style, two-bedroomed holiday lodges with associated decking and car parking spaces, as well as a gym, swimming pool and restaurant.
The plans were submitted by developers Cheviot View Leisure Ltd for the former paintballing site at Eshottheugh near Felton.
The leisure facilities will be available for local residents as well as holidaymakers.
Hedley Planning Services is working with the developers.
Former pool site in Leeds to host flats and student accommodation
Leeds City Council has granted planning permission for the transformation of the former Leeds International Pool site at Lisbon Street.
The 2.8-acre site has been used as a car park since the pool was demolished in 2009.
DLA Architecture has designed the development on behalf of Lisbon Street Developments, a joint venture between Marrico Asset Management and Helios Real Estate. DLA submitted the proposals earlier this year.
The scheme will deliver build-to-rent residential towers of 33 and 22 storeys including 629 apartments, a 24-storey student accommodation building with 548 bed spaces and a 15-storey, 120 key aparthotel. It also includes a 22,000 square feet of co-working office space and 131,000 square feet of grade A office accommodation.
DLA sought to fulfil a prerequisite that the scheme should incorporate a strong public realm with linkages to neighbouring West End sites such as Wellington Place.
Construction is set to start next spring.
Basingstoke approves housing development
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has approved a reserved matters planning application submitted by Boyer on behalf of Bloor Homes to build 227 homes at Basingstoke Golf Course.
The 48-hectare scheme, which is west of Basingstoke in Hampshire, will be known as ‘Bloor Homes on the Green’. It will include 91 “affordable” homes, a retail centre, a community building, a day nursery, sports facilities and open space.
Associated infrastructure will include a pedestrian crossing connecting residents to a new school at the Hounsome Fields development opposite. Residents will benefit from high-speed broadband, the option for electric car charging points, an improved bus service and highways improvements.
Rebecca Fenn-Tripp, planning director of Bloor Homes, said: “We are delighted to have achieved the first reserved matters approval for this major development, which will offer considerable benefits to the local community. This represents a real milestone for Bloor Homes and we look forward to commencing work on site in the near future to start delivering high-quality homes in this mature landscaped setting.”
The work is due to begin this month, with overall completion for the entire site expected to take 10 years.
WMCA approves £6m industrial park plans
Plans to construct a new industrial park on a derelict steelworks site in north Birmingham have been approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The £6 million development of Minworth Industrial Park will transform the former Steel Plates and Sections site off Forge Lane into 72,000 square feet of industrial and trade counter space. The 11 units will range from 4,466 to 12,701 square feet.
The site is just over four miles from Sutton Coldfield town centre and eight miles north-east of Birmingham city centre.
It will create 140 new jobs and more than three acres of brownfield land will be brought back into economic use.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to help unlock yet another scheme that creates local jobs for local people, whilst regenerating brownfield land and protecting the precious green belt.
“Despite the pandemic the WMCA has continued to invest its cash in remediating brownfield land, helping to drive our region’s recovery by creating jobs and building high-quality, truly affordable homes.”
Willenhall station work under way
The construction of a new station in Willenhall is under way for the return of passenger services on the Walsall to Wolverhampton line.
The £54 million project includes another station at Darlaston, and will enable people of Willenhall to travel to either Walsall or Wolverhampton in eight minutes and Birmingham New Street in 25 minutes. The line currently sees only freight services in operation.
There will be two trains an hour from Birmingham New Street and Crewe, calling at Wolverhampton, and an hourly shuttle between Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Eddie Hughes, MP for Walsall North, said: “The railway station will be a lifeline connecting the people of Willenhall to opportunities for jobs, training and leisure across the region, cutting those journey times.
“It will also be fantastic for the town, bringing people into the centre of Willenhall and supporting the regeneration of the area.”
30 November 2021
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner