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Planning news - 2 February 2023

Darlington garden village gets £43 million

Homes England has invested £43 million into Burtree Garden Village, Darlington.

The aim is to create a sustainable community comprising 2,000 homes, including affordable homes and accommodation for older people.

The £43 million will fund vital infrastructure for the village, such as new highways, sustainable travel links and a public park and nature reserve, which will cover almost half of the 307-acre site.

It is anticipated that 2,750 jobs will be created in Darlington through 200,000 square metres of new employment space, a new primary school and a community centre also part of the plans.

The funding comes from the government’s £1.3 billion Land Assembly Fund, which aims to help to build homes in the right places, ‘level up’ the country and remove local barriers to development such as infrastructure provision or land contamination.

Homes England will be working in partnership with local SME developer Hellens Group and Darlington Borough Council to deliver the garden village.  

Peter Denton, chief executive of Homes England, said: “The creation of Burtree Garden Village will play a transformative role in helping Darlington to achieve its significant growth ambitions, and we’re proud to be able to bring it a step closer to reality through funding vital infrastructure works.”

A planning application is set to be lodged for the first phase of the scheme this year. It will feature proposals for 750 homes, green spaces and transport links.  

The funding builds on £446,000 it has already received through the government's Garden Communities programme.

30 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Government issues six-week cladding deadline to developers

Developers have six weeks to sign the legally binding contracts that commit them to pay to repair unsafe buildings.

The contract is intended to protect thousands of leaseholders in England from costly repairs to buildings with safety defects.

Under the contract, developers will commit an estimated £2 billion or more for repairs to buildings they developed or refurbished over the past 30 years. Alongside the Building Safety Levy, the industry is directly paying an estimated £5 billion to make their buildings safe.

Developers are also required to reimburse taxpayers where public money has been used to fix unsafe buildings.

The legally binding contract builds on public pledges from 49 of the country's developers to fix their own buildings.

Housing secretary Michael Gove said: "Today (30 January) marks another significant step towards righting the wrongs of the past and protecting innocent leaseholders, who are trapped in their homes and facing unfair and crippling costs.

“Too many developers, along with product manufacturers and freeholders, have profited from these unsafe buildings and have a moral duty to do the right thing and pay for their repair.

“In signing this contract, developers will be taking a big step towards restoring confidence in the sector and providing much-needed certainty to all concerned.

“There will be nowhere to hide for those who fail to step up to their responsibilities – I will not hesitate to act and they will face significant consequences.”

Legislation brought forward in the spring will see a Responsible Actors Scheme (RAS) created. This will mean the housing secretary can block developers who have not signed the contract or failed to comply with its terms from carrying out development and from receiving building control approval.

30 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Plans for regeneration of Oxpens site submitted

OXWED LLP has lodged plans with Oxford City Council for the regeneration of the Oxpens site into a mixed-use neighbourhood.

The application has been validated by the council. OXWED is a joint venture between Nuffield College and Oxford City Council.

The plans would transform a neglected part of the city into a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood. It is estimated that doing so would contribute up to £270 million annually to the city’s economy.

In line with the recently adopted Supplementary Planning Document for Oxford’s West End and the council’s Economic and City Centre strategies, the scheme would turn the under-used 15-acre brownfield site into an extension of the city centre.

Plans comprise 234 apartments, 50 per cent of which have been designated as affordable, 258 student rooms, approximately 500,000 square feet net of labs or office space, and a 250-bed hotel.

The application also proposes to expand the existing Oxpens Meadow, opening up the riverside and adding a public amphitheatre for use as an event space.

It is designed to be largely car-free, as extensive public transport and active travel links are part of the plans.

Kevin Minns, managing director at OXWED, said: “This area of Oxford, with its rich social history of industry and community, has been overlooked and underappreciated for too long but now has the capacity to really deliver for the people of Oxford.  New homes, jobs, commercial space, a public square with shops and community amenities, amphitheatre and new green spaces will all be just moments from the train station in Oxfordshire’s most sustainable location. We look forward to bringing our vision and ambition for this regeneration to life.”

The submissions include an outline planning application with an illustrative masterplan, parameter plans and supporting design code, together with a detailed planning application for the enabling works to prepare the site for development.

26 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Guidance for local authorities on tree planting published

A toolkit intended to provide local authorities in England with specific guidance on tree planting to support them in planning for nature recovery and building greater resilience.

This also, in turn, helps to tackle climate change.

The Value of Trees toolkit was commissioned by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and funded by the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.

It contains information on species selection and up-to-date guidance on tree planting and maintenance.

Leicestershire County Council and specialist consultant Treeconomics led the project. It is aimed at local authorities and third-party organisations such as developers.

The toolkit features a tree valuation matrix that calculates the monetary value of different tree species according to the ecosystem services they provide, including carbon storage and sequestration, flood management and air pollution removal.

Blake Pain, lead member for the environment and the green agenda at Leicestershire County Council, said: “Leicestershire County Council has shown its commitment to protecting and increasing its tree population by working in partnership to develop the Tree Charter and the Net Zero Action Plan. The Value of Trees work is a further step in the right direction towards a future with trees that are thriving and delivering multiple benefits for Leicestershire residents.”

Although the guidance has been developed for Leicestershire, ADEPT said the framework is adaptable and can be applied to other geographical locations.

Mark Kemp, president of ADEPT, said: “Local authorities are planting trees as part of their plans to accelerate woodland creation and support their climate change agendas, but we are concerned about challenges that may be presented by diseases such as ash dieback.

“ADEPT wanted to measure the impact of ash dieback on local authorities and develop support for local authorities across the country, so we commissioned the Value of Trees project. We wanted to develop a considered strategy to deliver ecosystem services and create a consistent, evidence-based approach.

“This guidance document has the potential to become a decision-making framework for local authorities and others across the country and we hope it will also help to influence national policy.”

Leicestershire County Council will pilot the guidance and test the framework in its area, with the next phase of the project set to look at how Leicestershire’s Tree Charter, developed in partnership with The National Forest, can be extended to encompass the findings of the project.

More information about The Value of Trees can be found on the ADEPT website.1

24 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

First section of Camden Highline approved

Camden Council has granted planning permission for the first phase of a project that will see a 260m section of disused railway viaduct transformed into an elevated park.

This section runs from Camden Gardens to Royal College Street.

Creation of an elevated urban park, which will run eight metres above ground, is intended to provide green space for underserved communities as well as forming a tourist attraction for London akin to New York's Highline.

Gardens and walkways, seating areas, cafés, arts and crafts stalls, children’s play areas, and space for charitable activities will be located along the route.

In full, the Camden Highline will run for 1.2km, connecting Camden Town with King’s Cross, helping to knit together neighbourhoods around them.

Alongside delivering health and social benefits, the developers and architects at vPPR are working with urban space reimaginers Street Space to ensure that the local community plays a central role in project design and has a voice in decision-making.

The project began as a crowdfunded community initiative and is the culmination of public engagement that has taken place over the past four years, with lead architects James Corner Field Operations, the designers of the New York Highline, local architecture practice vPPR, the Camden Highline team, and community engagement specialist Street Space. Planning consultancy Lichfields secured permission for phase 1.

Senior director Michael Lowndes and planner Sophie Bisby said the project would revitalise a vitally important part of London.

Lowndes added: “It reflects a fresh approach to rejuvenating urban public spaces that deliver long-term, impactful and sustainable benefits for local communities.

“Camden Highline will undoubtedly have a big impact and contribute to a positive change in this part of North London. The design is intended to celebrate and amplify the unique characteristics of the railway viaduct, dramatising movement and discovery, set within a sequence of woodlands, meadows, and gardens.”

The project will be built in three sections, beginning at Camden Gardens to Royal College Street, then east to Camley Street, and finally to York Way. The project is expected to create 200 construction jobs and 116 new long-term jobs.

Lead designer James Corner of Field Operations commented: “Camden is a unique and vibrant place and we’ve designed the Camden Highline to embrace this special character. It will serve as a green connective thread, biodiversity corridor and a community amenity. It will be budding with opportunities for arts and culture, and an essential space for young people to examine and learn about nature. Camden Highline is an extraordinary urban project and exactly the type of forward-thinking, inclusive project that might help to bring us together in trying times.”

Camden Highline, the charity behind the project, is currently focused on fundraising for construction.

24 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News round-up

Devolution deal signed and consultation begins

Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove, Mayor of North Tyne Jamie Driscoll and representatives from all seven local authorities covering the region have signed a devolution deal in a ceremony at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

The deal will transfer new powers to local leaders in the North East to deliver skills, transport and housing.

Under the deal, the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) would receive more than £1.4 billion over the next 30 years. It covers Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham.

The agreement is subject to consultation across the region, which is now open. If approved, the public will be able to elect a mayor of the North East.

The deal was announced2 at the end of 2022.

Swan Lake affordable housing plans approved in West Bromwich

Sandwell Council has approved plans by GreenSquareAccord to transform a disused National Grid site on Swan Lane, in West Bromwich, into a living space comprising 147 affordable homes.

The development will provide 41 two and 24 three-bedroom houses and 17 one-bed and 65 two-bed apartments.

The Black Lake Metro stop is less than 100 metres away and several bus routes are in operation close by.

New residents will have access to parking spaces within the grounds of the development and electric vehicle charging points will be installed prior to the occupation of the homes.

To guarantee privacy, the development will be partly screened by landscaped vegetation and trees along the perimeter of the site. There will be plenty of open space within the development complete with a pond to support local wildlife.

Construction work is set to start on site later this year.

Maxwell Park plans given go-ahead in Glasgow

Glasgow City Council has approved plans for Maxwell Park in Glasgow to be transformed into a community space by architects O’DonnellBrown.

The site is located in the southeastern corner of Maxwell Park, adjacent to the Pollokshields Burgh Hall. It was used as a council maintenance yard for many years.  

The 165 square-metre single-storey building will provide multiple uses, such as local meetings, training and classes, café/events space, office space, kitchen facilities and toilets for building and park users, all arranged around a sheltered central courtyard.

The landscape design for the site includes a reopening of an original park entrance on the site that will improve the park’s permeability, as well as a new community games area using existing hardstanding.

Work is expected to start on-site in early 2024.

Unlimited fine for tree felling without licence

Felling trees without a felling licence where one is required will carry the penalty of an unlimited fine.

This is up from the limit of £2,500 or twice the value of the trees felled.

This, among other measures, has been delivered as part of the Environment Act 2021 and makes changes to the Forestry Act 1967.

Other changes include:

  • Failure to comply with a Forestry Commission Enforcement Notice and a subsequent court-ordered Restocking Order (meaning any trees felled must be replanted) will put offenders at risk of imprisonment, in addition to an unlimited fine.
  • Restocking Notices and Enforcement Notices will be listed on the Local Land Charges Register, making them visible to prospective buyers of the land – potentially reducing the land’s value.  

Guidance on this can be found on the UK Government website.3

Onn steps down from RenewableUK

Melanie Onn will step down from her position as deputy chief executive at RenewableUK at the end of March.

She joined the trade body in February 2020, having previously served as MP for Great Grimsby from 2015 to 2019.

Onn's work involved helping the organisation to navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and working with the government and industry to identify and resolve risks to vital industry activity during the lockdown. She worked with RenewableUK’s board and members to develop an "industry-leading Just Transition Tracker framework" that sets out the sector’s commitment to supporting people and places in the switch to clean energy.

Onn said: “I’m incredibly proud of the significant impact RenewableUK has had in driving forward policies to deliver net zero. This has been an incredibly exciting time to be part of the renewables industry and I have loved working with this enthusiastic and committed team, who I know will continue to do great things for the sector. My thanks to the team and RenewableUK members for their kindness and support over the past three years, it’s been a privilege and an education to represent the sector.”

Grimsby Live reports that Onn is to stand for re-election as Labour's candidate for the Grimsby seat.

Refurbishment of Hanover Square building approved

Westminster City Council has granted planning permission for the transformation of 25 Hanover Square, a seven-storey office building in London’s Mayfair into a 'high-quality future-forward' workplace.

Designed by architects Basha-Franklin for asset and development manager Morgan Capital, the plans include a new entrance and reception at ground level, a workspace, and a reconfigured terrace on the seventh floor overlooking the square.

Sustainable, high-performance materials will be used throughout, and the building’s original materials will be reused and repurposed.

Work will start on site before the end of the year, with completion due in late 2024.

Permission sought for 292 homes in Stoke

Marrons has submitted a planning application to Stoke-on-Trent City Council for a mixed-use scheme including 292 homes.

The council-led two-phase Etruscan Square development has been designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects and backed by £20 million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund. It comprises 292 homes, a hotel and a 3,600-capacity arena across 2.78 hectares in Hanley.

This is supported by a separate planning application for a 645-space multistorey car park and mobility hub on the site of the former Meigh Street car park, designed by Potter Church & Holmes Architects

The council secured £56 million for its We are Levelling Up Stoke-on-Trent Programme in 2021.

Marrons submitted the application on behalf of design, engineering and management consultant Arcadis.

Phase one of the development includes 92 one-bed apartments, 44 two-bed apartments, and three four-bed townhouses, as well as 632 square metres of commercial, business and service space, and public realm works to previously developed brownfield land.

Phase two features a 3,600-seater arena, 138-room hotel, 200-space underground car park, and a commercial centre providing 5,620 square metres of floor space and 153 residential units.

Red Brick Farm development plans agreed

Trebor Developments and Hillwood, together with landowner the Church Commissioners for England, have entered into a long-term agreement to develop the 127-acre Red Brick Farm site in Peterborough.

The scheme benefits from outline planning permission for 1.36 million square feet of employment space, which the Church Commissioners secured in 2020.

Infrastructure and phase one works will start during 2023, to deliver a wide range of industrial accommodation (B1/B2/B8), from 20,000 square feet to over 800,000 square feet.  

The industrial units will be delivered either in speculative phases or pre-let/sales to meet occupiers’ specific requirements.  

Placefirst launches Benwell public consultation

Build-to-rent provider Placefirst has launched an online public consultation for its proposed development of 146 homes in Benwell.

The proposed scheme, located two miles west of Newcastle city centre, would deliver a single-family rental neighbourhood with a variety of two, three and four-bedroom house types.

The development will bring back into use the 2.75-hectare brownfield site that has been vacant for 10 years.

Placefirst’s plans will include public open space and “unique” landscape zones that will maximise the views over the Tyne valley.

The public consultation is available from 23 January to 10 February 2023 and invites feedback from local residents. It can be accessed here4

Emmanuel House plans approved in Nottingham

Homelessness charity Emmanuel House Support Centre has received planning permission from Nottingham City Council to change the use of the first and second floors of its premises on Goose Gate, Hockley, in the city centre.

The scheme includes the creation of 20 bedrooms that will provide short-term emergency accommodation for people who find themselves homeless.

The charity’s ground floor will continue to provide day support while the first and second floors will be converted into bedrooms providing 24-hour emergency care.

The replacement of the support centre’s existing windows will be the first element of the development to be delivered.

Phase one of the development will start in the coming months.

31 January 2023
Laura Edgar and 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 - 2 February 2023

      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.

      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.