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Planning news - 22 February 2024

Short-term lets to be subject to planning permission

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced that short-term lets will be subject to planning permission.  

A new use class will be created for short-terms lets not used as a sole or main home. 

Existing short-term lets will be reclassified under this new use class. A planning application won't be required. 

The changes are part of the government’s long-term plan for housing, as it seeks to deliver the homes the country needs and deliver one million homes this Parliament. 

Housing secretary Michael Gove said: “Short-term lets can play an important role in the UK’s flourishing tourism economy, providing great, easily accessible accommodation in some of the most beautiful parts of our country. 

“But in some areas, too many local families and young people feel they are being shut out of the housing market and denied the opportunity to rent or buy in their own community. 

“So the government is taking action as part of its long-term plan for housing. That means delivering more of the right homes in the right places and giving communities the power to decide. 

“This will allow local communities to take back control and strike the right balance between protecting the visitor economy and ensuring local people get the homes they need.” 

The government hopes to prevent a “hollowing out” of communities and to support local people in areas where high numbers of short-term lets are preventing them from finding housing they can afford to buy or rent. 

Tourism minister Julia Lopez added: “Short-term lets provide flexibility for homeowners and give tourists more accommodation options than ever before, but this should not prevent local people from being able to buy or rent homes in their area. 

“The government is committed to getting the balance right to ensure both local people and our visitor economy can thrive.” 

A mandatory national register will be introduced to give local authorities the information they need about short-term lets in their area. The aim is to help local authorities to understand the extent of short-term lets in their area, the effects on their communities and underpin compliance with key health and safety regulations. 

Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe, Airbnb, commented: “The introduction of a short-term lets register is good news for everyone. Families who host on Airbnb will benefit from clear rules that support their activity, and local authorities will get access to the information they need to assess and manage housing impacts and keep communities healthy, where necessary. 

“We have long led calls for the introduction of a host register and we look forward to working together to make it a success." 

The government said it also intends to introduce associated permitted development rights. One would allow for a property to be changed from a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling while the second would allow a property to be changed to a short-term let. 

Local authorities would be able to remove these permissions and require full planning permission should they deem it necessary. 


Kay Buxton, chief executive of the Marble Arch London Business Improvement District (BID) commented: “We see daily issues with household waste from guests in short term-lets scattered along Westminster’s high streets in carrier bags, and copious amounts of fly-tipping as flat fixtures and fittings are rotated on an almost continuous basis. A high turnover of guests and ‘over-occupied’ flats means that bed bases, mattresses, furniture and white goods are fly tipped onto Westminster’s pavements every single day from the 33 residential blocks on and around Edgware Road, putting intense pressure on council services. Short term lets drive up prices in the private rented sector, squeezing out local people and putting pressure on housing services. 

“Some of the worst examples of anti-social behaviour manifest when a flat is used for illegal activity, such as a brothel or unlicensed music event (UME). In these situations, not only the local authority but the police and the courts are involved in making the property safe and returning a block to a safer neighbourhood footing, at great expense to the public purse and residential communities. 

“We therefore welcome the housing secretary’s announcement, and fully support the call for a short-lets registration scheme and greater powers on regulation and enforcement.” 

Paul Miner, head of campaigns and policy at countryside charity CPRE, said: "‘These new planning rules are good news for rural communities. Everyone deserves a home they can afford to live in. But the recent surge in short-term lets has prevented people in the countryside from finding housing they can afford to buy or rent, and in some cases local workers have been turfed out of their rented accommodation.   

"We have long led calls on the government to introduce a second home and short-term lets register, with local authorities having the power to regulate the provision of short-term lets and to levy extra council tax on second homes. It’s pleasing to see the government has finally done the right thing by introducing these changes. 

"Our own research shows that the explosion in the number of homes marketed for Airbnb-style short-term lets is strangling rural communities. The worsening housing crisis is felt most acutely in rural areas which is why we’ve been calling for rapid action from the government. 

"We want everyone in the countryside to have a fair chance in life, whatever their circumstances. To make this a reality, we need to ensure there are enough low cost homes to rent or buy in our villages and market towns." 

19 February 2024 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Energy secretary Claire Coutinho has granted a development consent order (DCO) for a full chain carbon capture, usage and storage project on land near the former Redcar Steel Works site. 

Elements of the project include a gas-fired electricity station with an electrical output of up to 860 megawatts (MW) with a post-combustion carbon plant. 

Consent was also sought for gas, electricity and water connections for the electricity generating station, a CO2 pipeline network for collecting CO2 from a cluster of local industries on Teesside, a high-pressure CO2 compressor station and an onshore CO2 export pipeline. 

Net Zero Teesside Power Limited and Net Zero North Sea Storage Limited are behind the project, the land for which lies within the administrative boundaries of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. It also in part lies in the boundary of the Teeswork area controlled by South Tees Development Corporation. 

The site is 462 hectares. 

There are a series of offshore elements to the development which are not part of the request for consent. One of these has been consented under s18 of the Energy Act 2008 and the remaining three require a decision from the North Sea Transition Authority. 

The examining authority considered that the development would address the “urgent need for new electricity capacity” as set out in EN-1, the use of natural gas for energy generation (EN-1 and EN-4) and the urgent need for gas-fired electricity generation with CCS (Carbon Capture Storage) infrastructure as set out in the draft 2021 EN-1. The energy secretary notes that this urgent need is also set out in the draft 2023 and 2024 EN-1 and that the development would help to deliver the government’s net-zero commitment by 2050. 

Coutinho acknowledged that the full chain CCUS nature of the development “elevates it considerably above other CCR projects as it will be required to capture a minimum of 90 per cent of carbon when operating at full load throughout its operation, and will seek to achieve a capture rate of at least 95 per cent”. 

The decision letter states that it further contributes to the strong positive weight accorded to the need for the development. 

The examining authority concluded that the need for the development is “clearly justified” through EN-1, EN-2, EN-4, and the draft 2021 EN-1, attributing “substantial weight” to the need for the development. The secretary of state agrees with the examining authority's assessment of need for this type of energy, attributing “substantial positive weight” to the contribution that the development would make towards meeting the national need. 

“While the secretary of state appreciates that the proposed development, in conjunction with the offshore elements and wider NZT Project, has the capacity to store a large amount of carbon, she agrees with the examining authority that the GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from the proposed development itself must result in negative weight in the planning balance,” states the decision letter. 

She considers that the development would support the UK’s transition towards a low-carbon economy but that the cumulative whole-life GHG emissions are a significant adverse effect that carries significant negative weight in the planning balance. 

Further, she agrees with the examining authority that, with the mitigation measures secured in the DCO, there will be no significant effects on air quality. 

Agreeing with the examining authority’s position on design and its conclusion that, with respect to design, landscape, and visual impacts, the effects are negative, Coutinho attributed moderate weight against the making of the order in the planning balance. 

The examining authority considered the permanent loss of subtidal sandflats. It found that the affected area would be small and the effects, including the loss of habitats for fish and shellfish, are not significant. Furthermore, it was satisfied that significant harm to biodiversity would be avoided through integrated mitigation and monitoring secured through requirements in the DCO. 

The examining authority said it was “content that the applicants had identified opportunities for biodiversity net gain on the site and are satisfied that the extent of information provided is consistent with draft 2021 policy”. 

It concluded that biodiversity and ecology matters “would not give rise to any likely significant adverse effects” and acknowledged the benefit that enhancement to biodiversity would bring, applying moderate positive weight to these in the planning balance. 

The decision letter states: “In this instance, the secretary of state does not consider that proposed enhancements to biodiversity to achieve biodiversity net gain of 9.95 per cent habitat units are sufficient to justify moderate positive weighting, and in this instance accords it minor positive weight in the planning balance.” 

The examining authority, the Planning Inspectorate, recommended that a DCO should be granted.  

Overall, the energy secretary considers there to be a strong case for granting development consent for the development. Given the national need for the development, she “does not believe that this is outweighed by the adverse impacts” that have been identified. Coutinho granted the DCO, including the suggested modifications. 

The decision letter and all other documents relating to the project can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website. 1 

20 February 2024 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Government challenged over ‘weak and inadequate climate plan’

On 20 February the High Court will hear the Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth, and the Good Law Project’s legal challenge to the government’s revised Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, which Friends of the Earth describes as ‘weak and inadequate’.  

Opponents say that the carbon plan lacks information, and relies on “unproven technology”. 

This is the second time that these organisations have taken legal action over the government’s climate targets plans. The High Court ruled in 20222 that the government’s climate action plan had breached the Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA) and ordered that the strategy should be revised. 

However, these groups argue that the revised plan – published in March 20233 – is still inadequate, and still in breach of the act. 

The Climate Change Committee, the government’s independent adviser on climate, found in June 2023 that there are now only credible plans for less than a fifth of the emissions cuts needed to meet the UK’s sixth Carbon Budget by 2033. 

Friends of the Earth’s lawyer Katie de Kauwe said that “the government ought to just come clean that this is a reckless, high-risk plan” and should instead produce a “credible and lawful strategy that ensures all our climate targets are met”. 

She said that at present, the plan “lacks critical information on the very real risks that its policies will fail to deliver the cuts needed to meet legally binding carbon reduction targets and relies too heavily on unproven technologies”. 

Sam Hunter Jones, ClientEarth’s counsel, said the government continues to rely on “pie-in-the-sky measures to address a crisis that needs real, immediate action”. 

Read a full legal briefing on the case here4

20 February 2024 
Ben Gosling, The Planner 

Greater Manchester development plan to be considered by councils

Places for Everyone will be appraised by each of the nine councils it covers following independent inspectors deeming it sound subject to a series of main modifications.  

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) received the inspectors' report on 14 February. It sets out the findings of the examination of the Places for Everyone Joint Development Plan Document. 

The long-term plan is for nine Greater Manchester districts – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. It is intended to guarantee that all new developments are sustainably integrated into Greater Manchester’s transport network or supported by new infrastructure. 

The modifications went out for consultation in October 20235, together with the Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Main Modifications, which have been carried out. 

One tweaks the period the plan covers; initially, it was from 2020-2037, but inspectors recommend that it should cover the years 2022-2039. Therefore, using the government's standard methodology for calculating local housing need, another modification takes this figure from 165,000 to about 175,000 homes during the plan period of 2022 to 2039. 

The nine councils called on the inspectors to recommend any main modifications necessary to rectify matters that rendered the submitted plan neither sound nor legally compliant. 

The inspectors' report states that they have taken account of the responses to the consultation held between 11 October and 6 December in coming to their conclusions, and “as a result, have made some amendments to the modifications and added further modifications where these are necessary for consistency or clarity”. 

“None of the amendments significantly alters the modified policies as published for consultation or undermines the participatory processes and sustainability appraisal or habitats regulations assessment that has been undertaken. Where necessary we have highlighted these amendments in the report,” the report explains. 

The councils now need to consider the inspectors' recommendations and adoption of Places for Everyone. It is anticipated that these council meetings will be held between 28 February and 20 March 2024; full details of the council meetings will be available in due course, according to the GMCA website. 

19 February 2024 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Custom build provides double the benefit to local economy, report finds

Custom and self-build homes are contributing a ‘significantly higher positive local impact compared to mainstream housing’, according to a report. 

The NaCSBA Custom and Self-Build Report 2023/24 6 also notes that the homes built are “more sustainable than the average new-build”. 

The research was commissioned by the Right to Build Task Force. 

It found that: 

  • Custom and self-build development produces more than a doubling of the beneficial local economic impact of mainstream housing when labour and materials are viewed together. This is based on an analysis that tested a model against five areas with different rural/urban classifications and differing regions, providing a robust set of illustrative data. 
  • Data from Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) demonstrated that CSB homes typically have reduced energy consumption of between 8-42 per cent lower and CO2 emissions of 7-43 per cent lower than typical new-build EPCs. The model draws on EPCs in the same five case study areas. 

Findings in the report indicate that the demand reflected by these registers is underestimated by at least two-thirds, said NaCSBA. 

The analysis examined postcode data of people interested in custom and self-build and compared this data against the total numbers who had signed a register, both for a three-year period. 

Nearly two-thirds were not on a register but were interested in self-building at some point, amounting to at least a 64 per cent under-measuring of demand. 

14 February 2024
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News round-up

£1.4bn investment unleashed with new devolution deal 

Legislation introduced in Parliament to enact a new devolution deal would bring a £1.4 billion investment to the north-east of England, leading to anticipated economic benefits in the near future. 

The first election will take place in May 2024 and will result in new powers and new funding for the region. 

Over 30 years, £1.4 billion will help to level up all seven local authorities in the North East; Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham. The legislation establishes them as a new combined authority which will have control of up to £563 million to shape and improve local rail and bus services. 

Empowering local leaders, the initiative grants them the authority to tailor adult education offerings to align with the requirements of both businesses and the community. Additionally, it enables them to spearhead regeneration efforts by endorsing the construction of affordable housing on brownfield sites. 

Williams appointed chair of National Highways 

Transport secretary Mark Harper has announced that Sir Gareth Rhys Williams has been appointed chair of National Highways. 

Williams will oversee the delivery of the government’s £24 billion investment into roads, intended to bring improved journeys, ease congestion, create jobs and grow the economy across the country. 

He joins from the Cabinet Office and brings extensive private and public sector experience, having been the government's chief commercial officer for the past eight years. 

PDSA plans new pet hospital in Hull 

The Pets Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) has acquired council-owned land in Hull to create a new pet hospital. 

The location, in Central ward near Brunswick Avenue and Waterloo Street, was once a shop on Waterloo Street. It was demolished several years ago because of ongoing problems with vandalism and arson. The site is currently overgrown and remains susceptible to antisocial behaviour. 

Under the current local plan, the site is designated as open space and, if sale terms are agreed, the plan would bring significant capital investment into the city. 

It would also provide greater capacity to care for sick animals and generate additional employment while helping to reduce disorderly behaviour. 

Albert and Swedish Wharf plans approved 

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has approved plans for the redevelopment of Albert and Swedish Wharf, secured by Henley Investment Management. 

The scheme will transform the underused two-acre site by Wandsworth Bridge on the north bank to provide a 55,000-square-foot, last-mile logistics facility on the River Thames. 

The development will include the new wharf and ancillary office space, which will be provided to support day-to-day activity. 

Cargo boats will bring goods up the River Thames to dock in the scheme’s newly operational ground-floor wharf, enabling them to be sustainably distributed across London. The planning application includes a new jetty to improve capacity for handling waterborne cargo. 

The site will be transformed into six to 17-storey residential buildings with 276 apartments, ranging in size from studio to four-bed units, of which 35 per cent will be affordable in a mix of social and intermediate rent. Each apartment will feature a private balcony or terrace. 

A café or restaurant on the upper courtyard will open out onto the Thames Path, which has been extended as part of the proposals to provide public access along this stretch of the river. 

O’Dowd reaffirms commitment to protecting the environment 

Northern Ireland's infrastructure minister John O’Dowd has reaffirmed his commitment to promoting biodiversity to help address the climate and nature emergency. 

O’Dowd was speaking on a site visit to the A6 where more than 1.2 million trees were planted on the route between Belfast and Derry. 

He said: “We all have a responsibility to protect the environment and it is something I take very seriously. When I was previously in office I initiated a new approach for the maintenance of roadside grass verges which aimed to maintain the right balance between road safety and the control of grass and weeds while achieving a greater focus on environmental protection. 

“In addition, when my department constructs major roads schemes, attention is paid to the existing environment, the potential impact of the road, and possible mitigation measures. Existing hedges and trees are a valued element of the environment providing habitats and wildlife corridors, absorbing carbon, and providing pleasing landscapes. Road schemes attempt to maintain or enhance this valuable resource. 

“I am pleased therefore that as well as providing huge benefits for road users, businesses and local communities, in delivering the two major A6 schemes, my department has also balanced those benefits with the environmental impacts. Over 1.2 million trees have been planted on the A6 road including almost 508,000 trees on the Randalstown to Castledawson dualling scheme and 760,000 trees on the Dungiven to Drumahoe scheme.     

“I am keen to see what more we can do to protect and create important habitats for wildlife to help address the very real climate and nature emergency. This will be a priority for me as minister.” 

Public consultation opens in Todmorden 

A public consultation has been launched for local people to have their say on proposals for a Todmorden Neighbourhood Plan, which would set out planning policies for future development in the area. 

Todmorden Town Council has prepared a neighbourhood development plan for the town, which sets out the vision, objectives, aspirations and policies for the growth of Todmorden over the next nine years. 

The council has submitted its proposed plan to Calderdale Council. 

The consultation period runs until Monday 25 March 2024. Documents can be viewed online and comments can be submitted at Consultation Portal. Documents are available to download from the Calderdale Council website.   

Following the consultation, the plan will be assessed by an independent examiner before being subject to a local referendum. If adopted, the plan will form part of the local plan and be used to guide planning decisions. 

Sutton Council launches new website for town centre plans 

Sutton Council has launched a new website showcasing plans for the transformation of Sutton town centre. 

The website  provides the latest updates about regeneration projects and plans to introduce new homes, office and co-working spaces, retail units and much more. 

These projects include: 

  • Sutton Civic and Town Centre Regeneration. 
  • Northern Gateway – a new building for Sutton College and council homes. 
  • Oru Sutton – a new space for co-working, wellbeing and hospitality. 
  • Throwley Yard – a new destination for culture in the town centre. 
  • 137-145 High Street – retail and business space in the town centre. 
  • Elm Grove – new homes and open spaces for existing residents and communities. 

Law firm secures three London developments 

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised on and helped to secure planning permissions for three projects for London developers shortly before the New Year. 

20 February 2023 
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner 

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    Planning news - 22 February 2024

      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 © 2024 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 © 2024 Planning Portal.