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Planning news - 26 January 2023

Bidding for brownfield land funding open

Councils from across England can now bid for a share of £60 million from the Brownfield Land Release Fund 2.

The fund is intended to bring neglected urban areas back into use and support regeneration projects, thereby boosting local economies.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the funding would deliver 5,800 homes by March 2027 and create around 18,000 jobs in the housing and construction sectors.

The new homes should help first-time buyers.

Housing minister Lucy Frazer said: “We want to turn neglected areas into thriving new communities, as part of our mission to level up the country.

“To do this we must prioritise brownfield land to deliver new homes for people, in the right places.“

She said the £60 million fund “provides another fantastic opportunity for councils to drive regeneration in their towns and cities – and help more young families onto the housing ladder”.

James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “The LGA is delighted to continue to partner on the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF2) through our One Public Estate Programme. Councils are at the forefront of housing delivery, with BLRF2 supporting them to meet the needs of their communities by releasing their surplus land for new, high-quality, energy-efficient homes.”

The £180 million fund has already seen £35 million allocated to councils. The remaining money will be made available to councils over the next two years.

Over the next four years, DLUHC expects the fund to deliver 17,600 new homes and 56,000 skilled jobs.

Bidding for this round will close on 31 March 2023, with successful projects expected to be announced over the summer.

More information can be found on the LGA website1.

19 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

£2.1bn in levelling-up funding shared across the UK

The UK Government has announced the successful bids that will receive a share of £2.1 billion in the second round of funding from the Levelling Up Fund.

It includes £672 million to develop better transport links, £821 million to kick-start community regeneration and £594 million to restore local heritage sites. Overall, 111 areas will get funding.

The funding is part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's priority to grow the economy by levelling up across the UK and “providing the foundations for building a better future for communities”.

Sunak said: “Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.

“That’s why we are backing more than 100 projects with new transformational funding to level up local communities across the United Kingdom.

“By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives and the places they call home.”

Projects to receive funding include:

£50 million for the Eden Project North: Transform a derelict site on Morecambe's seafront into a ‘world-class’ visitor attraction.

£50 million for Cardiff Crossrail: To improve the journey to and from the city and raise the economic performance of the wider region.

£13.3 million for Pontycysyllte Aqueduct, an AONB, and the main focal point of the World Heritage Site: Secure its future as a prime heritage asset.

£20 million for Aberdeen: Create a market in the city centre; improve connectivity between north of the marketplace and local transport; and upgrade the streetscape along Union Street.

£20 million for Inverness: Support a new Castle Energy Centre in Castle Street; refurbish Northern Meeting Park, the home of the Highland Games since 1864; and revive Bught Park's grandstand.

£4 million for Glengormley town centre: A former police station in the town centre will be demolished and replaced with a multipurpose hub that will offer support for local businesses and entrepreneurs and youth programmes for skills development.

Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove said the funding would “revitalise communities that have historically been overlooked but are bursting with potential”.

“This new funding will create jobs, drive economic growth, and help to restore local pride. We are delivering on the people’s priorities, levelling up across the UK to ensure that no matter where you are from, you can go as far as your talents will take you.”

The first round of the Levelling Up Fund awarded a share of £1.7 billion to 105 projects in 2021.

19 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Teignbridge consults on local plan before examination submission

Teignbridge District Council has today (23 January) published its local plan for consultation, ahead of submitting it for examination by the Planning Inspectorate.

The local plan covers the period to 2040.

It prioritises brownfield land for development first, aiming to locate most new homes close to jobs, services and sustainable transport.

The consultation follows the postponement of a meeting due to be held in December because housing secretary Michael Gove issued a written statement detailing that the method for calculating local housing need figures will remain, but that changes to it will be consulted on with the number arrived at being an “advisory starting point”.

The full council meeting was postponed until 12 January so that officers could “review the details of the proposed changes”. At the meeting, councillors were asked to approved the draft local plan for consultation.

A report to the council concluded: “The proposal by the secretary of state is only to consult, there is no guarantee which changes will be implemented, or by when. ​

“It is considered that the letter from the secretary of state does not raise new issues that would justify pausing the process or would undermine the ‘soundness’ of the local plan that has been developed."

The consultation closes at mid-day on Monday 13 March.

23 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Mansfield consulting on two SPDs

Mansfield District Council is consulting on its proposed Biodiversity Net Gain Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and Affordable Housing SPD.

The consultations close on 20 February.

The biodiversity SPD will sit alongside the council’s adopted local plan. It sets out the preferred approach to delivering biodiversity net gain arising from new developments within the district.

It is also intended to provide a basis for biodiversity net gain before the introduction of the mandatory 10 per cent target in November 2023, which is set out in the Environment Act 2021.

The affordable housing SPD covers the council’s approach to First Homes, the type and tenure of affordable housing required, build-to-rent schemes, and specialist housing accommodation. It sets out the process and mechanisms to help guarantee that the affordable housing required is delivered through the planning application and development process.

Stuart Richardson, portfolio holder for regeneration and growth, said: “The council is committed to delivering measurable environmental benefits and high-quality developments to our residents, and the new metric included encourages developers to measure biodiversity impacts will pave the way.

“Without the biodiversity document, the council would have to rely on the policy adopted within the local plan, which does not give detail or quantity for how much biodiversity is on a site, meaning it also cannot be managed or monitored.

"The affordable housing document covers the type and tenure of affordable housing required in the district, build-to-rent schemes, and design and layout. This guidance will be a material consideration when determining planning applications within the district.”

The documents can be found on the council's website.2

18 January 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner

£15m Harlow town centre regeneration plans approved

Harlow Council’s development management committee has approved plans for the £15 million regeneration of Harlow town centre's bus station and Terminus Street area.

The planning permission allows the development of a new transport hub and interchange for Harlow bus services, as well as a cycle hub and improvements to the area's public realm amenities and landscaping.

Work will start in the upcoming months and will deliver:

  • The entire redevelopment of the bus station and Terminus Street;
  • A new single-storey transport hub to the north of the site, with green space and a canopy-covered waiting area;
  • A cycle hub to the south with storage space for up to 80 cycles;
  • Flexible events space;
  • A new exit for buses from Terminus Street onto Crown Gate;
  • Transformation of Terminus Street;
  • The removal of the bridge connecting East Walk and Terminus House;
  • A new entry area to Terminus House, with a lift to serve the first and second floors; and
  • Works to the existing Terminus House bin store.

The development aims to support both existing public transport routes and proposed sustainable transport corridor routes, which will promote walking and cycling as part of the development of Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

Dan Swords, deputy leader of the council, said: “This transformation of Terminus Street and the entire rebuilding of the bus station area will completely overhaul a run-down part of the town centre into a welcoming gateway into Harlow’s new town centre. The new transport hub will allow for sustainable transport and cycling and will be built to the highest quality, with fantastic landscaping, public realm and build quality. This has all been made possible by the £23.7 million Towns Fund investment from the government which will also transform Broad Walk too – seamlessly connecting the new gateway into the town centre with the high street.”

18 January 2023
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

News round-up

Wandsworth Gasworks masterplan submitted

Common Projects has submitted a planning application to Wandsworth Borough Council for Wandsworth Gasworks, a mixed-use, mixed-tenure, sustainable community in the centre of Wandsworth.

The proposed landscape-led masterplan offers a “unique” riverside character with a public realm for all.

It will comprise around 640 homes, including senior living and 35 per cent affordable housing in buildings ranging from 10 to 30 storeys, among bars, coffee shops, and commercial and cultural spaces. They are set alongside a new riverside park with 200 metres of the River Wandle that was formerly inaccessible.

The site is five minutes from Wandsworth Town station and is connected by road and the cycle superhighway. The redevelopment of the gasworks site will open up key new connections between the town, station and the Thames Riverside.

The full collaborative team includes MAX Architects, Carmody Groarke, BD Landscape Architects, Atelier Ten and Whitby Wood Engineers.

Heath Town Baths refurb plans approved

The City of Wolverhampton Council’s planning committee has approved plans to refurbish the historic Heath Town Baths by the council's preferred developer Gaddu Associates.

Gaddu Associates will fully refurbish the grade II-listed building for a mix of uses including a banqueting hall, day nursery, training and conference facilities and community spaces. 

The developer will take a long lease of the site and will be solely responsible for the restoration of the building and future use as a venue.

The Tudor Road site in Heath Town is recognised as a building of community value in the Heathfield Park Neighbourhood Plan, and the council is eager to see it put back into use to boost the area as a whole.

Design code consultation completed

Dacorum Borough Council has completed public consultation on its Paradise Lane Design Code Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for central Hemel Hempstead.

The code, which was developed by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, is intended to guide the transformation of this former industrial area into a new neighbourhood with workspace.

The design code sets out the requirements for development in the Paradise and Wood Lane industrial area to create a well-connected, coherent, mixed-use neighbourhood with high-quality buildings and integrated open spaces and landscaping.

The development should provide options for people to live and work locally and make sustainable and healthy choices, such as being able to walk or cycle.

The scheme is one of the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) National Model Design Code (NMDC) phase 1 pilots. It is the first of these projects that has followed all three stages of the NMDC process – analysis, vision, code – to have reached public consultation as part of the formal adoption process.

Knaresborough housing plans given go-ahead

Mixed-tenure developer Countryside Partnerships has been given the green light to build 64 affordable homes in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

Planning permission for the new homes was granted earlier in 2022, with discussions on section 106 contributions being agreed to ensure that adequate provision will be made for education, healthcare and transport.

The two, three and four-bedroom family homes will be built on the site of a former Trelleborg factory on Halfpenny Lane for partner Yorkshire Housing.

The local community will benefit from a £465,000 cash injection into local schools, transport and healthcare.

Wates appointed to Gascoigne Estate regeneration scheme

Be First has appointed Wates to build 334 new homes as part of an £874 million regeneration of the Gascoigne Estate in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

This will be the third project Wates has undertaken for Be First in the area, having recently completed 201 homes at Gascoigne West phase 1.

The £142 million Gascoigne East phase 3B scheme comprises 277 apartments, 46 houses and 11 maisonettes. It features public spaces connecting pedestrian and public transport links centred on a garden square at the east of the site, as well as delivering £30 million in social value to the area.

The wider Gascoigne Estate will include tree-lined public spaces, a new 5,000-square-metre park – Gascoigne Square.

Construction is due to start in summer 2023, with homes finished by the beginning of 2026.

Consultation begins on Shropshire neighbourhood plan

A consultation has begun on the draft Cleobury Mortimer Neighbourhood Development Plan and its supporting documents.

It was submitted to Shropshire Council by Cleobury Mortimer Town Council.

The consultation closes on 27 February 2023.

More information can be found on the Shropshire Council website.3

Money to improve broadband in Cornwall awarded

Local supplier Wildanet has been awarded £36 million by the government to roll out new broadband connections in Cornwall.

The two contracts are part of the government’s nationwide £5 billion Project Gigabit.

They involve supplying hard-to-reach areas with better broadband so that up to 19,250 homes and businesses in south-west and mid-Cornwall are connected.

Digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez said: “From Tintagel to Tredavoe, we are investing millions of pounds to connect almost 20,000 homes and businesses across Cornwall to lightning-fast broadband. This will generate growth and opportunity for people in the region’s rural communities.”

Developer acquires Middleton site

Land and development company Muller Property Group has acquired a three-acre site in Middleton, Greater Manchester.

The former Parkfield House site is located off Old Manchester Road.

A full planning application for a care home, alongside a scheme of residential properties, is expected to be submitted to Rochdale Borough Council in early 2023.

“There is incredibly high demand for modern care home accommodation in the Rochdale borough,” commented Colin Muller, chief executive of Muller Property Group. “This brownfield site has the potential to not only address that local shortage but to also deliver much-needed new properties in Middleton.”

Derbyshire site acquired for housing

Avant Homes has acquired a 28-acre site in Holmewood, Derbyshire, for 247 homes.

Called Earl’s Park, the development site is located 10 minutes by car from Chesterfield town centre on Tibshelf Road.

The development was granted planning permission in December last year. It will comprise a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes.

Of the 247 homes, 20 per cent have been designated as affordable housing. Avant Homes has also committed to community contributions of around £2.3 million, which will go towards the provision of local education and healthcare.

Managing director announced for Transpennine Route Upgrade

Neil Holm has been announced as the managing director of the Transpennine Route Upgrade between Manchester and York.

The upgrade is intended to enable faster, cleaner and more reliable trains along one of the country’s key rail arteries, transforming journeys for millions of passengers across the North.

Before joining the Transpennine Route Upgrade, Holm was the programme director for HMS Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier. He was responsible for leading the carrier through assembly, commissioning and sea trials to final delivery with the Royal Navy.

He said: "Work is well under way across the route spanning 70 miles between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York. We’ve already delivered key upgrades across the route and have a big year ahead, including the ongoing construction of a new station at Morley, upcoming major works at Stalybridge beginning in March, and several other major steps in our plans throughout 2023. I look forward to the challenge of delivering the many benefits of the Transpennine Route Upgrade for the millions of people that live along the line.”

24 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 - 26 January 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.