Weekly planning news
Planning news - 27 October 2022
Injunction secured against illegal development in Cheshire
The High Court has granted Cheshire East Council an injunction against a landowner and his wife for unauthorised development in a rural community.
Known as Six Acres, the site is located on Wirswall Road,Wirswall, near Whitchurch.
It has been the subject of planning enforcement over a number of years, with the council issuing an enforcement notice for the erection of an unauthorised building in 2014.
An appeal against this notice was dismissed. In 2017, the landowner was convicted at Chester Crown Court for failing to comply with the requirements of the enforcement notice, which included demolishing the unauthorised building.
The council applied to the High Court for an injunction to secure the removal of the existing unauthorised developments and prevent any further unauthorised development.
At the High Court in Manchester, Honour Judge Bird granted the injunction at a hearing on 3 October 2022. The judge reprimanded the defendants for wasting council resources and money.
This means that the landowner and his wife have until 3 May 2023 to remove three buildings, a viewing platform and areas of hardstanding constructed at the site. They have until 3 August 2023 to restore the land to the condition it was in before the unauthorised development was carried out. Not complying could see the matter come back to court.
The court also ordered the couple to pay the council’s costs of £18,597 within 21 days of the court hearing.
Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee, said: “This result shows that the council will take appropriate enforcement action, including making an application for a court injunction where it is merited. It is also an example of the huge resource which is required to successfully bring a matter to court.
“Officers from the planning enforcement and legal team have clearly put in a great deal of time and dedication in relation to this matter and should be commended for all of their efforts to help protect our precious landscape and local communities.”
19 October 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Housing secretary modifies two councils’ Article 4 directions
Housing secretary Simon Clarke has intervened in two councils’ decisions to issue Article 4 directions to control commercial-to-residential permitted development rights (PDR).
The right came into force in August 2021.
The intention of the PDR is to help to support the creation of homes while also giving high streets a new lease of life.
Lambeth Council and Harlow Council proposed to use Article 4 directions to exempt areas from this PDR.
In a series of letters sent from the chief planner Joanna Averley on behalf of Clarke, it is highlighted that the use of Article 4 directions should be “based on robust evidence”.
Furthermore, Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) sets out that the secretary of state will only intervene when there are “clear” reasons for doing so.
The councils have been told that the directions as made do “not take a sufficiently targeted approach in the assessment of the wholly unacceptable adverse impacts of the permitted development right in each location”.
Clarke has modified the areas that the Article 4 directions cover, reducing them in size.
The letters and related maps of the Article 4 direction boundaries for both councils can be found on the UK Government website.
20 October 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Strategic planning would boost economic growth and housebuilding, says CCN
County councils in England argue that a ‘wholesale review’ of planning reforms is required and have called on the government to reintroduce strategic planning in order to boost economic growth and housebuilding.
Strategic planning has not been a formal part of the planning system since the late 2010s. The duty to cooperate is the tool for how councils work together, although the previous government planned to scrap this.
The County Councils Network (CCN) believes that strategic planning should be part of the forthcoming planning and infrastructure bill, contending that this mechanism is “vital” to the delivery of more homes, better infrastructure and investment zones.
To that end, the current planning system is too fragmented, say council leaders. “For years” infrastructure has not kept pace with development, which they argue has led to overcrowding on roads and public services in some parts of the country.
If the government is to deliver its aims to increase housebuilding and economic growth, CCN says strategic planning is a “win-win” because it would “ensure that county councils, which are responsible for transport, infrastructure and the delivery of investment zones, work more collaboratively with district councils in their areas, which are responsible for housing and planning”.
Furthermore, a better joined-up planning system alongside giving county councils a statutory role in it could help local authorities to “zoom out” and pinpoint the best location for new homes across England’s counties. It would also ensure that such development is backed by the required infrastructure, including roads, schools, and health centres.
The levelling up and regeneration bill is currently going through Parliament. It contains a series of planning reforms such as an infrastructure levy to replace section 106 payments.
The CCN, however, thinks the planning reforms should be removed from that bill and reshaped proposals included in the recently announced planning and infrastructure bill. Should it come forward, it should also feature a power in the bill to introduce strategic planning in county areas, where desired.
A series of recommendations are made in the CCN’s latest chapter of its Five Point Plan for County and Unitary Councils:
The government should review strategic planning arrangements and introduce new powers to empower counties through strategic planning in any forthcoming planning and infrastructure bill, where desired. This would give parity to county areas and would see effective cross-boundary working to deliver strategic infrastructure and unlock growth.
When the government puts forward reforms to the developer contributions system – which could include the previously proposed infrastructure levy – it should ensure that county councils have a statutory duty in the contributions systems, working with district and borough to set rates and negotiate contributions, enabling more of this funding to be spent on vital infrastructure.
Any future capital funding for infrastructure projects should be amalgamated into a single pot, rather than local authorities bidding on individual pots.
Roger Gough, planning and infrastructure spokesperson for the County Councils Network, welcomed the prospect of planning reforms in a planning and infrastructure bill, explaining that over a number of years “there has been far too much focus on headline housebuilding numbers, rather than on planning as a whole, and on the infrastructure that is needed to make developments viable in the long-term”.
“The new bill should contain a power to reintroduce strategic planning into the system, which would be a win-win for a government looking to build more homes and generate economic growth. By giving county councils a renewed role to work collaboratively with district councils in their area, we can come together to plan for houses in the right areas, backed by the necessary infrastructure, and ensure that investment zones get off the ground quickly.
“The County Councils Network has long argued for a collaborative model of strategic planning and form reforms to the developer contributions system. Taken together, these easily implementable reforms could yield significant results in creating better communities and unlocking development.”
19 October 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Welsh council claims capital housebuilding is breaking records
Cardiff City Council claimed this week that the rate of build in the capital’s housing stock is at a level that hasn’t been seen in 10 years.
Latest figures from the council indicate that between 2006 and 2022, 19,642 new dwellings have been built. This figure includes 1,800 affordable homes completed since 2014.
These statistics are highlighted in the sixth annual report on Cardiff's adopted local development plan (LDP).
Houses are now being built on many of the strategic sites since the plan was adopted in 2016, including:
- 954 properties built in St Edyryns Village;
- 739 properties in north-west Cardiff;
- 216 properties in north- east Cardiff; and
- 213 properties on the site north of junction 33.
Between 2006 and 2015, 20,900 new jobs have been delivered, with another 8,000 jobs created in the past eight years, although this period was affected by the pandemic.
Dan De’Ath, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, said: “What we are now seeing in Cardiff in terms of housebuilding, investment and development is the policies set out in the LDP becoming a reality, with development taking place across the city, and on most of the strategic sites.
“It is reassuring to see that the rate of build in our housing stock is at a level that hasn't been seen in 10 years.”
21 October 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Cala Homes lined up for major residential scheme in Glasgow
Cala Homes has been mustered to deliver a development of about 300 new flats on a Glasgow site currently owned by Celeros Flow Technology.
The pump manufacturer wants to provide future stability for its ClydeUnion Pumps facility in Cathcart by offering 2.4 hectares of redundant land and buildings at the site for residential use while retaining 4.8-hectares of operational land and buildings.
The company has appointed Cala as its residential development partner. Demolition of the redundant buildings on Inverlair Avenue is now under way and Celeros and Cala will submit a proposal of application notice to Glasgow City Council for a change to residential use.
A formal planning application for around 300 new apartments is expected to be submitted early next year, following a period of extensive community consultation.
21 October 2022
Roger Milne, The Planner
A round-up of planning news
Sheffield approves Event Central plans in city centre
Sheffield City Council has approved plans for an event hub in the city centre.
The five storey building, designed by HLM Architects, will be developed into Event Central, a multi-purpose events space for local businesses and the community.
It will provide a part-community, part-commercial offering that will act as a 'blueprint' and 'catalyst' for further regeneration of Fargate.
The new venue will include a live music venue space, an exhibition space and co-working areas. Work on site will begin in spring 2023, with full completion expected in February 2024.
Mapping tools for seagrass are live
The Environment Agency and Natural England have announced that new mapping tools that reveal the extent of seagrass and saltmarsh habitats around England for the first time are live.
The maps intend to provide information for the management of these blue carbon habitats and to help drive restoration projects.
By protecting marine biodiversity and capturing and storing carbon, saltmarsh and seagrass habitats help fight the impacts of climate change. They reduce flooding, improve water quality, provide habitats for birds and nursery sites for commercial fish and marine invertebrate species.
The maps can be found here1.
Funding secured for York Trailblazers project
York Civic Trust has been awarded £249,999 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver the York Trailblazers project.
The trust is working with Make it York and partners across the city on the project.
Trailblazers is an inclusive city-wide programme of events and activities from 2023 to 2025 celebrating York’s heritage. Shaped around significant anniversaries, these aim to inform residents and visitors about York’s history.
Andrew Morrison, chief executive officer at York Civic Trust, said: “Our project York Trailblazers will be a fantastic opportunity for people to discover and celebrate the heritage stories of people who are important to their communities. The National Heritage Lottery Fund’s support of our project is an incredible boost and will enable the project to reach out to all parts of the city.”
Shortlist for public realm works at London university
RIBA Competitions and Kingston University in London have announced the shortlist for the process to select a multi-disciplinary design team for a proposed building and public realm improvements at Middle Mill, which is located to the south-east of the university’s Knights Park campus.
Expressions of interest were sought at the first phase and Kingston University received 60 entries.
The evaluation panel was led by Kingston University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Steven Spier. The panel selected a shortlist of six teams to proceed to the next phase:
- Carmody Groarke
- Caruso St John Architects
- Grafton Architects
- Hall McKnight
- Haworth Tompkins
- Reiach and Hall
The teams will now outline their potential approach to the project and set out how they would work with Kingston University stakeholders to make sure the project is successful. It is expected that the winner will be selected and announced early in 2023.
Heritage funding sees Lincoln shop fronts restored
The City of Lincoln Council, in partnership with Historic England, has completed historic shopfront restorations in the city, which has seen a row of Lincolnshire Co-op buildings transformed.
The work was undertaken as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) scheme, which saw the city council receive a successful bid for £1.68 million in April 2020.
The city council created a programme of historic building restorations designed to revitalise the area and uncover its history. This included revitalising historic shopfronts.
The latest shopfronts to be restored, following the completion of those at 8-10 St Mary’s Street, are owned by Lincolnshire Co-op. The restored Sincil Street properties, a row of ‘back-to-back’ houses, were unveiled on 19 October.
Views sought on plan for South Oxfordshire
Residents, businesses and organisations from across South Oxfordshire are being invited to help co-create a vision for Harrington, a proposed sustainable community "with all the best attributes of a traditional market town".
Scheme promoter, property firm Summix, has assembled a team of experts in creating sustainable communities to bring forward plans for the settlement. They intend to deliver on the emerging aspirations of the area’s joint local plan to meet local needs.
The proposal outlines that Harrington aims to help residents to lead a healthy, low-carbon lifestyle. Applying the principles of One Planet Living, the ambition includes "a commitment to sustainability, health and wellbeing, great community services, enhancing biodiversity and protecting the wider environment".
Harrington would be located to the south of the A40 and close to junction 7 of the M40. The land proposed is not in the Oxford Green Belt or the Chilterns AONB.
Not long left to comment on South West Hertfordshire plan
There are just under two weeks left to comment on the South West Hertfordshire 2050 - Realising Our Potential document.
The document includes a draft vision and objectives for the area until 2050. It marks the first formal plan-making stage for the South West Herts Joint Strategic Plan (JSP).
It has been drawn up by Hertsmere Borough Council, St Albans City and District Council, Dacorum Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council, supported by Hertfordshire County Council.
The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 4 November. It can be found here2.
Southwark Council approves high rise scheme
Southwark Council has approved plans for a high-rise residential scheme rising above the redevelopment of a Jewson builders' merchant operation.
The site was previously a timber yard on the banks of the Surrey Canal and is currently a shed style building and open storage area.
Stitch Architects' scheme provides new facilities for the builders' merchant, which includes a large double-height covered space, as well as a reconfigured open yard. On the top there will be a high density residential building, nine, 23 and 25 storeys high, containing 170 apartments.
The complex includes two rooftop open space areas, catering for all children's play up to the age of 17. Forty per cent of the housing will be classed as affordable, above the the 35 per cent policy requirement.
Kratt appointed to NIC Design Group
LDA Design’s head of infrastructure Alister Kratt has been appointed to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) Design Group.
Kratt is masterplanner, a fellow of the Landscape Institute and an experienced advisor on major infrastructure projects.
He led the UK’s first NSIP DCO and has advised on nuclear projects Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C, Swansea and Cardiff tidal lagoons, Heathrow, major offshore wind farms and solar projects, deep sea container ports including the expansion of Port of Felixstowe, and HS2 including Euston station.
Anwyl purchases Shell site in Manchester
Anwyl Homes Lancashire has acquired a 15-acre residential site from Wain Estates as part of its strategic long-term plan for the redevelopment and regeneration of the former Shell Refinery site in Trafford, Greater Manchester.
The site, located in the Meadow, on Manchester Road, has outline planning consent and forms part of the planned Carrington Village, a sustainable community of homes built around a village hub with shops and other amenities.
The wider New Carrington extends to 2,000 acres and is one of the UK’s largest regeneration schemes, with a masterplan proposing to deliver 6,000 homes and community facilities together with four million square feet of commercial accommodation.
Wain Homes has commenced The Place, a development of 277 homes at the eastern edge of the Village, with the first phase release of 33 properties all sold.
Watson Homes submits Radcliffe housing plans
Watson Homes and Great Places Housing Group have submitted plans to build 132 new homes, 97 of which will be affordable, in Green Street, Radcliffe.
A total of 132 homes will be created, comprising a mix of one and two-bedroomed apartments designed to meet high demand from smaller households in the area. They will be available for social rent, rent to buy and market rent.
The site has been identified as part of the Radcliffe Strategic Regeneration Framework, a key placemaking site suitable for a development of up to six storeys in height.
The plans include a 13,000 square foot mixed-use commercial building, including office and retail space, food and beverage units and a separate private rented block.
The buildings will incorporate renewable technologies such as air source heat pumps and solar PV panels. The office accommodation has been designed to achieve BREEAM ‘very good’ rating, which will benefit the overall development, which achieves a bio-diversity net gain.
25 October 2022
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner