Weekly planning news
Planning news - 3 March 2022
Funding allocated for brownfield regeneration
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has allocated a share of £30 million to three regions for the regeneration of brownfield sites.
Three combined authorities will receive the funding – West Midlands, Greater Manchester and the Tees Valley. It is expected that 2,500 homes could be created.
The money is part of the government’s plans to level up the country and was announced in the levelling-up white paper.
In addition, £8 million has been allocated to 13 councils from the Brownfield Land Release Fund. This money will go towards delivering 900 homes, as well as supporting the self and custom-build sector and small and medium-sized building companies. The government expects “thousands of jobs” to be created.
The department also said £4.45 million of funding has been awarded to 16 local areas under the One Public Estate (OPE) programme. This will help councils to work with central government and public sector partners to unlock public sector land for an additional 3,000 homes over the next 10 years. This, the government maintains, could create 4,500 jobs.
Housing minister Stuart Andrew said: “Transforming derelict brownfield sites into vibrant places where people want to live and work is a key part of our mission to level up the country and is something I have supported for my entire career.
“The funding announced today (24 February) will breathe fresh life into former industrial sites, creating thriving urban communities and building more homes so young people and families have the opportunity to get onto the housing ladder.
"Our levelling-up plans for housing will be guided by this brownfield-first approach, this includes the building of more self and custom-build homes, which will be a boost for small builders and create thousands of jobs."
24 February 2022
The Planner, Laura Edgar
London borough plans to block building amalgamations
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council’s new local plan seeks to prevent the knocking down and building of tunnels between separate properties to create bigger homes.
The council says it wishes to protect housing and make the most of the space within the borough. A policy to limit the size of basements to single storeys is already in place to protect residents' quality of life.
The council explains that finding space in the borough for new homes is challenging, given that the borough has the second-highest population density and the highest household density per square kilometre in England, and has extensive conservation areas and listed buildings.
It is planning to deliver 4,480 new homes in the borough by 2032. The council will require developers to present high-quality, sustainable designs.
Kim Taylor Smith, lead member for planning, place and environment, said: “With 3,200 people on the housing register in Kensington and Chelsea and only 400 new homes a year, we are looking forward to new neighbourhoods in Earl’s Court and Kensal Canalside, so more people have a place they can call home.
“It needs to be done thoughtfully, protecting our unique collection of villages and towns as well as growing our borough. The individual identities of our high streets are what makes our borough the most liveable place in the city. Protecting those identities, and our current residential property in the borough will play a major role in making sure we stay the best place to live in London for our residents.”
Other policies in the local plan include:
- Setting out locations for tall buildings and defining tall buildings as 21 metres or 30 metres or higher based on relative height buildings in different neighbourhoods.
- Support new and existing hotels where there is no loss of homes and removing the protections on underused hotels in Earl’s Court.
- Resisting Airbnbs and other temporary accommodation to protect permanent residential homes.
A consultation on the policies closes on 23 March. More information can be found on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council website1.
24 February 2022
The Planner, Laura Edgar
Nearly 2,000 apartments get the go-ahead in Manchester
Manchester City Council has granted planning permission for four towers comprising 1,950 residential apartments.
Developer Renaker will also deliver 361 square metres of commercial space, car parking, public realm and landscaping.
The towers will be 39, 48, 55 and 60 storeys in height. Delivered across the towers, the homes will comprise 638 one-bedroom, 1,254 two-bedroom, 42 three-bedroom and 16 three-bedroom duplex apartments. The units will be available for market sale.
A council officer’s report says the development accords with national and local planning policies and would deliver “significant” economic, social and environmental benefits. It regards it as “an important site in the St John’s and Water Street Strategic Regeneration Frameworks which is suitable for a high-density development”.
The 1.78-hectare site is brownfield used for parking and is located in a “highly sustainable location close to public transport and walking and cycling routes”.
The development would be low-carbon, with 20 per cent of the parking bays fitted with electric vehicle charging points and the remainder fitted with infrastructure to be adapted. About 149 trees would also be planted.
The report considers that any harm to heritage assets would be “less than substantial” and outweighed “by the economic, social and environmental public benefits of the scheme”.
The approval was in line with a recommendation from the officer, who was minded to approve the scheme subject to a section 106 agreement “in relation to an initial off-site affordable housing contribution, a contribution towards educational provision, together with a future review of the affordable housing position”.
The officer's report can be found on the Manchester City Council website (pdf).2
23 February 2022
The Planner, Laura Edgar
Further extraction of oil and gas would have ‘marginal’ effect on energy prices
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has written to energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng explaining that the best way to reduce the UK’s future exposure to volatile oil and gas prices ‘is to cut fossil fuel consumption on the path to net zero’.
This involves improving energy efficiency, shifting to a renewables-based power system and electrifying end uses in transport, industry and heating.
“Any increases in UK extraction of oil and gas would have, at most, a marginal effect on the prices faced by Uk consumers in future,” notes the committee.
Lord Debden, chair of the committee, explains that the letter relates to the continuing consultation on the proposed Climate Compatibility Checkpoint for oil and gas licensing in the North Sea.
The committee welcomes the proposal to apply a climate checkpoint to North Sea oil and gas production. and encourages the government to set stringent tests to licensing of exploration. “Equivalent tests should also apply to later development stages, such as consenting of production. These tests will provide a useful complement to UK plans to cut emissions through policies that reduce consumption of fossil fuels, as embodied in your Net Zero Strategy.3”
The letter has been sent in the context of recent spikes in fossil fuel prices and rising energy prices.
Deben notes that the committee has not been able to establish the net impact on global emission of new UK oil and gas extraction. He highlights that UK extraction has a “relatively low-carbon footprint (more clearly for gas than for oil)” and that the UK will continue to be a net importer of fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, “implying there may be emissions advantages to UK production replacing imports”.
But the extra gas and oil extracted will support a larger global market overall. Whereas the evidence against any new consents for coal exploration or production is overwhelming, the evidence on new UK oil and gas production is therefore not clear-cut.”
The committee supports a tighter limit on production, with stringent tests and a presumption against exploration. Ending UK exploration would “send a clear signal” to investors and consumers that the UK is committed to the 1.5°C global temperature rise goal.
In reaching its position, the committee studied five areas, including impacts of North Sea development on consumers and the UK economy.
Read the full letter on the Climate Change Committee website.4
28 February 2022
The Planner, Laura Edgar
New masterplan for 1,800 homes near Neath
An application for outline planning permission to build 1,800 new homes at the Coed Darcy development near Neath has been submitted to Neath Port Talbot Council by St. Modwen Developments.
This new planning application covers around 128 hectares of the former 405-hectare BP oil refinery acquired by the developer in 2008. It is the culmination of more than two years of detailed research, partnership work and community engagement.
As well as the 1,800 sustainable and low-carbon homes, the masterplan includes land for a new school, commercial activities and employment uses, as well as large areas of public open space and landscaping, all linked through a network of active travel links across and beyond the site.
The developer undertook a formal pre-application consultation working with planning consultant Savills last autumn.
Rob Williams, managing director of major projects at St. Modwen, said: “The pandemic has changed the way people think about their living space, community areas, and the importance of work-life balance.
“Our new masterplan focuses on the principles of creating a ‘15-minute neighbourhood’, with the community able to access many daily needs within a short distance of their homes.”
He stressed that St. Modwen hoped that the scheme would be “an exemplar for Wales”.
25 February 2022
The Planner, Roger Milne
Development at Reading Golf Club recommended for approval
A Reading Borough Council planning officer has recommended granting outline planning permission for the demolition of the existing clubhouse and the building of a residential scheme at the former Reading Golf Club.
The permission, if granted, would be subject to conditions and the satisfactory completion of a section 106 legal agreement.
The application site is 12.5 hectares. The full golf course site is 42 hectares, and spans the administrative boundary between Reading borough and South Oxfordshire district. The application site is wholly in Reading.
Permission is sought to demolish the existing part one and two-storey clubhouse building and build up to 223 residential homes and public open space. Of the homes, 67 (30 per cent) would be affordable.
The scheme will be considered at a meeting of the planning committee tomorrow (2 March). The planning officer's report can be found here.
Hastings hotel gains planning consent
Hastings Borough Council has approved plans to build a new hotel in Cornwallis Street.
The hotel will be operated by the Premier Inn and will feature 84-bedrooms and a ground-floor restaurant on the current Cornwallis Street car park site. The hotel would create 20 new jobs once open.
Paul Barnett, lead councillor for regeneration, said: “This is an exciting development which will bring additional hotel rooms for visitors to a central location, giving tourists more options when they are looking to visit the town. Regeneration is going to be a crucial part of our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and this development is a good example of how we are working with partners to achieve this.
“As a coastal town, Hastings has a shortage of hotel rooms, with fewer than 1,000 serviced bed spaces, compared with 7,000 in Eastbourne and 13,000 in Brighton, so this is a welcome addition to our tourism industry. The more visitors we can bring into the town, the more we will boost our local economy, which will help businesses across the town.”
Poll: Scotland supports more onshore wind
A poll found that 74 per cent of Scottish voters would think favourably of a political party that puts a strategy in place to build more renewable energy projects in Scotland, with 6 per cent against.
Of the 1,008 respondents, 70 per cent said that in the last Holyrood election in 2021 they voted for a party they expected to build more renewable energy in Scotland. Just 3 per cent believe the party they chose didn’t support renewables.
The survey also found that 60 per cent said they had voted for a party supporting onshore wind, with only 3 per cent against.
RenewableUK, which commissioned the poll, said: “Although a majority of voters for every political party were found to support new renewable development, support was particularly high among SNP voters, with 88 per cent wanting more projects built in Scotland. 74 per cent of SNP voters said they had voted for a party supporting onshore wind in the last election, with just 1 per cent against."
Survation carried out the poll in January.
Nearly 20,000 respond to Black Country planning consultation
More than 19,500 people responded to consultation on the future use of housing and employment land across the Black Country.
The four Black Country authorities are compiling the Black Country Plan, for which they held the consultation last year. It aims to identify land for housing and employment purposes across the Black Country but also protect the green belt.
The City of Wolverhampton Council said just over 1,200 responses were related to its area. Most responses were in relation to Dudley (13,490).
According to the council, the bulk of the feedback focused on the potential use of green belt land for development. People “strongly” objected to this.
Overall, feedback comprised 4,500 letters, 1,390 comments through the online consultation, more than 120 responses from statutory bodies and landowners,13,643 responses from groups and 10 petitions.
Hastings agrees budget
At a full council meeting, Hastings Borough Council has agreed its budget for 2022/23.
The budget includes a commitment to continue focusing on the council’s six priority areas, which are set out in the corporate plan.
These are: tackling poverty, homelessness and ensuring quality housing; keeping Hastings clean and safe; making the best use of its buildings, land, and public realm assets; minimising environment and climate harm; delivery of major regeneration schemes; and ensuring that the council can survive and thrive into the future.
Peter Chowney, lead councillor for finance, said that despite challenges surrounding council tax, increased costs of temporary accommodation, cuts, inflation, wage increases and unexpected one-off costs, the council is “pursuing some exciting capital-funded projects in the near future, including the Town Deal investment, mostly financed by external grants and income raised by the projects themselves, which we believe will bring increased investment into the town”.
Hybrid glass flood defence installed on Severn Estuary
A hybrid glass flood defence has been installed at New Passage, South Gloucestershire.
The defence is part of Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area (ASEA) Ecological Mitigation and Flood Defence project. The glass panels are set on a concrete base.
They were installed at New Passage because of its location as a popular viewpoint and birdwatching spot on the Severn Way footpath.
Manufactured off-site, the panels mean that residents and visitors will still be able to enjoy the views of the Severn Estuary at the same time as providing robust flood defence for years to come.
The glass panels are one of the innovative flood defence techniques being used along the project’s 17km stretch of coastline. The project is a partnership between South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council, and the Environment Agency.
Two London boroughs secure Skyroom’s £100m housing funds
The London boroughs of Lambeth and Waltham Forest have been selected for funding from Skyroom’s £100 million Key Worker Homes Fund.
The technology, design, and development company’s funding offers London’s local authorities and housing associations technical expertise and capital to deliver airspace developments above buildings in their portfolio.
Designs in the early stages suggest that more than 111 new homes could be delivered across the two sites, including 23 in Lambeth and 88 in Waltham Forest. Both proposals include a mix of one, two and three-bed flats, of which 50 per cent would be classed as affordable. These would be allocated to key workers first.
A planning application is expected to be submitted by Skyroom later this year.
WV selects GreenSquareAccord for Wolverhampton housing development
WV Living has appointed GreenSquareAccord to build 178 homes on a former Northicote School site in Wolverhampton.
The development has been named Hampton Park and will feature 29 affordable rent and 16 shared-ownership homes located on Northwood Park Road, Bushbury. These will be two, three and four-bedroom homes.
They will be built using prefabricated timber panels at GreenSquareAccord’s manufacturing facility in Walsall. The new homes will be energy efficient and low-carbon. making the build more environmentally sustainable.
Work is expected to start this month, with two show homes set to open in July 2022, and the first homes will be ready in August 2022.
Lambeth Council approves pocket homes scheme
Lambeth Borough Council has granted planning permission for housing developer Pocket Living to deliver 35 one-bedroom pocket homes along Leigham Court Road in Lambeth.
The 35 homes will be exclusively for first-time buyers who either live or work in Lambeth and earn under the Mayor of London’s income threshold for affordable housing.
They will be available at a minimum of a 20 per cent discount to the local market, and purchasers own 100 per cent of their property.
The homes will be located within walking distance of Streatham Hill Station and will make use of a previously underused area of open space. They will occupy only 28 per cent of the area, offering enhanced amenity space to residents, as well as biodiversity gains.
1 March 2022
The Planner, Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya