Weekly planning news
Planning news - 30 June 2022
Building safety measures come into force
A series of measures set out in the Building Safety Act 2022 have come into force (28 June).
The act aims to ensure that leaseholders will be legally protected from unfair bills to make their homes safe. Those responsible for historical safety defects, and those who own buildings, will be required to fund essential repairs.
So far, 45 of the UK’s biggest homebuilders have agreed to fix life-critical fire-safety defects on buildings that are 11 metres and taller in height that they have played a role in developing or refurbishing in the last 30 years.
Other measures in the act include new powers for the secretary of state to restrict the ability of irresponsible developers to build homes.
Levelling up Secretary Michael Gove said: “Today marks a major turning point for building safety in this country, as we introduce a tough new regime to make homes safe and help rid the sector of bad practice once and for all.
“Hundreds of thousands of innocent leaseholders now have the legal protection they rightly deserve, freeing them from a financial burden they should never have faced.
“I’m pleased that most of the largest developers have agreed to play their part in solving this.
“But there is more to do – we are focusing intensively on work with lenders to unlock the mortgage market and empower leaseholders to take their next step on the property ladder, and we will remain vigilant if anyone fails to act on the pledges they have made.”
Gove has written to freeholders to remind freeholders that qualifying leaseholders now have protections in law from costs and that they will be acting illegally if they attempt to circumvent them. It also reminds freeholders of their responsibilities as part of the act.
28 June 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
West Midlands council takes enforcement action against developer
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has begun planning enforcement action against a developer following complaints it has not adhered to a construction management plan.
Planning permission for Barratt Developments' 227-home scheme in Meadow Lane, Trentham, was granted in 2019.
The permission included adhering to a construction management plan to deliver the works on site.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council said it has received a number of complaints, including:
Incorrect vehicles being used – articulated vehicles have been used. The construction management plan states that vehicles accessing the site must be limited to a maximum size of a 12m rigid vehicle.
Deliveries being made prior to 8am – there are multiple reports of deliveries from 7am onwards.
Deliveries being made from outside of the site – this is not part of the development area. As such, it causes issues for residents.
Vehicles exiting the site in a reverse gear. This is a breach as it is a safety issue and not part of the construction management plan. Complaints have also been received about dirt and mud on road which hasn’t been cleared.
As a result, the council has served a Breach of Condition Notice (BCN) on the developer. If further breaches occur, the council said it could prosecute for non-compliance.
Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said: “The city council, as acting the local planning authority, has been dismayed at the number of residential complaints we have received for this site. On further investigation, we have found a number of serious breaches to the construction management plan, of which we have acted accordingly, inspecting and ensuring the correct actions are taken.”
In a statement sent to The Planner, a spokesperson for Barratt Manchester said: “We apologise to residents for any inconvenience, and we will continue to ensure that our contractors are reminded of their obligations. We have been providing regular road sweeping and are committed to working closely with the council at this development.”
27 June 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Local plan for Old Oak and Park Royal adopted
The board for Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has adopted its local plan, which aims to facilitate the delivery of 25,500 homes and 56,000 jobs in London's Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area.
A modified local plan was submitted earlier this year, before undergoing extensive public consultation. An inspector at the Planning Inspectorate then deemed it sound.
Development is focused around HS2's Old Oak station.
The local plan sets out how the mayor of London and OPDC intend to maximise the benefits of the connectivity created by this station, which is the only place where HS2, Great Western mainline services and the newly opened Elizabeth Line will connect.
A statement from the mayor's office explains that the local plan supports the mayor's commitment to net zero, healthy living and inclusivity for Londoners.
It features several polices to guide development and outlines that 50 per cent of all homes should be affordable and 30 per cent of the local plan area should be for public green space.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Old Oak and Park Royal is London’s single biggest opportunity for new and affordable housing and jobs. This local plan will allow my development corporation to unlock that potential and continue our work to build a better London for everyone.
“As a major new gateway between London and the regions, connected by the new HS2 station, it offers huge economic and regeneration opportunities for the capital and the rest of the UK for generations to come.”
Liz Peace, chair of OPDC, added: “In just a few years’ time, Old Oak Common station, the largest ever constructed in the UK, will open. This will create an unprecedented opportunity for regeneration and investment as Old Oak becomes one of the best-connected places in the UK. Our local plan will organise and optimise that potential for growth, whilst placing genuine environmental, social and economic sustainability at its heart.
“We have plans for 25,500 new homes and tens of thousands of new jobs in what is currently one of west London’s most deprived areas, creating a lively and flourishing district where the benefits of regeneration are available to everyone.”
The mayor’s land fund awarded OPDC a £50 million loan earlier this year so it kickstart the delivery of 1,100 new and affordable homes.
OPDC will begin public engagement on its plans for Old Oak West in the autumn of 2022.
The local plan can be found here1.
27 June 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Homes England completed 37,164 houses last year
Programmes being delivered by Homes England completed 37,164 houses between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022, 26,485 (71 per cent) of which are affordable.
The statistical release from the government's housing agency also shows that between them all Homes England programmes started building on 38,436 homes.
Overall starts and completions increased in 2021-2022 compared to the previous year, which was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of the 38,436 homes started, Homes England notes that 72 per cent were for affordable homes. The figure represents a 2 per cent decline occurred compared to the previous year, but this was expected as bidding closed for the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP) 2016-21 while the build-up of starts from the newly launched Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) 2021-26 is "gradual".
The statistics also show that:
- 5,606 of the affordable homes started in 2021-22 were for affordable rent;
- 4,778 were under schemes including shared ownership and rent to buy;
- 15,144 were defined as ‘affordable tenure TBC’ homes; and
- 1,981 were for social rent, a 23 per cent decrease on the previous year.
In terms of completed homes,
- 13,929 were for affordable rent, an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year;
- 9,479 were completed under intermediate affordable housing schemes; and
- 3,077 were for social rent, 62 per cent more compared to the previous year.
Peter Denton, chief executive of Homes England, said: "The statistics show the incredible strides the housing industry has made to recover from the slowdown and subsequent supply issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"During the last period we began taking applications for grant funding through the new £8.6 billion Affordable Homes Programme and announced the new tranche of 31 strategic partnerships we have formed that will provide public and private sector partner organisations with the tools they need to plan and act strategically, shaping their communities and building up to 90,000 new homes.
"Housing is a central part of Levelling Up, and as we continue to support the government’s ambitions in this area, our work with partners from across the sector will be key to creating the homes and neighbourhoods the country needs, in the places that people want to live."
More information can be found on the UK Government website2.
27 June 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Government stats show decline in planning application submissions
109,900 planning applications were submitted to English district level authorities between January and March 2022, 12 per cent down on the same period in 2021.
The figures comes from a statistical release published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
District level authorities granted 84,000 decisions, a 4 per cent decline on the same months in 2021.
Of major applications, 85 per cent were decided within 13 weeks or the agreed time, down three percentage points on the same quarter in 2021.
For January to March 2022, the release also shows:
- 9,300 residential decisions were granted, down 6 per cent on the same quarter last year;
- 1,900 commercial developments were granted, down 2 per cent;
- 54,400 householder development applications were decided, down 5 per cent.
According to the release, district level authorities granted 373,400 decisions on residential developments in the year ending March 2022, 15 per cent than the year ending March 2021.
They granted 38,000 residential development decisions, of which 4,700 were for major developments and 33,200 for minor developments. Major residential decisions were down by 4 per cent, while minor developments were down by 2 per cent, compared to the ending March 2021.
Planning Applications in England: January to March 2022 can be found on the UK Government website.3
27 June 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner
A66 Northern Trans-Pennine route submitted for consent
National Highways is seeking a development consent order (DCO) for its A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.
The application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 21 June.
Cumbria County Council has welcomed this progress.
An examination is expected to open in October 2022 and take place over a six-month period, with the secretary of state’s decision anticipated by the end of 2023.
Documents relating to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.4
Doncaster approves housing plans on seven sites
Doncaster Council’s cabinet members have approved plans to build an additional 125 council homes across seven existing sites.
The plans, which form phase 2 of the council’s five-year housing delivery plan, will include new build family homes and apartments. Over a third will be bungalows and a variety of detached and semi-detached homes.
The housing developments will be located at:
- The (Former) Nightingale School, Balby;
- The (Former) Adwick Depot, Adwick;
- King Edward Road, Balby (Former archives);
- Plantation View, Bessacarr;
- Springfield Avenue, Hatfield;
- (Former) Barnburgh House, Edlington; and
- Moor View, Branton.
Glyn Jones, cabinet member for housing and business, said: “We are currently facing a cost of living crisis and with residents struggling with rising costs, these council homes will focus on affordable rents and energy efficiency whilst also protecting and enhancing the natural environment through sustainable development.”
Woolwich town centre consultation opens
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is asking local residents for feedback on design proposals that aim to revitalise Woolwich town centre.
Feedback can be given online here woolwichtowncentre.commonplace.is/, visiting exhibitions at the Front Room (105 Powis Street) or at Woolwich Centre library and filling in a questionnaire or by visiting a pop-up event.
Funding will be provided through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) as part of a drive to support the growth and sustainability of high streets throughout England.
The consultation is open until midnight on Sunday 17 July 2022. Following the consultation, the feedback received will be used to help finalise designs before a planning application is submitted in the summer. Construction is expected to start in spring 2023 and take approximately 12 months.
Yang appointed deputy chair of CIC
The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has appointed Dr Wei Yang FRTPI as its new deputy chair effective immediately.
Yang takes over from former CIC chair Professor Stephen Hodder MBE who has led on CIC’s climate change work and will stay engaged with CIC as chair of its climate change committee.
She is an international town planner and urban designer and has “extensive” experience in leading multi-disciplinary teams and large-scale regeneration and low carbon master planning projects in Britain and internationally.
Yang, the 2021 president of the RTPI, said: “As a planner, I am keen to forge a common and collaborative sense of purpose within the built environment industry and with good forces in the wider society. The professional boundaries are merging; what joins us together is our shared sense of purpose – what should be done now to make our world a better place for our future generations.”
Rough sleepers in London drops, data reveals
The number of rough sleepers in London has dropped by 24 per cent, according to data from GLA-commissioned Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN).
The data revealed that:
8,329 people were seen sleeping rough by outreach workers in London during 2021/22, a 24 per cent decrease compared to the total of 11,018 people seen in 2020/21; and
5,091 people were seen sleeping rough for the first time in London last year, a 32 per cent decrease from 2020/21.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Ministers now must step up their support to combat the cost-of-living crisis which threatens to reverse these hard-won gains. I also urge them to fund the services and social security system that people sleeping rough need, reform the private rented sector and invest in new council and genuinely affordable homes to help prevent Londoners becoming homeless in the first place.”
28 June 2022
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner