Weekly planning news
Planning news - 4 May 2023
Consultancy announced to deliver masterplan for scheme in Rugby
Atkins will deliver the planning and design services for an urban extension scheme at Rugby, West Midlands.
Part of the SNC-Lavalin Group, Atkins will work with supply chain partners LDA Design and Levitt Bernstein as masterplanner for the 4,000 homes that Homes England is responsible for as part of the South West Rugby Urban Extension.
The scheme comprises affordable housing, new schools, healthcare, retail provision, green areas, community spaces and infrastructure improvements for the wider community.
Atkins has also been tasked with making sure that sustainability and biodiversity net gain are embedded in the approach.
The Homes England land and infrastructure on the site comprise approximately 40 per cent of the total development.
Joanne Farrar, project director for Atkins, said: “This is a hugely significant development that will help to meet the real need for housing in this part of the West Midlands. But this is about more than simply building houses to meet the acute demand.
“This project and the physical and social infrastructure that it will deliver will create truly thriving places based on safe and secure homes, producing better social value outcomes.
“It also represents a priority development with a clear focus on creating a sustainable community where people can live, work and play for generations.”
Ben Frodsham, senior planning and enabling manager for Homes England, added: “Atkins has been providing services for Homes England for many years and has a strong track record of delivery both nationally and in the Midlands region.
“The team was able to demonstrate a joined-up and efficient approach to the scheme, bringing in some trusted supply chain partners to add additional value, including LDA Design and Levitt Bernstein.
“We have great confidence that they will deliver what is needed to support Homes England in the delivery of a vibrant, sustainable and successful new community in South West Rugby.”
2 May 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Wildlife charity to restore rainforest habitats
The Wildlife Trusts has announced that it will begin restoring and expanding rainforest habitat on the Isle of Man and North Wales, following a donation of £38 million from Aviva.
Rainforests in Britain have been largely destroyed over hundreds of years and now cover less than 1 per cent of Britain, the trusts explained. Increasing and expanding this habitat would provide cleaner air and water and reduce the risk from flooding.
The restoration of Britain's rainforests, the Isle of Man and North Wales being the first, is part of a wider programme of nature-based projects funded by Aviva to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to help nature to recover.
Not only will local communities have increased access to nature, but there will also be volunteering, education and employment opportunities.
The programme will see temperate rainforests restored and expanded in areas where they used to grow along the damper, western climes of the British Isles. The first two sites are Creg y Cowin in the Isle of Man and Bryn Ifan in North Wales.
Rob Stoneman, director of landscape recovery at The Wildlife Trusts, said the projects will “provide vital habitat for wildlife in a time of nature crisis, store vast amounts of carbon, and benefit local communities for generations to come”.
“Restoring this gorgeous habitat will also allow adaptation to climate change, reduce threats from extreme heat, flood and drought, and enable local people to reap the benefits.”
Claudine Blamey, group sustainability director at Aviva, commented: “It’s brilliant news that The Wildlife Trusts can begin restoring temperate rainforests in North Wales and the Isle of Man. Aviva is proud to play its part in these projects, helping the economy become more climate-ready. Rainforests will add to the natural beauty and cultural heritage of each area, as well as providing flood resilience, and opportunities for volunteering, green jobs and tourism. These projects will make a positive contribution to nature, climate and communities, so we are thrilled.”
More than 70 acres at Creg y Cowin will be planted with native tree species, with around 20 acres allowed to regenerate naturally by Manx Wildlife Trust while North Wales Wildlife Trust aims to establish more than 100 acres of rainforest on the bracken-covered coastal slopes of Bwlch Mawr, the mountain overlooking Bryn Ifan, using a mix of sympathetic native planting and natural regeneration.
27 April 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Economic blueprint published for Cardiff Capital Region
Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) has unveiled its latest industrial and economic plan, which builds on the inaugural initiative that has seen the area’s city deal deliver ‘substantial’ investment and develop a wider economic and social remit for south-east Wales.
The strategy is intended to create a bigger, fairer, and greener economy – generating good growth and creating conditions for shared prosperity for every community across the 10 local authorities that make up the region.
The CCR has been in the vanguard of UK regions in identifying and supporting priority industrial clusters, which include medical technology, cybersecurity, and compound semiconductor industries. These will continue to be at the forefront of its approach to innovation.
A key element of the strategy involves the development of digital and physical infrastructure to support the decarbonisation of the region by 2050.
The plan highlights the need to acquire or support the acquisition of strategic commercial sites across the region to generate indigenous business growth and inward investment.
The document points out that the councils have already approved the acquisition of the former 202-hectare coal-fired Aberthaw power station site in the Vale of Glamorgan, which will be repurposed as a green energy park.
Over the five-year lifetime of the plan, the CCR expects to play a leading role in the creation of a strategic regional development plan for land use, which will inform allocations for housing, commercial sites, energy, digital infrastructure, and transport connectivity.
The plan notes that the M4 corridor straddling Wales and England provides connectivity for the region, along with mainline rail infrastructure, several deepwater ports, and a national airport. However, the blueprint also acknowledges that the connectivity elsewhere in the region – particularly into the Northern Valleys and across valley corridors – remains a challenge, and although the South Wales Metro is at the forefront of addressing this, work by CCR on passenger rail highlights the historic underinvestment in the region’s rail infrastructure.
The quality, affordability and viability of bus services is another big challenge and digital connectivity is highly variable across the region. The average UK broadband speed has nearly doubled in the past two years – but most local authority areas within reach of the city region reach just over half of the UK average.
Anthony Hunt, chair of the Cardiff Capital Regional cabinet, said: “Our job over the next five years is to empower businesses within our priority sectors and help public services to be the best they can be – through innovation-led initiatives and cutting-edge infrastructure projects.
“This updated plan is our guiding light – detailing the steps that we need to fully embrace as a region in order to achieve those outcomes.”
Kellie Beirne, director at Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, insisted: “The new plan sets out our approach to becoming a proud, connected, and resilient region, reinforcing our long-term commitment and focus on ‘levelling up’ – and, critically, raising our ambitions to a new level.”
27 April 2023
Roger Milne, The Planner
130 homes green-lit in Nottingham
Nottingham City Council has granted planning permission for 130 family homes in Bilborough.
Developer Strata was supported by planning consultancy Marrons.
The homes will be located on greenfield land to the north of Chingford Road. They will be a mix of two, three, four and five-bed terrace, semi-detached and detached properties. Of the homes, 20 per cent have been designated as affordable.
All properties will have an electric vehicle charge point while some will also have access to either a garage, shed or dedicated cycle storage.
The development also features pedestrian connections and “substantial” public open space, and new recreational and ecological opportunities. It intends to deliver “a significant” biodiversity net gain of more than 10 per cent.
The 6.16-hectare site was allocated for housing development by Nottingham City Council in 2020.
Strata will make monetary section 106 contributions, including nearly £400,000 towards extra secondary school facilities and more than £60,000 towards employment and training opportunities.
Jenny Keen, planning director at Marrons, who led on the planning application, said: “Bilborough benefits from numerous local facilities and services, which are easily accessible by public transport, walking and cycling, while being in close proximity to Nottingham city centre and just a 20-minute drive from the railway station."
The development will create around 403 full-time equivalent jobs during construction, which is due to start in July 2023.
27 April 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Fourth phase of Trent Basin development approved
Nottingham City Council has granted planning permission for 111 homes built on the north bank of the River Trent and outline consent for another 90 homes as part of the fourth phase of Trent Basin.
Trent Basin lies at the eastern edge of Nottingham’s wider Waterside Regeneration Zone.
Blueprint Regeneration, which specialises in the development of energy-efficient homes and workspaces, is delivering the schemes at Trent Basin.
Trent Basin is part of Nottingham City Council’s wider vision to transform the waterside area over the next decade into a sustainable residential community.
The site spans 3.7 hectares of former underused industrial land. As well as housing, the fourth phase comprises a ‘pocket park’ and a children’s play space, with land set aside for Nottingham City Council’s mobility hub and café. A ‘parking barn’ will be delivered as part of an overall car-free living approach, alongside enhanced cycling and walking paths.
Proctor & Matthews Architects will continue to work on the development with Blueprint Regeneration.
Samantha Veal, chief executive at Blueprint, said: “Trent Basin has captured the imagination of the community over the years, and we are thrilled to continue to deliver this game-changing neighbourhood, where people can live a sustainable lifestyle in a truly unique setting. Community is at the heart of Trent Basin, and with each phase we are adding to the amenities on offer to create a connected neighbourhood where people can take full advantage of the communal facilities as we design them together.”
Andrew Matthews, founding director at Proctor and Matthews Architects, added: “The design for Trent Basin focuses on creating a new riverside community that is well connected and walkable, with shared spaces for meeting neighbours and sustainable new homes that work towards Nottingham’s carbon-zero ambitions. Housing is arranged in sheltered courtyards while the extensive people friendly public realm that stitches the development together is made possible by the introduction of a car barn allowing the streets and spaces to become the focus of community life.”
Blueprint is supported by developer igloo Regeneration.
24 April 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Countryside set to deliver 365 homes in Oldham
Countryside Partnerships has purchased two plots of land in Fitton Hill, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, as part of its £82 million housing development in the area.
The two sites on Hill Farm Close and Rosary Road received planning permission from Oldham Council in April 2022 and will see the construction of 365 new homes across 22 acres, using a mixture of housing types and tenures.
The development will be constructed on brownfield land formally occupied by Fitton Hill County Infant, Fitton Hill Secondary Modern and Marland Fold Schools, as well as a now-demolished housing estate.
The mixed-tenure developer will work in partnership with Great Places Housing Group and Sigma Capital to deliver 187 houses for sale on the open market, alongside 97 privately rented homes under Sigma’s private rental brand, Simple Life, and 81 affordable houses.
Public Practice is recruiting
Public Practice is recruiting from across England for experienced professionals who want to gain experience working in a public sector organisation.
The Autumn 2023 Cohort will begin work in October 2023.
The social enterprise is inviting applications with a range of skills including, but not limited to:
- Property development;
- Town centre regeneration;
- Urban design;
- Masterplanning and GI;
- Infrastructure and utilities;
- Community engagement; and
- Digital and data.
Public sector organisations looking for new staff can submit an Expression of Interest to recruit a skilled placemaker here1.
Professionals can apply to be an associate here2.
Information sessions3 are being held on 11 and 18 May. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 31 May.
Skills boost for East Kent
Otterpool Park LLP and EKC Group have joined together with the aim to boost skills in East Kent and ensure that education, employment and training for local people are at the heart of the Otterpool Park garden town development.
This comes after Folkestone and Hythe District Council approval in April of Otterpool Park, a garden village comprising 8,500 homes.
The collaboration agreement between Otterpool Park LLP and EKC Group is intended to support housebuilders, contractors and their supply chains to meet their skills needs throughout the 25-year construction programme.
It also aims to create opportunities for EKC Group students to engage with the development and promotion of Otterpool Park.
LGSBTR signs £150m BTR housing agreement
Legal & General’s Suburban Build-to-Rent business (LGSBTR) has signed a £150 million, five-year Revolving Credit Facility to finance its pipeline of 1,000 suburban build-to-rent homes.
The facility is intended to help to address the “significant” demand for good-quality rental housing across the UK, creating homes and communities that enable people to live healthier lives.
LGSBTR has also set up a Healthy Communities Committee, which includes learnings from the NHS Healthy New Towns programme, to support health and wellbeing throughout the communities it creates. The committee wishes to ensure that all homes and communities are designed specifically with health and wellbeing at their core.
Liberton Hospital to be transformed into 400 homes
The City of Edinburgh Council has purchased the Liberton Hospital site for £14.8 million to develop 400 accessible and affordable homes in the south of the city.
The NHS will continue to occupy the premises until March 2025 to allow the hospital’s remaining services to be gradually relocated.
It is anticipated that the regeneration will deliver at least 380 energy-efficient, mixed-tenure homes for sale and rent, all of which could be fully accessible, with up to 50 per cent affordable.
The regeneration of the land will retain some existing trees and incorporate them into green routes across the site, allowing for active travel connections to Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park, St Katharine’s Park and Liberton Park.
A prior information notice (PIN) seeking interest from potential development partners has been issued for work to be carried out in preparation for construction.
Bleadon housing plans approved
North Somerset Council has approved a reserved matters application from Edenstone Group to transform a former quarry into 29 private and 13 affordable homes in Bleadon.
Edenstone Group acquired the eight-acre site on Bridge Road from hard landscaping manufacturer Marshalls.
Alongside new homes and commercial space, Edenstone will also create homes for nature in Bleadon by enhancing the biodiversity of the site. Electric vehicle charging facilities will also be provided.
It is expected that the first homes at the development will be released for sale in early 2024, with the scheme expected to be complete by the end of 2025.
Museum of London awarded £73m for relocation
The City of London Corporation has announced funding of £73 million in the next stage of plans to relocate the Museum of London to the historic markets site in Smithfield.
This new space will allow the museum to showcase more of its collection and be capable of hosting a broader range of displays, exhibitions, learning activities and events.
The project is planned to reach every schoolchild in London, providing learning opportunities to help the next generation to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the city they live in.
The Museum of London has appointed Sir Robert McAlpine to act as its construction management partner for the main works. The funding allows for subcontractors to be appointed to build the new museum.
The museum will welcome its first visitors to preview events and a festival curated by Londoners in late 2025 and will open to the public as a visitor attraction in 2026.
Greenpeace challenges government’s oil and gas plans
Greenpeace has been granted permission by the High Court to proceed with a judicial review of the government’s decision to launch a new licensing oil and gas round, with fossil fuel companies submitting more than 100 licences to explore for new oil and gas.
The judge has granted permission to Greenpeace for a full judicial review of the government’s decision not to take into account the environmental effects of consuming the oil and gas to be extracted in the new licensing round.
Greenpeace describes this as a “glaring omission” in the government’s decision-making, including its climate compatibility check.
Retrofit funding granted in Somerset
Somerset Climate Action Network (SomersetCAN) in collaboration with Somerset Council and Frome, Glastonbury, and Bruton town councils, has been awarded a £50,000 grant to set up a not-for-profit service promoting and supporting retrofitting.
Retrofit Somerset will have its own project manager and local advocates in communities trained to engage locally to raise awareness of the benefits of retrofit for homeowners to begin their retrofit journey.
Backed by the grant from MCS Charitable Foundation, Retrofit Somerset aims to speed up retrofitting delivery across the county by:
Bringing together existing climate groups, parish councils, not-for-profit organisations, and others to develop a workable model for delivering retrofit across the county.
Enhancing Retrofit Somerset as a one-stop website that helps to inform and connect homeowners and community groups with local retrofit contractors.
2 May 2023
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner