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Planning news - 5 January 2023

Logistics plan launched for the North

If the freight and logistics sector is to grow, investment is required to address three areas of constraint, according to Transport for the North (TfN).

It has published a Freight and Logistics Strategy for the North of England that outlines the importance of the sector as a facilitator for economic support.

It sets out ways to support decarbonising freight.

Growth in the sector investment would address constraints across the road, rail and inland waterway networks – network capacity and capability, terminal availability, and decarbonisation.

According to TfN, three areas of activity underpin the strategy:

  • The importance of accelerating the delivery of the TfN Investment Programme interventions to support the North's economy.
  • The need to accelerate measures that support the move to zero carbon.
  • Strategic policy positions that can be used by partners to deliver the strategy effectively.

Martin Tugwell, chief executive at TfN, said: “Our Freight and Logistics Strategy, which covers road, rail and waterway freight, reveals the data that drives the sector and identifies the opportunities for decarbonising the sector. It is an important piece of work not just for those who work in the sector, but for the general public and business community.

"The need to decarbonise our transport system also creates the opportunity to harness the potential of the North’s cutting-edge technology to deliver a transport system that is not only fit for the future but which is sustainable in the longer term. The drive to reduce the carbon impacts of freight and logistics runs through this strategy and works hand in glove with TfN’s Transport Decarbonisation Strategy.

"We have a clear vision and want to see continued growth in the sector that will help unlock the economic potential of the North. Our approach puts the needs of the user at the heart of our work for only in this way will our solutions deliver real results for businesses and communities.”

19 December 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

PBSA accommodation plans submitted in Manchester

Plans for a mixed-use office and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) scheme at One Medlock Street, Manchester, have been submitted by Whitbread and Dominvs Group.

The development is within Manchester City Council’s First Street Development Framework area and forms part of the city’s Southern Gateway.

It would see the demolition of the existing five-storey Premier Inn hotel and the introduction of 36,000 square metres of flexible grade A office space designed for the occupier market, with access to external amenity space on each floor.

Adjoining the office building would be purpose-built student accommodation, designed to incorporate a step back from existing residents at City South while providing 1,014 student rooms. It would be located close to the campuses of the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

The site would also introduce a new public realm, a landscaped pocket park, and a rain garden to bound the current streetscape. The plans are intended to improve permeability in the area by creating green streets connecting the site to the wider First Street Regeneration.

The proposals are expected to support 475 jobs and a £198 million productivity boost during construction. Once completed, the scheme will provide room for 2,200 office jobs and contribute £1.6 million in business rates a year.

Jay Ahluwalia, principal director at Dominvs Group, said: “We’ve worked in partnership with Whitbread to create a mixed-use scheme that will provide an attractive, sustainable, and well-connected hub for work, study, and living in a huge boost to Manchester’s Southern Gateway. While contributing to the continued regeneration of the First Street area through new community amenities and green spaces, One Medlock will provide much-needed student housing in a city where more than 50,000 students lack access to purpose-built accommodation.”

The scheme is designed by Jon Matthews Architects.

14 December 2022
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

Stockport delays local plan consultation

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has issued a statement explaining that it has deferred the planned consultation on its local plan following proposed planning reforms announced this month by the government.

In a ministerial statement published on 6 December, housing secretary Michael Gove said the planning reforms were intended to “place local communities at the heart of the planning system”.

The method for calculating local housing need figures will remain but changes to it will be consulted on. This number will be an “advisory starting point”. In a letter to local authorities, he says this number is "not mandatory".

Other changes announced include the five-year rolling supply of land for housing coming to an end for local authorities with up-to-date local plans and strengthening protections for the green belt.

The government said it would be publishing a National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) prospectus before Christmas, outlining details on the reforms.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council said it is “important” that it waits to see what these changes could mean for its emerging local plan.

A statement on the council’s website said: “The decision to defer is not one that has been taken lightly and legal advice has been taken to inform this decision.

“We will review the position and update on a revised timetable as soon as we are able to do so. We remain committed to having the right local plan for Stockport and do not want to put unnecessary burdens on our communities at this time by consulting on a plan that might not now fit government guidance.”

The local plan would cover the period up until 2038.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council is not the first council to make such an announcement. Last week, The Planner reported that Teignbridge District Council had postponed a full council meeting so that officers could consider whether the proposed reforms to housing targets would have any implications for its local plan. The meeting will now take place on Thursday 12 January 2023.

19 December 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Disused Rhondda quarry lined up for major housing scheme

A disused quarry near Pontyclun in the South Wales Valleys will be transformed into a sustainable mixed-use development featuring more than 400 low-carbon homes under proposals unveiled this week by housing provider Pobl Group.

It has announced the new neighbourhood for the disused Hendy Quarry on the south side of Miskin in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The mixed-tenure development at the Tarmac site would include a significant proportion of affordable homes and would align with the latest Welsh Government policies on sustainability, decarbonisation, and creating positive health benefits.

Pobl said Hendy Quarry would be the first development in Wales to be built around a dedicated and well-connected community hub, offering a collaborative workspace with high-speed internet links to encourage an increase in remote working as well as space for a range of facilities.

The group claimed that the scheme has been strongly influenced by changing work patterns, new transportation opportunities, the government’s placemaking agenda and the provisions of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

Amanda Davies, group chief executive at Pobl Group, said: “Pobl has ambitious aims to reimagine the way we live and work in Wales and has strong aspirations to deliver a low-carbon development where local people will thrive and which they are proud to call home.”

16 December 2022
Roger Milne, The Planner

377 student homes approved for Canning Town

The London Borough of Newham Council has approved phase 4 of its masterplan for the Hallsville Quarter development in Canning Town, East London.

This phase features a mixed-use city block comprising 377 purpose-built student accommodation rooms, a wide range of student amenity spaces, such as a first-floor garden, 566 square metres of ground-floor flexible commercial floor space and landscaped public realm.

Phase 4 is the penultimate phase of the Hallsville Quarter Masterplan. When complete, the development will have delivered 1,148 homes in a variety of tenures, more than 30,000 square metres of leisure and retail space, a health centre, and community facilities close to Canning Town underground station.

Pedestrian links and cyclist provision are included as part of the six-hectare development.

Linkcity is behind the scheme. It was advised by planning and development consultancy Montagu Evans.

Phillippa Prongue, managing director of Linkcity, said: “Linkcity is excited to be completing the main part of the Hallsville Quarter new town centre working in conjunction with the London Borough of Newham as part of the wider Canning Town and Custom House urban regeneration programme. This phase will provide much-needed student accommodation in close proximity to some of London’s world-leading education institutions and this will add vitality and diversity to the local community and businesses.”

Simon Marks, a partner at Montagu Evans, added: “This approval facilitates the next stage in unlocking this vital development for Canning Town. Hallsville Quarter will help meet local needs with more and a greater variety of homes, many of which will be affordable, in a well-planned development close to public transport, shops, health and leisure facilities.”

15 December 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News round-up:

ADEPT and Amey launch levelling-up guide

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and Amey have published a good practice guide to support councils with levelling up locally.

Local Place Leadership: Good Practice for Levelling Up has been developed through ADEPT’s Excellence in Place Leadership (EiPL) programme, run in partnership with Amey. The programme brings together thought leaders and influencers to examine key issues and opportunities affecting the place sector.

Regeneration plans approved for East Barnwell

Cambridge City Council’s Housing Scrutiny Committee has approved a blueprint for the regeneration of East Barnwell in Cambridge.

Property consultancy Carter Jonas secured the approval of East Barnwell Masterplan – A Framework for Change on behalf of Cambridge City Council.

East Barnwell is located to the north-east of the city. The strategies in the framework are intended to help support its renewal in relation to connectivity, new homes, community facilities and the public realm. The framework covers the period to 2030 and seeks to deliver a regenerated local centre that will include new local services and community facilities to address the specific needs of local residents. Public open spaces also feature in the plans, as do improvements to public transport, cycling and pedestrian routes.

The project was funded through the government’s One Public Estate programme.

Mixed-use development green-lit in Richmond

Planners at Richmond-upon-Thames Council have approved a scheme to transform the House of Fraser building in Richmond, Surrey, into a mixed-use development with a gym and restaurant.

Pegasus Group submitted the application and secured permission on behalf of developer 80 George Street Limited, part of Sheen Lane Developments.

The store is located in the Central Richmond Conservation Area. It was built in the 1960s and has been empty since September 2020, when the House of Fraser ceased trading.

Plans include the erection of an additional storey at fourth-floor level, a basement extension to add a swimming pool as part of the gym use, and a second-floor rear extension, alongside external alterations to the appearance of the building.

Alterations will also be made to the grade II listed buildings at 6-8 Paved Court, at the rear of the main building, to add internal partitions so they can become independent units.

Majority back renewables, suggests poll

A survey has found that 80 per cent of people in the UK support regulations making solar panels the default on new-build houses. Only 9 per cent would oppose this.

The YouGov survey also found that 66 per cent believe that battery storage should be included in new homes to increase the efficiency of solar panels while 60 per cent want to see heat pumps included in all new-build homes, with just 17 per cent opposed. 

MCS Charitable Foundation commissioned the YouGov survey. It argues that unless a requirement for all new-build homes to have solar panels, battery storage and heat pumps as standard is included in the government's Future Homes Standard, carbon targets will be hard to meet. 

It is expected that proposals for the Future Homes Standard will require new homes to produce around 60 per cent less in carbon emissions than the current building standards.

Shortlist announced for regeneration fund

Belfast City Council has shortlisted 21 projects for the £10 million Neighbourhood Regeneration Fund.

The fund is intended to help groups to deliver capital projects in their communities that develop neighbourhood tourism, improve environmental sustainability and support the city’s social economy.

Project proposals that have made it to stage two of a three-stage process include artist studios, heritage centres, museum and exhibition spaces, hotels, enterprise units, projects to restore listed buildings and a water activity hub with a floating pontoon and footbridge on the River Lagan.

Over the next few months, applicants will work with council officers to develop their proposals further. Following this, councillors will consider the projects and determine which ones will move forward to the delivery stage.

Canongate PBSA scheme approved in Edinburgh

A planning application for a development of student accommodation (PBSA) in Edinburgh’s Canongate has been approved following an appeal by property developers to the Scottish Government.

Summix (CGE) Developments and S Harrison have been granted permission for the partial demolition of existing buildings and the delivery of PBSA on the site that was once part of the 19th-century gasworks at 179A Canongate. The planning application was initially refused by the council in August 2022.

Comprising 76 studio rooms, the scheme will be targeted at postgraduate students. The ground floor includes an open courtyard with sitting areas and planters, internal shared amenity space, plus two study rooms, a gym and a multimedia room.

It is located opposite the Holyrood Campus of Edinburgh University and within easy reach of other university facilities and nearby bus routes and plenty of cycling storage on site.

Incinerator plans withdrawn

Plans for an incinerator at Rothesay Dock in Clydebank have been withdrawn from the planning system.

The Peel L&P plant would have burned waste plastic to produce hydrogen.

West Dunbartonshire Council initially approved the plans for this plant in Clydebank. The decision was then referred to the Scottish Government, in line with a national moratorium policy introduced in June.

Friends of the Earth Scotland has welcomed the withdrawal.

West Hove seafront scheme approved

Brighton and Hove City Council have approved plans for the Kingsway to the Sea scheme to improve the seafront in West Hove.

The project is intended to rejuvenate run-down spaces and create new and improved outdoor leisure facilities and green spaces. It will create a new linear park stretching from Hove Lagoon to the King Alfred Leisure Centre.

A new fully accessible route will run through the full length of the park linking up all spaces, without the need for users to go onto either Kingsway or the Esplanade.

The site design includes significant improvements to accessibility for people with mobility issues. Inclined ramps and new stairs will be added throughout the park offering a choice of routes for all.

Tonbridge housing scheme approved on former gasworks site

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has approved plans to regenerate a 2.21-acre gasworks site in Tonbridge into a mixed-use development led by architectural practice The Harris Partnership.

The proposals will be delivered by Kent-based developer Blueberry Homes and include the creation of 144, one, two and three-bedroom apartments across two buildings, as well as landscaping and public realm, and seek to unlock the underused riverfront.

The development, which will look out onto the River Medway, will also see the developer create ancillary space on the ground floor of the buildings which will be designated for retail, hospitality or office space.

Two roof gardens with timber seating surrounded by shrubbery and trees that have been designed to promote wildlife and biodiversity are also part of the plans.

Cycle Rail Working Group launches public survey

The Cycle Rail Working Group has invited the public to contribute their opinions on what would help them combine cycle and rail travel through a new online survey.

The organisation brings together the rail industry and other sustainable transport stakeholders.

David Hibbs, Cycle Rail Programme manager at Sustrans, said: “We want to help people to combine the active travel of cycling, which is cheaper and healthier than car use, with rail travel. To get this right, we need to hear from the people who currently travel by cycle and rail, or wish to, so we’re inviting them to share their experiences.”

The survey is open and will close at 9am on 9 January.

20 December 2022
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

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      Planning news - 5 January 2023

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