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Planning news - 5 October 2022

Applications for investment zones open

Local areas in England are being urged to apply for investment zone status as part of the government’s levelling-up measures. 

Investments zones would offer lower taxes and “streamlined” planning rules for specific sites to boost investment and development – both commercial and residential. 

This would cover a period of 10 years and various taxes, such as reliefs on business rates, stamp duty land tax, and employer national insurance contributions. Local leaders would be given greater control over local growth funding to make sure that the zones have the infrastructure and skilled workforces they need. 

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced the establishment of investment zones in his Growth Plan on 23 September1. He noted that the “essential foundation of growth is infrastructure” but that the planning system for major infrastructure is “too slow and fragmented”. 

The government wants to “empower local places to deliver planning that is right for their area while maintaining high environmental outcomes and keeping national green belt protections in place”. 

Local areas are required to agree to the expression of interest process mitigation of any adverse environmental impacts of the proposed development. 

The government said it will work with local areas to identify “bureaucratic requirements, processes and red tape that needlessly slow down” development or make it more complex. This will include reviewing “ineffective EU requirements, lengthy consultations with statutory bodies and onerous national and local policy rules”. 

Discussions have already taken place with 38 local authorities. Invitations are being sought by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) from these 38 areas, mayoral combined authorities, upper-tier local authorities and freeports by Friday 4 October.   

Growth should be the priority for investment zones, with the government saying it will set a “high bar” for establishing them. When deciding where investment zones will be granted, the government will consider the pace at which development can be delivered. 

5 October 2022 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

More than 300 homes approved in Oxford 

Oxford City Council has granted planning permission for the reserved matters application for a scheme at Oxford North's Canalside. 

The project’s residential development partner The Hill Group will deliver the first 317 homes south of the A40. 

They will range from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom family homes and be a mix of private sale and affordable units. 

The homes will feature air source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels. The scheme also features initiatives to reduce water consumption, electric car charging points and cycle storage. They have been designed around central landscaped park with play areas, meadow grassland, an activity lawn and a network of pedestrian and cycle paths. Extensive planting, green and brown roofs and orchard planting including over 200 new trees are included to enhance the biodiversity of the overall development. 

The Hill Group will be working with Thomas White Oxford, which is responsible for delivering Oxford North, on the scheme. 

Oxford North’s masterplan for 480 homes was approved in March 2021. 

Andy Hill, chief executive at The Hill Group, said the project will “generate significant employment opportunities and we welcome applicants, particularly from the local area, who will benefit from our comprehensive training and development programmes”. 

Acting on behalf of The Hill Group were Pollard Thomas Edwards, Menhardt, Vectors, Savills, LDA Design, and Max Fordham. 

3 October 2022 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Permission sought for a garden village in Exeter 

An outline planning application has been submitted to East Devon District Council for a garden village comprising more than 1,000 homes and community facilities. 

Carden Group has submitted the plans, which are for 220 acres of land in Exeter. 

As well as 1,035 homes, the proposals feature a neighbourhood centre, a two-form entry primary school with early years provision, public open space such as play areas and allotments, a sports hub, employment land, and an extension to the Cranbrook Energy Centre. 

Of the homes, 15 per cent will be affordable and 4 per cent will be for custom and self-build. 

Key landscape features, such as watercourses, landform character, trees, and hedgerows, will be retained and enhanced to form structuring elements of the development. An area of Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANGS) featuring a 2.3km walking trail also features in the plans. 

Carden Group is owned and managed by Steve Morgan CBE, founder and former chairman of Redrow, Will Heath, former group development director at Redrow and Harry Aubrey-Fletcher, landowner and former director at Taylor Wimpey. They acquired Treasbeare Farm, Cranbrook, in January 2021 for an undisclosed sum for the development, Carden Group's first. 

It will be known as Treasbeare Garden Village. 

Heath said: “We were keen to acquire the site as it’s part of East Devon District Council’s West End Strategy and is included in the Cranbrook Plan Area. The East Devon Local Plan identifies a need to provide almost 8,000 new homes in Cranbrook and the vision for the new garden village will contribute to that total. 

“The vision for Treasbeare Garden Village is to provide a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable mixed-use development including up to 1,035 new homes, employment opportunities, a school, play and sports facilities, and local shop.” 

Subject to planning, the aim is to have completed the village by 2034. 

29 September 2022 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Stats: Year-on-year decline in planning decisions granted 

District-level planning authorities granted 87,800 applications between April and June 2022, down 12 per cent when compared with the same quarter in 2021. 

This is according to a statistical release by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). 

It shows that district councils decided 86 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks or the agreed time, one percentage point less than April to June 2021. 

They granted 8,700 residential development, a decline of 9 per cent when compared with a year earlier. This breaks down to 1,000 major developments and 7,700 minor developments. 

During this period, 1,800 commercial applications were granted, which is a 5 per cent fall when compared with a year earlier. District councils decided 58,000 householder development applications, 16 per cent less than a year earlier. 

This accounted for 58 per cent of all decisions, down from 62 per cent a year earlier. 

The statistical release also shows that district councils received 106,800 applications seeking planning permission, which is 17 per cent fewer than the number submitted in the same quarter in 2021. 

In the year ending June 2022 district councils granted 362,000 decisions, a rise of 3 per cent from the year ending June 2021. 

District councils granted 37,100 residential developments decisions, which breaks down to 4,600 major and 32,500 minor developments. These are declines of 11 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.   

Planning applications in England: April to June 2022 can be found on the UK Government website.2 

3 October 2022 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Stratford student accommodation scheme approved 

The London Legacy Development Corporation has approved plans submitted by real estate developer Dominvs Group for a 465-bed student accommodation scheme on Stratford High Street. 

Dominvs acquired two adjoining sites,304-312 Stratford High Street in December 2020 and 302 Stratford High Street, which was a non-operational pub that was shut down by the previous owners.  

The sites have been combined to enable the delivery of a 465-bed, purpose-built student accommodation-led (PBSA) mixed-use scheme, 35 per cent of which will be affordable.  

It will feature 24 wheelchair accessible rooms, 23 adaptable rooms and a terrace on the 12th-floor offering views of Queen Elizabeth Park, the Orbit, and Lea Valley. 

It also includes the creation of Channelsea terrace, a new landscaped public space, environmental enhancements, and restoration of the Channelsea basin. 

The scheme proposes 786 square metres of workspace, of which 50 per cent will be affordable at the ground and first-floor level.  

The real estate developer is working with the Made Up Collective on delivering a community pub as a not-for-profit venture. 

It is estimated that during the construction phase 328 full-time jobs will be created along with a contribution of £25.3 million gross value added a year to the local economy.  

Jay Ahluwalia, principal at Dominvs Group, said: “Our scheme will revitalise and regenerate the area, delivering a not-for-profit community pub, creative workspace and much-needed student housing. 

“With the London Plan identifying a need for 3,500 PBSA beds to be provided annually from now until 2028/29, we’re delighted to play our part in delivering this PBSA-led, mixed-use scheme, which will benefit both students and the wider community.” 

3 October 2022 
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner 

News Round Up 

A round-up of planning news:

North West council submits plan for examination 

Copeland Borough Council has submitted its local plan for examination. 

Once the examination process is completed, the council hopes that the local plan will be adopted in mid to late 2023. It covers the period to 2038. 

Mike Starkie, mayor of Copeland, commented on the major milestone for the council: “Public consultations have been running periodically for more than two years on the local plan, and feedback from Copeland’s residents, visitors and businesses is crucial to shaping the future of our borough. 

“The local plan is integral to driving investment and development in Copeland and I’m delighted that we’ve now reached this important milestone.” 

More information about the examination of the plan can be found on the Copeland Borough Council website. 

37 homes approved in Leicester 

Leicester City Council has granted planning permission for 37 dwellings designed by architectural practice CPMG Architects. 

The homes include family homes with two to four bedrooms and apartments with one to two bedrooms. 

The homes are the first phase of a development designed to alleviate the pressure on Leicester's social housing system. The council has nearly 6,000 people on its waiting list for social housing. One home has been designed specifically for wheelchair users. 

Each home will be provided with an electric vehicle charging point near their driveway or apartment parking space, and all gardens will contain a timber shed to allow for secure, covered storage for bicycles. 

The Lanesborough Road scheme will regenerate a 1.4-hectare site in Rushey Mead. 

Ealing pub to be redeveloped into homes 

Ealing Council has approved plans for the redevelopment of the grade II-Listed Ealing Park Tavern, which is located on a corner opposite Clayponds Gardens. 

The pub, which was built in 1885, will be brought back into use and homes delivered as part of the work. 

Autor Architecture was commissioned by its client to retain the existing pub and its garden on the ground floor, and extend the building on Carlyle and South Ealing roads to provide eight flats and one family town house. 

The new flats are spread out across the new and old building, and the pub garden will be retained as a key community asset and the residents will enjoy their own private courtyard spaces. 

Dolphin announces partnership for Hackney housing redevelopment 

Housing provider Dolphin Living has selected Montagu Evans to advise on the delivery and procurement strategy for the rebuilding of the New Era Estate in Hackney. 

Dolphin acquired the 1930s Hoxton estate in December 2014 with the aim of securing the future housing needs of the residents of the estate. Following a discussion with the residents, it was agreed to rebuild the estate, which, when complete, will provide 199 new homes and retail space. 

While construction is under way, existing residents will live in nearby homes owned by Dolphin Living and will be given the opportunity to return to the completed development following completion. 

Montagu Evans will help to shape and optimise both the commercial structure and procurement strategy through the first stages of work, followed by overseeing the procurement process itself. It will conclude with Dolphin Living entering into a contract with a preferred development partner by summer 2023. 

Anwyl Homes submits Eccleston housing plans 

Anwyl Homes has submitted a reserved matters application to Chorley Borough Council to construct new homes near Chorley next spring. 

Plans include 22 four and five-bedroom detached family homes and 12 affordable properties that will be made available through a registered social landlord. 

Covering 3.67 acres south of Parr Lane in Eccleston, the former grazing land already benefits from outline consent for 34 homes. 

The land was acquired from Metacre, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Trust Company. 

MoU signed on healthcare at Arden Cross 

Arden Cross Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) and separately the University of Warwick to explore opportunities for creating a Medical and Technology Campus to deliver healthcare innovation as part of the £3.2 billion Arden Cross development. 

The campus would be focused on creating better health and life outcomes for people by reducing the time to market for healthcare innovations, drawing private sector investment and delivering the levelling-up agenda in the West Midlands. 

Each MOU provides a framework for the stakeholders in Arden Cross to move forward with the delivery of the first phase of the mixed-use masterplan, which should create up to 27,000 jobs, 3,000 homes, and up to 6 million square feet of commercial and employment space. 

The first phase of the new campus could begin as early as 2024. 

Edinburgh agrees short-term let powers 

The City of Edinburgh Council’s regulatory committee has agreed on a licensing scheme that includes additional controls for short-term lets for properties used as secondary letting within a tenement or shared main door property. 

This comes after “extensive” consultation by the council as it seeks to tackle the problems of antisocial behaviour and safety risks caused by the rise of short-term lets. 

Earlier this year, the Scottish Parliament approved legislation to introduce a licensing scheme on 1 October. 

The mandatory conditions of the scheme include making sure that the applicant has the right planning permission in place for their property. 

These powers are in addition to new planning legislation that saw Edinburgh become the first short-term let control area in Scotland last month. 

Boom Power launches solar farm consultation 

Boom Power has launched a non-statutory consultation for East Yorkshire Solar Farm, a proposed facility on approximately 1,200 hectares of agricultural land located between the villages of Brind, Wressle, Willitoft, Spaldington and Gribthorpe. 

The solar farm would allow for an anticipated export of approximately 400 megawatts of electricity, helping to meet the country’s demand for low-carbon energy. 

It will connect to National Grid Drax Substation, enabling the electricity to go directly into the National Grid transmission network. 

The non-statutory consultation will run for 28 days between Monday 3 October and Sunday 30 October 2022. 

Rochdale approves Heywood housing plans 

Rochdale Borough Council has approved plans submitted by Anwyl Homes to build 120 homes in Heywood, Lancashire.    

The Chorley-based housebuilder has acquired almost 15 acres on Manchester Road East, part of the new West Hopwood community. 

Anwyl’s development will feature three, four, and five-bedroom mews, semi-detached and detached homes. There will be bespoke house designs and elevations, with features including taller windows, steeper roof pitches with slate-grey tiles, feature chimneys and brickwork, and grey doors and windows. 

The first homes are due to be released for sale in spring 2023, and the first residents are expected to move in during the summer. 

National Highways awards contracts for A303 works 

National Highways has awarded contracts to deliver the £1.7 billion A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme past Stonehenge. 

The planning application for the scheme is still pending redetermination by the secretary of state for transport, following the quashing of the decision to grant the development consent order by the High Court last year. 

National Highways has awarded its £60 million delivery assurance partner contract to Costain and Mott MacDonald, which will provide technical and construction management expertise by helping to mobilise the main works contractor, oversee construction, assist the discharge of consent requirements and assure the design. 

Following its preferred bidder announcement earlier this year, it has now signed a contract with MORE joint venture, comprising FCC Construcción, WeBuild and BeMo Tunnelling, to deliver the £1.25 billion tunnel and main construction work. 

The main works contract covers the construction of the proposed tunnel’s civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and technology components, including the tunnel boring machine, along with the approach roadworks and structures and the environmental components of the five-year construction phase. 

SEPA reveals water scarcity in Scotland 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has announced that Scotland is facing water scarcity, following a dry summer this year. 

SEPA revealed that this summer in the east was the 10th driest in 100 years, with groundwater levels in the east of Scotland reaching their lowest since records began in 2009. 

It says an extra month's worth of average winter rainfall is needed in the east to make up the deficit over the past 12 months 

Some northern and eastern catchments are still facing the risk of water scarcity and any businesses still abstracting from the environment are being urged to do so more efficiently. 

SEPA recommends planning ahead for next summer, which includes monitoring water use and equipment to ensure that it is operating at maximum efficiency and avoiding leaks. 

4 October 2022 
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner 


Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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    Planning news - 5 October 2022

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      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2023 Planning Portal.