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Planning news - 6 January 2022

English councils to share £53.9bn in funding

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced that councils in England will receive £53.9 billion in funding for the 2022/23 financial year. This includes £554 million through the New Homes Bonus.

The government said the packages represent the “largest cash-terms increase” in grant funding for 10 years. An extra £3.5 billion is available compared with 2021/22

The funding includes £822 million for councils to spend as they choose on local needs

Alongside aiding councils to deliver vital services, the funding is intended to support councils in playing a “significant role” in the government’s levelling up agenda. Also, the government said the settlement will protect residents from “excessive” council tax increases. From next year, the amount council tax can be increased by without a vote has been reduced to 2 per cent, with an extra 1 per cent for councils with adult social care responsibilities.

Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove said: “Councils continue to deliver for their communities and have a major role to play in our central mission of levelling up the country.

“Today’s (16 December) funding package represents a real-terms increase from last year’s settlement and will make sure councils can improve vital frontline services, support vulnerable people and protect residents from excessive council tax rises as we build back better from the pandemic.”

The Provisional Finance Settlement includes £554 million through the New Homes Bonus for 2022/23. This brings the total amount of New Homes Bonus funding to £10 billion. The government said the bonus has seen more than 2.3 million additional homes being built, 560,000 of which were affordable.

The government added that it remains committed to reforming the New Homes Bonus to improve how housing growth is incentivised. It will publish its response to the consultation on the New Homes Bonus “in the coming months”.

The £85 million Rural Service Delivery Grant will continue to be provided.

16 December 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

19 per cent increase in applications approved in year to September 2021

District-level planning authorities granted 372,200 decisions in the year ending September 2021 – 19 per cent more than in the year ending September 2020.

Of these decisions 39,200 were for residential developments, 4,900 were for major developments and 34,300 were for minor developments

The number for major developments is down 5 per cent on the year ending September 2020 and down 3 per cent for minor developments.

According to the statistical release, which was published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), between July and September 2021, 114,400 applications were submitted to district-level planning authorities. This is an increase of 7 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2020.

They granted 99,700 decisions, an increase of 26 per cent compared with July to September 2020.

The release states that 85 per cent of major applications were decided within 13 weeks or the agreed times, which is three percentage points down on the same quarter a year earlier.

Other statistics in the release include:

  • 9,600 residential applications were granted, which is down 3 per cent on a year earlier. This breaks down to 1,100 major developments and 8,500 minor developments.
  • 2,000 applications for commercial developments were granted, which is 19 per cent more than a year earlier.
  • 68,100 householder development applications were decided. This is 37 per cent more than a year earlier. Also, this accounted for 61 per cent of all decisions, up from 55 per cent a year earlier.

Planning applications in England: July to September 2021 can be found on the UK Government website1.

16 December 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Redevelopment of key Cardiff city centre site shapes up

Developers Rightacres has revealed more details about its Central Quay development earmarked for the former site of Brains Brewery in Cardiff city centre.

The masterplan for the 6.5-hectare location, bounded to the north by Cardiff Railway Station and to the west by the River Taff, includes hundreds of flats, up to 110,000 square metres of commercial floor space, a hotel, a university campus and a multistorey car park.

Proposals for 700 waterfront flats have been the subject of a consultation that has just finished.

Four blocks of flats are envisaged, with the tallest reaching 29 storeys in height. Also in prospect are two new squares: Central Quay Square, which will front the River Taff, and Chimney Square, which would link to the Brewhouse development and the iconic former brewery tower.

In addition to green roofs and a sustainable drainage system, the buildings will incorporate solar panels at the upper roof levels.

The development will incorporate pedestrian and cycle routes, including a walkway along the River Taff.

17 December 2021
Roger Milne, The Planner

Newham estate regeneration scheme approved

The redevelopment of the Carpenter’s Estate in Stratford, East London, has been approved in a residents’ ballot.

The London Borough of Newham’s Populo Living is behind the scheme, alongside its multidisciplinary team led by the Tibbalds CampbellReith JV.

Tibbalds CampbellReith JV will work with the council and residents on a “co-produced masterplan and design proposals” for the estate as part of preparation for an outline application to be submitted in spring 2022.

Carpenters Estate was developed in 1968 and 1972. It covers a 28-acre site and is surrounded by Stratford High Road, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Westfield Stratford City and Stratford station.

The regeneration is intended to create more than 2,000 homes. Houses and maisonettes would be located at the centre, with taller buildings towards the edge. Up to 50 per cent of the accommodation has been designated as affordable. Of the existing homes, 44 per cent would be retained, including two of the existing estate towers.

Plans for the site include new and improved community and sports facilities in phase one, and public spaces with green spaces and play areas for children. Better-connected streets, with a clear route to Stratford station are also planned, as well as space for neighbourhood shops and businesses. Designed by Proctor & Matthews Architects and ECD Architects, a planning application for the first phase has been submitted. It is for the refurbishment of one of the site’s three residential towers to bring 136 homes up to high standards of energy performance, add new private external space, and to create homes that meet current guidance in terms of layout and storage. It also includes a community centre.

Hilary Satchwell, director of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, is leading the project team. She said: “This is a people-first approach to estate renewal on a major scale, with community wealth-building at its heart. The team have worked closely with local residents from the very start and their feedback is key to shaping the masterplan and forthcoming outline application. Delivering estate regeneration through Newham Council’s not-for-profit approach has created a new design and viability dynamic with huge potential and we are pleased to be leading the design team that will help deliver so much new housing and community space while keeping hold of the area’s history as a real piece of London.”

Andrew Matthews, founding director at Proctor & Matthews Architects, commented:

“It has been a huge privilege to work so closely with the residents of Carpenters to shape a new future for this pivotal neighbourhood.

“The design team has responded with a masterplan which is based on residents’ aspirations to create a ‘real piece of London’ for this part of Stratford. Out of this conversation has emerged a unique urban plan; one that supports a mix of uses including community and employment spaces and more than 2,000 new homes of different scales and forms that will provide for the needs of all ages.

“The hierarchy of public streets and spaces respects Carpenters’ rich history and is influenced by some of London’s most successful historic neighbourhoods, while also providing a framework for new 21st Century sustainable living environments.”

Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design is the lead consultant and town planner, working with Metropolitan Workshop and Proctor & Matthews Architects, which are collaborating on the masterplan and leading the design of the early phases of the scheme. The landscape architect is LDA Design and make:good is leading on community engagement around the design process.

The Tibbalds CampbellReith JV team (Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design and consulting engineers Campbell Reith) was selected under the Homes England Multidisciplinary Framework.

20 December 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Two developments approved in Cambridgeshire

Developer CALA Homes has been granted planning for two separate developments – 111 homes will be delivered at Waterbeach and 261 homes will be built at Alconbury Weald in Cambridgeshire.

Overall, both developments will eventually have 6,500 homes each.

Waterbeach is being brought forward by Urban&Civic. The site is a former barracks and airfield. The new town will be delivered across 716 acres, and will feature three new primary schools, a secondary school, community facilities, a health centre, 59 hectares of formal open spaces and sports pitches, and a network of footpaths and cycleways. Electric charge points will be installed at each home.

This permission will see CALA deliver 111 new homes comprising apartments and houses, which the firm say have been designed to comply with the Regulatory Plan and Framework Design Code approved as part of the outline planning permission at Waterbeach.

Alconbury Weald is also a former barracks and airfield. Here, CALA will build 261 properties ranging from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom houses. Urban&Civic is also behind the masterplan for this area. The overall development includes new primary and secondary schools, employment space, a railway station, community facilities and 608 acres of woodland and green space.

Environmentally friendly measures will be delivered across each development, including the installation of bat and bird boxes, hedgehog highways, sheltered movement corridors (for wildlife) and greenway habitats. 

Jim Brunt, land director at CALA Homes (North Home Counties), said: “Receiving approval to progress the two sites so quickly is a testament to the strength of the relationship between CALA and Urban&Civic – who have worked collaboratively to move Waterbeach and Alconbury Weald forward.

“We’re expecting to be on site at Alconbury Weald in January and Waterbeach in March 2022.”

20 December 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

News round-up

Temporary measures for marquees to become permanent

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced that businesses and hospitality venues will be able to hold markets more often and marquees will be able to be erected without planning permission.

These changes to permitted development rights were first made in 2020 to aid businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are being made permanent following a public consultation.

Councils will be able to hold street markets as required without the need for a planning application, which the government said will attract more people to high streets and town centres.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “The changes we introduced last year supported our town centres and high streets during national restrictions, making sure businesses could stay open and helping to instil a sense of community in our local areas.

“Making these measures permanent will help business and communities to build back better from the pandemic and are just one part of our vision to transform towns and cities across England into thriving places to work, visit and live.”

London’s deputy transport major steps down

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, is going to step down from her role.

She had planned to step down at the end of Khan’s first term but stayed on to help Transport for London (TfL) secure its latest funding from the government.

Khan has thanked her for her service to Londoners since she joined his team in 2018, and particularly for helping to lead TfL through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seb Dance will take up the role of deputy mayor. He served as a member of the European Parliament for London from 2014 to 2020, during which time he was vice-chair of the environment committee.

NIC site announced for Leeds

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is opening an office in Leeds. It should be ready for occupation by the end of 2023.

This is part of the government’s plans to level up across the UK. The NIC will retain its presence in London.

There are currently about 50 staff working for the NIC, and it is intended that opening an office in Leeds will make sure that those advising on future infrastructure are more representative of the public they serve.

It also seeks to help bolster the NIC’s role in addressing regional differences in infrastructure needs and is part of the government’s commitment to move 22,000 civil service positions out of London and the South East by 2030, through the Places for Growth programme.

The NIC joins the UK Infrastructure Bank, which opened its headquarters in Leeds in June.

Two local authorities join Local Land Charges Register

North Kesteven District Council and Haringey Council have joined the Local Land Charges (LLC) Register.

Allison Bradbury, head of local land charges implementation at HM Land Registry, said: “These latest migrations demonstrate how our LLC programme is gathering pace. I am delighted that people buying property in North Kesteven and Haringey will now have access to instant LLC search results. It is our ambition to migrate all local authorities in England and Wales to our LLC Register by 2025.”

Those requiring LLC searches in these areas will need to get them from HM Land Registry rather than going directly to the council.

Oldham approves diagnostics centre plans

Oldham Council has approved plans to build a community diagnostics centre in partnership with Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust on vacant land at Salmon Fields, Royton.

The council’s cabinet also approved the granting of a 50-year lease for NCA to use the council-owned land so that the development can begin.

Around 30,000 patients will use the Oldham centre annually, which is due to open in spring 2022.

Barney Schofield, director of planning and delivery for Northern Care Alliance, said: “The Oldham Community Diagnostic Centre will be one of the first, and best, in the country and will bring advanced diagnostic imaging technology into the heart of the community. It is a great example of what can be achieved by the NHS working in close partnership with the local authority to deliver a shared vision. Ultimately, our ambition is to diagnose disease at an earlier stage of progression, where chances of successful treatment are improved.”

Wates and Turner appointed to gigafactory in North East

Envision AESC has appointed Wates Group and Turner & Townsend to design and manage its car battery gigafactory at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Wates will develop a design for the £450 million gigafactory, which will provide the infrastructure to support battery production by 2024. Turner & Townsend will act as the project and cost manager.

A £1 billion partnership with Nissan UK and Sunderland City Council will create an electric vehicle (EV) hub to deliver electric vehicle production at IAMP, which will help to decarbonise UK manufacturing and transport.

The gigafactory secured planning permission in October for an initial 9GWh plant with potential future-phase investment by Envision AESC of £1.8 billion.

It will generate up to 25GWh and create 4,500 new jobs in the region by 2030, with potential on site for up to 35GWh.

Daniel Granger, head of industrial and logistics EMEA for Turner & Townsend, said: “Battery technology and advanced manufacturing are driving the modernisation of the automotive industry and our acceleration to a net-zero society. The race to supply the net-zero economy is well and truly under way and companies will need to scale up quickly to keep pace with the growing demand for clean mobility.”

Greenwich launches Kidbrooke consultation

An online planning exhibition has been launched for residents by the Royal Borough of Greenwich for their views on plans to build 322 new low-carbon council homes at Kidbrooke Park Road South. 

The plans are part of the Greenwich Builds programme and will offer “affordable” housing to residents on waiting lists. They will range from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom family maisonettes and 33 will be made specifically for wheelchair users.

The scheme includes a commercial space, play spaces for children, communal courtyards and a new community garden with space to grow plants and vegetables.

The homes will feature green roofs, rain gardens, meadows, and native hedges as well as the planting of 100 new trees and a hedgerow along the boundary with Old Post Office Lane.

It will be located close to Kidbrooke train station, and is proposed to be car-free with the exception of 10 disabled parking spaces, which will provide electric vehicle charging capabilities for all spaces. More than 600 secure and sheltered cycle parking spaces have also been proposed.

The plans and feedback can be shared by residents here2.

21 December 2021
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/planning-applications-in-england-july-to-september-2021
  2. https://kprsouth.commonplace.is/

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

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    Planning news - 6 January 2022

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