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Planning news - 6 March 2024

Gove announces regeneration investment in Blackpool

Levelling up and housing secretary Michael Gove has announced that £90 million will be invested in creating new homes and neighbourhoods in Blackpool. 

The money will come from Homes England's Brownfield, Infrastructure Land (BIL) Fund and is intended to catalyse vital regeneration projects in some of the most deprived areas of inner Blackpool. 

The regeneration scheme is being led by Homes England and Blackpool Council. 

Gove set out the investment at the Convention of the North on Friday (1 March). 

So far, Blackpool has received more than £100 million of levelling-up funding since 2019, as well as investment to unlock the £300 million Blackpool Central development scheme. 

Homes England was commissioned to work with Blackpool Council alongside the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), to develop a detailed proposal for interventions that address poor-quality housing in the town’s inner wards 

Peter Denton, chief executive of Homes England, said: “I defy anyone to not be moved by the challenges that many of the residents of Blackpool face in their day-to-day life. Blackpool Council are utterly committed to addressing this and Homes England very much wishes to support the vision they have for their town and its inhabitants. 

“This investment signals levelling up in action, indeed social equity, accelerating the regeneration of housing in inner Blackpool as part of a much wider mission to transform local communities and catalyse vital positive change in some of the town’s most deprived areas.” 

Grant funding will also help to construct good-quality mixed-tenure homes, supported by wider regeneration activity, to be led by Blackpool Housing Company, the council’s subsidiary private-rented sector developer, alongside Lumen, its affordable housing provider. 

Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said the announcement of funding has been eagerly awaited and “is a testament to the strong working relationship we have with central government, Homes England and a number of other partners locally and nationally” 

“Our residents and communities desperately need better housing and investment in their neighbourhoods, especially in the inner areas of Blackpool. We will use this funding to continue the process of positive change, improving housing, neighbourhoods and life chances across inner Blackpool. We will be holding a full public consultation concerning our plans for a first phase. 

“We want to create strong neighbourhoods – stable, thriving and sustainable neighbourhoods that have access to things like health services, decent jobs, quality housing, schools and leisure activities.” 

Over time, the council plans to see the removal of housing that does not meet modern standards, with new and better housing created in its place, in better neighbourhoods, “designed with the interests of Blackpool residents and businesses at their heart”. 

The full public consultation will be launched later this year. 

The £1 billion Brownfield, Infrastructure and Land fund was launched by DLUHC in July 2023, with an aim to unlock an estimated 65,000 homes across the country. 

4 March 2024 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

RTPI to engage schools on the role of planning enforcement

The RTPI, in collaboration with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), has begun an initiative to engage school-age and college students on the vital and diverse role of a planning enforcement officer.

The initiative aims to showcase the positive impact enforcement has on communities.

Enforcement officers safeguard the public and the environment from infringements of planning control and violations of planning laws, but the sector is grappling with a "substantial crisis" in resourcing, skills, and performance, explained the institute.

According to research  conducted by the RTPI in 2022, and commissioned by DLUHC, found that 80 per cent of planners were concerns about the insufficient number of enforcement officers to manage the workload.

Also, 70 per cent of local authorities in England struggled to recruit enforcement officers over the previous last five years.

Councils across the UK are facing challenges in both recruitment and retention, with the institute highlighting recent reports regarding the departure of Mid-Devon's sole planning enforcement officer, which has left a temporary staff member to handle the department's nearly 300 cases.1

With the initiative, the RTPI aims to illustrate the various pathways into planning enforcement, ranging from traditional university degrees to apprenticeships, as they seek to emphasise the inclusive nature of the profession.

Joanna Averley, chief planner at DLUHC, said: “Planning enforcement plays a crucial role in maintaining the trust of the public in the planning system. A career in enforcement is highly rewarding, providing opportunities to get out of the office and make a genuine difference in the community you work.

“The interventions you make will result in real improvements to the built environment in which we all live our lives. Enforcement officers are in high demand and I encourage those interested to pursue this exciting career opportunity.”

Victoria Hills, chief executive at the RTPI, added: “Enforcement officers are the backbone of the planning system, driving tangible improvements for their local communities and safeguarding both people and the natural environment.

"Planning enforcement officers have diverse backgrounds and different educational and career paths, and we warmly welcome candidates into the profession at an exciting time for planning enforcement. With the support of DLUHC, we aim to demonstrate the unique and interesting aspects of this profession, regardless of whether you are a recent graduate, a student or someone seeking a new career.

More information can be found on the RTPI's Planning Your World website. 2 

29 February 2024
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Funding for creation of neighbourhoods in Sheffield announced

At the Convention of the North, levelling up and housing secretary Michael Gove announced that a £67 million funding package will go towards the creation of two residential neighbourhoods in the centre of Sheffield. 

Homes England has agreed to the funding package, which is intended to support the creation of two communities at Furnace Hill and Neepsend. 

Gove made the announcement at the convention on Friday (1 March). 

Through the funding, land assembly and enabling works across five hectares of brownfield and underused land will be able to take place, providing the space for 1,300 new homes and 4,000 square metres of commercial space to be built as part of wider regeneration activity. 

Peter Denton, chief executive at Homes England, said the funding would “kick-start the transformation” of Furnace Hill and Neepsend to create two vibrant communities.   

“A core part of our remit is to utilise all the tools at our disposal to help places to achieve their vision for their area. Our work with Sheffield City Council over the last two years is a prime example of what this looks like in practice. We’ve worked in partnership with the council and other local stakeholders to create a viable action plan, and now we’re providing the funding to help make it happen.”   

The Furnace Hill and Neepsend proposals have been spearheaded by the Sheffield Together Housing Growth Board, which includes Sheffield City Council, Homes England, the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the Sheffield Property Association and the South Yorkshire Housing Partnership.   

The Sheffield Together partnership wants to transform Furnace Hill and Neepsend into two distinct and vibrant urban neighbourhoods, capitalising upon their historic and natural assets to create a varied townscape. There would be a network of new public spaces and streets to improve connections between the city centre and Kelham Island. 

Furnace Hill would incorporate a mix of residential homes alongside new local facilities, commercial and leisure premises, and the neighbourhood at Neepsend, on the banks of the River Don, would provide a range of housing, local facilities and green spaces. 

Tom Hunt, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “This major investment will help to create two new city centre neighbourhoods on brownfield land. It will help to breathe new life into Furnace Hill and Neepsend and create great neighbourhoods with 1,300 new homes. 

“Importantly, we have also put down a marker for support from the next round of the government’s Affordable Homes Programme, to ensure a minimum of 20 per cent of these new homes is truly affordable accommodation which is within the reach of everyone. 

“Through our Sheffield Together partnership, we are working hard to drive up housebuilding and regenerate parts of our city. This investment for Furnace Hill and Neepsend is an early outcome and we’re delighted to see our collaboration starting to come to life. Sheffield is a city on the up and we have big plans for further new neighbourhoods.” 

Regeneration in Liverpool 

Gove also announced at the convention that Liverpool is to receive £31 million to support regeneration projects, including the development of grade A office space and new laboratory facilities at Paddington Village in the Knowledge Quarter, as well as support for community asset Greatie Market to provide further opportunities for traders. 

The funding is part of the government's plans to level up communities and empower local leaders to deliver long-term change and improve economic security and opportunity for everyone. 

Additionally, Blackburn with Darwen will receive £20 million through a Levelling Up Partnership. This is a tailored plan that sees the government work with local leaders and businesses to target investment and address the unique challenges and opportunities in each place. The area is one of 20 in England most in need of levelling up to benefit and is modelled on partnerships with Grimsby, Blackpool and Blyth. 

Gove said: “We all know that the divisions in our society – economic, social, educational – are best bridged by empowering local leaders and local communities to determine the futures of the places where they live and the towns and cities that they love. And that is why – at this Convention of the North – together – we are bringing about a power surge for the North.” 

4 March 2024 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

Regeneration of Carpenters Estate in East London approved

The London Legacy Development Corporation Planning Committee has granted outline planning permission for the regeneration of the Carpenters Estate, next to Stratford station in the east of the capital. 

Permission was sought for up to 2,022 “sustainable” homes, based on a resident-led masterplan that secured high levels of turnout and approval at the ballot. 

Another 136 homes within the scheme at James Riley Point have already been approved. Of these, 50 per cent are for social rent. 

The plans also include 10,000 square metres of commercial space, as well as a range of community, education and amenity uses. 

Newham Council’s wholly-owned development company Populo brought the plans forward. 

The masterplan, based on community feedback, prioritises streets and spaces, and has a new neighbourhood park at it its centre, with lower-rise apartment buildings, houses and maisonettes served by mews streets and communal courtyards. The aim is to allow as much light in as possible. 

Taller mixed-use buildings, with commercial and community uses on the ground floors and apartments have been situated at the site’s outer edges, along major arterial routes and close to the train line.   

Two of the original tower blocks, James Riley Point and Lund Point, are being retained and retrofitted for housing. 

More than £1 billion is being invested in restoring the estate and creating new homes. Plans for the regeneration are phased and will be delivered over the next 15 to 20 years. 

Deborah Heenan, CEO of Populo Living, said: “In Newham, like the rest of the country, there is a dire need for a safe, affordable, warm and low-carbon place to call home. In order to get that in a very constrained economy, Newham took the bold step to deliver its own regeneration directly using its own developer, Populo. 

“This means that we can deliver half the homes at genuinely affordable rent for those on very low incomes and manage the rest for residents on middle incomes, all coming together to a thriving refreshed community for Londoners of all ages and stages of life. Most importantly, keeping the estate firmly in Newham’s ownership means that we can deliver at pace and deliver the best for our residents, who are in effect our shareholders in over £1 billion of investment.” 

Lizzie Le Mare, director of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, is leading the planning team. She added: “Our task was to make this a real piece of London and a place of transformational change, being ambitious for residents and challenging ourselves, since the height of Covid, to engage, respond and collaborate on ideas about home in a way that puts the local community at the heart of the emerging plans and sets the bar for future estate regeneration.   

“All this has been done while achieving the right balance to meet policy, viability and commerciality requirements; working with very many stakeholders, and keeping a tight grip throughout on what residents asked of us from the start: open space in the centre with low-rise surroundings that let in the light.” 

The Carpenters Estate covers a 28-acre site surrounded by Stratford High Road, The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Westfield Stratford City and Stratford Station in East London. It was developed between 1968 and 1972. 

A residents ballot in December 2021 saw 73 per cent of residents vote yes on the redevelopment plans. 

Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design led the multidisciplinary project team and was planning consultant for the project for the Tibbalds CampbellReith JV. Metropolitan Workshop and Proctor & Matthews Architects worked together on the masterplan. LDA Design is the landscape architect. make:good led on extensive local engagement. 

4 March 2024 
Laura Edgar, The Planner 

£1.3m penalty for unauthorised Ealing flats

Ali Bahbahani has been ordered to pay £1,283,444 for converting and extending a home on Waldegrave Road to create flats without planning permission - and then refused to comply with an order to demolish the unauthorised works.  

Ealing Council secured the confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act because Bahbahani, who lives overseas, profited illegally from renting the flats. 

It will also recover more than £16,000 in unpaid council tax and business rate bills. 

Multiple court applications to have the property restored to its original condition over the last decade have been issued by the council. 

It was revealed during court proceedings that someone impersonating Bahbahani had attended the initial hearings. The case was concluded at Isleworth Crown Court on 25 January. 

The council’s head of legal services, Justin Morley, said: “This is a quite remarkable case, given the size of the confiscation order. It reflects not only the time and hard work that officers invested in this case, but also the commitment to go through the proper legal channels." 

Shital Manro, cabinet member for good growth and new housing, said: “This was a flagrant abuse of the planning system. You must make sure you have planning permission for major changes of any sort to your property. Failure to do so will result in court action and, as we have seen, can be very costly.” 

29 February 2024 
Ben Gosling, The Planner 

News round-up

Honey submits Waverley housing plans 

Housebuilder Honey has submitted plans to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council for a £15.5 million 54-home development in Waverley, Rotherham. 

The proposed development will be located on the former Orgreave Colliery & Coking site off Rivelin Way. 

It will comprise a mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes and will include semi-detached and detached properties. Of the 54 homes, 17 have been designated as affordable housing. 

If approved, construction is expected to start this summer with residents able to move in from next summer. 

Retirement home plans green-lit in Kibworth 

Harborough District Council has approved plans by Peter and Linda Greene to create a self-build retirement home, following support from planning consultancy Marrons. 

The couple designed the eco-friendly four-bedroom detached property, which will be located within the grounds of their current home in Kibworth, Leicestershire. They will manage every stage of the build process. 

The house has been designed in collaboration with DSA design studio as a later living unit to be adaptable to future needs. The property will include a downstairs en suite bedroom, and wider doorways and corridors linking together a larger open-plan living area, enabling accessibility across the home. 

Council approves South Acton scheme 

Ealing Council has approved plans by Henley Investment Management for the redevelopment of an underused site on Stanley Road, South Acton in Ealing, London. 

The mixed-use scheme, designed by HTA Architects, aims to transform this area of South Acton, and forms part of the council’s South Acton Industrial LSIS Masterplan. 

The new development will provide 10,915 square feet of purpose-built industrial workspace, created to protect and boost local employment and replace old industrial units with modern flexible space. 

The new homes will each have their own balcony and access to a communal roof terrace. 

Residents back Lee Neighbourhood Plan 

Residents of the Lee Neighbourhood Area, which includes residents of both Royal Greenwich and Lewisham councils, have voted in a local referendum to adopt a new neighbourhood plan that will be used to decide planning applications in the area. 

The neighbourhood plan will be used alongside the existing Lewisham and Greenwich councils’ local development plans. Priorities include green spaces, transport, homes, town centres and heritage. 

Aidan Smith, cabinet member for regeneration at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “Understanding how people interact with their local spaces and communities is central to good planning.   

“This new neighbourhood plan sets out how Royal Greenwich and Lewisham councils can work together to ensure future development and local planning processes serve the needs of the Lee community. Together, we can deliver places that meet community needs for homes, town centres and transport while protecting the built and natural environment.” 

Contractor sought for planned upgrades at the Hunterston PARC 

Peel Ports Clydeport is inviting marine infrastructure contractors to express their interest in planned upgrades at the Hunterston PARC (Port and Resource Campus) Construction Yard in North Ayrshire. 

The former coal port is being redeveloped, with much of the site already under option, including for an undersea energy cable factory. 

Peel Ports Clydeport has begun local statutory consultation processes, including public consultations, ahead of submitting planning applications and applications for other licences and permits that will need to be in place before work can start. 

Early indications of willingness to engage in exploratory discussions are being sought ahead of any formal procurement process. The company has issued a Periodic Indicative Notice (PIN), for contractors to register their interest. 

27% increase in rough sleepers 

The latest snapshot figures from the government have shown that there were 3,898 people recorded sleeping rough on a given night in England in 2023. 

This is a rise of 27 per cent compared with 2022. 

The government has also released statutory homelessness figures for England between July and September 2023. The figures show that 109,000 households are homeless in temporary accommodation, an increase of 10 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier. 

The figures also show that 142,490 children are homeless, a rise of 14 per cent compared with a year earlier. 

In response to the figures, Shelter has called for all political parties to commit to ending the housing emergency by building 90,000 social homes a year. Rents must be tied to local incomes.   

Shelter and the National Housing Federation (NHF) published a report last week which set out that building 90,000 social homes “would not only pay for itself in terms of economic and social benefits within three years, but it would add over £50 billion to the economy in the long term”, explained Shelter. 

CIC appoints deputy chair 

Ian Brant has been appointed as the deputy chair of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) with immediate effect following a meeting of the council. 

He is expected to assume the role of chair, subject to council approval after Dr Wei Yang, the current chair, steps down from her two-year term during CIC's June 2025 council meeting. 

Brant is a director at Brant Construction Quantum Experts, a consultancy specialising in construction dispute avoidance, dispute resolution and drafting expert quantum reports. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), serving on national and international committees for them and is currently serving as an elected trustee.   

Survey: 41% of architects using AI 

Research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has found that 41 per cent of UK architects are using artificial intelligence (AI) on at least the occasional project. 

Of those, 43 per cent think it has made the design process more efficient. 

In the next two years, 54 per cent of architects expect their practice to use AI, and 57 per cent believe that it will improve efficiency in the design process, according to the survey. 

However, 69 per cent said their practice has not invested in AI research and development, and only 41 per cent expect their practice to do so. 

The survey also found that 57 per cent of architects expect to use AI to carry out environmental sustainability analysis within the next two years while 58 per cent think AI increases the risk of their work being imitated.   

The RIBA Artificial Intelligence Report 2024 can be found on the RIBA website3.  

Women in Property announces new chair 

Women in Property (WiP) has announced that Jennifer Winyard, senior strategic land & planning manager at Barratt Homes Yorkshire West, has become its national chair. 

She took up the post on 1 March for a period of one year. 

Winyard, a dual-qualified surveyor and planner, said: “Encouraging girls to consider a career in property and construction has been a major focus for me, throughout my professional life. My lived experience of this industry highlights the fantastic scope it offers across all sectors. There is still more to do to encourage more people, particularly girls and young women, to make it their future too. I want to help change mindsets and unlock the potential they offer.” 

City & Country acquires site in Bath 

Developer City & Country has acquired a 5.3-acre Bath Press development site for £13.8 million in Bath. 

The development will be new-build and residential-led, comprising a mix of apartments, houses and office space. The historic façade of the Bath Press site will be retained. 

The scheme has already obtained planning permission, and work is due to start as soon as possible. 

LUF set to create 36 city centre apartments 

A total of 36 city centre apartments will be developed through a £4 million project funded by the Levelling Up Funding (LUF), granted in 2021. 

A grant of £390,000 has been awarded from Hull City Council’s government grant scheme to DAQRI Limited for its conversion of 9-11 Chapel Lane. 

The funding will support phase 1 and part of phase 2 of the overall development proposals, which include 19 apartments. These will comprise 14 one-bedroomed apartments, four two-bedroomed apartments and one three-bedroomed apartment. 

Another 17 apartments will be created as part of later phases, helping to address the demand for city-centre living in Hull. 

The project will see the grade II listed Standidge Building, 9 Chapel Lane, brought back into use, as well as its two neighbouring properties. 

Around 1,626 square metres of unused floor space will be brought back into use, with two full-time equivalent jobs created. 

5 March 2024 
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 - 6 March 2024

      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 © 2024 Planning Portal.

      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 © 2024 Planning Portal.