Weekly planning news
Planning news - 8 June 2023
Bakerloo line backed by London councils
All 33 of London’s boroughs have backed the extension of the Bakerloo line under a new infrastructure framework.
The project would see the Bakerloo line extended along Old Kent Road, and has been backed by Southwark and Lewisham councils, developers, Transport for London (TfL) and businesses.
Technical work to prepare for the Bakerloo line extension will result in Southwark, Lewisham and TfL seeking government approval for the scheme via the Transport and Works Act in 2025.
Helen Dennis, cabinet member for new homes and sustainable development, said: “The message from London is clear: the capital’s prosperity hinges on the Bakerloo line extension, alongside other key developments. It’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. The weight of all London councils adds to the mounting business case for a scheme set to kick-start our city’s growth sustainably.
“Despite brutal economic headwinds, it’s full steam ahead for Old Kent Road. It’s a neighbourhood helping tip the scales of London’s extreme housing crisis with affordable homes making up the majority of over 3,300 new homes. Over 30 per cent are new social rent homes meaning families in desperate need of secure and suitable housing can plant proper roots in the area, benefitting from the investment in public services and community projects that new developments bring. The Bakerloo line extension will supercharge this sustainable growth, with thousands of new homes people can actually afford.”
Extending the Bakerloo line is one of 67 projects in the infrastructure framework, which has cross-party, pan London support. It aims to boost prosperity, reduce inequalities and help the capital achieve net zero. Umbrella group London Councils launched the framework.
Developed with the boroughs by economic consultancy Metro Dynamics, alongside the Greater London Authority (GLA) and TfL, the intention is for the framework to address various challenges across the capital, such as London having the highest unemployment rate in the UK. London Councils is also calling for a new devolution deal to support the infrastructure ambitions.
Other projects in the framework include:
Connected London, which is currently delivering 2,000km of full fibre connectivity across the London Underground.
Waterloo City Hub - a redesign of the roundabout, roads, and surrounding public realm at Waterloo will unlock and support growth as well as improve local connectivity, particularly towards the South Bank.
Extending the Elizabeth line beyond Abbey Wood into Kent.
Sewage-powered domestic heating scheme in Kingston - excess heat recovered from the sewage treatment process could be used to power more than 2,000 homes through a new carbon-cutting partnership between Kingston Council and Thames Water.
Elizabeth Campbell, London Councils’ executive member for London's future: business, economy and culture, said: “Boroughs are collaborating like never before to promote infrastructure investment in the capital and help us achieve our shared vision of a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable London.
“By setting out boroughs’ agreed priorities and the exciting range of development opportunities across the capital, the London infrastructure framework will drive investment towards where it will make the most difference.
“But alongside this new framework, we are also calling for a new devolution deal for the capital to support boroughs’ ambitions around growth and infrastructure. Letting boroughs keep more proceeds from locally driven growth would help us secure investment for these strategic projects and bring benefits not only to Londoners but the UK economy as a whole."
The London Infrastructure Framework can be found here on the London Councils website.1
6 June 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Outline permission sought for large housing scheme in South East
An outline planning application has been lodged with Thanet District Council for up to 1,461 homes for agricultural land on the north-east side of Nash Road in Margate, Kent.
The plans for the 65.71-hectare site also feature a two-form entry primary school, a mixed-use centre, associated infrastructure including the provision of a new strategic link road along Nash Road, public open space, and formal and informal play areas.
According to the application form 1,023 units would be market housing, 306 would be for social, affordable or intermediate rent and 132 would be for affordable home ownership.
An accompanying environmental statement notes that the site is used by protected species of breeding birds, foraging bats and barn owls. Mitigation will target habitat creation for species known to be present in the area. This could be the provision of bat roosts, bird boxes, reptile and invertebrate hibernacula/refugia, and hedgehog houses where appropriate.
The project is called Humber's Mill, and the site is designated as suitable for housing in Thanet District Council’s adopted local plan.
The application was submitted by Axis Land Partnerships and The Master Fellows and Scholars of the College of Saint John the Evangelist at the University of Cambridge.
31 May 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Construction begins on £200m Cambridge station
The government has announced funding of £200 million to build a new railway station in south Cambridge, which it says will create 300 jobs during construction.
The station will be located at Cambridge Biomedical Campus and will feature four new platforms and be fully accessible. It will offer easier access to Europe’s largest centre of medical research and health science and is expected to be complete in 2025, said the department.
The station will act as a key transport link between the biomedical campus and international gateways such as Stansted Airport and the Eurostar.
The development aims to support growth in the area, which is expected to create 27,000 jobs and 4,000 homes by 2031.
Rail minister Huw Merriman said: “This brand-new station will not only benefit local passengers but deliver a major boost to the entire city, improving connectivity to a world-leading academic hub while unlocking local business and growth opportunities across the region.”
Kristin-Anne Rutter, executive director at Cambridge Biomedical Campus Limited, said: “Currently, there are around five times as many visits to the site as there are car parking spaces. We have to find ways of making it easier for the thousands of staff, NHS patients and visitors arriving daily to get here without needing to use a car.
“This is a campus dedicated to improving human health, so anything that has the potential to cut air pollution and take pressure off our local roads is also very welcome. Coupled with the recent approval of the East-West Rail route directly linking Oxford with the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, we believe we can create a successful yet sustainable health and life sciences cluster that can both grow the economy and save lives.”
7 June 2023
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner
First year of programme sees graduate planners gain experience
Three graduates have taken part in the first year of Milton Keynes City Council's Planning Academy to develop their skills.
They have been gaining "invaluable experience" across planning, urban design, conservation and archaeology, and the Milton Keynes Development Partnership.
The "intensive" programme aims to help graduates in any field, not just planning, to "kick-start" their careers. They gain experience alongside undertaking an RTPI accredited postgraduate degree followed by an end-point assessment. This leads to the graduate becoming a chartered town planner.
Graduates can work on projects such as Milton Keynes East (5,000 homes); Glebe Farm School; and Santander’s flagship HQ building (Unity Place).
They can also join an external organisation for a placement.
Peter Marland, leader of the council, said: “It’s really positive to see the graduates getting on so well and making the most of working in a modern, forward-thinking and award winning planning team. The Planning Academy is helping us attract and develop the best planners, through high quality on the job training and best practice work with the RTPI.
“I look forward to welcoming our new starters later this year.”
The city council will take on three graduates in September, with more than 70 applications to be considered for the places.
5 June 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Active Travel England becomes a statutory consultee
Active Travel England will be consulted on walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure on future larger developments with the aim of encouraging travel choices that are cheaper, healthier and greener.
The organisation became a statutory consultee on 1 June.
It will consider planning applications for developments comprising 150 homes or more, more than 7,500 square metres or an area of at least five hectares. It is thought this could amount to about 3,100 applications a year - or 60 per cent of new homes. Active Travel England (ATE) has been working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to ensure these thresholds are set at an appropriate level.
The organisation's role is to help local planning authorities to implement good active travel design, such as homes being connected by infrastructure that encourages walking, wheeling and cycling to schools and local amenities.
Building in active travel at design stage will, said ATE, help to avoid big increases in vehicle traffic and reduce the need for costly upgrades to major road junctions or other corrective action in the future.
ATE's commissioner Chris Boardman said: “Active travel is essential to improving public health, reducing emissions and tackling the cost of living crisis. That’s why we’re working to ensure millions more people have the opportunity to walk, wheel or cycle from their doorstep to where they need to be.
“Designing activity back into our neighbourhoods and creating places where children have transport independence is achievable – it just needs smart planning.
“As a statutory consultee, Active Travel England will work with planning authorities and developers to help them ensure new estates give people what they need to get fresh air and exercise, save money on petrol and help fight climate change.”
Establishing Active Travel England’s statutory consultee status comes after a pilot project that saw the body work with 30 local authorities. Together they assessed more than 60 developments over the nine months to November 2022. Feedback from a survey at the start of the pilot saw 80 per cent of respondents agree ATE should have a role in the planning system.
While it will be consulted on, Active Travel England will not have any statutory powers to direct the outcome of planning applications.
5 June 2023
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Building stone database launched
Historic England has launched The Building Stones Database for England, which is the country’s 'first' online searchable tool that brings together information on more than 4,000 types of building stone, their uses and sources.
The database is accompanied by 45 illustrated regional guides covering different areas of the country.
Database users can browse the geological map, search by postcode, address or place name as well as looking for a specific building stone, representative buildings or structures made with each stone type, and stone sources. It identifies indigenous building stones, where they were extracted and potential sources for repairs and new construction.
The resource has been designed to help a wide range of professionals, from planners, architects, builders, surveyors, conservation advisors and developers to homeowners.
Of England's listed buildings, 49 per cent are made from stone. The database helps to pinpoint which stones come from specific quarries so mineral planning authorities can take steps to protect them.
Clara Willett, senior building conservation advisor at Historic England, said: “The need for a database was identified following research which revealed that - despite the importance of stone to England’s historic environment - there was no comprehensive catalogue to help match stones used in a building to their source.
“Historic buildings are generally best repaired with the same type of stone used in their construction. Understanding the properties and performance of the original stone helps to determine the replacement. Like-for-like repair avoids further damage caused by incompatibility, as well as being important for a visual match.”
Moray announces expansion plans for Mosstodloch
Moray Council has opened a public consultation for its masterplan outlining its vision for Mosstodloch over the next 20 years.
The proposals include up to 500 houses, a strengthened village centre near the Ian Baxter Picnic Area, and a spine road from Cowfords Roundabout to Garmouth Road.
This will provide an alternative route for HGVs and traffic, and could unlock industrial and renewable energy opportunities.
The council is now asking for the community’s views on the draft document and will use the feedback to develop the final plan.
If approved by the committee, the masterplan will be adopted as supplementary planning guidance and become a material consideration.
The 12-week consultation closes at 5pm on Monday 28 August.
Torbay approves Paignton housing plans
Torbay Council’s planning committee has approved plans for the development of 101 homes on the western edge of Paignton, Devon.
Planning and design consultancy Boyer (part of Leaders Romans Group), secured consent on behalf of Torbay Development Agency (TDA).
The 4.02-hectare vacant site on both sides of Preston Down Road in Paignton will deliver a landscape-led development featuring a variety of homes from one to four bedrooms – 30 per cent of which will be affordable.
SME views sought on business challenges
The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is calling for SME home builders to share their views on the challenges and issues impacting their business
HBF's members are responsible for building around 80 per cent of all new private homes built in England and Wales, with the majority being small or medium-sized enterprises.
Builders are concerned about the "underfunded planning process, growing regulatory burden and a disproportionate moratorium on development across a third of the country", as they pose "a real threat" to the industry’s ability to plan, develop and deliver homes.
HBF said SME builders are struggling to overcome the growing number of constraints on development.
Following its 2022/2023 SME State of Play Report6, which found that 9 per cent of the industry’s SMEs do not feel the government’s approach to planning or housing is positive, HBF is seeking SME views on the challenges and issues impacting your business.
The findings of the survey will inform HBF’s future work to represent SME housebuilders.
Survey responses must be completed by 23 June 2023. The survey can be found here7.
Council set to deliver housing in Weston-super-Mare
North Somerset Council has signed a build lease agreement with developer Keepmoat to deliver 425 homes on land in Weston-super-Mare.
The scheme, named Winterstoke Gate, will be delivered near Locking, part of the Parklands Village development. The council’s development will deliver:
- 30 per cent affordable homes;
- 85 adaptable or accessible homes;
- 139 homes will be zero-carbon buildings with the remainder achieving 75 to 80 per cent reduction on carbon output; and
- electric vehicle charging in all homes.
Keepmoat’s social value commitments will include creating at least 20 apprenticeships and funding local volunteering and biodiversity projects.
The scheme is expected to be completed by spring 2029. Piling work has started and the first homes should be habitable by spring 2024.
Housing consultation opens in Fareham
Fareham Borough Council has opened a consultation for residents on a draft Self and Custom Build Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
The document sets out the council’s approach to planning for and supporting the delivery of self and custom build homes in the Borough.
Self and custom build housing encompasses a wide spectrum of projects from an individual designing and building their own home to developers custom-building homes to individuals’ specifications.
The draft SPD has been produced to provide guidance and advice to the local planning authority, developers, landowners, aspiring self and custom builders and the community, to enable the delivery of self-build and custom homes through successful planning applications.
The consultation will run until 11 July 2023, following which, approval to adopt the draft SPD will be sought. The consultation can be found here on the council website8.
EV charging hub plan submitted in Leeds
Plans for an electric vehicle (EV) charging hub on the outskirts of Leeds have been submitted to Leeds City Council.
The submission comes after 76 per cent of respondents to a consultation said they are in favour of BP’s proposals for 18 covered ultra-fast charging bays on the former site of the White Bear public house on the Dewsbury Road in Leeds, which closes in 2018.
Proposals also comprise bays for disabled users, 13 vehicle parking spaces, and a 323 square metre retail unit. A new access road is planned with existing trees to be retained as part of a tree planting and landscaping scheme.
Partnership aims to improve urban planning
Start-up firm Yeme Tech has partnered with Esri UK on its Community Data Platform (CDP) to help planners and developers identify social infrastructure, facilities, and community spaces that are missing from British neighbourhoods.
CDP is inspired by Lord Mawson’s work at the Bromley by Bow Centre and is the result of "years of work" by Bradford-based Yeme Tech, which was founded by CEO Amir Hussain, who is also deputy chair of housing regeneration and place at West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Hussain believes the platform will "create happier, healthier and more engaged neighbourhoods by empowering councils and developers to identify facilities and events which residents actually need and will frequent".
The partnership deal with Esri UK (part of Esri Inc, which is based in California) aims to take Yemen Tech's approach global. Esri UK’s customers include HS2, Sustrans, Sport England, National Trust, The Environment Agency, Ordnance Survey, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and more than 200 local authorities in England and Wales.
Hussain said: "It can be very complex and time-consuming to regenerate our towns and cities to adapt to meet the current and future needs and wants of their citizens.
“What our Community Data Platform does is provide granular local detail in real-time to strip away the complexity and enable planners and developers to work with local communities to deliver successful urban planning which provides the facilities and social infrastructure that people need and want."
ICE consults on infrastructure priorities
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has launched a consultation on what the governments need to know to plan and prioritise infrastructure better.
The consultation and an accompanying green paper are the next iteration of guidance the ICE and partners launched in 2019, the Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) programme, which sets out 12 principles for prioritising and planning infrastructure.
The ICE notes that since then, the Covid-19 pandemic, the worsening climate crisis, and the effects of rising inflation have "further complicated the already complex task of infrastructure planning for governments all over the world".
The consultation seeks views from policymakers and the stakeholders who support them to ensure the new EBI guidance and tools are up-to-date and accessible.
The consultation, which closes on 26 July, can be found here on the ICE website9.
6 June 2023
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner