Weekly planning news
Planning news - 8 September 2022
Plans unveiled for South West hydrogen hub
Energy infrastructure developer Carlton Power has unveiled plans to build a major hydrogen hub in Devon, the first in the South West.
The 10MW hydrogen hub, planned for Langage Energy Park near Plymouth, will offer local companies, especially energy-intensive industries or those with transport fleets, access to hydrogen fuel. This is expected to play a key role over the next 20 to 30 years in reducing the UK’s CO₂ emissions.
The proposal is conditional on the Langage hub receiving backing under the government’s Hydrogen Investment Package, a multimillion-pound programme to encourage the growth of the hydrogen economy in the UK. If successful, the project will produce sustainable hydrogen fuel at scale within the next two to three years.
“Langage is ideally located for the West Country’s first low-carbon hydrogen hub” said Carlton Power hydrogen projects director Eric Adams. “A number of key industrial sectors in the South West have limited options to decarbonise so a local source of hydrogen will accelerate their net-zero plans and the region’s wider low-carbon ambitions.”
The first phase of the project has secured planning consent from South Hams District Council, and is supported by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and Regen, the South West’s low-carbon energy organisation.
“The significance of South Hams granting planning permission for a green hydrogen production facility at Langage Energy Park cannot be overstated,” said Regen chief executive Merlin Hyman. “Green hydrogen has an important role to play by using renewable electricity to manufacture a low carbon fuel that will reduce emissions from industry and heavy transport.”
Langage is Carlton Power’s third planned hydrogen hub in England, with other proposed hubs in Cumbria and Greater Manchester.
5 September 2022
Huw Morris, The Planner
Bath and North East Somerset ponders local plan programme
The programme for preparing a new local plan for Bath and North East Somerset will shortly be considered by the council’s cabinet.
Members will be asked to agree publication of the local plan launch document that will outline the purpose, scope and timetable of the plan and how communities and stakeholders can be involved. The new plan must be adopted by 2025.
“The launch document starts the process of preparing the new Local Plan for Bath and North East Somerset, which is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the council’s planning policy framework for the district,” said planning and licensing cabinet member Tim Ball. “It’s important that the plan is ambitious, delivers our priorities and is responsive to local community concerns so we’ll be running a programme of engagement with residents, communities, partners and stakeholders to help us develop the plan’s objectives, policies and proposals.”
The local plan will establish the planning framework for the district up to 2042. Key ambitions include maximising affordable housing delivery, responding to the climate emergency and the drive to net-zero by 2030, a “transformational approach” to protecting and enhancing nature as well as job creation and ensuring “the right type of space for businesses to grow”.
The launch document’s publication this month will start ongoing engagement with communities, partners and stakeholders until August 2023. The next key milestone for the local plan will be public consultation on development options in autumn 2023.
5 September 2022
Huw Morris, The Planner
Consultation launched on Oxford traffic filters
Plans to introduce six trial traffic filters to make bus journeys faster and improve walking and cycling safety in Oxford have been launched for consultation (5 September).
The Oxfordshire County Council scheme will be enforced during operating hours using automatic number plate recognition cameras. Private cars will not be allowed through the traffic filters without a permit.
All other vehicles including buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and heavy goods vehicles will be allowed at all times. Permits will be available for blue badge holders, health workers and care workers.
Residents in Oxford and some areas just outside the city will be able to apply for a permit to drive through the traffic filters for up to 100 days a year.
The county’s cabinet member for travel and development strategy Duncan Enright said traffic filters are an important part of the central Oxfordshire travel plan, which aims to reduce the need to travel in private cars and make walking, cycling and public transport the natural first choices.
“Currently, traffic congestion is delaying bus journeys. Cycling is becoming less attractive due to traffic levels. People traveling by taxis get stuck in jams – a costly situation for both passengers and taxi firms.”
Oxford City Council is backing the scheme. Cabinet member for health and transport Louise Upton said: “We want to achieve a better transport mix which improves our air quality, encourages active travel, and ensures all those that do not have access to a car have a better bus service.”
The consultation will run for four weeks. If approved by the county council’s cabinet, the trial will start as an experimental traffic regulation order in summer 2023 for a minimum of six months.
5 September 2022
Huw Morris, The Planner
Go-ahead for major expansion of Powys poultry farm
Proposals for the massive expansion of a chicken farm near Trefeglwys in Powys have been approved by the county council.
Farmers RJ Hughes & Co want to build three new large-scale poultry units at Argoed Farm and convert an existing egg-laying building into a fourth to accommodate 222,000 broiler chickens which would be reared for meat.
The farm already had 32,000 egg laying chickens and a small herd of suckler cows.
The chicken manure from the egg production unit and the cattle muck is used as feedstock for anaerobic digester facility.
The local community council voiced concern over the size of the scheme and traffic issues.
Before the development can go-ahead the council must agree a sustainable drainage scheme for the development.
1 September 2022
Roger Milne, The Planner
Outline application submitted for Portsmouth city centre renewal
An outline planning application for a multimillion-pound scheme to regenerate the north of Portsmouth city centre has been submitted by the local authority.
The application, which focuses on “underused brownfield land” between Hope Street, Charlotte Street and Commercial Road to the east and includes the former Tricorn and Sainsbury’s sites, proposes to build up to 2,300 homes.
Portsmouth City Council’s application also outlines plans for 10,000 square metres of commercial and community floor space, a new park as well as “significant improvements” to the public realm and connectivity.
“This is a long-term project so the flexibility of this planning application means we can adapt the plans over time to reflect the city's changing needs, new ideas and technologies and support improvements to other parts of the city centre,” said cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development Steve Pitt.
The first phase of the project envisages 550 homes in two buildings on the Sainsbury’s plot and the first part of the park. The majority of these homes will be two-bedroom, with 31 per cent for affordable rent or shared ownership and the remaining 380 homes sold or rented privately.
A planning statement accompanying the application says this approach would “set the standard” for the wider scheme’s design and placemaking, with a greater proportion of family homes in the second phase. The city centre’s north site has “long been identified for redevelopment in the development plan and this is carried forward in the emerging local plan”.
Work could start as soon as 2024 if planning permission is secured, with the entire project taking about 15 years to complete. A series of public consultation events is scheduled for the coming weeks with a decision on the outline application expected in December.
1 September 2022
Huw Morris, The Planner
Dacorum launches South West Hertfordshire consultation
Dacorum Borough Council has launched a public consultation on the future of South West Hertfordshire. Views are sought on a draft vision for the area that aims to accelerate “positive change”.
The South West Hertfordshire 2050 – Realising Our Potential document includes a draft vision and objectives for the area until 2050.
The South West Herts Joint Strategic Plan is being drawn up by Dacorum Borough Council, St Albans City and District Council, Hertsmere Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council, supported by Hertfordshire County Council.
The full document is available to view here.1 Responses can be submitted until 5pm on Friday 4 November.
Devolution deal for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire
Levelling-up secretary Greg Clark has signed a deal with Derbyshire and Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham that will see the area appoint a directly elected mayor.
The mayor of the combined county authority will be responsible for delivering local priorities, backed by a new £38 million-a-year investment fund, totalling £1.14 billion over 30 years. It will have control over the core adult education budget, to boost skills in the region, as well as the ability to increase control over transport infrastructure.
The mayor will also have the power to drive regeneration with compulsory purchase powers, designate mayoral development areas and establish mayoral development corporations to promote growth and build new homes.
The deal was set out in the government’s levelling-up white paper published earlier this year.
In a joint statement, Mansfield MP and leader of Nottinghamshire County Council Ben Bradley; Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council; Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council; and David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “As leaders, we have all fought for a fairer share for our cities and counties, and a bigger voice for our area, to give us the clout and the influence we deserve, and to help us live up to our full potential.
“This deal would help make that a reality, creating more and better jobs through greater investment in our area, with increased economic growth, better transport, housing, skills training, and an enhanced greener environment, as we move towards being carbon-neutral. These are what we all want to see, and we will work together for the common good of the East Midlands.”
Intervention announced for Thurrock Council
Local government secretary Greg Clark has announced measures to intervene in Thurrock Council.
The aim is to address “serious concerns” about the financial management of the council and the risk this poses to local services, as well as debt incurred by Thurrock Council.
Essex County Council has been appointed in the role of the commissioner and Best Value Inspector. This gives the council full control of the financial functions of Thurrock Council and powers to assess whether there are failures in other functions to mitigate any further risk to services.
Thurrock Council will work with Essex County Council to prepare an improvement plan within the first three months of the intervention. Thurrock is expected to provide a Best Value Inspection Report to the secretary of state within the same time frame.
The move comes in response to grave concerns about the exceptional level of financial risk and debt incurred by the council.
Countryside support fund announced
The government has set aside £110 million of funding from the Rural England Prosperity Fund for rural businesses to support countryside communities across England.
The funding will be invested in projects that boost productivity and create rural job opportunities.
This includes farm businesses looking to diversify by opening a farm shop, wedding venue or tourism facilities or improvements to village halls, pubs and other rural hubs for community uses.
The Rural England Prosperity Fund will be delivered by eligible local authorities and give local leaders a greater say in investment than they previously had under EU schemes.
WMCA awards three nature grants in West Midlands
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded three more grants to help to connect people in the region to nature.
Kingstanding Regeneration Trust, Feeding Coventry and Caldmore Community Garden in Walsall have each received funding under the WMCA’s Community Green Grants scheme to improve the access to nature in deprived communities by improving green spaces or enhancing the local environment.
Each project applicant will receive a grant between £3,000 and £25,000 towards their goal.
The largest grant was awarded to Feeding Coventry, which received the full £25,000 as part of their Herbert, Kairos, and Foleshill Green Project. It intends to increase biodiversity by planting community gardens where people can grow food/wild flowers and learn about the importance of natural habitats in urban areas.
Essex industrial estate acquired for £50m
A joint venture (JV) between developer Chancerygate and real estate private equity firm Northwood Investor has acquired Titan Industrial Estate on Hogg Lane in Grays, Essex, for £50 million.
The speculative plans include building 430,000 square feet of grade A urban logistics and industrial space located a mile north of the town centre and five miles east of junction 30 of the M25.
The JV intends to develop 430,000 square feet across 28 leasehold units ranging from 5,000 square feet to 130,000 square feet on the land.
The site currently houses an IGCL manufacturing facility which is surplus to requirements and will be closed down over the next 12 months, after which it will be demolished for the new development.
Harwell Campus planning consent approved
National property consultancy Carter Jonas has secured planning consent on behalf of Harwell Science and Innovation Campus for the development of a new, flexible employment building on the science park in Harwell, Didcot, Oxfordshire.
The consent was awarded by the Vale of White Horse District Council.
Harwell Campus is located within The Science Vale UK area, a location of international significance for innovation and science-based research and business.
The campus extends to around 700 acres and is home to several organisations working within the innovation technologies sector. It provides employment for about 6,500 people working in more than 225 organisations.
Work starts on Devon homes
Mid Devon District Council has approved a reserved matters planning application for 60 homes across a 10.53-acre parcel of land off Higher Town, west of Sampford Peverell.
This is Edenstone Group's first housing development in Devon. It is preparing to start work on the homes.
The scheme also features a central village square and green, children’s play area, community gardens, an orchard and allotments, as well as green open spaces. Eighteen of the homes have been designated as affordable.
Edenstone Group planning director Tim Smale said: “Receiving reserved matters approval for our first site in Devon is a milestone for the business and a credit to everyone involved. It’s set to be a fantastic development, providing much-needed new homes and green open spaces for residents to enjoy, while spearheading our expansion across the South West.
“Now that planning consent is in place, we’re making preparatory arrangements to enable us to start work on site later this year.”
6 September 2022
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner