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  6. News round-up 29 July 2010

News round-up 29 July 2010

Defra consults on natural environment policy

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has begun consulting on issues and measures which could be key to the Government’s first environmental White Paper for 20 years. The department has promised to publish a Natural Environment White Paper in spring 2011.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We have the opportunity to be the generation that puts a stop to the piecemeal degradation of our natural environment. We want to see a real positive change in the future of our natural environment – one which supports a stronger economy and better quality life.”

She added: “The economy and the natural environment have historically been pitted against each other as if they were competing choices, rather than being mutually interdependent. Reducing the deficit and ensuring the economic recovery are the Government’s top priorities but greater knowledge of the value provided by natural systems and the high costs associated with their degradation means that the economy and the environment cannot be separated.”

Read the Defra press release


Royal Docks revival

London Mayor Boris Johnson and Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales have launched proposals for the revival of the Royal Docks in East London.

In a document setting out the development opportunities, the politicians have said redevelopment of the area “is now an absolute priority” for their administrations.

The report indicates how the area can capitalise on existing projects including the ExCeL Exhibition Centre and London City Airport as well as the arrival of Crossrail in 2017.

The Royal Docks vision document can be downloaded from the London Development Agency website.


Key brownfield project in Derbyshire approved

South Derbyshire District Council has given the green light for a major brownfield regeneration project at Drakelow Park, some three kilometres south of Burton-upon-Trent.

The 110-hectare site was formerly partly occupied by a coal-fired power station. David Lock Associates’ (DLA) master plan for the site includes more than 2,000 homes, a neighbourhood centre, primary school and health centre and will retain the existing Bullivant business, a major local employer. The scheme was submitted on behalf of the firm and Eon UK.

Around 35 per cent of the site will be green space, including a new riverside and woodland park, nature trails, sports pitches and open space.

Read the DLA press release


Government Offices face abolition

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed the Government's intention in principle to abolish the remaining eight Government Offices for the Regions across England. The final decisions will be made at the end of the spending review in the autumn. The Government Office for London is already pencilled in for abolition.

Pickles told Parliament: "I do not believe the arbitrary Government regions to be a tier of administration that is efficient, effective or popular. Let me be clear: the Government Offices are not voices of the region in Whitehall. They have become agents of Whitehall to intervene and interfere in localities, and are a fundamental part of the 'command and control' apparatus of England's over-centralised state."

In a separate but related development, the Mayor of London, the London Councils and the London Assembly have written to Pickles outlining further devolution of powers from central Government to the local authorities. A major focus of these proposals centres on the London Development Agency and the Olympic Park Legacy Company.

Read the CLG press release


Broxbourne draft Core Strategy

Broxbourne Borough Council has formally approved the Hertfordshire local authority’s draft Core Strategy. The council’s blueprint for local development includes proposals for the building of 240 new houses per year with the emphasis on family homes.

The planned Greater Brookfield project at Cheshunt will be the borough’s major new development including 50,000 square metres of new retail floor space, around 15,000 square metres of new leisure activity floor space - including a multi-screen cinema and bowling alley - and about 300 houses as well as major transport improvements.

Read the Broxbourne Borough Council press release


Regeneration plans for Craigavon

Northern Ireland’s Social Development Minister Alex Attwood has unveiled new regeneration plans for the Craigavon area which centre on proposals for each of the three town centres of Central Craigavon, Lurgan and Portadown.

Read the Northern Ireland Executive press release

Inverness site blight lifted

Glendoe Terrace, a brownfield site in Inverness which has been derelict for 15 years, has been bought by a housing association and will provide up to 100 sustainable new homes. The scheme is being part-funded by The Highland Council and the Scottish Government.

Read the Highland Council press release

Stradey plans called in

Welsh ministers have called in plans for a residential development of 355 new homes at Stradey Park, Llanelli, proposed by Wimpey Homes and approved by Carmarthenshire County Council subject to reserved matters because of concern over flooding issues.


Water management plan

Royal Haskoning, the environmental and engineering consultancy, has been appointed by North Somerset Council to produce a surface water management plan for Weston-super-Mare.

Read the Royal Haskoning press release


Glasgow listed garage scheme called in

Controversial plans to demolish and redevelop a listed garage site in Glasgow’s West End, approved by the City Council, have been called in for determination by the Scottish Government.


Uplands protection

More than 2,000 hill farmers have signed up to benefit from the new stewardship scheme designed to protect and enhance upland areas of England, according to Natural England’s latest figures. The applications account for nearly 300,000 hectares of some of the country’s most celebrated landscapes.

Natural England press release


Welsh historic building grants

Wales’ oldest theatre, its largest chapel and an Anglesey church with Tudor connections are among 24 historic buildings sharing nearly £1m funding for restoration work agreed by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Read the Welsh Assembly Government press release


Temporary use competition

Urban regeneration company New East Manchester (NEM), developer Urban Splash and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) have launched a competition in conjunction with Property Week magazine to find a temporary use for an empty piece of land on the New Islington development in east Manchester.

Read the New East Manchester press release


Census confirmed

The Government has confirmed that the planned 2011 Census in England and Wales will go ahead. Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, made the announcement in a written Parliamentary Answer.

Find out more from the Office of National Statistics


Planning complaints

Housing and planning issues have continued to represent the highest number of complaints received by the Local Government Ombudsman, according to the organisation’s latest annual report.

Access the annual report


Neolithic building found

English Heritage archaeologists have uncovered a ceremonial building, thought to be 4,500 years old during a six-week archaeological excavation at one of Britain’s most important but least understood prehistoric monuments, Marden Henge in Wiltshire.

Read the English Heritage press release


Roger Milne

29 July 2010