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  6. News round-up 18 August 2011

News round-up 18 August 2011

Silverstone makeover

The British Racing Drivers’ Club has submitted its outline planning application for the expansion and development of the Silverstone racing circuit.

The master plan, which will be considered by Aylesbury Vale District Council and South Northants District Council, involves over 260,000 square metres of development including a business park, a technology park, an education campus, three hotels, a motor sport museum and extensive spectator and leisure facilities including an outdoor stage.

Read the British Racing Drivers’ Club press notice.


Thumbs up for draft NPPF from the RICS…

Surveyors have welcomed the Government's draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as “a significant step forward in enabling the growth the UK requires”.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has argued that the Coalition’s planning reforms should result in a planning system “more workable for the local community and more responsive to public need”.

The RICS stated that businesses and other potential employers needed “the clarity and certainty” which the Government’s draft NPPF provides.

“We also believe that the draft strikes the right balance in safeguarding the environment and promoting strong, vibrant and healthy communities”.

Read the RICS press release.


…and support from the HBF

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has complained that the debate over the NPPF risked being “hijacked by scaremongering from narrow minded anti-growth groups”.

The industry lobby said the draft "does not in any way threaten the greenbelt, as many media reports, influenced by anti-growth groups masquerading as environmentalists, have suggested. Green belt continues to receive the highest level of protection as with current policy”.

Read the Home Builders Federation press release.


Outdoor advertising advice

Government chief planner Steve Quartermain has written to all chief planning officers highlighting the fact that many members of the public and small businesses are unaware that outdoor advertisements are controlled by local planning authorities, under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.

He said ministers have asked that LPAs should, in their correspondence dealing with breaches of advertising control, provide a link to the DCLG booklet “ Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers”.

Access the letter to chief planning officers.


S106 help for low income households?

Councils should open up their social housing allocations to include low-income working people and start accepting private sector housing as meeting section 106 agreements, a new report has urged.

Those measures form part of a package of measures put forward by independent think tank the Resolution Foundation to attract institutional investment in the private rented sector to help those currently falling between the gap of home ownership and social housing.

The report also calls on the Government to recognise low-income working households in its public sector land release strategy.

Read the Resolution Foundation press release.


London Councils comment on offices-to-homes move consultation

London Councils have commented on Government proposals to allow developers to change offices into homes without applying for planning permission, which are currently being consulted on.

The Government is committed to cutting red tape for business and streamlining a bureaucratic planning system to help increase the number of homes, which had fallen considerably below levels needed.

London Councils, which represents the capital’s 33 local authorities, acknowledged that as commercial land is cheaper than residential land, suspending the existing planning rules would create an incentive to turn businesses into homes but wants safeguards to ensure residents' needs are met. Such as ensuring homes are big enough, environmentally friendly or suitable for people with disabilities continues.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are reviewing all consultation responses and will be publishing next steps in due course.


Enforcement worries

The Law Society is urging the Government to go further to meet its concerns over changes to the enforcement regime.

The legal body has acknowledged that ministers amended the Localism Bill during its Committee stage in the Lords in response to fears raised by the Society over time limits for enforcement action.

However, the Society remains worried that where planning breaches have been concealed “the local authority can still restart the clock and enforce outside the normal time limits”.  

The Society has argued this provision is unnecessary and should be deleted from the Localism Bill, currently waiting for its report stage in the Lords.


Cornish development

Exeter-based developers Inox Group have submitted an outline planning application to Cornwall Council for a major mixed-use development at Truro including around 1,500 new homes, a primary school and retail park.

The developer has also lodged a separate application for a 10,000-seater stadium at Langarth, north of the A390 at Threemileston where the mixed-use project is planned.


Airbase certificate of lawful use

Plans to develop a former Snowdonia military air base as a research site have taken a step forward now the Welsh Government has been granted a certificate of lawful use, enabling the Llanbedr site in Meirionnydd to be used to test and develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or ‘drones’.

The Snowdonia National Park Authority had refused Llanbedr Airfield Estates a lawful development certificate for the site’s research use in 2009.

But in December 2010, the Welsh Government made a second application when Welsh ministers became the freehold holders of the site after taking over the functions of the former Welsh Development Agency.


Core strategy EIP plea rebuffed

Rochford District Council has failed in its bid to have the examination of its Core Strategy suspended until December because of concern over sustainability issues and in the light of measures in the Localism Bill and the implications of the Cala Homes legal challenge.

Councillor Keith Hudson, the council's portfolio holder for planning and transportation, said: "Although we are disappointed that our request to suspend the Examination has been rejected, we are encouraged that the Inspector has proposed a way forward.”

Read the Rochford District Council news release.


Norfolk developments

A major urban expansion involving around 600 new homes and a business park extension alongside the A47 some five kilometres east of Norwich has been approved by Broadland District Council.

Meanwhile, in a separate development South Norfolk District Council has given the green light for a 323-home development at Wymondham.


Eco development

Cherwell District Council has granted detailed planning permission for 393 new homes and a renewable energy centre as part of the first ‘Exemplar’ phase of the NW Bicester Eco development.

The proposals will unlock a £6m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) in the delivery of 119 affordable homes as part of this phase of the development.

Read the Cherwell District Council news release.


Roger Milne

18 August 2011