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  6. News round-up 1 December 2011

News round-up 1 December 2011

Permitted development rights for wind turbines and heat pumps

New permitted development rights for wind turbines (building-mounted and stand alone) and air source heat pumps, came into force on 1 December 2011.

Details of the regimes can be found on the Planning Portal.

Air source heat pumps

Wind turbines

Access the legislation here


Battersea power station redevelopment knock-back

Plans for the multi-billion pound redevelopment of Battersea Power Station in south west London is back in the melting pot following the news that the scheme is to go into administration. The Irish property tycoons who are currently the developers and owners of the listed landmark are in debt to the tune of over £500m.

Regeneration of the long derelict site is a centerpiece of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area, earmarked as one of the capital’s strategic growth points.

Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement highlighted the extension of the Northern Line to Battersea and the creation of new stations at Battersea and Nine Elms as one of the infrastructure schemes the Government is keen to help progress.


More funding for Pathfinder areas

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced the allocation of more than £71m to help families trapped in half-empty and abandoned streets in the Midlands and the north of England as a result of the now aborted Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder programme.

A total of 13 projects in the worst-hit areas - Merseyside, East Lancashire, North Staffordshire, Hull and Teesside - will receive a cash injection to help their local communities.

These areas originally bid for a share of a £30m fund that they would then match - but the minister said an extra £5.5m had been added to ensure that every street or block with more than half its properties lying vacant would benefit.

Read the Department for Communities and Local Government press notice.


Bristol’s legal challenge over Avonmouth waste project fails

Environmental services company Viridor, has welcomed a High Court decision to dismiss Bristol City Council’s legal challenge to the planning permission won on appeal for its Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre.

The development includes a materials recycling facility, which will sort and recover up to 150,000 tonnes of recyclable resources a year, and an energy-from-waste plant that will treat up to 350,000 tonnes of residual waste a year - supplying 30 megawatts of power to the National Grid.


IPC accepts first onshore wind project

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has formally validated and accepted RWE npower renewables’ application for its Brechfa Forest West wind farm – the first onshore wind farm in the UK to reach this stage. The project is designed to generate between 56 and 84 megawatts of power.

Read the IPC news release.


Tameside backs Hyde housing redevelopment

Chorley-based developer Northern Trust has been granted planning permission by Tameside Council for the redevelopment of the former BP/Castrol site in Hyde. As well as 100 homes, the proposals include landscaping, parking and footpaths within the site.


Shopping centre warning by consultancy

Shopping centre proposals in medium sized towns are set to founder as UK developers concentrate on larger towns and cities and out-of-town locations, according to research by property consultancy Colliers International.

A report on the UK shopping centre development pipeline by the consultancy concluded that many proposals in medium sized towns will be abandoned as developers recognise that they are no longer feasible.

Sarah Banfield, of Colliers International, predicted that there will be little new development of any great significance for at least four or five years.

"Despite developers’ insistence that schemes are going ahead, in reality much of this floorspace is effectively still on hold until the finances can be agreed and, even where funding is in place, in many instances there is now the issue of expired planning consents and compulsory purchase orders to overcome and the need to redesign proposals before schemes can get under way," she said.


Exeter’s Core Strategy endorsed

Exeter City Council’s Core Strategy has been has been approved by an independent planning inspector as “sound”. The city’s blueprint includes provision for 12,000 additional homes.

Read the Exeter City Council media release.


Levy charging schemes mooted

Both Huntingdonshire District Council and Bristol City Council have begun consulting on proposed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schemes.


Tesco developments

Campaigners fighting Bristol City Council's decision to grant planning permission for a Tesco Express store in Stokes Croft have lost their legal challenge.

Following a judicial review, a High Court judge ruled the council and supermarket both acted lawfully.

The store was at the centre of protests in April when it was attacked by protesters after a raid on a nearby squat.

Meanwhile, in separate but related developments, a new Tesco retail scheme proposed for the site of a former B&Q store in Southend has been given the go-ahead while Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has decided not to intervene over Harrogate Council’s decision to approve a Tesco store, the town’s first, on the site of a former gas holder.


Abattoir in brewery makeover

A former abattoir in Denbighshire is to be turned into a micro-brewery. County councillors have approved the plans to redevelop the site, near Denbigh, despite concerns raised by some residents over brewing smells.


York big wheel plan succeeds at fourth attempt

York City Council has approved plans to locate a big wheel attraction at a site close to the Royal York Hotel. Three previous proposals at different locations were rejected.


Offshore wind prospects in Scotland

A Government report has identified potential new areas for future offshore wind development in Scotland's waters.

The Scottish Government directorate, Marine Scotland Science, outlined areas of shallow waters as well as a number of deepwater locations.

Areas off Shetland, the Firths of Forth and Tay, Orkney, North and South Minch and the Solway region were all highlighted.

Read the Scottish Government news release.


Turbine appeal refused

A farmer's appeal against refusal of his planned wind turbine near the late Queen Mother's residence in Scotland has been dismissed.

Barrogill Angus had appealed Highland Council's opposition to his proposal for a turbine less than half a mile from Castle of Mey in Caithness.

A planning reporter appointed by the Scottish Government was satisfied the project was not at odds with the listed building but dismissed the appeal because other properties would be affected.


Go ahead for International Quarter at Stratford

Lend Lease and London & Continental Railways' plans for the £1.3bn International Quarter commercial district in Stratford City, East London, have been approved by the Olympic Delivery Authority Planning Committee. The planning approval covers the zone 2 master plan for the 180-acre Stratford City site.

The International Quarter will be one of the UK’s largest mixed-use developments comprising 4m sq ft of office floor space, a hotel and 350 homes.


Power lines go underground

UK Power Networks has just completed a £223,000 project to remove nearly three kilometres of power lines from the landscape in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) between Wolferton and Dersingham in Norfolk.

UK Power Networks worked closely with the Norfolk Coast Partnership, Natural England and Sandringham Estate to replace the electricity lines which run across Dersingham Bog with underground cables. This National Nature Reserve in the Norfolk Coast AONB is one of the largest remaining areas of lowland heath left in Britain.

Read the UK Power Networks press release.


Scottish housing statistics

Updated housing statistics have been released by Scotland's chief statistician which show that in the second quarter of 2011 there were 2,876 new build starts in total across all sectors, a reduction of seven per cent compared to the same period in 2010.

Read the Scottish Government news release.


Yorkshire offshore wind farm approved

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has given the green light for DONG Energy’s Westermost Rough wind farm proposed for a site some 8km off the Holderness coast at Withernsea, East Yorkshire.


Natural England chief moving to water company

Natural England, the Government’s nature conservation adviser, has announced that Dr Helen Phillips, the body’s chief executive, is moving on to take up a new position as an executive director of Yorkshire Water on 1 March 2012. She will continue as chief executive of Natural England until then to ensure a smooth transition for her successor.

Read the Natural England news release.


Roger Milne

1 December 2011