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News round-up 15 December 2011

Makeover for key Aberdeen site

A planning application has been made for the comprehensive regeneration and restoration of the disused and derelict Broadford Works in Aberdeen, the largest collection of Category 'A' Listed buildings at risk in Scotland.

Owner Ian Suttie has teamed up with The Prince's Regeneration Trust to come up with a master plan for the 3.5 hectare site. Proposals include up to 500 new homes, retail floor space, shops and public open space.

The site has over 100 buildings and stands close to the heart of Aberdeen. The eye-catching chimneys and tall mill buildings, largely constructed of granite and brick, are a distinctive feature of the city skyline.


Core Strategy rebuff for Stevenage

Stevenage Borough Council has voiced its disappointment after losing its legal challenge over a planning inspector’s decision that the local authority’s Core Strategy was unsound because a central element was a major urban extension involving land across its boundary with neighbouring North Hertfordshire District Council.

After the High Court hearing Stevenage councillor John Gardner, executive member for environment and regeneration, said: “We are disappointed by this decision. It represents yet another attack on the provision of vitally needed housing and economic growth at a time when the country needs both so badly. It means that we will need to think again about where to build enough homes for the future and how to regenerate the town centre. We hope to be able to make an announcement within the next six months.”


Scottish infrastructure programme

The Scottish Government has unveiled an infrastructure capital spending programme of up to £60bn over the next two decades which will involve substantial investment in Scotland's rail network and the dualling of the road network between all of Scotland's cities.


Rail project decision delayed

Transport Secretary Justine Greening has confirmed that her decision on the high-speed rail network, originally anticipated before Christmas, is now expected in January.

The decision on the £32bn High Speed Two (HS2) project had been delayed while the Government considers whether to spend £500m on building an extra tunnel in the Chilterns to ameliorate the environmental impact of the project.

Ms Greening said: “In order to ensure that my decision is based on a careful consideration of all relevant factors, I have concluded that I should allow myself until early in 2012 to announce my decisions.”


Housing scheme polls

Despite widespread acknowledgement of housing shortages, 45 per cent of the public oppose new development in their area with opposition highest where shortages are most acute, specifically the South East (50 per cent) and outer London (58 per cent), according to NatCen Social Research’s latest British Social Attitudes report.

Meanwhile, in a separate but related development, research by planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) has found that 68 per cent of applications made in the last 12 months for 50 or more homes that were rejected against officers' advice were approved at appeal.


Green light for new Taunton neighbourhood

Taunton Deane Borough Council has approved plans by The Crown Estate to create a new residential neighbourhood for Taunton.

The scheme, planned for a site at Nerrols to the north east of Taunton, will provide up to 580 new homes, community facilities, land for a country park, a site for a new primary school and new local shops. As part of the scheme The Crown Estate aims to plant up to 15,000 new trees.

The Nerrols site is part of The Crown Estate's Taunton estate which comprises over 4,000 hectares of land including 24 farms, mostly dairy, 100 homes and cottages, as well as business and light industrial uses.


New drainage regime mooted      

The Government will consult shortly on national standards for sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) and a new approval system which will specify the size of new development which will be expected to incorporate such systems.

That was highlighted in the Coalition’s Water White Paper, ‘Water for life’, which warned that Britain faces a future of water shortages and lasting environmental damage, with some rivers running dry, unless attitudes to water use change.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We can already see the type of problems we may face, with parts of Britain still in drought even though we’re in December. With water expected to be less predictable as time goes on we all have to play our part in ensuring our water supply remains secure.”

Read the Defra press release.


Macclesfield stadium deal

Macclesfield Town FC has reached an agreement with developer St Modwen to draw up proposals for a new 7,000-seater stadium as part of the town’s South Macclesfield Development Area near the club's existing Moss Rose ground.


Heygate demolition brought forward

Central London’s vast Heygate estate is set to be demolished earlier than planned after a variation to the agreement for the £1.5bn regeneration of the Elephant and Castle was approved by Southwark Council.


Airfield housing row

Campaigners fighting to save Filton Airfield near Bristol from development have attacked plans to build up to 5,700 new homes at and around the site.

The proposals, contained in South Gloucestershire Council’s revised Core Strategy, are now out for consultation.

View the December 2011 Core Strategy and associated documents.


New Scots planning minister

Derek Mackay has been named as the Scottish Government's planning and local government minister after predecessor Aileen Campbell was appointed as minister for youth employment.


Underground works Bill mooted

Lord Selsdon has been given the Parliamentary green light to introduce a Bill to make provision for the regulation of subterranean development work and establish a code of practice for such activity.


Empty homes numbers fall

Latest figures compiled for the Department for Communities and Local Government show there are 279,000 long-term empty properties across England - 21,000 fewer than the previous year and fewer than the 319,000 long term empty homes reported when the figures were first collected in this way in 2004.

Read the DCLG press notice.


Speke homes go-ahead

Following the announcement of the formation of a strategic partnership between The Peel Group and Barratt Homes to bring forward new housing development on a number of Peel’s key residential sites in the North West and North East of England, Liverpool City Council has resolved to grant full planning permission for the first site at Speke in South Liverpool. The development involves 268 new homes.


Planning fine jail appeal

A County Tyrone man has appealed a court ruling sentencing him to a year in prison for not paying a planning fine of over £15,000 for converting an outbuilding on his land in Ardboe without planning permission. The Planning Service declared the building an unauthorised dwelling and ordered it to be removed.


Shipbuilding site earmarked for homes

Housing and development group Places for People have submitted an outline application for new homes, business and shops on Smith's Dock, a former historic shipbuilding site in North Shields.

The company plans to invest £140m to develop over 800 new homes, with commercial space for a small number of shops and cafes.


Sunderland wins bridge funding

Plans to build England's tallest bridge across the River Wear in Sunderland have been given the go-ahead.

The Government has announced it would provide £82.5m to fund the 180-metre high and 336m long bridge. The new crossing will link Wessington Way on the north side of the river to Pallion New Road on the south.

Read the Sunderland City Council news release.


Pompey new homes passed

Plans to transform derelict land in Tipner, Portsmouth, around the former greyhound stadium have been approved by the city council. The planning authority has given the green light to three planning applications submitted by the three major landowners in the area – the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the Tipner Regeneration Company and the council. The projects involve nearly 600 new homes.

Read the Portsmouth City Council news release.


MPs urge hazardous waste policy changes

The National Policy Statement that will guide decision-making on applications for large scale hazardous waste infrastructure must be amended to keep costs to a minimum and reduce the risk of flooding, MPs on the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have said in a report.

Access the Commons Committee report.


Roger Milne

15 December 2011