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News round-up 14 July 2011

Brighton core strategy delay

Brighton and Hove City Council is poised to withdraw its Core Strategy from examination to allow it to be updated in the light of planning reforms in the Localism Bill. Further public consultation would then follow in the autumn of 2011, the council has proposed.


IPC faces first legal challenge

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) is facing its first legal challenge as a result of EDF Energy’s plans to build a new nuclear power station at its Hinkley site in Somerset.

An EDF subsidiary wants access to land owned by Innovia Cellophane Ltd at Bridgwater in Somerset to see if it would be suitable for housing for Hinkley C construction workers.

Under s53 of the Planning Act 2008 the commission has powers to grant access to land wanted in relation to a scheme due to be determined by the IPC. It used these powers in April.

However Innovia, which is in discussion with EDF about the sale of land, has decided to seek a judicial review of the IPC’s involvement.

A spokesman for the company said: “We don’t believe that this is a matter for the IPC and that is the reason that we are pursuing a judicial review."


Welsh planning reform

Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones has confirmed that his administration will legislate to  consolidate existing legislation to make the planning system more transparent and accessible and introduce a duty on local authorities to provide and maintain cycle paths in key areas.

Meanwhile, in a related development Huw Lewis, the housing, regeneration and heritage minister, has stressed that one of his ministerial priorities will be to strengthen the heritage aspects of regeneration by building on the existing Townscape Heritage Initiative.


Traveller site policy changes

Northern Ireland environment minster Alex Attwood has launched a consultation on an amended policy aimed at meeting the particular accommodation needs of travellers which would mean that there could be provision for serviced sites outside settlements.

Read the Northern Ireland Executive media release.


Unscrupulous land banking firms liquidated

Two companies that mis-sold Green Belt land for investment to the public were this week ordered into liquidation in the High Court on grounds of public interest following an investigation by Company Investigations (CI) of the Insolvency Service.

The investigation found that Montrose Partners Limited and The Montrose Partnership Limited had sold some 63 plots of land to members of the public at four sites generating an income of around £372,868.

False and misleading statements were made to potential investors claiming the land being sold would deliver significant investment returns as it was likely to receive planning permission for residential development. There was no likelihood of this happening.

Read the Insolvency Service news release.


Opposition to National Parks extensions

Cumbria County Council has come out against the latest plans to extend the boundaries of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks.

Natural England wants to extend the eastern and southern sides of the Lake District and western and northern boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales.

But the council claims this could hit affordable housing provision and plans for a high speed rail link. It rejected similar proposals by Natural England in 2010.

Read the Cumbria County Council news release.


CPO s mooted for Slough project

Slough Council is serving a compulsory purchase order on landowners in the town centre to ensure its £450m regeneration project can progress. The land is needed for construction of the Curve centre, which will form part of the Heart of Slough scheme. The Curve will house a library, adult education facilities, a cafe and a cultural centre.

Read the Slough Council press release.


Barry redevelopment approved

Plans for the £230m regeneration of Barry Waterfront have been approved by the Vale of Glamorgan’s planning committee. Proposals include a new link road from Barry town centre to Barry Island, a new primary school, hotel, supermarket and community facility, a waterfront district centre featuring cafés and restaurants, as well as up to 2,000 new homes, comprising a mix of private and affordable housing.


Bay watch

The 20-year saga of the development of Carlyon Bay, near St Austell, Cornwall, has taken a new twist now the latest proposal for a 500-flat redevelopment has been unanimously approved by Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee and referred to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Jon Kenny, development director of developer Commercial Estates Group, said: “We are obviously delighted with the outcome and are really looking forward to moving ahead with the scheme after all the delays of the past nine years.”

The project has been held up by wrangles over beach access and coastal protection works.


New nuclear contract

GL Hearn’s infrastructure planning team has been appointed by NuGeneration (NuGen), as strategic planning advisers for its project to build a new nuclear power station adjacent to Sellafield in West Cumbria. This is the first commission for the practice’s integrated Development Consent Orders (DCO) strategic advisory service.

NuGen, a UK-based consortium consisting of GDF Suez, Iberdrola and Scottish and Southern Energy, aims to develop a new generation nuclear power station as part of a long-term programme to help the UK to meet future energy needs for low carbon generation.


Unplanned church poser

A Devon planning authority is currently considering what action to take over a small Mount Olive Ministries church which attracts around 50 worshippers a week but was built without planning permission.

Pastor Paul Knights built the church next to his Christmas tree plantation outside Torquay more than a decade ago.


Roller upgraded

Britain's oldest roller coaster, the Scenic Railway at Dreamland, Margate, has had its listing upgraded to Grade II* on the advice of English Heritage.

Read the English Heritage news release.


Roger Milne

14 July 2011