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  6. News round-up 16 June

News round-up 16 June

Demolition compensation considered

Planning minister Bob Neill has confirmed that the Government is considering amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Compensation) (England) Regulations on Article 4 directions.

Under the proposed amendment, if an Article 4 direction is used to withdraw permitted development rights for the demolition of non-residential premises, compensation may only be claimed if an application for planning permission is submitted within 12 months of the direction being made.

It would also mean that if 12 months notice were given of such an Article 4 direction being made, compensation could not be claimed.

Commons Hansard 9 June: column 452W


Heritage assets appeals

Planning minister Bob Neill has been asked in Parliament if the government will ensure that landowners who allow their property to be used for local amenities are able to appeal against any proposal to add their property to the Heritage Assets list under the powers provided by Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

Neill replied that the Localism Bill requires the relevant local authority to list any land or buildings which are nominated as being of community value, if they meet the definition of an Asset of Community Value.

He said: “This definition will be set out in regulations, following careful consideration of the responses that we have received to the public consultation that closed on 3 May.

"The Bill also gives landowners the right to an internal review of a decision to list an asset, and provides for the possibility of a further independent appeal hearing against that decision. The Government will be setting out in detail the provision they intend to make in due course”.

Commons Hansard 9 Jun 2011: column 453W


Call-in referrals announced

A recently written Parliamentary answer has revealed that since April 2009 the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government has received applications for 476 referrals under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2009 of which seven were called-in.

Four involved the Green Belt, two involved flood risk and one concerned a retail scheme outside a town centre.

Commons Hansard 9 June: column 454W


HCA reveals housing boost

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has exceeded its end of year housing targets, despite a challenging year of change and continuing tough economic conditions.

The Government’s national housing and regeneration body has published its latest set of official six-monthly statistics in relation to housing starts and completions delivered through its National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP), Kickstart Housing Delivery Programme, the Local Authority New Build Programme (LANB) and the Property & Regeneration (P&R) programme.

The top line figures show that the Agency significantly exceeded its key outputs for 2010-11, achieving a total of 57,605 housing starts on site against a target of 34,982 – equating to 65 per cent above target - and 64,242 housing completions in England against a target of 62,495, in the financial year ending 31 March 2011.

In the case of the latter, this figure is an increase of 8,088 more homes delivered than last year (56,154).

View the full set of National Housing statistics.


Senior planner claims office conversion move threatens City

Proposed changes to planning law which would allow the conversion of office space into homes could threaten the City of London’s international competitiveness, according to its chief planning officer.

Peter Rees, city planning officer for the Corporation of London, has argued that the Square Mile and other leading business districts should be safeguarded, or they could lose their ability to attract new firms and investment.

Rees said: “While the Government’s ambition of supporting economic growth and increasing housing stocks is laudable, the Government’s consultation on relaxing planning laws for the conversion of office space to residential properties could have a detrimental impact not only on the City of London but on business districts throughout the UK.

“The cyclical nature of the property industry means that if developers were to turn offices into residential blocks when times were tough, the City’s ability to attract and see new firms when conditions improved would be seriously diminished”.

A DCLG spokesman said:

“Councils via their Local Plan will still be able to shape the mix of new development. But the market should be a greater role in deciding whether to turn unwanted empty offices into residential use.”

View the British Property Federation press release.


Paddington estate listed

The Hallfield Estate in west London, designed by Berthold Lubetkin and Tecton, has been awarded Grade II listed status by heritage minister John Penrose on the advice of English Heritage.

The estate, designed in 1947 by some of the 20th century's most significant architects (Lubetkin and Tecton's design work was supervised by Lindsay Drake and Denys Lasdun) was inspired by Le Corbusier and aimed to combine mass housing and accessible open space.

Covering a 17-acre site in Paddington, the Hallfield estate comprises 14 blocks and a laundry, as well as an already-listed school.

Pickering House, located in the centre of the estate and constructed in 1960 is not included in the listing.

View the DCMS press release.


RTPI calls for Planning Aid donations

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has set up a so-called Planning Aid England (PAE) Giving Scheme to encourage donations to help support its work following the reduction in PAE’s funding from Government.

The new scheme was launched at the RTPI Planning Convention in London.

RTPI Richard Summers said “Last year almost 33,000 people and over 900 community and community organisations were given help by Planning Aid.”

Planning Aid England provides free, independent and impartial planning advice to communities and individuals who cannot afford professional fees. Donations will only be used to support the work of PAE.

Make a donation.


Rural economy next focus of growth review

The rural economy will be one of key issues at the centre of the next stage of the Government’s Growth Review, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced.

The next stage of the review will also focus on how to eliminate barriers to, and encourage greater investment in, UK infrastructure.

In the case of the rural economy, the exercise will scrutinise the constraints, opportunities and risks affecting economic growth in rural areas.

In addition, the review will investigate the potential growth benefits and risks of opening up access to public sector data assets.

View full story on the BIS website.


MP inquiry into high speed rail plans

The first oral evidence session of Commons Transport Committee inquiry into the Government’s High Speed Rail plans will be held on June 21.

Among those being quizzed will be representatives of the Campaign for Better Transport, Passenger Focus, the Association of Train Operating Companies, Network Rail, French train company SNCF and Eurostar.

View more details of the evidence session.


Ground switch for Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers have announced plans to relocate the club to a purpose built stadium on land acquired from the University of the West of England.

The club’s current site is to be sold to Sainsbury’s for mixed use development.

View details of the stadium regeneration on the Bristol Rovers website.


Capital’s garden loss

A study by the London Wildlife Trust has highlighted the issue of loss of garden green space in the capital.

Current garden design vogues have led to an increase of 25 per cent of hard surfacing over the study period with an adverse impact on flood drainage.

Approximately six hectares of vegetated garden has been lost to development each year over the same period.

View the press release and download the full report on the Wild London website.


Norwich redevelopment plans submitted

Plans for the long awaited £100 million redevelopment of Norwich’s Anglia Square have been submitted to Norwich City Council.

The development includes a revamp of the shopping centre, with a 7,792 square metre food store, shops and restaurants, office space, a new gym and 136 new homes including 49 affordable homes.


DCLG issues revised PPS 3

DCLG has published a revised version of Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing.

The new version replaces PPG3 published in March 2000 and earlier editions of PPS3 published on 29 November 2006; 19 January 2010 and 9 June 2010.

View PPS3: Housing.


Carbon footprint tool launched

The Chartered Institute of Building has launched a free interactive online tool that provides key guidance on the carbon footprint of every facet of a building’s lifecycle from design through construction to end use and beyond.

The tool is called the Carbon Action 2050 Plan for the Built Environment.

Visit the Carbon Action 2050 website.


New post for former RTPI chief

Ann Skippers, immediate past president of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), has been appointed vice chairman of the Construction Industry Council.


Planners receive Queen’s Birthday Awards

Edward Lister, the former leader of Wandsworth Council and now Boris Johnson's chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning, has been knighted for services to local government in the latest Queen’s Birthday honours.

Tony Hawkhead, the chief executive of environmental charity Groundwork was also knighted as was David Higgins, ex-chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Among other planning and development figures recognised were:

  • lan Clarke, chief executive of One North East (CBE)
  • Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage (CBE)
  • Stephen Inch, former executive director of development and regeneration, Glasgow City Council (CBE)
  • Martin McDonald, chief executive of the Rural Development Council for Northern Ireland (MBE)
  • John Davies, a former director for Wales at the Planning Inspectorate (MBE)
  • Terry Hill, chairman of consultancy Arup (CBE)


Roger Milne

16 June 2011