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  6. News round-up 31 March 2011

News round-up 31 March 2011

Airport policy re-think

Following decisions not to support new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, the Government is now seeking views on the shape its future aviation policy.

The central theme will be how aviation can support economic growth while addressing environmental impacts as well as local noise and air quality issues.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond said: "Aviation is a crucial part of this country's transport infrastructure, it should be able to grow, prosper and support wider economic growth. But we are not prepared to support this growth at any price - the environmental impacts of flying - both local and global - must be addressed”.

The Government has published a scoping document setting out the key principles and challenges of a new greener aviation policy. Ministers plan to publish a draft aviation policy framework for consultation in March 2012, with a view to formal adoption by March 2013.

The new policy framework will replace the previous Government’s The Future of Air Transport White Paper published in 2003 and subsequently updated in 2006.

Read the Department for Transport press release and access the scoping document.


Portsmouth moots levy charges

Portsmouth City Council is the latest planning authority to begin consulting on a community infrastructure levy (CIL) scheme.

According to the draft schedule of charges now out for consultation CIL would not be levied on either commercial or industrial developments but would be paid by residential, hotel and retail schemes of over 100 sq ft of internal floor space. Charges would vary between £53 and £105 per square metre, the draft schedule proposed.


Pickles rejects housing scheme

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has dismissed an appeal by developer Metacre over proposals to demolish existing buildings and redevelop a site at Wesham, south of the M55 near Kirkham in Lancashire, with 264 new dwellings.

The scheme was originally refused permission by Fylde Borough Council. The Secretary of State agreed with the inspector who heard the resulting inquiry that the plans conflicted with the saved Local Plan and would have pre-empted decisions on revised settlement boundaries.

Read the decision letter and inspector’s report.


Airbase makeover

Cherwell District Council has approved outline plans for more than 1,075 new homes, 30 per cent of which will be affordable, at the site of the former RAF Upper Heyford airbase. The proposals also involve the renovation of some existing military bungalows.


NI listing policy recast

Northern Ireland environment minister Edwin Poots has published new criteria for the listing of buildings.

The new criteria provides more detailed guidance on the approach followed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and for the first time provides an in depth explanation of the criteria referred to on listing reports.

Read the Northern Ireland Environment Agency news release.


Bowling green planning bill mooted

Labour backbencher John Woodcock MP has been given Parliamentary permis sion to introduce legislation to require local planning authorities to ensure that certain criteria are met before planning permission involving the redevelopment of bowling greens can be granted. The measure would also introduce a community right to buy for bowling greens in certain circumstances.


Public inquiry over Pinewood plans

The public inquiry into South Bucks District Council’s refusal of Pinewood Studios’ ambitious plans for Pinewood Studios which include proposals for 1,400 new homes starts on 5 April.


Marine planning reminder

The Department for Communities and Local Government chief planner Steve Quartermain has written to all chief planning officers in England to highlight the start of the new statutory marine planning and licensing systems this spring and the involvement of the Marine Management Organisation in planning and licensing functions from the mean high water mark and beyond.

Download the Letter to Chief Planning Officers.


Go-ahead for Taunton office scheme

Developer St. Modwen has been granted full planning permission for the first office scheme - a 21,950 square foot building - within the proposed Firepool development in Taunton.


New authority established

The South Downs National Park Authority takes on responsibility for planning from 1 April in what is the UK’s most heavily populated national park, stretching from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east.


Call for up-to-date Welsh local plans

Wales Environment Minister Jane Davidson has stressed that local authorities must have local development plans in place at the earliest opportunity and support economic development.

Welsh planning authorities must “ensure that the value of economic development, in terms of wealth and job creation, is explicitly considered alongside environmental and social matters when decisions on planning applications are made,” she said.


Enterprise Zone locations named

The precise sites of three more proposed Enterprise Zones have been identified. They are the Boots campus in Nottingham, the Liverpool Waters redevelopment on Merseyside and the area around Manchester airport. London’s Royal Docks was named earlier. All will enjoy special streamlined planning regimes.

Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release.


Mill makeover

Planning and design consultancy Turley Associates has secured planning permission for the redevelopment of the last historic McDougall’s flour mill at Hailsham in East Sussex.

Following an appeal, developer Citiscape Developments now has consent for 25 residential and 10 commercial units at the site.


Naval rescue

The Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust has completed the rescue of one of the most important and endangered historic sites in the South East England.

The Trust, acting as the nominee for a group of investors, and with the help of a loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund, has completed the £1.85m purchase of a complete 1820s naval officers’ residential quarter at Sheerness Dockyard.

The site, on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, contains six Grade II* and four Grade II buildings on four acres of land. It has been empty (save for one protected tenant) and on English Heritage’s national at risk register for the best part of a decade.


Green light for turbines

A plan for a nine-turbine wind farm near Neolithic and Iron Age sites has been approved by Highland Council. RWE npower renewables has won consent for the scheme for a site at Burn of Whilk, in Caithness.

While there are no known archaeological remains on the site itself there are five designated Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) nearby.

Highland Council archaeology unit have asked that the nearby sites, which include a chambered cairn, are protected during construction work.


Seen and heard

In future islanders may be allowed to voice their views during Guernsey's open planning meetings, the environment minister has signalled.

Deputy Peter Sirett said: "Once we've had the process running for a short period of time we'll be able to look at introducing opportunities."

But he stressed that those speaking would still have to submit their objections in writing.


Solar farm approved

West Lindsey District Council has approved a solar energy farm of 20,000 panels at the former RAF base at Faldingworth, Lincolnshire. Lunar Energy Power Ltd’s 5 megawatt scheme is expected to produce enough power to supply 1,300 homes.

Read the West Lindsey District Council news release.


£50m fund for London town centres

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a £50m fund to boost regeneration and rejuvenate town centres.

The fund will revitalise projects or get new schemes off the ground and will help to stimulate economic growth in the network of outer London town centres. It will specifically target those boroughs which benefit less directly from the 2012 Games and Crossrail.

Read the Mayor of London news release.


Nottingham tram extension makes headway

Plans to extend the Nottingham tram have been given the green light by the Government after Transport Minister Norman Baker announce that savings have been identified to make the project more affordable.

The two extensions are planned to go to Chilwell/Beeston and Clifton, linking directly into Line One at Nottingham Station. The decision will allow Nottingham City Council to continue to the next stage of the funding approval process.

Read the Deaprtment for Transport press release.


Chelsea Barracks listing

The Guards’ Chapel at Chelsea Barracks has been listed Grade II following a review by Heritage Minister John Penrose.

The minister’s decision – made on the basis of advice from English Heritage – recognises new evidence that was not considered previously: specifically, the architectural and historic interest of four Victorian tile memorial panels. 

These commemorate guards of ‘Other Ranks’ who were stationed and died at the barracks between 1885 and 1888.

Roger Milne

31 March 2011