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  6. News round-up 17 November 2011

News round-up 17 November 2011

12-turbine wind farm wins on appeal

RWE npower renewables has won its appeal over planning permission for a 12-turbine wind farm on open land between the villages of Bozeat, Harrold and Lavendon near Milton Keynes.

The site straddles the boundaries of three local authorities all of which opposed the proposed Nun Wood Wind Farm which is planned to have a maximum output of 36 megawatts.


More time for port development

Developers of a proposed £300m container port in Essex have been given more time to start work on the site.

Plans by Hutchison Ports UK to build the deep water terminal at Bathside Bay in Harwich were approved in 2006, but construction has yet to begin.

Tendring District Council has confirmed that three applications made to it last January requesting five-year extensions to the permissions will not be called in by the Government and can be allowed.

The council said a fourth application regarding upgrades to the A120 into the town was still being considered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Read the Tendring District Council news release.


Further consultation on Earl’s Court regeneration

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has launched a further stage of consultation on its planning framework for the Earl's Court area of west London, the subject of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

The framework sets out key principles for the long-term future development of the area on issues such as urban form, housing, employment, social and community facilities and transport.

The SPD supports the idea of comprehensive regeneration, including building new homes for residents on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.

A master plan has already been drawn up by architect Sir Terry Farrell which has suggested four new ‘village neighbourhoods’ with up to 7,500 new homes and more than 12,000 new jobs.

However, no land agreement has been signed yet and the council has insisted it will continue to consult local people before making a final decision. 

The consultation will last until to 23 December 2011.

View the SPD at


Go-ahead for Portsmouth ‘bridging’ project

Ambitious proposals for a landmark community building spanning a dual carriageway in Somerstown, Portsmouth, have been approved by the city council.

Work on the Somerstown community hub is expected to start next summer. The building, which is part of the first phase of the Somerstown regeneration project, will include a community centre, health centre, youth centre and area housing office to replace ageing facilities in Somerstown.


Developer withdraws

Quintain Estates has confirmed that it intends to focus on its core development business in London and has withdraw from BioRegional Quintain, the company originally formed as a joint venture between Quintain Estates and BioRegional Properties to establish green projects like the pioneering One Brighton development on the south coast and the Middlehaven scheme on the north-east coast.

The company, arguably the UK’s most sustainable developer, was originally set up in 2005 and will be wound up on completion of the 80-home first phase of the Homes and Communities Agency’s Middlehaven development in Middlesborough.

A spokesperson for Quintain said: “We’ve decided to no longer develop separately under the BioRegional Quintain brand. The expertise we have developed under this brand is being embedded within the mainstream regeneration business and our corporate focus is on the 275 acres we have under development at Wembley and Greenwich in London.”


 Waveney’s LDF completed

A planning inspector has approved Waveney District Council’s regeneration plans for the heart of Lowestoft.

The council’s Area Action Plan for the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour area of Lowestoft was found to be “sound” following a public inquiry.

The Suffolk planning authority is now one of a handful of local authorities in England with all of its Local Development Framework approved.


Rossendale says yes

Rossendale Borough Council has formally adopted its Core Strategy.

Access the Core Strategy.


Trafford moots pre-application advice charges

Trafford Council has begun consulting on proposals to introduce charges for its pre-planning application advice.

Access the consultation.


Consultancy get-together

A dozen Welsh planning consultancies have joined forces as the Wales Planning Consultants Forum to lobby the Welsh Government now it is considering a major shake-up of the planning system, including the possibility of formal city regions.

The members of WPCF are: ASBRI Planning, Barton Willmore, Boyer Planning, CDN Planning, DPP, Harmers, Lambert Smith Hampton, Mango Planning, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, Arup, the RPS Group and WYG Planning.


Westfield eyes up Croydon scheme

The company behind two huge shopping centres in East and West London has begun negotiations over a third complex in the south of the capital.

Retail developer Westfield confirmed it had started talks with the charity which owns the Whitgift Centre in Croydon about a possible revamp of the 40-year development.


Cala goes back to court

Developer Cala Homes has decided to mount a legal challenge over the recent decision by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to refuse the company’s planning appeal for a 2,000 home development scheme at Barton farm on the outskirts of Winchester.


Leith Port master plan move

Forth Ports has joined forces with Scottish Enterprise and Edinburgh City Council to develop a new master plan for its ‘gateway’ port at Leith.

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the partners will conduct technical and feasibility studies to help form future plans for the port.

Leith is Scotland's largest enclosed deepwater port. It includes 158 hectares of land and up to 100 hectares of water area.


Biomass power plant refused

Trafford City Council has refused plans from Peel Energy for a 20-megawatt power plant designed to burn biomass proposed for a site near the Manchester Ship Canal at Davyhulme. The councillors went against the advice of officials.


Sir Bob becomes top civil servant

Sir Bob Kerslake, the permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government has been named by Downing Street as the new Head of the Civil Service.

Sir Bob, who joined DCLG a year ago, will take on his new responsibilities alongside his existing role after Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell retires at the end of the year.

Before taking over the top job at DCLG, Sir Bob was the first chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency. He has also served as chief executive of Sheffield City Council.


Dartford backs Tesco development

A revised plan to build a Tesco store with other retail outlets, restaurants and more than 200 flats in Dartford has been approved by the local planning authority.

The £80m development for Lowfield Street, Dartford, is the third to be proposed for the site over the past ten years.


Green light for hospital site makeover

South Downs National Park Authority gave conditional approval to City and Country Group for its revised proposals for the residential-led redevelopment of the King Edward VII site near Midhurst, West Sussex, which includes a now disused Grade ll listed Arts and Crafts style hospital complex which will be renovated. The scheme includes plans for 240 homes and a sheltered housing complex.

The approval includes tough controls to protect the wildlife and natural beauty of the area. These will cover issues including light pollution, tree cover and protection of ground nesting birds which means occupiers of the new homes won’t be allowed cats.

While the planning committee recognised that the scale of the development within the National Park was a matter of concern, it decided the proposals could be allowed because the project will ensure the protection and restoration of the historic buildings and gardens. English Heritage is no longer objecting to the development.

Read the South Downs National Park Authority news release.


Public speaking allowed at Guernsey planning meetings

Guernsey residents can now speak at open planning meetings following an initiative from the island's environment department.

Anyone wishing to speak out in support of or against a planning application can submit a request before a meeting.

Contributors will be allowed to speak for a maximum of three minutes and must not repeat points made by others.


Wales flood strategy launched

Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths has launched Wales’ first national strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management.

Every local authority in Wales will now have to produce its own strategy, based on the national one. The national strategy is based on four key objectives:

  • reducing the consequences for individuals, communities, businesses and the environment from flooding and coastal erosion
  • raising awareness of, and engaging people in the response to, flood and coastal erosion risk
  • providing an effective and sustained response to flood and coastal erosion events
  • prioritising investment in the most at risk communities.

Of the 357,000 properties in Wales currently at risk of flooding, some 234,000 are at risk of surface water flooding and many are also at risk from river or sea flooding, the Environment Agency has highlighted.

Read the Welsh Government news release.


Membership of City Regions group announced

Welsh Business Minister Edwina Hart has announced the full membership of the City Regions Task and Finish group which will look at the potential role of city regions in the planning of future economic development and prosperity in Wales.


NI planning enforcement time change

The NI Department of the Environment has introduced new legislation to provide for a five-year time period, instead of four and 10 years, for taking enforcement action against breaches of planning control.

The change is one of a series of measures included within the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 to strengthen and simplify enforcement powers.

While the bulk of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 will not come into force until planning powers transfer to councils, the five-year time period will come into effect from 1 December 2011.


Welsh building regulations committee set up

Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths has announced that Professor Phillip Jones will chair the first Wales-only Building Regulations Advisory Committee.

This is being established now building regulations are being devolved to the administration with effect from 31 December 2011.

The new committee will advise Welsh ministers on building regulations policy and how best to exercise their new powers, including how to deliver the new target which calls for all new housing in Wales to be 55 per cent more energy efficient.


EA announces flood prevention schemes

The Environment Agency has announced grants of £1.3m for 37 communities in England at risk of flooding.

The money will be used to help 500 households in areas at the highest risk of flooding to install products to protect their property, such as flood barriers, airbrick covers and non-return valves and pumps.

Among the projects is a £107,100 scheme to protect 20 homes in Riseley, Bedford and a £37,700 scheme to protect six homes at Water Eaton Brook, Milton Keynes.

Read the Environment Agency news release.


Roger Milne

17 November 2011