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  6. News round-up 27 October 2011

News round-up 27 October 2011

Ports policy published

The Department for Transport has formally published the final version of the National Policy Statement for Ports.

This states that the Infrastructure Planning Commission should start with a presumption in favour of granting consents to applications for port development.

Ministers stated: “The Government believes that there is a compelling need for substantial additional port capacity over the next 20-30 years, to be met by a combination of development already consented and development for which applications have yet to be received.”

Access the National Policy Statement for Ports.


Travellers lose appeal over Green Belt site

Travellers have lost their appeal to remain on a Green Belt site at Eaves Green near Meriden after opposition from Solihull Borough Council.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles agreed with the planning inspector who held an inquiry that the retrospective change of use for eight pitches for eight mobile homes and the same number of touring caravans could not be justified.

His decision letter made it clear that there were not enough benefits to offset the “serious loss of openness in the Green Belt” which the proposals involved.

Villagers started a protest at the site from the time last year when a group of up to 50 travellers began developing the site. The planning authority welcomed the minister’s decision and will now enforce it.

Download the decision letter and inspector’s report.


Shared space advice

New guidance to help local authorities design high-quality, shared space schemes has been published by Transport Minister Norman Baker.

The Local Transport Note on Shared Space has been developed to assist local authorities who want to put in place well-designed shared space schemes.

The guidance places particular emphasis on engagement with the local community and on inclusive design, where the needs of a diverse range of people - including people with disabilities - are properly considered at all stages of the design development process.

In conventional streets, behaviour is governed by highway infrastructure such as traffic signs, road markings and other street furniture. In streets with shared space much of this infrastructure is removed so it is important that schemes are well designed and can be easily used.

Shared space schemes have become increasingly popular with councils wanting to regenerate local high streets

Access the Local Transport Note on Shared Space.


De-listing decision

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has agreed with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that a grade ll listed cottage at the centre of an appeal case should be delisted.

This followed an appeal over an enforcement notice served by Winchester City Council relating to replacement windows in a property in Owslebury, Winchester.

The Secretary of State recovered the case after the inspector who heard the appeal recommended that the appeal should be upheld and the building delisted.

Download the decision letter and inspector’s report.


Gold mine approved for Scottish National Park

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority has approved proposals from Scotgold Resources for a 10-year underground gold mine facility at Cononish near Tyndrum. A previous and different application was refused in 2010.

National Park Convener Linda McKay said: “This has been the largest and most complicated planning application we have ever had to consider. As guardians of some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland, it would have been easy to refuse the second application if we were considering the short term impact on the landscape.”

She added: “When the first application was refused, our main concern was the size and shape of the tailings management facility (TMF) and poor restoration proposals meant there would be serious long term impacts on Glen Cononish.”

In the revised application the TMF has been significantly reduced and redesigned to fit in the landscape.

Read the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority news release.


New Covent Garden Market site makeover

Plans for the redevelopment of the 57-acre New Covent Garden Market site, part of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea Opportunity Area have been submitted to Wandsworth Council.

The New Covent Garden Market Authority has proposed new modern market facilities and a new food centre for London, as well 2,450 homes, shops, commercial space, a hotel and public open space.

The 57-acre site is the gateway into the Opportunity Area and the plans form a vital element in the wider regeneration alongside the developments at Battersea Power Station, the American Embassy and other sites. In total the application seeks outline consent for 347,000 sq m of development.

Read the New Covent Garden Market Authority press release.


Guernsey build-out proposals

Guernsey's proposed new land use strategy includes the prospect of allowing more building outside the main urban centres of St Peter Port and St Sampson.

The States Strategic Land Use Plan has been produced after consultation with all States departments, deputies and around 1,000 islanders.

Deputy Bernard Flouquet, the chairman of the Strategic Land Planning Group, said the plan could give some of the island's derelict vinery sites a new lease of life.

"Redundant vinery sites should still go back to agricultural or horticultural use," he said. "However there could be the opportunity for certain sites to be used for development."

States members will debate adopting the plan at a meeting on 30 November.

Read the States of Guernsey press release.


Lakeside shopping centre expansion

A major shopping complex in Essex has unveiled £180m expansion plans. Capital Shopping Centre’s proposals for Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock include up to 40 new shops and an integrated transport hub. A planning application will be submitted to Thurrock Development Corporation later this year.


Peckham conservation area

Southwark Council’s planning committee has agreed that Peckham’s key shopping area is of special architectural and historic interest and is to be designated as a conservation area.

The proposed conservation area is focused on Rye Lane, Peckham High Street and Peckham Hill Street. Rye Lane is one of the busiest shopping streets in south east London and in many ways has more of a ‘high street’ character than Peckham High Street itself.

Although the ground floor facades of the majority of the properties within the conservation area have been changed, the upper floors largely remain unaltered.

Unlike neighbouring conservation areas there is no predominant architectural style or age of building; the character of the area is attributed to the eclectic architectural styles and materials. Local conservation group The Peckham Society has been heavily involved in the designation move.


Housing assessment guidance planned

Leading housing and planning bodies have joined forces to produce clearer, accessible and useable guidance on local housing assessments in the form of an ‘implementation toolkit’.

This initiative by the Local Housing Requirements Assessment (LHRA) Working Group involves the Town and Country Planning Association, Shelter and the Planning Officers Society. The group aims to produce the toolkit in spring next year.

Nicky Linihan of the Planning Officers Society and chair of the group said: “Previously councils used the number of houses handed down by the regional plan. Now the onus will be on them to take their own view on how many homes are needed and it is imperative to public trust that these figures are arrived at in a clear, consistent and transparent way. Clear, practical guidance is needed to help councils do this robustly and accurately.” 


HCA’s heritage credentials

National housing and regeneration body, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), has invested nearly £700m in helping to preserve and enhance England’s built heritage, according to the agency’s latest biennial report on the subject.

The report, which covers the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2011, highlights that the body is responsible for 51 listed buildings and 14 Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

Access the Homes and Communities Agency report.


Lincoln redevelopment

Lincoln City Council has given a mix of outline and detailed planning approval for a mixed-use redevelopment on the former Boultham Park dairy site which includes proposals for a mosque, housing and a new superstore. The application was submitted by the Lincoln Co-operative Society.

Read the Lincoln City Council news release.

All change at Tottenham Court

Crossrail has submitted ambitious plans to Westminster City Council for the regeneration of Tottenham Court Road and the east end of Oxford Street, including the former Astoria site. 

The plans, submitted in conjunction with Derwent London, propose two above-ground developments located over each ticket hall of the integrated Tottenham Court Road station that will serve both Crossrail and London Underground passengers.

The proposed 500,000 sq ft of retail, office and residential accommodation would be contained in four new blocks. A new theatre to replace the former Astoria Theatre is also involved.

London Underground and Crossrail have also proposed detailed plans to renew and upgrade the public spaces around the eastern ticket hall and St Giles area.

A new open pedestrian space linking Soho Square and Charing Cross Road will create new views of the Square and of St. Patrick’s Church.


IKEA moots development for east London

Scandinavian furniture giant Ikea has revealed plans to assemble a ‘flat pack city’ as part of its first British property development. The new neighhbourhood, known as ‘Strand East’, is situated in Stratford, East London and will include 1,200 homes, a 350-bedroom hotel, and retail and office space.


Green light for revised Bradford shopping scheme

Bradford City councillors have approved revised proposals for Westfield’s Broadway shopping centre, stalled in 2008 after building had begun.

The total size of the retail development will now be 520,000 sq ft, with the number of shops cut from 100 to 75.

Westfield’s revised plan includes parking for over 1,300 cars, new public spaces and improved links to neighbouring parts of the city centre.


Bigger offshore wind farm

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall has proposed an extension to its Kentish Flats offshore wind farm involving an array of up to 17 three or four-megawatt turbines located to the west and south of the existing development. The Infrastructure Planning Commission is considering whether to accept the proposal.


Scots CPO guide published

The Scottish Government has launched new guidance on compulsory purchase orders for local authorities and an easy read guide for members of the public.

This is the first time in over 30 years the guidance for local authorities has been updated.

The updated guidance follows consultation which shows some local authorities are uncertain about using compulsory purchase, and that there is also concern that authorities do not always engage properly with people affected.

Read the Scottish Government news release.


Inspectorate appoints chief planning inspector

Peter Burley, currently director for the Planning Inspectorate Wales, has been appointed as the chief planning inspector for the Planning Inspectorate. He will take up his new role from April 2012. He will continue as director for Wales until then.


New head of The Crown Estate

Alison Nimmo has been named as the incoming chief executive of The Crown Estate, taking over from Roger Bright who steps down at the end of the year.

She is currently director of design and regeneration at the Olympic Delivery Authority. She is a chartered surveyor and town planner who specialises in regeneration and was awarded a CBE for services to urban regeneration in 2004.


Roger Milne

27 October 2011