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  6. Planning round-up 8th September

Planning round-up 8th September

Prime Minister backs Dale Farm eviction

The Prime Minister has backed plans to evict travellers from Dale Farm, the UK's largest illegal settlement.

Basildon Council is due to begin clearing the site the week commencing 19 September after a decade-long dispute over unauthorised development on the former scrap yard.

Speaking during PM Questions in the Commons, David Cameron said: "What I would say is it's a basic issue of fairness. Everyone in this country has to obey the law, including the law about planning permission and about building on green belt land.”

The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said the eviction would disproportionately affect family life and create hardship.

It has called on the government to suspend the action "until culturally appropriate accommodation is identified and provided".


Record marine protection area

An area of sandbank in the middle of the North Sea that is almost double the size of Devon is poised to become Britain's latest marine protected area.

The Dogger Bank, in the offshore waters of the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, is home to wildlife including crabs, a type of starfish known as brittlestars and clams, and is an important site for fish such as plaice, sole and sand eels.

The 12,000 sq km (4,600 sq mile) UK section of the shallow seabed has been submitted to the European Commission (EC) to be included in a Europe-wide network of nature protection sites.

It now has candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC) status, which means it must be protected from damaging activities which could harm the wildlife and habitats within it.

The public is being consulted on three more SACs, the Wight-Barfleur Reef in the English Channel, and the Pisces Reef Complex and Croker Carbonate Slabs in the Irish Sea.

Natural England has also begun consulting on a reef site at Studland to Portland off the Dorset coast.

View details of the consultations.


Core strategy data revealed

By the end of last year a total of 72 core strategies had been adopted by English planning authorities, some 176 published in draft and 27 withdrawn.

Those figures come from the last monitoring report published by DCLG on the progress of the new local plans regime.

This report recorded that 22 per cent of local planning authorities has adopted core strategies by the end of last year. Some 16 councils had adopted waste core strategies by that date.

View the full report.


Harrogate win for Tesco

Plans by retail giant Tesco to build its first superstore in Harrogate have been approved by the local authority for land formerly used as a gas works.

Tesco withdrew an application in 2007 after objections - but submitted the current one in 2009.


Tram scheme go-ahead for Edinburgh

Councillors in Edinburgh have decided to build the city’s tram line to St Andrew Square after all following a special meeting of the City Council.

This reversed a recent decision to opt for a truncated first phase which would have ended at Haymarket.


Empty shops league table revealed

Retail vacancy rates stabilised in 2011 but the gap between the best and worst performing towns has widened and over 14 per cent of shops remain vacant according to figures compiled by the Local Data Company.

The top 10 worst-performing large centres are in the West Midlands and the North while seven out of the top 10 best large centres are in the South.


Proposal for 800 new homes in Brough

Proposals for a £100m housing-led mixed-use development in Brough involving up to 800 new homes have been submitted to East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

The scheme is a joint project between Horncastle Group plc, Redrow Homes, Riplingham Estates Ltd and BAE Systems.


Future Planning Inspectorate directors team named

The chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate has announced its future team of directors when the body is merged with the Infrastructure Planning Commission in April 2012.

A letter to stakeholders from Sir Michael Pitt, chief executive of PINS and chairman of the IPC, sets out the changes to the inspectorate’s senior management team from next April.

Subject to the passage of the Localism Bill, the IPC’s responsibilities will be absorbed into PINS on 6 April 2012.

The proposed team of directors is: John Saunders (senior director); Ian Gambles (director, national infrastructure); Mark Southgate (director, casework and plans); Helen Adlard (director, law and quality); Kevin Woodrow (director, corporate services) and Peter Burley (director, Wales).

Sir Michael has promised that PINS "will be a leaner, more cost-effective public body".


National Trust suffers set back over Maidenhead manor house

The National Trust's bid to block plans by developers Thames Valley Holdings for a development of hundreds of new homes beside a medieval manor house near Maidenhead has received a major set back

The trust says the scheme will have a serious impact on the setting of Grade I listed Ockwells Manor, which dates to the 15th Century.

However, a High Court judge has said a restrictive covenant which forbids any building without the charity’s written consent was open to legal challenge by the developers.


CIL wrangle between LPAs

Newark and Sherwood District Council has lodged an objection to Shropshire Council’s draft charging schedule for its proposed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) scheme.

Newark and Sherwood has a pioneering CIL scheme and is unhappy with the zero rate being proposed by Shropshire for commercial developments, nor the simple two-zone system with a £40/£80 residential split.

Angus Walker a partner of law firm Bircham Dyson Bell commented in his planning blog: “Newark and Sherwood are mindful that the first few charging schedules may set a nationwide trend and they want to nip this approach in the bud.”


Thumbs down for MediaCity

MediaCity UK’s complex at Salford Quays, due to house the new regional headquarters of the BBC, has won Building Design magazine’s 2011 Carbuncle Cup awarded for Britain’s ugliest building.

Roger Milne

8 September 2011