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  6. News round-up 4 April 2012

News round-up 4 April 2012

Planning Aid service in bid for extension

Planning Aid England’s contract under the Government’s Supporting Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning fund ended on 31 March. It had been invited by the Department to bid for a four-month extension of the financial support. Planning aid continues to work on community outreach.

The Royal Town Planning Institute has provided the funds to keep the service’s telephone help line running staffed by two Planning Aid workers.

Planning Aid England will need to wait for the DCLG to send a written contract to see how much funding has been approved. Communities Minister Greg Clark has announced he is reviewing the level of Government funding to support the new neighbourhood planning regime.


Aberdeen Airport draft master plan

A multi-million pound blueprint to develop Aberdeen Airport over the next 30 years has been unveiled by its owners BAA.

The UK’s fastest growing airport in 2011 has launched its draft master plan for consultation. The highlights include major refurbishment of the terminal building, space for further runway expansion and a 40 per cent rise in passenger numbers by 2040.

Read the Aberdeen Airport press release.


Legal challenges to high-speed rail

Campaigners against the HS2 rail scheme have confirmed they will make two court bids to halt the £33bn project.

The HS2 Action Alliance is seeking two judicial reviews into the Government's handling of the plan, to link London and Birmingham by high-speed rail.

It claims ministers failed both to carry out environmental assessments and to consult properly over compensation.

This follows similar legal action instigated by another anti-HS2 coalition, the 51m Group, made up of 15 local authorities


Kendal golf scheme in the rough

Environmental and conservation groups as well as local residents are urging South Lakeland District Council to reject Kendal Golf Club’s re-submitted application for a covered driving-range on part of Kendal Fell which lies above the town to the north-west.


Latest twist in Ashton Vale village green saga

A High Court judge has ruled that a fresh judicial review claim over a controversial village green decision could be brought despite the withdrawal of the original applicant and the new application being months out of time.

The case centres on land at Ashton Vale, Bristol, proposed for a new stadium for Bristol City Football Club as well as retail and commercial development, approved by the city council in 2009.

Subsequently, a planning inspector recommended that the site should be registered as a town or village green. However, the council’s public rights of way and commons committee decided last year to register only that part of the land not needed for the development. This prompted an application for judicial review which was then withdrawn but now revived.


Green light for bus station redevelopment

An £80m redevelopment scheme for a Leicestershire town centre has been given the green light now the Government has approved a compulsory purchase order for the Hinckley bus station site.

The developer, The Tin Hat Regeneration Partnership, has planning approval for a scheme which includes a new Sainsbury’s food store, other retail units, a multi-screen cinema and car parking.

Read the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council press release.


Gloucestershire minerals scheme squashed

A High Court judge has quashed planning permission granted by Gloucestershire County Council for a scheme to extract sand and gravel from land near the village of Shorncote and close to Keynes Country Park because of a failure to publicise the existence of revised environmental information.


Wind power on the up

Latest Government energy statistics showed that in 2011 wind power capacity increased by over a gigawatt while output increased by over 5.3 gigawatt-hours to 15.5GWh – equivalent to the annual demand from 4.7 million homes.


Saracens stadium plan scores

Saracens Rugby Football Club have moved a step closer to getting the go-ahead for their plans to move to a renovated Copthall Stadium in north London after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles signalled he would not intervene over the scheme which has the backing of Barnet Council.

Read the Saracens Rugby Football Club news release.


Minister wins legal case over energy-from-waste project

The Court of Appeal has backed Communities Secretary Eric Pickle’s approval of an energy-from-waste project for a site near St Austell in Cornwall proposed by waste management company Sita Ltd.

Campaigners opposed to the proposed £117m plant at St Dennis had halted the development with a successful legal challenge in the High Court last November.

The minister challenged that ruling and was successful in the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, in a separate case the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk has asked the Secretary of State to intervene and 'call in' the application for an energy-from-waste project proposed at Saddlebow which Norfolk County Council is proposing to approve.


Solihull approves casino complex

Solihull Borough Council has granted planning permission for a £120m casino complex involving a hotel, spa, multi-screen cinema and a banqueting centre – as well designer outlets - on land at the NEC near Birmingham.


Ferrybridge power plant plan

Energy company SSE is to build a £300m, 68 megawatt energy-from-waste plant at its Ferrybridge power station site in West Yorkshire.


Isle of Lewis turbines

Generator International Power has acquired the rights to develop up to 140 megawatts of onshore wind capacity on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

The firm acquired the rights from Beinn Mhor Power Ltd, which first submitted a planning application for a 133-turbine, 399 megawatt scheme on the site in 2004.

International Power said the wind farm will consist of some 39 turbines, with construction expected to start next year.

Roger Milne

4 April 2012