Neighbourhood planning regulations laid in Parliament
The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations - which come into force on 6 April - have been laid before Parliament. This secondary legislation sets out the details of the new regime and the steps groups must take to designate a neighbourhood area, establish a forum and draw up a neighbourhood plan and neighbourhood development orders (NDOs).
The Royal Town Planning Institute has welcomed “the flexible and light touch approach” of the regulations.
But it has also called for clarification from ministers whether local planning authorities will have extra funding to resource to the new arrangements and urged time limits for local planning authorities (LPAs) in making the validation decision on proposed neighbourhood plans (NP) or orders.
Turbine and power line moves
North Norfolk District Council has made a u-turn over its decision, against officers’ advice, to refuse consent for Warwick Energy’s plan to underground a 28 kilometre stretch of power line designed to connect to its Dudgeon offshore wind farm.
Warwick has appealed. Members have decided not to fight the case because of the costs and the fact they would have to defend the decision without support from planning officials.
In separate developments, West Coast Energy has won its planning appeal for a four-turbine wind farm development with a capacity of 10 megawatts at a site near Catshead Woods, Sudborough, Northamptonshire, while Atmos Consulting has obtained planning permission for a 7.5 MW, 3 turbine wind farm at Laurencekirkin, Aberdeenshire, on behalf of Polar Energy.
Renewable energy developer Burcote Wind has announced plans for 10 wind farms at locations across Scotland with a combined output of nearly 800 MW.
Meanwhile US businessman Donald Trump has halted work on his luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire because of plans for an offshore wind farm nearby.
A joint venture between Cathedral Group and United House has been granted planning permission by Lewisham Council for a 132-home scheme in Deptford town centre.
The eight-storey Deptford Project designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners involves some 11,200 sq ft of workshops and a 5,000 sq ft café as well as the homes.
Hackney Council’s planning committee has rejected a proposal to build an 18-storey residential tower in Dalston. The development was planned to provide private flats and the developer Rothas claimed the scheme would be green and elegant with plants on its walls.
Meanwhile, plans to build 180 homes on a site within Crystal Palace Park in South London have been challenged in the High Court.
A local campaign group wants the planning permission granted to the London Development Agency by the then Communities and Local Government Secretary in December 2010 quashed.
Southwark Council’s planning committee has recently granted planning permission for more than 700 new homes in the borough, 191 of which will be affordable - more than a third of the council's annual home building target.
North Manchester homes proposals
Manchester City Council, with Network Rail and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), is looking for a partner to create a series of high-quality, new residential neighbourhoods in the Collyhurst and Lower Irk Valley areas of north Manchester.
Totalling 135 hectares on the edge of the city centre with excellent transport links, the area is one of only a handful of places in Greater Manchester that has the potential to provide housing on such a large scale, within easy reach of the local job market.
The plans include building more than 2,000 new private homes - in a wide range of housing types, from family homes to apartments; refurbishing a further 1,000 homes and boosting the population of the area by 10,000 residents.
A new retail hub will be developed on Rochdale Road, providing shops and services for the area’s new community.
NI high hedge dispute law
Northern Ireland Environment Minister Alex Attwood has announced that new legislation designed to resolve disputes over high hedges will become law on 31 March.
The Northern Ireland High Hedges Act is designed to help people who are adversely affected by high hedges bordering their domestic property. The Act deals specifically with evergreen and semi-evergreen hedges that are more than two metres high acting as a barrier to light to a neighbouring domestic property.
New neighbourhood near Stratford-upon-Avon
St Modwen and Persimmon Homes have submitted proposals to create a new neighbourhood as the first phase of their 470 acre Long Marston development near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire.
This first phase will provide 284 homes, a central square with a community centre and convenience store as well as a sports pavilion and pitches, children’s play area, 14 full size allotments, public open areas and car parking on the former Ministry of Defence site.
Biomass plant for Port of Bristol
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has approved a new dedicated biomass power station at Royal Portbury Dock in the Port of Bristol, North Somerset. The scheme – a plant with an output of 150 megawatts – will be developed by E.ON Climate and Renewables.
Plans for the first phase of Telford's £250m Southwater development have been approved by Telford and Wrekin Council. The proposals include a multi-screen cinema, hotel, seven pubs, restaurants, bars and a car park.
Plans for a £20m out-of town retail development at Scunthorpe have been approved for a second time. North Lincolnshire Council originally granted planning permission for the 3,716 sq m scheme on Doncaster Road in 2011.
Campaigners opposed to the scheme threatened to mount a legal challenge and the council agreed to reconsider the application.
North Lincolnshire Council's 10-member planning committee approved the application for a second time on the casting vote of the committee chairman.
The City of Lincoln Council’s planning committee has given outline approval for the city centre Lindongate redevelopment scheme which includes a brand new transport interchange.
The proposals involve: 300,000 sq ft of new retail space including a department store and additional shop units, up to 900 city centre car parking spaces, and new riverside restaurants with apartments above.
The transport elements include a modern transport interchange which would see the current bus station replaced with a new facility next to Lincoln Central train station and a new footbridge link connecting Tentercroft Street and the Sincil Bank area with the city centre.
Gloucester screen plan
Peel Holdings has got the go-ahead from Gloucester City Council for a new 10-screen cinema at Gloucester Quays as part of a £60m leisure-quarter development, which will also include restaurants, shops and bars.
Other developers had objected to the plans saying it would take custom away from the city centre.
A £250m scheme for the expansion of Northampton's Grosvenor Centre has been submitted to West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) by Legal and General Properties (LGP). The developer wants to extend its site to the north, which would cover the existing Greyfriars Bus Station. The proposals include an 11,000 sq m department store, as well as shops and restaurants covering 40,000 sq m.
Starry, starry nights at Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is applying for the park to become an international dark sky reserve. If successful this would mean the night sky in the area would be protected and lighting controls would prevent light pollution.
The authority said it already possessed some of the UK's darkest skies, ideal for stargazing.
14 March 2012