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  6. News round-up 24 May 2012

News round-up 24 May 2012

Wales planning vacancies

The Welsh Government is recruiting Planning Managers for its Decisions and Policy branches of the Planning Division. The two vacancies, at Higher Professional Technical Officer Grade, are in the pay band £25,700 - £33,200.

Find more information on the Welsh Government website.

 

Housing plan lodged

A planning application has been submitted to North Somerset Council for the second phase of housing at the £400m sustainable community at Locking Parklands in Weston-super-Mare.

St. Modwen, the developer of the 20-year scheme, has lodged the proposals alongside the landowner, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), as part of wider plans for redeveloping the former RAF Locking site.

 

Second Crossrail scheme mooted

A second Crossrail scheme is needed in London which would make it easier and faster to traverse the conurbation from the South-West to the North-East, a business lobby group has claimed.

London First said the route should serve Clapham Junction, Victoria, Euston, Kings Cross St Pancras, Islington, Hackney and Seven Sisters.

The business group has been analysing the business case for such a scheme over the last six months and has just published a study, led by former Transport Secretary Lord Andrew Adonis, which took on board work previously undertaken by Transport for London on a route for ‘Crossrail 2’ between Chelsea and Hackney.

This revised ‘Crossrail 2’ scheme would involve building an underground line from Tottenham in north-east London to Wimbledon in south-west London by the end of the next decade as part of a £15bn scheme

This new study has examined demand and congestion forecasts post 2020 and the impact of new national projects, including high speed rail.

Read the London First news release.

 

Housing statistics

Latest housing statistics published by the Department for Communities and Local Government show that house completions (seasonally adjusted) increased, up six per cent to 31,010 in the March quarter 2012. Annual housing completions in England reached 117,870 in the 12 months to March 2012, an increase of six per cent compared with the 12 months to March 2011.

Annual housing starts totalled 104,970 in the 12 months to March 2012, down by six per cent compared with the 12 months to March 2011.

Access the statistics.

 

Garden city report

The Town and Country Planning Association has published a report on how to create modern garden cities and suburbs.

It highlighted the need for central Government leadership and local authority advocacy. It also argued that the key to unlocking land and aligning the vision for a new garden city or suburb is for local authorities, landowners and developers to enter into a Garden City Joint Venture of Local Development Agreement.

Read the Town and Country Planning Association press release.

 

World Heritage site blow

The Wearmouth and Jarrow bid for World Heritage status has been withdrawn. This decision follows an evaluation report from ICOMOS, the agency which advises UNESCO about candidate sites.

In a statement, a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) spokesperson said: “DCMS, English Heritage and the Wearmouth and Jarrow team have agreed that we should withdraw from the nomination process for this year. Clearly, everyone involved is disappointed with the recent ICOMOS evaluation.

“There is strong local support for the world heritage bid and the team there have done some great work, which ICOMOS have acknowledged. We will study the report further to look at what still needs to be done, building on the work so far.”

 

Green light for York retail and stadium scheme

City councillors have approved plans for a sports stadium and retail development on the outskirts of York. The scheme will include John Lewis and Marks and Spencer stores together with a new ground for York City FC.

The plans were supported by York City and rugby league club York City Knights, who will use the planned 6,000-seat community stadium.

Read the York City Council news release.

 

Tram Train pilot

Passengers in South Yorkshire will be the first in the country to benefit from flexible new Tram Trains now Transport Minister Norman Baker has given the green light to a £58m pilot scheme to run Tram Trains on both the rail and tram networks between Sheffield and Rotherham.

Read the statement by Transport Minister Norman Baker.

 

Prison makeover

Ashwell Prison in Rutland, which never became fully operational again after a riot in 2009, is to be redeveloped for business units under plans developed by the county council.

 

Offices turned into flats

A derelict office block in Norwich will be converted into flats now the city council has granted planning permission for the scheme. The 11-storey Westlegate House, which has stood empty for around 15 years, will become 14 apartments.

 

New Welsh enterprise zones

Welsh Business Minister Edwina Hart has announced two further enterprise zones to support development and existing businesses in Snowdonia and Milford Haven. The two locations were chosen because of their importance to the energy sector.

Currently about 30 per cent of the UK's energy comes into Pembrokeshire in the shape of oil and gas imports. The Snowdonia zone will be centred on the former nuclear power station plant site at Trawsfynydd and focus on the energy and the environment and the ICT sectors.

 

Homes proposed for pit site

Harworth Estates, the property and regeneration division of UK Coal, has submitted an outline planning application for the redevelopment and regeneration of the former colliery at Rossington, near Doncaster.

The proposals involve up to 1,200 new homes, a local food store, community building, hotel, fast food restaurant, pub and land for a new primary school.  

Read the Haworth Estates news release.

 

Listed demolition fine

Portadown resident Malcolm Samuel Hall has pleaded guilty to the demolition of a listed building and was fined £5,000 plus £111 costs following a case brought by the NI Planning Service at Newry Magistrates court.

Read the Northern Ireland Executive news release.

 

Pinewood expansion plans

Pinewood Shepperton plc has launched a consultation on the new plans for its Pinewood Studios complex in South Buckinghamshire, which it says will look at the existing Iver Heath site, as well as the adjacent land holdings in Green Belt.

But the company has said there would be no residential element to the new scheme. In January Communities Secretary Eric Pickles dismissed ambitious redevelopment proposals for the Pinewood site which included plans for significant housing.

Read the Pinewood Shepperton plc news release.

 

Pylon project needs ant safeguards

Planning officials at the Cairngorms National Park Authority have told the energy companies upgrading the Beauly to Denny power line they need to develop plans to safeguard colonies of rare Scottish narrow headed and hairy wood ants.

 

Roger Milne

24 May 2012