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  6. News round-up 4 April

News round-up 4 April

Scots Bill highlights link between planning fees and performance

A new Bill that aims to streamline and make regulation more effective has been introduced into the Scottish Parliament.

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Link to the Planning Portal User Survey.

The Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill will lead to the introduction of national regulatory standards and introduce a duty for regulators to contribute to sustainable economic growth.

The legislation is also intended to improve the performance of planning authorities by establishing a legislative link between planning fees and performance. It will also make it easier to bring legal challenges to offshore marine energy decisions.

Read the Scottish Government news release.

 

Green Belt homes appeal dismissed

A planning inspector has upheld a decision by Wirral Borough Council to refuse planning permission for a residential development on Green Belt land in Hoylake.

The inspector said that the proposed development by Kirby Park Limited of 62 affordable homes, represented inappropriate development in the Green Belt under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The inspector concluded that, although the council was unable to demonstrate a five-year housing supply and had a shortage of affordable housing in the local area, the contribution the proposed development would make towards meeting those housing needs did not outweigh the Green Belt harm involved.

 

National Grid loses pylon planning compensation case

The Upper Tribunal (Land Chamber) has ruled that energy transmission company National Grid must pay a landowner nearly £6m following a legal row over a pylon corridor and its impact on a proposed housing scheme in central Bedfordshire.

A National Grid spokesman said: "We are obviously disappointed. We are currently considering what our next course of action will be."

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) is the successor to the Lands Tribunal and is an independent and specialist judicial body.

 

Call for lobbying controls

The Government should consider introducing transparency rules governing lobbying firms who work for developers, according to a new report.

The report, written by author Anna Minton and published by public relations monitoring body Spinwatch, says sponsored features in the press are "part of the arsenal of tactics used by PR and lobbying companies trying to change perceptions of contentious development".

The report concluded that the Government should "consider the introduction of transparency rules for lobbyists operating at a local level".

It added: "The aim of such registers would be to ensure that the activities of developers and lobbyists are transparent, revealing who is lobbying whom and about what."

 

Gloucester homes scheme

Developer Linden Homes and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) have completed an agreement which will allow a 254-home redevelopment of the Greyfriars campus site in Gloucester to go ahead.

The development of the 2.4 hectare site involves 174 flats as well as 78 townhouses - 32 of the homes will be affordable. The site will also have a doctor's surgery, a pharmacy, offices, restaurants, cafes, bars and community space.

The college relocated in 2007 and the block on the site was demolished in 2011. Gloucester City Council approved the plans for the new scheme in January this year.

 

Green light for Berwickshire wind farm

Proposals for a 13-turbine wind farm near Grantshouse have been given the go-ahead by Scottish Borders Council.

Banks Renewables wants to erect the turbines on Quixwood Moor, a site between the village and Abbey St Bathans in Berwickshire.

 

Go-ahead for Suffolk solar farm

Proposals for a solar photovoltaic ‘farm’ on a former Suffolk airfield have been approved by Suffolk Coastal District Council.

Developer AGRenewables and Great Glenham Farms want to locate some 64,000 panels on a 30 hectare site at Parham airfield. The project is designed to generate 15 megawatts of power.

The council approved plans for a 56 hectare solar farm at Stratton Hall in Nacton earlier this year, but rejected a proposal for a scheme on a 51 hectare site at Church Farm, Hacheston.

 

Thumbs-down for Derby trams

Derby City Council has rejected proposals for an 11-kilometre tram scheme as too expensive. The scheme’s route would have gone from Mickleover and Mackworth to Pride Park, with a possible extension to the High Speed 2 rail hub at Toton.

The city council said the estimated £100-140m price tag was unaffordable and voiced concern over the level of public demand for the trams.

 

Sheffield listed building demolition row

The listed Edwardian wing of a former hospital in Sheffield is to be demolished to make way for a new £81m university engineering department.

Campaigners had been trying to save the Grade II-listed extension to the former Jessop Hospital.

Sheffield University said it spent hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to incorporate the Edwardian facade in its plans, but concluded it was not feasible.

 

Surrey golf and hotel scheme bunkered

An injunction halting work on a hotel and golf course at Lord Beaverbrook's former Surrey home has been granted by the High Court.

Mole Valley District Council gave developers Longshot permission to turn Cherkley Court, near Leatherhead, into a hotel and an 18-hole golf course last year.

Local objectors and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) won the injunction. It halts work until a judicial review into the planning decision is heard.

 

‘Supersewer’ accepted for examination

Thames Water‘s Tideway Tunnel scheme, dubbed the ‘Supersewer’, has been formally accepted by the Planning Inspectorate for examination for development consent as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

Read the Planning Inspectorate press release.

 

Welsh eco-home dispute

A Welsh eco-home has been threatened with demolition after it was built in open countryside without planning permission.

Charlie Hague and Megan Williams have been told by Pembrokeshire County Council to take down the roundhouse made from straw bales at Glandwr near Crymych. It is close to the existing consented Lammas eco-development.

The couple have submitted a retrospective planning application and have appealed the enforcement notice.

 

 

Roger Milne

4 April 2013