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England round-up: Brokenshire tells GLA to ‘step up’; Stevenage launches legal challenge against local plan holding direction

Words: Laura Edgar
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A round-up of planning news in England: 26 January-1 February, 2019

Brokenshire tells GLA to ‘step up’

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has called on the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to ‘step up’ their efforts to deliver housing in the capital.

The Planner

Stevenage launches legal challenge against local plan holding direction

Stevenage Borough Council has requested a judicial review into the temporary holding direction on its local plan. The council said: “The reasons behind the ongoing delay still remain unclear.” 

The Planner

Box-ticking prevents proactive planning

Under-resourcing and a box-ticking culture has closed off the space planners traditionally used for reflection, professional discretion and proactive planning, according to a report by the RTPI.

The Planner

Brokenshire wants ‘fresh thinking’ on planning recruitment

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has told an audience of planners that the government must do more to support the profession and give it the respect it deserves.

The Planner

Government announces five upward extensions in capital

Homes will be built on the top of London rooftops by the summer. Homes England has agreed a £9 million funding deal with an airspace developer.

The Planner

RTPI urges planners to protect ancient woodlands

Planning has a key role in protecting ancient woodland and trees which are threatened by the cumulative effects of inappropriate developments on their fringes as much as permanent loss and damage.

The Planner

£1bn support for UK’s heritage

More than £1 billion of National Lottery money will go towards supporting the UK’s heritage.

The Planner

Construction SMEs grow but concerns remain

Workloads for construction SMEs grew in the fourth quarter of 2018. Despite this, the industry is concerned that it could be held back by a weakening housing market and rising costs.

The Planner

Rough sleeping rises in London

The number of people sleeping in London increased by 13 per cent (146 people) in 2018. In the rest of England there were 220 (6 per cent) fewer people recorded as sleeping rough.

The Planner

Northamptonshire gets green light to raise council tax

The final local government finance settlement has handed Northamptonshire County Council a lifeline by allowing the cash-strapped authority greater council tax flexibility.

Public Finance

Report damns running of Crossrail

Crossrail’s board lacks the necessary skills and experience to ensure effective decision-making and appropriate board challenge, finds a damning review by KPMG.


Bypass plea to save Shropshire village from HS2 construction traffic

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has been urged to save a Shropshire village from the construction of the H2S rail line. Villagers in Woore say the traffic will have a huge impact.

Shropshire Star

Suffolk Highways rejects claims it doesn’t carry out site visits for planning comments

Suffolk Highways has rebuffed claims that its responses to planning applications are not carried out properly, following concerns over a housing proposal in Eye.

East Anglian Daily Times

Green light for major warehouse

Approval has been granted for a Derbyshire-headquartered property group headed by one of the region's most successful entrepreneurs to build a major warehouse in Nottinghamshire.

Insider Media

Electrical safety rules tightened to better protect renters

Renters will receive better protection, thanks to new measures designed to ensure that mandatory electrical inspections are carried out by competent and qualified inspectors, housing minister Heather Wheeler has announced.

UK Government

Congestion-busting plans to ease traffic queues on the M5 

More than £3 million will be invested to ease congestion around the M5 in a bid to boost plans to build nearly 2,000 homes and create jobs, said Highways England.

Express & Star

Thousands of complaints made about planning breaches in Leicester but action is taken just 48 times 

Officials received thousands of complaints that planning rules had been broken or ignored in Leicester, but these resulted in fewer than 50 cases of enforcement action, according to figures released by Leicester City Council.

Leicester Mercury

Bolton station gets £1m facelift

A £1 million package of upgrades to Bolton Station has been announced by Network Rail, Northern and TransPennine Express.

Network Rail

Wind turbine bid set to be rejected

A bid to build a 31-metre high wind turbine to provide renewable energy for a farm looks set to be rejected. In a report a council planning officer recommends that it should be rejected because it goes against national policy. 

Shropshire Star

Council seeks planning permission for homelessness hub

Oxford City Council has applied for planning permission to enable it to develop a new homeless assessment hub to provide winter-long emergency accommodation open to all rough sleepers.

Oxford City Council

Application for Ealing Town Hall development submitted

Mastcraft has submitted its planning application for the Ealing Town Hall development. People have until 22 February to submit comments on the proposals.

Ealing Council

Approval given for leisure and cultural centre in Harpenden

Plans to create new sport and cultural centres on green belt land have been given approval.  St Albans City Council’s £18.8 million scheme involves extending and altering the swimming pool building in Rothamsted Park.

St Albans & Harpenden Review