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27/11/2020

England round-up: Chief planner calls on councils to ‘stay proactive’ on local plans; Design champions on board for major infrastructure schemes

Words: Huw Morris
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A round-up of planning news in England: 21 November-27 November, 2020

Chief planner calls on councils to ‘stay proactive’ on local plans

Local authorities must not stall on preparing their plans and should continue to be proactive while the government considers responses to the planning white paper. Joanna Averley, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government chief planner, said the government is now “moving into the next level of detail in terms of describing, defining and designing the reform package and different elements of it”, which will take time.

The Planner

Lichfield Lecture 2020: Planners can lead the way in transforming public health

In the wake of the Covid pandemic, planners have the opportunity to shape the built environment in ways that promote better health outcomes, while also creating more attractive and neighbourly places to live, Prof. Georgia Butina Watson argued in the 2020 RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture.

The Planner

Design champions on board for major infrastructure schemes

All major infrastructure projects will have a design champion at board level by the end of next year, the government has announced. The National Infrastructure Strategy said design champions would be at the project, programme or organisational level and would be supported where appropriate by design panels. The move had been recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

The Planner

Highways England withdraws Lower Thames Crossing scheme

Highways England has withdrawn its application for the Lower Thames Crossing at the 11th hour. The agency submitted a development consent order (DCO) last month, with the Planning Inspectorate due to rule on the application last Friday, when the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) was pulled. The scheme is aimed at easing congestion on the Dartford Crossing by connecting Essex with Kent.

The Planner

Small and medium-sized builders cite planning setbacks for home delivery

Delays in securing planning permission or discharging conditions will be a big barrier to increasing housing delivery in the next 12 months, according to a survey of small and medium enterprise (SME) homebuilders. The poll by the Home Builders Federation and development finance specialist Close Brothers Property Finance reveals that 83 per cent of SME builders cite planning delays as a big issue.

The Planner

Covid-19 is set to double council housing waiting lists

Council housing waiting lists in England could nearly double to two million households next year because of the economic impact of Covid-19. Research commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), the Association of Retained Council Housing and National Federation of ALMOs warns rough sleeping, homelessness and sofa-surfing are likely to spiral in the coming months.

The Planner

Campaigners to appeal against permitted development rights ruling

The campaign group that unsuccessfully applied for a judicial review of government changes to permitted development rights (PDRs) has pledged to appeal against the High Court’s ruling. Under government changes announced in June, a detached building used for offices or industry can be demolished and replaced with flats within the same footprint up to two storeys higher to a maximum height of 18 metres.

The Planner

Most Conservative MPs oppose planning reforms

The rebellion within the Conservative Party against government proposals to reform the planning system is mounting, with research showing that most Tory MPs oppose the changes. Government planning reforms have sparked fierce opposition from councillors, communities, ex-cabinet members and former prime minister Theresa May.

The Planner

Two North East riverside regeneration schemes approved

Two major city centre riverside regeneration schemes in the North East have received the green light, both of them secured by the same planning consultancy. Newcastle City Council’s planning committee granted approval for the £250 million mixed-use Quayside West regeneration scheme on the site of the former Calders Leadworks, which is being delivered by Newby.

The Planner

Digital consultation informs Southampton Mayflower regeneration

An outline planning application has been submitted for a major mid-use and leisure regeneration scheme in Southampton’s Mayflower Quarter following an extensive digital consultation. The proposed regeneration of Leisure World, by Sovereign Centros, includes 650 homes, offices, two 150-room hotels, 80 serviced hotel apartments, a relocated cinema, casino, and other leisure uses.

The Planner

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