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England round-up: Mineral planning authorities best placed to decide fracking applications; Councils need powers to ensure high street properties are not empty

Words: Laura Edgar
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A round-up of planning news in England: 2 July-6 July, 2018

MPs: Mineral planning authorities best placed to decide fracking applications

A group of MPs have cautioned against government proposals to bring fracking applications under the remit of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime, instead concluding that mineral planning authorities are best placed to decide such applications.

The Planner

£420m to be invested in smart construction

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark has announced a partnership between the government and the construction industry that includes a £420 million investment in ‘bytes and mortar smart construction’.

The Planner

Town deal struck for Greater Grimsby

The government has announced that a £67 million Stage 1 Town Deal has been agreed with Greater Grimsby, which could deliver almost 10,000 new homes in the area.

The Planner

Councils need powers to ensure high street properties are not empty

A new report has recommended that local authorities be given the power to introduce penalties for commercial landlords of properties that are left empty for more than six to 12 months.

The Planner

Homes England details 12-month development plans 

Homes England has set out plans that aim to bring forward more than 1,250 hectares of development opportunities across 221 sites over the next 12 months.

The Planner

Brokenshire in champion role for Midlands Engine

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has confirmed that he will drive forward the government’s plans to ‘fire up’ the Midlands as an engine for UK growth as its Ministerial Champion.

The Planner

New HS2 ECML depot to be built in Leeds 

Following a public consultation, transport secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed that the new HS2 rolling stock depot will be constructed in the east of Leeds, driving forward local regeneration and creating up to 125 skilled jobs.

The Planner

Homes England acquires land in West Sussex

The government’s national housing agency Homes England has acquired interests in land holdings at Burgess Hill in West Sussex.

The Planner

Approval for £175m Boddingtons Brewery project 

Prosperity Capital Partners has secured planning permission to develop Old Brewery Gardens in central Manchester, a scheme worth £175 million.

The Planner

Plans for major employment park to go on show

A series of consultations are set to be held across Leicester on plans to build a new employment park near Junction 11 of the M42 that could create up to 3,000 jobs.

Insider Media

Brook Farm Drive residents protest about construction lorries

Residents of the Brook Farm Drive estate in Malvern are fed up with noise, dust and traffic problems associated with the building of a new housing estate.

Worcester News

Only 129 affordable homes built in North Somerset in 12 months

Just over 100 affordable homes were built in North Somerset last year – despite there being more than 3,000 people on the council's housing waiting list, government data has suggested.

Bristol Live

Decision on major Drax Power Station plans ‘to be made in 2019’

A government decision on Drax Power Station’s plans to replace its coal generating units with more efficient, gas-fired power will not be made until 2019.

Hull Live

Council approves low-cost, self-build housing project 

London’s largest ever self-build housing project has been given approval in south-east London.

South London Press & Mercury

Upset over unlawful pumpkin polytunnel

The rules for hiring an allotment in Watlington are to be rewritten after a woman erected a large polytunnel without planning permission.

Henley Standard

Approval granted for conversion of listed Wye College Campus

Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee has approved Telereal Trillium’s application for the residential-led conversion and restoration of Wye College in Wye, Kent.

Telereal Trillium

London borough cut 19,000 off its social housing waiting list

A mystery London borough is said to have ‘recently’ dropped 19,000 people off its social housing waiting list, as some people in the capital wait more than 25 years for cheaper housing.

Get West London

Brokenshire pledges to respond to ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution plans ‘in detail’

Key Cabinet Minister James Brokenshire has committed to respond ‘in detail’ to proposals for the devolution of powers and money from Westminster to a Yorkshire-wide mayor.

Yorkshire Post

Oxford Street at risk if pedestrianisation blocked, says Khan

Oxford Street risks losing its reputation as a shopping destination unless a scheme to pedestrianise the traffic-choked thoroughfare is resurrected, the London mayor has told the council that ditched the proposals.

The Guardian

Elephant and Castle shopping centre demolition approved

Plans to bulldoze a shopping centre in Elephant and Castle have been approved amid opposition from locals.

BBC News

HS2 Ltd to undertake development works for electrification of Midland Main Line

HS2 Ltd has been asked by the Department for Transport to begin preparatory works for the future electrification of a 25km section of the Midland Main Line from Clay Cross to Sheffield Midland Station. 

UK Government

BPF announces new presidential team

Robert Noel, chief executive at Landsec, has become the president of the British Property Federation (BPF).


Real-time information to transform bus travel in England

Bus passengers across England will benefit from easier journeys with up-to-the-minute information under new government plans, bus minister Nusrat Ghani has announced.

UK Government

100 miles of extra lanes for north west motorways

Motorists in the north-west of England are set to benefit from four new motorway schemes that will provide 100 miles of extra lanes in a bid to tackle congestion, Highways England has announced.

Infrastructure Intelligence

Government in digital sector pledge

A new ‘digital pledge’ backed by £7.5 million of government funding has been made to help councils transform their online services.

UK Government

Further consultation on A303 Stonehenge plans

Highways England has said it will hold a consolation on revised proposals for the A303 upgrades past Stonehenge.

Spire FM