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News in brief: £1.3bn bailout for Crossrail; Disused shredded wheat factory plans approved

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 11 December, 2018

£1.3bn bailout for Crossrail

A financial package worth £1.4 billion has been agreed between the government, the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) to cover the costs of the line’s delayed opening.

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT), with responsibility for the railways, said in a written statement to Parliament that emerging findings from a KPMG review into Crossrail’s finances indicate that the likely range of additional capital cost, owing to the delayed opening of the central section, could be in the region of between £1.6 billion and £2 billion.

This includes the £300 million already contributed by the DfT and TfL in July 2018, leaving between £1.3 billion and £1.7 billion to cover the predicted additional costs of the project.

The DfT will provide a loan of up to £1.3 billion to the Greater London Authority (GLA). The GLA said it intends to repay this loan via London’s Business Rate Supplement (BRS) and from the Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy. The GLA will also provide a £100 million cash contribution, taking its total contribution for this package to £1.4 billion.

The full story can be found here on The Planner.


£112m Leeds flood scheme submitted

The £112.1 million Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme has been submitted by Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency to reduce the risk of flooding along the River Aire.

The range of measures put forward aims to reduce the risk of flooding along a 14-kilometre stretch of the River Aire catchment. This includes the A65 Kirkstall Corridor, which was badly hit by the impact of Storm Eva at Christmas 2015.

If approved, work to deliver the first step is expected to start next summer.

The measures include new defence walls, embankments and a large flood storage area. It focuses on four key areas of Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Meadows, Apperley Bridge and Calverley.

Read the full story here on The Planner.


Disused shredded wheat factory plans approved

Members of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s development management committee have approved plans to transform a disused shredded wheat factory in Welywn Garden City into 1,454 new homes.

The scheme also includes community facilities, leisure, retail and office space.

The developer has invested £8 million in an infrastructure fund, of which £5.8 million will go towards a new primary school in Peartree.

Grant funding from outside agencies will create 414 affordable homes out of a possible 1,340 (31 per cent of the total development). There will be a mix of affordable rent, social rent and tenures supporting home ownership.

The council’s planning officer recommended that planning permission should have been approved subject to satisfactory completion of a supplementary section 106 agreement.

Read the full story here on The Planner.


Plans submitted in CB1

Development company Brookgate has submitted plans for two new buildings at CB1 in Cambridge.

The plans, if approved, will bring new amenities to the area and facilitate changes to the access arrangements at Station Square. They aim to ease congestion and improve the travel experience when arriving or leaving Cambridge station.

The new buildings will be on part of the existing station car park, between Carter Bridge and Great Northern Road. Located behind the Ibis hotel will be a multistorey car park with a hotel above.

A Business Innovation Centre is planned with a mix of office and co-working space to rehouse small firms based at the CB1 Business Centre when its current base at 20 Station Road is redeveloped in a few years’ time.


QPA Northern Ireland changes name

QPA Northern Ireland will become MPA Northern Ireland from 1 January 2019.

QPANI is the trade association for the mineral products sector in Northern Ireland. It has 87 members that employ more than 5,000 people.

It has been an affiliate of the Mineral Products Association (MPA) since 2009, and members have now, after a full consultation, given unanimous support and endorsement to rebrand at MPANI.

Commenting, Gordon Best, director of QPANI, said: “The reference to minerals in our new title recognises the fact that our membership base is wide and varied across our industry in Northern Ireland, representing the extraction and processing of hard rock, sand, salt, lime and chalk into products that support and sustain our quality of life.

“Importantly, we are also recognised by government, both locally and centrally, as a minerals sector. We have an excellent working relationship with MPA, and indeed all MPA regions across the UK and with our colleagues in the Irish Mining and Quarries Society (IMQS) in the Republic of Ireland.”


450k Help to Buy completions

More than 458,000 completions have taken place using the range of Help to Buy schemes available. Of the total, 402,000 were first-time buyers.

Government statistics suggest that first-time buyers have opened 1.2 million Help to Buy ISAs; the average house price purchased using the schemes is £201,881; and over 93 per cent of completions have been outside of London.

The most completions using the Help to Buy ISA have taken place in the North West and Yorkshire & the Humber. In total, 169,980 completions have taken place across the UK since its launch in December 2015.


Sports fields protected

Of the concluded planning applications between April 2017 and March 2017, 93 per cent involving a playing field have resulted in improved or protected facilities.

The data from Sport England suggests that 41 per cent of the cases where Sport England originally objected to an application saw an improvement in sports provision after negotiations were held.

There were 146 applications when the body maintained its objection. Of those, either 61 were withdrawn by the applicants or refused planning permission.

Nick Evans, head of planning at Sport England, said: “I am pleased this year’s figures show that the places where people get active are being protected right across the country. Protecting grassroots sport provision is at the heart of what Sport England continues to do so that all of us have access to the right sporting facilities.”

As of the 10 December 2018, Sport England said its Active Places data shows that across England there are 22,155 playing field sites, containing a total of 70,381 pitches.

Image credit | Crossrail