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News in brief: £300,000 fine for landlords in Westminster; Office development approved in Oxfordshire

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 4 October, 2016

£300,000 fine for landlords in Westminster

Two Westminster landlords must pay a combined total of over £300,000 following successful prosecutions by Westminster City Council.

The council said both crammed extra rooms into properties and then rented them out, without the requisite planning permission.

Westminster City Council used the Proceeds of Crime Act in both cases to recoup more than the maximum £20,000 fine.

The council can keep up to 37 per cent, with £86,393 being recouped for Westminster tax payers.

Robert Davis, MBE DL, deputy leader and cabinet member for the built environment, Westminster City Council, said: “This is a clear warning to anyone who thinks they can ignore planning laws and benefit financially.

“Cramming people into tiny properties and disregarding the need for planning permission is dangerous and puts tenants at risk.

“Westminster City Council is committed to delivering the right growth and will continue to act to recoup money from landlords who profit from criminal activity.”


Office development approved in Oxfordshire

Vale of White Horse District Council has granted planning permission for an office and laboratory development.

MEPC secured the permission through the Milton Park Local Development Order. This enables development on the park to be fast-tracked to meet the urgent needs of occupiers.

The £25 million development includes three “high specification buildings” totalling 110,000 square feet.

They are expected to be completed by late 2017.

MEPC, an asset management company, has been managing and developing the park for over 30 years on behalf of Hermes Investment Management.


Contract secured for future of cycle hire in the capital

Transport for London (TfL) has signed a deal that will bring an upgraded UK-manufactured bike to London’s streets.

TfL has awarded Serco a new five-year contract to distribute and maintain the scheme.

This includes the manufacture of an upgraded bike, which will be made by British company Pashley Cycles at its factory in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the scheme is “already known across the world as a convenient way to get around our city, so it’s great news that these lighter British-made bikes will make it even easier for everyone”.

“Cycling is good for our health, air quality and congestion, and that’s exactly why I’m working so hard to make it safer and easier for all Londoners.”

More about this can be found on The Planner's sister publication, FM-World.


Development corporation suggested for Thames Estuary

A new airport, setting up a development corporation, extending High Speed 1 (HS1) and a building a new lower Thames crossing are all recommendations made by an architect firm for the future growth of the Thames Estuary.

The recommendations have been made by the Canterbury office of Corstorphine + Wright. The proposals are in response to the Thames Estuary 250 Growth Commission’s call for ideas.

The results will be used to inform the new body’s work.

The commission is chaired by Lord Heseltine and was launched in July this year.

Alistair Milne, director at Corstorphine + Wright’s Canterbury office, urged the commission to reconsider a Thames Estuary airport. Not only would an airport give a significant boost to local growth and investment, he said, it would solve a wider issue in the south east - the lack of airport capacity.

The firm also suggested a development corporation, which would become the singular planning authority for the Thames Estuary, taking over the responsibility from local authorities. Rather than a “patchwork of planning authorities – with different goals, agendas and policies – a singular body could better plan the future growth of the area,” the company argue.

Other recommendations made by Corstorphine + Wright include the extension of HS1 north of the river to improve connectivity and the creation of another “much needed” lower Thames crossing.


Mayor outlines commitment to green river crossings to deliver housing

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has set out a package of new river crossings to be built in the next five to 10 years that are aimed at improving travel across the capital.

The plans, he said, will also support new affordable homes and business opportunities in East London.

The package includes:

  • Plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf to be accelerated.

  • Enhancements to be made to proposals for the Silvertown Tunnel, to make it greener and more public-transport focussed.

  • A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping to support around 17,000 homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Khan said: “It’s no secret that London has long needed more river crossings in the east. With new homes and economic growth across East London, it becomes even more important that we deliver new greener transport links that allow Londoners to cross the river quickly and more easily.

"But we don’t want these to have a damaging impact on our environment.

"As we continue to unlock the massive economic potential of East London, we must secure the very best transport infrastructure that improves the quality of life for everyone living and working in the area.”


Waste to energy plans referred in Aberdeen

A decision on plans for an energy from waste plant in Aberdeen has been deferred to full council.

The £150 million scheme in East Tullos would provide low cost energy and reduce the amount of waste to landfill. However, concerns have been raised about the potential environmental impact.

Members of the planning committee had been set to discuss the plans but they will now be discussed on Thursday.

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