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News in brief: Builders and government outline shared ambition; Carlton Tavern public inquiry begins

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A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 17 May, 2016

Builders and government outline shared ambition

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has published a statement of intent outlining an ambition to deliver further increases in housing supply.

The HBF said the statement demonstrates house builders’ commitment to work closely with government to build on the “big increases in supply of recent years to deliver the government’s target of building one million homes in this Parliament”.

The federation and the government have been in discussions for “a number of months” to make sure that output continues to rise.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said that over the past two years the industry had responded to policies introduced by the government and has “delivered huge increases in output”.

“House builders are investing in their supply chains and have taken on tens of thousands of new workers to ensure there is the capacity and skills to deliver more high-quality homes. Working with government, and others, we want to ensure that the investment environment remains attractive and that the right measures are in place to support the delivery of the homes the country needs."

Read more about the statement of intent here.


Birmingham’s Exchange Square second phase approved

Birmingham City Council has given developer Nikal permission to develop 223 apartments and a new public square that will lie at the centre of the city’s Exchange Square development.

Following the approval of the first phase of the development last month, Nikal now has permission to develop a total of 826 apartments on the site.

The second phase of the development will also include 22,571 square feet of commercial space, plus extensive parking and cycle spaces.

James Payne, development director at Nikal, said: “Exchange Square represents a significant boost to Birmingham’s available city centre housing stock and these proposals complement the plans that were recently approved for our first phase.

“Surrounded by new leisure and retail space and the availability of on-site ancillary services to accompany the residential offer, we anticipate that Exchange Square will generate significant interest, particularly for young professionals looking for accommodation in a rapidly evolving part of the city.”


Scottish house market picks up – RICS report

The number of Scottish homes coming onto the market increased for the first time in three months during April, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey.

Despite this, the report suggests that housing demand continues to outpace supply, with house prices expected to continue to rise as a result.

Sarah Speirs, director RICS in Scotland, said: “We are seeing a welcome increase in properties coming on to the market and we hope this will continue in coming months.

“However, as demand also continues to grow, this supply will not meet market needs and we call on the newly elected Scottish Government to make the increase of housing supply across all tenures a priority.”


English planning system in crisis, says new book

The English planning system has been transformed from a “visionary utopian and progressive social force” into “little more than a residual form of land licensing,” according to a new book by the Town and Country Planning Association’s head of policy Hugh Ellis, and its chief executive, Kate Henderson.

English Planning In Crisis: 10 Steps To A Sustainable Future analyses the “controversial” new government reforms and deregulation to assess their significance in relation to the future of the planning system.

Citing both UK and international policy and practice examples, the book calls for key changes to UK planning including a move away from the “old boys’ club” of planning to a new generation of placemakers.

Co-author Henderson said: “One of our motivations for publishing [this book] is to record the scale of the shift in English planning policy and values over the past two years – particularly key polices on climate change and social housing – and to try to keep alive the prospect of something different.”

English Planning In Crisis was published on  16 May 2016. 


Developer warns more must be done to boost London office space supply

Although the biannual Crane Survey by Deloitte Real Estate has revealed that the number of offices under construction in the capital has reached a 20-year high, many businesses in London are still struggling to access affordable office space.

Richard Garner, head of commercial at Daniel Watney LLP, said the rise of co-working spaces had benefited some firms, although they were not appropriate for all companies.

“While the construction figures are positive, they only tell half the story. There’s still a very real supply crunch across the capital, with firms unable to access space they can afford. We’ve seen swathes of office blocks converted to prime central London housing, which has eaten away at the supply of secondary space.

“Areas like Soho, for example - which have undergone substantial redevelopment – have seen many creative companies leave as a result. They simply cannot find the space they need at prices they can afford.

“The new mayor should think about a London-wide strategy for developing the right mix of workspace,” he said.


Carlton Tavern public inquiry begins

A public inquiry has opened today at Westminster City Hall to decide if the Carlton Tavern should be rebuilt.

The historic pub was demolished in April 2015, in breach of planning laws. It was at the time being considered for Grade II listing.

The knocking down of the pub took place with no warning to Westminster City Council. 

The council served an enforcement notice to the developers, CLTX Ltd, in January of this year. It required the pub to be rebuilt “brick by brick”.

The developer has not rebuilt the pub and has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

Today’s (17 May) public inquiry will decide the future of the pub. The outcome is expected to emerge later in the summer.


DCLG appoint senior adviser for estates regeneration

Paul Clark, head of development consultancy and agency at GL Hearn, has been appointed as a senior adviser at the Estates Regeneration division within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The part-time, six-month appointment will see Clark provide technical and professional advice to the government’s Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel, chaired by Lord Heseltine. This aims to shape a national estate regeneration strategy. 

Clark will also provide support to landowners coming forward with estate regeneration proposals.

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to transform 100 housing estates in Britain earlier this year. 

GL Hearn is part of Capita Real Estate.


Lambeth picks planning consultant for estate renewal projects

The London Borough of Lambeth has appointed Tibbalds CampbellReith JV to undertake three regeneration projects in the borough.

The projects – at Knights Walk, the Westbury Estate and South Lambeth Estate – represent over £200 million of investment in the borough and will provide 790 mixed-tenure homes in total, including replacement homes for existing residents.

They are part of ‘Homes for Lambeth’, Lambeth Council’s commitment to providing more homes for new residents, better quality homes for existing residents and strong tenancies for council tenants.

The team will be led by Tibbalds and CPC Project Services.

The Tibbalds CampbellReith JV is one of Homes and Communities Agency’s 18 Multidisciplinary Panel members, with all three projects procured by Lambeth council through this route. It will work with a number of different, specialist architecture practices that have already have experience working on the three estates.

Hilary Satchwell, director of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, said: “These three estates each have a distinct identity and the teams chosen to work on them have been shaped around their different characteristics and needs. Each practice has worked locally already and will be further involved with residents and other stakeholders to understand the area even better before starting to shape their plans.”


Oldham’s Prince’s Gate approved

A resolution has been secured to approve a town centre regeneration scheme in Oldham.

The resolution follows work undertaken on behalf of Oldham Council by planning consultancy WYG’s Manchester team.

The plans for Prince’s Gate include 118,500 square feet of retail space to be built on the current park-and-ride site; an 18,300 sq ft discount food store and refurbishment of a former Grade II listed bank building to include 46 apartments and flexible working space.

Prince’s Gate is expected to create more than 700 jobs.

Construction will begin later this year.

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