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News in Brief: Clark welcomes new homes increase; £1.7 million fund for regeneration of Scottish town centres

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 24 November, 2015

Clark welcomes new homes increase

The latest figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government show that the number of new homes being built has seen the highest annual increase since 2008, with 186,000 homes provided in this year to September. This takes the total increase in new homes being built since to 2010 to 753,000. Communities secretary Greg Clark said these figures demonstrated the efficacy of the government’s actions to reform the planning system and put power in the hands of local people. He said: “This is a far cry from the top-down bureaucracy of the past that left residents feeling powerless over how their local area was developed, with house building levels reaching their lowest since the 1920s. We’re getting Britain building again and working our way towards our ambition to build a million new homes by 2020.”

£1.7 million fund for regeneration of Scottish town centres

Social justice secretary Alex Neil has announced a £1.7 million fund offered to 21 town centre groups to help communities to deliver capital projects. Portions of the Town Centre Communities Capital Fund (TCCCF) have been awarded to community organisations such as CVS Inverclyde, which will receive £60,000 to develop a community hub offering office accommodation, training spaces and information services to local people. Funding is also set to go towards the development of a community facility in Helensburgh, and the renovation of the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr. This initiative is intended to complement the government’s Town Centre Action Plan

Greenwich Peninsula regeneration approved

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has granted approval for the regeneration of Greenwich Peninsula, including 12,678 homes. A revised masterplan also includes provision for 12,000 jobs on the previously disused gasworks. The work will see a new district formed, made up of five neighbourhoods. Action on the 80-hectare site, which runs along the River Thames, stalled in 2004 despite the approval of a similar masterplan, but outline planning permission was granted for the current plans in August. The proposals include 220 serviced apartments, 2,928 affordable homes, 24,000 square metres of retail use, 60,000 square metres of business use, two new schools, two new hotels, a 40,000-square metre film studio and additional green space.

DECC rejects NSIP wind farm in Wales

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has overturned an inspector’s decision to grant development consent for an onshore wind farm in Powys, Mid Wales, after determining that possible adverse effects on the local red kite population had not been properly addressed. The proposal was submitted under the Planning Act 2008 as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) by developer Mynydd y Gwynt for a site at Glanrhyd, and included 27 wind turbines, plus associated works, with a potential energy output of up to 89.1 megawatts.

HUB submits plan for 239 homes for Wembley

Housing developer HUB has submitted plans for 239 homes on the former site of the Chesterfield House council building in Wembley. The development will be made up of two blocks of 26 and 21 storeys, with the latter block consisting entirely of affordable housing – 43 per cent of the total units being built. A new community centre will be established, and retail or office space is also planned for elsewhere within the development. Steve Sanham, development director at HUB, said: “By aiding local businesses and creating new public and communal spaces, a redeveloped Chesterfield House will sit right at the heart of the community, while the provision of a high level of affordable housing through a range of discount market rent options will ensure high-quality homes in Wembley are available for all.”

TfL pushes plans for 10,000 homes

Transport for London has submitted plans for 600 new homes across sites in Nine Elms, Northwood, and Parsons Green as part of a programme that aims to deliver more than 10,000 new homes across London over the next decade. The plans include retail units, offices, public space and a new underground station at Northwood. Graeme Crag, TfL’s commercial development director, said: “The three sites demonstrate the varied nature of our landholdings, and the potential they have to create economic growth across London, whilst providing vital revenues to invest in running and modernising the transport network.”. The developments will help support 500 new jobs, with £100 million also being reinvested in modernising the city’s transport network.

NOMA Manchester receives office development approval

NOMA, a central Manchester regeneration project on land owned by The Co-operative Group and Hermes Real Estate, has received planning permission for two office developments at Angel Square. The buildings will collectively provide more than 350,000 sq ft of office space over nine and 11 storeys, and have been designed by AHR architects. The site sits opposite the newly refurbished Victoria Station, which received £44 million in funding as part of a wider £1 billion investment in the north of England. NOMA will also unveil a new public square within the development, Sadler’s Yard, in the coming month.

195 homes approved for Ribble Valley

Ribble Valley Borough Council has approved plans for 195 new homes in Longridge, Lancashire. The scheme will consist of a mix of two, three and four-bedroom houses and bungalows, and will include extensive landscaped open space, equipped play spaces and recreation areas. Planning consultancy Turley acted on behalf of developer Taylor Wimpey to secure planning permission. Gareth Bancroft, planning manager at Taylor Wimpey, said: “The approved plans will mean an investment of over £3.5 million, improving local infrastructure and services for Longridge.”