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News in brief: Council appoints firm for Preston development; Khan launches construction academy

Words: Laura Edgar
Preston / iStock

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 12 June, 2018

Council appoints firm for city centre development

Preston City Council has appointed planning consultancy Nexus Planning to lead a multidisciplinary team to prepare a development framework for the Stoneygate area of the city centre.

Lancashire County Council and Homes England are supporting the council.

The four-month study aims to establish a masterplan and delivery strategy to create an urban village, using brownfield and underused sites. The development will comprise residential units, and business, leisure and education uses.

The study area incorporates the Stoneygate and Church Street areas, as well as Brookhouse’s Queens Retail Park and Cardinal Newman College, alongside existing housing and business areas.


Khan launches construction academy

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched a construction academy in the capital, as well as a Skills and Adult Education Strategy.

He believes that London’s housing crisis is the single biggest challenge in the city, with people increasingly unable to afford to live and work there.

The construction academy has been developed with the support of construction employers, industry experts and skills providers to close the gap between the need for more homes and the shortage of skilled construction workers, according to the mayor’s office.

It comprises a network of construction skills providers across London that will work closely together and with construction employers.

The academy is partly funded through the London Economic Action Partnership's (LEAP) Growth Deal with central government, which included £8 million allocated to the programme.

The strategy focuses on post-16 technical and vocational education, adult education and employment support, and considers pathways from school into further learning and work.


Similar challenges facing England and Ireland

A recent seminar hosted by the London Irish Town Planners discussed the new and emerging national planning policy frameworks in both England and Ireland.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) chief planner Steve Quartermain, Joe Corr, president of the Irish Planning Institute and Simon Ricketts, founding partner at Town Legal LLP, talked about the similar challenges that exist in both countries, in particular, the housing crisis.

They spoke about service delivery at local authority level and housing density.

The speakers noted that different approaches are being used to address the challenges, with the Irish Government using a spatially based approach to the distribution of growth across the country compared with the use of more general policy guidance in England.


Rental scheme approved in Corby

Corby Borough Council has approved Hecurl Limited’s plans for a 150-unit private rented sector (PRS) development next to Corby station.

It will be the town’s first PRS development.

The scheme includes 60 one-bed flats and 90 two-bed flats; onsite hub for residents; a car club so that residents can hire a car when they need one; 84 car parking spaces and 245 cycle spaces.


Yorkshire tourist plans green-lit

Scarborough Borough Council has granted planning permission to a tourism destination in North Yorkshire designed by architect and masterplanner Holder Mathias.

The Raithwaite Bay Resort in Whitby will comprise new holiday accommodation and leisure facilities, including 71 holiday cottages, 82 holiday apartments, 37 lodges, a restaurant and a welcome hub.

Holder Mathias, working with the local authority, said it developed a design concept that “respected the area’s unique character through the careful design of buildings within the valleys to minimise any impact on the woodland”.  

The holiday apartments will resemble traditional Yorkshire barns, clustered together and designed to appear as though they have evolved and aged over time. A mix of traditional and contemporary materials and finishes will be used.

A 30-year management scheme has been devised, which aims to protect and enhance the estate’s ancient woodland and safeguard the long-term success of the project.


Acquisition of the Silvertown Partnership announced

Lendlease and Starwood have announced plans for the acquisition, subject to pre-completion conditions, of The Silvertown Partnership.

The partnership holds development rights in a major urban renewal project in London’s East End – the development of Silvertown Quays.

The scheme, located between Canary Wharf and London City Airport, is set to provide 7 million square feet of residential and commercial space. It will incorporate restoration of the dock walls, new public spaces, as well as high-quality commercial and retail space, providing new employment opportunities for the residents of Newham.

Dan Labbad, chief executive officer, international operations at Lendlease, said: “Working in partnership, we plan to create a place that’s innovative and environmentally sustainable, and will provide tangible benefits for the local community for the long term.”


Consultant appointed for electricity project

Greenlink has appointed engineering consultant WSP to its €400 million electricity interconnector linking Wales and Ireland.

The 500MW 200km high voltage direct current (HVDC) link is being developed by Greenlink Interconnector Limited, a subsidiary of Element Power.

The project is predicted to save Irish consumers around €800million over its lifetime, while also improving Great Britain’s access to Ireland’s significant renewable energy generation and increasing security of supply for both countries.

Greenlink will comprise a converter station at each end, connected by two electricity cables and a fibre optic cable. The cables will run underground and under the sea from the Great Island substation in County Wexford to Freshwater West beach in Wales, before continuing to run underground to the Pembroke substation.

WSP will support Greenlink through the final cost and technical assessments for Ofgem and CRU. The firm will run the procurement process for the entire HVDC system, including around 205km of underground and submarine cable.

WSP will also guarantee safety in design for those constructing, operating and maintaining the interconnector.

Construction is due to start in 2020.


Five free days of support for community-led housing

The Right to Build Taskforce is offering five organisations up to five days of tailored advice to help facilitate the delivery of more custom and self-build homes.

The free help is worth up to £2,500.

Established by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and endorsed by the government, the Right to Build Task Force works to support local authorities, community groups and a range of stakeholders across the UK to deliver affordable custom and self-build projects.

The task force has set aside funding for the work to enable its panel of experts to support up to five suitable projects on a time-limited basis, free of charge.

There is a range of ways that the task force can help, including facilitating workshops or training events to help build a better understanding of what custom and self-build housing is and how it can be delivered; enabling neighbourhood planning initiatives, such as the preparation of planning policies; understanding local demand, selecting suitable sites and support in preparing planning applications and planning; and advice on appointing professional services.

The deadline for submissions is 31 July. More information can be found on the NaCSBA website.


Funding secured for Porthcawl development

Acorn Property Group has secured funding from United Trusted Bank for its residential development in Porthcawl, South Wales.

The project includes the conversion of a former hotel into a mix of 35 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, with completion expected in 2019.

The site is next to Royal Porthcawl Gold Club.

A second phase of development will see an additional 34 new-build apartments. Work is set to start in 18 months.

Acorn is developing the project in a joint venture with the landowner and has spent two years securing listed building approval and new build planning consent.

Image credit | iStock