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News in brief: Council wins battle over ‘drastic’ listed building changes; Urban strategy team appointed for Tolworth regeneration

99 Star Street roof removal

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 30 August, 2016

Council wins battle over ‘drastic’ listed building changes

Three defendants must pay over £93,000 following prosecution by Westminster City Council, after they removed the roof, walls, floors and chimney breasts from a grade II listed 1830s Georgian building without consent.

The court threw out the claim that Mohammed Owadally and Seema Khan did not know that the building was listed after it emerged that David Williams, their chartered structural engineer, had informed them.

Owadally and Khan bought 99 Star Street, which is in the Bayswater Conservation Area, for £1.5 million in August 2013, and carried out most of the works in November.

Despite a number of warnings issued by Westminster City Council in November and December 2013, the defendants continued to work on the property.

District Judge Coleman said that the “drastic” operation had destroyed the “historic fabric” of the building, affecting its physical stability.

Coleman added: “These are works that should not have been carried out at all without permission. They were undertaken in spite of a clear order from Westminster that all building work should stop.

“That was a clear instruction, given verbally and in writing, which these defendants deliberately flouted. I do not believe that they misunderstood or misinterpreted the words used.”

Owadally and Khan were found guilty on all four matters against them relating to specific works carried out on the building. Williams was found not guilty on the first three (the District Judge saying he has sufficient doubt) but guilty on the fourth.

Peter Freeman, Westminster City Council deputy cabinet member for the built environment, said that the defendants “showed no regard for Westminster City Council’s careful stewardship and protection of our listed buildings.”

He continued: “We work hard to look after our historic properties, which make Westminster such a special and treasured place. These individuals should have known better and these fines send a clear message that it is not acceptable to simply ignore the planning rules enforced by local authorities, which are there to deliver the right growth.”

Owadally and Khan were sentenced on 7th July at Hammersmith Magistrates Court, while Williams was sentenced on 25th August.


Urban strategy team appointed for Tolworth regeneration

Architects and urban designers We Made That have been appointed to deliver the Tolworth Area Plan, after the south-west London suburb was identified as a key area of change in the Kingston Core Strategy. The area will become a focus for regeneration alongside the advent of Crossrail 2.

The new Area Plan will encompass Tolworth Broadway as the main retail and commercial centre, Tolworth Tower, and land to the south of the A3 for a number of commercial, leisure and residential development opportunities.

We Made That will open a ‘Tolworth Masterplanning HQ’ within the town centre later this year, which will allow the team to be on site and aid direct engagement with local residents and businesses.

Oliver Goodhall, co-founding partner at We Made That, said: “We’ll be aiming to capture and articulate a strong vision for Tolworth. It’s an exciting prospect to set out a plan for a healthy and sustainable regeneration for businesses and future residents, particularly with a future step-change in transport connectivity on the horizon.”


Greenwich modular build to rent scheme underway

Essential Living has teamed up with Elements Europe to deliver its 249-home Creekside Wharf scheme in Greenwich.

Modular construction of the homes has begun in a factory in Shropshire, with 632 modules to be sent to Creekside Wharf at a rate of 20 a week from February 2017.

The 23-storey scheme will be one of the tallest modular buildings in the UK, and will be the first in the country to cater for families, including acoustic noise insulation and an on-site nursery for parents with young children.

Creekside Wharf recently won best housing project at the Sunday Times British Home Awards and Project Award for a Private Rented Sector Development at the Housing Design Awards.

Simon Underwood, managing director at Elements Europe, said: “Modular solutions have been used for many years throughout the hotel and student accommodation sectors and our entry into the build-to-rent market is just a natural progression, bringing homes forward sooner, reducing capital construction costs, and improving the quality and safety of delivery.”


Battery storage technologies win big at National Grid auction

The results of last week’s auction by the National Grid to provide 200 megawatts of power to help “balance Britain’s energy network” show that battery storage technologies won almost half of the contracts available, says RenewableUK.

The auction came as part of the National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response service, which allows the company to balance energy supply and demand “on a second-by-second basis.”

Renewable energy projects also won over 50 megawatts, including the Pen Y Cymoedd onshore wind farm in Wales.

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive, Maf Smith, said: “This auction shows that innovative battery storage and renewables are working together to develop a truly 21st century energy system. The UK is one of the countries leading the way in this field.”


Number of new homes built increases by 6%

The number of newly built homes has increased by 6 per cent in the past year, according to new figures released by the government.

These statistics show that 139,030 homes were completed in the year to June and the number has continued to build gradually over the past two years, and more than 144,280 homes were started in the year to June 2016.

Strong regional growth was recorded in London, Swindon and Wakefield, with completions up by 24 per cent, 104 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders also show that there are more first-time buyers than at any time since 2007, with 72,800 in England in the second quarter of 2016.