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News in brief: Fabric to reopen under ‘strict’ new licensing deal; UK cities failing to lure graduate talent

Fabric nightclub

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 22 November, 2016

Fabric to reopen under ‘strict’ new licensing deal

The owners of London ‘superclub’ Fabric have reached an agreement with Islington Council to secure the club’s reopening.

The new licensing deal will see stricter anti-drug rules implemented and a boost in security measures, with under-19s being banned from entering.

As The Planner previously reported, there was outcry from the public and industry professionals in September after the club was closed due to the death of two clubbers.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan commented: “I am delighted that this agreement has been reached and that Fabric will now reopen. I have always said that we needed to find a common-sense solution that protects both the future of Fabric and the safety of all clubbers – as this does.

"In her first week in the job, my new Night Czar Amy Lamé held conversations with Islington Council, the Metropolitan Police and Fabric. My Night Czar will be working with other businesses, local authorities and Londoners to maximise the economic and social impact of a growing night time economy. I’ll also soon be announcing a new Chair of the Night Time Commission to work with Amy to help deliver a vision for a truly 24-hour city.”


UK cities failing to lure graduate talent

UK cities outside of London are struggling to attract the high-achieving graduates that will be crucial to their future economic growth, claims a leading think tank. Research by the Centre for Cities suggests that top students are instead moving to the capital for job opportunities and career progression. According to the figures, a quarter of all new graduates from UK universities in 2014 and 2015 were working in the capital within six months of finishing their degree, while more than half of Oxbridge graduates moved to London compared with 2 per cent in Birmingham and Bristol.


Cruise berth secures consent at Dun Laoghaire

The Irish planning authority An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for a cruise berth at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Deemed to be a Strategic Infrastructure Development, the scheme will include a new quay designed to accommodate cruise ships up to 250 metres in length, landside facilities to cater for disembarking passengers and extensive dredging works to deepen the harbour approaches sufficiently to allow access at all tides.


Belfast to appeal High Court ruling on Sprucefield

A clause restricting future expansion of the Sprucefield shopping centre in County Down to bulky goods is to be removed from the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) following a High Court ruling.

It follows a ruling earlier this year that the former environment minister Mark H Durkan acted unlawfully in authorising the BMAP without consent from executive colleagues. Belfast City Council will appeal against the ruling, claiming the judgement raises important issues on the role of the courts in sanctioning changes to planning policy when the original case was that a minister acted unlawfully.


Thames wharf set to take pressure off capital’s roads

A strategically important wharf in East London is set to return to cargo handling and keep thousands of lorries off the capital’s roads each year.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has bought Peruvian Wharf in Newham for £3 million with the aim of developing it as a hub for low-carbon transport of building materials. The PLA completed the acquisition of the site after a long battle over the wharf’s planning status, subsequently acquiring the site when the former landowner failed to reactivate it for cargo handling.


Scottish Conservatives demand self-build housing drive

Scottish Conservatives have called for a Grand Designs-style plan to boost self-builders in a key plank of the party’s policy for a ‘house building revolution’. The party has accused the SNP of failing to build enough homes to meet housing demand, citing Scottish government figures that show the number of completions in 2015-16 was 15,854, down from 16,209 the previous year.


Major Rochdale regeneration application unveiled

The regeneration of Rochdale’s town centre has taken a big step forward with the submission of a detailed planning application by developer Genr8 for Rochdale Riverside, a shopping and leisure centre. The £60 million development comprises 24 retail and leisure units with a six-screen cinema and 350 parking spaces and is seen as a crucial part of Rochdale Borough Council’s £250 million regeneration programme, which includes re-opening of the River Roch (an RTPI award winning project) and Number One Riverside, a major council customer service centre, library and office building.


Government commits to faster broadband funds

Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to announce £400m in funding for a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund in Wednesday’s 2016 Autumn Statement.

Private investors will be asked to march the amount, with the money being aimed at fibre broadband providers who are looking to expand. The chancellor will also commit £740m to the development of 5G and further rollout of fibre connections.

But Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert from the website cable.co.uk has told the BBC that the government's funding of superfast broadband was "absurd" at a time when so many people struggle to get reasonable speeds.