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News in brief: First town planning apprentices graduate; Three neighbourhood plans approved in Lichfield

Words: Laura Edgar
Studying an accredited RTPI course / Shutterstock_139617071

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 11 September, 2018

Webinar: Establishing Effective Engagement – Consultation in 2018

The Planner – in association with the developers of the community engagement platform Commonplace – is set to debate the best ways in which planners can manage truly effective consultation processes in a free webinar.

The discussion will take place during an hour-long live webinar, to be broadcast on Wednesday 26 September, at 12:00 midday.

Read more about the webinar and how to register here on The Planner website.


First planning technical support apprentices graduate

The first town planning technical support apprentices in the country have completed their course at Chichester College.

The entry-level apprenticeship programme was introduced at the college in 2015. Five apprentices started on the course, which was developed by the RTPI and the Construction Industry Council.

Jamie Alley, Nicholas Whittington, Greg Anderson, Alex Carruthers and Andrew Pommells were the first five to sign up and completed their course in 2017, followed by 20 more completing their studies this year.

There are now 60 apprentices that have either completed or are currently studying the apprenticeship around the country – Bridgwater and Taunton College, Chichester College, Oaklands College and Moulton College.

The scheme is aimed at people working in a technical or administrative support role in the field of planning and can lead to membership of the RTPI.


Three neighbourhood plans approved in Lichfield

Residents in Alrewas, Armitage and Handsacre, and Longdon have voted in favour of their area’s respective neighbourhood plans.

In total, 94.5 per cent supported the Alrewas plan, 90.7 per cent voted to approve the Armitage and Handsacre plan and 66 per cent supported the Longdon plan.

The neighbourhood plan referendums were held to determine local support, and whether the plans should form part of Lichfield District Council’s process for assessing future planning applications across the neighbourhood areas.

The plans will now go before a full council meeting.

Information on all Lichfield’s neighbourhood plans can be found on the council website.


Government urged to stop unwanted phone boxes

Camden Council has written to the government stating that planning policy that makes it “difficult” for councils to challenge permitted development rights for new phone boxes needs to be changed.

In the letter sent to housing minister Kit Malthouse, Danny Beales, Camden’s cabinet member for investing in communities explains that planning law is being exploited by telecoms companies to create advertising space in the shape of phone boxes.

As a result, Camden has received planning applications for 170 new phone boxes in the past two years – 30 of which have been approved as the council can only reject them on limited grounds, while some were approved on appeal.

Beales said: “In the modern age phone boxes have become somewhat redundant. We certainly don’t need the amount of them that we are receiving applications for.

"Camden’s residents don’t want this unwelcome street clutter, nor the antisocial behaviour issues that are often linked to unused telephone boxes. Our local planning system is also under significant pressure and could do without this level of demand for infrastructure that the borough doesn’t require.”


Consultation launched on Scotland’s historic environment policy

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has launched a consultation on its draft Historic Environment Policy, a document comprised for decision-makers in the planning process as well as others that manage heritage assets.

The document will replace the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement in 2019.

Based on the campaign and stakeholder feedback so far, the new policy aims to:

  • Consolidate HES’s role as the lead public body for the historic environment.
  • Focus on the whole of Scotland’s historic environment, not just the properties HES is responsible for or designates.
  • Demonstrate that everyone has a stake in the historic environment and how it is looked after.
  • Provide leadership and best practice direction for heritage management issues.
  • Show that HES has responded to public and stakeholder views.
  • Align with the ‘Our Place in Time’ strategy, the first Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland.

The consultation closes on Monday 3 December. It can be found here on the HES website.


Three developments approved in Macclesfield

Cheshire East Council as approved three housing applications in Henley, Macclesfield, which total almost 400 homes.

All of the sites are allocated for development in the area’s local plan.

Consultancy GVA HOW Planning acted for Jones Homes, Redrow, and brewery company, Frederic Robinson’s.

Frederic Robinson’s owns one of the sites, and is supported by Bellway Homes as a potential future developer.

Collectively, up to 398 houses will be delivered across the three sites, with 30 per cent designated as affordable.


Student accommodation approved in Surrey

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has approved an application for a 99-bed student development in Epsom.

Property consultancy Carter Jonas secured the permission on behalf of private residential developer Willco Properties Ltd.

Willco Properties Ltd has an ongoing relationship with the University of the Creative Arts to provide student accommodation across Epsom.

Known as Bradford House, the six-storey building will also comprise 2,384 square feet of grade A office space and basement parking.

Designed by architects Geoffrey Sloan Associates, it will replace the vacant office building located on East Street.


New shipyard proposed for the Thames

A new shipyard is being proposed for the River Thames in London as part of a regeneration plan to counter the loss of creative and productive land use in London.

Owned by the Mayor of London, Albert Island is a 25-acre site in the Royal Docks – the capital’s only enterprise zone, and is part of the wider docks regeneration.

The site is being developed by London and Regional, with LDA Design set to work as landscape architects on the masterplan with lead Haworth Tompkins.

Plans for the £300 million development include a state-of-the-art shipyard with Europe’s biggest ship lift to service and repair Thames riverboats, industrial units, and a makers’ yard.

Full public access to the island will be restored, with plans aiming to attract a mix of businesses, supported by the development of a transport and engineering education hub, and an innovation and research quarter.

Image credit | Shutterstock