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07/10/2014

News in brief: garden city extensions, Southampton mayor, floating cycleway

Words: Simon Wicks
Nick Clegg

A round-up of UK planning news: October 1-7, 2014

Build five garden cities along east-west rail route, says Clegg
 
Up to five garden citiy extensions should be built along the new east-west rail route, according to the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. Lib Dems would like to see "three to five of the towns along the route to enable approximately 50,000 news homes to be built on garden city principles". The rail route's western section, from Bedford to Oxford, is due to open in 2019 and will include stops at Bicester, Winslow and Aylesbury.
 
Southampton voters given elected mayor choice
 
Voters in Southampton are to be asked if they want a directly elected mayor. The city council is also seeking views on whether to cut the number of councillors from 48 to 32 and alter the election cycles. Elected mayors have been rejected in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Wakefield, Coventry, Leeds and Bradford - Bristol, however, voted in favour of an elected mayor.
 
Lib Dems to change minds on airport expansion? 
 
The Liberal Democrats are preparing to reverse their blanket ban on new runways in south-east England after two delegates at the party's conference tabled an amendment that would allow Gatwick Airport to be exempted. The party leadership reputedly backs the plan, which will be discussed at the conference today.
 
Update 3.45pm - the Liberal Democrat conference has rejected the move to support limited airport expansion.
 
Homebuyers will pay an £125,000 extra for attractive scenery
 
Research by Lloyds Bank has found that homebuyers are prepared to pay a premium of £125,000 to live in the most scenic locations in England and Wales. In particular, house prices in national parks can be double that of the surrounding areas. The study found that buyers in England and Wales would pay an average £125,796 extra for a home in a national park - the New Forest proved the location where buyers were willing to pay the biggest premium.
 
Ex-tin works business park to open in Swansea
 
A £35m hi-tech business park on a site that was once home to a tinworks is expected to welcome its first tenants in the new year. The joint venture between Swansea Council and the Welsh government will open at Felindre on a 74-acre site that has been vacant since 1989. Major work has included new roads, electricity and gas, and high-speed broadband.
 
Isle of Man residents consulted on Douglas regeneration 
 
Residents of the Isle of Man are being asked for their views on plans to make the Manx capital a place "to be proud of". The Central Douglas Master Plan calls for investment to "develop the economy and respond to a growing population".
 
Kelso high school plan approved
 
A proposal to seek full planning permission for a £21.8m secondary school for Kelso in the Scottish Borders has been approved. Scottish Borders Council agreed with the scheme to replace the existing 1930s high school, with conditions.
 
Application to build two homes in grounds of Wiltshire pub
 
Plans for two homes in the grounds of The Lion and Fiddle in Hilperton have been submitted to Wiltshire Council. The proposal also includes an extension to the pub to create rooms to let. The pub owners have submitted the plans to help them explore new income streams having "just about kept their heads above water". Hilperton Parish Council has objected to the plan because of the “loss of the public house as an amenity”.
 
Loch Lomond camping bylaw proposals set for consultation
 
A consultation is to be held over proposed measures to cut anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Alongside a £10 million investment in new campsites, the park authority has proposed  bylaws banning camping without a permit at some popular loch shores which are being "severely damaged" by over-use.
 
Ripon police station sold to developer
 
The police station in the North Yorkshire town of Ripon is to be sold to developers and turned into retirement homes. North Yorkshire Police has signed a conditional contract with CFK Developments, but has not revealed how much the North Street property had been sold for. It said it hoped to relocate to new premises in Ripon within 18 months.
 
Wrexham “super-prison” concerns raised by academic
 
Questions remain unanswered about the impact a new "super prison" will have on Wrexham, according to Robert Jones from Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre. Policing and health care issues were particularly important to conisder alongside the proposed £250 million "super prison" which will be the UK's largest when it opens in 2017. Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has already raised concerns about pressure on the local rail network.
 
£600m floating bicycle highway proposed for Thames in London
 
A new bicycle lane in London could allow cyclists to float on the River Thames. The Thames Deckway, proposed by River Cycleway Consortium Ltd, would create a bicycle-only path along the river that would stretch for 12 kilometres from Battersea to Canary Wharf. The cycleway would cost an estimated £600 million to build.
 
Road improvements help Hartlepool reduce road casualties by 30%
 
Improvements to road layouts and junctions, the introduction of 20mph zones and measures to prevent illegal parking outside schools and in bus stops are among the factors that have cut road casulaties in Hartlepool by almost a third, according to new figures published by the council. The improvements have been made alongside road safety education campaigns and police activity to target drink driving and speeding. The accident statistics - which include 19 serious injuries and no deaths - indicated the best reduction in more than 30 years, said the council.
 
Boris Johnson approves 700 homes for Mount Pleasant site
 
London mayor Boris Johnson has approved a controversial 700-home housing scheme on the site of Royal Mail's Mount Pleasant sorting office in central London. The application had been called in after the two affected planning authorities - Islington and Camden - failed to issue decision notices in time. The plans, which have drawn objections locally, include 681 houses, shops, offices, restaurants and public open space.

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