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News in brief: Gatwick Airport train station set for £150m upgrade; Marches partnership unveils low-carbon strategy

Words: Huw Morris

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 9 July, 2019

Gatwick Airport train station set for £150m upgrade

The Department for Transport (DfT) is to invest £150 million into upgrading facilities at Gatwick Airport’s train station.

The revamp aims to reduce train delays caused by platform overcrowding and congestion as well as providing easier connections to other destinations.

Upgrades will include doubling the size of the station concourse, adding five new lifts and eight escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening two platforms to reduce overcrowding.


Outline consent granted for commercial floor space in Coalville

Outline planning consent for more than 32,500 square metres of commercial floor space has been granted to land and property regeneration specialist Harworth Group in Leicestershire.

The scheme is at the company’s 21.4-hectare Bardon Hill site near Coalville. Pegasus Group’s East Midlands office advised on the application to North West Leicestershire District Council.

The indicative layout for the outline consent includes the creation of five industrial units, which can be developed for manufacturing, distribution and roadside uses delivering hundreds of new jobs to the East Midlands.

Harworth’s Midlands regional director David Cockroft said Leicestershire is “a hugely important market” for the company, “given our 2,000 home residential scheme at Coalville and the area’s strong prospects for further growth”.


Fund launched to improve accessibility for disabled rail passengers

Disabled rail passengers have been promised accessibility improvements at train stations with the launch of a £20 million fund.

The fund marks the first anniversary since publication of the government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy. The money will go towards small-scale accessibility improvements at rail stations, including tactile paving, handrails and Harrington Humps to increase platform heights.

The Department for Transport (DoT) unveiled a progress report marking the anniversary, citing the introduction of the first Rail Ombudsman and the launch of a £2 million fund to bring Changing Places accessible toilets to more motorway service areas. It also issued guidance for local authorities on extending the Blue Badge scheme to people with non-visible disabilities.
A total of 73 stations will also benefit from accessible routes to and between every platform under the government’s £300 million Access for All fund.


Marches partnership unveils low-carbon strategy

A 10-year energy plan to create 1,000 low-carbon jobs and slash emissions has been unveiled by a local enterprise partnership (LEP).

The Marches LEP, which covers Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, aims to see half the region’s electricity generated by renewable sources by 2030.

The strategy also involves developing a pilot project for overcoming disruption to the National Grid as well as developing the region as a national centre of innovation in agriculture and low-carbon transition.

It aims to cut carbon emissions, excluding agriculture, by 57 per cent from 1990 levels in line with UK targets while fuel poverty will be reduced below 10 per cent.

“The Marches is an area with ambitious growth plans – we want to create 58,700 new jobs and 54,400 new homes over the next 20 years – and energy is a vital component in making sure we can meet those targets,” said LEP chairman Graham Wynn.

“The current energy infrastructure is already at capacity in many areas and while this is a threat to plans it is also an opportunity for us to invest in innovative solutions which also meet some of the environmental challenges facing us all.”


Barking estate regeneration enters new phase

Wates Residential is to carry out a £55 million project for the next major phase of rebuilding the Gascoigne estate in Barking.

The work was awarded under a framework by Be First, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s regeneration company, which is delivering a £1 billion programme to regenerate the town centre in the next four years.

Under phase one, part of the 1960s estate will be redeveloped with 200 new homes. More than 526 homes are eventually planned across the estate in 11 buildings, of which 65 per cent will be affordable or shared ownership with the remainder for private sale,

The framework is designed to accelerate development and growth in the borough. As part of the project Wates Residential will also deliver a lasting legacy for the community through investment in education, skills and training.


Newcastle affordable homes scheme under way

A £6.9 million scheme to deliver 46 affordable homes in Newcastle has begun.

The development in Kenton will include family homes, accommodation for the elderly and bungalows for people with learning disabilities, autism or both, who need support to live independently. The project includes bungalows and flats available for affordable rent by people aged 55 or over as well as a mix of 21 two, three and four-bedroom homes.

The scheme is a key project identified by Newcastle City Council as a priority in its housing statement for 2017-20.

Gateshead-based Tolent was awarded the contract and work is expected to be completed in early 2020.

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