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News in brief: High Court rejects parish claim against school approval; Scottish housebuilders calls for reassurances from ministers

Words: Huw Morris

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

High Court rejects parish claim against school approval

A parish council’s bid to overturn planning permission for a primary school has been rejected by the High Court.

Lakenheath Parish Council had challenged Suffolk County Council’s approval for a 420-place primary and 30-place pre-school last year. The school is to accompany around 660 homes to be built in the village.

The parish council claimed that children’s human rights would be harmed by aircraft noise due to the proposed school’s location beneath the flight path to RAF Lakenheath.

But the High Court rejected the judicial review challenge after finding that Suffolk had considered the interests of pupils and surveyed seven other sites for the proposal. It ruled that high levels of local housing development meant the existing school is almost full and a new school would help meet the expected growth in the area.


Scottish housebuilders calls for reassurances from ministers

Senior members of housebuilding industry have held face-to-face talks with the Scottish Government to tackle fears about the planning system and Brexit uncertainty.

Homes for Scotland, which represents about 200 builders across sectors as well as their suppliers, met Aileen Campbell, cabinet secretary for communities and local government, last week.

“With overall housing delivery still 30 per cent below that of over a decade ago and latest figures showing a worrying drop in private sector activity, this is an absolutely crucial period – not only for those building the homes our growing population needs, but also in terms of wider social and economic implications,” said Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland.

“This point was impressed upon the cabinet secretary, as was our wish that all those who want to see housing supply increased unite with us around the primary goal of delivering more homes of all types.

“Clearly, a planning system that facilitates homebuilding is fundamental. Additionally, we must overcome the misconceptions many hold in relation to our industry and how it actually operates and navigates through what is an incredibly complex, costly and lengthy process.”


Pegasus wins permission for creative hub at ex-RAF base

Pegasus Group has secured planning permission for a major creative project to deliver economic diversity and new jobs to a former RAF base near York.

Selby District Council unanimously approved plans by Makin Enterprises to develop a creative hub on land at the former RAF Church Fenton airbase, already home to Yorkshire’s largest film studio.

The project, Create Yorkshire, aims to build on the success of the Church Fenton Studios with the redevelopment of a major brownfield site within the Leeds city region to provide enhanced opportunities for film and TV.

Temporary planning permission for commercial film-making and related tourism use was granted in 2015. The site is currently being used for commercial film-making and other creative businesses have been attracted to the area.

“The project will build on the reputation gained by the successful production of ITV’s Victoria at the site and it is hoped that the location could attract educational institutions with the potential for a campus on site,” said Chris Calvert, planning director at Pegasus Group’s Leeds office.

“The studios will sit alongside a creative industries employment campus and in total the scheme is predicted to bring about around 1,800 jobs to the region, fitting with the national and regional agenda for growth in this sector.”

Yorkshire and Humber is the UK’s fastest-growing region for film and TV, with industry growth rate more than double the national average. Between 2009 and 2015, it generated an annual turnover of £424 million across 590 creative businesses. According to government figures, the creative industries account for around 104,000 jobs in the region.


HTA Design masterplan for Newark estate wins planning approval

Newark and Sherwood District Council has granted outline planning approval for 325 homes at the Yorke Drive Estate in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.

Built in the 1960s, the 15.5-hectare estate has suffered a decline in its reputation and condition. HTA Design was commissioned to develop a masterplan through comprehensive public consultation to transform the perception and reality of the estate.

The approved designs involve the partial demolition and rebuilding of the estate, including new homes with a mix of tenures to meet modern space standards on underused land near local playing fields.

The proposals include a new access route, an avenue to connect a refurbished street and the public realm as well as improved sports and leisure facilities.

“Throughout the extensive consultation process we received public support for improving links to the surrounding area and facilitating additional development,” said HTA Design managing director Simon Bayliss. “We look forward to continuing our work with the council and local community to deliver this vision.”


Aylesbury Estate home construction contract awarded

Housing developer Hill has been awarded a £70 million contract to deliver the initial homes for the Aylesbury Estate regeneration in South London.

The Aylesbury Estate Regeneration neighbourhood is a long-term partnership between Notting Hill Genesis and the London Borough of Southwark.

Over the lifetime of the project, it will deliver more than 3,500 homes, half of which will be affordable housing. Of that half, 75 per cent will be available for social rent.

The £70 million contract will see 229 new homes built on a parcel of land, with 84 per cent of them be available for social rent, including 54 extra care units and seven homes for people with learning difficulties.

As part of the wider first development site of the Aylesbury estate regeneration, the land will contribute to more than 800 homes, a community facility and open space. It will also provide 224 sustained jobs, 98 apprenticeships and 105 training places for Southwark residents.


Balfour Beatty set to regenerate Olympic Park

Developer Balfour Beatty has secured more than £100 million in funding for a key regeneration project on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The company will work on phase one of the East Wick and Sweetwater development. The first of seven construction phases, it will see the delivery of four mixed-use buildings, including 302 apartments, townhouses and duplex residences as well as retail and leisure amenities.

The new neighbourhoods will contribute to the transformation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, providing 1,500 homes.

Balfour Beatty Investments, in a joint venture with social landlord Places for People, will provide equity for the building works with funding also provided by Homes England.

The project aims to achieve BREEM ‘excellent’ status and produce 302 zero-carbon homes. Around 20 per cent of the main building materials will also be made up from reused and recycled sources.

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