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News in brief: Hills joins Labour Party policy committee

Words: Laura Edgar
Victoria Hills

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 17 July, 2018

Hills joins Labour Party policy committee

RTPI chief executive Victoria Hills has been invited to join the Labour Party’s Planning Commission.

The commission aims to help shape the party’s planning policy for the next general election, with an emphasis on local plan-making.

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, shadow planning minister, said Hills’ expertise, both as a planner and as the chief executive of the RTPI, “will be invaluable as we begin discussions to help shape Labour’s planning policy”.

“Our aim is to ensure local communities are at the heart of the planning agenda by developing a set of proposals for a new system of local plan-making.”

Hills added: “I am delighted to join this important group to help shape Labour’s planning agenda. Our members are at the coal face of the planning system and – uniquely – I will be able to bring their expertise to the policymaking table.”


Portsmouth uni’s sports facility approved

Portsmouth City Council has approved plans for an inclusive and sustainable sports facility at the University of Portsmouth.

Designed by FaulknerBrown, the facility is the first major phase of the university’s estate masterplan, which aims to reshape its city centre campus to enhance student experience and strengthen connections with the rest of the city.

The new facility will include a 25 metre, eight-lane swimming pool, an eight badminton court sports hall, a 175-station fitness suite, multifunctional studios, climbing and bouldering facilities, two flexible squash courts, a ski simulator, teaching facilities and office space.


Coalville homes approved

Planning permission has been granted to Avant Homes for its plans to build 166 new homes on land of Greenhill Road in Coalville, Leicestershire.

The applicant resubmitted an application to North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) after it breached a previous approval by starting work on site before it had satisfied planning conditions.

Outline planning permission for new homes on the site was granted in January 2017, with a further reserved matters application approved in February 2018, subject to conditions.

In April this year the NWLDC Environmental Protection team was notified of earth-moving and work to trees taking place, which was against some of the conditions attached to the planning permission.

The enforcement team acted immediately to stop the work, but the Avant Homes was required to resubmit its application to vary some of the original conditions and allow them to remove some of the trees on the site.

The planning committee agreed that, as the principle of residential development had already been established, it was prepared to grant the permission. The development will be monitored closely to ensure that there are no further breaches of planning consent.


Joint venture signed for regeneration of Barnstaple building

Acorn Property Group and Wessex Investors have signed a joint venture for plans to redevelop the grade II listed Oliver Buildings in Barnstaple.

Alongside an adjacent new building, the proposals are set to create 29 one, two and three-bedroom apartments and two and three-bed duplexes. Over 13,500 square feet of commercial space will be provided on the ground floor.

The design review panel at North Devon Council has considered the development plans. A planning application is expected in the autumn.


Transport consulting firm in brand change

Transport consulting firm Steer Davies Gleave has announced it has changed its name to Steer.

The company said the move is designed to reflect its “expanding” international footprint and “growing” project portfolio into sectors outside of transport, including fuel, power and economic development.

Transport will remain at the core of the business.

Steer will remain independent, employee-owned and impartial, with no external shareholders, it said.


Spitalfields House renovation to go ahead

The City of London Corporation has granted approval for Seaforth Land’s plans to renovated Spitalfield House in London E1.

Working with ODOS Architects and Groupwork + Amin Taha, Seaforth Land aims to renovate and reposition the 47,555 square feet building by improving the common areas, building services and the overall tenant experience in the property.

Spitalfields House was built in 1992 and provides five upper floors of office space along with a combination of retail and office space on the ground and lower-ground floors.

Visitors and employees working in the building will benefit from new retail, reception and café spaces at ground level.

The office spaces and roof terraces will also be renovated, and new basement bicycle storage and shower and locker facilities will be provided. The building exterior will also be refurbished.


Croydon homes approved

The London Borough of Croydon Council has granted planning permission for bptw partnership’s design for a 26-storey residential building on Wellesley Road.

Cambridge House is a scheme for Notting Hill Genesis. Plans include 92 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, of which 45 per cent will be for shared ownership.

Henry Construction has recently been appointed as contractor to deliver the scheme.

Image credit | Akin Falope