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News in brief: HM Land Registry launches real estate transaction service; Cumbrian coal mine plan goes ahead

Havering to have two planning committees / iStock-96502265

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday, 5 November 2019

HM Land Registry launches new services for complex commercial real estate transactions

HM Land Registry has announced a pair of new initiatives to support the registration of complex commercial real estate transactions. 

Commercial real estate lawyers and developers will now be able to use the pre-submission enquiry and application management service to support the due diligence process for complex developments.

Caroline Robinson, commercial real estate business development manager at Search Acumen, said: “Managing due diligence and planning around complex commercial real estate transactions can be fraught with risk. Relying on paper trails which take months to collate mean that problems can be overlooked, and issues not identified until a development is in process. This can often cost projects time and money.

“Law firms must begin to change their mindset and try and learn more from the outset of the project using digital data now available to them. This means embedded systems and processes reticent to change must be reassessed and data-driven approaches must be embraced. Being able to better identify future problems before building begins is invaluable.”

Cumbrian coal mine plan goes ahead as ministers launch global warming review

The UK’s first deep coal mine in decades is to go ahead after the government decided not to intervene.

In March, Cumbria County Council unanimously approved the West Cumbria Mining scheme near the site of the former Haig Colliery in Whitehaven, which was shut in 1986.

The move comes as the Treasury launched a major review that will determine how the UK ends its contribution to global warming.

The Woodhouse Colliery would extract coking coal from the seabed off St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells. The £165 million scheme could create around 500 jobs.

West Cumbria Mining hopes the mine will produce around 2.5 million tonnes of hard metallurgical coal a year for around 50 years. It said it will now “start the process of delivering on its plan to build one of the most modern mines in the world, supplying the UK and international steel industry, deliver hundreds of local jobs and deliver a first-class supply chain across the county”.

Warrington delays Local Plan until 2020

Warrington Borough Council’s Local Plan will not be published until next year as it reviews vital infrastructure to support new homes. Read story...

RTPI Cymru demands more detail on development framework

The Welsh Government’s draft National Development Framework (NDF) is a ‘welcome start’ to efforts to combat climate change but must be supported by stronger evidence, detail and clarity to guide decisions. Read story...

Tungsten agrees warehouse deal with Certikin International

Tungsten Properties has agreed a contract with swimming pool equipment manufacturer Certikin International for a new 125,000 square foot HQ warehouse at its 24 acre site in Witney, Oxfordshire.

Phase 1 is to consist of seven units totalling 289,442 sq ft ranging from 10,000 sq ft to 125,000 sq ft to include Certikin International’s new HQ. Phase 2 will be for up to a further seven units totalling 200,000 sq ft. The deal represents the largest land purchase to date for Tungsten Properties.

David Mole, associate director at Tungsten Properties, said: “Witney is a market starved of warehouse and office supply which has strong demand and needs to reduce out-commuting. We have had numerous discussions with local companies including many hi-tech firms which all confirm that their businesses are thriving and, through a combination of expansion and lease events, are now in discussions to take new space at Tungsten Park Witney on a design and build basis.”

Neil Murray, managing director at Certikin International, said they “hope to be in a position to move into the new building by the end of 2020”.

Curo secures planning permission for new park in Bath

Bath & North East Somerset Council has approved housebuilder Curo’s plans to create a new park at its development of almost 700 homes at Mulberry Park in Combe Down, Bath.

Curo is asking local residents to get involved in a competition to find a name for the new community open space.

The new park will include an equipped play area for ages two to 11, as well as a picnic zone, flexible event spaces, areas of wildflower meadow, sensory planting, and hedge and tree planting to encourage biodiversity. Curo will also look at developing a centrepiece for the park, such as a bandstand, to support cultural activities.

In addition, footpath links will facilitate access to the park from the development and the wider area, while the Woodland Walk, which will be created north of the park, will connect the community to other places in Bath via Pope’s Walk.

The park is set to open in 2022. 

Carter Jonas Brings Strood Waterfront development to market

National property consultancy Carter Jonas has brought the site of the former Civic Centre in Strood, Medway, to market on behalf of Medway Council. 

The site currently comprises a disused surface car park, but was previously home to council offices which were demolished a number of years ago. Medway Council recently completed a £3.5 million flood defence works project on the site and the neighbouring Strood Riverside to enable redevelopment.

The masterplan for the site indicates potential for over 550 residential units with new community facilities and supporting commercial, leisure and retail uses adjacent to the High Street and Rochester Bridge. 

The illustrative design sets the buildings – a mix of four to 11 storey apartment buildings and two- to three-storey townhouses – around a central public space and back from the riverside to create a new walkway. There is potential for a new footbridge to link the site to Jane’s Creek, extending the riverside walk and providing access to existing open space.

High Court revokes Bradford consent for inadequate information

The High Court has overturned Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s permission for a supermarket after ruling an officers’ report had failed to provide members with adequate information.

Bradford granted permission to the Co-operative Group and developer Dalehead Properties’ proposal to demolish a former fire station and replace it with a food store close to a conservation area at Haworth.

Officers argued the former fire station had no merit and the scheme would have no impact on a Grade II listed railway station, although it may impact on views the nearby Grade II listed Bridgehouse Mills.

James Hall and Company brought a judicial review of the decision, arguing the officers’ report to the council’s area planning committee had not considered the impact on the conservation area.

Upholding the challenge, Judge Belcher noted there was “no mention at all about heritage assets, no information about or assessment of the heritage assets and no indication of there being any duty to consider the Haworth Conservation Area or its setting”.

Judge Belcher also ruled that officers rather than councillors had taken the decision to grant consent.

"What has happened here is that officers have made the decision and, in effect, withdrawn it from the area planning panel," she ruled.

"By failing to make any mention of it in the officer's report, it cannot be said that the area planning panel has, by implication, agreed with the conclusions of the officers.”

Image credit | iStock