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News in brief: Inspectors reduce green belt release in Leeds plan; Modular builder selected for Homes England Cambridgeshire base

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 8 January, 2019

Inspectors reduce green belt release in Leeds plan

Two planning inspectors have indicated that fewer green belt sites need to be released in Leeds City Council’s Site Allocations Plan (SAP).

The SAP identifies locations for new housing and development in the city to 2023.

Inspectors Claire Sherratt DIP URP MRTPI and Louise Gibbons BA Hons MRTPI said the plan and the allocations set out in it for employment, green space and retail are appropriate and “sound”. They accepted the council’s overall direction for housing.

However, Sherratt and Gibbons concluded that fewer green belt sites need to be released, therefore two proposed sites at Parlington and Stourton Grange would not be considered for development this time.

Subject to a number of modifications being consulted on and possibly amended, the SAP is considered sound.


Modular builder selected for Homes England Cambridgeshire base

Homes England has chosen off-site construction specialist McAvoy Group to create its office at the new town of Northstowe in Cambridgeshire.

Architect Proctor and Mathews designed the two-storey building, which will mean Homes England staff will be on site as the government agency leads the project to deliver 8,500 homes in the centre of the new town.

Paul Kitson, general manager for Homes England in the South East, said: “Homes England champions MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) as a means of increasing building productivity and improving energy efficiency.

“Opting for an office built using MMC shows our strong commitment to non-traditional building methods.”


40,000 sign up for Right to Build

More than 40,000 people have signed up to Right to Build register in England since 1 April 2016.

This is according to research by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA).

The organisation said that while it is happy to see growth in the number of people registering, “it remains the case that the numbers remain far short of the real underlying demand”. It believes this is because of the lack of promotion of the registers by many local authorities.

NaCSBA research compiled using Freedom of Information requests to England’s 336 local authorities shows that while the first year of the registers saw few local authorities placing restrictions on joining, that number has now risen to at least one in four. These restrictions include local connection tests and charges to join and remain on registers.

NaCSBA said that it supports the fact that most councils are managing their registers as part of a wider suite of evidence for demand for custom and self-build, but in light of the uneven picture it plans to use this evidence to raise its concerns with the government.


South Bank site bought for leisure uses

Acorn Property Group and Galliard Homes have purchased three sites and a number of railway arches on London’s South Bank from Network Rail.

The Bear Lane and Chancel Street sites, close to the Tate Modern, are currently used for car parking, storage and workshops.

Plans are being drawn up to transform the sites, which total 0.24 acres, into a mixture of commercial and leisure uses to form a creative hub. These include office, gallery and creative retail space.


Science park application submitted in Swindon

A planning application has been submitted to the council for Swindon Science Park.

The application was submitted by planning consultancy Turley on behalf of packaging supplier Wasdell Group.

The proposed site is at Inlands Farm, Wanborough, which is 300 metres south of the New Eastern Villages strategic allocation and just north of junction 15 of the M4. The application aims to deliver “cutting-edge” facilities for R&D and high-tech manufacturing, and meet Wasdell Group’s own requirements to meet its existing needs and projected growth.

The park will also feature low-density green spaces, footpaths, cycleways and water features, with just 14 per cent of the site set to be built on.


Jobs to be created at Ebbsfleet

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation’s planning committee has approved plans to demolish the Rod End Industrial Estate in Northfleet and replace it with new buildings.

Benrose Property’s plans will increase the commercial floor space and could see up to 90 jobs created.

Only a quarter of the site is currently occupied but when complete the estate will have 19 new units.

A scheme for 100 homes on land at Craylands Lane in Ebbsfleet Garden City has also been approved. Bellway Homes will build 50 houses and 50 apartments including 30 affordable homes. The land has not been used in a decade since it was occupied by a plant hire company.


WSP to develop transport strategy for South East

Transport for the South East has appointed consultancy WSP to develop a new transport strategy to help to unlock growth in the South East.

Over the course of the next 18 months, WSP will work jointly with Steer (formerly Steer Davies Gleave) to develop a strategy that will consider transport in the South East up to 2050 to unlock growth and deliver increased productivity.

Covering environmentally sensitive areas such as the North and South Downs, the transport strategy will consider the environmental and ecological aspects and bring together 16 local transport authorities and five Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to enable more effective scheme development.

As part of the framework, WSP will be the lead consultant on freight logistics and future mobility.

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