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News in brief: Landmark Supreme Court ruling on Essex town or village green registration; Town centre ‘vision’ published for Liverpool region

Words: Laura Edgar
Mistley Port / iStock-476747168

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 16 February, 2021

Landmark Supreme Court ruling over Essex town or village green registration

An area concreted over at the Port of Mistley, a working commercial port in Essex, was correctly registered by the county council as a town and village green, the Supreme Court has ruled.

TWL Logistics Ltd owns and operates the port and uses the land in question for the movement of port vehicles, including heavy goods vehicles, and the temporary storage of cargo on the quayside.

Concurrently with these commercial activities, the land has also been used by local inhabitants to walk dogs, to stop and chat on the quayside, and for general recreation.

These two sets of activities have coexisted for many years, the Supreme Court noted after  dismissing the challenge brought by the landowner which sought to overturn earlier rulings in both the High Court and subsequently the Court of Appeal.

Eight years ago, the council appointed a planning inspector to consider whether the land could be registered as a town or village green. He confirmed that the registration, albeit not the whole area originally proposed.


Town centre ‘vision’ published for Liverpool region

Liverpool City Region has published a vision that aims to deliver “prosperous, future-proof local town centres” to drive the city region’s post-Covid recovery.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority established an independent commission to set out the vision and is composed of leading figures across the business, public and third sectors and chaired by Dr Sarah Longlands, director of the think-tank IPPR North.

Alongside IPPR North, the commission undertook research that found the Covid-19 pandemic has had a “very severe impact” on the Liverpool City Region, accelerating a number of the challenges that local town centres have faced in recent years, like retail decline.

It also found that town centres are vital to communities and the economy.

To achieve towns that anchor, belong and connect, the commission has set out its recommendations to policymakers, including:

  • Revenue investment that maximises the value of capital projects, to sustain them over time and let them develop and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Encouragement and opportunities for creative and cultural businesses, social enterprise and diverse entrepreneurship, including small scale grants and loans.
  • Innovation in funding, ownership, design and the use of space such as encouraging pop-up spaces for community activity, local businesses or public service delivery; and ensuring vacant land is well-managed and activated to contribute positively to town centres until its future use is decided.
  • Policymaking that puts people first in town centres – for example, making health and wellbeing a key aim of policy, helping people to build skills for jobs in their local area, and giving local people more control over their town centre’s future through cooperative planning.


Six-storey scheme approved in Leicester

Urban planning consultancy Hybrid Planning & Development has secured permission for a six-storey residential development in Leicester city centre.

The consultancy worked on behalf of a private developer and alongside Leicester-based architects, InkDrawn.

The scheme involves the construction of 21 one and two-bedroom apartments and associated amenities on a derelict brownfield site, which is on the corner of Jarvis Street and All Saints Road in the city centre.

All apartments will be accessible to wheelchairs and in the framework of Building for Life standards, according to Hybrid Planning & Development.

The development also includes a ground-floor lobby, communal lounge, cycle storage, refuse storage and visitor car parking.


Lewes outlines climate strategy

Lewes District Council has launched a climate change and sustainability strategy that aims to ensure that the council is net-zero carbon and fully climate resilient by 2030.

The council declared a climate emergency in July 2019. This triggered 18 months of work, auditing the council and wider district’s carbon footprint as well as extensive consultation with individuals and organisations across East Sussex through a series of sustainability panels involving experts in the field and the Climate Action Forum.

According to the analysis, buildings and transport are the largest sources of emissions. The council’s emissions for 2018/19 were 1,590 tonnes of CO2, and 458,000 tonnes (based on 2017 data) for the district as a whole.

Matt Bird, cabinet member for sustainability, said: “The Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy provides a comprehensive evidence base for carbon emissions in both the council and the district and underpins the many actions laid out in the action plan and sets out the pathway to a climate-resilient future in the district.”

The Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan can be found on the council website.


UK’s has battery storage pipeline 16GW

The UK has more than 16.1GW of battery storage capacity in operation, under construction or being planned, according to RenewableUK’s latest Energy Storage Project Intelligence report.

This comes from 729 projects.

RenewableUK’s previous report, which was published in December 2019, identified a total pipeline of 10.5GW across 600 energy storage projects.

The 2021 document shows that 1.1GW of battery storage capacity is currently operational compared with 0.7GW identified in December 2019. Capacity for about 0.6GW is under construction, 8.3GW of capacity is consented, and 1.6GW is in the planning system.

In addition, 4.5GW are identified as being at an early stage of development.


Team appointed to deliver Folkestone town plan

Folkestone and Hythe District Council has appointed We Made That to deliver a place plan for Folkestone town centre that rebalances the relationship between the seafront and the rest of the town.

To deliver a plan that holistically considers the needs of the town as a whole, We Made That said it has brought together a team of specialists: transport and infrastructure consultants Steer, socio-economic analysts PRD, and professional licensing policy advisers from the Night Time Industries Association. Fletcher Priest architects are also on the team.

Holly Lewis, co-founding partner of We Made That, said: “Our team is excited to build on the enthusiasm of the people of Folkestone for their town centre and work together with them to produce a clear plan for its future that encompasses public spaces, roads, development and new activities.”


Affordable homes approved in Peckham Rye

Southwark Council has granted planning permission for an affordable housing development in Peckham Rye, on Metropolitan Open Land that is derelict.

The permission will see Studio Givanni and Rye Hill Developments Ltd deliver “much-needed” family housing and a new publicly accessible pocket park.

The six-storey building will comprise nine three-bed dual aspect apartments for family use and one two-bed flat on the ground floor that has been designed for a disabled resident.

The development has been designated as 100 per cent affordable housing, 40 per cent of which will be for social rent.

Gianmaria Givanni, director of Studio Givanni said: “It has been a real pleasure to work closely with local residents and councillors to modify this project until it is absolutely tailored for its site. The design is simple and robust but with an elegance that we believe will mean that both the building and the pocket park become an important part of the surrounding community.”


Southampton sculpture listed

Historic England has agreed to the Twentieth Century Society’s application to list the Puy de Dôme sculpture, which sits next to Sir Basil Spence’s Nuffield Theatre at Southampton University.

The sculpture, by Frederick Edward McWilliam, has been listed as grade II.

It is sited in a shallow rectangular pool designed by Sir Basil Spence and is fixed on four points within the pool so that it rests just above the waterline, giving the impression that it is floating.

The relationship with the pool is therefore important to the work. It provides a mercurial base in which the weather produces changes in the character of the sculpture.

Basil Spence and Partners oversaw the university’s development plan in 1956. Spence was keen that alongside the new buildings, the campus should also feature sculpture and murals.

The sculpture was inspired by a visit to the Puy de Dôme in Auvergne, a rounded volcanic plug at the heart of France’s Massif Central.

The C20 Society also submitted a listing application for the adjacent Nuffield Theatre, but that was turned down.

Image credit | iStock