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News in brief: MPs launch inquiry into land value capture; Kier and Eiffage joint partners on HS2

Words: Laura Edgar
Land use / Shutterstock_403844356

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 23 January, 2018

MPs launch inquiry into land value capture

The Communities and Local Government Committee has announced that it will examine the effectiveness of current land value capture methods.

It will consider the need for new ways of capturing any uplift in the value of land associated with planning approval or nearby infrastructure improvements.

The committee has invited written submissions on:

  • Are current methods, such as the Community Infrastructure Levy, planning obligations, land assembly and compulsory purchase adequate to capture increases in the value of land?
  • What new methods may be employed to achieve land value capture and what examples exist of effective practice in this area, including internationally?
  • What are the possible advantages and disadvantages in adopting alternative and more comprehensive systems of land value capture?
  • What lessons may be learned from past attempts to capture the uplift in value?

To submit a response, please visit the UK Parliament website.


Kier and Eiffage joint partners on HS2

Construction company Kier has announced that it and civil engineering company Eiffage are now 50/50 joint venture partners on HS2, delivering two of the seven civil engineering packages, lots C2 and C3.

This follows the collapse of Carillion last week, which went into compulsory liquidation.

In July 2017, the Department for Transport named the firm as one that would deliver HS2, alongside Kier and Eiffage.

All 51 Carillion employees, including apprentices, working on the joint venture have been offered the opportunity to join Kier and Eiffage.

At Highways England, Kier has assumed full responsibility for the smart motorway schemes on which it had been working in joint venture with Carillion. All employees currently working on the schemes have been offered the opportunity to join Kier.


Thames footbridge plans submitted in Hounslow

Moxon Architects and engineer consultancy CampbellReith have submitted a planning application for a new footbridge beneath the existing grade II listed Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, to the London Borough of Hounslow.

The proposal responds to a call from the council to build a pedestrian bridge linking two sections of the Thames Path.

It forms part of a wider scheme that aims to enhance Duke’s Meadows and encourage sustainable modes of transport.

The structure is a ‘half through’ truss form with distinctive bracing members angled to maximise oblique views to the river.

The design takes into account the surrounding ecology by carefully positioning a minimum number of supports along the riverbank. Additionally, it will feature energy-efficient lighting and robust finishes, such as stainless steel and aluminium, to reduce the maintenance required over its expected 100+ year lifetime.


Renewable energy trade body gives evidence to MPs

Renewable energy trade association RenewableUK has given evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee on the cost-effectiveness of wind, wave and tidal energy.

The evidence forms part of the committee’s inquiry into the Cost of Energy Review conducted by Professor Dieter Helm.

RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck told the committee that an energy system led by renewables is the lowest cost option for the UK.

“A smart energy system can deliver consumers savings of £8 billion a year between now and 2030.”

When questioned on how consumers can benefit from the rapid falls we have seen in the cost of renewables, Pinchbeck said: “Competitive auctions for Contracts for Differences (CfDs) are the best way to lock in low-cost energy for consumers, with offshore wind delivering cost reductions unprecedented in any other sector.”

Pinchbeck emphasised how important it is that the government take another look at onshore wind and start running a pot 1 auction.

“That would deliver onshore wind at under £50 per megawatt hour – cheaper than gas. It's extraordinary that onshore wind isn't allowed to compete for CfDs. Government could clarify how the £557 million of funding for pot 2 CfD auctions is going to be spent, as that will help the supply chain to gear up.”


Derby council appoints consultant to deliver retail study

Derby City Council has appointed planning consultancy Nexus Planning as lead consultant to deliver a retail and centres study.

The study will assess the role and function of the city’s existing centres and consider potential strategies to ensure that the council is able to appropriately meet residents’ future shopping and leisure needs.

Nexus Planning said it would undertake a series of health checks to understand the vitality and viability of the city’s retail centres, and use a survey to understand current trends and future capacity to support additional retail and leisure floor space.

The existing Derby City Centre Masterplan will be the subject of a comprehensive review to prioritise investment and ensure that its findings remain viable.

Nexus Planning will work with a wider project team, including chartered surveyors Aspinall Verdi and transport consultancy Curtins.


Northamptonshire quarry site bought

Graham Churchill Plant Limited has purchased the former Astwick Quarry site in Northamptonshire.

The sale was overseen by rural agent Fisher German.

The site has been the subject of ongoing work and planning negotiation for a number of years, having been used to provide stone for the M40 in the late 1980s.

In 2010, planning consent was granted to de-fish, de-water and fill the 18-acre quarry site with inert waste so the plans could move forward.

Despite time running out on the three-year limit to complete the work – meaning planning consent would have to be secured again – Fisher German said employee Paul Clayson, based in the Banbury office, pushed for the plan to be followed through.

This led to the sale of the land to Graham Churchill Plant Limited, who will continue the transformation work. Around six of the 18 acres on site are to be filled with water and the result will be a series of three carp lakes, fishing platforms, a fisherman’s hut, landscaping and roads.

Fisher German has sold development land in the village of Marchington, East Staffordshire, to housebuilder Chevin Homes. The site has outline planning permission for five detached family homes.

Image credit | Shutterstock