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23/02/2021

News in brief: National park approves affordable homes; Council submits plans for a relief road

Words: Laura Edgar
Affordable housing / Shutterstock_176229827

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 23 February, 2021

National park approves affordable homes

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee has approved an application to build five affordable homes in the village of Bainbridge in mid-Wensleydale.

As some residents brought a legal challenge against earlier plans, Hornblower Developments Ltd brought a fresh application seeking to build the homes for shared ownership in partnership with a housing association.

The committee has also approved an application to erect a phone mast in the national park for 5G technology.

 

Council submits plans for a relief road

Shropshire Council has submitted a planning application for the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road (NWRR).

The application aims to reduce journey times, traffic congestion, pollution and noise in Shrewsbury and in a number of surrounding communities. It also seeks to accommodate planned economic growth.

If approved, the relief road would consist of a new, single carriageway road linking the northern and western parts of Shrewsbury, with new bridges over the River Severn and its floodplain and the Shrewsbury-Chester railway line.

It would also connect the A5 at Welshpool Road roundabout west of Shrewsbury to the Ellesmere Road roundabout to the town’s north.

The cost of constructing the relief road is estimated to be £87.1 million. In March 2019 the Department for Transport awarded £54 million towards the total costs, while the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has awarded £4.2 million. The council will provide the rest through developer and other contributions.

 

Residents’ views sought on Surrey infrastructure schemes

Surrey County Council is seeking the views of residents for two major infrastructure schemes, as its cabinet prepares to discuss how best to prioritise future work. Communities along the A320 are being asked for their views on the route.

Surrey County Council and Runnymede Borough Council want to hear how active travel could be improved along the A320, which is part of a programme of planned highways improvements between Ottershaw and Chertsey. This includes facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

The planned improvements also aim to help manage traffic as  new homes will be built in the area over the next 10 years. An online survey is available until Sunday March 14. The survey can be found here.

Farnham residents can now comment on an early consultation on a new infrastructure plan that comprises proposals for the town centre, northern and southern areas of the town, the A31 corridor as well as Farnham-wide.

The plans intend to reduce congestion, improve air quality, tackle climate change and encourage people to use sustainable alternatives to the car whenever they can.

The plan is the latest step in the Farnham Infrastructure Programme – a partnership between Surrey County Council, Waverley Borough Council, Farnham Town Council and Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt.

The consultation closes on Sunday 14 March. It can be found here.

 

Active travel contributes £1.9 billion to Scottish economy

People who used Scotland’s National Walking and Cycling Network (NWCN) spent £1.9 billion in the local economy in 2019.

A report from NatureScot, Sustrans and Scottish Canals demonstrates the benefits of the network for the economy, tourism, health and wellbeing.

The network includes Scotland’s Great Trails, the National Cycle Network and Scottish Canals towpaths and stretches 6,879km across the country.

Walkers and cyclists made 145.1 million trips on the network in 2019, spending almost £2 billion and supporting around 27,500 jobs.

According to the report, using the routes and the associated reduction in car travel is estimated to have contributed another £108 million to the economy, in particular, to improved health outcomes.

Walking and cycling trips on the network are estimated as taking 19.5 million car journeys off the road over the year, saving 7.1 million kg of CO2e.

Read the full report on the NatureScot website.

 

Taunton Debenhams threatened with demolition

The Twentieth Century Society, alongside other heritage groups and local campaigners, has expressed its opposition to plans to demolish the Debenhams department store in Taunton, Somerset.

Developers Ropemaker Properties plans to deliver 92 residential apartments across four floors in a new building on North Street, as well as commercial ground-floor space, parking and associated landscaping, if approved.

C20 Society caseworker Coco Whittaker said: “We believe the existing building could be sympathetically converted for residential use and need not be demolished. The store makes a great contribution to the streetscape and has an interesting history, being built in two phases.”

The Debenhams department store building comprises numbers 19 to 26 on North Street. It was built following the redevelopment of a number of properties and on completion it provided shop floors, showrooms and offices for Messrs W. & A. Chapman, a department store originally established in 1864.

The current building was built in two phases, partly in 1938 and then expanded in the 1960s when Debenhams took over.

The Ancient Monuments Society and the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society also object to the development plans.

 

BPF appoints retail board chair

Allan Lockhart, chief executive of NewRiver REIT, has been appointed as chair of the British Property Federation (BPF) Retail Board.

Launched in January 2021, the board’s aim is to drive the strategic agenda for the UK retail property sector and to ensure that the views of retail property are better heard and understood by both central and regional governments.

This comes as the sector deals with the impact of Covid-19 and adjusts to structural changes.

Lockhart has over 25 years of experience in the UK real estate market specialising in the retail sector. He started his career with Strutt & Parker in 1988, advising major property companies and institutions on retail investment and development. In 2009 he co-founded NewRiver Retail, which has a portfolio of 33 community shopping centres and 24 retail parks.

In 2021, Lockhart and the board will focus on:

  • Championing the role of retail property investment in creating vibrant communities and helping to ensure that it remains an attractive asset class for investors.
  • Leading the retail property response to the government’s review of the commercial property owner-occupier relationship to help shape a modern, fit-for-purpose legislative framework.
  • Ensuring retail property rises to the challenge of net-zero carbon.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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