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News in brief: Plans unveiled for historic Leicester city centre site; Liverpool city region consults on Local Transport Plan

Words: Huw Morris

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 17 May, 2022

Plans unveiled for historic Leicester city centre site

Plans for the major regeneration of the Corah site in Leicester’s city centre through a mixed-use scheme have been unveiled.

A hybrid planning application, by Cityregen Leicester and Galliford Try Investments, outlines up to 1,187 homes on the site of the 19th-century former knitwear factory, which is one of the last large regeneration sites in single ownership in the city.

The plans include developing a retail and leisure scheme as well as a significant public realm in the city centre. Full planning permission is sought to demolish nearly all buildings and construction of a first phase six-storey building of 44 one and two-bed flats.

The applicants say the Corah site’s industrial heritage will be enhanced, with the principal façade of the Old Textile Building – the oldest building on the site – and two historic chimneys to the rear of the site retained.
The plans will open up the Corah site to the public for the first time and create a linear park link between Abbey Park and the city centre via a new pedestrian bridge.


Urban warehouse network planned across the UK

Global real estate investment manager Invesco Real Estate and logistics specialist Barwood Capital have formed a partnership to build a portfolio of up to eight urban and ‘last mile’ industrial and logistics warehouses across the UK. 

The strategic partnership will focus on creating sustainable industrial warehouses through speculative development, asset management or “re-positional opportunities”, concentrating on locations with strong rental growth prospects and occupier demand. The total market value of the network is expected to be around £300 million.

“With further pressure on global supply chains, we recognise the need for ‘edge of town’ distribution assets as many firms reshape their operations to address the challenges of the ‘just in time’ delivery model,” said Invesco Real Estate Europe managing director Andy Rofe.

The partnership has acquired its first two assets, which include a 1.61-hectare site next to Manchester’s Trafford Retail Park to develop a multi-unit scheme as well as a consented 2.1ha site in Coventry, close to Junction 3 of the M6, where construction is set to start in July.

Barwood Capital director Edward Henson said “demand for industrial space remains strong across the UK regions” and the partnership would “unlock development and asset management opportunities and capture the supply/demand imbalance that exists in key locations”.


Former RTPI president Brian Raggett passes

Brian Raggett, RTPI president in 1999-2000, has passed away. A memorial service will take place at the Park Crematorium in Aldershot tomorrow (18 May) at 3pm.

Born in 1955, Brian was very active in the RTPI in the 1990s and elected president for the year 1999-2000. He spent a good part of his career with Hillier Parker advising local authorities on retail schemes and later on became a partner with Strutt and Parker. A specialist in retail and high street planning, Brian contributed to reports and gave evidence to Parliamentary committees on a number of occasions.

Details of the service and donations to The Encephalitis Society and the Brain Tumour charity are available here.


Liverpool city region consults on Local Transport Plan

A public consultation has been launched across the Liverpool city region into the latest Local Transport Plan (LTP). The new plan, which will replace plans published in 2011, will be the city region’s fourth LTP, and help to shape future improvements to the transport network until 2040.

The plan will be designed to align with wider ambitions, particularly the goal of making the city region achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 at the latest as well as metro mayor Steve Rotheram’s aims for a London-style transport system. It also aims to support economic recovery, sustainable growth and development in line with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Plan for Prosperity, Climate Action Plan and Spatial Development Strategy. The city region’s £710 million sustainable transport settlement will be used to help draw down future funds to deliver the transport vision.

“The upcoming LTP will play a huge part in shaping how we take our city region transport network forward in the coming years,” said Liam Robinson, the combined authority’s transport portfolio holder. “This will affect all city region residents, so we’re keen to make sure we get as many views on the draft plan as possible.”

In March, the combined authority signed off on proposals for a franchising system as the preferred method of running bus services in the six boroughs, the biggest shake-up in Merseyside’s transport since the 1980s.
The consultation runs until July 31.


Commission launched to shape London’s built environment future

Business campaign group London First has launched a Place Commission to produce a framework and make recommendations to evolve the capital’s built environment as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Underpinned by research and analysis by Deloitte, the London First Place Commission will be chaired by Francis Salway, Landsec’s former chief executive. It will bring together leading businesses such as SEGRO, Grosvenor, the Crown Estate, Arup, Imperial College London and other prominent firms in the hospitality, legal and housing sectors, to consider how the capital’s built environment should evolve to help people thrive and business to succeed.

London First said the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted some of the highest levels of change in the use of buildings since the UK’s de-industrialisation in the 1980s, with many offices no longer at total capacity and the decrease in footfall having knock-on effects on retail and hospitality. London’s Central Activities Zone saw a higher drop in footfall than other UK and global cities, leading to a 60 per cent decline in retail transactions between January and July 2020. 

The campaign group warns that without intervention and the creation of a new plan for London’s built environment, there is a risk of the capital falling behind its international counterparts.

“London’s evolution as a place is vital to the city’s future economic success and its global competitiveness,” said London First chief executive John Dickie. “Decisions made now will affect how we live, work and socialise in the capital for decades to come, so it is critical that we get them right.

“The business leaders on our commission will look at new trends and old challenges to set a fresh vision and programme of action for London to make it a better place.”


Pilot scheme to test net-zero homes ahead of standard 

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has announced a pilot scheme with residential developer Croudace Homes, to evaluate the impact of net-zero homes ahead of the introduction of the Future Homes Standard.

The scheme will see Croudace design and construct 10 ‘net-zero ready’ properties on its strategic site at Willowbrook Park in Didcot.

These properties will be developed and fitted with modern technologies including air source heat pumps and underfloor heating, to meet the Future Homes Standard. This will require all new-build homes built from 2025 onwards to be future-proofed with high levels of energy efficiency and low-carbon heating. The new homes will form part of a community to be developed by Croudace.

Once the homes are sold, with the consent of their new owners, BRE will evaluate the buildings’ performance against the Future Homes Standard.

BRE will monitor their internal environment, energy consumption and effect on occupiers’ lifestyles.


Modular homes firm goes into administration

A modular homes business that is part of a £55 million joint venture to install factory-built homes at Wirral Waters has gone into administration.

House by Urban Splash, which de-merged from the wider Urban Splash group in 2019, has already installed 30 modular homes at East Float in Wirral Waters in partnership with Peel L&P. A planning application had been submitted last week for another 50 homes on the site as part of a phased project that will eventually see 351 modular homes installed.

House by Urban Splash is a joint venture between Urban Splash shareholders, Japanese modular firm Sekisui and Homes England. It has collapsed because of what is described as “operational issues” at its factory in Alfreton in Derbyshire.

Teneo has been appointed as administrator for the business. Joint administrator Adrian Berry said it would look at “providing a platform to complete certain developments and explore sale options for the factory and the other development sites”. House by Urban Splash has also created modular homes for sites in Port Loop in Birmingham, New Islington in Manchester and Grappenhall Woods in Warrington. 

Urban Splash said the appointment of the administrator had “no impact” on the wider group or its operations, “which continue to run successfully”.

Image credit | trabantos, Shutterstock