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News in brief: Powers to take down ‘pointless’ road signs to come into force; Wind farm leads to reduction of breeding birds, says study

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 19 April, 2016

Powers to take down ‘pointless’ road signs to come into force

New powers for councils to take down “pointless” road signs come into force on 22 April.

According to the government, the number of road signs on the roads more than doubled in England, from 2.54 million in 1993 to 4.57 million in 2013.

The new, “simpler” rules will give town halls the power to take down unnecessary signs.

Signs that say ‘new layout ahead’ on them will have remove-by dates on the back of them so they don’t remain in place for too long.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Road signs should only be installed on our roads when they are essential. Our common sense reforms will help get rid of pointless signs that are an eyesore and distract drivers.

“These new rules will also save £30 million in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely.”

Wind farm leads to reduction of breeding birds, says study

The number of breeding birds has “significantly reduced” since the construction of a wind farm in the north of Scotland, according to an RSPB study.

RSPB Scotland scientists, funded by SSE, studied golden plovers at the Gordonbush wind farm in Sutherland for five years, before, during and after construction.

According to the research, the number of plovers, which are protected under the European Birds Directive, dropped by 80 per cent within the wind farm during 2012 and 2013 – the first two years of its operation.

Lead researcher Dr Alex Sansom said: “Golden plovers breed in open landscapes and it is likely that the presence of wind turbines in these areas leads to birds avoiding areas around the turbines. This study shows that such displacement may cause large declines in bird numbers within wind farms.

“It will be important to examine whether these effects are maintained over the longer term at this site, and we should also use these detailed studies to examine the effects of wind farms on other bird species.”

More on this can be found here. 

Plymouth department store green-lit

Plymouth City Council has granted planning permission to Thames Bank Property for the £50 million redevelopment of the former Derry’s Department Store.

Planning and development consultant Iceni Projects advised on the scheme. The 300,000 square foot scheme includes the delivery of 500 student accommodation beds, a 100-bed hotel and 60,000 square feet of commercial space.

The project is due to start on site in early 2017 and has an estimated completion date of August 2018.

Barking build-to-rent scheme approved

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has granted planning permission for a build-to-rent scheme in Barking.

Iceni Projects, planning and development consultant, advised on the scheme. The plans include 597 homes specifically designed for rent, public open space and commercial space.

Planning officers recommended it for approval and the plans will now be referred to the Greater London Authority.

L&Q buy Garratt Place, Wandsworth

L&Q has purchased Garratt Place from Wandsworth Council and South Thames College and plans to regenerate the site.

Law firm Winckworth Sherwood advised L&Q on the acquisition.

L&Q, a London housing association and developer, plans to create a community that will include 200 new homes, an improved public library, new shops and improved teaching facilities at South Thames College.

The development has a value of £150 million, according to Winckworth Sherwood.

Permission secured for 69 Newhey homes

Rochdale’s Pennines Township Planning Committee has approved Countryside Properties’ plans for 69 dwellings on the former Coral Mill site in Newhey.

Nexus Planning, a planning and regeneration consultancy, secured the permission for Countryside Properties.

The development will consist of a mix of family housing and apartments for the private rented sector and will be built on a cleared mill site.

Mendip’s first neighbourhood plan to go to referendum

The Frome Neighbourhood Plan will be the first plan in Mendip to go to a referendum.

Frome Town Council has prepared the plan in consultation with residents and community organisations. It includes policies on housing and design.

The public referendum, which is the last stage before the plan can be put to use, will be held this autumn. More than 50 per cent of voters must approve the plan before it can become part of the area’s development plan.

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