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News in brief: River Forth secures £1m restoration funds; Lichfield announces leisure project go ahead

River Forth / Scotland by Camera, Shutterstock_1580829886

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 2 November, 2021

River Forth secures £1m restoration funds

The EU MERLIN project has awarded £1 million to the River Forth’s catchment area to restore its peatlands and river.

The £18 million project aims to restore functions of freshwater and peatland ecosystems across Europe to help tackle the twin crises of nature loss and climate change, as well as ensure a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

NatureScot, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), the James Hutton Institute and the University of Stirling will work in partnership over the next four years to restore habitats across the Forth catchment area.

These will include restoring several peat bogs and its carbon stores. Connections between the Allan Water and its floodplain will be restored to contribute to natural flood management and the restoration of wetland habitats. The funding will also include long-term evaluation and monitoring of the restoration work.

Dr Iain Sime from NatureScot, said: “Through restoring and enhancing the natural habitats along the Forth, this exciting partnership project will play an important role in helping us mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce carbon emissions and reverse nature loss. This project will also provide us with important lessons to rapidly upscale the most valuable solutions in time to meet our net zero and biodiversity targets.”

Lichfield announces leisure project go-ahead

Lichfield District Council has confirmed that it will proceed to build new leisure facilities in Lichfield, despite not securing £5 million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The council says it has already “committed” £5 million towards the cost of new leisure facilities. A member task group will meet tomorrow (3 November) to discuss details of the recent consultation around the potential use of some of Stychbrook Park for new leisure facilities.  

Iain Eadie, councillor and cabinet member for leisure, said: “We are obviously extremely disappointed not to be awarded the funding from the Levelling Up Fund. However, we were always aware that as Lichfield was classified as a tier-three priority area our chances of support from this fund were limited. We have requested feedback from our bid that will be helpful with future applications from other funding opportunities.”

“We committed to invest in Friary Grange Leisure Centre and to keep it open, whilst we looked to deliver new leisure facilities. We did that and have a seven-year lease on the current centre meaning people will be able to use Friary Grange Leisure Centre for many years to come. We would like to get new facilities open as quickly as possible and will keep looking at how we can do that, alongside how we deliver regeneration in Lichfield District as a whole."

Lovell acquires housing land in Corby

Housing developer Lovell Partnerships will build 75 homes in Corby, Northamptonshire, following its acquisition of a 907-acre site from Urban&Civic.

The homes will be built on the Priors Hall Park site, which is positioned as England’s fastest area of development for business and employment

 Work on the site started last month, with Lovell Partnerships moving forward in delivering the  affordable housing to The Riverside Group and launching its open market sale under Lovell Homes.

The developer says it has committed to delivering 26 homes under the shared ownership scheme through Riverside Housing.  

Priors Hall will provide approximately 3,000 homes around the community and 25.5 acres of formal open spaces, sports pitches, nine acres of employment space and four new educational facilities. Planning has also been granted for another 45 affordable homes.

Nigel Wakefield, development director for Urban&Civic at Priors Hall Park, said: “Delivering high-quality mixed tenure homes is so important in creating sustainable communities and we are excited to welcome Lovell Partnerships to Priors Hall Park. These new affordable homes, in addition to the existing variety of homes already on offer, ensures Priors Hall Park is an attractive prospect for families looking to live in a place that boasts state of the art schools, local amenities, play areas and green spaces.”


Revised plans submitted for Southwark office building

A revised planning application has been submitted to the London Borough of Southwark for an office building.

Native Land and its partners are behind the application, which will be located in its 1.4 million-square-foot Bankside Yards development. It would be built on the corner of Southwark Street and Hopton Street SE1.

The grade A office will be 110,000 square feet in size. It will be known as Building 9, and Native Land said it would have enhanced sustainability features, both in construction and operation.

Planning consent for Building 9 was first approved in 2014. Changes include raising the height of the building from eight to 13 storeys and increasing affordable workspace by 68 per cent to 10,763 square foot.

Architects Stiff + Trevillion designed the plans as part of PLP Architecture’s Bankside Yards masterplan.


Householder applications to go digital in Barking and Dagenham

Householder planning applications in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham are going digital as Be First seeks to make the planning process more accessible and transparent.

Be First, which works in partnership with the council to deliver housing in the borough, has been awarded more than £100,000 from the the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities PropTech Engagement Fund.

The money will be invested into digital tools to improve public engagement in the planning process, including the development of an app to digitalise householder applications.


More than 200 homes approved in Bolton

Bolton Council has granted planning permission for housebuilder Bellway Homes to build 205 family homes at the former Horwich Loco Works.

The development forms the next phase of the £262 million Rivington Chase regeneration scheme.

The approval will also see the construction of the link road accelerated, with Bellway expected to begin construction of the northern section in early 2022. It will connect the site to Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich Parkway Railway Station and junction 6 of the M61.

The homes will be a mix of detached, semi-detached and mews housing; 50 will have four bedrooms, 144 three bedrooms, nine will have two bedrooms, and four will be one-bedroom.  

Image credit | Scotland by Camera, Shutterstock