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News in brief: Rosewell visits inspectorate for progress report; GMCA publishes timescale on spatial framework

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 24 September, 2019

Rosewell visits inspectorate for progress report

Bridget Rosewell has met with the Planning Inspectorate’s chief executive Sarah Richards to discuss the state of progress towards delivering the recommendations of the Rosewell Review.

Since the publication of the report in February this year, the inspectorate has started implementing the review’s recommendations, including that all inquiries are being dealt with ‘Rosewell-style’.

All of these appeals are tracking the new timeline and 10 have so far been decided: all 10 decisions met the 26-week target and nine were decided in 24 weeks or less.

The two key elements in achieving these faster decisions have been the early setting of event dates and early inspector engagement to guide parties in narrowing down issues from the start of an appeal. Inquiry events are now always expected to take place in week 13 or 14 from the start of an inquiry appeal.

Rosewell said at the meeting: “I’m really impressed with the enthusiasm with which the inspectorate has embraced the recommendations and in particular taken up early engagement. I always thought this as critical to achieving faster decisions. It’s great to now see this in action and everyone working together to keep improving it.”


GMCA publish timescale on spatial framework

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has published a timescale for further consultation on its spatial framework after the public expressed concerns with the current draft.

The plan has already been delayed and redrafted.

The combined authority explained that renewed public engagement with the redrafted plan has demonstrated to authorities “real concerns” still exist in many Greater Manchester communities.

Leaders said they intend to take time to “carefully” examine the feedback and work to implement any proposed changes in a revised third draft of the proposals. They have developed a timetable for another period of public engagement in the New Year.

Publication of a new draft and subsequent further formal public consultation has been scheduled for summer 2020.


Bedford to Cambridge rail project declared an NSIP

The government has designated the section of the East West Rail Project between Bedford and Cambridge a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

Following public consultation, which will also involved local authorities along the route, the East West Railway Company (EWR Co) can submit a planning application to the Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order. The transport secretary will make the final decision.

Rob Brighouse, chairman at East West Railway Company, added: “I fully appreciate the importance of good connectivity to support local communities. So, achieving this status as an NSIP is important because it unlocks the ability for us to secure a development consent order to authorise the project.”

Richard Tunnicliffe, East of England regional director, CBI, added: “Local business wants to see greater connectivity across the region, widening access to skills, and new opportunities for collaboration. Delivering East West rail is a positive step to help achieve this, and this welcome news confirms government commitment to the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and gives us all a much clearer view of the process ahead.”


Canforth employment scheme approved

Lancaster City Council has granted planning permission for a 90,000 square foot employment scheme at junction 35 of the M6 in Canforth.

The decision went against the advice of the planning officer.

The scheme lies adjacent to the already approved Porsche car showroom. It has the potential to create up to 242 new full-time jobs and generate up to £11.2 million GVA each year for the local economy, as well as providing a range of biodiversity enhancements within the site such as the retention of the existing culvert.

Planning consultancy Barton Willmore acted on behalf of SCP Investments Ltd.


Calderdale considers climate change commitment

Calderdale Council’s cabinet will meet next week to consider whether the local plan should include a new target to tackle climate change.

The council’s Climate Change Working Party has made the recommendation to include a local carbon reduction target within the local plan.

The local plan features a climate change chapter, which covers the use of renewable and low-carbon energy within development sites and a range of other stringent environmental requirements across the sustainability agenda. It is currently being examined by an independent planning inspector after being submitted in January 2019.

Any significant changes to the local plan can only be made by the inspector, but the council is able to raise potential changes during the examination process.

The Climate Change Working Party wants the cabinet to ask the inspector to update the climate change chapter of the local plan to include a commitment within Calderdale to reduce greenhouse gases by 60 per cent by 2032, compared to levels in 2005.  

This will be considered at a meeting at Halifax Town Hall on Monday 30 September 2019.


Arcadis appointed to lead university quarter

Design consultancy Arcadis has been appointed by Cranfield University to lead the masterplanning and delivery of a proposed university quarter in Milton Keynes.

MK:U is being planned by Cranfield University and Milton Keynes Council as a new model university.

Arcadis won an international design competition, which was run by Malcolm Reading Consultants on behalf of Milton Keynes Council, The firm will provide full project management services for the scheme.

The first phase of the planned development will deliver around 61,000 square metres of space comprising a forum with lecture theatre and exhibition space. The scheme will also include 1,000 student residences and a 100-bed conference centre, alongside sports and campus facilities, public realm and new green spaces, as well as enhanced connectivity to the wider city.

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