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News in Brief: Scottish devolution, "super sewer" challenges rejected

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 20 January, 2015

Devolution plans must be the beginning – Swinney

Scotland’s deputy first minister John Swinney said that the publication by the UK government of draft clauses that will implement the Smith Commission proposals – expected this week -  must not be the end of handing power to the Scottish government. He has called for the transfer of powers, including equality, welfare and tackling poverty, to be done in an effective way. “This week must mark the start of real engagement by the UK government on empowering the Scottish Parliament. Westminster must demonstrate clearly that it will translate the proposals from Smith into legislation and ensure that the powers are transferred to Scotland fully in keeping with both the letter and the spirit of the Smith Commission and in a way which has the support of the people of Scotland,” he said.

Super sewer challenges fail

Southwark Council’s application for a judicial review against the Thames Tideway Tunnel has been rejected by the High Court. The council opposes plans for the project’s drive site at Chamber’s Wharf, which sits in the borough. Leader of the council Peter John said the council would continue to work with residents “to mitigate the harm they will suffer”. Legal challenges by Blue Green London Plan, Thames Blue Green Economy and a resident have also been rejected.

Infrastructure Bill additions

Mayoral development orders and a new Electronic Communications Code have been added to the Infrastructure Bill, currently going before parliament. Development orders would enable Mayor of London Boris Johnson to work with London boroughs to tackle cross-boundary planning obstacles and in turn, says the government, unlock sites for development. The Electronic Communications Code will be reformed according to recommendations made by the Law Commission, including that the code should “balance the contrasting interests of site providers and code operators, and the interests of the public in providing access to a range of high quality telecommunications services”.

Dundee Waterfront receives additional £10m

The Scottish government has pledged a further £10 million towards the construction of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, taking its contribution to £25 million. John Swinney, deputy first minister, said the investment emphasised the government’s commitment to the “important regeneration project”. The building aims to create jobs and contribute to the ongoing regeneration of Dundee.

£75m Marches deal

Leaders from the public and private sector have met with Greg Clark MP, minister for universities, science and cities, and Harper Adams University in Newport, Shropshire, to sign the Marches Growth Deal, worth £75 million. Bringing together different funding schemes, the money will be used to help to create thousands of homes and jobs in the next five years in the Marches (Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin).  Clark said: “This deal invests £75 million into the local economy to improve road connections, invest in skills and training, and to establish a dedicated investment fund for the area. Jobs and new businesses are being created at an accelerating rate across the area. This deal will help build on that success to help ensure that the Marches continues to be an economic success story in the years ahead."