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News in brief: Self-build fund goes live; Application for 256 homes in Fauldhead submitted

Words: Laura Edgar
Self and custom build / iStock-637337716

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 20 April, 2021

Self-build fund goes live

The Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF), including the £25 million Self and Custom Land Release Fund is now live on the One Public Estate website.

The Brownfield Land Release Fund, worth up to £75 million, applies to brownfield sites while the Self and Custom Build Fund is available for greenfield sites.

The dedicated scheme provides capital grant funding to bring forward local authority land that otherwise might be problematical – for reasons of preparation and groundworks and provision of small-scale infrastructure – for housing development. Local authorities will be able to progress sites with viability problems for custom and self-build projects. Eligible land must be wholly owned by the local authority.

Applications for the funds, which need to meet a range of criteria, are due by 2 June, and the awards are expected to be announced over the summer.

Mary Elkington, acting head of the Right to Build Task Force, said: “It is fantastic that the Brownfield Land Release Fund includes this £25 million allocation for self and custom-build, and we encourage as many councils as possible to apply. This will make a genuine difference to those authorities working to deliver a more diverse route to delivering high-quality housing.

“Support for replicable exemplars of this innovative route to housing helps in scaling up custom and self-build. These sites will help showcase the wide range of benefits that custom and self-build can deliver, complementing wider housing delivery.”

The fund was announced in autumn 2020. Most authorities can apply, with the exception of a few mayoral combined authorities.


Application for 256 homes in Fauldhead submitted

CALA Homes (West) has submitted a planning application for a residential-led development at Fauldhead, near Bishopbriggs, to East Dunbartonshire Council.

The proposals comprise 256 homes, including 67 affordable homes.

The homes would range from terraced homes “suitable for later living”, to larger semi-detached and detached villas designed for growing families.

Many of the existing landscape features, such as trees and a natural pond will be retained to support the site’s wildlife, and a new wetland would be created. The plans also include a play area.

If the scheme is approved, the affordable housing would be owned and managed by local social landlord Hillhead Housing Association.


Healthcare scheme approved in Lambeth

Lambeth Council has granted planning permission for an initiative led by King’s School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences with the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

The London Institute for Healthcare Engineering (LIHE) will be delivered by HLM Architects, with the building to be embedded on St Thomas’ campus. It will bring together King’s research excellence, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical practice, and the medtech sector’s commercial innovation, power and talent, engaging multinationals, SMEs, and start-ups simultaneously.

The project, which is “the first of its kind in the UK”, aims to create a “seamless pipeline to develop novel medical technologies from conception to commercialisation, and in turn transform patient care by accelerating the translational pathway and enabling early NHS adoption of technology”.

The building will be built on a site at the southern end of the St Thomas’ campus, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It will include research, office and meeting space; teaching and learning space; LAB and testing sites; and shared public space as well as areas for events and socialising.

The proposal also incorporates a landscaped roof terrace.


Affordable housing feature in heritage development in Bolton

Bluemantle has submitted proposals to Bolton Council for an affordable housing development at Rivington Chase.

The development of 116 affordable homes will be built on a 187-acre brownfield site on the former Horwich Loco Works and will consist of a combination of family houses and apartments. It will also feature open space and two pocket parks.

The site is being developed by developer Lane End Group for two social housing providers. It forms a part of the £262 million Rivington Chase regeneration scheme, which was granted outline permission in 2015 for 1,700 homes and associated retail and leisure space on the former industrial site.

The wider Loco Works development is being developed by Bluemantle alongside Bolton Council, Homes England, HKR, and Network Rail.

Bolton Council's planning committee will consider the scheme on 22 April. Officers have recommended it for approval.


Marylebone House redevelopment to go ahead

Westminster City Council has granted planning permission for the redevelopment and refurbishment of Marylebone House, Marylebone Road, London W1.

Beltane Asset Management and Angelo Gordon secured the permission for the scheme, which has been designed by Fletcher Priest Architects.

It will deliver about 75,000 square feet of quality grade A office space. The new design introduces three additional storeys on a 1960s extension and accessible terraces with urban greening.   

Duncan Roe, partner at Beltane Asset Management, said: “This is a significant milestone for the project and a vote of confidence in central London’s economic recovery. We will be starting on site later this year and look forward to bringing this new high-quality office building to the market in Q1 2023.”


Ebenezer Howard statue unveiled in Welwyn Garden City

A new 2.2-metre-tall bronze statue of Ebenezer Howard has been unveiled in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

The statue has been created by artist Ben Twiston-Davies, who sculpted the Agatha Christie memorial in Covent Garden.

Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928) was the founder of the garden city movement. He was responsible for establishing the world’s first two garden cities, Letchworth Garden City (1903) and Welwyn Garden City (1920).

The statue rests on a plinth of Welsh slate with three hand-carved rings of lettering including words from William Blake’s Jerusalem.

Fiona Howie, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA): said: “It is fitting that Ebenezer Howard should be permanently and faithfully portrayed in one of the Garden Cities he founded. The Garden City movement offered a model for a different way of living, one with social justice at its heart. In the context of the challenges we face today, of securing decent homes for all, healthy green towns and beauty in design, Howard’s ideas are as relevant as ever. We must be inspired by his vision as we seek to emulate his energy.”

The statue was commissioned by the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation as part of the town’s 2020 centenary celebrations. It was funded through a combination of public donations and private sponsorship, and supported by  Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.


New affordable homes venture launched

Ex-Sage and Home Group executive Brian Ham has teamed up with two developers Colin Peacock and John Parkinson to launch an affordable housing developer and funder – Swallowfield Homes.

Swallowfield will work with established registered providers and local authorities to help to boost their development capacity with “ethical investment from pension funds seeking long-term and sustainable ESG based returns”.

Its model will see investors buy development sites, Swallowfield will develop the homes, and they will then be leased on to an established registered provider or local authority to be managed for the duration of the lease.

The homes transfer to the registered provider at the end of the lease period or the registered provider can purchase them.

Co-founder Ham said: “We believe that ethical lease-based schemes are part of the solution to the UK’s housing crisis. Our model offers a solution for established registered providers and local authorities who want to build affordable homes and investors who want long-term, stable income streams. We’ve seen demand for this type of funding increase exponentially as pension funds put ESG at the heart of their investment strategy and RPs look to innovate.”

It is expected that Swallowfield Homes’s first deals will be created later this year.

Image credit | iStock