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News in Brief: The Planner to host webinar; Communities minister defends right-to-buy

Words: Laura Edgar
Greg Clark

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 3 November, 2015

The Planner to host neighbourhood planning webinar on 17th November

Are communities now able to influence local development as the Localism Act envisioned - or are barriers to successful neighbourhood planning proving insurmountable.

The webinar event, run in association with RTPI Conferences, will see three experts discussing the state of neighbourhood planning in 2015. Readers will have the chance to watch the presentations as they happen and get involved by asking questions as the event is taking place. The webinar will be broadcast between 1:00pm to 2:00pm on Tuesday, 17th November. More information on the speakers and registering for the event can be found here.

Communities minister defends right-to-buy

Plans to extend the right-to-buy to housing association tenants have been defended by government ministers during yesterday’s second reading of the government’s Housing and Planning Bill. Speaking at the reading, communities minister Greg Clark said the extension would give residents the “opportunity to realise their dreams of home ownership”. Under the reforms, the government will compensate housing associations for the sales discount offered to the tenant to enable housing associations to invest in new homes. Clark continued: “When we reinvigorated the right to buy for council tenants, we ensured that every home sold to a resident would allow another home to be built. It is as much a policy for expanding the housing stock as it is for extending home ownership.” The Housing and Planning Bill will be the first considered under the new English votes for English laws rules.

Homes approved in Leeds green belt

A resolution to approve planning permission has been secured for Leeds City College for up to 72 homes at its Horsforth Campus. WYG, a global project management and technical consultancy, secured planning permission for the college. The decision should free up investment in educational facilities for the college elsewhere in the city. Leeds City College had already announced that the campus, a further education college, will close in July 2016. Alternative residential use of the already developed green belt site, and a potential receipt, will facilitate reinvestment within Leeds city centre at the Printworks and Park Lane Campus sites. WYG established a development strategy, key principles, timescales and the scope of the application submission for the college.

Brighton & Hove becoming an “industrial desert”

Brighton & Hove is experiencing a worsening shortage of vacant light industrial and warehouse property, according to property consultant Stiles Harold Williams. This is making it difficult for existing companies to expand or attract new business into the city. Factors including brownfield sites being used for residential development; “virtually no new” warehouse or light industrial schemes have been developed in the past 10 years and a lack of suitable sites for companies to expand to, have contributed to a “significant increase” in rents, driving companies out of the city. David Martin, partner at Stiles Harold Williams said: “The city is fast becoming an industrial desert with limited opportunities on the horizon.” Therefore, he continued: “Stiles Harold Williams are currently undertaking a search for developer clients for two-to-five acre sites within the city with the developers keen to construct new speculative schemes to cater for the under-supply of modern units of varying sizes on a freehold or leasehold basis.”

£5m link road approved for Durham Tees Valley Airport

The construction of a £5 million link road at Durham Tees Valley Airport has been approved by Stockton and Darlington councils. The decision comes weeks after the mayor of Stockton called for an independent inquiry. The road will link the A67 to the proposed Southside Business Park. Site owner Peel Airports expects the site to generate £11 million a year for the local economy, as well as create 3,000 jobs.

Consultation on 6,500-home local plan in Derbyshire

Residents in Ashbourne will this week receive a publication about the Derbyshire Dales Local Plan, which says 6,500 homes need to be built in Ashbourne by 2033. The document sets out the background to a questionnaire inviting feedback on the figure, the provision of affordable homes and whether residents agree or disagree with a list of towns and villages that are considered to be the most appropriate for new developments. The consultation will form part of the draft Derbyshire Dales Local Plan, which is due to emerge next year.