Three retail appeals further clarify interpretation of conditions

Three appeals relating to different units on the same retail park in Great Yarmouth were determined at the end of October. In each case it was argued that the conditions restricting the range of goods sold did not remove the operation of the Use Classes Order, and so the units could as a result be used for the sale of any goods, and not just those identified in the condition. Each appeal was dismissed, the inspector concluding that whilst the operation of the Use Classes Order was not removed expressly, their conditions were sufficiently clear to do so by implication.

The case is interesting as whilst it reached the same conclusion as the court judgement reported in October’s newsletter, it relied on different legal authorities. 

First Reading of “The Permitted Development (Basements) Bill”

This Private Member’s Bill was introduced by Karen Buck - the MP for Westminster North – under the Ten Minute Rule on the 12 November. It is intended to regulate the construction of basement development – both new and extensions. The Bill has been brought forward due to the increasing numbers of basement developments being proposed (estimated at over 500 in Westminster in the last 4 years and almost 1000 in Kensington and Chelsea). The Bill will reinforce local planning policies and help councils protect local residents from the cumulative impacts of their construction.

The Bill proposals include limiting basements to 1 storey; restricting them to no more than 50% of gardens and requiring the preparation of construction traffic management plans.

The second reading is programmed for 22 November. Private Member’s Bills are rarely successful.

Recovered Appeal Decisions

(i)Housing Supply

Eric Pickles has issued two recovered appeal decisions relating to housing this month.
At Kirkham, Preston, he allowed two appeals on adjacent sites for a total up to 320 homes (to include 30% affordable housing). It was accepted that there was no five year housing land supply and the Secretary of State concluded that there would be no harm to character and appearance of the area as the sites were opposite a ribbon of housing and could be effectively screened.

At Burton on Trent, the Secretary of State found that as the Council could not demonstrate a five year housing supply, as its housing policies were not up to date. The proposed development of 250 houses (including 38 affordable homes (15%)) would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area by introducing new development into the countryside. The harm would be mitigated through the provision of open space and new landscaping and had to be weighed against the benefits of the proposal (an additional access for emergency vehicles, a bus service and net gains for biodiversity). The Secretary of State was satisfied that the site was in a sustainable location and taking a balanced approach, allowed the appeal.

(ii)Green Belt Housing

The Secretary of State has issued decisions on two conjoined appeals for a canal marina (150 berths); allotments (40); community centre and residential (one appeal for 150 market and 50 affordable; the other for 127 market and 42 affordable) together with a play area and foot/cycle paths and landscaping on land in the green belt near Coventry. In each case the main issue was whether the harm caused by inappropriate development in the green belt is outweighed by other considerations.
Despite the absence of a five year housing supply (estimated by the council at 3 years and by the appellant at 1.4 years), the inspector concluded that the harm to the openness of the green belt and the failure of the proposals to restrict sprawl were sufficient to warrant dismissing the appeal. The Secretary of State considered the proposals to be very finely balanced but concluded the lack of five year supply was not sufficient to justify inappropriate development in the green belt.

Extension of Northern Line – Public Inquiry

The Transport for London’s application to extend the Northern Line into Battersea will be considered at the public inquiry which begins on the 19th November, and will last roughly a month. A decision on whether the scheme can go ahead will be made by autumn of 2014.

The Scale of CIL receipts revealed

A survey of charging authorities by Planning Magazine has helped quantify the average size of CIL receipt being received by Councils.

18 of the 26 charging authorities responded, indicating that 1,178 notices had been issued for a total of £33.6 million of which only £3.7million has so far been collected. Whilst the value of CIL notices varies considerably, the average value was £28,568. The lowest average value was in Plymouth at £3,015; whilst the highest were issued by LB Brent at £186,000. LB Croydon have issued the largest number of notices (294) whilst LB Redbridge – the first authority to start charging – had issued 221 notices with the highest combined value (£8.1 million) and had also collected the most (£1.4 million).

New regeneration body launched to help fund UK projects

David Cameron has launched the Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO) which will help foreign investors identify and fund regeneration projects across the UK. This will direct investors to credible, UK industry backed development, there are currently £100bn worth of investment opportunities available. The chief executive of the British Property Federation said ‘We are delighted that government has heeded the calls of the UK development industry, to do more to attract investment into major development and regeneration opportunities.

Thame Neighbourhood Plan – first major housing scheme approved

Thame was one of the first Neighbourhood Plans (NP) to be adopted and it has now become the first of such to have a major housing application granted outline permission against it. The scheme is for 175 dwellings (40% affordable) and is the first scheme to come forward to meet the 775 homes proposed under the NP.

National Government releases new land for self-builders

The Homes and Communities Agency has released 4 new public sector sites – providing around 70 plots – to support the growth of the custom/self-build housing sector. These are in addition to the 8 sites providing 130 plots, which have already been brought forward. The new sites are at:

• Urban Pioneers, Middlehaven
• Oxley Park, Milton Keynes
• Pound Lane South, Basildon
• Lightmoor Village, Telford

Note: DCLG describes custom build (or ‘self build’) homes as "homes built or commissioned by individuals or groups of individuals for their own use, either by building the home on their own or working with builders. Custom home building typically involves individuals commissioning the construction of a new house from a builder, contractor or package company or, in a modest number of cases, physically building a house for themselves.

£250,000 prize for New Garden City launched

Lord Wolfson, the chief executive of Next has launched a £250,000 prize which will be awarded to the best answer to: ‘How would you deliver a new garden city which is visionary, economically viable and popular?’ He says that a new city would help solve Britain’s housing crisis, create new jobs while adding billions to GDP. The deadline is the 3rd March 2014.

Latest Retailers to enter administration

Despite the growing UK economy two retailers have gone into administration this week putting up to 3,000 jobs at risk. Barratts has collapsed for the third time and Blockbuster for the second time. Both have encountered further difficult trading conditions since being restructured. The future now remains unknown for both.

LOCAL PLAN NEWS

Bournemouth Borough Council – Development Management Policies DPD – is seeking comments on what policies the document should contain – respond by 24 December.

Cambridge Borough Council - Community Infrastructure Levy, Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here.

Chesterfield Borough Council - Community Infrastructure Levy, Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here.

Eastleigh Borough Council – Community Infrastructure Levy, Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here.

Leeds City Council - Community Infrastructure Levy, Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here 

LB Lewisham – Development Management Policies and Catford Town Centre Local Plan submitted for examination. Examination is expected to start in late February 2014.

Stratford-on-Avon District Council – Community Infrastructure Levy, Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here.