New Permitted Development Rights Revealed

The details of new rights allowing the change of use from offices to residential have been revealed. Whilst these will apply across England, most of Central London has been protected. Elsewhere there are small areas of protection in Manchester City centre, Ashford International station, Stevenage, Didcot and rural parts of East Hampshire.  

Find out more on changing offices to residential.

Queen’s Speech sets course for HS2

Two Bills are to be introduced into Parliament underlining the Government’s commitment to High Speed rail infrastructure.

The first bill will secure planning permission for the phase 1 link between London and Birmingham, whilst the second will provide funding for the preparatory work for the whole route, including the second phase link from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester.

Nick Boles promotes self-build housing growth

Planning Minister Nick Boles has challenged Councils to find land for people to build their own homes. He said councils should ‘earmark areas that encourage people to buy a plot and get a builder to build them a home’.  The UK has the lowest level of self-build homes across Europe.

Seven Towns Share £1million to revitalise their high streets

The Department for Culture and Local Government has distributed the High Streets Renewal Fund between seven towns which are already delivering effective and innovative schemes to revitalise their central areas. The towns are:

Altrincham (£148,057)
Gloucester (£133,057)
Herne Hill - market area (£93,057)
Ipswich (£168,057)
Market Rasen (£101,057)
Rotherham (£268,058)
Southampton - Old Northam Road, (£88,657)

Two more Neighbourhood Plans approved

On 3 May two more communities voted in favour of their Neighbourhood Plan.

In Thame (Oxon – South Oxfordshire) 76% of voters (on a 40% turnout) supported the development of 775 new homes linked to the town by public transport, pedestrian and cycle ways. This is the first plan to set out a precise site for development.

In Saint James (near Exeter – Exeter City Council) 91% of voters (on a 21% turnout) supported a plan promoting to bring improvements to the local townscape/landscape and bringing an emphasis on sustainable development and support for the local economy. This plan was prepared a newly created Neighbourhood Forum.

All three plans which have been to referendum so far have received strong local support, albeit from a low turnout of voters.

CPO of seven hectares in Northampton Enterprise Zone approved

DCLG Secretary of State Eric Pickles has approved the purchase of the land to provide certainty of ownership in order to allow the construction of a new access road. The redevelopment of the 20 ha Avon Nunn Mills site is being promoted by the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation for mixed use purposes, including a new campus for the University of Northampton – whose existing campus would be redeveloped for housing.

Judge overturns permission because of lack of Environmental and Habitat Assessments

North Norfolk Council approved an extension to a malting operation in the open countryside. The site is close to the River Wensum, a site of scientific interest, which provides home to a number of rare flora and fauna. The council relied on environmental and flood risk studies provided by the applicant but did not require a full environmental impact assessment. When approving the application, however, members imposed a condition requiring the regular testing of the river for pollutants. The judge concluded that the permission could only be granted without a full EIA if the Council was convinced there was no risk of the river being polluted and the imposition of the condition indicated this was not the case. The application must now be considered afresh.

Local Plan News

Gloucester City Council has invited sites to be put forward for development.

Rutland County Council has published its Community Infrastructure Levy for Consultation until the 18 June 2013.

Mid Sussex District Council has issued its submission draft District Plan for consultation until 17 June 2013.

Swindon Borough Council has invited comments on the impact of the revocation of the Regional Strategy for the South West and the latest Household Interim Projections on the soundness of its draft Local Plan. Comments can be made by 20 June 2013.