Office to residential - largest approval to date

This week a conversation for 120 flat in Birmingham was granted prior approval. This is for an empty office building in the Jewellery Quarter of the City Centre. A larger conversion has also now been submitted to Hounslow Council to convert part of the Vista Business Centre into 139 flats. All these approvals will have saved the developer hundreds of thousands of pounds in affordable housing and planning obligations fees which would have been attached to planning permission for the same schemes.

Government statistics show an increase in housebuilding

Housebuilding statistics published by DCLG show that in the 3 months to June there was a 6% increase on the previous quarter. These figures showed that housebuilding starts for the year ending June 2013 were 40% below the peak in the 2006 but up 47% on (which was at the height of the recession). Particularly strong areas for new builds were along the M5 corridor, areas north of the London Green Belt and Cambridgeshire. Read the full report.

New Combined Authority for South Yorkshire

The Government has launched a consultation for a new Combined Authority which would comprise 9 councils (Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, Sheffield, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire) in South Yorkshire. This aims to deliver greater economic growth for the sub-region, bringing together responsibility for transport, economic development and regeneration. The consultation can be found here. If successful this will come into existence on the 1st April 2014 whilst the current South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority would be dissolved.

Edge of Olympic Park scheme approved

This week a hybrid application for a 1,036 home scheme (called Chobham Farm) on a 6.7ha site inbetween the former Olympic Athletes village and Stratford’s Leyton Road was approved which will also include 6,900 sqm of commercial and community floorspace. The site was used as temporary crowd screening facilities at last year’s Olympics. The council said this is an important regeneration project for the area with work due to start early 2014.

Stevenage facing housing shortage

Stevenage Council has been facing housing shortages since its Core Strategy was found unsound in 2011 due to its housing targets depending on neighbouring councils which are no longer cooperating. This week a 12 year saga ended when the developer on a scheme which would have provided 3,600 homes across two authorities pulled the plug as it was no longer viable. This is further blow to the council which requires housing growth and will need to review its strategy moving forward.

Community Assets – helping to save British Pubs

The Government introduced the ‘Community Asset’ measure under the Localism Act in 2011 where by communities could designate a range of community buildings as a ‘Community Asset’. If successful, this means that the local community would have a 6 month window of opportunity to bid to purchase the building if placed on the market, however the asset would still be sold on the open market. This week the number of pubs designated under this law reached 100 while The Campaign for Real Ale has a target to get 300 pubs listed. Other non-pub designations have included Old Trafford Football Stadium and the stake park under Southbank Centre.

‘The Planners’ coming back for a second season

The BBC last year released a documentary on the local planning system called ‘The Planners’. A second season is under production and will be called ‘Not in My Backyard’. This aims to further open viewer’s eyes to the processes involved in planning within local authorities.


  • Eastbourne Borough Council – Community Infrastructure Levy Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation 
  • Hull City Council - Community Infrastructure Levy Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation 
  • Waltham Forest Council - Community Infrastructure Levy Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation.


Free tickets to the Grand Design at NEC

Jonathan Manns, Associate Director within the London Planning team will be offering free planning advice at the Grand Design Live at the NEC in Birmingham on the 4-6th October. As a result of this Colliers staff have the chance to attend the event for free on the Friday and 2 for 1 ticket for the weekend. Simply long on to and follow the link to book your tickets. Enter the code EXPERTFREE for the Friday or EXPERT241 for the weekend.