- London's Shell Centre redevelopment approved
- HCA invests £32m to kickstart 5,500-home Devon scheme
- Plans submitted for 14-turbine wind farm in MoD seismic listening zone
- Planners using 'web of red tape' to block free schools, says mayor
- More than half of councils sought office conversion opt out
- Moves round-up: RPS appoints London planning chief
- Barking and Dagenham bids to curb spread of betting shops
- Boles rejects call for immediate cancellation of out-of-date guidance
- Inspectors back Denbighshire local plan
- Lower Thames crossing plans published for consultation
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- Bill Miller on Weekly poll: HS2
- Tim on Government reveals details of new permitted development rights: reaction
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Yesterday, the government revealed details of new permitted development rights with the publication of secondary legislation amending the Town and Country Planning Act’s General Permitted Development Order. Among the key measures, to come into force on May 30, are controversial plans to allow offices to be converted to homes without the need for planning permission, allowing larger household extensions under permitted development rights and making it easier for shops and schools to open in certain buildings. The Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG’s) announcement on those areas it has allowed to be exempt from the office-to-residential rules, including the City of London, Tech City and Canary Wharf, and those which are not has caught the most attention. Making the announcement, planning minister Nick Boles said: ”These changes will bring empty and underused buildings back into productive use; make it easier to bring forward suitable buildings for state-funded schools; allow business and families to extend and improve their premises and homes without the expense of moving; and facilitate delivery of superfast broadband.” Boles said the office conversion rules “provides an excellent opportunity to create much needed new homes”.
If there had been an award on offer for “most publicity hungry minister”, Grant Shapps – now the Conservative Party chairman – would have been a strong contender when housing minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). During his time at Eland House, Shapps never passed up an opportunity to bid for media coverage, regularly enlisting celebrities to appear in DCLG press notices. Read More
The results of yesterday’s local elections in England and Wales are still being counted in many areas. But it is becoming clear that the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has delivered a strong performance, averaging 26 per cent of the vote in the wards in which it stood (according to a BBC estimate) and finishing second in the South Shields by-election triggered by David Miliband’s resignation as an MP. The party’s anti-EU policies are well known, but what does it have to say on planning? Read More
For some, town planning is no laughing matter. For many planners, however, there’s a recognition that an ability to laugh at the profession is an essential part of the job. Otherwise, well, you’d cry. One planner has taken this to an extreme with a planning-based stand-up comedy performance. Jenny, who describes herself in the video as “a researcher in town planning” delivered the ten-minute skit at a comedy club in Edinburgh recently and uploaded it to YouTube. As you can see, it seems to have gone down pretty well, although I’m not sure if the audience were all planners. Watch it below.
Welcome to the second installment of Planning’s Neighbourhood Watch. Lots has happened in the last three weeks. The Upper Eden neighbourhood plan was adopted by Eden District Council in Cumbria as part of its development plan, making it the first neighbourhood plan in the country that passed an examination and referendum to cross the finishing line. The consultant who drew up the plan, Tom Woof, said afterwards that the adoption was “the end of the beginning of this neighbourhood plan”. He said: “The test now is the decisions that are made as a result of the plan. To my knowledge, there are three applications already submitted with these policies in mind, and; many more to follow.” Woof said he expected “an upturn in building projects here over the next few years” that would help “alleviate some of the most pressing housing problems locally”.
The government’s heritage watchdog English Heritage (EH) has been accused of ‘failing in its duty’ by campaign group SAVE Britain’s Heritage after it came out in support of the latest redevelopment plans for the historic Smithfield Market in the City of London. EH has today hit back, issuing a detailed response to SAVE’s claims. I’ve written a story on this but I think it’s worth posting the full statement (a) because it took EH all morning and portion of the afternoon, including part of my lunchbreak, to send it over (b) because it’s very long and I can’t fit it all in the story and (c) because it sums up beautifully the tensions and competing demands at the heart of so many redevelopments of this type.