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Adams Hendry Planning & Built Environment News Round-Up - 7th December 2018

The Adams Hendry News Round-Up highlights recent news and commentary relating to planning and the built environment.

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This week’s round-up includes the Government’s proposals for greener developments, the Government’s response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on land value capture, the 2018 National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline and Call for Evidence on Offsite Construction and the outcome of the St Albans appeal.

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Gove sets out proposals for greener developments (Gov.uk)

“Government proposals to place the environment at the heart of new development have been unveiled by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

In plans published today (2 December 2018) for consultation, developers could be required to deliver a ‘biodiversity net gain’ when building new housing or commercial development – meaning habitats for wildlife must be enhanced and left in a measurably better state than they were pre-development.

The proposed new rules require developers to assess the type of habitat and its condition before submitting plans. Car parks and industrial sites would usually come lower on this scale, while more natural grasslands and woodlands would be given a much higher ranking for their environmental importance.

Developers would then be required to demonstrate how they are improving biodiversity – such as through the creation of green corridors, planting more trees, or forming local nature spaces. Green improvements on site would be encouraged, but in the rare circumstances where they are not possible the consultation proposes to charge developers a levy to pay for habitat creation or improvement elsewhere.

These proposals would help to achieve better outcomes for nature and people with the millions of pounds invested in environmental impact mitigation by developers every year.

While some developers have already been following a biodiversity net gain approach voluntarily, the proposed standardised, mandatory approach would give them clarity and certainty on how to improve the environment through development, while also considering whether any sites – such as small and brownfield sites – should be exempt from the rules. It will still deliver the homes the country needs – making the Government’s vision of delivering 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s a reality – at the same time as contributing to the goal of passing on our environment in a better condition” 

 

Land value capture: government response to the select committee inquiry (www.gov.uk)

The Government published their response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on land value capture.

“This is the government response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s report on land value capture, published 13 September 2018.

The Committee has examined the effectiveness of current land value capture methods and the need for new ways of capturing any uplift in the value of land associated with the granting of planning permission or nearby infrastructure improvements and other factors.”

 

Projects worth £600 billion in the pipeline as government gets Britain building (www.gov.uk)

“Government publishes 2018 National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline and Call for Evidence on Offsite Construction. 

  • Construction pipeline forecasts £600 billion of infrastructure investment over next decade
  • Ministers want more projects to be delivered using digital manufacturing techniques
  • Call for evidence launched on offsite building 

A massive £600 billion investment in our roads, hospitals and schools over the next ten years has been set out today, alongside proposals to harness modern technologies to build infrastructure in the most effective way.

The Government’s National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline reveals the vast scale of public and private investment underway and expected by 2028. It includes schemes announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his recent Budget, like the £28 billion national roads fund, as well as other flagship projects like East West Rail, upgrading the M6 to a smart motorway and Hornsea Project One – the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

To ensure maximum efficiency in building these projects ministers are encouraging greater use of more modern approaches to construction. This includes the manufacturing of components in factories using the latest digital technology before being sent for assembly on construction sites. The Government has committed to increasing use of these methods in public-funded projects and today asks for views on how to encourage greater use of these cutting-edge techniques.”

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Appeal: St Albans heritage improvements constitute very special circumstances (The Planner, requires log in)

“An inspector has cited very special circumstances in approving plans for a new home on the border between St Albans conservation area and the surrounding green belt.

The appeal concerned an area of land formerly in use as a car park for The Blue Anchor, a grade-II listed pub that was recently converted into a home. The site straddles the settlement boundary of St Albans, and a significant portion of it forms part of the green belt.

The site is also within the St Albans conservation area, positioned on a street of historic terraced houses described by inspector Robert Fallon as “extremely attractive”.

The appellant sought permission to build a new home on the site. However, Fallon noted, the scheme did not fall within any of the exceptions to the restriction on green belt development set out under NPPF paragraph 145. The proposal would also harm green belt openness, he added, although this would be tempered by its position set against the backdrop of other built development.

Turning to the scheme’s impact on the listed building, Fallon considered that the design, which “utilised a pleasing mix of washed render, brickwork and timber cladding”, would be high-quality and would reflect the scale, proportions and design of the street, with one exception – the horizontal brickwork lintels above the windows and doors at ground-floor level. However, he added, these could be changed to provide “a more thoughtful articulation” of the area's historic architectural styles.

Although the plans would compromise some views of the listed pub, Fallon noted, the most important of these are experienced from the publicly accessible main street. The scheme would “merely reflect the irregular form of historic development that is commonplace in the oldest parts of historic settlements such as St Albans”, he commented.

In the planning balance, Fallon noted that the scheme would “significantly improve the appearance of the conservation area”, as well as contributing to the council’s housing land supply shortfall. These factors were enough to clearly outweigh any harm to the green belt, he ruled, and would constitute very special circumstances. The appeal was therefore allowed.”

“The inspector’s report – case reference 3192145 – can be read here.”

 

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Contact

Suzanne Pidgeon 01962 877414 | s.pidgeon@adamshendry.co.uk