CgMs Events News

CgMs are pleased to announce that we will be sponsoring, in association with Bircham Dyson Bell and Property Week, a Planning Conference to be held on 15 October.

The final conference programme and venue details are still in the process of being finalised - however, the conference theme is how to improve the planning system in the delivery of new homes and jobs required for the economic recovery. Speakers will include key politicians, representatives from DCLG and the property industry

CgMs are also the sponsors of the "Midlands Town of the Year Award" at Property Week's Midlands Conference being held at the ICC, Birmingham on 15 July.

For further information about these two events please contact Mike Straw.

Our rural team will also have a stand at the Country Land and Business Association Game Fair being held at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, on 24- 26 July. For further details please contact Nathan McGlouhlin and also see our rural team's news entry below.

Planning Team News

 Residential team.

Our residential team recently secured planning permission for 92 residential units at appeal in respect of an area of Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) within the London Borough of Bromley on behalf of Goldcrest Homes (Piccadilly Limited).

Goldcrest Homes now have permission to construct the dwellings within an area of designated MOL. As the Inspector appointed to determine the planning appeal noted within his decision, the most important attribute of MOL is its openness, however, notwithstanding the impact of reducing the openness (usually enough to warrant the refusal of planning permission) he allowed the appeal to proceed on the basis the Local Planning Authority (LPA) could not demonstrate an adequate 5-year housing land supply.

Government guidance requires Council's to demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites in order that set targets for new housing can be achieved. The inability of the LPA to do this at the appeal meant that a balance needed to be struck between the harm to the MOL and the need for additional housing in the borough. Consequently, the appeal was allowed on the basis that the need for housing (mindful of the lack of evidence of supply) outweighed the impact of the development upon the MOL.

This case highlights a number of key considerations, including (i) the importance of a LPA to have a deliverable five-year supply of identified housing land to meet their targets; (ii) the ability to secure a considerable uplift in land value where appropriate research and analysis is undertaken and (iii) clarifies some of the 'very special circumstances' required to demonstrate that development on Metropolitan Open Land (or similar) can in exceptional cases be appropriate.

For further information please contact Kevin Goodwin or Alun Evans.

The housing team are also advising Countryside Properties on a scheme for up to 450 homes plus A1, B1 and D1 community use, public open space and off-site highway works on the site of Mid Kent College in Chatham. A planning application was submitted on behalf of Countryside Properties in April 2009 for details of the first phase and access roads with all other matters reserved for subsequent approval.

There is currently a resolution by Medway Council to grant outline planning permission subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement. Due to the current economic situation this has not been signed, as the proposed development is no longer viable based on the existing terms of the S106 Agreement, which stipulates the provision of 25% affordable housing and significant financial contributions in respect of education and public open space provision.

A formal request has been made to revise the S106 Agreement to ensure the delivery of much needed new housing. Negotiations have been in progress since mid 2008 and it is hoped that the matter will now be determined by Committee in July 2009.

The development is important to Medway Council as the funds raised on the sale of the existing college is enabling the re-provision of a new £76 million campus elsewhere within the Borough.

For further information please contact Derek Lawrence

Our residential team has also been actively involved at all stages in the production of the Forest Heath District Council Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). In addition to participating in Stakeholder/Housing Market Partnership meetings, CgMs has provided significant input into evolving the methodology, particularly with regards to the site sieving process. Acting on behalf of a major landowner, CgMs has undertaken detailed site-assessments for five sites, and has provided the Council with further information in support of these sites, particularly where environmental constraints exist. CgMs also provided feedback on the draft SHLAA report.

For further information contact Richard Tilley.

CgMs have been appointed to provide the Metropolitan Police Authority’s (MPA) Property Services Department with town planning and historic building advice across its London Property Estate. This followed a competitive tender in which 60 other consultancies bid for the work.

Matthew Roe, who heads the instruction on behalf of CgMs, on winning the instruction said

"CgMs look forward to continuing to advise the MPA on planning and historic building issues as part of the systematic review of its accommodation needs, so that it has the right premises in the right locations suitable for modern day policing in London.

The 6 million square feet of existing floorspace within over 380 operational buildings in the Greater London area offer a diverse range of challenges. Its essential policing needs are a prime consideration in the planning of the 2012 Olympic Games and its legacy proposals and the Thames Gateway regeneration."

One particular aspect involves the redevelopment of existing police stations to provide modern policing facilities including custody centres. Two such sites are Wandsworth and Wood Green police stations which CgMs are currently in pre-application discussions with the Council. These are both historically sensitive and require both planning and historic buildings input.

A further site where CgMs have recently obtained planning permission for a policing facility is at High Road, Leyton and construction is due to commence this summer.

For further information please contact Matthew Roe.

Following on from the successes with the MPA, the Govt & PS team is also advising the British Transport Police on various sites both in and around London. Our instruction includes negotiating the re-location of their counter-terrorism unit and seeking planning permission for enhanced custody facilities, both within defined employment areas.

For further information please contact John Smith.

 Commercial Team

Acting as planning advisors to Helioslough Ltd, CgMs submitted in January 2009 a planning application for the development of an Inland Port (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange near Doncaster with rail and road served distribution units (562,000m2 in Use Class B8 including ancillary B1/B2 floorspace) and an intermodal terminal, with associated road, rail and other infrastructure facilities and works - including a revision to Junction 3 of the M18 and the first part of the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme (FARRRS) and a link road to Rossington.

The application site is 397.4 hectare site comprising of 3 main areas of land. The planning application is due to be determined by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council this summer.

For further information please contact Erica Mortimer or Richard Tilley.

In April 2009 a revised application was also submitted by the team on behalf of Helioslough Ltd for Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) and Country Park at Radlett, St Albans.

The revised application was submitted following the dismissal of the previous appeal by the Secretary of State. The new application specifically seeks to re-address the outstanding issues identified by the Secretary of State - namely the assessment of alternative sites for the SRFI.

As before, the planning application seeks permission for the construction of a SRFI comprising an intermodal terminal and rail and road served distribution units (331,665m2 in Use Class B8 including ancillary B1/B2 floorspace) within Area 1, with associated road, rail and other infrastructure facilities and works within Areas 1 and 2 (the Development Site) and Areas 3 to 8 to provide publicly accessible open land and community forest. More than 86 hectares (50%) of the Development Site was proposed for landscaping. This application is due to be determined by St Albans on 20 July and a second inquiry is likely to take place in October.

For further information please contact Erica Mortimer or Richard Tilley.

The Commercial Team have also recently been successful in achieving planning permission for a new Regional Distribution Hub in East London on behalf of Royal Mail.

We were initially engaged to provide planning advice relating to a number of sites and their suitability to accommodate their East London Distribution Hub following the compulsory purchase of their existing site which was located on the Olympic Park. Following the review of a number of sites a preferred option was chosen which already benefited from a planning permission. Unfortunately this permission was challenged in the Courts and the resulting delays meant that RMG had to look for an alternative site.

A site was located on Oliver Road, West Thurrock which had an existing vacant warehouse building on it. CgMs carried out a planning risk assessment prior to the purchase of the site and a planning application was submitted within three months of the assessment being carried out.

We were able to achieve a resolution to grant planning permission within three months of the submission of the application and negotiated with the Environment Agency to remove their objection as the site is located within Flood Zone 3a.
The swift resolution of the planning application meant that the development could be completed on time and transition from the old site could occur without any disruption to the postal service.

The commercial team have also recently been successful in achieving planning permission at appeal for the redevelopment of the Freemasons Arms Public House, Lordship Lane, Wood Green on behalf of London and Newcastle (Wood Green) Ltd for a mixed use development comprising a commercial unit at ground floor and nine residential units above.

The appeal followed a refusal on the grounds of over-development, lack of an onsite loading bay and lack of a planning obligation for this development. The team successfully put forward the case at an informal hearing that the higher density thresholds should be applied because of the sites location in an urban area, were able to rebut the Council's request for an onsite loading bay through the provision of a new servicing bay on the adjoining street and agreed financial contributions.

For more information please contact Steve Forman .

 Retail & Leisure Team

CgMs is continuing its successful work on behalf of Tesco Stores Ltd for their role-out programme of Express stores across the country. This work involves providing initial pre-purchase site feasibility assessments followed by various post acquisition planning applications required for realisation of the new store. These can include applications for wholesale redevelopment of the site for mixed retail/residential use, or for existing buildings, applications for the variation of restrictive conditions, changes of use, as well as extensions and modifications. Where necessary CgMs has prepared retail impact assessments to support such proposals. 2009 has seen a number of successes including obtaining all necessary planning permissions for 22 new stores. Notable wins include:

- Grant of permission for a mixed use scheme comprising an Express store, office and residential accommodation in Hammersmith and Fulham. The redevelopment of an employment generating site for mixed use was supported by the introduction of high quality office accommodation, whilst the conclusions of CgMs' Retail Assessment supported the new retail floorspace in this out of centre location. Despite high level local opposition we managed to work closely with senior officers at the Council to convince the Members the scheme was acceptable and would have a positive impact on the adjacent Local Centre.

- Planning permission for a mixed retail and residential scheme in London Borough of Barnet was achieved at appeal after a public inquiry following the Council's failure to determine the application. CgMs successfully challenged the Council's objections to a car free scheme within New Barnet District Centre, whilst supporting a high quality design the Council maintained which out of character with the local context;

- Planning consent achieved in Middlesbrough for a redevelopment of the former car showroom to provide a mixed use development comprising a Tesco Express store on the ground floor with six flats above. CgMs guided the application successfully through the planning process first time and within the standard 8 week determination period despite considerable opposition from local residents and the Ward Councillors.

- obtaining permission for a change of use from office floorspace to retail in the London Borough of Lewisham. CgMs overcame the loss of employment floorspace by providing substantial information on the marketing carried out on the vacant B1 floor space to show there was no demand for B1 floorspace in the locality. CgMs demonstrated there was a retail need, there were no sequentially preferable sites and there would be no adverse impact on the nearby local centres. The application was unanimously approved by Members at committee.

For further information please contact Matthew Roe.

The retail team have also recently completed an appraisal of a supermarket extension for Tewkesbury Borough Council. The assessment involved consideration of the applicant's retail case in terms of national guidance and retail capacity.

The team continues to work with retailers to address planning issues raised by their property holdings. This has included carrying out a series of appraisals for Marks and Spencer Simply Food sites across the UK. Further applications are being submitted for works to retail warehouse premises managed by Standard Life in Milton Keynes. Those submissions include an application for a Certificate of Lawful Use for an amended mezzanine floor.

A signage appeal for Toys R Us has been successful at Sprucefield, Northern Ireland. The Planning Appeals Commissioner agreed with CgMs that the sign would not be detrimental to highway safety. Appeals in Northern Ireland continue to be slow, this appeal took 18 months to decide although that was not too much of a problem for the company as the sign was already in place.

For further information please contact Malcolm Honour.

On behalf of the Sundial Group, CgMs obtained planning permission for a change of use for a grade II* listed building in the green belt, for a mix of conference, training and hotel uses at Barnett Hill, Wonersh, near Guildford.

The planning committee at Waverley Borough Council accepted that the change of use was compliant with green belt policy and that despite the site's location in the open countryside, through the provision of a travel statement, the development was sustainable. The development would also enable fuller use of the listed premises and also help to maintain local jobs.

For further information please contact Mike Straw

 Energy & Waste Team

We continue to have commissions from a number of wind farm operators across the country. In addition to those mentioned in the Historic Buildings team report, heritage inputs to Environmental Statements have been provided to clients for sites as wide ranging as Suffolk, the Midlands and North of England.

Building on our existing relationship with National Grid, CgMs has been commissioned to provide support to the company during the consenting process for strategic connections to the proposed new generation of nuclear power stations at Bradwell, Sizewell and Dungeness. The connections, which represent some of the most significant additions to the electricity transmission network since its inception, will take several years to develop and take through the consenting process. This will involve a range of preliminary studies and options appraisals, full environmental impact assessment of preferred options and a comprehensive submission to the recently constituted Infrastructure Planning Commission. CgMs staff will support the company's internal consents team and liaise with the engineering and environmental teams throughout the process.

For further information please contact Richard Atkinson.

In relation to waste projects, the team has also submitted an application for a 60,000 tonnes/annum Energy from Waste at Tockwith in North Yorkshire. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Assessment. The facility will provide electricity for the National Grid and reduce waste going to landfill. A decision is expected in the Autumn.

CgMs has in June submitted an application for a 100,000 tonnes/annum purpose built recycling facility at the London Waste EcoPark in Edmonton. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Assessment. A decision is expected in the Autumn.

For further information please contact Kevin Goodwin

Historic Buildings

Our Historic Buildings team are currently advising on the following notable instructions:

 3000 Person WWII Air Raid Shelter Found

In 2007 the CgMs Historic Building recording team at CgMs were instructed by the Lee Valley Estates redevelopment team to investigate buried structures at the Ferry Lane site in Tottenham Hale. An initial assessment revealed the survival of a 3000 person buried air-raid shelter that had been sealed and forgotten since 1955. The entire network, extending to 2.5km has now been fully recorded and analysed pursuant to the discharge of a planning condition. The shelters, built by the Harris Lebus Furniture factory and opened in August 1939, have sparked great local interest and specialist interest, leading to CgMs staff giving lectures on the findings. The findings are to be reported on in June 2009 as consideration now turns to suitable publication of this remarkable discovery.

 Mynydd Y Betws Wind Farm

The Director of the Historic Buildings team has recently acted as an expert heritage witness at an Inquiry regarding the proposed wind farm on land at Mynydd Y Betws, Carmarthenshire. The application was approved with the Inspector concluding, on the evidence given by CgMs, that the development would not directly affect any heritage assets and would not be significantly harmful to their setting.

 Toft Hill Wind Farm

The Director of the Historic Buildings team has provided heritage advice to npower renewables with regard to their proposed wind farm at Toft Hill, County Durham. This involved assessing the affect of the development on the cultural heritage around the proposed wind farm as well as the cumulative effect of several other proposed wind farms in the area. Having acted as an expert heritage witness at the Inquiry in May 2009, we are awaiting the Inspector's decision.

 Syon House

As a notable example of the skills and experience of our historic buildings recording team, we have been invited to lecture on Standing Building Recording at Birkbeck College and run the week long course at the prestigious London home to the Duke of Northumberland. This year marks the 4th year of the successful course which is open to the general public interested in understanding how to analyse and record our built heritage. The course runs in parallel with the Birkbeck training excavation of the former Syon Abbey.

 Oriel College, University of Oxford

In June 2009 experts from CgMs' Planning and Historic Building's section gave evidence at a public inquiry concerning the erection of three, two and a half storey buildings within a sensitive part of the Bartlemas Conservation Area, Cowley Road, Oxford. The College has owned the land since the 14th century. The focus of the conservation area is two, grade II* and a grade I listed building. In the Middle Ages these formed the nucleus of a hospital for sufferers of leprosy. Oxford City Council claimed the proposed buildings would adversely affect the setting of one of the listed buildings and neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. There was sizeable objection from local residents, local historic societies and English Heritage, but the application was recommended for approval. The Inspector's decision is awaited.

For further information on these instructions please contact Jonathan Edis, Nicholas Doggett or Danielle Morgan


 Brooklands, Milton Keynes

CgMs have been advising Places for People on archaeological issues on a large residential site in the eastern expansion area of Milton Keynes. Following negotiations with Milton Keynes Council (MKC) and Milton Keynes Partnership (MKP) various phases of evaluation and mitigation excavation work have been agreed and implemented leading to the completion and sign off of all works for Phase 1 of the scheme. Following further negotiations with MKC and MKP, CgMs are currently managing all archaeological mitigation excavation works for the remaining phases of the scheme. This work is due for completion by the end of the summer this year at which point all archaeological investigations will have been signed off removing all archaeological constraints for Places for People's Brooklands development.

 Redcliff Street, Bristol

The Carlyle Group has been granted planning permission for redevelopment of their 1.5 ha site between Redcliff Street and St Thomas Street in the centre of Bristol. The site sits within the Redcliff Conservation Area and what was historically part of the Medieval suburbs of Bristol. Archaeology was a key issue and CGMS' Cheltenham Archaeology team were able to negotiate with Bristol City Council to ensure a successful application. CGMS will continue to monitor the archaeological mitigation works required as a condition of planning permission.

 National Grid work in South Wales

CGMS work regularly for the energy sector and the Archaeology team in our Cheltenham office have recently helped National Grid with a planning application for a new 275Kv substation at Margam, South Wales. Deposits of peat recorded within the site have potential to preserve archaeological remains, however CGMS were able to agree a strategy with the LPA that minimised the impact of the development on the archaeological deposits and saved National Grid money and stopped potential headaches with the construction programme.

For further information please contact Rob Bourn.

CgMs (part of RPS Group Plc)

CgMs Ltd was formed in 1997 and provides specialist consultancy advice to clients in the combined disciplines of archaeology and historic buildings.

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