People Over Wind EJEU Judgement Stalls Central Beds Local Plan

Inspector

I am at the very earliest stages of my examination of the Central
Bedfordshire Local Plan, having just started initial reading. However, an
issue with the evidence base has come to my attention, which may
necessitate further work.
On 12 April 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)
issued a judgement1
, which ruled that Article 6(3) of the Habitats
Directive must be interpreted as meaning that mitigation measures
(referred to in the judgment as measures which are intended to avoid or
reduce effects) should be assessed within the framework of an appropriate
assessment (AA) and that it is not permissible to take account of
measures intended to avoid or reduce the harmful effects of the plan or
project on a European site at the screening stage.
The implication of this judgement is that competent authorities cannot
take account of any integrated or additional avoidance or reduction
measures when considering at the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)
screening stage whether a plan is likely to have an adverse effect on a
European Site.
I note that the HRA Screening Report (C33), dated December 2017,
submitted by the Council in support of the Plan, concludes, at paragraph
4.4, that some European sites were at risk from increased air pollution,
disturbance and changes to water levels and water quality as a result of
policies and allocations in the Local Plan, but that the Plan’s policies
provide sufficient mitigation, such that no significant effects are likely to
occur, either alone or in combination. On the basis of this conclusion, it
appears the HRA may conflict with this judgement.

1
People over Wind & Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta Case C-323/17
2
In the circumstances, therefore, at this stage I would be grateful to know
whether the Council considers its HRA report is legally compliant in the
light of the judgement. To answer this it may be necessary to re-visit the
screening assessment. If it is found not to be compliant, I would be
grateful to know what further work would be required to rectify this and
what the timescale would be to complete and consult on that work.
If the Council has any questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to
contact me via the Programme Officer.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Shared Economic Vision for Ox-MK-Cam to be Tendered – But not Shared Planning or Transport Vision?

Tender here 

£80,000 budget – are they serious?

Corridor Partners are looking to appoint suitably qualified consultants who can work with a steering group to develop an economic vision for the corridor, which builds upon the recently completed LDA study which sets out the corridors assets as a first phase of the
commission and thereafter work prepare a cross Corridor Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) delivery plan which aggregates the potential of “place” and maximises the corridors potential
to drive economic growth for UK Plc. This second phase would be completed over the course of the 2018 with a view to aligning this with LIS at a place level by December 2018.

Key Questions for Effective Joint Plan Working – the South Essex example

With the Housing White paper and now the NPPF setting down the minimum plan making requirement for ‘strategic policies’ rather than ‘ local plan’ there has been a flurry of activity towards joint working – good oh.  Examples include South Essex and South West Herts.

However looking at the key decisions on some of the cases it does seem as much of an example of decisions ‘deferred’ rather than ‘decided’ in terms of the NPPF.

South Essex is a good example with intervention in one case and special measures another.

Looking at the key decision however a number of key issues remains

  1.  Will the joint strategic plan be statutory?  Not clear in the recommendation – only referred to in the supporting text.  If a statutory plan there needs to be an LDS amendment etc.  It is possible to agree joint strategic policies through individual examinations – as per North Essex, though this is very costly and the example here would not be repeated by others studying the lack of economies of scale.
  2. What are the governance arrangements? – a joint committee avoids the deadlock of requiring unanimity.
  3. Will the Statement of Common Ground agree the minimum requirements for the new effectiveness test in the draft NPP para 36.  Will strategic priorities be ‘dealt with rather than deferred’ and include the ‘strategic pattern and form’ of development’.

A statement of common ground is more than a ‘memorandum of understanding’ which planning inspectors often see as an agreement to try to agree – as this one is.  A Statement of common ground includes what has been agreed and what has not, so they will evolve over time as joint plans progress.  This is just a motherhood statement – typical of those drafted by Chief Executives.    South Essex is just at its first stage – but it clearly needs to set out what it expects to try to agree to agree anything at all.

‘Guggenheim of the North’ has become a Wem Koolhaus Monstrosity

Manchester Evening News 

Lets have a proper architectural competition of £70 million of Treasury funding at stake.

This is the first glimpse of overhauled plans for Manchester’s new £111m arts centre, dubbed the ‘Guggenheim of the North’.

The Factory is set to be built on the old Granada Studios site in the city centre with the aim of becoming one of the world’s top performance venues.

But, as the M.E.N. reported last July, architects were forced to go back to the drawing board – at a cost of £1.6m to the city council – after its original theatre, orchestra pit and building facade designs were found to be unsuitable.

Now Rotterdam-based architecture firm OMA has submitted a revised planning application, 16 months after the original proposals were approved.

The most striking change is to the exterior, with the original, complex ‘shrink wrap’ design and lift shafts axed in favour of a more ‘back-to-basics’ shape.

Glass facades on the north and south of the buildings have also been replaced with concrete panels.

The architect says that’s because the glass was ‘contrary to the majority of the internal use’ and would have needed to have been blacked out ‘90 per cent of the time’ during performances.

The revised plans for The Factory, Manchester’s new £111m arts venue

Inside alterations include a reduction in the theatre’s seating capacity, from 1,600 to 1,520.

The size of the orchestra pit is also set to be increased to accommodate 80 musicians, up from 60.

In documents submitted with the application OMA said the reduction in seating capacity aims to provide ‘a more intimate relationship between audience and performers and a more appropriately scaled, improved theatre house’.

The Factory will be built on the old Granda Stduios site in the city centre

Despite the alterations OMA insist the original ‘concept’ of the building has not changed.

When its striking design was first unveiled in 2016 The Factory was dubbed the city’s answer to the New York’s Guggenheim museum.

These images are included in the revised planning application submitted by architects OMA

It’s intended as the city’s flagship culture venue and will become the permanent home to the Manchester International Festival.

Originally earmarked to open next summer, it’s now scheduled for a September 2020 launch.

Speaking in July, when it emerged the plans would have to be redrawn, council leader Sir Richard Leese said: “This is a landmark building for the city for the coming century, and in terms of overall budget it’s an additional investment to ensure we get the quality of appearance and flexibility of use to meet the high expectations set by the city for this world leading project.”

The bulk of the money – £78m – for the project is being funded by the Treasury with the remainder is due to be provided through charitable donations and the Arts Council.