Plymouth bids to build 5,000 homes, as 5,000 more are set to start in Sherford
Plymouth planners are trying to kick-start "stalled" developments that could see thousands of new homes being built.
There are 5,179 homes in Plymouth which have planning permission but where progress has been held up.
Now planners have reviewed all 96 sites involved, Cllr Mark Lowry, the city's Cabinet member for finance, told a scrutiny panel yesterday.
At the same time the council is selling 10 sites it owns to developers, and will see more than 600 new homes built on those derelict buildings and unwanted patches of land.
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The council has fast-tracked technical issues to allow work to start quickly on several sites. These include 132 homes in Notte Street; 130 at Unity Park, Efford; 85 at St Augustine's in Alexandra Road; and 58 on the latest phase of the Vision site in Devonport.
"On larger developments we have worked with landowners and developers to discuss how we can remove the barriers to development," Cllr Lowry said. "We are confident that during 2013 we will see progress on a number of stalled sites."
Planners are also tackling 33 sites which were granted planning permission for 489 homes where landowners and developers have allowed the permission to lapse.
"Some are lying idle and we promised we would get tough on unsightly building sites by getting them tidied up," Cllr Lowry said. "If appropriate we would allow some temporary uses whilst new development proposals are worked up.
There have been discussions on the three biggest lapsed sites: Colin Campbell Court, Millbay Marina and the former Crescent Cars site.
Last autumn the council issued a call for new sites, telling developers it would fast-track these through the planning system.
"We received a disappointing response from the local development industry who only suggested a couple of sites," Cllr Lowry said.
"In the meantime we have worked with more proactive developers like Plymouth Community Homes, Barratts, Mount Wise (Devon) Limited, Devon and Cornwall and Redrow to enable completion of around 350 homes in the last year, with another 705 dwellings under construction.
"There are some 414 homes currently at pre-application stage which we expect to be planning applications before the end of 2013.
Nick Carter, the council's housing delivery team leader, said they were working on a new way of helping people to buy their own homes.
The scheme, which has been developed in Plymouth but will be rolled out nationally, will allow people to rent until they are in a position to buy.
Paul Barnard, the council's chief planner, said that the type of housing being built in Plymouth was changing.
In 2008/09 83 per cent of new homes were flats, but in the last full financial year that had fallen to 35 per cent.
Over the same period the proportion of terraced houses rose from 13 to 50 per cent.
TEN COUNCIL-OWNED SITES SOLD FOR HOUSING PROJECTS
Plymouth City Council has agreed deals that will see 616 homes built on derelict sites it owns.
The council’s planning department is working with developers to deliver another 5,000 homes which already have planning permission.
And the council is contacting the owners of small sites where planning permissions exist for a total of 498 homes yet to be built.
The schemes are part of the “Get Plymouth building” initiative, which is aiming to deliver about 2,000 new homes altogether, and create more than 800 jobs within the next two to three years.
Six of the 10 new council-owned sites are former schools, and they will include 264 affordable homes delivered by housing associations.
About £4million of the cash for developing the land will come from Homes and Communities Agency grants, and the council expects to earn £5.9million from the Government’s New Homes Bonus.
Cllr Mark Lowry, the city’s Cabinet member for finance, announced the projects at a scrutiny meeting yesterday.
He said: “We desperately need more affordable housing. With such high house prices and low average wages it’s incredibly difficult for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder without the help of the ‘bank of mum and dad’.”
The average house price in Plymouth is more than £160,000. A buyer would need a deposit and an income of at least £28,000 to buy a two-bed property.
Mid-range income in the city is £23,600, and 20 per cent of people earn less than £15,930.
Cllr Lowry said the schemes would support more than 200 jobs in construction and associated businesses and new homes would be built to high environmental standards.
Paul Barnard, the council’s chief planner, said he was confident the 10 big sites would be developed and would not be ‘land-banked’ by speculators.
He told panel members that the pre-application process on some of the sites began yesterday.
“I would like to get all of the consents in place by the end of this year, subject to the planning committee’s consideration,” he said.
Nick Carter, the housing delivery team leader, said companies which had won Homes and Communities Agency grants would have to deliver by March 2015.
And Cllr Lowry said: “I will be doing all that’s legally allowable to ensure that developments happen as soon as possible.”
Plymouth Community Homes is proposing to build 140 homes on the former Southway Primary School site. The development will include new sports pitches and changing rooms.
Clive Turner, the PCH chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to further our work as Plymouth’s largest social housing provider.”
A second Southway site is the old Pluss training centre. Cllr Lowry has approved the sale of the one-acre site to developers Westward Housing Group.
It was vacated by the disability training group Pluss in January 2011 and ransacked by burglars.
Andy Mitchelmore from AJM Building Design Ltd has agreed to buy the former Astor Centre in Mount Gould Road.
He said: “Our scheme will help tackle the issue of fuel poverty by using the latest green technologies to reduce heating costs.”
Sanctuary Housing Association is planning to build 70 homes at the former Woodlands and Hillside schools, including five sites for self-build schemes.
PLAN FOR HOUSING ON OLD PLYMOUTH SPORTS SITE IS WITHDRAWN
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build on a sports ground have been withdrawn – but a housing developer has said it will plough on despite substantial opposition.
Plans to build 95 homes on part of the Civil Service Sports Ground at Beacon Park were withdrawn last week by Redrow housing.
There has been strong opposition to the plans, which would only retain two pitches, from groups including Sport England, The FA, Devon Cricket and Devon County FA.
Paul Morrison, CEO of Devon County FA, said in a letter that they strongly object to the planning application.
He said: “To be able to make the facility sustainable long-term the Devon FA are of the view that other sports use needs to be retained on the site.”
Redrow has already changed its initial scheme to build 150 homes on the site after a public consultation.
Local resident Mike Smith, of Beacon Park Road, said: “Some of the council departments have come out in favour of retaining the facilities – the rugby pitches, the football pitches and the bowls ground. I think the council departments getting involved has swung the balance, but by withdrawing it Redrow can submit another application.”
Redrow had hit back amid concerns by saying that they will bring two of the disused pitches back to life.
Keith Annis, planning director for Redrow, said: “Following our initial planning application, we are working with the council on a new scheme which we will be submitting in due course.
“Working with the council, we are committed to delivering a scheme for this site that meets the company’s own high standards, together with the needs of local residents, and with our work with the council we hope to achieve this very soon.”
DEAL AGREED FOR WORK TO START ON 5,000 HOMES AT SHERFORD
A PLAN to build a new community of 5,500 homes on the eastern outskirts of Plymouth has passed one of its last big hurdles.
After years of wrangling planners have thrashed out details of a deal with the developers, Red Tree.
Sherford new town will straddle the boundary between Plymouth and the South Hams.
A community sports hall and 320 of the 5,500 homes will be in Plymouth.
Paul Barnard, Plymouth’s chief planner, told The Herald that a deal had been agreed and the documents had been handed over to the lawyers to “dot the Is and cross the Ts”.
And Cllr John Tucker, leader of South Hams District Council, said: “We have been working with Red Tree to finalise the terms of the planning agreement. It is correct to say that we have made good progress and we are now finalising the wording of the agreement.
“Once this legal document has been finalised with the developers and the other landowners and parties concerned, which we hope will be achieved shortly, outline planning permission can be granted for the development.
“It must be stressed however that, as the developer, Red Tree will be responsible for working up the detailed proposals. The future timings of the development will be down to them and not the council.”
James Koe, partner of Red Tree, said: “A great deal of work has gone into finalising the details of the planning agreement for Sherford and Red Tree can confirm that from its perspective there is now a settled agreement.
“This has been distributed to the various signatories, including the local authorities, for final approval which we believe is imminent and which would then allow the planning consent to be issued.
“Once this process is completed and the planning consent is issued Red Tree would want to move to the delivery phase of Sherford at the earliest opportunity.”
WHERE THE NEW PLYMOUTH HOUSES COULD BE BUILT
Former Ernesettle community centre Extra care housing for older people 40 units (Aster Housing Association).
Former West Park Primary School
45 homes (Linden Homes).
Former Southway Primary School
140 homes and the re-provision of sports pitches and changing rooms (Plymouth Community Homes).
Former Woodlands & Hillside School
70 homes (Sanctuary Housing Association).
Former Tamerton Vale School 90 homes (Galliford Try/Devon and Cornwall Housing Association).
Former Astor Centre
12 homes (AJM Building Design/Oakley).
Former PLUSS site
17 homes (Westward Housing Group).
Chaucer Way site
120 homes (Linden Homes)
Former Plym View Primary School
51 homes (Spectrum Housing Group).
27 homes (Pillar Land).