April 2022

Land to the East of Warley Substation, Clay Tye Road, Upminster, RM14 3PL

DLP obtained full planning permission in November 2021 from Havering BC, on behalf of Clearstone Energy, in relation to land to the east of Warley Substation, Clay Tye Road, Upminster. The scheme was for the construction and operation of a battery storage facility with associated fencing, landscaping, and access road. The site, which is just over an acre, is located within the Metropolitan Green Belt and is covered by the Thames Chase Community Forest Area.

The demand for battery storage technology continues to grow rapidly as the immediacy of climate change, sustainability and environmental considerations become ever more apparent. Transitioning to a renewable energy fuelled world is a concept that has received additional traction since 2019 and the Climate Change Committee, with most recently in 2021, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Significant new legislation in the UK includes the new Environment Bill and Act in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The need for cleaner energy sources is recognised and battery storage facilities form a crucial aspect of this initiative especially if the UK is to shift away from dependence on fossil-fuels and meet the Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2050.

The development at Upminster comprises 334 battery cabinets, alongside 23 inverter/transformers, which are controlled by a relay room. The battery storage will be connected to the existing transmission grid substation, which is owned and operated by National Grid Plc. The purpose is to aid National Grid Plc’s larger UK programme of delivering battery storage at electricity substations across the country in order to ensure that they can maintain the required levels of frequency and also balance national electricity supply and demand.

The location of the Battery storage unit within the overall curtilage of the Sub-Station site was selected on the basis of environmental criteria and following detailed discussions with National Grid. 

As part of this planning application, DLP managed the preparation of the application. This included detailed liaison with the energy company; Clearstone Energy who were the clients, relevant external consultants and key Officers at the Council. The application was supported by a detailed assessment as to how the battery storage proposal would have only minimal impact on the Green Belt and issues of openness. This technical justification included a comprehensive package of application plans, elevations, and technical documents. This supporting documentation explained that the proposed technology would be acceptable in technical terms. In relation to noise issues, a key local issue, it was shown that only low levels of noise would occur and only when the battery was operational. In addition, these noise levels would be emitted primarily by the cooling system, which is required to maintain the temperature, for both charging and discharge phases.

Havering BC initially raised concerns regarding the appearance of the units and the accessibility of servicing in relation to HGVS. However, with small amendments to the Landscape Strategy to better screen the structure, and amendments to the configuration of the access road and turning points, the application was granted an approval in November 2021.

John HelyarLand to the East of Warley Substation, Clay Tye Road, Upminster, RM14 3PL
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CCRC Appeal – Chilterns AONB

DLP Planning Ltd, acting as part of the appeal team representing Inspired Villages, led by Chris Young QC, have gained on appeal planning permission for a 143-unit retirement village in the Chilterns AONB, at Sonning Common, South Oxfordshire.

DLP oversaw the preparation of the initial, hybrid application for the proposal and led discussions with South Oxfordshire Council prior to the determination of the application. Following refusal of the application in 2020, DLP instructed Chris Young QC, and DLP provided evidence in respect of housing land supply, planning policy and the planning balance with Simon James MRTPI and Roland Bolton MRTPI giving evidence at the 9-day Public Local Inquiry.

In his decision letter, Inspector Harold Stephens accepted the evidence given and found, respectively, that there was an established, substantial need for specialist accommodation for the elderly, which was not being met within the Council area, that there was not demonstrated to be a five year supply of housing land in place, that the appeal site had a strong relationship with the built form of the village and that the proposal itself was attractive and contextual in its setting. Inspector Stephens allowed the appeal and dismissed a costs application made by South Oxfordshire and found that the appellants had not acted unreasonably.

Subsequent to the issuing of the decision, South Oxfordshire Council sought to challenge the decision in the High Court but their application for leave to bring a case was dismissed twice, the first time by written application and the second via a hearing, and the Council subsequently withdrew their challenge allowing Inspired Villages to pursue approval of reserved matters and the discharge of conditions prior to delivering the development.

DLP are now instructed to discharge conditions and reserved matters and will continue working on this to provide for commencement of development later this year.

John HelyarCCRC Appeal – Chilterns AONB
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The Mango Tree

The Mango Tree was formerly a two-storey detached building (latterly converted to use as a restaurant with staff accommodation above) occupying a prominent position in the Crowthorne Conservation Area. It benefitted from planning permission to convert to flats but subsequently proved to be structurally unsound. DLP obtained permission to demolish and rebuild in 2017 to provide 5 residential units and the demolition took place. However, it was deemed unviable to implement the permitted scheme and since that time, the applicant has sought to design a proposal that can viably be constructed.

A proposed mixed-use scheme, which comprised the provision of a children’s nursery with residential accommodation on the upper floors, was deemed by Officers to be overdevelopment of site. A subsequent application for 10 flats was also considered to raise design objections and was refused.

A post-determination meeting was held with the Council to seek advice on whether they would accept a scheme for 8 residential units. Whilst the Officers were still hesitant with this, the client and DLP progressed a carefully justified planning application submission.

A number of objections and issues were raised regarding access and turning, traffic impacts, amenity space, a sustainable drainage system (SuDS), waste and recycling facility storage and the impact on trees. DLP worked closely with the Council and the client to provide further information addressing these concerns and, in addition, secured support from the Council’s heritage consultant.

Planning permission was subsequently granted by Committee (in October 2021), and DLP are now working with the Council and the applicant to progress the Section 106 Agreement.

John HelyarThe Mango Tree
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Review: Sustainable housing on a brownfield site

The new Climate Innovation District being built by Citu Group Developments Limited (CITU) on the edge of Leeds city centre offers a model for sustainable design and development. CITU is a Leeds based company whose mission is to tackle climate change. The homes were designed by White Arkitekter; a Scandinavian firm. They also prepared the masterplan for the scheme.

Such developments are crucial in addressing the key aspects of sustainable growth and development in urban areas. Located in the Leeds Dock area, the district is being built on an old industrial site on the south bank of the River Aire. When complete, the development is planned to deliver a mixed-use neighbourhood with 1,000 sustainable homes, a zero carbon workplace, five urban parks, a primary school and a care home. The first phase comprising 315 homes was completed early last year.

CITU homes are different from traditional two storey brick houses. Influenced by Scandinavian design, the appearance is contemporary and bold. The design and layout significantly reduces the carbon footprint of its occupiers. The design of the homes is based on the Leeds model for back-to-back housing, with rooms located around lightwells that provide light down into the kitchens. They are visually attractive and signpost a step change in the delivery of sustainable homes.
The homes have a timber frame with recycled glasswool insulation and triple glazed windows. Heating bills are kept low with mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems (MVHRs) There are also solar arrays, which are co-owned by all of the residents, to provide renewable energy.

Located on the edge of the city centre, there is a large range of shops, eating and drinking establishments and entertainment venues nearby. Residents do not need to rely on access to a private car. Bus stops are located close to the site along the A61, and Leeds train station is approximately 25 minutes walk away. There are also opportunities to walk and cycle along the riverside into the city centre.

The development is also located on previously developed land, which means that available land is being used efficiently.

In short, the location ticks all of the boxes for planners and sustainability in land use terms.
In the current housing crisis, younger people in particular, are experiencing difficulties in trying to save for a deposit to secure a mortgage and get on the property ladder. Unfortunately, with one bedroom properties currently on sale in the Climate Innovation District for more than £150,000, and the asking price for four bedroom properties being more than £400,000, the cost of purchasing may be too great for some people. However, the longer-term costs will be significantly less than average because of the sustainable design.

In addition, some affordable housing provision has been secured as part of the Section 106 legal agreements associated with the development.

John HelyarReview: Sustainable housing on a brownfield site
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