Planning roundup

Government is planning to rationalise housing standards, reducing numbers from 100 to 10. Those that will be abolished include the requirement for rainwater harvesting in places that have no water shortages and measures that mean the same work has to be checked by different organisations. There will also be optional building regulations to apply “only when it is right to” such as for water efficiency requirements. Energy efficiency standards will in future be set through national building regulations rather than locally set targets.

Public consultation on a second runway for Gatwick Airport opens on 4 April. The airport is seeking views and suggestions over a six week period. Option 1 is a new runway 585m south of the existing runway. Option 2 is a new runway 1,450m south of the existing runway used for landings with the other for take offs. Option 3 is similar in layout to option 2 but both runways would be used for landings and take offs.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced £200M investment and establishment of a garden city development corporation to create a new 15,000 home settlement beside Ebbsfleet HS1 station. He also extended the Help to Buy scheme for new homes to 2020.

Housing minister Kris Hopkins has published a shortlist of 36 developments in areas including London, Manchester, Liverpool and Kirklees which could benefit from a share of a £1bn Build to Rent fund to deliver homes for private rent. Up to 6,500 homes will be built using the additional funding. This is round two of the scheme. Eighteen projects are on the books in round one.

DfT is to underwrite construction of the Mersey Gateway Bridge to the tune of almost £1.7bn up to 2026 to cover any shortfalls in anticipated toll revenues on behalf of scheme promoter Halton Borough Council.

DCLG has updated National Planning Policy Guidance to include what it call robust guidance on flood risk “making it crystal clear that councils need to consider the strict tests set out in national policy and where these are not met, new development on flood risk sites should not be allowed. The guidance also reaffirmed commitment to the Green Belt.

A new town could be built at Ebbsfleet on the Thames Estuary according to a report from the Centre for London authored by former transport secretary Andrew Adonis. The development of 35,000 homes would benefit from the HS1 link into London.

Hammersmith flyover could be replaced by a tunnel in as little as three years and could be funded by receipts from newly available land on the former trace of the flyover. Consultant Halcrow (now CH2M Hill) revealed the plans to Hammersmith & Fulham Council last week.

Two new cities will be needed to provide homes for new migrants to the UK, according to research by the House of Commons Library. Estimates are that new migrants will form 629,000 new households based on net immigration running at 144,000 a year up to 2021.