Bringing you thought provoking opinion articles from our experts and the recent news from within our Planning & Development division.

Featured article from the new edition of Planning & Development Insite

Our original 32 new towns delivered through the New Towns Act, provided homes for 2.8m people, that’s 4.3% of UK households. Cynicism about concrete cows and roundabout cities aside, new towns are generally popular, diverse, healthy places in which to live, and continue to flourish.

The New Towns programme drew on many of the original garden city principles established by Ebenezer Howard in 1898, but the new towns were on a much larger scale and delivered by public sector development corporations rather than the private sector. 

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is the greatest advocate of the Garden City movement and Katy Lock is responsible for simultaneously conserving and updating Howard’s ideology. The organisation’s research has concluded that today’s new communities should combine the principles of the garden city movement with the highly effective delivery mechanisms of the post war New Towns, updated for the twenty-first century and learn lessons – good and bad – from the past. So, when the Government announced its interest in ‘garden communities’, including proposals to create five new garden towns in the Oxford-Cambridge Corridor, it fell to Katy to convince officials that the ‘garden’ prefix was much more than a cliché, and to promote the principles that were successfully pioneered at Letchworth, Milton Keynes and elsewhere.
“The garden city principles remain as relevant today as they were a century ago,” says Katy. “From garden suburbs through to post-war new towns, communities created on these principles have stood the test of time. They offer high quality lifestyles that promote wellbeing, a wide range of employment opportunities and cultural services, an appropriate mix of house types and tenures, walkable, tree lined streets and high-quality design, while also promoting access to nature and opportunities for biodiversity.”

So, can our increasingly shaky political system provide the long-term support essential to the roll out of these new towns? With the increasingly rapid turnaround of housing ministers, is there the political appetite to see the ideas through, or will these new towns simply follow the path of the eco town, trumpeted by one government, then swiftly chewed up and spat out by the next?

“There is a recognition across Government that new communities have an important part to play in resolving the housing crisis,” explains Katy. “The All-Party Parliamentary Group on New Towns has been fundamental in communicating the benefits, and its membership from across parties provides some political consistency.” 

“Having identified the need, the Government must now focus on planning and delivery. This means consistency in commitment. To get the private sector on board, the proposition must be de-risked and free from political interference. New towns need local leadership which transcends political cycles.” 

Much of the current debate is focused on the best legislative vehicle to allow delivery. The TCPA firmly believes that, with small modifications, the New Towns Act 1981 is the best route. “We could use the current New Towns legislation,” says Katy. “But there need to be safeguards in place and stronger requirements for public participation in the process. Currently there are no statutory obligations on development corporations in relation to sustainable development, good design or climate change. As development corporations are not defined in law as local planning authorities, they are not covered by the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.” 

A number of alternative suggestions have been made to deliver large-scale growth, including the 2008 major infrastructure planning regime. The TCPA is not in favour of this route: “The complexity of creating a whole new town is such that there is much more to do, over a much longer timescale, than building infrastructure. A town is not built in one go, but grown over several decades.” 

“The Government has also shown an intention to extend permitted development rights even further to reach its housing targets more quickly. Creating new towns based on the ultimately democratic garden cities principles is an opportunity to deliver new homes at speed, but crucially deliver high quality and inclusive places at the same time. But it requires a strategic approach and long-term, joined-up thinking. We need a national spatial plan within which government identifies areas of search and supports local authorities to work together to identify scale and location. A modernised New Towns Act can then be used to designate and deliver through modernised development corporations.” 

“These garden towns will evolve and flourish only if there is consistency – consistency of leadership, consistency of principles and through-thinking across generations.” 

Katy Lock has over 18 years’ experience in planning and environmental practice with particular expertise in policy development, analysis and thought leadership in relation to new communities, housing, green infrastructure, urban design and sustainability. 

This article was first published in Planning & Development Insite Summer 2019 edition, click here to download the issue.

Carter Jonas in the news

Our experts recently secured planning permission on behalf of Lampton Development 360, the London Borough of Hounslow’s development company working in partnership with EcoWorld, for a three-five storey residential led mixed-use development in the London Borough of Ealing.

The development provides a new entrance and ground floor visitors centre for the London Wildlife Trust’s Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve and nine residential units.

The development, designed by BM3 Architects, ensures substantial benefits to the existing, and future ecology, of the nature reserve. The new visitors centre provides the London Wildlife Trust with high quality educational and communal space to promote the ecology of the nature reserve to local residents, community groups and schools, and seeks to promote access to wildlife throughout the capital. The development replaces the existing temporary accommodation used by the London Wildlife Trust and delivers upgraded facilities for the ongoing management and protection of the valued nature reserve.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Katy Davis
Partner, Planning & Development 
020 7529 1513

In 2014, our experts obtained planning permission for a large mixed-use employment site located in Ashdon Road, Saffron Waldon.

The 2014 planning permission released part of the site for 167 housing units, and retained the remainder for commercial use. Despite this mixed-use approval, no market interest in the employment land emerged. Therefore, an outline application was made to remodel the front area of land and provide a business park. In addition, the planning permission sought to release the rest of the land for housing. The application was originally refused by the Council. We then launched an appeal, setting out that there was no market interest in the commercial land areas and that sufficient commercial land existed across the district. Given the significant shortfall in housing land supply, our specialists argued that planning permission should be granted.

Following a market assessment, the inspector concluded that if planning permission was granted, there would be very limited harm to the overall provision of employment land in the district. In light of a need for housing, including affordable, planning permission was obtained for the construction of up to 55 dwellings on the land. 

For further information, please contact a member of our team:


Paul Belton
Partner, Planning & Development
01223 326812

Our northern development team has agreed to sell a residential development site in Barton, Preston, comprising around nine acres.  

The site benefits from outline planning permission for 72 dwellings and up to 320 sq m of retail floor space.

Acting on behalf of the landowner, our development specialists offered the site through an open market tender process. A number of bids were received and a purchaser was subsequently chosen. Our experts have now negotiated and agreed terms for an unconditional sale.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

John Webster 
Partner, Planning & Development
0113 203 1063

Our experts have secured planning permission for two large science buildings of national importance totalling over 160,000 ft² (14,867m²) at the Harwell Campus, Oxford.

The plan was submitted on behalf of the Science and Technology Facilities Council and MACE.

The first building will provide a new 44,885ft² (4,170m²) research and development facility for the newly established Rosalind Franklin Institute, a government-funded initiative to create a national centre for interdisciplinary science. The institute is dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development. It draws its name from pioneering X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, who played a prominent role in the discovery of the structure of DNA by utilising a technique with roots in physics and technology.

At the same time, our specialists secured approval for the new National Satellite Test Facility in response to the UK Space Agency’s need for a central facility in the UK. The 115,141ft² (10,697m²) building will provide a world class set of co-located amenities for the assembly, integration and testing of space payloads and satellites. It will enable British companies to develop the next generation of launch technologies and testing capabilities to allow the UK to construct satellites and deliver payloads into orbit.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Nicky Brock
Partner, Planning & Development
01865 297706

The next edition of Planning & Development bulletin will be published in January 2020, however you can keep up-to-date with our latest firm wide developments on the News & Events of our website.

@ James Bainbridge
James Bainbridge
01865 404437 email me about James
@ Nick Taylor
Nick Taylor 
Partner - Head of Planning
020 7016 0733 email me about Nick Taylor
@ Colin Brown
Colin Brown
Partner - Head of Planning and Development Division
01223 326826 email me about Colin
@ Steven Sensecall
Steven Sensecall
Partner - Head of Planning in the Southern Region
01865 297705 email me about Steven
@ John Webster
John Webster
Partner - Head of Planning and Development North
0113 203 1063 email me about John

James is Chairman of Carter Jonas.  Formerly Head of the Planning & Development Division, James advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the south of England with nearly 30 years of experience in residential and mixed use development.  This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities. He has specific expertise in option, promotion and other development agreements, joint ventures and landowner equalisation agreements. James has been involved in sites ranging from new settlements to city centre regeneration and smaller provincial and rural schemes, and also provides expert witness and independent expert valuation services for dispute resolution.

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Nick is a chartered town planner and development surveyor with over 25 years' experience, gained across the residential, commercial, retail and industrial sectors for corporate, institutional and private landowners and developers. He has worked at CBRE and Drivers Jonas Deloitte. His professional experience is in three main sectors – Strategic Land / Projects, Retail / Mixed-Use and Central London. Strategic Projects / Land involves the promotion of land for commercial and residential development for landowners and developers. Retail / Mixed-Use schemes are a blend of edge of centre and town centre mixed-use schemes with food stores and other uses, often residential. This sector includes regeneration and waterside schemes. Central London focuses on projects from Canary Wharf to Hammersmith and Camden down to Wandsworth, Southwark and Lambeth.

When he isn’t working, Nick can be found playing golf (increasingly badly) and spending time re-stocking and emptying his wine cellar to indulge his passion for wine.

Colin is a Partner and was appointed Head of Planning & Development Division in November 2020, he is based out of our Cambridge office.  He has over 25 years’ experience of planning consultancy and has a broad sphere of work.  He acts for a wide range of private, institutional and developer clients and has worked on significant planning applications and appeals.

He regularly instructs Counsel, and has appeared at a number of Local Plan examinations and in Section 78 and other appeals where he has often given evidence.  He carries out much land promotion work and has a strong track record of delivering planning consents taking projects through their entire process from site identification to construction on site.  

Away from work, Colin is Chairman of the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry and of the Cambridge branch of networking group, Interact.  He is also Chairman of the Dining Rights Committee at the Hawks’ Club, a sporting club in the City for Cambridge University sportsmen. He is a regular, if poor golfer, a keen cyclist and a committed, but somewhat less dangerous skier than he once was.

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Steven is Partner and Head of Planning Southern Region and is based in our Oxford office.

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John is Head of the Leeds office and the Planning & Development Team North. John advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the North of England.  He has over 30 years’ experience in residential and commercial development acting for private, corporate, institutional, charity and public sector clients.

This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities.

John has specific expertise in Options, Promotional Agreements, Joint Ventures and Conditional Contracts, acting mainly for landowners.  John has been involved in projects such as new settlements, to city centre regeneration, provincial sites, large commercial developments and site sales.

The Development Agency team are currently instructed on 6,500 acres in 150 locations across the North West, Yorkshire and the North East.

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Planning Insite 2020
Planning & Development Insite | Winter | 2020
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