Planning matters

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The Deptford Project – place-making in Deptford
The Deptford Project has been announced as winner of the ‘Best Heritage Project’ in London at the London Planning Awards! What a fabulous finale for Lichfields, for a project that has transformed a run-down part of Deptford, providing housing, commercial units and a new market, and bringing life back to a listed railway structure that was on Historic England’s buildings at risk register. Working on behalf of U+I Group plc (formerly Cathedral Group), Lichfields has provided planning inputs into the Deptford Project from the start, securing the original planning permission, and conservation area and listed building consents, discharging conditions and then obtaining permissions and consents for the numerous subsequent details and changes needed to meet the evolving requirements of the development. The Deptford Project comprises a number of very different elements of development that work together to create a successful regeneration area in the heart of Deptford. Whilst the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners-designed 121-unit apartment building (now known as Tinderbox House) is an obvious key feature of the project, providing a modern and vibrant residential development with a roof-top garden, it is the Grade II Listed Carriage Ramp running proudly alongside the apartment building that makes this development unique. The Carriage Ramp was built in 1832 for providing rolling stock and private carriage access to the Deptford Station and Railway Viaduct, which is itself the longest listed structure in the UK. It is hard to imagine that the Ramp was constructed in an open field, although in the subsequent 20-25 years it was enveloped by the expansion of London, with new terraced housing backing directly onto it. The open arches, which reduce in height beneath and along the length of the Ramp, were originally used for storage in association with railway works, although they were later used by private companies for heavy goods storage. Over the years, a lack of investment in the up-keep of the Ramp and the removal of most of its east-west section saw it fall into disrepair. The Carriage Ramp was always important though, as the last remaining of three such ramps in London. It was The Deptford Project that saved the structure, providing the investment and careful renovation needed to bring the Ramp back to life. This was not without its challenges but the end product, resulting in this award, speaks for itself. The Ramp and its new east-west section provide access to Deptford Rail Station whilst businesses occupy the arches once again. In front of the Carriage Ramp is the new Deptford Market Yard, providing public realm and a new market area with new connectivity through the site and beneath the Carriage Ramp, and with improved legibility provided by the implementation of a comprehensive wayfinding strategy. The development also includes St Paul’s House, which fronts Deptford High Street and provides 8 apartments, 3 town houses and 2 restaurants. I may be biased but I do think that the Deptford Project is very deserving of its title of ‘Best Heritage Project in London’, given at the London Planning Awards. I will miss working on such an exciting development; however it is now time to let the development do the talking as it becomes a fully integrated part of Deptford. Indeed it is already bringing benefits to the area by acting as a catalyst for further regeneration and investment. Whatever happens, the Grade II Listed Carriage Ramp will be around to see it. Image credit: Deptford Market Yard

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EIA Brexit

EIA Brexit

Liz Evans 06 Jul 2016
Okay so I thought it would be close but I did not think it would be that close. And I also did not think that a majority would actually vote to leave the EU… Having slightly recovered from the shock – like most people – I have entered a stage of acceptance and I want to know more about all sorts of things, including how the vote for Brexit might affect NLP’s (‘EIA’) team, whose very existence is defined by an EU Directive. In terms of the requirement or otherwise for EIA, nothing changes for the foreseeable future. The EIA Directive still remains in force, as do the current separate EIA Regulations for England, Scotland and Wales. And the requirement for the ‘new’ Directive 2014/52/EU to be transposed into UK law by 16 May 2017 also remains. This is because, even if notice is given soon to leave the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union, the UK has 2 years to complete the process (unless an extension is agreed), with EU legislation remaining in place until departure.The Government is likely to need every single second of those two years, if not longer, given the estimated 80,000 pages of EU agreements that someone needs to decide whether to keep, amend or repeal and the renegotiation or replacement agreements with Member States individually or in groups. During the two years, the primary focus is also likely to be on the process of leaving the EU and governing the UK, as well as stabilising the economy and trade. EIA and environmental protection will remain important but are unlikely to be top of the agenda. So where does that leave EIA?Legal experts fully expect that we will see primary/emergency legislation passed that retains current legislation and case law in the immediate future and intervening period, until possible replacement. The Government may also introduce legislation with a mechanism to deal with issues arising on an ad hoc basis, until we know the full consequences of leaving the EU. If or how this actually plays out is unknown, but legislation along these lines will certainly be needed if there is to be any clarity for EIA – and the many other legal matters currently covered by EU legislation.One benefit of the UK’s EIA Regulations is that they are a standalone set of regulations that can continue to remain in force for qualifying development projects. However there will inevitably be gaps in some policy areas as a result of referential drafting (where the UK has adopted skeleton legislation that relies on EU legislation to fill the gaps) and technical standards and targets currently set at the EU level (such as the UK’s international climate targets, which are currently negotiated as part of the EU block). There has also been a vacuum in UK environmental policy for some years because EU legislation has been so active in this area and the UK Government has left it to EU legislation to do the job.So what can be done in the meantime? The Government is certainly going to need a bit of help from people with the right knowledge and expertise. In a period of austerity, where jobs have at worst been cut and at best not been replaced, the necessary people may not be in place to ensure that the best arrangements are established going forward. It is therefore important that dialogue channels are open with policy-makers to ensure that important legislation is not lost and any new or amended legislation is forward-thinking and robust.With regards to the 30-40 years of case law on the interpretation of EU Directives which influences our work on an almost daily basis, legal experts suggest that a cut-off date is set to clarify when matters should be referred to which court and to define the applicability of existing case law. Even after the cut-off date, European Court cases will still be relevant and should still be binding – although a litigious movement may emerge that seeks to challenge decisions made by a different decision-maker, under different law.Ultimately it seems that in a time of uncertainty, there is actually quite a bit of certainty about EIA. It is not going anywhere soon and NLP’s EIA work will continue unaffected; the Company is ready and poised too, to input into the review process as and when required.  

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