Need to know: Stations for sale, English Housing Survey and a potential city housing company

This week the spotlight has been on infrastructure and housing numbers, as well as emerging planning policy.

London Waterloo is reported to be among the stations under review by Citi (PIC Network Rail)
London Waterloo is reported to be among the stations under review by Citi (PIC Network Rail)

London Waterloo, Edinburgh Waverley, Leeds and Reading are among 18 major stations that could be put on sale, reports The Independent on Sunday. It says Network Rail has asked Citi bank to look at a range of commercial options, from outright sale to offering concessions to retailers and other operators.

Home ownership numbers in England have risen for the first time in a decade, according to the government’s 2014/2015 English Housing Survey. The marginal increase means that of an estimated 22.5 million households, 63.5 per cent are in owner occupation. The BBC reports the news with a note of caution, pointing out that one year’s figures do not represent a trend.

Next week City of Lincoln Council’s executive board looks set to give the go-ahead to plans to create a city housing company. The housing company, which will be owned by the council, is being established to increase market rent and low cost home ownership properties in the city. The council wants up to 500 new homes built in the city over the next five years by its own company and other providers.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has issued a consultation outlining proposals for a pilot scheme to allow councils to compete for the business of processing planning applications. Councils will also be able to offer a fast track planning application service, either through competition pilots or potentially through devolution deals. The proposals are intended to drive council innovation, support housebuilding and speed up the planning process.

Transport for London (TfL) has named four trial street improvement projects aimed at creating butter public spaces and cutting congestion in the capital. The projects have been awarded grants through TfL’s Future Streets Incubator Fund, which is part of Mayor Boris Johnson’s £4 billion Road Modernisation Plan. The projects involve creating: an intelligent street in the West End, a pedestrian boulevard in a Southwark street using a flexible boardwalk, an innovative noise-absorbing barrier near the Blackwall Tunnel, and consolidation of business deliveries in the Holborn area.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is moving ahead with plans to establish the first mayoral development corporation (MDC) outside London, which is set to be in the Tees Valley. The MDC will have powers to clean up the former SSI UK steelworks site in Redcar, and redevelop land by the River Tees.

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