Agenda item

Former Swan Hunter Shipyard Local Development Order

To consider a report which proposes a revision of the Local Development Order (LDO) made by the Authority in 2012 in relation to the former Swan Hunter Ship Yard.


Cabinet received a report seeking approval to proceed with a public consultation in July 2022 on a proposed revision of the Local Development Order (LDO) made by the Authority in 2012 in relation to the former Swan Hunter Shipyard, Wallsend, with the intention of adopting a revised LDO for a further ten years until 2032.


An LDO was a planning mechanism that granted planning permission for certain types of development, enabling developers to progress plans for investment without the need to apply for planning permission. This provided landowners and developers with certainty about the types of development allowed and also saves costs (including planning fees) and time in negotiating and securing planning permission.


Significant improvement and investment work had been completed at the site. Projects delivered by the Authority since 2009/10 were set out in the report.  After a review of the approach to developing the site on 28 May 2019 Cabinet considered a report which outlined the work that the Authority had done for over ten years with a range of partners to secure the Swan Hunter site for strategic purposes and bring it back into economic use.


Adoption of a new LDO would build on the Authority’s achievements in safeguarding the site for offshore energy related development and loadouts, developing the Swans CFI and providing the site infrastructure that enabled the site to be sold in December 2020.


The Authority had taken up the opportunity to adopt an LDO in 2012. Given the size of the former Swan Hunter site, together with the river frontage access, it presented a unique development opportunity, which would capitalise on its potential and which aligned with the policy objectives listed in the report.


The need to revise the existing LDO was due to it expiring in November 2022 and a continuing need to support partners in securing additional investment and development. The proposed LDO would extend the timeframe until 2032 and allow it to reflect changes to planning legislation and the deed of variation signed with MHCLG in 2020 which extended the range of permissible economic activities which could be carried out in line with the funding agreements.


The proposed LDO would continue to support the policy objectives for the site by delivering sustainable economic development that would support investment in sub-sea technologies, energy generation and zero carbon transport in the following sectors:


·        Energy industries (included but not limited to oil and gas and renewables);

·        Offshore, technology, marine and sub-sea;

·        Manufacturing, construction and engineering; and/or

·        Research and Development related to any of the above sectors.


The proposed LDO would enable development that supported these industries to proceed without the need to apply for planning permission, provided it complied with specified development requirements and conditions. In exempting certain development from the need to apply for planning permission, developers would save on planning application costs and the time required to process applications.


Developers would also benefit from receiving a greater degree of certainty that they could proceed, as permission was granted, provided they met the agreed conditions and development requirements. This would assist in efforts to market and promote the sites for development and investment. 


The process for revising a LDO was set out in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and Article 38 of The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 made under the 1990 Act. This would involve consultation with prescribed bodies such as Natural England, Historic England and the Environment Agency and local organisations who had an interest in the area.


The consultation process also included any person who it would be required to consult with on an application for planning permission and in conformity with the Authority’s Statement of Community Involvement. A copy of the LDO would be available to view on the Authority’s website and within the Authority offices at Cobalt. The consultation period should not be less than 28 days with an advert in the local press.


Following consultation on the LDO the Authority must consider any representations received and what modifications, if any, should be made to the LDO. The revised LDO would have no effect until it was adopted by the Authority as the Local Planning



In adopting the LDO the Authority must send a copy of the LDO and other specified documents to the Secretary of State as soon as reasonably practicable, and no later than 28 days after the Authority had adopted the LDO.


Cabinet considered the following decision options: to accept the recommendations set out in paragraph 1.2 of the report, to accept some, but not all, of the recommendations, or alternatively, to not approve the recommendations.


Resolved that

(1) the Director of Regeneration and Economic Development, in consultation with the Deputy Mayor and Director of Resources, be authorised to:

(i)     undertake public consultation in respect of the proposed Local Development Order for the former Swan Hunter Shipyard, Wallsend; and

(ii)    pursuant to such consultation, take all necessary or associated steps to make any amendments to the Local Development Order; and

(2)   the Director of Regeneration and Economic Development, in consultation with the

Deputy Mayor and the Director of Resources (and subject to the consultation responses), be authorised to adopt the Local Development Order and submit a copy of the Order and any ancillary documentation, to the Secretary of State within the requisite period of time.


(Reason for decision: This would provide a clear commitment from the Authority to take the necessary steps to simplify the planning regime and therefore support the efforts to generate investment, economic growth and job creation at the site in key industries that seek to maximise the advantages the site offers.)



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