Whiteheads, Newport: Update

The Urbanists have submitted reserved matters designs for the first 471 new homes on the former Whiteheads steelworks site in Newport.  The submission was made on the behalf of the Whiteheads Development Company.  The scheme will be delivered by Lovell Homes. 


The submission marks a significant step forward in the delivery of this important development.  We will now be focussed on working with the Local Planning Authority to secure permission for the propose design.  Separate planning applications will be submitted for the remaining homes, the neighbourhood centre and primary school that were all included in the outline planning permission.  

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The scheme was designed by Powell Dobson Architects, with engineering advice provided by Cambria Consulting.  Project management and cost consultancy advise was provided by Blake Morgan.   

Further coverage of the scheme can be found here:



Image prepared by Powell Dobson Architects.  

The Urbanists provide planning consultancy advice to BikePark Wales

We are delighted to be acting as planning consultants to BikePark Wales.  Over the past 6-months we have advised the Park on their exciting extension proposals which will include a new visitor centre, onsite glamping accommodation and additional car parking capacity.  To date, we have submitted and prepared a planning application for the new visitor centre, and are now working on the planning application for the accommodation and parking.  A great client to work for. 

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Streetgames at The Principality Stadium, Cardiff

The Urbanists were proud to support Streetgames on Friday 27th July in Cardiff's iconic Principality Stadium. Several members of The Urbanists team volunteered to help run events and offer support to the Streetgames team.

Throughout the day, over 3,000 youngsters from the most deprived parts of Wales got to take part in over 60 different activities ranging from football, cage rugby, urban boxing, golf chip and put, free-running and gymnastics, skate boarding, and break dancing. In addition, many young people got the chance to be involved in event management and volunteering and played a key role in helping plan and deliver the festival on behalf of StreetGames. 

StreetGames has introduced the ‘Fit and Fed’ programme as a response to a growing body of research on the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, isolation, and inactivity. Of the poorest families, 73% struggle to buy food during the Summer school holidays, and kids can lose 80% of their fitness built up over the school year*

An excellent day was had by all who attended and The Urbanists look forward to supporting the event in the future.

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The Urbanists secure planning permission for new facilities at Daerwynno, Llanwonno outdoor activity centre


The Urbanists are very pleased to announce that we have secured full planning permission for new facilities in the grounds of the Daerwynno outdoor activity centre, located in Llanwynno forest. The planning permission includes the upgrade of the existing toilet block and the addition of three new shipping containers that will provide shower/toilet facilities, a classroom learning space and cafe area.  The permission was obtained on the behalf of the Ynysybwl Regeneration Partnership.  

In addition to securing planning permission, we were also responsible for preparing the scheme design, which includes the use of sustainable materials and finishes to ensure the development is appropriate to the landscape of the Llanwonno forest.  


Daerwynno Outdoor Activity Group has been operational since 1996, and the development proposed will enhance the outdoor offer provided.  

If you would like further information on this project please contact Martin Sullivan (martin.sullivan@theurbanists.net) or Liam Hopkins (liam.hopkins@theurbanists.net).


Urban design consultancy appointed on Swansea Digital Village


We’re very pleased to have been selected to be part of a team of consultants to help the City & County of Swansea Council to deliver a new employment scheme in the heart of Swansea.

The team (lead by WSP and also supported by Architecture 00, as well as Cushman & Wakefield and Gleeds) will be preparing plans for up to 100,000sq.ft of development that will continue the progression of Swansea’s digital economy and city centre lifestyle as part of the wider transformation of the City Centre. Realising the vision for the site, which was formerly the Oceana nightclub, is only possible because of the transformation of The Kingsway.

The £12m redesign of The Kingsway from a functional highway into a new green artery for the city will include new public areas, new green spaces and a revised two-way single lane vehicle route that will create a much more enjoyable and comfortable environment for visitors to the City.

The Urbanists contributed to the redesign of The Kingsway by combining our urban design and landscape architectural expertise and knowledge of street design to the considerable knowledge and commitment that exists within the City Council’s highways, transport planning and landscape teams.

Part of our latest role with Swansea will be reviewing the wider regeneration context of The Kingsway and Orchard Street and updating the plans prepared by the Council in 2016 to create a clear intention for how this part of the City Centre will evolve over the coming years. 

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: "This high-calibre new partner will be key to developing the Digital Village, working with council officers and other professionals. These plans will transform the city centre into a vibrant and bustling centre for business and leisure that increases the number of people working and living in Swansea and bring high-quality jobs to the area”.

Captains Charity Day at Raglan Golf Club


The Urbanists are proud to have supported and sponsored the Captains Charity Day at Raglan Golf club on Saturday June 16th in support of the Wales Ambulance.

Wales Air Ambulance needs almost £6.5 million every year to provide this vital
emergency service. Most of the funding comes from ordinary people and organisations such as
Raglan Parc golf club focusing on fundraising for them.

It was a great success with nearly £3000 being raised on the day, with a further £1000 already in the ‘pot’ from other events run earlier in the year.

Conversion of former Chapel at Cardiff Royal Infirmary - Heritage Impact Assessment

Conversion of former Chapel at Cardiff Royal Infirmary - Heritage Impact Assessment

The Urbanists were appointed by Gleeds to undertake the heritage impact assessment to accompany the listed building application for the conversion of the vacant CRI Chapel.  It is proposed to repair, restore and transform the building into a library, information centre, and cafe. 

The Heritage Impact Statement sets out that: 

The proposed use of the building will ensure the replacement of a local community library facility. It will enable public access to the otherwise closed building, and enable full appreciation and comprehension of the broad values of the historic asset. The project will elevate the building’s prominence as a key part of the wider listing status of the Cardiff Royal Infirmary.  


The significance of the historic asset will be increased through the scheme of works, by preservation and enhancement, and importantly through beneficial re-use as a vibrant community asset, ensuring its long-term protection and maintenance.

The Urbanists have considerable experience in securing significant permissions for works to listed buildings.  Please contact Mark Farrar to discuss how the Urbanists can assist you with heritage projects and heritage impact assessment.  

Image: Stride Treglown 


The Urbanists secure outline consent on edge of settlement site in Lincolnshire

We are pleased to report that our work has helped London & Economic Properties to secure outline planning consent for up to 145 dwellings on land located at the edge of Deeping St.James, Lincolnshire.

The site is allocated for up to 100 dwellings, but the process of analysis that we undertook highlighted opportunities for a denser development which would still create a quality sense of place, while being appropriate in the wider landscape setting.

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The client's agent had the following to say about our contribution to the project:

"The Urbanists produced the Design and Access Statement and LVIA for the outline planning application which was approved by the planning committee in under four months of submission.  Their approach to producing the necessary reports, continual dialogue throughout the process and responding to all necessary deadlines was handled with the utmost professionalism. Thank you."
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The Urbanists to prepare infrastructure guidance

The Urbanists have been commissioned by Transport for Wales (TfW) to help them prepare ‘Placemaking Guidance’ to inform future transport infrastructure projects. TfW is currently procuring an Operator and Delivery Partner for the next Wales and Borders Rail Service and South Wales Metro. 

The purpose of the Placemaking Guidance will be to ensure that transport infrastructure investment resulting from the new rail service will have a positive impact on the quality of Wales’ cities, towns and villages.


The approach will give transport infrastructure in Wales a confident national identity, but one which is sensitive to local character, identity and sense of place.  

The Urbanists, based in Cardiff, will advise Transport for Wales on all aspects of ‘placemaking’. This will initially require the production of Placemaking Guidance, which TfW will use to inform the design process, primarily around future rail investment such as the South Wales and North East Wales Metros, but also for other transport investment in Wales.  

James Brown, Director of The Urbanists; said:

“TfW have a unique opportunity to ensure that transport investment creates a national legacy that reflects Wales’ diverse and rich character while also being sensitive to the distinctiveness of the communities served by transport investment. The impact of this next phase of investment will need to resonate with each settlement, across Wales as a whole and beyond its borders to the rest of the world.” 

The approach is based upon extensive research of how other transport organisations around the world have approached the wider opportunities created by transport, development, branding and placemaking.  

The work commenced in November and is due to be completed in Spring 2018.” 

The Urbanists Get Another Planning Approval

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The Urbanists are delighted to announce on behalf of our client Taylor Wimpey South Wales that our Development Brief for Wren’s Nest has been approved by Torfaen County Borough Council. This is the largest character area of the 1200 unit masterplan at South Sebastopol.

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Associate Kauren Phillips said: 

"We also just received confirmation that the first phase of the Wren’s Nest got Reserved Matters Planning Approval for 181 homes, with minimal conditions attached. This was a great team effort supported by WPM Planning and Development, Asbri Planning, Soltys Brewster and Quad Consult.

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New Velindre Cancer Centre Approved

 Image courtesy of Hassell Architects

Image courtesy of Hassell Architects

We are delighted to announce that the planning application, on behalf of Velindre NHS Trust for the replacement Velindre Cancer Centre, was unanimously approved by Cardiff Council Planning committee.  There has been considerable discussion over the proposals in the local community and in the media.  Planning committee rigorously examined the application including the environmental mitigation measures that are set out in the Environmental Statement.  The Urbanists are acting as planning consultants on behalf of the Trust and have managed the project through the complex planning process.

 Image courtesy of Hassell Architects

Image courtesy of Hassell Architects

Steve Ham, Chief Executive of Velindre NHS Trust said: “The approval of our outline planning application is a significant milestone for the population we serve across South East Wales.

“Although it has served us and our patients well for more than 60 years; our current Cancer Centre is no longer fit for purpose. More and more people across South East Wales require cancer treatment and our care. Because of that continued increase in demand on our services, we must do things differently.

“As we move in to this next phase, we’re looking forward to continuing to work with our patients and our local community to ensure the new Velindre Cancer Centre and its location can benefit everyone.”

If you would like to know more, please dont hesitate to contact Mark Farrar or Liam Hopkins for any further information.  

The Planning (Wales) Act 2020

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The Law Commission has today released its consultation paper on proposals to overhaul and bring together all planning legislation in Wales into a single Act (‘codification’).  
It was last consolidated in the TCPA 1990 and has since undergone numerous additions and amendments, becoming increasingly fragmented with the divergence of Wales and England law. 
The Commission’s proposal is to simplify and modernise planning law in Wales.  

The consultation paper (of over 500 pages) covers the full extent of planning law including appeals, permitted development, planning applications, listed buildings and conservation areas, trees, advertising, challenges, and development plans.
It is expected that this will then form the Planning (Wales) Act 2020.

The consultation is being held for three months and the paper can be viewed here: 

We will provide further commentary in due course, but please call Mark Farrar if you wish to discuss in the meantime.

The Urbanists secure a unanimous resolution to grant planning permission for 529 new homes in Newport

We are pleased to announce that we have secured a unanimous resolution to grant planning permission for 529 new homes in Newport.  The resolution was achieved on behalf of the Whiteheads Development Company, a subsidiary of the Tirion Group.  The scheme will be delivered at the former Whiteheads Steelworks site in Newport.  


(Image courtesy of Powell Dobson Architects)

In addition to the 529 new homes (50% of which will be delivered as affordable housing), 24 assisted living units, the scheme also includes a new primary school, retail units and a pub / restaurant.  The scheme is a key regeneration project in Newport that will transform a derelict strategic site into a high quality residential neighbourhood.   

We were responsible for preparing the planning application and negotiating a positive planning decision.  A key challenge that we were able to overcome during this process was agreeing suitable mitigation to address local noise from industrial use and road and rail traffic.  We achievedthis by working with the noise consultant and scheme designers to develop a suitable site layout that would provide users with suitable outdoor noise levels and agreeing a glazing and ventilation strategy for noise sensitive properties to denser suitable indoor noise levels.  In addition, we were able to agree a reasonable level of planning obligations within the context, which involved undertaking an ‘open book’ process with the Council to agree the development model and scheme viability.  


(Image courtesy of Powell Dobson Architects)

We will now be advising the Whiteheads Development Company and its partners as the scheme progresses to start on site early in 2018.

Urbanists submit outline planning application for new Velindre Cancer Centre

We are pleased to confirm that we have now submitted the outline planning application for the new Velindre Cancer Centre and Research Institute, Whitchurch, Cardiff.  

 Image courtesy of Hassell 

Image courtesy of Hassell 

The proposals for the 38,000 sq m building is central to transforming cancer services in south east wales, to replace the existing Velindre Centre with a new purpose-built facility in a natural landscape setting.  The planning submission follows an extensive community and stakeholder engagement, and pre-application notification process.  This has allowed the development team to get a broad understanding of key areas of interest being raised by the local community.  

The complex outline application was also subject to Environmental Impact Assessment which was managed by the Urbanists with specialist assessments provided by Mott Macdonald and HLM.  The development team was led by Mott MacDonald, with Hassell Architects. 

 Image courtesy of Hassell

Image courtesy of Hassell

Planning permission secured for HMS Cambria Royal Navy Reserve training facility

The Urbanists are very pleased to announce that full planning permission has been secured for the new HMS Cambria Royal Navy Reserve training facility on land to the east of Tyneside Road, Cardiff.  The scheme is a £11m investment that is proposed by the Royal Navy and ABP South Wales.  The scheme comprises a new secure military training facility building (4,659 sq m over 4 storeys) which will provide a modern 21st century training establishment for the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marine Reserve and the University Royal Naval Unit.  By locating the facility in Cardiff, which has a thriving maritime sector within its busy port, HMS Cambria will be able to increase the recruitment and retention of Reserves.  

Planning permission was unanimously granted by the Cardiff Council Planning Committee, with special regard being paid to the design quality of the development.  One of the key planning matters that was considered during the determination of the application was the appropriateness of locating the development in the Port of Cardiff, which is allocated as employment land in the Local Development Plan.  We successfully justified the appropriateness of the development land use in on allocated employment land through reference to the substantial employment opportunities associated with the development, and by setting out the limited impact that the development would have on adjacent employment land and its occupiers.  

The Urbanists were responsible for preparing the planning application, which included coordinating the production of supporting environmental reports and scheme drawings; preparing the scheme Design and Access Statement; undertaking pre-application engagement with the LPA; coordinating the statutory notification process; and, negotiating the planning decision.  The consultant design team for the project included Gleeds, Chetwoods Architects, Hydrock and Hoare Lea.  


Resolution to grant permission secured for constrained site

We are very pleased to announce that we have secured a unanimous resolution to grant full planning permission for 33 units in Blaencwm, Rhondda. 

We were responsible for preparing: the planning application, the scheme layout and we also designed six bespoke house types, while also negotiating the resolution to approve. This demonstrates the value of our integrated and professional approach to planning consultancy and design.

One of the key challenges was to demonstrate that the scheme addressed flood risk policy, which was successfully achieved through comprehensive engagement with Natural Resources Wales.

The conclusion reached by the Local Planning Authority was that the planning application was

“sympathetic to the character and appearance of the locality and the Special Landscape Area, and is acceptable in terms of its consequences for management and mitigation of flood risk, ecological interests, highway safety and affordable housing provision in accordance with relevant LDP policies”

(Officer Report to Committee).

The landowner has overcome a significant hurdle to development and will continue to progress the site.

A TREE-LINED urban park is set to be created along The Kingsway.

Details of a £10 million redevelopment plan were today unveiled for one of Swansea's main transport routes.

The council's ambitious redevelopment of The Kingsway will see what is being billed as the city's 'Central Park' take its place alongside two lanes of traffic rather than the current four, with buses sharing the same lanes as cars.

The authority's new vision follows the fallout from the ill-fated bendy bus scheme, which was launched in 2009.

It meant one-way traffic in one direction and two-way in the other direction, prompting safety concerns.

In September 2013, 37-year-old hotel worker Daniel Foss died after being struck by a coach there and in April 2015 off-duty police sergeant Louise Lucas died after a collision with a bus, while her eight-year-old daughter suffered minor injuries.

Later that year the system was changed to its current system which has all vehicles travelling in the same westerly direction.

And tomorrow a public consultation will begin on the revamp, which will remove the existing two lanes of traffic on the northern side of the road to help create a new urban park.

The proposed new layout will see the current bus lane removed to allow traffic to travel in both directions on the southern side of the carriageway. Work is expected to start along the route later this year, once full approval has been given.

The redevelopment of The Kingsway will also include the introduction of two-way traffic along surrounding roads including, Alexandra Road, Mansel Street, Orchard Street, De La Beche Street and Belle Vue Way.

David Hopkins, cabinet member for environment and transportation, said: "The Kingsway is a route that has often been seen to split the city centre in two because of the large volumes of traffic using it.

"Moving traffic around city centre roads is a complex job and it's one we are keen to improve so we can keep the city on the move.

"The regeneration plans for The Kingsway focus more heavily on pedestrians and making the route a destination for shoppers and city centre workers.

The Craddock Street and Union Street junction of The Kingsway under the redevelopment plan.

"Introducing two-way traffic along The Kingsway and surrounding roads will help us achieve more efficient traffic flows and cut journey times. We want to hear from the public now ahead of the redevelopment to find out what they think."

The redevelopment will also support the council's broader vision for The Kingsway and the city centre.

Leader, councillor Rob Stewart, said: "Our plan is to develop an employment district on The Kingsway, so a significant improvement in the area's look and feel is vital if we're to attract major employers there and create thousands of new jobs for local people.

"The transformation of The Kingsway and the creation of a new 'Central Park' in the heart of the city supports our regeneration plans and our ambitions to create a greener, more welcoming city centre with more visitors and shoppers, helping support our existing businesses and attract more to investment in Swansea in the future.

"Together with plans for the Castle Gardens, St David's and Civic Centre development sites, these proposals will transform the city centre's retail, business, leisure and recreational offer."