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Automatic planning permission for brown field sites

Leeds City Council has revealed there are currently planning approvals in place to build more than 17,000 homes, but more could be on the cards, built at a faster rate, if the Government's shake up of national planning guidelines gets the go ahead.

Houses being built Credit: ITV

The 'Fixing the Foundations’ package of national proposals aims to encourage more new homes by allowing developers automatic planning permission to build on suitable disused industrial ‘brownfield’ sites; they'll be enhanced compulsory purchase powers to allow more brownfield land to be made available for development; and the possibility of major housing projects to be fast-tracked.

But concerns have been raised by Leeds City Council, who need to provide permission for 70,000 new homes by 2028. They say they need to be sure a system's in place to prevent badly designed, unplanned environments, which are devoid of affordable accommodation.

It’s not just about saying which sites are suitable for housing, but getting other factors such as highways, design and affordable housing right before development takes place. There is a risk with the government’s proposals for ‘streamlining’ planning that you lose some of the detail that matters most to people.

– Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council

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Hundreds of jobs to be lost as pit closures announced

Hundreds of miners across the region have found out exactly when their pits will close and when they'll be out of a job. Thoresby in North Nottinghamshire will shut in just over a month's time while redundancy letters will drop through 200 letter boxes tomorrow signalling the end for Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire. By the end of the year neither pit will be in operation leaving just one deep coal mine, Hatfield in South Yorkshire, providing coal in the Calendar region. Martin Fisher reports.

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Food banks feed equivalent to Dewsbury's population in last year

New figures from the Trussell Trust have shown that over 60,000 people in the Calendar region have relied on food banks in the last year.

The equivalent to the population of Dewsbury have used food banks in the last year Credit: Press Association

60,186 people received three days' emergency food from the charity's food banks the equivalent of feeding the population of Dewsbury for three days.

The charity has 450 food banks nationwide, which are run in partnership with churches and communities.

Last year the UK public donated 10,280 tonnes of food.

Morrisons boss sending office staff to shop floor

The new boss of supermarket chain Morrisons is sending head-office staff onto the shop floor in a bid to improve communication with shoppers.

David Potts, who started work on Monday, told 2,000 office workers that he will be working in a store over Easter week and that he wanted them to do the same for at least one week each year.

He has urged workers at the Bradford-based chain to "listen hard" to customers and colleagues while they are on the shop floor as the company looks to reverse a period of falling sales and heavy annual losses.

I want to listen hard and respond to the views of as many customers and staff as I can.

I strongly believe that we are all retailers and we can learn how to serve our customers better when we are working in our stores or when we do our own shopping.

– David Potts, Morrisons

Mr Potts, who has more than 40 years retailing experience at Tesco, recently replaced Dalton Philips, who was ousted after leading the retailer since 2010.

The shop-floor initiative mirrors one put in place by new Tesco boss Dave Lewis before Christmas when he asked more than 4,000 employees including senior executives to stack shelves and operate tills.

Morrisons recently reported a loss of £792 million due to the lower value of its property estate while it posted a drop in like-for-like sales of 5.9%.

However, the sales trend improved in its most recent quarter with a decline of 2.6%.

Meadowhall set for £50 million refurbishment

Meadowhall Shopping Centre, based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire has today announced a £50 million refurbishment programme to mark the Centre’s 25th anniversary.

Credit: Artist Impression

The refurbishment works will start later in the year and will complete by the end of 2017.

The works - which will largely be completed out of hours to enable all retail and leisure operators to trade throughout the period - will create districts within the centre, each with a different finish including wood and punctured metal. The works will also enable a number of retailers to install ‘double height’ shop fronts.

The refurbishment will further include new ‘way finding’, mall seating and lighting as well as the installation of lighting artwork.

This latest refurbishment announcement follows the recent £3 million upgrade of the Park Lane area of the Shopping Centre, which was completed in 2014.

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