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Adams Hendry Planning & Built Environment News Round-Up - November 2019

The Adams Hendry News Round-Up highlights recent news and commentary relating to planning and the built environment.


This month’s round-up includes Reading’s newly adopted Local Plan, calls for changes to the housing delivery test in wake of the ‘nitrate crisis’, 2019’s top performing cities and the zero-emission research station...in Antarctica.


Reading Adopts Local Plan and Zero Carbon Targets for New Homes (The Planner – Requires Login)

“Reading Borough Council’s local plan has been formally adopted and will introduce zero carbon targets for all new homes.”

“The blueprint, which covers 2019 to 2036, had been backed by a planning inspector last month. Under the plan, the target for new homes has risen to 689 a year to a total over the plan period of 15,847. This compares to 671 homes a year under council proposals submitted in March 2018.”

“The plan requires affordable housing contributions from all housing developments. This is despite the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) stating small sites should not face demands for such contributions either on site or in kind. Reading had successfully argued that the shortage of affordable homes and the high cost of market housing justified a departure from the NPPF.

“Developments of more than ten homes must meet zero carbon standards, following the council’s climate emergency declaration earlier this year.”


Councils Call for Housing Delivery Test Suspension as Nitrate Crisis ‘Severely Reduces’ Development (Inside Housing)

“A group of 12 local authorities in Hampshire has called on the government to halt tests for measuring whether they are delivering enough homes, over fears they will miss targets due to ongoing issues surrounding nitrate pollution.”

“In a letter sent to housing minister Esther McVey, Seán Woodward, chair of Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH), said it was “untenable” to expect PfSH’s members would meet housing delivery targets, due to the “severely reduced” number of planning applications being granted because of nitrate pollution concerns in the area.”

“An analysis by PfSH found that 4,542 dwellings are currently held up in planning awaiting consent solely or principally because of the issue of nitrate neutrality.”

“A number of local authorities have introduced bespoke, short-term solutions to address the problem, but Mr Woodward said this will not reduce the backlog to a level that will allow affected councils to meet the targets set in the government’s housing delivery test.”


Town Planning Giant Recalled at Blue Plaque Ceremony (The Planner – Requires Login)

“The plaque recalling Sir Patrick Abercrombie is placed on the wall of the pioneering planner’s former London home at 63 Egerton Gardens SW3, where he lived for 10 years from 1935.”

“It was dedicated by Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) president Ian Tant and English Heritage Blue Plaque Panel member, historian and writer Rosemary Hill.”

“Ian Tant said: ... “He was a powerful advocate for the profession and for the importance of planning to ensure that the built environment works for the benefit of communities. It is fantastic that he has been honoured in this way by English Heritage’s London blue plaques scheme.””


City Council to Provide Land to Pilot Community-Led Housing Project in Oxford (Oxford City Council)

“The proposal would see the City Council provide a long-term lease to a community group so they could build new homes on a small unused garage site in Littlemore into around three new homes. The homes would be for social rent – to help some of the 3,000 families currently on Oxford’s waiting list – but it would be managed day-to-day as a cooperative by new residents of the development.”

“If successful, the City Council could provide more unused garage sites to community groups to convert into community-led housing projects. The City Council is also assisting community groups in a range of other ways, including with funding bids, to support the creation of a community-led housing sector within Oxford.”

“With Government funding, the scheme could see three or more one- and/or two-bedroom homes built on the site. Tenants would be selected from the City Council’s housing waiting list and asked to confirm that they would be happy living in housing that had a co-operative element. The plans are still at an early stage, but in order to progress them further the City Council needs to commit the land to the project.”

South East Dominates Table of Top-Performing Cities (The Planner – Requires Login)

“Four out of the top 10 performing cities across the UK are in the South East, with Oxford and Reading again heading the league table for the fourth year running... PwC and think tank Demos, also ranked Southampton in third place while Cambridge reclaimed its position in the top 10 and came ninth.”

“Bristol, Milton Keynes, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Swindon and Leicester make up the top 10. The top 10 improving cities are Bradford, Liverpool, Norwich, Newcastle, Cardiff, Swansea, Wolverhampton and Walsall, Brighton, Hull and Manchester.”

“This year’s index shows strong income growth across the South East, as well as improvements in health, the environment and new businesses per head. Six out of eight cities in the South East have scored above the UK average. But it also reveals major challenges for the region, particularly housing affordability.”


Antarctica’s First Zero Emission Research Station Shows That Sustainable Living is Possible Anywhere (Winter. K - The Conversation)

“Antarctica is the most remote and inhospitable place on Earth, so it’s no surprise that people based there have struggled to break out of convenient habits. It’s cold. There are 24 hours of darkness in winter. Icicles build up on solar panels operating during the summer months and the concrete foundations for wind turbines won’t set in the cold. It’s expensive to ship in renewable energy components...”

“These challenges are real, and yet...overcome at Antarctica’s only zero-emission research base, the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station in East Antarctica. The glinting silver pod looks like something from a James Bond film. It’s anchored by raised pylons, hovering above the East Antarctic Ice Sheet on a narrow granite ridge.”

“Solar panels have to be mounted high above the snow-covered ground to capture the 24 hours of daylight during the austral summer. Wind turbines are drilled into the granite ridge beneath the snow and ice, removing the need for large concrete foundations...These renewable energy sources melt snow for water, which is filtered and reused on site to reduce waste.”

“When I asked Alain Hubert, the expedition leader, why he wanted to build a zero-emission base in Antarctica, he said that if we can do it here, we can show the world that it can be done anywhere. I hope life and work with no carbon emissions can become a reality for people everywhere.”


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Suzanne Pidgeon 01962 877414 | s.pidgeon@adamshendry.co.uk