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News in brief: Commission outlines poverty in Brent; Sheffield to consult on local plan next month

Words: Laura Edgar
Poverty / iStock-672143354

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 18 August, 2020

Commission outlines poverty in Brent

Brent’s Poverty Commission has found that one in six households (17 per cent) live below the poverty line. The findings follow a six-month review into poverty in the London borough.

The commission also found that 33 per cent live below the poverty after housing costs are taken into account. More than one in five (22 per cent) of children live in poverty, doubling to a startling 43 per cent after housing costs.

The report draws on evidence from residents, politicians and expert local and national organisations.

According to the commission, the borough’s proximity to wealth and the skilled employment offered by central London has driven housing costs up without raising pay locally. This has created an affordability gap that pushes people into poverty and is a key cause of homelessness. The borough has "an acute shortage" of social housing which has forced people into the private rented sector, but rents here are two or even three times higher.

To address this, the commission recommends that Brent Council builds on its ambitious plans to generate more affordable homes. It should use its borrowing powers to build these homes. It should also work with housing associations and take advantage of post-Covid opportunities to buy from developers and landlords who are exiting the market.

The commission has advised the council to launch an in-depth review into the private rented sector and enforce decent standards, not least to reduce fuel poverty and health problems caused by poor conditions.

The full report can be found here on the Brent Council website (pdf).


Sheffield to consult on local plan next month

Sheffield City Council is to start consulting on its local plan from 1 September for a period of six weeks.

This is an expansion on a previous consultation in 2015 when people raised concerns around the development of housing on green belt land, the city council said. 

"Careful consideration" has been given to this feedback, with this plan proposing to look at whether more homes could be built on brownfield land.

The consultation asks for views on how the city council can best tackle climate change and meet its carbon-neutral target of 2030, as well as the future of the city’s high-street, parks and attractions.

The Issues and Options document has been issued ahead of the start of the consultation. It can be found here on the Sheffield City Council website. The consultation will close on 13 October.


Shropshire bids for active travel cash

Shropshire Council has submitted a bid to the government for almost £2 million to help improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists in the county.

The application - for £1.929 million - has been submitted to the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund, which aims to help councils improve safety for both walking and cycling.

The council has been provided with an indicative allocation of £414,000, but it can bid can bid for more or less than the allocated amount.

Four projects are included in Shropshire Council's bid.


Government appoints sustainability consultant

As the government prepares to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow next year, it has selected consultancy Arup to help ensure the delivery of a sustainable summit.

Arup, with partners Crowberry Consulting, are to work with the government to prepare for the November 2021 event by advising on all aspects of sustainability. This includes developing a carbon management plan and the establishment of a sustainable supply chain with suppliers. 

Arup is to assess the event’s energy consumption, travel emissions, catering, waste and transportation to help achieve the ISO 20121 certification (the international standard for sustainable events management).

The work will be led by a multidisciplinary team including carbon consultants, transport planners, waste experts and sustainable supply chain specialists located in Arup’s Glasgow and London offices. 


Sustainable homes to be developed in Worcestershire

Modular housing company ilke Homes has signed a deal with Crea8ive Sustainable Homes that will see 76 sustainable homes delivered in the market town of Evesham, Worcestershire.

ilke Homes will acquire and develop the five-acre former hospital site that has lain vacant since 2018. The plan is subject to planning permission.

Close to Evesham Marina on King’s Road, the development will be the first modular housing development for Evesham. 

The King’s Road homes have been designed to be "highly energy-efficient and will reduce carbon emissions by a third against current building regulations". Manufactured offsite, they will be "extremely air-tight"to reduce heat loss. The homes are planned to generate 10 per cent of their energy use from renewable sources such as photovoltaic technology.

Plans for the 76 family homes, which will be a mixture of one-bed maisonettes and two, three and four-bedroom houses, will be submitted to Wychavon District Council imminently. 


Management change for Prince Philip Park

The Land Trust has announced that it is working with Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company to take on responsibility for the management of public open spaces within Prince Philip Park.

The park is part of Whitehill and Bordon, an NHS England Healthy New Town.

The trust will manage over 100 hectares of green spaces, including Hogmoor Inclosure*, which will be a "significant" community resource containing a café, play and activity facilities, as well as over five kilometres of trails for local residents and the wider community.

It will partner with local organisations such as Deadwater Valley Trust and the Whitehill & Bordon Community Trust to ensure the most is made of the green spaces.  

The Land Trust said one of its key objective is to ensure that the site is managed in a way that benefits biodiversity, wildlife and the local environment.

* Hogmoor Inclosure is the third largest Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) in the country with over 54 hectares of woodland and heathland.


Views sought on Chester retirement village plans

Retirement Villages has launched the second stage of consultation on its plans to build a retirement village near Chester. 

The development is proposed for the former Beechmoor Garden Centre on Whitchurch Road, Boughton Heath.

The scheme will include up to 147 apartments, available to buy and rent, alongside open spaces and amenities such as a community shop, café and wellness suite, which would also be open to local people.

The first stage of consultation was held in May this year. Since then, Retirement Villages has used the feedback to shape the detailed plans for the site.

Responses showed it was important to local people that the new buildings be in keeping with the local area, and that they integrate with green and open spaces. 

In response, Retirement Villages has proposed a series of villas, ranging between three and five storeys, which will be set back from the road and screened with planting and trees. This means they will be less visible than the plans currently approved for the site, which was granted to another developer.

The village is being designed by architects RCKa with Barton Willmore acting as the planning consultant. 


Anglesey goes digital

The Isle of Anglesey County Council has gone live with Arcus Global’s planning and building control applications. 

The new cloud-based system will give the council's planning team the functionality to process applications enquiries, appeals and enforcements quickly and easily. They can accept payments, query spatial data and satisfy consultation requirements. 

The building control team is able to communicate electronically with citizens and stakeholders, managing inspection dates in one place.

Before moving everything to the digital system, the council would have to consult on new planning applications by post. This meant printing out plans and all related documents.

Elena White, business systems manager at Isle of Anglesey County Council, explains: “As well as printing costs, we’d also spend a considerable amount on postage. With the portal in place we’ve saved time and cut down our costs.”

The new system allows council employees to work remotely; it can also be accessed by employees working on site.  

Image credit | iStock