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News in brief: 1,300 homes for Ripon; MPs launch inquiry into devolution

Words: Laura Edgar
New houses | iStock-175157265

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 16 July, 2019

1,300 homes for Ripon

Homes England and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have announced that land at Claro and Deverell Barracks in Ripon, Yorkshire, is to be developed to provide 1,300 homes and commercial space.

The site is the first to be progressed as part of a partnership between Homes England and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to develop surplus MoD land across the country.

An event has been held with various stakeholders, including Ripon City Council and Harrogate Borough Council, to discuss plans for the future of the site. Homes England is planning a series of community engagement events this summer.


MPs launch inquiry into devolution

The Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the progress of devolution in England.

The committee said it will scrutinise the impact of recently agreed devolution agreements and ask if the transfer of further powers to England’s cities and regions can boost local economies and provision of public services.

The inquiry will also consider:

  • The effectiveness of the current strategy of developing bespoke deals region by region, and ask if increasing available powers without wider systemic changes would produce similar benefits.
  • It will investigate the roles of directly elected mayors, quality of scrutiny in decision making and public accountability.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: "The approach the Government has taken is to develop bespoke arrangements for different areas, both in terms of the powers devolved to them and the administrative systems to execute them. We have launched this inquiry to understand the impact of the current approach. Has tailoring devolution to each locality improved decision making, the local economy and public services?"

The deadline for written submissions is Thursday 29 August 2019. Evidence can be submitted to the committee on the UK Parliament website.


Application for Ravenswood submitted

The charitty Norwood has submitted plans to Wokingham Borough Council for a £16-million development to its Ravenswood site that aims to create homes and outdoor spaces that are modern, fit for purpose and accessible to everyone.

The project will see an upgrade to Ravenswood’s residential accommodation and facilities as the charity seeks to ensure it can continue to support both its current 111 residents and future residents.

Ravenswood Village was established in 1953 by four families who wanted to provide education and care for their learning disabled children.

Additionally, a parcel of land on the Ravenswood site will be released to national housing developer Charles Church. This site will provide 183 new homes, 40 per cent of which  have been designated as affordable housing.

Dr Beverley Jacobson, chief executive at Norwood’s, commented: “The plans have been carefully thought through to balance the needs of residents with the desire to align with the national agenda of community inclusion for those with learning disabilities.

“The plan includes many exciting elements, from the upgrading of existing facilities to the building of new flexible spaces for meetings, workshops and conferences. All of this will extend our services to many more people in the local community, some of whom may choose to live in the new Charles Church homes, which will also, we hope, provide a fresh source of paid staff and volunteers for Ravenswood.”


Shipping container tower approved

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council has approved an office block that will be built out of reclaimed shipping containers.

The nine-storey development for The Estate Office, which will comprise 2,988 square metres of office space, will be fabricated offsite before being installed on site in Whitechapel.

Working alongside designers from Patalab Architecture, planning consultancy Barton Willmore said its planners worked to ensure the car-free development reached BREAAM Excellent status. The construction cost through modular techniques will be around 30 per cent less than traditional technique, which allowed for the creation of a hub for start-up businesses.

Barton Willmore say the tower will be the "tallest building in the world to be built out of reclaimed shipping containers".


Modular homes approved in Bristol

Bristol City Council has granted planning permission for 11 modular houses to be built above the Chalks Road car park, next to St George Park.

To be delivered by ZED Pods, a company set up to design, build and install "high quality, affordable low carbon homes" for keyworkers and young people close to city centres and public transport, the scheme, includes nine one bedroom pods and two pods with two bedrooms.

It will be the first development to be built as part of the five-year Bristol Housing Festival, and could be on time for the next festival exhibition in mid-October.  

The pods will be road-tested, in a real-world scenario, to accelerate the delivery of quality, affordable housing in Bristol.


Manchester factory to make way for residential tower

Manchester City Council has approved plans to demolish the abandoned Longsight factory and replace it with a seven-storey residential development.

The building will comprise 96 dwellings – seven townhouses and 89 apartments.

The scheme will also see financial contributions provided towards the provision of affordable housing and improved facilities at Coverdale and Newbank Community Centre.

Residents will have access to a number of sustainable transport modes and will contain cycle parking and electric vehicle charging points for residents. New public realm will be created, including the planting of new trees, landscaping and vegetation to enhance the setting of the building. A roof terrace on the sixth floor will provide communal space for residents.


South Northants adopts housing strategy

The South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) cabinet has adopted the council’s housing strategy. It aims to guide developers and social housing providers towards the delivery of housing needed by the district between now and 2022.

During a four-week public consultation in spring 2019, 202 comments were made on the draft strategy, mostly by district residents but also by social housing providers, county council colleagues, and voluntary and community groups.

The new strategy’s three priorities are to build homes people need and can afford; enable people to live settled lives; and develop strong partnerships that help provide services that meet the needs of residents.

Karen Cooper, the council's portfolio holder for wellbeing, said: “It is not a requirement for the council to have a Housing Strategy, but it is best practice.

“With great changes ahead for the county we see it as important that the needs of South Northants residents’ are clearly defined and built upon robust evidence."

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