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09/10/2018

News in brief: 20 houses completed in national park; Burnham wants more powers to tackle congestion

Words: Laura Edgar
New housing / Shutterstock_401474689

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 9 October, 2018

20 houses completed in national park

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s annual monitoring report has suggested that only 20 houses were completed in the park area in the 2017/18 financial year.

It represents the lowest number of completions since at least 1991, when records were starting to be kept.

The report also shows that the number of planning permissions granted was at its highest since 2007/08, with 67 homes approved.

The local plan has a target of 55 net additional dwellings a year in the park.

 

Joint venture launched to build 167 Frome homes

Acorn Property Group and London & County have entered into a joint venture to build 167 homes in Frome, Somerset.

The development will be built on a 10.3-acre derelict industrial site on Caxton Road.

It will comprise two, three and four-bedroom homes, as well as affordable homes, starter homes and 4,500 square feet of retail space.

Outline planning permission has already been granted, with reserved matters application due to be submitted shortly.

Acorn’s construction arm AH Construction Solutions Ltd will undertake the building work.

The scheme was designed by local architect firm Pad Design Ltd.

 

Burnham wants more powers to tackle congestion

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called on the government to give the region the powers and resources it needs to tackle congestion.

He said congestion in the city region is costing an estimated £1.3 billion annually and exacerbating air pollution, which contributes to 1,200 deaths a year.

While Greater Manchester’s transport authorities have already taken extra steps to try to alleviate the issues faced by drivers, including investing in highways, public transport and cycling infrastructure and providing extra buses from Park & Ride sites, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority does not have the powers or access to the required funding to tackle the underlying issues that are causing congestion and delays across the city-region.

Burnham has called on the government to make key changes and give the city-region’s leaders a number of powers to help combat congestion effectively, including:

  • Devolved power to Transport for the North over rail franchises to ensure that future investment is focused on customer need and demand.
  • Grant powers to enable better local management of roads, including a lane rental scheme to charge utility companies for roadworks; enforcement powers to reduce moving traffic offences (such as drivers blocking yellow box junctions); powers to make it easier to control obstructive pavement parking and a central point of management of the key route network for the city region.

 

Midland Heart founding chairman dies

Richard Farnell, the founding chairman of Midland Heart and RTPI member, died in September after a battle with cancer.

He had a degree in urban planning from Manchester University, and worked at Coventry City Council as an assistant principal planner. He taught future planners at Lanchester Polytechnic and continued teaching when it became Coventry University, its accredited town planning degree.

Farnell undertook a number of research projects and became involved with the voluntary sector through housing associations.

As chair of Keynote Housing Association, he led the merger of Keynote and Prime Focus to form Midland Heart, a housing and care organisation, providing homes for between 30,000 and 40,000 families.

A Service of Thanksgiving will be held at Coventry Cathedral on Sunday 21 October at 4pm to remember Farnell.

 

South Northamptonshire plan signed off for final comment

People and businesses in south Northamptonshire have one last chance to have their say on refreshed planning policies that aim to guide future development in the district.

At the end of September, South Northamptonshire Council approved the draft Local Plan (Part 2) for comment before it is sent to the secretary of state for formal examination and can be used as a framework for planning decisions.

Interested parties have until Friday 16 November to comment.

The consultation can be found on the council website.

 

Fifth of Brits unhappy with number of new-builds

A survey of 1,627 UK adults has found that one in five British people are unhappy about the number of new homes being built.

Carried out by Oaksmore ISA, an alternative investment fund manager, the poll also found that 7 per cent are angry that there are so many newly built homes and commercial buildings close to their home.

Additionally, 90 per cent of respondents don’t feel their local authority is doing enough to preserve heritage sites in their region.

 

B&M store approved in Leicestershire town

North West Leicestershire District Council’s (NWLDC) planning committee has granted planning approval for a shop, garden centre and car park at Ashby Gateway.

The applicant indicated that the store will be operated by retailer B&M.

Council planning officers have negotiated with the applicant to ensure that the design complements the M&S food hall, which opened nearby in 2017.

An Ashby business owner spoke at the committee meeting against the application citing concerns about a loss of footfall to the town centre. An independent report commissioned by NWLDC did not support this claim, and the committee chose to approve the application.

 

TfL celebrates Ada Lovelace Day

Transport for London (TfL) is celebrating Ada Lovelace Day (9 October) with a range of different activities to inspire more women into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Lovelace was the first female computer programmer. The day aims to celebrate women in STEM industries, raise their profiles and create role models for the next generation.

TfL is hosting a range of different activities in an attempt to debunk some of the myths around STEM careers, such as them being ‘professions just for men’. This includes staff volunteering at the Camden School for Girls, teaching more than 100 year eight students about programming, enabling them to use TfL’s open data to create an application to map stations and Tube lines using only code.

Lauren Sager Weinstein, chief data officer at TfL, said: “There are so many opportunities for young women within transport and technology and I hope our activities celebrating Ada Lovelace Day will inspire the next generation. I am excited to take part, as these events are a fantastic chance to explain the work that we do, and show how a STEM career can allow your creativity and curiosity to shine through.”

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