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News in brief: Affordable housing grants unveiled for Scottish councils; Runnymede adopts new Tibbalds design guide

Words: Huw Morris
Social housing in Glasgow

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 20 July, 2021

Affordable housing grants unveiled for Scottish councils

More than £3.2 billion in grants funding will be shared by Scottish local authorities over five years to deliver affordable homes.

The Scottish Government said authorities would benefit from an increase of more than £541 million on the previous five year allocation – an uplift of more than 20 per cent.

More than 102,000 affordable homes have been built since 2007 and the Scottish Government aims to deliver another 100,000 affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70 per cent of these for social rent.


Runnymede adopts new Tibbalds design guide

A design guide created by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design for Runnymede Borough Council has been adopted to help shape future development. 

The Supplementary Planning Document is designed to support the borough’s local plan and ensure that everyone involved in planning applications in the borough – from members and officers to applicants and local stakeholders – is clear about the council’s expectations for high-quality design in new developments and across different scales and types of proposals.

The guidance sets out four overarching standards for the area: strengthening Runnymede’s character; making people-friendly places; placemaking and creating character; and achieving sustainable design. 

Beneath them sit 21 further design standards grouped within four principles: analysing site and context; developing a design concept; site layout and masterplanning, and detailed design. Runnymede’s communities were involved from the outset, engaging with both the local plan process and the development of this guidance.

Tibbalds’ director Hilary Satchwell said 7,507 are needed in Runnymede by 2030 and with much of the borough covered by green belt urban areas and town centres are likely to see most of the new development. “Quality needs to be high, and Runnymede’s intrinsic characteristics and residents’ quality of life need to be maintained,” she added.


Research reveals extent of social housing stigma

Latest research into the origins of and motivators behind the stigma attached to social housing in England has revealed its significant negative impact on residents’ lives and wellbeing.

The Durham University study says social housing stigma affects every aspect of residents’ lives – from negatively influencing communications with schools, local authorities, service providers as well as hindering employment opportunities and even impeding relationships with neighbours, the police and their local GP. Government policy has consistently prioritised home ownership as the tenure of choice and, in contrast, positioned social housing as a bottom rung on the status ladder, it states.

A lack of accountability across government, social landlords and housing associations was commonly reported in interviews and focus groups, with such bodies often disregarding residents’ needs, feelings or rights.

The report also criticises the typical ways social housing is built in communities, noting the deliberate construction of so-called ‘poor doors’ in mixed social and private accommodation blocks as a key example of reinforcing divisions. 
Read Stigma and Social Housing in England.

Plans for major life science campus in Stevenage unveiled

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has unveiled plans for one of Europe’s largest life science campuses in Stevenage.

The company is seeking a development partner to transform land within the company’s 37-hectare research and development site in Stevenage into one of Europe’s largest clusters for biotechnology and other early-stage life science companies.

GSK is looking to sell 13.3 hectares of land, with the aim of unlocking up to £400 million in investment from a developer to build the campus and create up to 5,000 highly skilled jobs during the next five to 10 years. The company expects to select a development partner later this year, with a view to beginning masterplanning for the campus in 2022.  

“The past 18 months has shown the UK life sciences sector at its best and the UK has recently unveiled an ambitious 10-year vision for the sector,” said GSK senior vice-president Tony Wood. “Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade. We are excited to find a development partner to realise our vision to foster the next generation of world-class scientists and biotechnology firms in Britain.”

The campus aims to attract world-class research organisations to Stevenage. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst are already based on the site and have attracted start-ups which have collectively raised about £1.6 billion of funding.


Boots selects developer for modular community in Nottingham

Specialist developer ilke Homes has been selected by Boots UK to deliver the UK’s largest low-rise modular housing scheme.

The developer will work with architects HTA Design to curate a model village development comprising 622 homes on a 17.4-hectare site in Beeston, Nottingham, near the health and beauty retailer’s headquarters. The site is part of the wider 116-hectare Nottingham Enterprise Zone.

All the houses will be manufactured at ilke Homes’ factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, and will achieve an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of at least a ‘B’, making them more energy-efficient than 92 per cent of all new-builds in the UK. Higher levels of energy performance are also expected to translate into huge long-term cost savings on energy bills for residents, with the homes run on as little as £1 a day.

Acting as a full “turnkey” developer, ilke Homes will manage the entire development process – from securing the land deal and obtaining planning permission through to developing the site and delivering the homes.

Image credit | Richard Johnson, iStock