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News in brief: Builders’ workloads are stagnant or declining; Hull named a Tree City of the World

Words: Laura Edgar
Brick laying / Shutterstock_462881611

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 2 March, 2021

Builders' workloads are stagnant or declining

A third of builders experienced lower workloads in Q4, up from 21 per cent in Q3, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) latest State of Trade Survey (November to December 2020).

The survey of the FMB's members also found:

  • 42 per cent of builders reported no change in workload, continuing a sluggish recovery from the pandemic, said the FMB.
  • Employment dropped back into negative territory after growing for just two months in 2020.
  • 23 per cent of builders are struggling to hire carpenters/joiners.
  • 22 per cent are struggling to hire bricklayers.
  • 82 per cent of respondents reported material price increases, but just 29 per cent of builders are increasing the prices they charge for work – down from 37 per cent in Q3.

Speaking ahead of the 2021 Budget (3 March) Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Given that one in four builders is struggling to hire bricklayers and carpenters the government should be encouraging people looking for new opportunities to consider the construction industry. However, builders need greater support to train while contending with rising material prices. The government needs to extend the apprenticeship grant uplift beyond March 2021 so that SMEs are rewarded for their training at this difficult time.”


Hull named a Tree City of the World  

Hull has been named a Tree City of the World for its commitment to urban forests.

The Arbor Day Foundation has praised Hull and included the city in the list of 120 cities from across the globe for its continued efforts to grow and maintain green spaces.

Founded by The Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Tree Cities of the World intends to recognise cities around the globe that have committed to growing and maintaining their urban forest.

Anita Harrison, portfolio holder for operational services, said: “To become a Tree City of the World is a fantastic achievement for our city.

“In a year where our green outdoor spaces have meant so much more for us, it is deserved recognition for the work the council, voluntary groups and residents have done to improve our parks and open spaces and plant new trees to make our city better for people and nature. Being one of only 120 cities recognised globally is fantastic.”

Kingston upon Hull has earned recognition in the foundation’s second year of the programme.


Investment for Ebbsfleet riverside park announced

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation’s board has approved an investment of nearly £3 million towards developing a riverside park in Northfleet.  

The investment will be used to acquire land and undertake detailed feasibility and design work on creation of a park around Northfleet Harbour.

This is part of an initial phase of plans to open up access to a longer stretch of the waterfront in Northfleet and is part of the Northfleet Riverside Park project.

The promenade will be developed in phases over several years as land becomes available.

Ian Piper, chief executive at Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “This new park is one of seven proposed by the corporation throughout the garden city as we connect up places, and provide residents and the wider community with fantastic places to visit.

“Our long-term aim is to create a riverside park that will provide joggers, walkers and cyclists with a route from Gravesend to Northfleet as well as allow people to view parts of the Thames that haven’t been seen in more than 100 years as part of our vision to open the garden city and maintain healthy and active lifestyles.”


RAF base to become garden village

Part of the former RAF Newton is going to be transformed into Nottinghamshire’s first garden village.

Acting on behalf of the landowner, commercial property developer Innes England agreed a deal with housebuilder Redrow Homes.

The 250-acre site is near Bingham. Development has already begun on site, with Bellway and David Wilson Homes delivering the first phase of the scheme. The second phase, ‘Newton Garden Village, will see Redrow Homes build 528 homes. The units will comprise between two and five bedrooms. Plans also include open space, traditional village greens and allotments.

Innes England secured planning permission for both phases; the phase to be developed by Redrow Homes was approved in 2018.


Lewes introduces advice notes for developers

Lewes District Council has implemented three new technical advice notes (TAN) for developers that put a greater focus on sustainability in the planning phase of construction and when work is under way on site.

The planning notes cover sustainability, the circular economy and biodiversity. They apply to any new homes or commercial development, large or small, in the district.

Emily O’Brien, cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, said: “With construction, demolition and excavation waste accounting for 51 per cent of the 1.7 million tonnes of solid waste generated in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove each year, it is essential that developers and other planning applicants achieve greater sustainability in new developments.

“The built environment is responsible for a massive 40 per cent of our carbon footprint – I don’t think anyone should need any more evidence than that to recognise the urgent need to put sustainability at the heart of all new developments.”


Plans for gas turbine dropped

Energy company Drax has dropped plans to modify coal-fired generating units to gas-powered ones at its power station in Selby, North Yorkshire.

Then-energy secretary Andrea Leadsom approved the development consent order (DCO) in October 2019, against the advice of an inspector.

Environmental law charity Client Earth launched a legal challenge in January 2020 but was unsuccessful.

Drax has said it will burn wood pellets to generate electricity instead when it phases out coal this month.


Land with planning permission in Suffolk sold to housebuilder

Cambridge-based property group Endurance Estates has completed the sale of a site in Bacton, Suffolk, with outline planning permission for 81 residential homes to housebuilder Taylor Wimpey.

Endurance Estates acted as promoter and secured the planning permission for the 11.5-acre site.

The scheme comprises a mixture of two, three, four and five-bedroom private and affordable houses. Taylor Wimpey will contribute more than £600,000 to community infrastructure, as well as 28 new affordable homes.


Partnership announced to deliver 42 Nottinghamshire homes

Modular housing company ilke Homes has agreed a deal with emh group for the delivery of an affordable-led scheme in Beeston, Nottinghamshire.

The two companies will deliver 42 affordable homes on a vacant brownfield site next to Beeston station.

ilke Homes acquired the site from Network Rail in July 2020. It will act as a full ‘turnkey’ developer as part of the deal, meaning emh group can purchase a complete development sourced and delivered by ilke Homes.

Subject to planning permission, a mix of two and three-bedroom homes will be delivered on the 2.2-acre site in Beeston. They will be available for affordable rent or shared ownership.

All of the homes will be precision-engineered along production lines at ilke Homes’ factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

Image credit | Shutterstock