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News in brief: Call for task group applications to review nature-based solutions; Government launches fund for community-led affordable housing

Words: Huw Morris

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 24 August, 2021

Call for task group applications to review nature-based solutions

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is calling for applications for a new task group to shape content for a cost-benefit review of nature-based solutions.

The project aims to offer guidance on choosing nature-based solutions, quantifying their costs and benefits, while identifying specific financing models.

The findings are expected to be published in a report which will be targeted at developers, owners, local authorities, building and estate managers alongside the investment and finance sector.

Applications for the task group are being sought from within the UKGBC membership, and should be from a broad range of built environment organisations to ensure breadth of knowledge and perspectives. Further details are available here.

Government launches fund for community-led affordable housing

A £4 million fund has been launched by the government to give communities more opportunities to build affordable homes in their neighbourhoods.

The Community Housing Fund Revenue Programme is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and will help community-led housing groups during the latter stages of pre-development.

The grant programme aims to help community groups meet a range of costs incurred in trying to develop affordable housing, including paying for searches, administration costs or legal advice, design work and planning applications.

The Community Led Homes Partnership, which includes four leading community-led housing organisations, will manage the grant programme, assessing all applications and administering the grants.

Applications opened for the programme this week and will remain open until all funds are allocated or until 31 December 2021, whichever occurs first. To apply for the fund, groups will need to complete an eligibility checker available here.

Plans submitted for veterinary hospital at West Longbridge

Plans have been unveiled to build a major veterinary hospital at the former MG Rover West Works site in Longbridge.

Developer St Modwen intends to build the veterinary hospital on a brownfield site at the southern gateway to West Longbridge Business Park.

The hospital will feature research, treatment, diagnostic, laboratory and administrative space and will have the latest medical equipment including computer tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scanners. Subject to planning approval, construction will start on the building next year with the first animals treated in 2023. The proposal will also see regeneration of a 1.2-hectare site that acts as a gateway to the West Longbridge Business Park, part of a wider regeneration of the former MG Rover West Works following a £6 million investment by the West Midlands Combined Authority to unlock the land for development.

In addition to the business park, the investment will see the development of a residential neighbourhood of 350 homes.

Sheffield backs first phase of major regeneration project

Sheffield City Council has granted planning permission for the first phase of the West Bar regeneration project.
Urbo, the developer for the project, along with Urbo Regeneration and Peveril Securities, had already secured £150 million funding to deliver the first phase, thought to be the largest single private sector investment deal in Sheffield. The partnership plans to deliver a £300 million mixed-use scheme expected to create between 6,000 and 8,000 jobs.
The first phase of the plan includes a 9,300-square-metre office building with ground-floor retail and leisure space, 368 build-to-rent apartments, public realm and green space as well as electric charging points, 300 cycle storage spaces and connectivity to surrounding walking and cycling routes.
Designs have been developed by architecture practice 5plus with advice from Asteer Planning. A separate planning application for a 450-space multistorey car park will be submitted shortly.
Tibbalds appointed for Hemel Hempstead design code

Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design has been appointed by Dacorum Borough Council to produce a design code for Hemel Hempstead town centre.

The project is one of the 14 projects under the National Model Design Code (NMDC) phase 1 testing pilot scheme, a programme supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This aims to test key aspects of the NMDC and provide a methodology and a toolkit of resources to inform design guidance and local codes.

The Hemel Hempstead code will focus on the Paradise and Wood Lane area and is intended to encourage positive placemaking and identity, looking at its legacy as a new town and its relationship with the historic old town.

Key features of the design code will include delivering a mixed-use environment, high-quality buildings, options for people who live and work locally to make sustainable and healthy choices, such as choosing to walk and cycle, as well as integrating open space, landscape and biodiversity.

“Design codes can play a pivotal role in addressing heritage and environmental sensitivities while delivering good design quality,” said Tibbalds director Jane Dann. “This new code will specifically address sustainable urban intensification and focus on delivering strong, prosperous communities centred around economic growth. Good placemaking and public realm principles will also be observed as well as integrating with the natural beauty of the adjoining nature reserve and the character of the existing urban fabric.”

DLA appointed for Burnt Oak housing development
Linkcity has appointed DLA Architecture to design a housing scheme and supporting community spaces in Burnt Oak, north-west London.

The appointment follows the selection of Linkcity as preferred bidder by the London Borough of Barnet to deliver the development, which should provide about 300 homes, 50 per cent of which will be affordable.

The scheme will be on the former Watling Avenue car park site and will include community uses, a public car park, as well as significant public realm enhancements including a landscaped area.
Linkcity is the UK property development arm for global firm Bouygues Construction, with a development portfolio of 20 projects across all sectors including residential and community, commercial, retail and leisure and student housing. The scheme is expected to start on site next year.

Plans submitted to redevelop Milton Keynes car park into homes

Hybrid Planning and Development has submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of a former office car park in the Linford Wood suburb of Milton Keynes into a residential-led scheme.

The proposed design at Centric House, by Scapolan Burnley Architects, includes constructing a part four/part seven-storey building comprising 83 residential apartments. The apartments will be a mix of one, two and three bedrooms with private balconies and open-plan internal layouts.

The scheme also includes a 218-square-metre commercial convenience store together with undercroft parking, cycle and bin stores, plant and equipment, landscaped podium courtyard and associated works. A decision is expected on the application in October.

Image credit | iStock