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News in brief: Combined authority seeks developers of brownfield housing sites; Birmingham to draw up tree plan

Words: Laura Edgar
Tree planting / Shutterstock_580933222

A round-up of planning: Tuesday 23 March, 2021

Combined authority seeks developers of brownfield housing sites

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has called for developers to submit applications for help to remediate land that would otherwise cost too much to be viable.

Through its devolution deal with the government last year, the combined authority secured £67 million from the government’s Brownfield Housing Fund.

This will help to build 4,500 to 6,000 new homes across West Yorkshire over the next four years.

The combined authority said it is “especially keen” to hear from developers whose schemes can introduce measures to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, allocations will also be prioritised to schemes that are in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage and will deliver affordable homes.

More information can be found here on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.


Birmingham to draw up tree plan

A partnership between Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Tree People, alongside UK consultancy Treeconomics and the Nature Based Solutions Institute, is working together on an urban forest masterplan for the city.

The plan is the first of its kind in the UK and follows a model widely used across North America.

Birmingham has more parks than any other big city on this continent, according to a statement, and an estimated one million trees.

Simon Needle, principal arboriculturist at the city council, said, “Birmingham's treescape is a legacy of both city planning and the philanthropic work of notable residents who bequeathed land for public parks and open spaces. This history of joint working for the benefit of all is something we are continuing today with the Urban Forest Master Plan, it being a truly co-created document for the long-term protection and advancement of the urban forest”.

The plan will comprise an action-based strategy that sets out what the city wants for the long and establishes a vision, with input from businesses through to private householders.

It will include a 30-year-plus framework in which various action plans can be developed, while smaller goals will be identified for species diversity, environmental equity, tree protection and community engagement. Indicators will be used to monitor progress.


UKPN awards planning contract

UKPN has awarded property consultancy Fisher German a three-year contract to provide town planning services for its major projects.

The operator owns and maintains the electricity cables in south-east England, the East of England and London.

The contract will see Fisher German’s infrastructure planning team work with UKPN’s property and consent teams to support them in achieving planning permission for its major projects, including developments such as new substations. They will work together throughout the entire planning process.

The contract will be delivered by planning experts in Fisher German’s Bedford, Canterbury and Ashby offices. There is an option in the contract for it to be extended by two years.


Guidance set out for housing professionalism

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has introduced a set of professional standards that outlines the knowledge, skills and behaviour that underpin the work housing professionals do every day.

The standards were put together following work with members, tenants and residents, housing organisations and other professional bodies to ensure that they can be used by everyone working in housing, whatever their role or specialism.

The standards identify seven professional characteristics that encourage individuals to reflect on their professional development needs and recognise where they can make positive changes.


Modular housing developer secures South East site

Modular housing company ilke Homes has secured a 14.5-acre site in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

Plans for the site feature up to 225 “affordable, environmentally friendly family homes” for the local community. They would be a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments, and two, three and four-bedroom homes.

Subject to planning consent, all of the houses being delivered will be manufactured off-site at the company‘s factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

ilke Homes will manage the development process – from securing the land and gaining planning permission, to developing the site and delivering the homes.

The site is the second that ilke Homes has secured in Essex; in January, the company announced it had secured a 15-acre site in Stanford-le-Hope, Thurrock, to deliver 153 family homes.

ilke Homes said it is on target to submit a detailed planning application this month (March 2021).


Developer submits plans for factory homes in Kent

Modular housebuilder TopHat has submitted a planning application to deliver its first factory-built apartments at its flagship Kitchener Barracks site in Chatham, Kent.

Submitted to Medway Council, the application includes proposals for the construction of three four-storey factory-built blocks of apartments, which would deliver 96 one and two-bedroom homes – 32 of which have been designated as affordable.

The apartments, if approved, will be precision-engineered along production lines at TopHat’s factory in South Derbyshire.

In total, the developer is delivering 302 homes at the 4.8-acre Kitchener Barracks site. The new homes are being delivered across three phases.


Further investment for Camden Highline

Camden Council, LabTech, the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership and Camden Town Unlimited have jointly invested £750,000 to support the design of the Camden Highline.

Camden Highline will be a new park on the disused railway viaduct running from Camden Town to King’s Cross.

The funding will support the Camden Highline as it progresses to the next phases of its design development and public engagement.

The project aims to reconnect local people to their town centres, as well as forming a visitor attraction in its own right. It will create a walking link between the commercial centres of Camden Town and King’s Cross.

Read about the design team here in The Planner.

Image credit | Shutterstock