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News in brief: Dover to review local plan; Neighbourhood planning tool launched

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 7 March, 2017

Dover to review local plan

Dover District Council’s cabinet has decided to update the local plan so that it better reflects current economic conditions and is brought into line with the latest planning guidance.

The council adopted its local plan in 2010.

Local residents and businesses will have the opportunity to get involved with the review and consultations, said the council.

Much of the evidence that formed the basis of the district’s local plan is predicated on 2006 data and needs updating to reflect recovery from the recession (2008-2009), the scaling back of Pfizer’s operation at Sandwich in 2011, and the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012.

In its housing white paper, the government proposed that local authorities should review their local plans in whole or in part at least once every five years.


Neighbourhood planning tool launched

A digital tool has been launched to support neighbourhood planning groups in their decision-making.

Know My Neighbourhood, developed by software company Porism, allows groups to create a “relevant, reliant evidence base” for their neighbourhood plan. It can help to identify cultures in a neighbourhood to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, explained the company.

The tool asks for a neighbourhood plan area’s name, automatically aggregates data based on its footprint, and serves a report of the demographic, economic and living environment factors in that area.

Know My Neighbourhood has been built in collaboration with neighbourhood planning forums, based on direct research with those groups, said Porism.

Mike Thacker, director of Porism, says: "Gathering the same information manually requires expertise, takes hours and is prone to mistakes. Our service quickly provides data of the quality needed to guide groups and justify decisions."

Know My Neighbourhood can be found here. https://neighbourhood.knowmyarea.org/


New study to assess high-rise accommodation

An academic project has been launched to explore whether post-war high-rise public housing in London and Birmingham still has a role to play in providing homes.

Tim Lewis, a PhD researcher at Birmingham City University, will look into the raft of tower blocks built in urban areas between the 1950s and 1970s and reassess the reasons for their construction, the problems they encountered and their viability as homes today.

The project will consider all forms of high-rise, including early architect-led ‘mixed developments’ that combined houses, low and high-rise flats, and maisonettes to form small communities.

Case studies will examine examples in London and Birmingham and explore whether the original ideals might meet the needs of modern urban housing.


Land deal completed in Hertfordshire

A deal for land valued in excess of £100 million for a consortium of house builders ahead of a major development in Hertfordshire has been completed.

The completion of the deal by Law Firm Cripps enables the consortium of Bovis Homes, Persimmon Homes, Kier Living, Taylor Wimpey and the Fairfield Partnership to start work on a new mixed-use development at Bishop’s Stortford North.

Planning permission is already in place for 2,200 homes on the 320-acre site. The community will also include two new primary schools, shops and business space, health facilities, community buildings and public open space.


Calls made for bond to raise project finance in Scotland

The Scottish Government has been urged to use its new fiscal powers to issue a bond to boost the money available for much-needed investment in infrastructure.

Organisations directly involved in the infrastructure sector want ministers to use Holyrood’s enhanced borrowing powers to find private investment for public projects.

The call, which comes in a survey by law firm Brodies, comes after Aberdeen City Council raised £370 million by issuing bonds to finance the council’s capital and infrastructure programme.

Read about this in The Herald.