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News in brief: Gigaplant developer announced; ilke Homes partners Orbit in MMC deal

Words: Laura Edgar
UK2070 Papers Series

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Post-Covid age will demand strategy based on resilience, claims UK2070 Commission

The current age of uncertainty demands the development of strategy based on resilience if it is to deal with inevitable future shocks, according to the UK2020 Commission.

In Six Propositions: The New Norms, Values and Politics after COVID-19, the UK2070 Commission’s authors call for the principle of ‘evidence-based policy’ to be rewritten around revisited core values, the choice being between “fiscal goals or social well-being”.

“When the final outcomes are so uncertain it is even more important that the decision-making processes are transparent, inclusive and maximise diversity of approaches – encouraging initiative and experimentation and tolerating failure.”

Accepting that Covid-19 has “turned the world upside down”, the authors talk of the pandemic shaping “a new set of parameters”, in particular new business behaviours with more localised or diversified supply chains, new trajectories and vulnerabilities for different sectors of the economy and sections of communities, and changed perspectives on home working and travel, with the social implications of this (e.g. gender and ethnicity). Covid-19 has also greatly expanded the “politically acceptable”, the authors continue. “Radical policy-making need no longer be inhibited by inertia”.

Read the full story here on The Planner.


Gigaplant developer announced

Manufacturer Britishvolt has announced a collaboration with Italian design house Pininfarina to build the UK’s first large-scale battery gigaplant at the former RAF base of Bro Tathan, Wales.

Britishvolt's priority was to partner with a company with expertise in this field that could design a facility that is both sensitive to its surroundings, as well as open and welcoming to the local residents.

Pininfarina has worked with Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Peugeot, and on the renovation of the Eurostar fleet operating between London and Paris. It has also “been at the forefront of electric mobility, beginning in 1978 with the Ecos automotive prototype”. 

Orral Nadjari, CEO and founder at Britishvolt, said: “Britishvolt’s aim to become the world’s first zero-carbon battery manufacturer aligns perfectly with Pininfarina’s expertise in creating green, high-tech and innovative environments. With carefully selected sustainable materials that take into account the entire building’s life cycle, Pininfarina’s appreciation of social impact is what drew us to this partnership. Their balance between pioneering design and understanding of local culture, is one Britishvolt is proud to take forward.”


ilke Homes partners Orbit in MMC deal

ilke Homes has announced that it will deliver 25 factory-built affordable homes in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire for Orbit Homes. 

This is the first deal of a wider partnership. ilke Homes will deliver “superstructures” while Orbit will manage on-site development.

The homes will be manufactured at ilke Homes’ factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, before being completed on the Wellesbourne site. Groundworks on the site are expected to start in August 2020.

It is likely that the first home will be delivered to the site in October this year. 


Bannold to get new restaurant

South Cambridgeshire District Council has granted planning permission for a café and restaurant for Bannold, a landscape materials business and home to Carriages, a tea room. 

Acting on behalf of Bannold Ltd, a landscape materials business, Cheffins secured permission for the works for its site in Fen Drayton. The scheme also includes a retail building, a car park, landscaping and drainage works with the new buildings extending to a total of over 655 square metres. 

In keeping with the current setting, Bannold will erect an oak-framed building with a thatched roof, in the style of an historic barn to host both a restaurant and retail area. The new restaurant is set to complement the existing tea rooms business and will be operated in-house. The new retail space will be let to local craft and food producers.

Work is set to start on site later this year.


Hotel approved in East London

Hackney Council has approved Summix Capital’s plans for a 23-storey hotel and office space.

The mixed-used development will be built at a site just off Old Street.

The hotel will have 210 rooms, while the flexible office space will provide affordable workspaces. There will be new job opportunities for 50 people as a result of the development.  

Extensive contributions to the public realm will also feature in the scheme, including pavement widening and tree planting, and the repurposing of Silbury Street as a pedestrianised boulevard.

Work is scheduled to begin on site later this year. 


Renewables account for third of 2019 electricity generation

The government’s energy bible highlights record-breaking renewable generation.

The Department for Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) annual report on energy generation in the UK has shown that renewables provided a record 37.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity in 2019.

This is an increase from 33.1 per cent in 2018.

Last year was the first year in which renewables accounted for more than one-third of total electricity generation, according to the report. This is attributed to an increase in onshore and offshore wind capacity, with wind generating 20 per cent of UK electricity last year.

With regard to the annual quantities of power, renewables provided 121TWh, with the total annual amount of electricity generated from all sources being 325TWh.

Overall, low-carbon generation, which comprises renewables and nuclear, totalled 54.4 per cent, gas generated 40.6 per cent, and coal fell to a low of 2.1 per cent.

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said the figures show how far the UK has come. “In 2010 less than 7 per cent of our electricity came from renewables – now it’s 37 per cent. But we know that to tackle the existential threat of climate change, we need to decarbonise not just electricity, but also heating and transport, where progress has been glacial. We need innovative power sources like floating wind, wave and tidal power, renewable hydrogen and a massive expansion in battery storage to get us to net-zero emissions as fast as possible – so there’s no time to rest on our laurels.”


Arup to get Buckinghamshire town pedalling

Buckinghamshire Council has appointed Arup to help to increase the number of people cycling and walking in High Wycombe.

Arup will produce a local cycling and walking infrastructure plan (LCWIP) to help the council develop a strategic approach to building a network of high-standard cycling and walking routes across the town.

Proposals in the plan will include upgrades to key corridors, how to address gaps in the network, and ones to deliver ‘quick wins’. A specific study into a sustainable travel link between Daws Hill Lane and Handy Cross Hub is also included in this commission.

The plan should guide the council and its partners’ investment decisions and negotiations with central government and third parties to secure funding for improvements.

An online engagement exercise is the first stage in producing the plan, so Arup can gain the views of the local community within High Wycombe on their travel habits and their thoughts about walking and cycling in the town.

Nick Naylor, Buckinghamshire Council’s cabinet member for transport, said the success of the project relies strongly on good feedback from the public.

“It’s important that we listen to our residents in High Wycombe. We want to serve them well with a clear plan that enables us to invest wisely to provide an improved network and encourage more people to take up healthier means of travel.”

Image credit | UK2070 Commission