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News in brief: Hayes welcomes RTPI Young Planners to Parliament; Khan boosts pollution fund to tackle London’s pollution

Words: Laura Edgar
Helen Hayes and the young planners

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 19 July, 2016

Hayes welcomes RTPI Young Planners to Parliament

Helen Hayes MP has met nine of the RTPI’s Young Planner chairs to discuss how to raise awareness of the profession among young people.

They also discussed how to better understand the politics of planning and the impact of the vote to leave the European Union (EU).

On politics, Hayes stressed the need for planners to understand the political context they worked in and to be more vocal in a political way. She said the impact of leaving the EU on planning was the impact from the wider economy.

There was agreement between the young planners and Hayes that more could be done to attract young people into the profession and that many students only come across planning by chance.

The idea that being a part of shaping your own future was a strong idea that attracted young people into the profession, said Hayes.

The former planner said she would continue to be a champion for planners in Parliament, stating that planners have a “bigger perspective of what we need and where”.


Windsor and Maidenhead council buys back lease on golf club

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Maidenhead Golf Club have signed a contract that will see the council buy back the golf club’s lease, opening up the site to be brought forward for development.

The council owns the freehold on Maidenhead Golf Club site. The terms of the agreement have seen the golf club give up its 24-year lease.

The deal, said the council, presents the opportunity to develop the 130 acres in the future to deliver 1,500 homes. New infrastructure, schools, health facilities and public open space would be part of any future development too.

Simon Dudley, leader of the council and lead member for housing, said the council’s intention is to enter into a joint partnership to develop the site.

“Under this arrangement the council will retain considerable control over how the site is developed, which will be sustainable and sympathetic. I am committed to providing high-quality homes, including genuinely affordable options for our residents.

“We need to build a town for everyone, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the needs of residents and provide new housing and infrastructure right in the heart of the town.”


Plan produced to rejuvenate Winsford town centre

Cheshire West and Chester Council and Winsford Town Council have prepared a plan that aims to raise the profile of Winsford town centre and the surrounding area.

The plan has been produced in partnership with Nexus Planning.

The development framework identifies a number of public and private development opportunities that seek to increase footfall and to “knit” the town back together.

The local community considered a number of design projects and projects, with the development framework being the next milestone in delivering the aspirations of the Winsford Neighbourhood Plan.

The final strategy includes opportunities to deliver new homes, a rejuvenated shopping centre, an improved Town Park and High Street with greater cohesion between the waterfront and town centre.


Khan boosts pollution fund to tackle London’s pollution

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that he will help some of London’s most polluted boroughs by implementing measures aimed at tackling toxic air quality hotspots and emission fumes with an £11 million fund.

Five ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ are to be set up across eight boroughs.

Measure will include strict new penalties for the most polluting vehicles, car-free days, green taxi ranks for zero emission-capable cabs and parking reserved for the cleanest vehicles.

The increased funding takes the number of ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ from two to five. It is expected they will come into full effect by 2019.

Khan, said “urgent and bold action” is needed to tackle London’s “air quality crisis” and that includes targeted initiatives.

“The previous mayor committed to funding two local projects, but I don’t think this goes far enough. So I’m delighted to announce that we will now be funding five key areas across London – helping to tackle air pollution and transforming neighbourhoods.

“The action we are taking in the capital is vital, but it’s imperative that our ambition is matched by ministers. That’s why I’m also calling on government ministers to put in place incentives for people to switch to low-emission vehicles, as well as providing London with additional powers and funding to help tackle this public health crisis.”


Council’s first commercial wind turbine powers up

Fife Council has switched on its first commercial-scale wind turbine.

The council hopes the 250 feet structure at the council’s recycling and resource recovery facility will generate £100,000 a year and generate enough electricity to power 200 homes.

The £1.3 million turbine was built last December and has stood still since its completion, awaiting connection to the National Grid.

The turbine was built by Spectrum Energy Systems and is managed by Resource Efficient Solutions, the council’s arms-length environmental and resource management company.