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News in brief: Khan introduces air quality alerts for Londoners; Andy Burnham announced as Labour candidate for Manchester mayor

London air pollution

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 9 August, 2016

Khan introduces air quality alerts for Londoners

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that he is introducing air quality alerts at bus stops, Tube stations and road-sides across London to warn people during the worst incidents of air pollution.

Khan has just finished an initial consultation on a “comprehensive package” of measures to clean up London’s “filthy air”. Of the nearly 15,000 people that responded to this consultation, 79 per cent of respondents stated that they wished to receive information when air pollution was high or very high so that they could take precautions to limit the impact on their health.

From Monday 15 August during days of high and very high pollution, air quality alerts will be displayed at:

  •  2,500 bus countdown signs and river pier signs across London

  •  140 road-side dot matrix message signs on the busiest main roads into London, with instructions to switch engines off when stationary to reduce emissions

  •  Electronic update signs in the entrances of all 270 London Underground stations

Depending on the alert level and communication channel, the information provided will include: advising people to walk, cycle or use public transport where possible to help improve air quality; to reduce strenuous activity if experiencing symptoms; advising asthma sufferers and other vulnerable groups that more frequent use of inhalers might be needed.

Khan said: “Unlike my predecessor, I believe that Londoners have a right to know about the quality of the air that they breathe. These new alerts will allow them to take precautions and help them plan ahead to avoid the worst instances of air pollution."

Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, added: “We are working with the Mayor to deliver an ambitious and wide-ranging programme to improve air quality across the capital. An important part of this work is to raise awareness and provide advice to people on how they can personally contribute to this work.”


Andy Burnham announced as Labour candidate for Manchester mayor

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham has been voted as Labour’s candidate for Greater Manchester’s first mayoral election next May.

Burnham beat interim mayor Tony Lloyd and Bury South MP Ivan Lewis after a vote by local party members last Friday (5 August).

Having previously served under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as culture secretary and health secretary, Burnham told the government he would ensure that it follows through on its promise of a northern powerhouse if he wins the 2017 election.


345,400 sq ft bigbox unit approved for Core 42

Hodgetts Estates has been given approval by North Warwickshire Borough Council for Core 1, a large-scale logistics facility at its Core 42 distribution hub in the West Midlands.

Core 1 will comprise a warehouse with 345,400 square feet of associated office space as well as extensive trailer parking and associated service yard, infrastructure and associated landscaping and amenities. It is planned to have a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’ and an Energy Performance Certificate CO2 index rating of ‘A’.

Edward Hodgetts, development director at Hodgetts Estates, said: “Despite the recent market turmoil, post-Brexit deals and market enquiries suggest that the demand for Grade A units of 300,000-350,000 square feet is still very strong in prime locations such as Core 42. We have pushed ahead with the site infrastructure, meaning that the Core 1 bigbox unit is deliverable as early as July 2017."


£33m Bristol student and residential scheme given green light

Alaska Developments has been given permission by Bristol City Council to develop a new £33 million residential-led scheme on a 1.51 acre site between Jacob Street and Unity Street in the centre of the city.

The development will provide 48 new homes and 202 new student rooms in buildings ranging from two to six storeys in height. The development will be divided into two distinct zones to separate the commercial and student accommodation uses from the residential element.

Simon Neate, chairman, Indigo Planning, who advised on the proposal, said: “The challenge here was to balance the local need for more residential housing with additional equal requirement for increased student accommodation in the city.

“The development will bring more residents into the Old Market community, provide a number of new jobs and will contribute annually to the local economy.”


New rules enforced for Westminster basement developments

In response to an “increasing trend of subterranean developments”, Westminster City Council have developed a new set of residential basement rules which came into effect as of the 1st of August. Under the new rules, basements will be limited to a single storey, and will not be allowed to be built underneath more than 50 per cent of total garden land.

Westminster City Council said it had received “on average 150 applications per annum”, with a trend towards “iceberg basements” of two or more storeys. The resulting impact of these developments on local residents through noise, dust and traffic has led the council to impose these stricter policies for basement developments.

Any homeowner seeking to undertake such a development will be expected to adhere to best practice and undertake neighbour liaison, and the council will ensure that different sites work closer with each other to reduce cumulative impacts of development.


Manchester Place and NOMA appoint residential developer

Manchester Place and the Co-op have appointed Far East Consortium International Ltd (FEC) to deliver more than 600 new homes as part of the NOMA neighbourhood, near Victoria Station, and “reinvigorate” the historic Angel Meadow park.

Covering 2.37 acres across four sites, the new homes will be for both sale and rent and will include a “landmark tower”.

Mr Hoong, managing director, Far East Consortium said: “This is one of the most exciting residential opportunities not just in Manchester but in the UK right now and we are very proud and excited to be working with NOMA and the city council.

“We have assembled a team with the skills to deliver a new neighbourhood of international caliber and we would like this to be the start of a long relationship with the city."


Historic Chester walls get contactless pay terminals

Contactless card payment facilities are being installed in three locations of Chester’s medieval walls in a bid to encourage visitors to contribute to their upkeep. The scheme will encourage people to make a £2 donation at the Amphitheatre, King Charles Tower and Newgate Tower sections of the grade I listed walls, which currently cost the council £600,000 a year in upkeep.