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News in brief: Leeds approves British Library redevelopment plans; Consultation closes this week on all-island rail network future

Boston Spa's British Library site to be transformed / Carmody-Groarke

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 18 January, 2022

Leeds approves British Library redevelopment plans

Leeds City Council has approved plans to transform a British Library site at Boston Spa in West Yorkshire into a modern archive capable of storing its growing collection.

The £95 million redevelopment of the 44-acre former Second World War armaments factory site will create storage capacity, improving facilities for staff and visitors and making “significant” improvements to the environmental sustainability of the site.

A new low-carbon archive will be created and new green spaces designed to support biodiversity.

The library has also secured £8.5 million from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) grant for energy-saving initiatives such as solar panels, heat pumps and smart meters.

A 220km of extra shelf space will be created in a new high-density, automated storage building, which will have the highest possible level of air tightness creating a low-energy passive archive.

Phil Spence, chief operating officer of the British Library, said: “A national library is, by its very nature, a long-term investment and an expression of hope in the future, so it’s essential that sustainability should be at the heart of this development. It marks a major step forward towards transforming our presence in the north of England and creating a sustainable British Library for everyone.”


Consultation closes this week on all-island rail network future

Northern Ireland’s infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has urged members of the public to have their say on the future of the rail network before the consultation on the All-Island Strategic Rail Review closes.

The public consultation closes on Friday 21 January 2022. It was published by Mallon and Ireland's minister for transport Eamon Ryan at the end of November 2021.

Views are sought on how the rail network across Ireland can be shaped and developed.  

More information can be found here.


Work begins on Blackburn development

Regeneration work in the Higher Croft region of Blackburn, Lancashire, has begun.

Developer Countryside, Together Housing Group and Blackburn with Darwen Council will deliver 377 homes on land by Fishmoor Drive and Roman Road.

Called Brookfield Vale, the development will be built on three brownfield plots earmarked by Blackburn with Darwen Council for redevelopment. Two sites were owned by the council and the third was owned by Together Housing Group. The council sold its sites to enable the regeneration.

The development comprises 377 two, three and four-bedroom houses, 20 per cent of which have been designated as affordable. Together Housing will deliver the affordable homes and they will be available for rent, managed by PRS provider Sigma Capital. The remaining 154 homes will be designated for open market sale.


L&G acquires SBTR scheme in Peterborough

Legal & General has acquired a suburban build-to-rent (SBTR) scheme in Great Haddon, Peterborough, for £25 million to deliver 117 new family rental homes.

The development will be delivered by mixed-tenure developer Countryside and will consist of existing woodland and new water features as well as new schools and community amenities to be delivered as part of the wider site. The homes will consist of two, three and four bedroom units.  

L&G says Great Haddon will be community focused and service-led, offering residents choice, security of tenure and flexibility.

Its SBTR developments aim to be operationally carbon net zero from 2030 and will be designed to incorporate home offices and offer access to more extensive outdoor space.

Matt Bench, chief investment officer at Countryside, said: “As a mixed-tenure developer, providing quality homes that meet requirements for a wide range of different individuals is important to us. As well as offering options that help families to get on the property ladder, suburban build-to-rent homes such as those available at Great Haddon will combine great places to live in an attractive, family-friendly setting with high standards of management and service. We’re excited to be working with Legal & General and bringing this suburban build-to-rent scheme to life.”


Wolverhampton to invest £118m in new housing

The City of Wolverhampton Council aims to invest £118 million in new homes over the next five years, subject to approval through the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan.

Housing developments have started at Heath Town estate, with more than 200 homes planned. The refurbishment programme for the estate will also see improvements to eight tower blocks with refinements such as sprinkler system installations and more efficient heating systems.

A “detailed” asset management strategy is being worked on to see how many of the council’s 4,100 non-traditional-built homes might need replacing.

The housing plan also includes £4.5 million to refurbish Bond House and convert it into 34 units of supported accommodation and services for single people with a history of rough sleeping and homelessness.

Proposals will be discussed at the cabinet tomorrow and will then go forward to the full council.

Image credit | Carmody-Groarke