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News in brief: McNairney awarded CBE; 52 homes approved in central London

Words: Laura Edgar
John McNairney

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 15 June, 2021

McNairney awarded CBE

Scottish chief planner John McNairney FRTPI has been awarded a CBE for public service in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021.

He has been the chief planner for nine years, and has a total of 22 years of service with the Scottish Government.

RTPI president Wei Yang FRTPI, said: “It’s wonderful to see John’s dedication over many years as Scottish Chief Planner recognised in this way.

“His time in the role, and over more than two decades with the Scottish Government, has demonstrated the core value of being a chartered town planner – serving the public. Many congratulations John! You make us proud.”

In May, McNairney announced that he will be retiring from the role later this summer.

Also named in the Queen's Birthday Honours was Peter Gerald Stewart Murray, who was awarded an OBE for services to leadership in the arts, architecture, city planning, design, publication and charity (London, Greater London).

The Queen's Birthday Honours List can be found here (pdf).


52 homes approved in central London

Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee has approved the council’s plans to build 52 affordable homes in Churchill Gardens, London.

Of the homes, 34 community supportive homes will be built to replace the current 31 homes in Darwin House.

In addition, 18 homes for intermediate rent will be built on the site of the former Balmoral Castle pub and the nearby garages. The purpose-built community supportive homes have been designed to be dementia-friendly and will be fully accessible, with two lifts and step-free access.

The affordable homes for intermediate rent will be prioritised for those living locally. They are suitable for people with single or combined household incomes of between £32,000 and £60,000 who do not qualify for social rent but cannot find affordable market value homes in the area.

The homes have been designed to Passivhaus principles.


Homes England appoints chief executive

Peter Denton has been appointed as the chief executive of the government's housing agency Homes England. He is currently the chief executive of the Hyde Group. He joined initially as group finance director in 2017.

Nick Walkley left Homes England in February. Gordon More, who has been acting as chief executive, delayed his retirement plans pending this appointment.

Denton said: “The government has an ambitious agenda of not just more homes but decent, affordable, safe, energy-efficient ones that sit well in their community and landscape. I cannot wait to help realise that ambition.”


Carlisle adopts SPD for garden village

Carlisle City Council has adopted a supplementary planning document (SPD) for design at St Cuthbert's Garden Village in advance of the proposed adoption of the St Cuthbert's Local Plan in 2022.

The garden village will comprise 10,000 homes upon completion in around 25 years’ time.

The council said the SPD “amplifies” policies in the adopted district-wide local plan, “whilst using the masterplan framework as a key evidence base to provide strategic guidance on good design”.

"It crucially defines what a healthy, low-carbon, green environment will look like, provides clarity around expectations for innovations, and supports a constructive planning process.”

Hyas Associates was engaged to scope and produce the SPD, with consultation held digitally during lockdowns one and two.

The council is now progressing a St Cuthbert’s specific local plan.


Businesses write to PM to put nature's recovery at heart of the planning system

More than 100 businesses have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for net-zero transition, nature’s recovery, and climate resilience to be at the heart of the new planning system.

Coordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and the Aldersgate Group, the letter states that to guarantee that housing targets and environmental commitments are met, it is “vital” that the forthcoming planning bill drives a strategic approach to the net-zero transition. It must ensure that development is resilient to the effects of climate change and that nature can be supported and restored.

The signatories called on Johnson to ensure that the bill directly aligns with the obligations under the UK Climate Change Act and plans to reverse nature’s decline in the environment bill.

They also sought clarity on how land allocated for ‘growth’ will be compatible with achieving net-zero, securing nature’s recovery and delivering development resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Read the letter here on the UKBGC website (pdf).


Developer chosen for London schemes

Kensington & Chelsea Council has appointed Willmott Dixon to deliver two housing schemes that are part of the council’s new homes delivery programme. It was procured under the SCF framework.

The largest project is at Kensal Road, where Willmott Dixon will deliver a £17.1 million development comprising 37 homes above new ground-floor commercial accommodation. They will be delivered across a five and six-storey building. There will be shared garden space and a podium deck with a landscaped terrace.

The second development is a £8.5 million scheme at Hewer Street to provide 20 homes that are expected to be complete by winter 2022/23.

Both projects include air source heat pumps that eliminate the need for gas, providing a sustainable heating solution.