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News in brief: Morgan leads RTPI awards judging panel; GMCA calls for cycling funding

Words: Laura Edgar
Sadie Morgan / press release

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 12 March, 2019

Morgan leads RTPI awards judging panel

The RTPI has announced Sadie Morgan as the chair of the judging panel for the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2019.

Morgan is a co-founder director of dRMM Architects, alongside Alex de Rijke and Philip Marsh. She currently chairs the Independent Design Panel for HS2, reporting directly to the secretary of state.

In 2013, Sadie became the youngest president of the Architectural Association. She is also one of 10 commissioners for the National Infrastructure Commission led by chief executive Phil Graham.

As chair of judges, Morgan will help RTPI president Ian Tant to judge the winner of the Silver Jubilee Cup, won last year by the Stromness Regeneration Project, a 10-year plan by Orkney Islands Council to regenerate a declining fishing village.

The winners of the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence will be announced at a ceremony on 24 April at Milton Court Concert Hall in central London.


Burnham and Boardman: cycling requires sustained funding

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman have said that the national government needs to provide a sustained funding stream for cycling and walking.

They were giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee in Manchester.

Burnham and Boardman want cycling and walking to be afforded the same status by the Department for Transport (DfT) as roads investment. They highlighted that around 1 per cent of the DfT budget is allocated to cycling and walking.

The mayor said: “Greater Manchester made the bold decision to spend £160 million on cycling and walking to kick-start our plans for the UK’s largest cycling and walking network. There is a huge appetite to deliver these plans but we now need government to show the same ambition and put in place a consistent national funding stream for cycling and walking.”

Boardman added: “This isn’t about people riding bikes, it’s about creating healthier, better places to live, more economically robust areas, revitalising town centres, and giving people a real and attractive alternative to driving. By the government’s own calculations, money invested in enabling people to cycle and walk is the most efficient transport spend that a nation can make. I just don’t understand why the penny hasn’t dropped yet."


1,900 Northamptonshire homes approved

South Northamptonshire Council has granted planning permission for 1,900 homes. This will enable the completion of the Sandy Lane relief road.

The proposals also include public open spaces, a country park, play areas, a primary school, a mixed-use local centre, community facilities and offsite healthcare provision.

Roger Clarke, the council’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “The principle of building homes in that location is well established under the Joint Core Strategy, but the history of this site demonstrates how complex this kind of proposal can be… Having a road to nowhere is blighting our landscape and collective conscience and is holding back plans for Northampton’s desperately needed ring road.

“These plans will unblock those proposals and help Northampton reach its full potential.”

A minimum of 15 per cent of the first phase of housing will also be affordable housing and subsequent phases will be required to comprise a minimum of 17.5 per cent affordable homes.


Nightclub to make way for Wolverhampton learning quarter

The City of Wolverhampton Council has submitted a planning application to demolish the former Faces nightclub building as part of the City Learning Quarter scheme.

Current ground-floor tenants of the same Old Hall Street premises, Compton Care, have agreed to vacate the building by March 31. This will see demolition works begin in May, with completion due towards the end of the summer.

As part of the project, a collection of small vacant buildings in the council’s ownership on St George’s Parade will also be demolished.

The demolition programme will enable more detailed ground investigations to take place ahead of a full planning application being submitted for the City Learning Quarter development. It will see City of Wolverhampton College move its Paget Road campus activities to the location, and will also encompass the college’s Metro One Campus, the council’s Adult Education Service, and central library.


Tougher sprinkler rules called for

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for tougher sprinkler rules to guarantee fire safety in high-rise buildings and care homes.

The LGA is calling for the height threshold at which automatic fire suppression systems, such as sprinklers, are required in new residential buildings in England to be lowered to 18 metres – down from the current 30-metre/10-storey limit. The representative body for 370 councils and fire and rescue authorities in England wants the government to require automatic fire suppression systems to be installed in all new premises where vulnerable people sleep, including care homes and residential schools.

It says these measures will provide increased safety protection and reassurance to more people and have been proved to be effective.


Salford pupils name industrial development

Pupils at Harrop Fold secondary school in Little Hulton competed to rename Network Space’s nearby industrial development, and Raven Locks was chosen as the worthy winner.

Members of the student council put forward several potential names for the 14-acre site, which is located off Ravenscraig Road. A joint effort by 16-year-old Jack Higham and 15-year-old Luke O'Sullivan was selected by the industrial developer and investor.

The site was previously known as Ashtons Field, and the scheme’s new name was influenced by the area’s heritage. The pupils combined the road name with a reference to the network of historic underground canals that border the site.

In return, Network Space donated £200 to Harrop Fold’s student council. Jack and Luke were each awarded a £50 Amazon voucher.