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News in brief: New homes needed to stimulate ‘stagnating Scottish economy’; New dwellings in Wales up by 2%

Words: Laura Edgar
New build / iStock

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 13 June, 2017

New homes needed to stimulate ‘stagnating Scottish economy’

Building new homes could fill the economic gap left by large and soon-to-be-completed infrastructure projects, such as the Queensferry Crossing, Homes for Scotland has suggested.

This is what the trade body said in response to the EY Scottish ITEM Club summer update. It predicts that growth in the Scottish economy for 2017 will be half of that for the whole of the UK.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive at the Homes for Scotland, noted that the report emphasises the important of business and government working together to “de-risk investment, build confidence and drive economic growth”.

“As well as helping to deliver the biggest return in terms of skills, jobs, productivity and the other measures highlighted by the ITEM Club, building the homes of all types that are needed to meet the requirements of our growing population also offers vital social benefits such as improved health and education outcomes.”

A supportive policy framework that encourages housing investment and development is needed, enabling Scotland to reap the economic and social rewards, Barclay concluded.


New dwellings in Wales up by 2%

During 2016-17 the number of new homes started in Wales totalled 6,871 – an increase of 2 per cent compared with the previous year.

This is according to reports by local authority building inspectors and the National House Building Council.

The statistics suggest that the number of new dwellings completed fell by 1 per cent to 6,833 in 2016-17.

Other statistics collated include:

•    5,590 new dwellings were completed by the private sector. This accounts for 82 per cent of all completions during the period.
•    1,243 new social sector dwellings were completed, with registered social landlords responsible for 98 per cent of them. The remaining 2 per cent were built by local authorities.

More information about new housebuilding can be found on the Welsh Government website (pdf).


Offshore wind could power 20m homes by end of decade, says report

The UK’s offshore wind capacity can be expanded to almost five times its current level by 2030, powering 20 million homes, suggests a recent report.

Unleashing Europe’s Offshore Wind Potential, by independent consultants BVG Associates, suggests that a total capacity of at least 25 gigawatts (GW) can be installed in UK waters by the end of the next decade, which is enough to power more than 20 million homes – 75 per cent of all households in the UK.

The reports says that would see the UK retain its global lead in offshore wind, with Germany remaining in second place with 14GW by 2030.

This can be achieved by using larger offshore wind turbines, each with a capacity of 13 megawatts (MW), 5MW more than the current largest, according to the report.

Trade body WindEurope commissioned the report.

Giles Dickson, CEO at WindEurope, said: “The report confirms that the cost reduction seen in offshore wind over the last two years could translate into significant volumes of clean, competitive and reliable power for the UK by 2030. The UK should factor this into their long-term energy planning. We need to see a deployment of at least 4GW per year in Europe for offshore wind to maintain its cost reduction trend. This would allow offshore wind to be competitive with conventional power before very long.”


RHS Garden Bridgewater approved

Plans for the £30 million RHS Garden Bridgewater will move forward after communities secretary Sajid Javid decided not to call in the green belt development.

Salford City Council’s planning committee approved the development in principle in May, but had Javid had to consider the plans because of their green belt location – the former Worsley New Hall.

The plans for the garden include designs for a new welcome building, by architects Hodder+Partners and an 11-acre walled garden designed by landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith.

City mayor Paul Dennett said: “RHS Garden Bridgewater will not only bring the historic grounds of Worsley New Hall back to life, but will also create jobs and business opportunities for the local area.

“The fifth national garden will be a national and a community asset, a key example of green infrastructure in Greater Manchester, creating a real public amenity within our green belt.”


Call for sites issued in Dover

Dover District Council has issued a call for sites as reviews its local plan.

The council is undertaking a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) to support the preparation of a new local plan.

The HELAA aims to identify a future supply of land in the district that is suitable, available and achievable for housing and economic development uses over the local plan period to 2037.

As part of the HELAA, the council has issued a call for sites for a period of eight weeks, which closes on 7 August.

The form to submit a site for consideration can be found on the Dover District Council website.

Image credit | iStock