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News in brief: Port Talbot not UK’s dirtiest town; Focus should be on delivering communities, conference hears

Words: The Planner
Port Talbot / iStock-525225072

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 8 May, 2018

Port Talbot not UK’s dirtiest town after all

Following a challenge by Neath Port Talbot Council the World Health Organisation (WHO) has admitted its database incorrectly named the South Wales town last week as the UK’s dirtiest for air pollution.  

In a letter to the council the agency said the air pollution level for Port Talbot was just under half of the figure originally published and below WHO air pollution guidelines.


Focus should be on delivering communities, conference hears

A seminar hosted by the Scottish Land Commission has heard that stronger leadership is required to encourage more public interest-led development in Scotland.

Delegates including planners, developers, local authorities, architects, surveyors and investors agreed that the focus should be on delivering places and communities rather than houses.

To achieve this, the placemaking process needs to be represented at the highest level of decision-making, both locally and nationally.

A poll held at the seminar found that 64 per cent of delegates felt that more leadership is needed at both local and national levels to encourage public interest-led development, while 23 per cent said ‘leadership’ was the most significant barrier to public interest-led development.

Delegates also noted that the role of planning needs to be enhanced in the development process to enable the state to play a more proactive role in delivering the kind of places people want to live.


Severn Trent sells land for development

Severn Trent’s property arm Midlands Land Portfolio Ltd, working with Gedling Borough Council, has sold 135 acres of land to Persimmon Homes.

The land is at Teal Close, which is five miles east of Nottingham between Netherfield and Stoke Bardolph. It will be used for a development that will feature affordable housing, with plans including 830 homes, new leisure areas including play pitches, allotments and children’s play areas. A primary school will be built, as well an ecology park.

Following planning approval for the first phase of the housing scheme for 199 units including much-needed affordable houses, Persimmon will soon be starting work on site.


Central Bedfordshire submits local plan

Central Bedfordshire Council has submitted its local plan to the secretary of state and a planning inspector will examine it.

The plan outlines the council’s strategy for growth “in the right places” and of the “right character”, and that this will be delivered alongside supporting infrastructure, including roads, schools and health facilities.

Nigel Young, executive member for regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “While this is not the end of the process, it is an important milestone towards delivering the homes that residents and their families can afford to buy and to rent, the jobs they need, along with the roads, schools, community facilities, services and other infrastructure that will continue to make Central Bedfordshire and great place to live and work.”


DfT appoints team to revamp cycling design guidance

The Department for Transport (DfT) has appointed professional services consultancy WSP to revise and update its cycling infrastructure design guidance.

Refreshing Local Transport Note 02/08 Cycling Infrastructure Design featured in the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, which aims to increase cycling and walking and make both the natural choices for shorter journeys.

WSP has brought together a combined team of technical expertise from across WSP, Phil Jones Associates, Mott MacDonald and academic support from the University of West England, Bristol.

WSP said its team would work with the DfT, as well as engaging with cycling bodies and a key stakeholder steering group, to review the current guidance and to recommend and implement changes to the document to ensure that it aligns with current practice.

Image credit | iStock