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News in brief: Pressure for UK to ratify climate change deal; Edinburgh music school expansion approved

Words: Laura Edgar
Climate change / Shutterstock_86013754

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 6 September, 2016

Pressure for UK to ratify climate change deal

The UK Government is coming under increasing pressure to ratify the Paris climate change deal immediately.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Green Party say the UK lost its long-term leadership on climate after the US and China jointly ratified the deal over the weekend. 

Labour warns that unless ministers start the ratification process right away it will attack the government’s “failures” on the climate policy in an opposition day Commons debate on Wednesday, when a motion will call for immediate action.

The Liberal Democrats, SNP and the Green Party support this. A spokesperson for the prime minister told the BBC the UK would ratify “as soon as possible”, but did not suggest a date. 


Edinburgh music school expansion approved

The City of Edinburgh Council has approved the Royal High School Trust’s planning and listed building applications to convert the former Royal High School Building into a new home for St Mary’s Music School.

The plans include conserving the character of the current neoclassical buildings while providing new facilities that will allow St Mary’s to increase its student numbers by 50 per cent and expand its outreach and community education programmes.

Extra performance facilities will also be provided, including three new performance spaces, new school buildings providing classrooms and student accommodation, a new entrance on Regent Road, and a publicly accessible garden.

Ramboll Environ’s Edinburgh team was commissioned by the trust to input into the design, coordinate the environmental impact assessment and deliver the environmental statement for the application and listed building consent. The architect is Richard Murphy Architects, with Simpson & Brown acting as the conservation architect for the project.


Dundee housing plan goes before council

Developers have resubmitted plans to Dundee City Council for 36 flats and four semi-detached houses on Eliza Street in Stobswell.

The site was cleared a number of years ago but has lain empty since, attracting vandalism and fly-tipping.

Edenlaw West Limited and Hillcrest Housing Association hope to fill the site with “much-needed homes”.

The community has expressed concern that the design of the one-bedroom flats would feel “prison-like” and “poky”.

Edenlaw will, though, submit its plans to the council unchanged, believing that it is not possible to build larger homes and deliver a fully funded and viable scheme. The flats do not comply with the minimum size required by the council’s local plan.

More about this story can be read here.


Khan announces slimmed-down TfL board

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced his appointments to a new slimmed-down Transport for London (TfL) Board, which aims to better represent the diversity of the capital.

Seven women and five men will join Khan and deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross on the board, and a further member to represent workers will be nominated by the TUC. 

The previous TfL board comprised 13 men, four women and no BAME (British black, Asian and minority ethnic) representative. The new board will be 29 per cent BAME and 13 per cent of members will represent those with a disability, said the mayor. One position needs filling.

To improve efficiencies, Khan said he has reduced the board by two members and two advisers as well as restructuring payments to all members. He said this should save £190,000 a year compared with 2015/16.

Image credit | Shutterstock