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News in Brief: RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2016 move to the Barbican; ‘Huge interest’ in Right to Buy, says government

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 17 November, 2015

RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2016 moves to the Barbican

The venue for the 2016 RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence is Milton Court, at the Barbican, London. Entries for the 14 categories, including an International Award for Excellence in Planning, closes on 30 November 2016. Rebecca Hildreth, Head of Marketing and Sponsorship, said: “Over the past couple of years the success and popularity of the Awards for Planning Excellence has grown. Demand for tickets is such that in 2016 we will have to move the Awards to a larger venue. We are pleased to announce that the Awards will be held in Milton Court at the Barbican, which is part of the largest multi-arts and conference venue in Europe.”

‘Huge interest’ in Right to Buy, says government

Thousands of households across England are registering their interest for the Right to Buy scheme, according to latest government statistics. More than 5,000 people registered in the first month. Communities secretary Greg Clark said: “Social housing tenants share the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. They live in the same towns, their children go to the same schools, they have the same ambitions for themselves and their families. They should be given the same opportunity, if they aspire to own their home. That is why we are extending Right to Buy to housing association tenants so they can have security of home ownership for themselves and their families.”

SUDS guidance launched

CIRIA, a construction industry research association, has launched a Sustainable Drainage Stystems (SuDS) guide. It focuses on the cost-effective planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of SuDS. Paul Shaffer, associate at CIRIA said: “The SuDS Manual reflects CIRIA’s stance that well-designed SuDS deliver multiple benefits, as well as manage local flood risk.” The guide can be downloaded here. 

Guidance for outdoor sport and play published

Fields in Trust has launched guidance for the design of outdoor sport and play areas. Guidance For Outdoor Sport And Play: Beyond The Six Acre Standard is aimed at local planning authorities, developers, planners, urban designers and landscape architects. Fields in Trust, a charity that aims to protect open and recreational spaces, said the guidance has been produced to reflect a “new planning policy landscape”, including changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, the introduction of The Localism Act and the phased introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy. Speaking at the House of Lords launch of the new guidance Paul Garber, chair of the Fields in Trust land and planning committee, said: “Adopting this guidance will help planners and designers ensure that the provision of outdoor sport, play and informal open space is of sufficient size to enable effective public use, in an accessible location close to local communities. It is important that outdoor space has a design quality which will maintain its longevity and to encourage continued use.” The guidance is available here. 

New homes rise by a quarter in Britain

The number of new homes in England has risen by 25 per cent in the past year, according to new government figures. Since 2010, over 700,000 additional homes have been delivered, with 170, 690 new homes built last year. Communities secretary Greg Clark said it was proof of the government’s commitment to get more homes built. Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’ve brought the house building industry back from the brink, giving them the tools they need to get on with the job and build the homes hard-working people need. That includes making it easier for developers to turn underused buildings into new homes with today’s figures showing a 65 per cent increase in these kinds of developments over the past year.”

Boost in North-West for new-builds commissioned 

The North-West residential sector saw a “significant boost” in the number of new-build properties commissioned in Q3 this year, according to figures by Barbour ABI. It led all regions with 5,275 units. The market insight report from Barbour ABI, which supplies construction data to the Office for National Statistics, the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, shows that £621 million worth of property development was commissioned in Q3, with £608 million from the private sector. Read more here.