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News in brief: RTPI publishes Neighbourhood Planning Bill brief; Pollution zones in Scotland rise to 38

Words: Laura Edgar
Neighbourhood planning

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 17 January, 2017

RTPI publishes Neighbourhood Planning Bill brief

The RTPI has published a brief for the Neighbourhood Planning Bill in advance of its second reading in the House of Lords today (17 January).

The briefing notes that there are various welcome clauses in the bill to improve on the neighbourhood planning process, including an increase in the weight to be attached to a neighbourhood plan once it has passed a successful referendum (clause 1) and making it easier to amend a neighbourhood plan (clause 3).

The briefing can be found here (pdf).


Incentives for pensioners to downsize

The government is planning to offer incentives to pensioners to sell their homes and downsize, according to a report in Daily Telegraph.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid will publish a housing white paper later this month as the government attempts to tackle the housing shortage. Measures will include offering pensioners help with the cost of moving or an exemption on stamp duty, freeing up family homes.

The paper reported a Whitehall source as saying that homeowners would probably favour the proposal because they are “fed up having their 30-year-old children in their childhood bedroom”. 

Read more on The Times website.


Pollution zones in Scotland rise to 38

The number of pollution zones in Scotland has risen to 38, according to figures from Friends of the Earth Scotland.

The campaign group said that air quality in the zones had breached the safety standards and that pollution levels are a “public health crisis”.

According to BBC Scotland, the Scottish Government says it is determined to improve air quality and that it is working to ensure that Scotland’s first low-emission zone is in place next year.

The data suggests that the country’s most polluted street was Hope Street in Glasgow, with Edinburgh’s Salamander Street being one of the five new pollution zones.

Read more here.


Site clearance for Midland Metro begins

Work to progress the proposed extension of the Midland Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill is due to start this week.

The Midland Metro Alliance, working on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority, will begin to clear vegetation from overgrown areas of the disused former South Staffordshire Railway line to carry out structural and environmental surveys.

The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension will be 11 kilometres long and have 17 stops, including four provisional stops. It is expected that construction of the route will begin during 2019.


RTPI calls for bursary sponsors

The RTPI is calling for sponsors for two of its bursary schemes which aim to help fill the shortage of planners and increase the diversity of the planning profession.

More than 95 students benefited from RTPI bursaries in 2015-16 and 2016-17, with financial support from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Planning Inspectorate, private sector planning consultancies and other sponsors.

Twenty-five RTPI-accredited planning schools are supporting the initiatives this year.

Andrew Close, head of careers, education & professional development at the RTPI, said: “The bursary funds have been growing from strength to strength. They are a true partnership between the RTPI, universities, and the public and private sectors. We very much hope that more organisations can come forward to further support these schemes to build a longer-term legacy and encourage more students from different backgrounds to join this exciting and rewarding profession.”

Those interested in sponsoring RTPI bursaries for 2017 and beyond should contact [email protected] for more information.


New homes for historic Leicestershire village

Richborough Estates and Fisher German have completed the sale of a 22-acre development site in Leicestershire to premier regional developer Mulberry Developments.

The site is on the northern edge of the medieval village of Great Bowden. Earlier this month, development agency Fisher German, on behalf of strategic land promoter Richborough Estates, secured planning consent for 50 homes, a country park, allotments and a children’s play area.

The existing village sits in a conservation area.

A reserved matters planning application for development of the site was lodged by Mulberry Developments in December 2016.

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