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News in Brief: Scottish hydro threatened; safeguarding Irish historic houses

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 12 May, 2015

Croydon’s Cultural Quarter master plan

The London Borough of Croydon has appointed planning consultancy Turley to develop and submit a hybrid planning application to deliver the council’s Fairfield Halls master plan. The project aims to deliver a vibrant new scheme for the College Green area of Croydon, including refurbishing the Fairfield Halls - an arts, entertainment and conference centre. The scheme also includes the provision of shops, restaurants, residential accommodation as well as community and business spaces.

Scottish hydro threatened

According to Scottish Renewables, a renewables pressure group, the Scottish hydro sector has until the end of 2015 before government cuts render “further developments unlikely”. The warning comes ahead of Scotland’s largest hydro conference held by the pressure group. Joss Blamire, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Hydro in Scotland is currently booming, but recent cuts, along with more set to come by the end of this year, have the potential to make further development unlikely. Instead of gradual, considered and measured reductions to support, we are facing a horrendously steep drop-off. Feedback directly from our industry partners suggests many projects may not survive. We’re currently in the boom period of an entirely predictable boom-and-bust scenario, and unless something is done soon that bust could end Scotland’s hydro ambitions before they’ve had a chance to deliver their full clean energy, jobs and investment potential.”

How to safeguard Irish historic houses considered

The minister for arts, heritage and Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has set up a steering group to advise her on the issue of a sustainable future for Irish historic country houses. The group will be co-chaired by the department for arts, heritage and Gaeltacht and the Irish Historic Houses Association. Humphreys said: “Irish historic houses are a significant element of the social and cultural heritage of rural Ireland. They conserve our cultural treasures and tell the story of the families who occupy them. “The challenges facing historic houses are well documented. The group will consider if existing supports can be improved and adjusted to support the owners and custodians of these properties. I expect the steering group to come back to me later this year with recommendations on how options for safeguarding these properties into the future. My department is committed to protecting our built heritage, and as the economy continues to improve, I hope to be in a position to gradually increase supports for the upkeep and preservation of heritage buildings.”

Manston Airport owners warn CPO will fail

Any attempt by the newly elected UKIP council in Thanet to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) will not work, say the owners of the Manston Airport site. However, Chris Wells, who plans to lead the district council, said it is likely to push ahead with the CPO. Owners Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave say they are prepared to fight the council should it pursue a CPO.