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News in brief: Volunteer positions available at the RTPI; Prime minister backs wind power

Words: Laura Edgar
Volunteer / iStock-490453735

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 6 October, 2020

Volunteer positions available at the RTPI

The RTPI has announced that applications are open for membership for some of its key committees. 

The committees help to deliver the institute’s vision mission, which is set out in its 2020-2030 corporate strategy.

Those who are already members of a committee still need to reapply for 2021. 

Applications are sought for membership to the following committees:

  • Audit;
  • Appointment and remuneration;
  • Membership and ethics;
  • Education and lifelong learning;
  • Policy, practice and research;
  • England policy panel; and
  • International.

Victoria Hills, chief executive at the RTPI, said: “All our committees are powered by the extraordinary work of RTPI members who volunteer their time, expertise and professional insight. Being a committee member is a rewarding experience, and can contribute to your personal and professional development – so don’t miss this fabulous opportunity to volunteer and accelerate your career development.” 

The institute added that it is keen to encourage as wide and diverse a committee membership as possible so that the views, experience and knowledge of all members would continue to enrich its work.

The application form can be downloaded here. Please send the completed form to [email protected] before 4:00pm on 30 November 2020.


RTPI members join UN forum 

The RTPI has announced that two of its members have been appointed to the UN’s Habitat Professional Forum.

The announcement comes on World Habitat Day 2020.

The institute’s vice-president Wei Yang FRTPI and member Vincent Goodstadt MRTPI will represent the Global Planners Network on the forum, which is a UN-Habitat body that consults planners, architects and engineers on global policy and strategic issues.


Prime minister backs wind power

Boris Johnson is set to pledge that offshore wind farms will generate enough electricity to power every home in the UK by 2030. 

The prime minister, in a speech at the Conservative Party Conference, will announce £160 million for the upgrading of ports as well as factories to build turbines as he plans to ‘build back greener’ from Covid-19.

The plan is aimed at creating 2,000 jobs in construction and supporting 60,000 more.

Johnson will also explain that the government is raising its target for offshore wind power capacity by 2030 from 30 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts.


Charity appointed to help council map route to net-zero carbon

The Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee has appointed sustainability charity Bioregional to help to develop its response to the climate emergency.

The charity will provide the region's local authorities with an evidence base for creating a net-zero carbon local plan.

Working together with sustainability engineers Etude and asset management consultancy Currie & Brown, Bioregional will be supporting central Lincolnshire, which covers the city of Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey, to adapt its local plan to achieve its net-zero carbon 2050 goal.

Bioregional said this would be achieved by preparing an evidence base to determine how the target should be defined and accounted for, what measures would be necessary in key sectors, including costings and feasibility, and the potential role of offsetting.

Philip Hylton, team leader at the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan Team, said: “The Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee recognises the importance of climate change and of the responsibility for us all to do what we can to address it. Through this piece of work we hope to understand what we can do through the local plan with an ambition of delivering a carbon-neutral plan.”


NI advisory panel presents report to infrastructure minister

Northern Ireland's infrastructure minister has received the final report from the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Infrastructure.

The report was compiled following six weeks of work, with the panel considering how an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland might support more effectively the long-term planning and development of infrastructure.

The panel comprises a small group of independent experts. Since meeting for the first time on 25 August, they have engaged with key stakeholder groups through written evidence gathering and virtual engagement sessions. It has also considered global best practice.

Nichola Mallon, infrastructure minister, said: “This report provides expert insight, knowledge and importantly strategic ideas on a way forward at such a challenging time in the face of Covid and Brexit. 

“The in-depth work undertaken in such a short space of time will help form the basis of the direction I know must be taken to get us, our place, our people and our communities on the road to recovery and opportunity. Now, more than ever, we must seize our chance for change. In the context of the challenges of Covid, Brexit, climate change and economic strain, investing and long-term planning for critical infrastructure has never been more important.

“Having political power is only positive if you can use that power for positive change. This report is, for me, a building block for the genuine partnership that is required to deliver that positive change.”

Mallon will consider the recommendations and then put a proposal before the executive.


Modular homes revealed for capital homelessness scheme

A scheme comprising modular homes that have been designed as accommodation for homeless Londoners has been assembled on a test site in Tower Hamlets.

These prototype units belong to PLACE (the Pan-London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise), a not-for-profit company established by London boroughs with a mission to provide high-quality temporary accommodation for homeless families. This is the first batch of homes.

The initiative is supported by £11 million of funding from the London mayor.

The units have been manufactured by ESS Modular and can be moved to a different site when required.

PLACE is working with participating boroughs to confirm sites and accommodate homeless households within the next year. Tower Hamlets and several other boroughs are looking into suitable locations and PLACE aims to supply 200 homes across the capital by February 2022.

The organisation was developed by the London Housing Directors’ Group and the umbrella body London Councils in response to the capital’s homelessness crisis and the lack of temporary accommodation options.


TfL appoints support partner

Transport for London (TfL) has appointed professional services GHD to support it in the development of designs for Cycle Future Route 15.

As TfL‘s traffic engineering support partner, GHD is tasked with supporting the delivery of feasibility and concept design packages for projects within its roads, streets and places department’s cycling portfolio. 

One of the projects will be the feasibility design for Cycle Future Route 15 (CFR 15), which will link Streatham to the Oval. It is one of 25 routes identified by TfL as having the highest potential demand for cycling in the capital and is part of TfL’s Healthy Streets Approach, which seeks to deliver a healthier, more inclusive city. 

The appointment was made following a competitive tender process.


Plans for Brent set out

Development firm Argent Related and Barnet Council have set out their vision for the £5 billion, 180-acre North London neighbourhood Brent Cross Town. 

The plans are for a new park town which seeks to establish a new standard for large-scale urban regeneration. 

Previously known as Brent Cross South, the new development is set to incorporate 50 acres of parks and playing fields. Brent Cross Town would comprise 6,700 new homes for sale and for rent and three million square feet of office space for 25,000 employees. 

Restaurants, retail including local amenities and services, leisure, culture and events also feature in the plans.

The town will connect to King’s Cross in 12 minutes via the new Brent Cross West station. This is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

Argent Related wants the development to be a 15-minute town, where work, shop, education and leisure activities are all within 15 minutes of where a person lives. 


Eco-friendly homes designated for oil refinery site

Modular housing company ilke Homes has partnered with developer Abode Waterstone to deliver six factory-built affordable homes on a site near Neath, South Wales.

The site was once home to the UK’s first oil refinery.

ilke Homes will deliver the homes and Abode Waterstone will manage the on-site development.

The scheme – Abode Coed Darcy – forms part of phase one of a wider development that seeks to transform the former BP Llandarcy Oil Refinery site into a 4,000-home development. Plans also include the creation of primary and secondary schools, a district centre, community facilities and green open spaces.

Housing Association Coastal Housing Group will manage the homes, which will be manufactured at ilke Homes's factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.


Irish regulator launches information map

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has launched an interactive map that details live public consultations relating to statutory plans.

It will also include information about any submissions or recommendations made by the OPR that relate to these plans.

Users can navigate and access information about development plans in each local authority by clicking on the relevant geographical location on the map.

There is also a filter function that can be used to highlight particular consultations and submissions.

The tool forms part of the OPR’s work to improve access to information on the plan-making process and to encourage communities and members of the public to engage in public consultation processes.


Johnson launches review to boost UK connections

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has launched an independent review into transport connections across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. It will be led by Network Rail chair Sir Peter Hendy CBE.

The review will explore ways to build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic through transport infrastructure and level up across the UK, said the government.

It will consider new links between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, upgrades to Welsh railways and better road and rail access to Scotland.

The government said work on the review would be undertaken with the devolved administrations and local authorities. It would look at the potential feasibility and economic case of options for:

  • Reviewing air links within the UK;
  • Exploring the cost, practicality and demand for a new fixed link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
  • Boosting road and rail links to Scotland;
  • Cutting journey times to North Wales by reviewing the Welsh railway network; and
  • Improving major road links across the country, like the A1.


Deadline extended for ‘call for evidence’

The cross-party Suburban Taskforce has extended its deadline for a call for evidence until 5pm on Friday 16 October. 

The call was issued in August.

The evidence is expected to help to chart a course towards a “suburban renaissance” across the country. 

Co-chaired by Dr Rupa Huq MP and David Simmons MP, the task force aims to support the long-term sustainability of suburban areas. It was announced in March 2020.

The task force will seek to identify national trends, particularly in London, for its first phase of work.

More information can be found here.

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