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News in Brief: Winners announced for RTPI Northern Ireland Planning Awards; Student housing hit by CIL costs

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 1 December, 2015

RTPI Parliamentary reception

Housing minister Brandon Lewis attended the RTPI Parliamentary reception, as well as Clive Betts, chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and RTPI president Janet Askew. Speaking at the event, Lewis praised the role planners and planning were playing in helping to create economic growth and places where communities want to live and work. Betts urged the government to “genuinely value planning” and to make changes to the Housing and Planning Bill to reflect this.

Winners announced for RTPI Northern Ireland Planning Awards

The Gobbins, a coastal path on a cliff edge in County Antrim, is one of five winners at the 2015 RTPI Northern Ireland Planning Awards. The £7.5 million project restored The Gobbins Cliff Path in Islandmagee to its former glory. Roisin Willmott, RTPI Wales and Northern Ireland director, said: “This finalists in this year’s RTPI Northern Ireland Planning Awards were all of a very high calibre. I know that the judges had a very difficult time deciding the category winners. The winners represent excellence in planning and the social, environmental and economic benefits planning delivers each and every day in Northern Ireland. Congratulations to all of the winners.”

Full list of winners:

Nature and Conservation: The Gobbins, County Antrim, submitted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Sustainable Community and Regeneration: Healthy Living Centre, Belcoo, County Fermanagh, submitted by Keys and Monaghan Architects on behalf of Lakeland Community Care

Planning for Rural Areas: New Branch Library, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, submitted by Keys and Monaghan Architects on behalf of Libraries NI

Urban Development and Built Environment: Living Places – An Urban Stewardship and Design Guide for Northern Ireland, submitted by Planning Policy Division, Department for Environment Northern Ireland

Judges’ Choice Living Places: An Urban Stewardship and Design Guide for Northern Ireland, submitted by Planning Policy Division, Department for Environment Northern Ireland

Student housing hit by CIL costs

Development of new student accommodation projects in the UK, particularly in London, is being constrained by a sharp rise in tender prices and costly Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments, according to a report by Bilfinger GVA. The report suggests a “more stringent” planning regime is blocking development in some areas, with the average cost of a CIL payment for student housing set at £175 per square metre in London and £75 per sq m in other regions. This payment exceeds those for retail or office developments in a third of areas where local authorities have implemented a CIL regime for student housing. To read the story in full, please visit The Planner’s sister site, FM World. 

Build to rent development approved in Birmingham

Planning permission has been secured for City and Provincial Properties Plc for a residential-led mixed-use development on a former industrial site on the edge of Birmingham city centre. Known as SoHo Loop, the development will deliver up to 504 residential apartments, small-scale retail uses, a gym, a data centre and landscaping and public realm improvements. The application is the first large-scale bespoke planning application for a ‘build-to-rent’ scheme in Birmingham, with the apartments to be delivered, managed and retained for long-term rental. Turley, who led pre-application discussions with Birmingham City Council, stakeholders and the local community, secured planning permission.

HAB Housing commits to energy positive homes

In line with COP 21 (Conference of Parties), the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, property developer HAB Housing has announced its commitment to Energy Positive homes. HAB Housing aims to deliver its first Energy Positive housing scheme by 2018, with the homes producing more energy than they use. Kevin McCloud, HAB Housing chairman, said that while the need for new affordable homes is “undeniable”, the government is rolling back green building policies and increasing subsidies to fossil fuels. “I believe passionately that house builders and progressive businesses can step in where government fails. It’s in our power to harness innovation, embrace the newest low-energy technologies, reduce demand (and cost) for people and help build communities that are sustainable and low-impact.”

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