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Planning news - 21 October 2021

Published: Friday, 22nd October 2021

Khan calls in Kerslake to review London’s housing delivery, Multi-billion pound investment gap revealed to restore nature, Agreement signed between RTPI and BAME Planners Network. And more stories...

Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has appointed Lord Kerslake to lead a review into further improving housing development across the capital and deliver more affordable homes.

In his first term, Khan achieved “record-breaking delivery of genuinely affordable homes”, with more than 17,000 low-cost homes to rent and buy started through his affordable homes programme in 2019/20, and work beginning on more new council homes than in any year since 1983.

The review will examine housing delivery across the Greater London Authority Group and make recommendations for it to work together more effectively and benefit from collective experience and expertise. The review will also provide a high-level view of housing delivery across the group to date, identifying the number of homes built and the different routes to delivery.

Kerslake will also report on the best way to approach piloting a “City Hall developer” to further expand the supply of low-cost homes for Londoners.

Kerslake is a crossbench peer and former head of the civil service who led the then Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from November 2010, stepping down in February 2015.

Prior to his DCLG role, Lord Kerslake was the first chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, where he was responsible for promoting new and affordable housing supply. His career also encompasses eight years as chief executive of the London Borough of Hounslow and 11 years as chief executive of Sheffield Council.

14 October 2021
Huw Morris, The Planner


The UK needs to spend at least an extra £44 billion and as much as £97 billion in the next decade to protect and restore biodiversity and nature.

An analysis published by the Green Finance Institute reveals a multi-billion pound investment gap in public sector spending on nature amid a range of best and worst case scenarios based on available evidence.

The largest finance gap regionally lies within England, estimated at between £21 billion to £53bn over 10 years, followed by Scotland, with a gap of between £15bn to £27bn. In Wales, the gap is between £5bn to £7bn while in Northern Ireland the figure is £3bn to £5bn.

The UK’s Overseas Territories will need to plug a gap of at least £200 million and potentially as much as £1.4bn.

The largest gaps on nature outcomes are within climate mitigation through bio-carbon - £20bn over 10 years - and the protection and restoration of biodiversity at £19bn over a decade. The gap in financing improved access and engagement with the environment is estimated at £7bn, while £354m will need to be found for reducing flood risk through natural flood management.

Environmental economics consultancy eftec carried out the research to identify the extent to which private investment is needed to meet the UK’s net-zero and nature-positive ambitions while informing investors where they should focus.

“Public investment – even if funding commitments increase – will not be enough to fund the UK’s nature recovery ambitions,” said Green Finance Institute chief executive Rhian-Mari Thomas. “Private investment is therefore urgently required in addition to public sector funding if we hope to transition to a net-zero and nature-positive economy.”

Download The Finance Gap for UK Nature (PDF)

18 October 2021
Huw Morris, The Planner


The RTPI and the BAME Planners Network have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that sets out how the institute will collaborate with the network over the next three years to ensure the profession is as diverse as the communities it represents.

The MoU is part of the RTPI’s ongoing work to diversify the profession, as well as its 10-year CHANGE action plan, launched in February 2020.

The two organisations are committed to delivering joint activities, resources, CPD and events. They will share knowledge and information about diversity and inclusion.

At least one event a year will be targeted at members of the network who are not already RTPI members to promote the benefits of memberships or at network members who are looking to convert their RTPI membership to a new tier.

Helen Fadipe MRTPI, founding member of BAME Planners Network, said: “In the last 14 months, BAME Planners Network has made a tremendous impact in supporting organisations with their EDI strategies and improving outcomes for BAME planners.

“The signing of this MoU is a good step towards formalising our relationship with the RTPI to ensure the planning profession reflects the communities it serves. Through this MoU, we will continue to support the RTPI in attracting and retaining planners with BAME background in the profession and working collaboratively to deliver on the network’s action plan and the RTPI’s CHANGE. This will give planners from BAME backgrounds access to better action-oriented support for career development and progression across all sectors.”

Dr Wei Yang FRTPI, president of the RTPI, added: “The MoU is another important milestone for the RTPI in delivering CHANGE, its EDI action plan. It demonstrates our commitment to creating a more diverse and equitable planning profession which is truly representative of our communities.

“I applaud the network’s excellent work so far. I hope that by joining forces through the MoU both parties can enhance their capacities to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity, and help to create a culture that delivers the best outcomes for the diverse society in which and for whom the planning profession works. I wish our cooperation a great success!”

20 October 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner


Kingston University London’s Town House has won this year’s Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) Stirling Prize.

The building, designed by Grafton Architects, was variously praised by judges as “a warehouse of ideas”, “a highly original work of architecture and “a theatre of life”.

The £50 million building, which includes a dance studio and library, was designed to act as the university’s front door and a gateway to Kingston-upon-Thames. More than half of the 9,400 square metre building is open-plan, with its six-storeys comprising a series of interlocking spaces inside a facade of colonnades.

The RIBA jury described the Town House, which has achieved BREEAM Excellent certification, as a "rich, beautiful canvas against which to set young creative minds free”.

Watch a Town House fly through on the Kingston University website.

15 October 2021
Huw Morris, The Planner


Cambridge Children’s Hospital has submitted a reserved matters planning application for the early designs for a state-of-the-art scheme

Built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the hospital will be the region’s first dedicated children’s hospital, caring for children and young people from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Cambridge Children’s Hospital aims to be a state-of-the-art facility designed to take care of the whole child and not just their illness by embedding genomic and psychological research alongside clinical expertise in physical and mental health. Research findings will be shared with international hospitals and institutions with the aim of benefiting as many young people as possible.

With an estimated total footprint of around 36,000 square metres, including 5,000 square metres of research space, the early designs and floor plans aim to give an early indication of how the hospital might look when it opens in 2025. The plans also include details of possible future development for the hospital beyond 2025.

The hospital also aims to be an exemplar in sustainability and will include as many outdoors spaces as possible, including gardens, courtyards and terraces to provide access to nature and support biodiversity. The main hospital building will be enclosed within a wide landscaped green perimeter.

15 October 2021
Huw Morris, The Planner


Developer partners with Places for People to deliver 472 homes

Places for People has announced a partnership with modular construction developer ilke Homes to deliver homes in the South East and South West.

The partnership comprises two developments totalling 472 “affordable” homes.

The agreement, subject to planning permission, will see Places for People will purchase two sites; a 307-home development in Burgess Hill, Sussex, and a 165-homes development in Exmouth Junction in Exeter.

The developments would deliver apartments and two, three and four-bedroom homes, which will be managed by Places for People and available for affordable rent or for sale through shared ownership. They will be built off-site.

 

Government urged to double onshore wind capacity

RenewableUK has published an Onshore Wind Industry Prospectus that offers a partnership with the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland government.

Such a partnership, said the trade body for renewable energy organisations, would “maximise the economic benefits of clean power for bill payers while ensuring that the UK reaches net-zero emissions at the lowest cost”.

As onshore wind is one of the “cheapest” forms of electricity generation available to the UK, with the cost of electricity from new onshore wind projects lower than the wholesale electricity price, RenewableUK has a “key role” to play in helping the prime minister to achieve his pledge to decarbonise the electricity system completely by 2035.

According to the prospectus, doubling the UK’s onshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 would reduce consumer bills by £16.3 billion. This equates to an annual saving of £25 for every household.

It would also generate £45 billion of economic activity and create 27,000 full-time jobs in the UK’s onshore wind industry.

Dan McGrail, RenewableUK’s CEO, said: “We’re calling for the government to set a target to double the UK’s current onshore wind capacity by 2030, so we can stay on course for net zero and to reach the prime minister’s target of 100 per cent green electricity by 2035.

“Doing so will require investment in our grid, annual auctions for contracts to generate clean power and reforming the planning system so that the voices of the vast majority of people who support onshore wind are listened to; at the moment less than half the capacity we need to install each year is being approved.”

 

Worcestershire business park approved

Wychavon District Council has approved plans for the first phase of a 10-acre business park next to Worcestershire Parkway Station.

Plans were submitted by the UK property developer Godwin Developments. The business park will be located on Woodbury Lane in Norton, Worcestershire.

The amended proposals will see 2.5 acres of currently vacant land developed into two three-storey office blocks.

It will deliver around 3,500 square metres of grade A office space, 112 private car parking spaces, 80 cycle storage spaces and 15 motorcycle parking spots.

19 October 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner