Yearbook Iceni Projects | October 2020 - 2021
Iceni Launches Birmingham Office Gemma Jenkinson and Simran Kang join The Tribe
Iceni is crowned
Iceni is now certified
a Carbon Neutral
of the Year 2021.
Social Memory and Oral Histories of The
Are We On the Road to
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Foreword Ian Anderson, Chief Executive
Welcome to the 2021 edit of the Iceni Yearbook, our 7th edition. Despite the obvious, we’ve actually a good deal to review, which highlights how all of us have knuckled down and pushed on with life, despite the limitations on freedom and movement that have blighted matters to varying degrees over the course of the past 12 months. It would be a surprise if there isn’t a similar point of reflection this time next year: disruption, but activity, nonetheless. Some new to Iceni have asked the perfectly obvious question: why do we issue our Yearbook in the Autumn, and not January? Harking back to school days, September has always struck us as the brightest, most optimistic time of the year. People are typically refreshed from summer holidays, they’ve polished their shoes, had a haircut, set their targets and objectives, and are ready for the big push through to Christmas. So welcome, to the Iceni class of 2021. No doubt one of our highlights of the past 12 months has been finally opening an office in Birmingham. I
say finally, as it has been on our radar since the time of our Manchester and Glasgow openings in 2016. We have had to be patient to find the right person to lead our foray into the Midlands, but in Gemma Jenkinson we have achieved that. Similarly, we are pleased to have introduced Heritage & Townscape into Scotland. I always feel uncomfortable with Iceni being referred to as a ‘planning consultancy’, as our colleagues have such a broad skillset that extends beyond planning. The irony of Covid is that it has made it easier for us to collaborate across teams up and down the country, and physical barriers have obviously proven futile in an age of home and hybrid working. Having led virtually, it has in turn given us a sense of the opportunity for services beyond planning outside of London, and in turn, to provide a physical presence in Edinburgh and Glasgow – and equally now in Birmingham. Focused, dedicated teams, supported by the wider resource and leadership in London, is a model we are keen to develop. Our ambition is for all of our offices to be represented by the same depth
of teams and services, regardless of geographical location, both for the good of our clients, and the freedom of our colleagues. When I look back on the past 12 months, I have two personal highlights, which may not seem the most obvious things to reflect on. The first is our commitment to fitness, which I am certain has helped to keep a sense of perspective during the darkest days of lockdown. Our ‘Round the Globe’ challenge has provided just the right level of competition, and seeing the posts of people on Strava has become as important a social update for many as LinkedIn or Twitter. The second is our commitment to communication. We have maintained a weekly video message and weekly company-wide Zoom call, which has provided an opportunity to discuss work related issues as well as lighter matters, from weddings, babies, and lockdown haircuts. It has become part of our culture, and the reality is that we have never communicated beyond the boundaries of teams and physical offices more successfully.
The above said, I will close with one final reflection. I am writing this the morning after our Summer Day Out. Apart from a lack of sleep, it is impossible to overestimate how much good came from bringing everyone together for the first time in over 18 months. As much as we have managed – and adapted – to the pandemic, it was a reminder of how much we have missed seeing one another, and how much we rely on the warmth, belonging and camaraderie of being part of the Iceni Tribe. I hope you enjoy perusing the articles, and I look forward to capturing stories and memories for next year’s update. Regards,
Ian Anderson Chief Executive
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
David Kavanagh, Managing Director
“We made it!” I celebrated as we reached the last day of our financial year. And, neatly, the first day as 2021 RTPI Planning Consultancy of the Year. We had weathered the storm and once again set our course. I wrote then to all staff to set out a brief summary of our plans for the year ahead but, in short, we were cautiously optimistic. The plan for the next 12 months was to reclaim our position as a >£10M per year consultant. We foresaw a year of two halves – benefiting from the wider real estate market looking to make gains from the sharp return of the UK economy and confidence returning more generally. The first half of the year was to be positive for us, I predicted, but somewhat dampened by a slow first quarter and the natural reduced activity of the summer. Well I was half right – natural breathing out over the summer, yes, but preceded by a crack-a-jack start to the year. We started very much as we ended 2020/21 – at full pace. As the business enters the autumn, we
We will retain and improve our staff. We will continue to invest in and plan for the future. We will prioritise supporting our mental wellbeing and resilience. We will continue to strive to be an employer of choice to attract the best talent”. expected to see strong trading underpinned by much activity in all markets. Our strongest performance will be seen in the early months of 2022.
a high performance culture in everything we do and promote fairness and diversity by tackling inequalities, disadvantage and discrimination.
Our priority remains returning to pre-Covid levels of profitability. It is only by maintaining our margins that we can fund the things the business needs to be fully restored. To reward our staff for their efforts, to invest in people and training, to grow new parts of the business and enter new markets. To give back to the wider community and improve our resilience to future shocks. And to have some fun along the way.
Under James Bompas’ leadership, advancing and lifting our approach to business development is very much at the fore in the coming year. Iceni has always had a natural flair for meeting new people, forming new relationships and working together to help them be successful. This year we will sharpen our focus on winning new work with new clients, whilst ensuring we continue to work with existing clients. In doing this we will amplify our use of digital and mobilise every part of the business in the campaign. We will be better organised and better funded than at any time before. The vanguard of our campaign will be Futures and Place. They are the conversations every participant in the built environment should be having. And it will be a whole team effort.
To support our objectives for the year ahead we have a suite of strategies. Chief amongst these are our People Strategy and our Business Development Strategy. The People Strategy calls out our priorities in 2021/22. We will retain and improve our staff. We will continue to invest in and plan for the future. We will prioritise supporting our mental wellbeing and resilience. We will continue to strive to be an employer of choice to attract the best talent – including our Class of 2021. We will drive
I’ve said before that the world needs more Iceni. And I still believe that we have an obligation to do more (as, who else do we trust to get it right, right?) So, as before, if I worry about anything, it is that we won’t be able to help
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
everyone. We will do our best, but our priority will be to nurture our existing, valued clients, and those future clients that can drive our profitability and our sense of achievement and self-worth. Our push with business development will help with this. In the year ahead we will be investing in a new approach to managing our relationship with our clients, how we manage projects and how we manage our finances. We will design and implement a new integrated system to improve our efficiency. It won’t just be some new software or a new instruction manual, our ambition is it will be a revitalised way of working – a better way of working - fully supported by the whole company. This investment speaks to our long term success. In 2021 we will also engage with and resolve what digital means to Iceni. There are more questions than answers at this stage but to paraphrase Ian A, we cannot afford to be the Blockbuster Video in the Netflix story. 2021 also heralds the launch of our 5th office. It is with much excitement that we welcome Iceni Birmingham. A new outlet for us all to deploy our skills and experience – all 100+ of us. COP26 will be the highlight of the year. Not just an important event in itself but a perfect opportunity for us to showcase our skills and experience. All eyes will be on Glasgow in November, and, satisfyingly, we will be attending as a Certified Carbon Neutral Company. Walking the walk. It is important to note that the drivers behind COP26, and the Green Industrial Revolution, will be a template for the remainder of the decade – they will be with us long after the event has been tidied away, influencing everything we and our clients do. So whilst I write here with our plan for the year ahead, in parallel we are developing our strategy for the longer term. Climate Change and Digital will be at the heart of that strategy. As you can see, the year ahead is an ambitious one, packed full of new developments, new stories and new adventures. But there is one more ingredient to squeeze in. As life returns to normal we look forward to bringing
the social back. To hanging out in person. To meeting our new team members for real. To seeking out the play and care. To being the Iceni we know and love. None of this would be possible without the staff of Iceni. A rare and talented bunch. Their hard work, positive attitude, commitment to a cause, support, solidarity and good cheer is the very essence of the fabric we call Tribe. It can never be said enough, so I take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you Iceni for all you do.
We know why we exist. We know what we stand for. Our work is important. We win awards. Together, we will make the year ahead the best it can be. We are Iceni. We believe in standing out. We pursue new and better. Our mission is to improve the lives of the people we meet and those that follow. Our values are around People and Places. Set in a commercial world. We are ambitious, proactive, bold, hard-working, determined, fun, sharp, tenacious, energetic, inclusive, fearless, entrepreneurial, known for acting with integrity, progressive, collaborative and commercial. We give clients the edge in their projects through the provision of up to date and clear advice that goes beyond the standard offer in the sector. We understand the commercial aspects of projects, combining this with attention to detail and a real passion for delivering success. We’re here to contribute to creating and improving great cities, by great people, for great people. Iceni is not mainstream. We are different. We are non-templated. We work hard together and we play hard together. We are proud of what we have created. Our brand and our team. We are proud of what we produce and what we will leave behind. This is why we exist. This is what we stand for.
Birmingham Launch Party Gemma Jenkinson, Director, Midlands Planning
People talk about recurring bad dreams: falling from the sky, teeth falling out, being late for a train. Then there’s the hosting a party and nobody turning up dream. I suspect my new best friend Mr Bompas had this one on a few occasions before our Birmingham launch party. After all, Iceni were new in town even if I wasn’t. Well, he needn’t have worried. Courtesy of Jojo Lounge, Iceni welcomed over 100 people through the doors, from long-time clients of Iceni and Richmond Planning to heavyweights in the Birmingham property market who we were meeting for the first time. We even had a few celebrities making a guest appearance. Who says consultancy isn’t the new rock ‘n roll?
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Planning Consultancy of the Year Ashleigh Cook, Associate, Planning
One particular highlight of 2021 for us was being crowned Planning Consultancy of the Year at the RTPI Planning for Excellence Awards. I’m sure many at Iceni didn’t even know we had entered the award when it was announced we had won back in April – but it is safe to say that every single person at Iceni contributed in some way to us receiving this fantastic recognition. The RTPI use this award to recognise excellence, and we were able to demonstrate this through our use of imaginative approaches to our work, such as Iceni Futures, iSite and Vu.City. Iceni Place, the Diversity Panel and the Environment and Sustainability Committee also played a crucial role in showing the judges how Iceni values its employees and how our understanding of people can help us make better places. A shout out also needs to go to team HR – for all their wonderful work inducting new staff into the business during such a challenging year. Our approach to using one-on-one intro sessions with different members of the Tribe was acknowledged by the judges – and
was considered another part of our business which displayed how valuable our staff are to the company as a whole. Another key part of the assessment criteria was showing the RTPI how we ensure we always provide an excellent service to clients – for this one, we let our clients do the talking for us, with testimonials like the one below from Dolphin Living really helping our cause.
“Iceni have always proved an invaluable resource for us. Not only are they incredibly knowledgeable on their subject matter, offering the upmost professionalism and expertise, while also providing a personal level of service”. The judges were truly impressed by Iceni – and we really should be very proud of ourselves for all the work we have put into making Iceni the consultancy it is today. As an acknowledgment for winning the award, the RTPI have also planted a tree in the National Forest in honour of Iceni Projects – which I think is definitely something to be happy about.
W O G S A L G 2 N O D N
Ride to COP26 James Bompas, Director, Strategic Planning
No more excuses – we must change course to tackle the climate emergency.
To end this, I’m going to leave you with a quote from the judges from the award ceremony – it speaks for itself really.
“The judges said this entry was a breath of fresh air to read. Iceni stood out as different, creative, colourful, and innovative. They’ve not been afraid to break away from the mould and be themselves, having developed their own successful and imaginative approach to clients and staff offering above and beyond what is expected from a large consultancy. The judges were especially impressed by Iceni’s tribal ethos, in the sense that they have created a culture which is staff focused and highlights the importance of their wellbeing above all else. Given the current pandemic this is important now more than ever and is something the judges felt other organisations should embrace more”
This November, the pivotal COP26 climate talks will take place in Glasgow. These will set a pathway for the global community for years to come. All eyes will be on the UK for a positive lead. Across the UK, young people are calling for urgent climate action. From Glasgow to Plymouth, Liverpool to Brighton, they’re joining forces to lead the way towards a zero-carbon future. Schools can be trailblazers for sustainability and will play a critical role in helping the UK cut carbon emission levels. At the very centre of our communities, they can respond to young people’s calls for action and encourage local families and businesses to join them in taking on the climate crisis. Iceni Projects, with 14 cyclists, will cycle over 700 kilometres to COP26 in Glasgow to raise funds in support of Let’s Go Zero. Launched by Ashden, Let’s Go Zero (LGZ) is the national campaign uniting teachers, pupils, parents and their schools as they all work together to be carbon zero by 2030. The campaign is run by a coalition of eight major NGOs supporting schools on sustainability, including Global Action Plan, WWF, Sustrans, Soil Association, Fairtrade Foundation, EcoSchools and Carbon Trust. To date, over 415 schools have joined the campaign and are committed to action. More information to follow, including how you can help support us and Let’s Go Zero.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Digital is a Big Word David Kavanagh, Managing Director
With the potential to transform what we do and the way that we do it. I said at the start of the year that in 2021 we would engage with and resolve what digital means to Iceni. We knew that there were more questions than answers but, to paraphrase Ian A, we could ill afford to be the Blockbuster Video in the Netflix story.
With strong foundations, we can focus on our core. An improved customer-experience through better digital front-end processes, automation of back-end processes, automated analytics and intelligence and end-to-end digitisation. This will mean our clients will see more of us and benefit from more of our insight.
Our first discovery was the enlightenment that digital is simply a tool. It is not a destination. It is a way of thinking and behaving that will reinforce what we do. Digital – and data – will accelerate our achievement of our purpose. Why we do things will not change. Iceni is still and will forever be a people business.
Which will open us up to new frontiers. We can see many emerging themes and know there will be more to follow: connected cars and autonomous driving, smart grids, digital utilities, smart homes, digital logistics, open source planning application data, modular housing designed by AI, live environmental telemetry, digital EIAs. It is exciting to think about all the ways we will be able to help in the future.
We resolved that our first job was to shore up our digital foundations. We are investing in a new approach to managing our relationship with our clients, how we manage projects and how we manage our finances. We are designing and implementing a new integrated system to improve our efficiency. Not just some new software or a new instruction manual, our ambition is it will be a revitalised way of working – a better way of working - fully supported by the whole company. More secure, increased flexibility, greater reliability. This investment speaks to our long-term success.
We will not become known as a digital consultancy overnight. But it is not a destination – its is way of thinking. My challenge to you is this – whether you are an existing or future member of the Tribe, an existing or future client, a stakeholder or simply a friend – how can a digital Iceni contribute to creating and improving great cities, by great people, for great people? And can you help us get there? Answers on an e-postcard.
Iceni is Now Certified Carbon Neutral Grace Wileman, Futures Consultant
This year Iceni officially became a certified Carbon Neutral company, demonstrating the hard work that we’ve been putting in to minimise our environmental footprint.
offices, and encouraging positive changes where possible to help minimise the use of resources. This has even included the switch to a renewable electricity tariff for our London Office.
Carbon neutrality is achieved by calculating Iceni’s carbon footprint and reducing it to zero through a combination of in-house efficiency, renewable energy, and external emissions reductions projects.
To offset our carbon emissions to zero, we are funding wind energy projects in India and China – two countries with historically high carbon power generation infrastructure.
The certification means that we are following the Natural Capital Partners’ Carbon Neutral Protocol to make a clear, credible, transparent assessment of our carbon neutrality.
These projects are vital to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the growing global demand for energy. Energy generation is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, and renewable energy investment is a fast and effective solution to reduce these emissions. Our contribution provides essential funds to support the development of global renewable projects such as these wind farms.
This involved calculating our greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2020, and covers emissions relating to our office energy consumption, business travel, water consumption and waste production. We have come a long way in minimising our company’s carbon footprint: we have been carefully monitoring electricity and water consumption, waste production and equipment procurement across our
Going forward, led by our very own Environment and Sustainability Committee, and with our Carbon Neutral certification in hand, we are set to continue to make strides in further reducing our carbon footprint.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Go Ape Jennine Romeo, Business Development & Tender Coordinator
How best get to renew relationships with existing colleagues and meet new members of the Tribe? In the past, we attempted dodgeball, which ended up with our Chief Operating Officer requiring surgery on a fractured finger. So, this time, we thought we should try something a bit more child-friendly. What could go wrong with Go Ape and being subjected to their highest course in the South East? It’s been a long-time since we had a 100+ people get together (probably Xmas Party in December 2019), so getting the Tribe assembled was long overdue. And after working up an appetite, it was definitely time for a BBQ.
Virtual Cheltenham Liz Scott, Executive Assistant
Here at Iceni we work very hard, but we also play hard, too. Unfortunately, at the beginning of 2021, like everyone else, we were in lockdown again. No Christmas party, no ski trip, no rugby, no evenings in our beloved One Tun and no opportunities to let our hair down together. So, in March, we decided to host a virtual Cheltenham Gold Cup. We invited Chalky Tompkins, world-renowned tipster to the Royal Family and many other global superstars*, to join us for the afternoon to give us the inside track on all the day’s horses and races, and we invented a new virtual currency – the Iceni Denarius (ID) – and gave everyone a virtual purse of ID25 to spend during the afternoon with the winnings to be converted into gift vouchers using a very complicated currency conversion process that would have defied the boffins of Brexit. The afternoon was hosted via Zoom and attended by about 40 members of the tribe who had dressed up in all their finery (or their children’s riding helmets) and enjoyed betting on the races, taking part in games and quizzes, and drinking race-themed cocktails. Whilst it certainly wasn’t any compensation for the real thing, we all had a great afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! *This is not true.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
2020 Healthy City Design Conference Gill Eaton, Associate, Planning
In 2019, I attended the Healthy City Design congress at the Royal College of Physicians which was a fantastic event at a fantastic venue. During the lunch break I really enjoyed catching 15 minutes of sunshine in Regent’s Park opposite. It was the perfect alignment of points being discussed at the conference, being played out in practice. Seeing all the joggers, cyclists, people taking a stroll through the park and parents with kids, brought into sharp focus the issues being discussed such as childhood obesity, improved health outcomes for the elderly, and seeing examples from the Healthy New Towns programme. My resounding thought from last year’s conference was around how much incredible academic research is taking place in this field, but how much more needs to filter through to those of us working at the coalface of built environment decision making. The 2020 Healthy City Design conference kicked off on the theme of “Designing resilient communities: Recovery, renewal and renaissance”. Obviously, this
year’s conference will be entirely virtual; so no Regent’s Park strolls for me. The contrast is brought into sharp focus as most people will instead be sat in their own homes which for some are pleasant, spacious and relaxing spaces. Unfortunately, many others don’t have such environments to call home, which emphasises the importance of collectively ensuring that the places we design and create lead to improved health rather than inadvertently contributing to poorer health. At Iceni we are seeing a growing movement in companies focused on bridging this gap between academia and day-to-day decision making and we are developing synergies with other forward thinking companies such as LifeProven Wellbeing Property Consultancy who provide an academic based framework aligned directly to the RIBA Plan of Work Stages, so that property professionals know what, how and when to consider health and wellbeing factors in their day-to-day decision making when delivering a building. Our Iceni Futures team sees this approach as being fundamental to delivering futureproof development
that is adaptable to changing circumstances, lifestyles and climate. Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has led to renewed attention on our health and wellbeing, so too will climate change, as rising temperatures will increase the urban heat island effect, building overheating and ultimately, our stress levels and wellbeing. I am delighted to be contributing to the Health and Wellbeing in Planning Network workshop which is taking place during one of the sessions focusing on ‘Innovations in turning knowledge into action in planning for healthy equitable urban environments’ along with other contributors from Public Health England, the Tennessee Department of Health and consultancy firm, PlaceChangers. I’m looking forward to being inspired and seeing the progress made over the last 12 months as there is no doubt that health and the impact of health on society has been brought into focus in a way that few of us would have predicted. These are not issues to be considered in silos; we have absolute clarity that society is a complex ecosystem of economic, social, health, nature and environmental factors (plus many more).
Equilibrium is key. It will be great to turn the dial up more so that health and wellbeing is a standard factor to consider in built environment decision making. Whilst the current emphasis of decision making is often on building and land considerations, it’s key to remember that people are at the heart of it all.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
International Women’s Day Gill Eaton, Associate, Planning
The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 indicates that it will still take more than a lifetime to make equality a reality worldwide. Whilst we still have a long way to go, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to facilitate further change, and celebrate women. Iceni was delighted to be recognised in the Planning journal (January 2021) for its proportion of female town planners, which sits at 50 per cent. As well as female Directors in our planning teams, other areas of the business which wouldn’t have been captured by this survey (which focused on members of the RTPI) are also performing extremely strongly in terms of women leadership, with female Directors leading our Archaeology, Engagement, Finance and HR teams. Over the last 12 months, Iceni has also set up a Diversity Panel, which amongst other forms of diversity, seeks to ensure that gender equality is fully considered in all practices and procedures. Iceni understands that we have a long way to go in terms of challenging bias and inequality, particularly
throughout the wider property sector, and we aim to be at the forefront of that change. As a first action, the Panel have facilitated mandatory unvonscious bias training as a means of educating all staff on matters relevant to diversity and inclusivity. The Employee Handbook has also been updated and now includes a Life Changing Events Policy to address matters relating to an employee’s health such as fertility treatment, menopause, bereavement, divorce or health issues such as cancer. Overall, Iceni continues to strive to promote female leadership and support women across all areas of the business. Since IWD2020 we have all had to adapt to changing work practices brought on by the pandemic. The culture at Iceni, which already was very supportive of flexible hours and homeworking, has been able to adapt well to these changing circumstances. Indeed, for some, the constant juggle of work, kids, commuting and everything else has probably made life slightly easier from a personal perspective:
This supportive team environment has made a tremendous difference to me as a working mum so we can focus on navigating schemes through the planning process”.
Iceni has great systems in place, which pivoted immediately to meet the constraints imposed by the pandemic. For me, as a parent of two older children, working full time in the Iceni Planning team, it has worked really well being able to reduce time spent commuting whilst still working closely with colleagues on all project work through a combination of Teams, Zoom and email. The team has remained as sociable as possible given the situation with yoga, nutrition and cooking sessions, fitness challenges and book clubs. Professionally trained counsellors have provided mental health workshops to help boost our resilience skills and to help us recognise our stress triggers. This supportive team environment has made a tremendous difference to me as a working mum so I can focus on navigating schemes through the planning process. Whilst we have missed the opportunity to meet up with clients and industry contacts to discuss these important issues in person, we know that many women continue to champion female colleagues and that many men in
leadership roles support the need for gender balance and this culture has helped considerably through this period of extended homeworking. As we begin to return to the workplace Iceni is adapting its office spaces to ensure that they remain relevant, adaptive, and are great places to work and collaborate, and our aim is to make these the most inclusive workspaces possible.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Car Clubs and Mobility Hubs Richard Jay, Principle Transport Planner
Car clubs have been around for a little while now, but their popularity has surged in recent years. Back in June, transport charity CoMoUK released their 2020 Car Club Survey report which showed that since October 2018 the total membership of car clubs has grown by 130% in London, and by over 100% across Great Britain. At the time of the report being written there were 6,060 car club vehicles in Great Britain; 3,886 (64%) of which are in London, 575 in Scotland and 1,598 in the rest of England and Wales. Work by CoMoUK has also shown how interest in mobility hubs has also increased rapidly recently. Mobility hubs are a slightly newer and less known concept to the car club. CoMoUK describe mobility hubs as “highly visible, safe and accessible spaces where public, shared and active travel modes are co-located alongside improvements to the public realm and, where relevant, enhanced community facilities”. There are only a few CoMoUK-accredited mobility hubs within the UK currently, including one in the London Borough of Redbridge which has a community café, planting, car club space and electric vehicle charging, however, we expect to see many more in the not-too-distant future. So that begs the question – how important are car clubs and mobility hubs to transport planning? The car club survey results clearly show they have a role to play, and there is an ever-increasing reliance on them when it comes to new development; a high number of planning applications now include a condition to provide car club membership to residents at least, and some may also look to provide a space for a car club vehicle within the site. What benefits can providing these facilities bring to a development, or the local area?
Reducing the number of standard car parking spaces required, and the resultant land-take within a site – according to the CoMoUK survey, 23.5 private cars are taken off the road by each car club in London, and 18.5 private cars across Great Britain. Reducing the traffic impact of a development – less parking spaces, less vehicular trips, less impact at local junctions, less mitigation costs! Increased access to modes of transport other than the private car – mobility hubs can allow for numerous ways to travel all from one place. Increased sustainability - research undertaken for CoMoUK reveals that British car club vehicles emit over 33% fewer CO2 emissions per kilometre than the average British car. Also, 10% of the car club fleet are electric vehicles, and this number is growing constantly. Affordability - 24% of London respondents listed not being able to afford a private car as their reason for joining a car club scheme. If they know one is available on their doorstep then that is likely to be a big selling point. Iceni Transport have helped several clients achieve planning permission and improve their development through the use of car clubs, and we are now looking forward to how mobility hubs may also have a role to play.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Community Engagement in a COVID World Fin Harbour, Graduate Trainee, Engagement
As a recent graduate, a COVID world is the only professional world I know. Though relatable, I’m sure, for many of Iceni’s new starters, isolating, distancing, sanitising, masking, and indeed any other pesky measure, feels just that little bit more inescapable when the name of the game is talking to people. It is even more remarkable then, that it has been one of the Engagement team’s busiest periods.
iSite during this period, providing a virtual tour of the space with accompanying information about the site. Whilst the potential of these new technologies is undeniable, the pandemic also forced us to integrate more established technologies into the process - often to great effect. The use of 360 video, for example, offered a simple solution to the prohibition of site visits, providing optimum viewing from the confines of the home.
Although the shift online has provided an opportunity for greater community outreach, it has also faced criticism for delocalising and depersonalising the engagement process, and ostracising the technophobes. At Iceni, we have found the key to success is in finding a balance between the two, harnessing technology to improve the process as it already is.
WhatsApp groups have also been surprisingly effective, especially on estate regeneration projects. They are encrypted, can help to overcome language barriers, and facilitate the sharing of large files, including videos and PDFs. It is easy, efficient, and familiar.
In early 2020, with lockdown in full swing, digital tools became an imperative. The situation prompted new technologies to revive engagement in the planning process, outlined in the Future White Paper. Iceni hosted several ‘virtual public exhibitions’ through
In truth, when face-to-face consultations became a possibility again, it was clear just how much people had missed them. Resident Microsoft Teams meetings could only be so productive when discussing sensitive issues, and although COVID-security presented
another challenge, we recognised the prevailing desire amongst people to have their say in person. Exhibitions have been hosted exclusively outdoors, with masks, sanitiser and 2-metre markers laid out, tables spread the appropriate distance, and booklets provided instead of exhibition boards to ensure mobility allowing for social distancing. My first role at Iceni was as a COVID marshal… Such a busy period for the team has coincided with the lifting of restrictions in the UK. It seems everyone has recognised the need to hold face-to-face meetings again and jumped at the opportunity once given the green light. Travel restrictions have also meant communities are less dispersed, and perhaps more engaged in local issues. Whilst the pandemic has certainly opened our eyes to technologies, both new and existing, that will support the engagement process going forward, the unavoidable truth remains that face-to-face interactions are not here to stay but also vital.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Pandemic Over, Economic Recovery in Full Swing? Matt Kinghan, Director, Economics
With over 80% of adults having had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 2021, the signs are that we are on the front foot with the pandemic and as a result seeing a strong response in economic growth terms. Focussing on planning and development, we take a look at the local and national measures being taken to fast track an economic bounce back and the implications for the years ahead. The UK unemployment rate was at 4.7% to end June 2021, about 1.0% higher than pre pandemic, meanwhile nearly 1.9 million workers were still furloughed. As businesses continue to open up furloughing will decline until it closes in September. Accommodation and food remains the highest furloughed sector followed by retail. Conversely, we are now seeing a lack of labour in many sectors including transport (HGV drivers), agriculture and in some areas, food and accommodation. The response to the pandemic has included targeted investment in high streets, planning and regeneration initiatives and a focus on levelling up. At the national and local level, targeted plans and actions have been put in place. We have taken a look at a few of the recovery plans put in place and the key themes emerging. In the City of London, hit hard by the office worker exodus, the Coid-19 Recovery Plan focuses on attracting business back through its cultural offer of events, the quality of environment and expanding its business eco-system. It also expects to see office to homes conversions, at least 1,500 by 2030. Over in Westminster there has been the controversial Marble Arch visitor attraction (Marble Arch Hill) and plans new greener smarter framework for Oxford Street District.
A number of authorities intend to use planning, development and regeneration initiatives to get their economies back on track. In Warwickshire the County Council’s Recovery Plan includes working in partnership with Homes England, to remove the blocks that have prevented some sites in Warwickshire from being developed, progressing housing and area regeneration schemes across the county. Lichfield in Staffordshire also intend to begin to implement their City Centre Masterplan; whilst in Tonbridge & Malling under the ‘Investment’ theme there is a recognised need to work towards the adoption of the Local Plan and the allocation of strategic sites and new employment allocations. Tourism orientated localities have put a range of plans in place to bounce back from a closed market to a boom in staycations. In Exmoor the COVID 19 - Recovery Plan considers the balance between managing potential bursts of “over tourism” alongside responding to new target audiences arising from changes in visitor behaviours and demographics. At the national level there are a range of targeted funds and initiatives to drive economic recovery including the Levelling up Fund, allowing bids up to £20m for transport, regeneration or culture by 18th June this year for the first round. Iceni has supported a number of Levell up Fund bids with announcements awaited. The Freeports programme also looks to increase global trade providing a boost for places such a Thurrock that will host the Thames Freeport, which has seen the Claimant Count (including Job Seekers Allowance) more than double over the last year.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Glasgow Made the Clyde, and the Clyde Made Glasgow. Ian Gallacher, Director, Planning
Anyone who knows Glasgow realises that the river was fundamental to the growth of the City as engineers made the river more navigable and with it, commerce and industry flourished. As the heavy industry, huge docks and riverside activity slowed in the 20th century, the City slowly started to rediscover itself as a place not reliant on the Clyde. There have been notable successes with the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) on the site of the old Queen’s Dock emerging over the last 35 years; the Glasgow Science Centre and BBC Scotland Headquarters in Pacific Quay; and more recently the Barclays Campus development in Tradeston. However, there are notable gaps in the riverfront that remain vacant and undeveloped. These include various sites in Yorkhill Quay, Lancefield Quay, Pacific Quay, Govan Graving Docks and other locations on the Broomielaw / Tradeston river frontage. A number of these sites are presently hampered by ongoing concerns about flooding. Whilst we would never attempt to comment on the nuances of flood modelling,
we understand that this relates to the requirement for an updated model to be put in place for the river (the existing one dating from 2005). This has put a number of projects on hold as SEPA, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and other key stakeholders finalise the acceptance of the new model. Alongside this, Clyde Mission is a Scottish Governmentled initiative that has selected 12 projects, with £11 million of funding for sites on the River Clyde. This is a really positive step and hopefully this initiative can be extended in the future. Climate change, which is clearly a factor in the updated Clyde modelling, will be front and centre in Glasgow when COP26 comes to the City this November. This event, which will primarily be taking place at the SEC (on the riverfront), is an unprecedented opportunity for the City to be the global focus as world leaders and the media descend on the City. As we will all recall from the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Glasgow does look good in the spotlight, and we are sure the City will do well with its promotion in terms
HE WORL DT
Round the World Challenge Andrew Gale, Chief Operating Officer
of investment, tourism and the wider economy. There is a lot of work still to be done though to have a riverfront that Glasgow deserves, and there is significant private sector investment on hold while this ongoing flooding discussion continues on a number of sites. Clyde Mission are presently consulting on a “call for ideas” to take, “maximum advantage of the river and immediate surrounding land to make the Clyde an engine of sustainable and inclusive growth”. We will be engaging with this consultation on behalf of a number of clients and look forward to seeing the outcome of this continued focus on the River Clyde. We would be happy to discuss this further with anyone who is looking to engage with this process.
In the cold days of January 2021 (Lockdown 2?) we set ourselves the challenge of virtually exercising ourselves around the globe – we plotted a route and got some friends to join us – and we are now nine months through, and the effort has been amazing! We extended the route to include Australia (to keep our antipodean planners happy), so to complete the route now stands at covering 55,000 miles! Together with JTP LLP; KDH Associates; Assael Architecture; HTA Design LLP & Glenny LLP, a total of 254 people have contributed some mileage, with the total mileage covered by all of us now standing at an amazing 135,832 miles, we are nearing completion of the third lap around the globe. In terms of the efforts of each firm, Iceni Projects has covered the most distance (but we do have the most people taking part!), at 54,000 miles we are hoping to complete our first lap this month. There is a real battle between the three architect firms heading up the west coast of America and in to Asia, with Assael Architecture just edging JTP LLP and HTA Design LLP. Both KDH Associates and Glenny LLP are still in Africa, but on a pro rata basis are covering some excellent mileage. Here’s to another active three months to complete the challenge!
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Our Research into the Future of Logistics Matt Kinghan, Director, Economics
2020/1 has been another stellar year for the logistics sector with demand for e-commerce in particular continuing to drive the need for more warehousing floorspace both for last mile deliveries and large scale units. It has become a central part of our critical infrastructure with the Office of National Statistics reporting that the proportion of UK retail sales conducted online hit a record high of 36 percent in January 2021.
executives in industry including SEGRO, GLP, Tritax Symmetry and the London Chamber of Commerce. We sent out a survey to more than 20,000 participants on our mailing list. The Big Messages were: The Importance of Sustainability is growing, fast. Power is king.
Iceni has been fortunate enough to have been at the forefront of the planning sphere for logistics. We have secured planning for schemes in key locations such as Milton Keynes and Tottenham and we are working for major developers including GLP, SEGRO and Wrenbridge on a range of projects. We have been instructed by numerous local authorities to support their employment land needs evidence including Leicestershire, Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire, Eastbourne, Blackburn and more as our expanded economics team becomes a market leader. We have provided evidence on needs for industrial development proposals in London and the South East. it is also the first time we have undertaken bespoke sector research as part of our future series on the future of industrial and logistics. We discussed the big issues for the industrial and logistics outlook with 15 senior
Jobs are changing and consolidating. Logistics is a people sector - staff wellbeing is essential. The planning system is an unwanted handbrake.
SUSTAINABILITY The need to change is largely being driven by the institutional funds who are experiencing a change in investment criteria. Photovoltaics and EV charging are considered to be the most important approaches to sustainability. Some within the logistics sector are looking to generate and store power on-site to futureproof sites s access to power becomes critical to business continuity and the grid cannot keep up.
Many “last mile” delivery companies have invested heavily in electric vehicles, which is accelerating in many cities who are discouraging diesel vehicles and increasing measures to reduce congestion from commercial vehicles.
for technological solutions. Our research suggests that increased automation is not (yet) leading to a loss of jobs in the sector. Instead, traditional unskilled warehouse jobs are being converted into engineering and maintenance jobs to support increased levels of automation.
For national and European movement of goods the future is less clear. A lack of power and vehicles with sufficient range causes a challenge. This could see HGVs transitioning into compressed natural gas or hydrogen.
PEOPLE AND SKILLS Shortage of labour supply is a significant issue. Brexit, COVID-19 and low levels of unemployment has made it challenging to attract staff. There are nationwide shortages in HGV drivers of 76,000 people leading to delivery constraints. The mix of employment opportunities is evolving. Traditional manual jobs are being more automated and more office-based jobs are being introduced. It is increasingly common to co-locate call centres, administrative support and finance in logistics centres. Automation: Delivery models are becoming more complex and non-linear. This is necessitating the need
The pace of local plan-making and advancement in the logistics sector are out of kilter. Local Plans that have been adopted in the last 12 months do not respond to the issues facing the industry. In interviewing industry leaders, it is apparent that the planning system is regarded as non-supportive. Many point to examples of new homes being favoured over the delivery of new jobs and that existing industrial areas are being squeezed to change. Whilst the demand for logistics-related industries has soared there is a NIMBY mindset also developing in urban locations. Opposition groups are increasingly challenging vehicle movements and, in turn, matters relating to safety and pollution.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Pedestrianisation. A Covid Success Story? Ellen Creegan, Senior Planner
Earlier this year former Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, confirmed he will extend the Covid-19 provisions for temporary pavement licences for a further 12 months, supporting the recovery of Britain’s hospitality industry and high streets. This prompts the thought of whether pedestrianisation in our towns and cities can support local economies in their bounce back to normality? Whilst we continue to learn to live alongside the virus in the short term, creating more space to walk safely and maintain a social distance is a clear benefit of pedestrianisation. However, as we are all craving a return to the buzz of shops, bars, restaurants, theatres, and generally having greater social interaction, changing the way we prioritise space over vehicles can enhance cities as a destination, leisure-based experience in the long term. From macro-scale European style boulevards and large city parks, to micro spaces for independent markets, pocket parks and café culture, pedestrianised spaces are lauded by built environment professionals
as a solution to some of our cities’ most persistent problems. Improving air quality, encouraging the use of sustainable transport, and attracting families into the public realm are all significant benefits we should be striving to create. However, these schemes have not been without criticism, with objectors questioning how buildings will be adequately serviced, and whether streets will feel safe without the natural surveillance from traffic. There have also been concerns surrounding disruption to bus routes, with a pedestrianised route at Deansgate in Manchester recently having to partly re-open following a legal challenge from an aggrieved bus operator. Despite some opposition, Local Authorities are continuing to promote more walkable city centres. Last week in Manchester, the City Council approved a 2040 Transport Strategy endorsing the expansion of pedestrian-priority zones throughout the city. Included within such zones are Stevenson Square and Thomas Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter; streets which were temporarily pedestrianised last summer, allowing bars and restaurants to create
outdoor terraces. The initiative proved popular among visitors and residents, offering the chance for an alfresco tipple in an area usually dominated by vehicles rather than people. This may appear somewhat at odds with the recent 440 space temporary car park scheme that Manchester have been pursuing as part of the Central Park Masterplan. Having just lost a legal battle over their decision, they have already confirmed that they will appeal. Pedestrianisation schemes are also being implemented in other cities across the UK, with Iceni Transport currently involved with similar London based proposals. Whilst there has been a long term aim to develop greener communities, healthier streets, and safer environments, Covid has accelerated this somewhat, whereby there has been the potential to actively introduce strategies for encouraging walking as a viable mode of travel as well as create opportunities for more attractive places which are not overly dominated by vehicles. So, how will this prioritisation of the pedestrian realm impact future development? Certainly, in terms
of site finding and business expansion, it will be critical for leisure and retail operators to understand where pedestrianisation may occur. Iceni are well placed to assist developers to keep abreast of draft pedestrianised locations and provide advice on city centre schemes going forward.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Public Engagement and the ‘New Normal’ – Archaeology Stephen McLeod, Senior Archaeologist
Public engagement and outreach with an archaeological or historical focus has become an increasingly important part of the planning process. In comparison to some more traditional ways of approaching engagement within the sector, Iceni’s flagship archaeological project, Middlesex Annex, provides some innovative and wide-reaching approaches to engaging community and development stakeholders
and an associated cemetery which was operational between 1790 and 1853. From 1836, the Grade II listed building became a workhouse of the Strand Union parishes, before transitioning into the Central London Sick Asylum and later the Middlesex Hospital Annex. The recently completed cemetery and workhouse excavation is enabling the redevelopment of the site through the refurbishment of the original workhouse building for mixed-use private residential and public amenity space.
Iceni’s Archaeology team strives towards a pioneering approach to community engagement. The aim is to engage with communities, peers in the archaeological industry, and other contractors and companies within the planning and development industry to share the public value of development-led archaeology.
The site’s historic interest stems from it being a rare surviving example of an 18th century London workhouse and its association with the broader socioeconomic issues related to the workhouse institution and its residents. Additionally, the often abhorrent conditions of the workhouse may have provided key inspiration for the famous workhouses portrayed by Dickens in ‘Oliver Twist’ and later works, as Dickens resided for a period on Cleveland Street, a few doors down from the Strand Union workhouse.
The Middlesex Hospital Annex is the site of the former Covent Garden Workhouse, constructed in the mid-1770s for the parish of St. Paul Covent Garden
The engagement scope and delivery for the project, undertaken in collaboration with L–P: Archaeology, centred around the empowerment of the entire archaeological team. This approach was focused around a project symposium, a whole range of fascinating activities which were undertaken in parallel with the excavation, The main objective was about providing opportunity for everyone’s voice to be heard, by allowing people to suggest new ways to look at and present the archaeological material on site. It involved team members taking ownership of the archaeological interpretation, while creating valuable project designs which will be delivered to a wider audience through online blogs, vlogs, local interest group discussions, online school presentations, and other avenues. The symposium has also provided the opportunity to explore the use of an alternative medium for engagement, initiating a conversation with a local potter, Henry Poor, to begin using the pieces of pottery excavated on site as a starting point for public conversations on Victorian workhouse society. Henry is comparing the raw materials, technical elements, finished products and working conditions of pottery workers in Victorian and contemporary society, creating some physical replicas of the pots unearthed on site and producing an interpretive piece to honour the history and of this fascinating site. Through social media, publication, and experimental pottery throwing and reproduction, we hope to explore the similarities and differences between Victorian and modern ceramic production, raise awareness of the site, and engage the public through actual hands on experience. To complement the other outreach projects, we have commissioned extensive filming on site with a TV production company, who hope to broadcast a documentary relating to the archaeology and history of the workhouse. This will capture interviews with the archaeological crew and members of the construction team on their experiences of, and contribution to, the archaeological site works. Photographer and Videographer James Austrums has also created a series of informative time lapse videos bringing the excavation to a wider audience on social media. The filming of
the site works enables us to demonstrate tangible evidence of the how the historic environment can be used as a place making tool and how archaeological work can be successfully interfaced with demolition and construction works within the development process. Additionally, journalist Sean Russel - a former archaeological colleague - introduced the site to a wider audience through a publication in The Independent about the excavation, which was a rare opportunity to read an article in the national press written by a previously ‘dirty boots’ archaeologist. Finally, a key component of the planning requirements for the site is appropriate memorialisation of the burial ground. The excavation has unearthed frequent, extensive evidence of the autopsy and dissection of human remains. Although it is not unusual to see this type of treatment amongst burials of this period, the percentages within the cemetery suggests some kind of organised industry around the remains of the deceased. The substantial contribution of these people to contemporary medical knowledge is significant. We felt that the memorialisation should be demonstrated by something illustrative of this major contribution and show a respect that was perhaps not afforded to them in life. Through collaboration with a local artist, Iceni Projects is developing a piece of cast bronze public art to tell the story of the people buried here through ethical remembrance, to highlight the past legacy of the site to sit within the contemporary community of Camden. As we settle into the ‘new normal’, the fundamental changes in society have given us the opportunity to reflect on archaeological engagement and public outreach and enabled us to reframe our approach. By engaging communities, peers in the archaeological industry, and other contractors and companies within the planning and development sector, we have given a voice to the previous inhabitants of the Covent Garden Workhouse through the very people intimately involved in its present story. We hope that some of our frameworks and approaches will be maintained as part of the new normal of public engagement which also reaches and engages our peers and others in the development industry in a post-Covid-19 world.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Planning Team Submit Application for Mixed Use Tower in Holborn Nick Grant, Associate, Planning
On behalf of Lab Tech and following 2 years of stakeholder engagement, in July the Iceni Planning team submitted a major application for the redevelopment of 1 Museum Street. The site is currently occupied by a 16 storey hotel and multi-storey car park. It represents one of the remaining available development sites in the wider Tottenham Court Road Opportunity Area – an area of Camden that Iceni have spent many years transforming as part of our ongoing work on the St Giles Circus development for Outernet. The site represents a truly unique opportunity to bring forward an iconic development in the heart of one of the most important opportunity areas in Central London. Through various new developments, the wider area is being transformed into a thriving new mixed use community and this is playing a major role in delivering the ambitious aspirations for Midtown. Iceni worked collaboratively with Camden, the GLA, TfL, Historic England, and other stakeholders to develop the proposals. The submitted scheme will deliver 35,000sqm of new floorspace, comprising office, residential, retail, community uses, leisure, a 21 storey tower, refurbish several historic buildings and create extensive new public realm spaces. With a scheme of this scale and in such a prominent location, the proposals have had to address a wide range of very topical planning and development issues.
THE OFFICE IN A POST COVID WORLD From the outset, Lab Tech’s vison has been an office building for the future. This includes a range of flexible floorplates, private terraces at every level, large green communal terraces to host a variety of day and nighttime activities, openable windows on all floors to allow natural ventilation, and built-in technology throughout to monitor and control the performance of the building.
TALL BUILDINGS Not a new conversation, but the London Plan has shifted the policy approach, passing responsibility back to LPAs to identify appropriate locations, and in turn, raising the bar in terms of scrutiny and appropriateness. For Museum Street, the approach has been clear from the outset – a design-led approach from the ground up, delivering exemplar architecture and clear public benefits for the wider community.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY The London Plan now places a greater emphasis on circular economy principles and it is an issue that is becoming ever more important in considering demolition vs reuse. Whilst the proposals involve will involve substantial demolition, the large scale nature of the development provides the opportunity to deliver innovative building design and extensive sustainability benefits. Lab Tech are targeting Net Zero Carbon, and due to their sustainability aspirations, the project is registered as a LETI ‘Pioneer Project’ and is part of the network of other projects aspiring for Net Zero Carbon. A decision on the Museum Street application is anticipated in late 2021.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
What Does Healthy Planning Policy Look Like in a Post-Pandemic World? Laura Carver, Consultant, Socio-Economics
Over the last year, good health has come to mean so much more than the absence of disease. As well as bringing about a fresh perspective of our understanding of health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought about a new consideration of how our homes and living environments should function and adapt to enable people to live healthier lives. With kitchen tables acting as virtual meeting rooms and living rooms becoming home gyms, we all have had to adapt our homes to adhere to government guidelines. As we overcome these challenges, Iceni Explore’s what is the policy response to ensuring health is a priority in all developments. As we transition into a post-COVID world, policymakers have an opportunity to re-align the focus of prioritising health in planning policy. To some degree, the Government have confirmed their commitment through the updated NPPF, which now includes reference to pursuing the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These goals undoubtedly include a range of health-related indicators, none
more so than Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. However, the extent to which this will be achieved in practice is yet to be seen. One possibility is through the Town and Country Planning Association’s proposed Healthy Homes Bill. If this Bill is made into legislation, it could ensure that ‘Healthy Homes principles’ are achieved when planning permission is granted. This would be a positive step for ensuring that high-quality homes are built, that do not undermine resident’s health and well-being. The need to deliver homes that provide positively for the health of the individual that lives there is nothing new. For example, minimum space standards have been applied in some form in planning since 1967. More recently, the requirement for applicants to undertake a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) as part of the planning application process has gained traction. This applies not only to applications in London, but also as new Local Plans are adopted across the country, the requirement is increasingly present.
10km Run for LandAid James Bompas, Director, Srategic Planning
The Covid-19 crisis has had an immense effect on all of us, on our daily lives, our businesses, our sense of security. The impact of the pandemic can be felt even more acutely by young people facing homelessness. The purpose of an HIA is to assess the potential health effects of development on the general population and any vulnerable groups. It provides an opportunity to offset negative health impacts and to maximise any positive health impacts that a proposed development may generate. This is achieved through assessing a development against a range of determinants such as housing design, open space requirements or air quality that all contribute to creating healthy environments. Much like how good health has come to mean so much more than the absence of disease to an individual, so too has the relationship between the built environment and positive health outcomes. As we learn from the pandemic, it can be anticipated that the need and requirement for these healthfocused assessments will only increase, and from our experience, HIAs are an effective tool. In doing so, this will integrate, prioritise, and focus health into all planning decisions and ultimately help to deliver healthier homes and better places.
In London, the number of young people sleeping rough on the streets has risen by 47% since the start of the pandemic. Young people facing homelessness need our support more than ever. To show our support, Iceni Projects took part in the LandAid 10km run, which largely took a virtual format. No colleagues cheering from the sideline this year, and definitely no chilled beer at the end. Instead, for most of us, it required us to dragging ourselves around local routes and being back home before our morning Zoom meetings. Thank you to all those that supported us in raising £931, which will help fund 19 young people to be able to have a session with a mental heath advocate to support them out of social isolation. For the runners amongst you, please join us in 2022, when we hope the annual 10km returns to a team affair. Until then, do join our Iceni Projects Strava group at: https://www.strava.com/clubs/icenicycle
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
How Can We Bring Value to Archaeology Planning Conditions and Leave a Lasting Legacy for Communities? Stephen McLeod, Senior Archaeologist
The public’s fascination with archaeology and its thirst to ask questions about how people lived in the past is well known. Local Plans have increasingly called for archaeological finds to be better communicated with the wider public. Asking people to engage in a discussion about archaeological conditions is probably about as dry as the Dead Sea Scrolls, so we need to think about how we can harness people’s natural curiosity in their local history to reach wider and more diverse audiences. Local Authorities and Archaeological Advisers have proven they are open to innovative and new ways of engaging the public with archaeological work. Whether this is via public talks, education outreach in schools or open days for on-site visits. Nothing is more illuminating than coming face to face with the places where people ate, lived and worked staring right back at us. Many projects go one step forward and merge the two – incorporating the archaeology of the site within the proposed development so that the past continues to shape the spaces of the future. More recently, with opportunities for physical interaction with the general public being limited, digital platforms have come to the fore allowing for a large increase in the number of persons which we can engage with and crucially, allowing for a more diverse audience. The glass panels of the museum display have been removed and audiences who would often be on the periphery have access to material for the first time. Fulfilling an archaeology engagement condition should not merely be treated as a box ticking exercise, but as a genuinely important element in delivering for community and place. If you would like to know more about the value of archaeology in relation to engagement or want to know the archaeological potential of your site, do get in touch.
Environment and Sustainability Committee Mairéad Flower, Associate, Planning
We work in an industry where it is easy to preach about innovation, sustainability and energy reduction, and we can often take satisfaction in knowing that we have made a difference in the way that businesses perform and communities interact with our development proposals and initiatives. But energy conservation and reduction starts much closer to home. There is no point asking others to adhere to environmental and sustainability initiatives if we are not willing to make similar changes to our own lives, be that domestically or professionally.
Environmental and Sustainability Policy, but there is still plenty more to do as we progress through 2021 as we all return to our respective offices. The highlight of 2021 for the committee so far is that Iceni is now Certified Carbon Neutral, this is achieved by calculating Iceni’s carbon footprint and reducing it to zero through a combination of inhouse efficiency measures, renewable energy, and external emissions reductions projects! The certification means that we are following the Natural Capital Partners’ Carbon Neutral Protocol to make a clear, credible, transparent assessment of our carbon neutrality.
For those of you who don’t know Iceni’s Environmental and Sustainability Committee seeks to encourage discussion on reducing energy consumption and how to make better places for us all to live and work. We cover everything from energy, water and waste to printing, purchasing and travel, in addition to the philanthropy side of things.
We have also managed to raise over £10,000 for LandAid through both the Sleep Out in March and the 10km run that took place in June! It is our aim to raise even more money for charity in 2022.
Over the last year, Iceni have made progress towards achieving the policies outlined within Iceni’s
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
CGI of the restored lido, courtesy of SGL
Saving Grange Lido Lucy Furber, Planner
This year, Iceni’s Manchester office is fortunate enough to be working on a very exciting, unique project. We’re instructed by Save Grange Lido Ltd (‘SGL’); a Charitable Community Benefit Society seeking to protect and restore an iconic Art Deco gem in Grange-over-Sands; one of the only surviving seaside lidos in the North West and one of just five in England.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Barker, SGL’
Whilst the Victorians are credited with introducing lido culture to the UK, the 1930s marked its golden age. In fact, Grange Lido still drew large crowds in the 1960s, and even celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1982. However just over ten years later, a report was produced in which it was made clear that improvements carried out in 1975 were past their reasonable lifetime and the cost of maintaining the outdoor bathing pool, when compared with the cost of constructing a new one, was considered unfeasible. Grange Lido subsequently closed in 1993. However, the Lido is an important heritage asset and, thanks to the efforts of Save Grange Lido, it is now Grade II listed, due its completeness (with the survival of all key ancillary buildings and structures), historic importance and its unusual mushroom shaped pool. Due to campaigning by SGL to see the lido restored to its former glory, South Lakeland District Council have secured consent for a package of essential, restorative phase I works, for which they have capital expenditure approval of c£2.8 million. These works are expected to get underway this year, and SGL are now working on phase II plans that will see the lido brought back into full use with a 50m pool, changing rooms and extensions to the central pavilion to create space for community activities, and kitchens for a café-restaurant. Iceni are pleased to be supporting SGL with the planning application preparation for the phase II stage. Since the Covid pandemic is forcing many Brits to stay closer to home for a second year running, outdoor
swimming is enjoying something of a revival in the UK. The Outdoor Swimming Society’s membership grew by 36% in 2020, and its not difficult now to find hundreds of articles on the internet, listing the best outdoor swimming spots across the country. However, whilst truly ‘wild swimming’ in lakes, rivers and the sea, may pose dangers to younger, and inexperienced swimmers, lidos can offer a safe space for swimmers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of an outdoor swim. Iceni is proud to be working with Save Grange Lido, who are making an important contribution to the local community and the wider Lake District area, as well as raising the profile of these important, historic structures. You can find out more about Save Grange Lido on their website: https://www.savegrangelido.co.uk/
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Social Memory and Oral Histories of The Middlesex Hospital Annex Sarah Ricketts, Archaeologist
In 2005, to commemorate the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society’s (LAMAS) 150th anniversary, a Research Fund was initiated to support of research relating to the archaeology and history of London and the county of Middlesex. The Iceni Archaeology team are the successful recipients of the 2021 LAMAS Research Fund for their project surrounding the social memories and oral histories associated with their flagship project, the Middlesex Hospital Annex. So much of what we do as archaeologists’ is concerned with what’s in the ground, or beneath our feet, that sometimes we forget to look up. To truly appreciate the benefits of archaeology, we must understand not only the physical remains of those people or that place, but also the associated social fabric and memory, and how that place changes in light of the passage of time and development. To tap into that identity is one of the fundamental tenets of placemaking, of belonging, and of engaging with the physical and emotional memory of the historic environment.
The former Strand Union Workhouse has strong associations with the local Camden community, including being located on the same street as where Charles Dickens formally resided, and therefore undoubtedly influenced the workhouse culture depicted in Oliver Twist. It also has strong connections with the social and medical reformer Dr Joseph Rogers, who commented extensively on the abhorrent conditions and campaigned forcefully for the improved conditions of the inhabitants, penning his Reminiscences of a Workhouse Medical Officer. These strong links, however, mostly date to the period where the building functioned as a workhouse, rather than its later embodiment as a hospital, and therefore there is an unbalanced view of the lasting legacy of this important historical building. The Iceni Archaeology team has proposed an oral history project within the local Camden community, aimed at collecting stories, recollections, and social memories associated with the building at 44 Cleveland Street. The period of living memory we would like to focus on coincides with the period the building functioned as the Middlesex Hospital Annex (c. 1916-
2005), encompasses a dynamic time in London. It incorporates the end of the First World War, as well as the Second World War and the Blitz, the genesis of the NHS, and the modernisation of London up to the first decade of the new millennium. The Middlesex Hospital Annex building has remained a constant on Cleveland Street throughout this entire period, representing an important cultural and historical link to the past with strong associations to the local community. By collecting and recording oral histories at this specific point in time, we feel we can collect and share alternative perspectives and memories which will complement the present physical archaeological investigations and future publication of the results. We are particularly interested in understanding what kind of feelings the present archaeological excavations are eliciting in the local community, how the oral histories can complement the archaeological findings, and how the legacy of place can be incorporated into the new development. Although the physical remains of the Strand Union Workhouse have been excavated and recorded as per
the legal requirements set out in the NPPF and Local Plan, and the associated analysis and publication is presently underway, the Iceni Archaeology team sought an additional way to promote the historic legacy of this important place, by putting the community and people firmly back in the centre of what we do. We hope that by taking some time to remember the people that make up a certain place, we can illustrate the importance of legacy and research.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Sleep Out 2021 Cecilia Molnar, Customer Service
Thousands of young people in the UK find themselves homeless from one day to another. This year, due to Covid, London has already seen a 47% increase in young people rough sleeping. LandAid is a property industry charity and in the last 30 years have been working hard to bring businesses and individuals together to tackle this problem and bring a lasting change. Iceni projects has supported LandAid Sleep Out for the past couple of years and so we did again on 11th March. In previous years people would gather in groups for the night to face the cold and other challenges, however, during lockdown, we didn’t have other options than doing this in our closer surroundings, alone or with our families or friends. The task was to step outside of our comfort zone for a night of a 12-hour period and experience rough sleeping. LaindAid’s website had some useful tips on how to find the suitable place. We were told we can SleepOut at home in any outside space we have access to - such as your garden, patio or balcony. If you don’t have any outside space then LandAid suggested finding the most
uncomfortable place you can in your home such as the kitchen floor, shower or perhaps even the bath. The weather forecast wasn’t optimistic at all, was not even any closer to a spring night outside in March. However young people don’t have the choice to head inside if the weather is wet and as such, we needed to remain outside wherever possible, making sure we were not putting our health at risk. Top tips for staying dry included using a cardboard, sleeping close to buildings and/or waterproof sleeping bags. On the night, LandAid had a livestream running that we received a link to via email individually, and there was also a Zoom call running throughout the night if anyone couldn’t sleep and fancied a chat. We however set up our own WhatsApp group to share ideas, thought and support if anyone needed it. Eleven of us joined this cause from the company this time and we have proudly raised £9161 between us by donations. The evening started very light-heartedly, lots of banter during the preparation and the first few hours we all enjoyed the peace, the stars and the dark sky and
Here it is, one short walk (very long for me) in those metaphorical shoes and everything seems a little bit closer and clearer. In life although they say, we only learn if we push our boundaries, but honestly nobody should be pushed to do so”. some of us a drink or two. Already humbled by the task ahead of us, we knew it won’t be easy, but we were still laughing, playing games and joke about the choices of “shelters” of some chose to spend their night in. Myself I went to Liz’s house because I don’t have an uncomfortable place where I live, how lucky I am, right? Okay the flatmates are “uncomfortable” to have but I guess that didn’t count anyway. Liz and I set our little sleeping area, were very proudly making our bed, some cardboards, mats, more layers as we were told. Liz’s husband made a wonderful Hot chocolate with Baileys for us, how cute and luxurious! Not going to lie, that went cold real quick! Some of the modern world problems followed. I consider myself a night owl, so I knew I won’t sleep for a while however around half eleven at night, everyone said goodbye so there it was! The whole long night ahead. How do you sleep when it’s this cold? When it’s raining? How do you get comfortable? Was even thinking, my friend must have lent me a spring/summer sleeping bag because it was not warm at all. Despite the seven hundred layers I was wearing that only let me roll when I had to
move, it was still……cold. I am guilty of the habit of watching something before I fall asleep or drawing, but never ever not busy and having at least one device at hand before in bed. I thought okay cool…okay…. let’s be quiet! No flashing devices, it’s cool. Lizzie went to sleep next to me within seconds. How can she sleep like a baby already? She was cute though. Yes, I have pictures…. First half an hour of trying to get comfortable miserably failed. It’s a fact I don’t like camping, don’t like sleeping on the floor, I am somewhat outdoorsy but mainly in summertime to be very honest. I don’t even like to walk in the cold, clearly. A yoga mat and a cardboard? How on Earth this supposed to help? Then my thoughts started drifting to the realisation…because we all know, it’s not nice to sleep on the streets, right….but do we really know though? When there is no future hope of the cosy bed, fluffy blankets, snuggling up in front of the TV on a winter night, sipping mulled wine. Must be insanely desperate and lonely. The boredom! If lockdown taught us anything it’s that silence is okay, just going for a walk can be good, stay healthy, life is more important than going out to bars and
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
pubs, travel and live life in a high speed. But what if you don’t even have a book to read. Only your thoughts. No Netflix at home, because you don’t have a home, let alone a bank account for your Netflix subscription. But your thoughts about your life, your past, the trauma that led you to live on the streets. The many questions and internal debates are frightening. “It’s 2 am only, I’m thirsty but can’t move, like a frozen potato lying here. This night will never end! Let’s do some squats to warm up. Done. Can’t do many of those in that many layers. Fact. It’s 2:05 am. Lizzie is still sleeping! HOW???!” This is just a snippet of the millions of thoughts that had been flying through my mind, even remembered things that happened in primary school. Then started thinking of I might need to check myself with my GP because it is unreal to have feet this cold. Here it is, one short walk (very long for me) in those metaphorical shoes and everything seems a little bit closer and clearer. In life although they say, we only learn if we push our boundaries, but honestly nobody should be pushed to do so. Young people should have the support so they don’t have to live like this. We can all say we do understand what homelessness means because we are educated adults and care about this social issue, but I’m sure we care more when we live only half a day in those “shoes”. In this era nobody should be on the streets. In my country people end up on the streets in a blink of an eye. I don’t even think there is a realistic statistic reflecting the numbers in present time. Young, old, doesn’t matter, when you are there there is no turning back. You are cut out of society, no one will miss you. Hopefully, there are resources and people who are ready to help just as here in the UK. Grateful to LandAid for the guidance and to let us be involved.
Diversity Panel Jon Wright, Associate, Planning
This time last year we were writing about the need for Iceni to continually review working practices in respect of diversity and inclusivity, which led to the creation of the Iceni Diversity Panel. The panel comprises a range of staff representatives from various parts of the business, with the following Mission Statement:-
“At Iceni we want everyone to be themselves. We are committed to creating a culture that respects and embraces each other’s differences, that promotes dignity, equality and diversity and that encourages individuals to develop. Our challenge to ourselves, and those we work with, is to ensure that each individual knows that diversity and inclusion is their responsibility.” The first task undertaken was a staff survey to shine a light on current issues both within Iceni and also the markets that we operate in, and to understand how to appropriately act upon them. This was key in understanding staff experiences and gathering ideas. As a result of the responses submitted to the survey,
several suggestions were implemented immediately. Compulsory unconscious bias training was arranged for all staff members and the feedback received has been very positive. Everyone has an unconscious bias, so the training taught us to actively identify and address this, to uncover how we can all practise better inclusion in the workplace and in our personal lives. Fully blind CVs have also been incorporated into the recruitment process and the effects of this will be continually monitored. Moreover, in co-ordination with HR and other operational groups within the business, the panel has been undertaking a detailed review of all areas of the business. This includes the company’s policies, procedures, education, representation in management, working practices, renumeration and rewards, communications and recruitment. Following this review, recommendations are being collated for presentation to the Board for approval and implementation. We’re proud of the progress Iceni has made over the past year, and will ensure this continues into the future.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
West Craigs North: CGI courtesy of West Craigs LTD
An Update from Edinburgh Callum Fraser, Director, Planning
Edinburgh has been in the spotlight this summer with the opening of the new St James Quarter. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of this development is the ‘Walnut Whip’ (to use it’s more polite name) – a dramatic new addition to Edinburgh’s iconic skyline. This has prompted fierce debate in the city and beyond over whether this adds to, or detracts from, Edinburgh’s unique historical character. Either way, it has certainly got Iceni Edinburgh thinking about the future of development in the city and caused us to reflect on what we have achieved over the past 12 months and where we are heading as a business.
In terms of projects, some notable highlights over the past 12-months include securing detailed planning permission for 152 build-to-rent units on Leith Walk in Edinburgh on behalf of Drum Property Group, securing permission for 84 new homes in Aberdour on behalf of CALA Management Ltd and progressing proposals for a major green belt release in West Edinburgh on behalf of West Craigs Ltd, culminating in the recent submission of a major planning permission in principle application for 500 homes at ‘West Craigs North’.
Despite the ongoing challenges of lockdown we’ve had a very productive second year of business - we’ve grown our team, expanded our client base, picked up some great instructions and helped deliver some exciting new development projects.
We’ve also been active outside of the city and are pleased to be involved in a variety of projects across the east of Scotland including Aberdeen, Dundee, Fife, Perth & Kinross, West Lothian, East Lothian and Falkirk.
Like all good things we now come in three, with Lyndsay Macleod joining as Assistant Planner in June 2021. Lyndsay joins Callum Fraser (Director) and
With the world opening back up and a strong pipeline of projects to take us into 2022 and beyond, there is an energising sense of optimism within the team. We
Adam McConaghy (Senior Planner) and bolsters our offering in this exciting phase of our growth.
Observations of a Remote Starter Adam McConaghy, Senior Planner
4th May 2020 – 42 days into the first Lockdown, and I was starting my new role as Senior Planner in Iceni’s Edinburgh office. And by office, I mean my kitchen table.
look forward to delivering more great results for our clients, continuing our growth and being able to get out and enjoy some non-Zoom socialising! We can’t wait to see what the next 12 months brings.
The last year and a few months have involved much change for everyone, not least getting used to working from home and all of the opportunities and difficulties this brings. On one hand, it’s been refreshing having more time to exercise and carry out those essential life admin jobs. On the other however, the lack of real-life face time with clients and colleagues has presented its own challenges – particularly when starting a new job. Fast forward 15 months and some semblance of normality has returned to the working day. Like most offices, ours has re-opened and we are working to a hybrid approach balancing office time with working from home. It remains to be seen what the future holds for office working – however, for now it’s great to be back in Edinburgh’s West End, meeting clients in person and getting out for coffee (and occasionally something stronger!). Long may it continue.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Landscape-led Residential Development on Former Green Belt Site Stuart Mills, Associate, Planning
Iceni Projects have secured a Committee resolution to grant planning permission for 520 new homes on a 30 hectare greenfield site in Guildford. Iceni successfully led the promotion of the site through the Local Plan process, and following adoption of the Guildford Local Plan, have subsequently been advising London Strategic Land and their development partners Countryside Properties on the development of the site. Iceni led the planning and EIA work on this project, preparing the hybrid planning application, coordinating the consultant team and providing strategic advice. Guildford’s Planning Committee resolved to grant planning permission subject to finalising the S106 agreement in June 2021. Given the sensitivity of the site for local residents and other stakeholders, the team engaged in significant pre-application and post-submission discussions with officers, residents, politicians and other interested parties, and the technical work supporting the application included a robust assessment of all relevant issues. The proactive and collaborative approach of the project team helped to address key issues raised and build support for the scheme. This was particularly important given the range of technical matters involved on this site, including flood risk, Ancient Woodland, highways, high voltage electricity infrastructure, noise and air quality impacts from the A3, and ecology.
Given the nature of this greenfield site, the vision for the development has been landscape-led from the start, with the layout positively responding to the site’s topography and natural features. Significant areas of public open space will be created, alongside a community space and improvements to local infrastructure. The architecture draws on the Surrey vernacular and the development will create an attractive, sustainable community which includes an element of custom-build housing as well as plots for local Travelling Showpeople. The new homes will help meet a significant housing need in the Borough and make a valuable contribution to Guildford’s housing supply. It has been rewarding for the Iceni team to work on this site from initial site promotion through to the grant of planning permission and beyond. The project also provides a useful example of how persistent and thorough engagement with officers and other stakeholders can address concerns raised and navigate the planning process to obtain consent for a technically complex scheme with multiple moving parts.
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
IEMA Quality Mark Jim Jaulim, Associate, Impact Management
This year our Impact Management Team was delighted to become a registrant of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment’s (IEMA) Quality Mark programme, which is awarded for achieving high standards in EIA coordination and preparation. At Iceni we have a long and proven track record of providing up-to-date, innovative and comprehensive EIA advice to adapt to our clients’ needs, whilst looking out for any policy changes or other challenges which impact on their developments. We have provided this advice alongside co-ordinating and preparing a range of Environmental Statements (ES) in many different sectors. After a rigorous process which included reviews of our previous ESs over the last three years and interviews with our Impact Team staff, IEMA confirmed our successful application as a registrant, recognising the strong EIA practices we have in place at the company. Assessors noted:-
Iceni appear to have embedded EIA quality procedures into their practice procedures and have
embraced the need to build skills of all team members through the IEMA EIA Quality Mark programme. Our team strives to stay ahead of the market and the legislation which shapes it. The multi-skilled nature of our team ensures that we are well equipped, not only to liaise with other disciplines, but to assist on projects from a range of different perspectives. We were buoyed to have our particular approach to EIA recognised by the IEMA assessors, who stated:-
The Iceni approach to EIA is very forward-thinking, looks to be on top of development in the industry, and follows how things are changing and can improve EIA all the time. The feedback continued by identifying how our priority is ensuring our clients come first when providing environmental advice:-
The same open and regular communications appear to take place with Iceni’s client base and helps to reinforce their standing for clients in EIA practice.
Iceni Cycle Aidan Pearce, Senior Technician, Transport
There are many clubs within Iceni - Book club, running club and tag rugby to name a few, and with the boom in cycle sales due to the pandemic, Iceni Cycle was formed. A club that welcomes all cyclists as a way of keeping fit during the lockdowns and having fun on two wheels. Since we started this club during the second lockdown, we decided to host rides on the popular indoor cycling app Zwift. Every Monday from 6pm to 7pm, Andrew would pick a route and the usual gang (Ian A, Andrew G, Lewis W, Fred P, Ashleigh C, Charlotte O, Mitch G, and myself) would hop on discord for an hour’s chat and racing when the mood takes us.
This recognition now provides a catalyst to the on-going evolution of our Impact Management offer, as we adapt to a rapidly changing industry, and look ahead to the Environment Bill receiving Royal Assent this year. In addition, we have an exciting and diverse range of projects in the pipeline. As well as continuing to provide environmental support on the 10,000 home Meridian Water scheme in Enfield, we are advising on a range of residential and commercial projects, and the first ground-mounted solar park in the Glasgow City Council area, the host city of COP26. Alongside the Impact Management Team, we are ably assisted by a range of in-house technical EIA specialists. Our transport, heritage and TVIA, socio-economic and health, archaeology and Futures teams are able to offer a large array of expert EIA services that allow us to provide a holistic EIA service to our clients. With plenty in the pipeline, we are looking to go from strength to strength in the coming year, with a range of projects relating to residential, commercial and infrastructure developments.
Now that restrictions have been lifted, we’ve headed back to the open road and organised a few cycling events. Team Transport went on a 100km ride organised by the cycling guru that is Clive around London, taking in the sights and visiting projects both completed and in works. A handful of the team will be cycling from the London office up to Glasgow to attend this years United Climate Change Conference (COP 26) A ride that will cover over 450 miles across multiple days of riding. A huge challenge but with the event taking place close to home – why not attend via one of the most sustainable methods of transport? If you’re interested in taking part in our group rides or adding the clubs’ weekly totals – search Iceni Cycle on Strava and join! https://www.strava.com/clubs/icenicycle
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
Resolution to Grant:
The Eastgate Quarter, Basildon Clara Blagden, Associate, Planning
Iceni Projects secured a resolution to grant at Basildon’s Planning Committee in April 2021, in respect of an outline planning application for the redevelopment of part of the Eastgate Shopping Centre and its surroundings, into the ‘Eastgate Quarter’. Our high streets have been facing significant pressures as a result of a multitude of cultural, economic, and social changes. These shifts in demand and attitudes are challenging and changing how we use our town centres. With the recent impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more important that we address declining high streets and shopping centres – in places such as Basildon this requires the consolidation of excess retail floorspace and introduction of a more varied mix of uses to maintain interest and viability. The introduction of residential helps to support commercial uses and promote overall vitality. In order to provide flexibility in what can be delivered and to help facilitate the development coming forward on a phased basis over time, an outline planning application was submitted. This incorporated a comprehensive design code, enabling the detailed design to come forward as part of future reserved matters applications. The outline scheme approved at Planning Committee has the ability to provide: Up to 2,800 residential units (including build to
rent, open market sale, student accommodation and later living), across buildings ranging between 21 – 5 storeys; Consolidation and reconfiguration of existing com-
mercial floorspace, as well as introduction of new high-quality commercial and community floorspace;
Provision of a new transport hub for the town centre,
including a relocated and improved bus station and taxi rank; Reconfiguration of car parking, significant new
public realm including a new linear park, with a total of 3.5 hectares of open, landscaped space which is a notable increase on the existing level within the town centre. In addition to transforming Basildon Town Centre and seeking to revitalise the high-street, the proposal delivers a significant amount of new housing (including affordable housing), contributing towards the Council’s shortfall in its five-year housing land supply. We acted on behalf of InfraRed Capital Partners and worked alongside Sovereign Centros, Leslie Jones Architecture, Exterior Architecture and Redwood Consulting. Iceni Projects advised on a range of matters, including planning, archaeology, transport, built heritage and townscape, impact management (including coordination of EIA and health impact assessment) and futures (daylight and sunlight, energy and sustainability).
Iceni Projects The Yearbook 2021
The Next 12 Months: A Shift in Focus Livi Smith, Consultant, Engagement
COVID has revealed the importance of the places in which we live and spend time in more than ever. In our experience, people want to feel connected to their neighbourhoods and get more involved in conversations around change, growth and making places better. From adversity comes a window of opportunity to do things differently. People’s priorities also change. From all perspectives, place and community have become important issues for people and we have certainly felt a shift over the past 18 months on the things that matter to the communities that we work with and we want to highlight some of our key takeaways from the conversations we have been having:
CONNECTION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER With the sudden need to stay at home, people have become more rooted in the places they live. From conversations with residents about how design might create opportunities for serendipitous interaction with neighbours, to a growing demand for community space, there is significant evidence suggesting people want to come together and that the built environment has a key role to play in this. The need to engage people, including those most impacted, and work
collaboratively, has never been more apparent and will be key in the ‘recovery’ stage.
THE FUTURE OF THE OFFICE A key part of this recovery stage will be the long-term impact of our new relationship with the office. Whilst much has been made of the great revolution in home working that COVID precipitated, we have seen many people return to their workplaces (albeit not 5 days a week) and the return of physical meetings. There has been a spotlight on the detrimental impact that working from home can sometimes have on mental health as well as news that companies, such as Google, are considering cutting the wages of its employees that continue to WFH. Could the rise in local coworking and office share spaces, or indeed integrating these spaces into future housing developments, be the long-term solution?
THE SPOTLIGHT IS ON SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT Controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, which aim to reduce traffic in residential streets and encourage people to travel more sustainably, have left communities divided. Whilst some feel that the schemes are exacerbating traffic issues and reducing business footfall others welcome creating greener and safer spaces and it’s interesting to see who is shouting loudest at the moment on the topic.
One thing both sides can agree on though, is the need for consultation to be at the heart of the process.
wellbeing benefits of having an outdoor space to play, garden or relax are widely recognised.
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR IS PERCEIVED TO BE ON THE RISE
The importance, however, lies in what we and other built environment professionals do next.
From the conversations we are having, many people feel anti-social behaviour has become more of a problem over the last 18 months. Confining certain communities to their local area appears to have exacerbated longstanding social issues and inequalities. There is a clear and interesting pattern of feedback emerging, and although it is unsurprising that we are noticing more about the areas we live in by being at home more, it is crucial that we don’t dismiss these revelations.
A SAFE, INTERESTING, AND WELCOMING PUBLIC REALM IS VITAL, AS IS PRIVATE AMENITY SPACE From pedestrianisation, to alfresco dining, and making our public spaces feel inclusive for the whole community, the thought people are putting into the ways we experience the everyday spaces around us are at the core of all our conversations. Having your own garden/private amenity space has more value to people now, than ever before. On our estate regeneration projects, private amenity space is a top priority for those who have lived without it and the
How can the shifts in focus change the way the spaces around us are being occupied and designed? How can we work collaboratively with all sections of the community to come up with new ideas and ways of doing things that respond to locally based priorities? What’s clear is that a key strategy will be place based work, realising the potential of places alongside people to increase opportunity, which in turn should help tackle the inequality we have seen over the past 18 months. Iceni are excited to take those we work with, with us on this journey.
The Sustainable Development Scorecard The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has running throughout it the ‘golden thread of sustainable development’. In spite of this, there is no clear-cut, NPPF-based assessment criteria to consider a site or project’s sustainable development credentials, making current assessment processes both tricky and subjective. The Sustainable Development Commission was established to address this recognised issue with our planning system. Made up of a balanced cross-section of industry professionals, the Commission has debated the issues and found solutions, culminating in the creation of the Sustainable Development Scorecard. The Scorecard website is free to use and accessible to anyone with a vested interest in development, including developers, architects, planners, community groups and members of the public. By crystallising the NPPF’s guidance into a simple, online analysis tool, the Commission aims to provide a more consistent approach to sustainable development, leading to a more sustainable built environment.
Archaeology | Built Heritage & Townscape | Design | Economics | Engagement | Iceni Futures | Impact Management | Place | Planning | Transport
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