UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL PLANNING
Reflections on UKREiiF
ICENI INVESTS IN URBAN INTELLIGENCE
IT’S ALL ABOUT A PLACE Putting Communities at the Heart of Development
UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL PLANNING: Reflections on UKREiiF
ADVENTURES, MISHAPS, AND HEARTFELT GRATITUDE: A Whirlwind Journey Across the Globe
LIFE SCIENCES: What’s the Big Deal?
THE CLYDE MISSION: A ‘National Development’ for Scotland
Iceni Projects | September 2022 - 2023 www.iceniprojects.com iceni-projects iceniprojects iceniprojects
WELL, WHAT A YEAR THAT WAS
Welcome to Iceni’s 2023 Yearbook, a lookback on another eventful year, both for us and the country at large.
The year just gone was surely the denouement of satire becoming reality. At times, you literally couldn’t make up what was happening. From the shifting geopolitical plate tectonics of the Ukraine War to the self-imposed economic suicide of Trussonomics, we’ve seen it all. Armando Iannucci had better find a new way of making comedy.
But in spite of everything – the cost of living crisis, strikes, inflation, disposable PMs, planning reform turmoil, Covid, SNP implosion and arrests, NHS waiting lists, climate change signals – the country, our clients, and our people, show a remarkable sense of fortitude. At what point do we stop calling something disruptive, and rather just the norm? Maybe it’s the realisation that since 2008 we’ve experienced at least 10 years of turmoil within that period, that we wouldn’t recognise a benign year if it knocked on our door and asked to borrow a cup of sugar.
There is clearly a risk that stoicism becomes institutionalised despondency, which damages innovation, productivity, and positivity. I’m pleased to
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by Ian Anderson Chief Executive
say that at least on our small corner of the earth, Iceni has refused to let that be so over the past 12 months. As we’ve said through these pages before, innovation is the mother of necessity, and we’ve accelerated a lot of our plans, particularly in digital this year. We formalised our investment in Urban Intelligence (see page 13), and we have oodles of ideas in the making, both with UI but also on our own footing, for how we can bring the benefits of digital working into the planning and property sphere. And there is a clear paradox in how mind numbingly slow and sclerotic many of the analogue ways of doing things are versus the avalanche of change – both society at large and within our professions – through the application of tech. To put that into context, were many of us talking about Chat GPT this time last year? Now we have planning inspectors asking for confirmation from witnesses that their evidence has been crafted by themselves and not a bot. Truly groundbreaking, and at a speed we struggle to countenance. Progress on digital is likely to be accelerated by the challenges in recruitment across the public and private sector, as there simply aren’t the people entering the workforce to keep up with demand.
I am pleased we can highlight the work we have done on apprenticeships and work experience (Page 9) over
the past year, which again talks to the carrot and stick of our times: would we, or anyone else, be so focused on recruiting people from inner city schools and colleges if we had (as was the case when I started my career) 200 graduates applying for every career grade entry role at Iceni? The opportunities this is creating will make us a more diverse, inclusive business, precisely at the time when London in particular is becoming a closed shop for resident Londoners and financially assisted incomers. We live in a time of bemusing paradoxes.
And a final comment on how tech and lateral thinking on staff recruitment combine: we have seen a 17 year old work experience student walk into our office this year and in the space of a couple of days devise a series of algorithms to help our planners do some of the background work on planning research more efficiently, shaving hours of low-value time from the inbox of our team. So, whilst we live in an era of disruption, it’s a heartening reminder to celebrate that change is, and always will have, the means to be good.
Enjoy the Yearbook, and see you in ’24.
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So whilst we live in an era of disruption, it’s a heartening reminder to celebrate that change is, and always will have, the means to be good.”
UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL PLANNING REFLECTIONS ON UKRE ii F
by Ryan Walker Associate, Planning & Engagement
Iceni Projects | The Year Book
4 Yearbook 2022-23
Back in May, we saw the key players of the real estate and infrastructure industry come together in Leeds to discuss market trends and explore investment opportunities as part of UKREiiF.
One morning at conference, I was fortunate enough to share a platform with representatives from Urban Intelligence, Birmingham and Newcastle City Councils. The discussion focused on the opportunities surrounding digital planning, with panellists questioned on their respective experience of being an early adopter of emerging technologies.
To put the conversation into context, some recent statistics released by the RTPI noted that a quarter of planners left the profession between 2013-2020 and that 82% of Local Authorities were quoted as having serious recruitment difficulties in the last 12 months. Undeniably, a bleak picture.
Therefore, if digital solutions to the current resourcing crisis do exist, we felt they certainly warranted our consideration that morning.
Having listened to the other speakers, it was clear there were many benefits of a digital roll-out, saving time, money and delivering greater outcomes at scale. However, I thought it would be interesting to flip the conversation and examine digital planning through the lens of engagement.
We have all seen numerous Local Authorities spend years (and eye watering sums) producing Local Plans. Sadly, many fall at the final hurdle, fatally wounded by their own Elected Members who didn’t feel engaged
enough to take sufficient ownership. However, if we are able to use digital tools to expediate the Local Plan process, using dynamic data to simultaneously test multiple options, then more resourcing should technically become available. Rather than seeing this simply as a financial saving and cost cutting exercise, we must reinvest resources into quality engagement to avoid such fatal blows and help to de-risk projects.
For Iceni, the benefit of digital planning lies in the potential to unlock time, enabling us to build relationships, work with communities, understand concerns and aspirations. Deep diving not just into the algorithms, but into the views of, and opportunities for, local communities.
In the Engagement and Place team we’ve found that when this approach is adopted, it generally delivers much better results for all parties involved; empowering communities, enriching decisions and expediating processes.
In supporting West Berkshire District Council with their 2050 vision, we helped to engage with 2,500 members of the local community. Not an easy feat when talking about a document with a 30-year timeframe.
In Southwest Hertfordshire, we reached as many under 25s as over 65s in relation to their Joint Strategic Plan engagement, freeing up time to support wider youth engagement.
We’re also working differently with the private sector too, undertaking school workshops linked to the curriculum, helping to develop community wealth strategies and support careers insights.
The golden thread combining all of the above projects, is the use of technology in the right context, at the right time, on issues that matter to people, reaching those who wouldn’t ordinarily comment.
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For Iceni, the benefit of digital planning lies in the potential to unlock time, enabling us to build relationships, work with communities, understand concerns and aspirations”
GIVING YOUNG PEOPLE A VOICE
by Ruby Maynard Smith Consultant, Place & Engagement
DISCUSSION 6 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
Despite making up 25% of the population, and being highly engaged in political and environmental issues, young people are often on the periphery of conversations about the future of their own neighbourhoods, with very little direct input in planning and consultations.
Research by Grosvenor for their community charter
‘Positive Space’, found that 89% of people between 16 to 18 have not been directly asked their opinion and only 8% have joined a public consultation.
So, why is this? And what’s the solution?
Could it be because traditional public consultation in dusty town halls or community centres, publicised by a paper flyer just don’t appeal to younger generations?
At Iceni, we have been exploring new digital ways of engaging young people and asking them what works and what doesn’t. After all, they are the ones growing up in this new world of social media, engaging with a vast array of digital data and information.
Our work on the South West Hertfordshire Joint Strategic Plan has been at the forefront of this for well over two years having started before those seemingly distant pre pandemic days. Using social media, we were able to reach a wide audience, engaging thousands and as many under 25s as over 65s.
Given the volume of feedback from young people, it was possible to create a youth forum and we used this group as a sounding board to shape the most recent engagement on the Plan. Together we developed the
online feedback survey, asking them, for example, “how, as a young person, do you think we should be engaging people your age?” We think this is a real demonstration of the success that early and meaningful engagement with young people can have.
But whilst digital tools clearly provided greater outreach to those in their teenage years, there are younger age groups who don’t have access to these tools and whose voices are also left out of the conversation. And yet it’s arguably the youngest members of society, those who will be living in these areas for years to come, who stand to benefit the most from new developments.
In recognition of this, we carried out a series of workshops with 90 year seven pupils (aged 11 or 12) at the Harris Academy in Newham as part of our community engagement on Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks for St William.
And whilst a child’s world view is limited, there is still significant value in their feedback, owing to impressions that can be made from creative exercises such drawing and model making. Whilst this may not generate quantitative, articulate feedback, it is pertinent to start recognising these more implicit forms of feedback if consultation is to become more representative. As lowering the voting age becomes an increasingly hot topic within UK politics, it is high time we put greater emphasis on harnessing the voices of young people.
Iceni Engagement continue to seek opportunities to deliver engagement programmes involving young people, if you would like to understand how this might be beneficial to the pre-application consultation process, please contact me:
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Could it be because traditional public consultation in dusty town halls or community centres, publicised by a paper flyer just don’t appeal to younger generations?”
Appeal Success for Mid Box Industrial Units in the Countryside
Iceni’s London Planning, Economics and Landscape teams helped secure planning permission on appeal, for two Class B2/B3 industrial units on land to the north of an existing business park at Western Approach Distribution Park, at Severn Beach, South Gloucester. The Planning Case Officer had recommended the application for approval, however, it was refused at committee.
The Council argued that the Site was within the countryside, as it was not within a settlement boundary, nor within an area allocated for employment. They noted that, whilst the economic benefits of the scheme had merit, insufficient evidence was available to demonstrate that there are no other sites available. They also argued that the development would have an adverse impact on the character of the countryside, and result in the reduction of the buffer between the Distribution Park and the village of Severn Beach.
The Distribution Park had been granted planning permission in the late 1950s, and an associated masterplan from that permission was referred to by the Council. A later, 1995, application included the Site within its red line, showing it illustratively as an area for community forest landscaping, structural landscape
framework, and wildlife provision. The Council maintained that the reason the Site has not been developed is because it fell outside the allocation and was not intended for buildings in the 1950s consent, and that it formed part of a green wedge as illustrated on later masterplans.
On behalf of our client Forenza (Western Approach) Ltd, Mairead Flower, Ian Mayhead, Nick Ireland and Silke Gruner from Iceni, alongside Stephanie Hall from Kings Chambers, produced evidence and appeared at the Hearing.
We argued that the Site’s character was heavily influenced by its location adjacent to the existing industrial units, with which it shared a visually open boundary. We also found that there would be negligible effects on the landscape character and separate identities of the Distribution Park and the village of Severn Beach, due to the intervening dense woodland belts.
The Inspector agreed with our case, noting that the Site is not significant in its own right and only makes a modest contribution to the setting of the settlement, as an open and undeveloped parcel of land between the industrial area and the village. They also noted that the previous masterplans only gave a ‘direction of travel for development’, and the gave them limited weight.
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ICENI SUCCESS by Silke Gruner, Director, Landscape, Nick Ireland, Director, Economics, & Ian Mayhead, Director, Planning
We were able to show that there was a growing market for mid box industrial units in the Severnside area, and in particular from occupiers seeking space. Whilst on the face of it, there was a substantial volume of vacant land in the immediate area, with the Severnside allocation, we were able to show that the alternative sites where either not available short-term or were targeted at alternative market segments such as big box units. The Inspector concluded that the shortage of medium and small units had been clearly demonstrated and, based on our evidence, afforded considerable weight to the proposal as it would assist in meeting a proven need in the short-term and bring positive economic benefits.
It was clear that, once the landscape objections had been overcome that the success or otherwise of the appeal hinged on the employment evidence prepared. This, alongside the wider benefits of the proposal to the area, was enough to outweigh the fact that the Site was essentially a greenfield site, not within a settlement, and not part of the existing employment area. It is a good example of the planning balance being applied in practice.
The Inspector concluded: ‘Despite the proposal according with several policies of the development plan, the conflict with its Strategy for Development renders it contrary to the development plan, when considered as a whole. Nevertheless, there is an absence of suitable sites in Severnside to serve the proposal and the benefits associated with it would cumulatively be of such significance that they indicate that the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan. This would therefore justify the grant of planning permission and lead to sustainable development.’
SOCIAL by Madi Moraru, HR Manager
The Launch of the Iceni Academy
In 2022, we unveiled the Iceni Academy with the goal of fostering a positive relationship between the company and individuals where everyone will profit from growth and advancement.
The Academy offers everyone - at every stage of their career - a bespoke approach to learning and development. A pivotal element lies in our commitment to nurturing talent to step up, progress and ultimately flourish. We are actively engaged with the RTPI and, to date, have provided valuable work experience for 35 young people through RTPI Outreach Explore Programme, as well as offered 21 work experience placements. This year, we are proud to welcome 9 individuals in our Graduate Programme, supporting them in furthering their education through a mix of apprenticeships, Masters and other professional qualifications.
The Academy has also afforded us the opportunity to engage with both diverse and under-represented communities and individuals, igniting their passion for the industry and enabling us to recruit the very best talent by providing a clear career path with professional development prospects. For those embarking on their journey with us, the Academy opens doors to new career possibilities within the realm of professional qualifications in the Built Environment sector. It offers the chance to connect with professionals in an industry they may have limited prior knowledge of, all while providing handson, enjoyable opportunities to enhance their skills and boost their confidence.
Furthermore, it allows us to better understand the communities who we often work with, and to ‘give back’ to the communities most in need, actively participating in the levelling-up agenda. By participating in a high-quality corporate social value programme, we aim to cultivate a shared sense of purpose and pride in our organisation.
THE TRIBE 9 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
IT’S ALL ABOUT A PLACE
by Ruby Maynard Smith Consultant, Place & Engagement
DISCUSSION 10 The Yearbook 2022-23
To create new places around existing communities effectively, it’s crucial to understand what makes the space special, acknowledging its purpose, potential, the existing buildings, people and also its past.
Working in engagement, we start every project with this in mind; working with local people, stakeholders and professionals to develop a holistic understanding of the physical, historical, economic, political and planning context to inform the best approach.
With community-based participation at its centre, our place-based approach capitalises on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential which in turn fosters opportunities for more creative and diverse projects and the creation of quality spaces that contribute to people’s sense of belonging and wellbeing.
Over the last year, we’ve started to apply this more and more.
Working closely with local historians we’ve been drilling down into the very essence of place, reconnecting people to often derelict and forgotten sites in their communities. By running heritage tours and facilitating community workshops, we’ve been unlocking the historic and social value of places, helping to show local people how their local buildings and structures shaped British history and added value to their communities. We found celebrating a site’s history instilled a sense of pride for residents and strengthened their community connections to these places.
We have also worked with local artists, to explore the architectural details of a site through sketching. By giving people pencils, charcoal and paper we are able to appreciate places through many different perspectives: engineers bring their structural understanding and textile designers their love of pattern.
In addition, we’ve been lucky enough to interview residents, learning how places have and continue to shape their lives. By creating an archive of written and oral memories of place though interviews and community workshops, we’ve been able to preserve and celebrate the essence of their place, past and present.
This work has informed the launch of Iceni Place, which seeks to bridge the gap between developers and local communities; to better understand the unique needs and characteristics of a specific geographic area and its community, resulting in more creative and impactful responses. This approach recognises that different areas have distinct challenges and assets and aims to leverage local knowledge and resources to drive positive change.
In the long-term, this approach can lead to bigger economic and social value returns. In the short term, it can also build confidence in delivery, reduce unnecessary objections and encourage people to become more involved in their community.
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With community-based participation at its centre, our place-based approach capitalises on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential which in turn fosters opportunities for more creative and diverse projects and the creation of quality spaces that contribute to people’s sense of belonging and wellbeing”
ICENI SUCCESS by Ashleigh Cook, Associate Planner
Luton Application Success: Castle and Cumberland Street
The Iceni Planning Team has been providing ongoing advice to JRL Midgard on two exciting sites located right on the edge of the town centre boundary. Despite having various previous planning permissions, both sites have remained vacant for well over ten years. JRL Midgard have come forward as the new owners of both sites with the real intention to actually get permission and build out the developments after years of false starts by various other developers.
Iceni’s planning team worked closely with GSA Architects throughout 6 months of pre-application engagement with officers at Luton Borough Council. The final proposals comprised of 626 homes (246 on Cumberland Street and 380 on Castle Street) and two small commercial units across the two sites, with heights of up to 21-storeys on each site. Both schemes proposed plenty of amenity space for residents, as well as improvements to the local public realm. Luton planning and design officers were supportive of the scheme. They welcomed the bold approach to heights, noting that the 21-storey towers acted as gateway buildings on the approach into the Town Centre. They also welcomed the high-quality design prepared by GSA, which took various cues from the hat weaving and industrial heritage of Luton.
Despite the positive support of the planning and design officers, the proposals had a rocky journey
through the planning committee. Cumberland Street went to committee in June 2022, but had to be deferred due to members concerns regarding impact on a local church. Then following a site visit and briefing with members, both schemes made it back to committee in September 2022. Despite the members briefing, additional concern was raised regarding fire safety and the schemes were deferred again. Eventually in October 2022 the proposals both made it back to committee, and this time they made it through with a unanimous vote in favour of the recommended resolution to grant. The S106 is now being finalised on both and we are expecting full planning permission to be granted imminently.
Luton are an ambitious local authority who want to see new and exciting development come forward. Of all the local authorities we have worked with in recent years, Luton are well resourced and well organised. Officers genuinely care, but also take a pro-development approach which is extremely refreshing. Recent intel from contacts working in and interested in Luton has found that there is a lot of interest in investing there. Luton’s recent success in the football (#COYH), plus the new shuttle to the airport, is putting Luton back on the map. This is influencing investors and creating a number of exciting opportunities in the area. Hopefully more opportunities will come our way and we will be planning more developments there in the future.
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Iceni Projects Invests in Urban Intelligence
We are thrilled to share some exciting news with all of you! Earlier this year we made a significant move by investing in Urban Intelligence (UI), an early stage business focused on digitising the planning system. This strategic investment will not only strengthen the partnership between Iceni and UI but also pave the way for remarkable growth opportunities that capitalise on our individual strengths.
Urban Intelligence has emerged as a formidable player in the rapidly expanding planning technology sector. Their impressive track record of innovation and collaboration with prestigious clients in the public sector has caught our attention. Through this investment, we will join forces with UI and offer strategic support to help them enhance their offerings and expand their influence within local government.
Daniel Mohamed, Founder & CEO of UI, expressed his excitement about the partnership at UKREiiF in Leeds. “The collaboration with Iceni will allow UI to offer integrated services that build on their award-winning PlaceMaker platform. The shared belief in the direction of digital transformation within the planning space and the commitment to supporting UI’s growth truly excites the team at Urban Intelligence”.
We are confident that this partnership will lead to extraordinary achievements and numerous opportunities for us all. As we move forward, we will keep you updated on the progress of this exciting venture.
ICENI NEWS by James Bompas, Director, Strategic Planning & Business Development
13 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
The collaboration with Iceni will allow UI to offer integrated services that build on their awardwinning PlaceMaker platform. The shared belief in the direction of digital transformation within the planning space and the commitment to supporting UI’s growth truly excites the team at Urban Intelligence”
by Mike England Director, Transport
Its 2023, and if TV, films, and literature of the past were to be believed, by now we should be travelling around by jetpack, in flying cars, by autonomous vehicles, or teleporting from one place to another in an instant. However, such things have unfortunately not materialised, and we still find ourselves largely reliant on forms of travel carried over from the last century.
DISCUSSION 14 The Yearbook 2022-23
On the surface, much like other aspects of the UK currently, the transport picture effectively looks at worst bleak and at best uncertain. Firstly, there are the widely known issues with the electric vehicle infrastructure, whereby not only are there shortfalls in the number of charging facilities across the UK, but also in the number of skilled workers able to install such facilities. Then there are the shortages in lithium supplies used in the batteries for such vehicles, with some uncertainty as to whether this can be resolved anytime soon. None of this is exactly ideal when the 2030 deadline to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans is fast approaching.
Next there’s the position with Active Travel England, whereby in June they were officially announced as a new statutory consultee, to advise on walking, wheeling, and cycling infrastructure on all future large developments, and then almost immediately had their budget cut by a reported £200 million which will no doubt restrict their full potential for promoting sustainable travel.
Then there’s the long-standing uncertainty over the Lower Thames Crossing proposed by National Highways, currently the subject of examination by PINS, but with an already identified delay to its construction should it be approved due to the scale of costs involved with such a scheme, reported to be c.£9 billion, difficult to justify when the country is struggling financially.
It’s also recently been reported during the ongoing inquiry, that the shortened Edinburgh tram project has amounted to overall costs of £835m, approximately £400m over budget for a scheme which arrived five years late and didn’t quite extend to its full potential.
There’s also the divide across many residents, businesses and local authorities created by the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone to the outer London boroughs, the PMs call for a review on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, the pause to the HS2 rail scheme, ongoing strikes by the rail unions, widespread cuts to the number of bus services across England and Scotland, the scrapping of SMART motorways, the confusion in regard to Salford’s ‘cycle’ roundabout, and the restrictions regarding the use of scooters on the highway, and not forgetting the travel
chaos experienced at many UK airports this summer as a result of technical issues with air traffic control.
So, are there any positives I hear you cry? Well, the implementation of a greater number of policies being expedited within national, regional, and local plans, to enforce more sustainable measures as part of any development, greatly helps to set a benchmark as to what needs to be done going forward.
This may not always go down well with everyone, however a radical change in mindset is needed if the UK is going to meet its housing targets, reduce traffic congestion, positively affect noise issues, as well as air quality concerns, help to improve the health and wellbeing of the country, and benefit the long-term economy. The financial balance of risk versus reward is always a challenge and hotly debated, and arguing against certain expenditure can be seen as short-sighted in contrast to the long-term benefits. The issues with decreasing budgets should however be a relatively short-term problem once the economy picks up again. It will.
The government no doubt acknowledges that it needs to act quickly if they are to meet their own commitment to climate change on net zero by 2050, which effectively includes the aim to decarbonise the entire transport system in the UK. Several government announcements made in the past year show transport to be a key component of improving matters going forward. These include an investment of £77 million to develop new zero-emission vehicle projects, as well as £47.5 million investment to improve the safety of England’s most dangerous roads. Furthermore, the governments Transport Committee continues to investigate the use of intelligent data in the transport sector to help monitor the current travel position and subsequently innovate and improve services in the future.
In terms of some examples of the transport schemes which have been delivered on the ground to great effect, there has been the opening of the Elizabeth Line as part of London’s Crossrail, the advancement of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network for public transport and active travel, the six month pilot by ScotRail for the removal of Peak Fares across the network, the continual increase of 20mph speed limits in built
Iceni Projects | The Year Book Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 15
up areas, as well as the upsurge in the safer school streets initiative, the £2 bus fare incentive, advances to cleaner fuelled delivery vehicles, along with many more additions across the country.
Furthermore, there is the advancement of softer measures such as mobility hubs, car clubs, parcel lockers, cargo bikes, autonomous delivery robots, and real-time information signs and apps. Then there are the improvements being made towards provide better connected neighbourhoods and the progression of remote and flexible working, largely fast tracked because of the pandemic of course, which has in turn attributed to reducing the daily impacts on the transport network.
What can be derived from the above is that, along with the relevant authorities, the entire development industry can massively influence and positively contribute towards addressing the issues outlined, by getting on board with initiatives already being promoted and adopted elsewhere, so as to provide much cleaner, more efficient, and fully sustainable development’s, in turn making schemes much more desirable and attractive for residents, employees, visitors, and benefitting not only the site, but also surrounding areas. This may take some time to fully materialise of course, but if we take the steps now and each contribute where we can, I believe the desired outcomes are entirely achievable. All the same, I’m still hopeful for a flying car someday soon though.
EVENTS by Isobel McGeever, Associate Planner
Yes We Cannes: MIPIM 2023
Breaking away from the tradition of hosting the Iceni Projects Pool Party at MIPIM, in 2023 we did things slightly differently by sending just two of the team to the South of France for the week.
Without the pool party to take the strain, we were rushed off our feet meeting with clients, contacts and new connections at breakfasts, brunches, lunches, sporting events(!), dinners, and seminars over the four days.
Although MIPIM can get a bad rap for its diversity, it does offer an opportunity to meet with a variety of people working within the sector to strengthen existing connections and make new ones in a relaxed environment (and the sun). We certainly enjoyed every moment and will be first on the list to be heading back!
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ICENI SUCCESS by Stuart Mills, Associate Director, Planning & Ryan Walker, Associate Planner
SEGRO Park Tottenham RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence
The award-winning scheme delivered:
Over 17,000 sqm of flexible industrial/ warehouse floorspace
A carbon neutral base build
A+ EPC rating
On 29th June 2023, Stuart Mills (Associate Director) and Ryan Walker (Associate) proudly attended the Royal Town Planning Institute ‘London Planning Awards For Excellence’ on behalf of Iceni Projects. The evening celebrated many fantastic projects, plans and planners, highlighting the positive contribution that the profession makes to the world around us and the communities we serve.
Amy Lamé, London’s Night Czar and international city strategist, had the audience captivated with her keynote speech. All attendees were set a challenge to re-imagine how we use our public and private spaces, moving away from the idea of ‘nightlife’ towards ‘life at night’, as we help our towns and cities bounce back from the pandemic.
To top the evening off, Iceni Projects were awarded ‘Best Project’ for SEGRO Park Tottenham as ‘London’s Greenest Urban Industrial Park’. Iceni carefully led the planning process from site acquisition through to practical completion of the development.
On presenting the award, the judges commented,
BREEAM Outstanding Rating of 92.7%
1,500 sqft of green walls, 132 new semi-mature trees and 890m of new hedgerows
A focus on staff welfare, including outdoor gym and innovative design features to create a high level of natural light and ventilation
Best in class Employment and Skills Plan, with genuine and lasting engagement with the local community
“SEGRO Park Tottenham is an exemplar industrial development in a complex urban setting. Collaborative engagement has been central to the success of this project and the scheme has provided significant employment and educational opportunities for local residents. The development has been carefully designed to minimise environmental impact, enhance biodiversity and promote staff welfare.”
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DERBYSHIRE NOTTINGHAMSHIRE LEICESTERSHIRE
T: 07920 751 870
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EAST SUSSEX WEST SUSSEX
M: 07715 542 474
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M: 07799 035 831
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M: 07729 040 359
Iceni Projects | The Year Book
by James Waterhouse Director, Strategic Planning
The other week a new client told me how surprised they were at our local knowledge given we’re a large consultancy based in Central London. Whilst I obviously took this as a compliment, part of me was ever so slightly frustrated. Our client was unaware of how we practice Iceni Intelligence to ensure that our local knowledge of decision taking, policy evolution and the intricacies of how policies are applied in day-to-day casework by both officers and politicians is commensurate with any locally based consultancy. We pride ourselves on providing the highest levels of commercial advice and expert insight to guide our clients to successful outcomes and new business opportunities and this goes to the heart of what we do and how we do it.
Iceni Intelligence is centred around defining a geographical area for an individual to consistently monitor, understand and practice within. Naturally, any individual will undertake projects outside of their assigned area, but we always have a Mr Essex or
a Ms Surrey to maintain a consistent awareness of Development Plan progress, political changes, Planning Committee and Cabinet decision taking, as well as planning applications on major sites in order to work with project leads across the business to inform projects.
It won’t surprise you to know that we increasingly use AI and digital platforms to aid us in providing a comprehensive picture and the quality and we are consistently working to ensure the depth and quality of Iceni Intelligence improves each year. However, digital only gets you so far and we marry this with an individual’s experience, consistent practice and curiosity to get under the skin of key issues to develop the best strategic advisors. Each area specialist is supported by the collective knowledge and expertise of the wider company, who will download the latest intelligence gleaned from their casework experiences in each District, ensuring we are aware of decisions made, the decision takers that take them and how they operate and the unique intricacies of each authority area.
ICENI NEWS Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 19
WHAT WOULD LABOUR DO?
by Paul McColgan Director, Economics
EVENTS 20 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
With an eye to getting ahead of the political curve, Iceni hosted the “What would Labour do?” breakfast seminar in March.
The well attended event saw people gather from across the political and industrial spectrum and ranged from labour party activists to even included a then conservative London mayoral candidate.
The well attended event heard three guest speakers from the party to share their thoughts on the potential shape of the party’s housing policy.
James Kilmartin, a director at public policy advisory group Flint Global kicked off the event with his insight into how policy will be developed in the period leading up to the next election. Previously James held several senior policy and communications roles for the Labour Party, including as a political advisor to the Shadow Cabinet.
James spoke of the decision making process in the Labour Party whereby a series of committees will promote policy choices before an executive decision is made at conference. The party will then move on to an election footing in 2024 (if not sooner) and much more around their policy will be revealed.
Despite the government’s claims to the opposite James was confident that the party will position itself as progrowth and it will be particularly encouraging of the development of affordable housing. A position which has subsequently been revealed.
Next to speak was Christopher Worrall, a Labour Housing Group Executive Committee Member.
Chris passionately argued the case for more housing and for central government to take a more active role in filling the planning void left by local authorities unwilling to deliver the homes needed.
The final speaker was Vanisha Solanki, a Labour Councillor and Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness in the London Borough of Redbridge. Vanisha provided an eye opening account of the scale of the homelessness crisis and the need to properly fund local authority planning teams to give them the tools to fix it.
After the presentation the discussion was opened up to the floor and views were exchanged around the likelihood of a hung parliament, reforms to the planning system and how to make homes more affordable. The general consensus to which was just build more homes!
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 21
Vanisha (Solanki) provided an eye opening account of the scale of the homelessness crisis and the need to properly fund local authority planning teams to give them the tools to fix it.. ”
The Iceni Tribe’s Run Club
Since May 2023, with the sunshine here to stay, it was time to return to the ‘Tribes Lunch Time Runs’. On a Tuesday afternoon, several members of the tribe from different teams run a 5km loop around the City of London! This has been a great activity to interact with members of the Iceni Tribe whilst enjoying the hustle of London.
As part of the ‘Tribes Lunch Time Runs’ Iceni have been linking up with Newsteer Real Estate Advisors, a real estate consultancy, who also join the 5km loop. With Newsteer’s offices located just down the road in Farringdon, it’s been an opportunity to socialise and build relationships with individuals who are in the same sphere of work.
With autumn approaching, Iceni are still keen to keep the ‘Tribes Lunch Time Runs’ underway. If you’re keen bring your running gear to the office on a Tuesday, all abilities welcome! A few members of the team are also thinking of taking part in the LandAid 10k event, a charity run event for the property industry that supports young people experiencing homelessness. The event will take place today at Regents Park, hope to see you there!
LandAid Sleepout 2023
LandAid is the property industry charity that works to end youth homelessness (age 1625) in the UK. Private and social rents rising at their fastest rates in a decade on top of wider cost of living increases has exacerbated youth homelessness in the past year. Furthermore, existing inequalities widened during the pandemic, with young people experiencing poorer mental and physical health, as well as extensive learning loss.
In early March, Iceni took part in LandAid’s Sleepout. Funds raised will go to local projects to provide accommodation, employment opportunities and wider peer to peer support for young people who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The Sleepout was held across 7 cities (London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds, and Manchester). Props to those in particular who did the event in Glasgow!
My colleagues and I were amongst 432 people who bedded down for the night at the London event, held at Printworks. It was a very cold and uncomfortable night, sleeping outside in 3°C. I slept in a sleeping
THE TRIBE by Bronte Popplewell, EIA Consultant, Impact Management
22 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
by Maeve Ryan, Senior Consultant, Impact Management THE TRIBE
bag with my head inside a cardboard box to protect it from the wind. All told, the atmosphere on the night was excellent, with tea and coffee going round, and speeches given by LandAid about the work they do.
The event saw nearly 1,300 property professionals from across the UK come together, and an incredible £677,199.22 raised. I will definitely be taking part in the 2024 event – but with a warmer hat!
Statistics on youth homelessness makes for very difficult reading:
129,000 young people experienced or were at risk of homelessness in 2021-22
24% of the youth homelessness population identifies as LGBTQ+, and are 12 times more likely to experience homelessness
72% of the population believe rough sleepers could get themselves off the street if they wanted to
Berkeley Foundation Dragon Boat Racing
Iceni were pleased to support the annual Berkeley Foundation Capital Dragon boat race last Friday, racing against 26 other teams and coming a respectable 12th!
The Foundation supports 3 great charities, AFK | Working With Disability, HomeStart and St Giles Representatives from Planning, Engagement, Transport, Heritage and Impact proudly took part. A great day for a great cause
 www.LandAid.org THE TRIBE 23 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
WE HAVE THE POWER
by Sam Griffiths Associate, Landscape
DISCUSSION 24 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
2023 has been a record breaking year for renewable energy generation. On 10th January, over 21GW of energy was produced by wind generation, amounting to half of the UK’s energy mix. Then, on 20th April, over 10GW of energy came from solar generation, the highest ever recorded in the UK.
Inspired by the continued growth of the sector and our increasing portfolio of renewable energy schemes, including several Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, we held the ‘We have the Power’ breakfast seminar in April. Based at the Ivy in Glasgow, we were delighted to be joined by Morag Watson of Scottish Renewables, Alasdair Adey of Bute Energy, and James Pateman of Pershing Consultants. Each of our speakers generously provided their insights on the challenges and opportunities facing the UK in the drive to net zero. Discussions spanned from the obstacles posed by grid capacity, to crafting an effective delivery team with clear project management at the helm. After much discussion (over a hearty breakfast) we came away excited about the potential for change, albeit daunted by the size of the challenge ahead!
THE CHALLENGE AHEAD
The government aims to increase solar energy production to 70GW by 2035. That’s an increase of 56GW, or 80%, on today’s capacity. Offshore wind generation is also set to increase. The British Energy Security Strategy sets the ambition of 50GW of generating capacity by 2030.
Solar Energy UK, the UK’s trade association representing companies in the energy sector, discovered £1.6 billion of backed-up solar investment that is blocked due to grid
delays. The hard truth is, due to the huge and continuously expanding nature of the renewable energy sector, there just isn’t enough infrastructure in place to transfer clean energy between the supply and the demand. John Pettigrew, Chief Executive of the National Grid, highlighted the scale of the challenge when he said “we will need to build about seven times as much infrastructure in the next seven or eight years than we built in the last 32”.
Currently there are over 670 renewable energy projects across the UK stuck in a queue to connect to the National Grid. With the Government being urged to fast-track a Net-Zero Homes standard by 2025 and its own flagship environmental goal of Net Zero by 2050, the requirement for faster solutions is paramount. Add to this arguments concerning the Green Belt and agricultural land classification, and the size of the challenge only seems to grow.
THE GOOD NEWS
Thankfully, in the face of grid delays and planning restrictions, our clients are working harder than ever to find the right site for the right development. We continue to work with them to minimise the planning risk by identifying the right location and scale for each project, providing planning and environmental services, and acting as a design lead to embed ‘good design’ from the outset.
As well as providing clean energy to thousands of homes, the scale of the schemes brings huge opportunity for landscape-scale enhancements, creating new ecological connections, and delivering vast gains in biodiversity. And so we remain optimistic about this exciting work and look forward to new record breaking numbers in 2024.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 25
The hard truth is, due to the huge and continuously expanding nature of the renewable energy sector, there just isn’t enough infrastructure in place to transfer clean energy between the supply and the demand. ”
by Grace Wileman, Associate, Iceni Futures THE TRIBE
Small Footprint, Big Impact – Setting out our ESG Strategy
At Iceni, we’re all about walking the walk. As a Tribe, we’re constantly working hard to minimise our impact on the environment, make a difference within the local community, and ensure we are always going above and beyond to deliver best practice. But we know that we can always do more.
That’s why this year, our staff-led Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Committee has put together Iceni’s ESG Strategy to showcase all the great work we’ve been doing to date, and to set ourselves some ambitious goals going forward. These goals include a range of commitments, such as: maintaining our Carbon Neutral company status, which we have proudly held since 2020; continuing and increasing our charitable work, through volunteering and fund raising; and working to improve the diversity of Iceni, in line with the recommendations of our Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Panel.
The first of our ESG Strategy documents will be launched this September. We are committed to reviewing the Strategy annually, with regular monitoring and data collection to ensure our reporting is fully transparent. An updated ESG Strategy, reporting on the activities that have taken place in the year to date and the progress achieved against our goals, will be published each year.
26 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
by Andrew Gale, Chief Operating Officer
We Want Your Feedback
At Iceni, we are dedicated to placing our clients at the heart of everything we do. We firmly believe that the connection between our team and our clients is paramount. Your success is intertwined with our progress.
In our continuous pursuit of delivering exceptional service and enhancing the client experience, we highly value your feedback. As part of our commitment to consistent improvement, we kindly request your participation in a short feedback questionnaire. Your valuable insights will contribute significantly to shaping our future endeavours.
We plan to conduct this questionnaire annually as an integral part of our Year Book, enabling us to monitor our progress and make informed decisions. Rest assured that every response you provide will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
Taking only around 3 minutes to complete, the feedback questionnaire can be accessed through the link opposite. Your input is immensely appreciated. Should you encounter any questions or face any issues while filling out the survey, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07875 672 061.
For those who prefer a more personalised approach, we are delighted to arrange either an in-person feedback
session or a video call at a time convenient for you. During this meeting, we will delve into various aspects of our collaboration to gather detailed feedback and ensure we fully meet your expectations.
Thank you in advance for your participation and continued support.
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS OUR FEEDBACK SURVEY HTTPS://ICENI.TYPEFORM.COM/FEEDBACK Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 27
LIFE SCIENCES WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
by Sam Griffiths Associate, Landscape & Matt Kinghan Director Economics
DISCUSSION 28 The Yearbook 2022-23
The life sciences sector is a big deal and so, keen to kick off the year with some good news, it seemed a great place to focus our attention at our first breakfast seminar of 2023.
The sector has become one of the fastest growing in the UK. The ONS reports that jobs in natural science research have increased by 16% in the last six years, compared with the total economy of 5%. Estimates are that the sector supports around a quarter of a million UK jobs, with the average GVA per employee at £104,000, over twice the UK average.
Venture capital has been a big part of the recent growth with record breaking years of investment, much of which comes from the US. High-growth UK life sciences companies secured over £1.4bn in equity investment in 2020, a year which saw a 45% increase year on year in the number of life science companies incorporated in the UK.
Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, the government released their UK Life Sciences Vision in 2021, setting a 10-year strategy for the sector. This has not been without its critics.
WHO COULD SAY NO?
Growing the life sciences sector seems like a no brainer, particularly with the headwinds of Brexit, war in Ukraine, inflation, and recession. However the UK is in short supply of lab spaces. Supply has failed to keep up with demand, threatening to put a major break on the growth opportunity at hand. Cambridge and Oxford have seen demand rise at a huge pace. Whilst there are long term plans for the expansion of lab facilities in these high
demand locations, the immediate pipeline is weak and the Green Belt can hamper delivery. Many other areas, particularly in the wider south east, also have significant aspirations for this high value sector, but face similar challenges.
A CHANGE OF SCENE
The scale of demand for space is bringing some unexpected developments. Proposals are now being developed to bring forward retail centres for lab space. This includes the Grafton Centre in Cambridge. Acquired by Trinity Investment Management in August 2022, the space could sit alongside retained retail, leisure, gym and a cinema. Similarly, Oxford’s Clarendon Centre is proposed for a mix of labs, offices, and student accommodation.
It’s not all about Oxford and Cambridge. Canary Wharf Group Kadans Science Partner have formed a joint venture to develop a new 750,000 sq ft life sciencefocused, wet lab enabled building at Canary Wharf in London. The development will be the first phase in the creation of a world leading centre for health and life sciences on the 3.3ha North Quay site. Programmed for 2026, it will be the largest commercial wet lab enabled life science building in Europe.
THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY
Partnering with Aukett Swanke to host the breakfast seminar, we were grateful to Georgina Rizik of SC1, London’s Life Science District, and Thomas Griffiths of LifeArc, who joined Tom Alexander of Aukett Swanke and Matt Kinghan of Iceni Projects to walk us through recent and emerging developments across the sector.
Having started the year as we meant to go on, we continue to advise a number of life science clients, working to secure the right site in the right place in order to continue the growth of this exciting sector.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 29
Growing the life sciences sector seems like a no brainer, particularly with the headwinds of Brexit, war in Ukraine, inflation, and recession.”
SOCIAL by Hannah Sally, Assistant Planner THE TRIBE
Joining the Iceni Tribe
I have recently graduated with BSc Environmental Geoscience from the University of Edinburgh. During my studies I gained a broad understanding of the science behind Climate Change and the implications we are facing today and those yet to come. Therefore, I understand that mitigation measures to reduce our carbon footprint are more important now than ever.
The role of urban planning in addressing the climate crisis was not necessarily something my studies had touched on. Having little knowledge of planning, I was initially introduced to the planning world through work experience in both Iceni’s Edinburgh and Glasgow offices. During this time, I became familiar with Local Development Plans, EIA process, and site appraisals.
This marked a significant time for both Team Scotland and I as they became familiar with the new National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) that had just been adopted in February. This was a key challenge for the team in adjusting to the change in direction of the Planning System in Scotland. Whilst getting to grips with how Local Planning Authorities are interpreting these changes, there still proves to be some uncertainty around key topics such as housing numbers. However, my introduction to planning under NPF4 and the emphasis this has on Climate Change and Biodiversity was my initial connection with planning which intrigued me to pursue this further.
After finishing my undergraduate course, I’ve had the opportunity to return to the Glasgow office for a summer internship. During this time, I have gained valuable experience and deepened my knowledge of the planning system. The team introduced me to several exciting projects such as the regeneration of the Govan Graving Docks and the St Enoch redevelopment. I have had the opportunity to go on site visits and to attend various public consultation events where I have gained a better understanding on the importance of engaging with stakeholders and the wider public.
30 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
Just two weeks into my internship, I attended my first Iceni social at the London Summer Day Out. This was a great introduction to meet everyone within the wider Iceni Tribe and get to know the team over a beanbag race and a drink (or two). My experience at Iceni has been welcoming and inspiring in their approach to introduce me to planning and the enthusiasm shown throughout. Coming to the end of my internship and reflecting back on the time I’ve spent with Iceni, I’m grateful to have been given the chance to explore the world of planning and the opportunities this career path brings. I can’t thank everyone enough!
BUT, Team Scotland aren’t getting rid of me that easily. I’m delighted to officially be joining The Tribe and starting the role of Assistant Planner in Glasgow whilst studying MSc City Planning part time at the University of Glasgow. I’m excited to begin this journey to broaden my knowledge and experience working on various projects and further exploring my career in planning.
The Tribe Alumni
Here at Iceni we like to think of ourselves as part of a tribe – although we all work in different disciplines, sit in offices across the UK or heaven forbid…follow teams other than West Ham; at the end of the day we are still all Iceni.
And this idea of all being part of a tribe started in 2005 when our CEO Ian Anderson had the bright idea of quitting a perfectly sensible job and starting out on his own. Ian wanted to build a company of like minded professionals, willing to look at alternatives and challenge the accepted norm of the planning world. Over time, the tribe has grown to over 100 people in offices across the country and we are more than just a planning consultancy.
As with all tribes, we have welcomed many new members over the years and sadly bid farewell as others have left. But we are a friendly bunch and many still keep in touch and meet up for the occasional drink or coffee.
If you would like to get in touch or keep up with the future news from the tribe, simply email email@example.com. You can also sign up for our regular Wednesday emails to see what the tribe is thinking about each week.
Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
SOCIAL by Sandy Scott, Senior Planner THE TRIBE
THE CLYDE MISSION A ‘NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT’ FOR SCOTLAND
by Lyndsay MacLeod Planner, Scotland Planning
32 The Yearbook 2022-23
Scotland’s Fourth National Planning Framework (‘NPF4’) was adopted in February 2023, and sets out a National Spatial Strategy for Scotland 2045 and 33 National Planning Policies.
Following its adoption in February 2023, NPF4 now forms part of the statutory Development Plan, alongside the Local Development Plan (“the LDP”). As part of the statutory Development Plan, all planning applications (including in some cases retrospectively) are to be assessed against the adopted NPF4 Spatial Strategy and relevant policy requirements. This includes all live planning applications and even those at appeal.
The ‘National Spatial Strategy for Scotland 2045’ outlines 6 spatial principles which play a key role in delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also designates 18 ‘National Developments’ to support the delivery of the Spatial Strategy. The National Developments vary in scale, from single large-scale projects to smaller scale projects that are collectively ‘nationally significant’. Their ‘designation’ means that the principle of development does not need to be agreed in later consenting processes.
One of the designated National Developments is the ‘Clyde Mission’ - an overarching regeneration initiative for the River Clyde corridor. The Clyde Mission is centred along the River Clyde from South Lanarkshire in the east to Inverclyde and Argyll and Bute in the west, focusing on the river and land immediately next to it (‘up to around 500 metres from the river’).
Importantly, the ‘Clyde Mission’ provides land use support in principle for a range of development
(including mixed use, brownfield redevelopment and active travel infrastructure) within 500m of the river’s edge that would otherwise be of a scale or type that is classified as ‘Major’ by The Town and Country Planning (Hierarchy of Developments) (Scotland) Regulations 2009. It is envisioned that the designation will generate much needed development along the River Clyde, bringing brownfield sites back into active use.
Within the Iceni Glasgow office, a significant amount of our project work is located within the geographic boundaries of the ‘Clyde Mission’.
This geographic boundary incorporated a major application on behalf of our client, Sovereign Centros, at the St. Enoch Centre, Glasgow. Whilst the National Development designation provided planning support in principle for the mixed-use St Enoch scheme, it also introduced a procedural change in the determination of the application. In Glasgow City Council’s approved Scheme of Delegation, criteria are set out to determine which administrative matters can be delegated to chief officers, and which matters need to be referred to committees.
The St Enoch application was previously deemed a ‘delegated decision’, as although a ‘Major’ development, the proposal did not attract sufficient objections. However, following the adoption of NPF4, the St Enoch proposal was now considered ‘National Development’ and as such, the PPiP was to be presented to Planning Application Committee. The application was presented to Committee on 30th May 2023 and received unanimous support and granted PPiP subject to conditions on 1st June 2023.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 33
It is envisioned that the designation will generate much needed development along the River Clyde, bringing brownfield sites back into active use. ”
Prior to the St Enoch decision, the matter of Clyde Mission and ‘National Development’ status arose when a Major planning application for flatted residential development in Glasgow’s West End was subject to an appeal against non-determination. We submitted the application on behalf of our client, Nevis Properties before the adoption of NPF4 and due to the failure of Glasgow City Council to determine the application, it was subsequently appealed to the Scottish Ministers.
During the determination of the appeal, NPF4 was adopted and the Reporter was then required to consider this as part of the Development Plan. The appeal site was within the Clyde Mission geographic boundary, therefore the Reporter considered the proposal to have ‘National Development’ status in NPF4 and the general principle of the development was thus established in the development plan. The Reporter allowed the appeal and granted planning permission (subject to conditions). This appeal decision was amongst the first decisions following the adoption of NPF4.
Whilst National Development status could impact the determination of applications, it also confirms the general principle of certain development and thus support is established in the development plan. This is a significant change to the development plan assessment and could lend future support to re-development along the River Clyde.
We look forward to advising clients on future opportunities and seeing much-needed transformative proposals come forward as part of the Clyde Mission.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 34
Creating a Second Life for Grade II* Listed Buildings
In last years Yearbook I wrote about our success at appeal for the conversion of Hayes Park North from office to residential. Off the back of this success, Iceni Planning, Engagement and Heritage and Townscape Teams have been working alongside Studio Egret West Architects on behalf of Marson Property to convert the two listed Hayes Park buildings from office to residential.
The team worked closely with planning, design and conservation officers at the London Borough of Hillingdon. The pre-application process was very involved. With such a unique site, everyone was very keen to understand the details, and as such we coordinate many site visits with the Council, as well as with Historic England.
One of the first issues to overcome with the Council was whether or not the proposed residential use was the optimum viable use for the site. Iceni Planning prepared a detailed policy note, which considered all potential alternative uses to show how the residential use was the only viable use for the site. This note and discussion around this matter took place during the pre-app and as such we got agreement early on from the Council that the residential use was indeed the optimum viable use.
As the buildings are important heritage assets, the design and layout of the proposed residential use has
been an important consideration. It has been important for the team to balance the need to respect the heritage of the building with the need to provide high-quality living environments. SEW have designed a number of unique features into the proposal to make the design work, including scissor flats which increase dual aspect and improve daylight and sunlight levels, communal lobbies used as workspaces, a new central courtyard in Hayes Park Central, and carefully curated landscape features to create private amenity spaces.
The application was submitted in June 2023 and is currently being considered by LB Hillingdon.
ICENI NEWS by Ashleigh Cook, Associate Planner
35 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT PLANNING SUPPORTS MENTAL WELL-BEING?
by Charlotte Tate Senior Planner
DISCUSSION 36 The Yearbook 2022-23
Nearly 2 and a half years after the publication of the RTPI’s Mental Health and Town Planning Practice Advice there has been little traction on the inclusion of mental health considerations in planning. As we continue to increase our engagement with the built environment postpandemic, converting this dialogue into action is critical.
The importance of considering mental health in planning is borne from the proven effect that the built environment has upon our bodies. By adding elements of sensory complexity to our environs through excessive noise, harsh forms, and imposing buildings, our surroundings can impact our daily lives, often without realisation. The amygdala, which is the part of the brain that responds to emotional events, especially threatening ones, shows increased activity in individuals who live in urban environments when compared to those who live in rural areas.
So, what can be done to reduce these negative effects? To further the advice of the RTPI; the built environment needs to ensure it is green, active, safe and pro-social.
Increasing greenery has been proven to lower stress, reduce risks of psychiatric disorder, and stimulate healthy cognitive reactions. Even in small doses, greenery can contribute to the biophilic affect, boosting our mental health through our innate emotional connection to nature.
An active built environment can continue to be encouraged through greater promotion of active
modes of transportation. Particular emphasis should be placed on commuters who currently spend 4-10% of their awake time travelling. If active commuting is encouraged it can help to improve ones overall mood and create a sense of achievement, relaxation or release from daily stress. Active travellers tend to be less dissatisfied with their commute or actually enjoy their journey compared to users of public transport who complain about delays which results in stress as well as boredom.
A safe and pro-social neighbourhood can be encouraged through community building, which can in turn be supported by urban design interventions. A simple example is the encouragement of active frontages, providing natural surveillance to increase feelings of safety. For residential developments, semiprivate front gardens allow for residents to maintain a sense of security whilst allowing for social interaction. In the words of planning hero, Jane Jacobs, “people support city life, they give back grace and delight to their neighbourhoods”.
Iceni recently received planning permission for Barkingside Yard in Redbridge on behalf of Vistry Partnerships, alongside affordable homes the scheme increased natural surveillance for users of the adjacent listed station, is car-free and provides additional greenery in the form of community allotments.
Iceni Projects | The Year Book
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 37
The amygdala, which is the part of the brain that responds to emotional events, especially threatening ones, shows increased activity in individuals who live in urban environments when compared to those who live in rural areas.”
by Rabeka Begum, Assistant Planner THE TRIBE
An Inclusive Workplace
Starting a new job is always an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. As a new graduate of July 2022, with a few months of experience working in a school up my sleeve, I was ready to embrace new opportunities that complimented my degree in Human Geography. My journey commenced with a sense of anticipation and eagerness to absorb knowledge and grow both personally and professionally.
The process of finding a job after graduation can be monotonous and for many graduates it is a stage of uncertainty and discovery. I was introduced to Iceni’s work experience programme through the career’s advisor at the school. I was uncertain about the value of doing work experience at first, but after a week at Iceni learning about various teams, including strategic planning, transport, environment, engagement, and sustainability I was grateful to have been introduced to Iceni and its members in this welcoming and informative way.
I was introduced to the RTPI apprenticeship programme at the end of the work experience as an opportunity to continue to learn further about key areas of planning including sustainable development, planning law and stakeholder engagement. The RTPI apprenticeship programme sparked my interest as I would be able to work alongside experienced professionals to learn in-demand skills, achieve a RTPI accredited post graduate qualification and become a Chartered Town Planner. These benefits appealed to me as a way of starting a new career that would allow me to impact communities and contribute towards shaping the future whilst providing me with the necessary building blocks for my professional development.
My interest to pursue a career at Iceni was supported despite not having a town planning background, and I was granted an opportunity to work full time until I start my part-time masters with Iceni and the University of Westminster, to study Urban and Regional Planning
38 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
(RTPI Apprenticeship). This unconventional route of joining Iceni was ideal for me knowing that I will be able to work whilst studying and aim towards obtaining my masters, a chartership and lifelong experience. I look forward to the apprenticeship scheme and applying the practical experiences and project work to my studies.
As I begin to learn more about town planning, I am encouraged to advance in my work, which contributes towards elevating my professional development. Being able to progress professionally as a valued member of the Iceni tribe has allowed me to express myself as an individual in such a short period of time. A crucial component to my personal identity is through religious expression, and I firmly believe that fostering an environment that acknowledges and respects these beliefs is essential.
As a Muslim, prayer is a very important aspect in Islam. On welcoming me into the Tribe, this also kick-started the initiative to introduce a faith and well-being prayer room to encourage inclusivity and cultural respect for employees of diverse religious backgrounds. The development of the well-being and prayer room was an ongoing collaborative endeavour. Iceni solicited input and suggestions to ensure that it catered to specific requirements. There was an openness to learn more about my faith and practices, which I appreciated as I come to realise that just as I am learning to adapt
to change, companies like Iceni are adapting to differences too.
Since the introduction of the well-being and prayer room, it has fostered an environment of inclusivity, where employees can feel appreciated and respected for their beliefs. A private respected space that has provided a dedicated space to practice my faith during the workday, helps me to maintain a work-life balance. The prayer room has become a symbol of unity, where everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs, can find solace.
Starting the apprenticeship position in Iceni has not only opened doors for personal growth and professional development where I am supported to progress in my career but has also allowed me to play a role in shaping a more inclusive and culturally sensitive workplace environment. It is my hope that more workplaces embrace the importance of religious accommodation and invest in creating spaces that foster inclusivity and respect for all and for opportunities like the apprenticeship scheme to be available for those looking to professionally development and be supported to continue further studies. I would like to give a special thank you to Ashleigh Cook, John Mumby, Madi Moraru and Andrew Gale for supporting me throughout this process and with my Apprenticeship scheme. I am eager to continue learning and shaping the environment around me.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 39
PEOPLE AS INFRASTRUCTURE
by Paul Drew Director, Design
If people are not only to be considered an end state for infrastructure need, they could also be a baseline resource like power and water. Indeed, people are a basic infrastructure reserve often overlooked.”
DISCUSSION The Yearbook 2022-23 40
Much of masterplanning is about getting the infrastructure right. In our role at Iceni, we ensure technical matters are addressed in an integrated way, so the finished places service people well. This approach includes solving issues such as “is there enough power in our cables”, “where does the wastewater go” or “is the bus service viable”. But cycles of infrastructural need are not the only design requirement. Creating places for communities must also be about improving well-being and delighting those that experience them, whether they live, work or visit a place. After all, people are the reason there’s an infrastructure need.
We therefore welcome the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) for including Placemaking as part of its toolkit. In Design Principles for National Infrastructure , the NIC go beyond the obvious remit of infrastructure such as transport, energy, waste, digital, water and environment. On ‘Place’, the report suggests looking for opportunities to use infrastructure to benefit the natural and built environment, sustaining local ecosystems and supporting local plans for growth and investment.
It also requires learning “from local people and organisations to ensure its design complements the local character and culture and supports its ecology, creating places that people can be proud of”.
The logic can be taken a step further. If people are not only to be considered an end state for infrastructure need, they could also be a baseline resource like power and water. Indeed, people are a basic infrastructure reserve often overlooked. Iceni placemaking parameters stretch from socioeconomic need to the cultural significance of a place including its heritage, to defining the right mix of uses or shaping a bike path that is good for kids. The outcome can lead to a loop, from people, to process, to technology then back to people again.
The NIC focus on the major challenges of the future and how the infrastructure engine is regulated and funded. So, does adding people to infrastructure increase the cost burden? In this context, it would be useful for the Government to consider the cost benefit of putting people at the resource end of the equation, as the engine as well as the haulage.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 41
PLANNING FOR WAREHOUSING IN A POST-COVID WORLD
by Matt Kinghan Director, Economics
DISCUSSION 42 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
In January 2021 internet sales as a percentage of all retail peaked at 37.8%. By spring 2023 it had fallen back down to 25% . This trend reversal has led some commentators to suggest that warehousing demand is falling –but the reality is far from the case.
Research by Iceni on behalf of the South East Midlands Local Economic Partnership (SEMLEP) has found that there could be a need for up to double the existing warehousing space over the next 20 years, even after taking into account for recycling of some existing stock. Areas such as the Midlands, that host major motorway routes, are likely to see ongoing significant demand for spaces.
The need for new warehousing is driven by a number of factors. In part there is a significant backlog of occupiers seeking space due to continuing low vacancy rates. There is also a need to replace old stock, which may not have the sustainability credentials, height, scale and access to power and road networks that many modern occupiers require.
In terms of sectors, whilst e-commerce growth has slowed, it still remains significantly above the pre pandemic position. This is an important driver of demand alongside the need to support new industries such as green tech, manufacturing on-shoring and modular construction.
So how can we ensure that we are properly planning for warehousing? The consultation on changes to the NPPF has focused on changes to the way in which housing need may be calculated. As a result, 26 local
authorities (at last count) have paused or delayed their local plans. But this doesn’t just affect housebuilding, it means that planning for employment space including warehousing gets put on hold. With national economic headwinds and high inflation – that make building anything increasingly costly – further delays will be hampering economic growth.
Research released by Prologis in May 2023 found that the logistics and supply chain sector in the UK employs over 2 million people (approximately 7% of the national workforce); that employees within the logistics and supply chain sector are earning above the median average salary across industries; and 66% of logistics employees stating that they ‘love’ their chosen career.
In terms of the skill sets in the sector, Iceni’s SEMLEP work found that in 2021, 65% of logistics job postings accounted for technical roles (i.e. non-drivers and handlers/warehouse associates) with a focus on project managers, sales managers, supply chain analysts and software developer/engineers.
Iceni is involved with a series of major industry studies related to warehousing demand around the UK. We provide objective, robust, reliable evidence and insights to support plan-making and development proposals. Get in touch to discuss your project queries.
 Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales (ratio) (%) - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
 https://www.prologis.co.uk/sites/uk/files/documents/2023/05/Prologis%20 Labour%20Report%202023.pdf
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 43
ICENI SUCCESS by Tim Fleming, Senior Planner
Converting St Mary Abchurch House
Iceni Planning and Heritage have been advising GMS Estates on St Mary Abchurch House since 2020, exploring alternative uses for this vacant grade II office building to secure its longterm viable future.
The building is located on Cannon Street and was originally constructed in 1895. It has sustained long periods of vacancy since 2018, primarily due to its compartmentalised layout which no longer meets modern day market requirements for open plan office spaces.
A range of options were considered by the design team, and it was determined that the building’s most viable long-term use is to convert it to serviced apartments. This use required the least interventions to the existing floor plates and would deliver much needed short stay accommodation within the heart of London.
We were tasked with navigating the City of London’s challenging loss of office policy and marketing requirements. This included engagement with officers and councillors, who accepted that office use is no longer viable, and that a serviced apartment use would be appropriate for the site.
The application was submitted in late 2022 and was approved under delegated authority in May 2023.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 44
by James Bompas, Director, Business Development
The Lowdown from UKREiiF 2023
Iceni made its way to the UKREiiF gathering in May 2023 – quite the occasion, I must say! Despite the headwinds the industry’s been facing, the event turned out to be a delightful breath of fresh air. There was a natural camaraderie between the public and private sectors, both nodding in agreement at the shared challenges. The turnout from folks in the sector was smashing! The event was a well-oiled machine, giving Leeds a grand chance to strut its stuff to newcomers. The lineup of activities, both at the main event and on the fringes, was a proper treat. And let’s not forget, the good ol’ face-to-face chitchat, something we’ve all been craving after that COVID.
Iceni didn’t just turn up – oh no, we had our very own shindig! A breakfast seminar with a catchy title: “The digital key to the door: How to unlock the potential of the planning system.” We had some sharp minds on the mic, like Daniel Mohamed, Urban Intelligence’s Big Cheese; Ian MacLeod, the brain behind Inclusive Growth at Birmingham City Council; Louise Sloan, Assistant Planning Guru at Newcastle City Council; and last but not least, Ryan Walker, our very own Associate Planner, Planning & Engagement at Iceni Projects.
Now, imagine this: they had a proper chinwag about the digital planning scene. They got grilled about their
experiences as early-tech trailblazers. And hey, here’s a juicy nugget for you – the RTPI folks recently let loose some numbers: a quarter of planners packed their bags between 2013-2020, and a whopping 82% of Local Authorities were crying about recruitment troubles in the past year. It’s a bit of a gloomy picture, I won’t lie.
Ryan Walker took the stage to tell a familiar tale. Loads of Local Authorities sweated buckets churning out Local Plans, only to stumble at the finish line. The culprit? Their own Elected Members, not feeling the mojo to take charge. But, hold on tight – Ryan had a cracking idea. If we whip out our digital tools and use fancy dynamic data to juggle multiple options all at once, we might just save the day. It’s not just about pinching pennies, it’s about investing wisely in engagement to dodge those fatal fumbles and smooth out the bumps.
Oh, and guess what? We’re all revved up for the 2024 UKREiiF bash! Word on the street is there’ll be a whopping 10,000 folks joining the fun. We’re rolling out our bikes again, cycling from London to Leeds, and for extra fun, we’re throwing in a pedal-pushing adventure from Glasgow to Leeds – around 250 miles, give or take. And here’s the cherry on top – you lovely lot who join us get a special deal on those UKREiiF passes. So, mark your calendars and get ready for a jolly good time!
EVENTS 45 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
HOW TO GROW A FOOD BUSINESS ON SABBATICAL
by Gregg Boyd Associate, Economics
THE TRIBE 46 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
A sabbatical is defined as a period of leave from work in order to study or travel. Typically, it involves a trip around South America or through Asia to learn about different cultures, try new food and meet new people. An opportunity to escape the routine and the hard work for a little while away from the desk.
In 2022, I decided I would take a six-month sabbatical - but rather than head for Phuket, I took a trip to Walthamstow to open up a pop-up restaurant. Instead of learning about new cultures and food, I shared mine. Instead of meeting new people on the beach, I was meeting new customers. I finished my last five year land supply report and started on writing a menu overnight.
However, this wasn’t an overnight decision. It was during the second wave of lockdowns in 2021, I decided to finally turn my hobby into something more serious. It’s an idea I first had around 10 years ago when I was growing up in Glasgow: to start a Scottish food business. It took a worldwide pandemic to force my hand – no pubs, no events and limited interaction – but better late than never.
I came up with the name Auld Hag. A play on words drawn from the folklore surrounding haggis: a mythical creature that’s caught for Burns Night – so we mashed up a haggis with an old Scottish granny for our logo. The business started small. I set up an Instagram for orders, cooked the food in my flat and delivered it in a rucksack to people’s front doors. In April 2021 when outdoor socialising resumed, we bought a gazebo and some cooking kit and joined a farmers’ market. By the end of 2021, we were attending two farmers’ markets and had racked up a number of pop-up events and followers.
In 2022, it all got a bit more serious. One day whilst trading at one of the markets we were approached by someone from the Scottish Government who asked us if we wanted to be the caterer for Scotland House in Blackfriars. Around a week later, we were offered a six-month restaurant residency in Walthamstow. Those opportunities don’t come around too often so with the backing of Iceni in September 2022, I took a sabbatical, hung up the navy suit and donned the apron but I didn’t quite get a chance to escape the hard work or the spreadsheets.
The sabbatical allowed me to become a business owner and understand the true extent of all that goes into running a business. I created menus, built relationships with customers, cooked for some important people, met suppliers from all over Scotland, secured features and wrote recipes for the press, bid for new opportunities, managed accounts and orders and built my business plan. I even cooked for the Iceni Christmas Party. I couldn’t help but feel like 7 years of the skills gained in planning had set me in good stead for the food game and business world in general – there’s a surprising amount of crossover.
Over the period from September to March, I realised that there was more to it with the business – it began to evolve naturally. Through the relationships that we’d forged with our suppliers and other small producers across Scotland from chocolate makers to coffee roasters to fish smokers, it was clear that either no one else seemed to know they existed down here, or no one could access them. There was a need to fill the gap; a need to support these suppliers and show the people of London and beyond what Scottish food and drink is all about.
And so came the end of the sabbatical, but the story continues. In September 2023, I will open London’s first Scottish café-deli - the Shoap in Angel, Islington - only a 15-minute walk from Iceni’s London office. So, I guess the point is I’m never far away from planning – no, not the walk; our first site in a conservation area and I need help with the advertisement consent! Conflict check?
Instead of meeting new people on the beach, I was meeting new customers.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 47
I finished my last five year land supply report and started on writing a menu overnight.”
by Nick Ireland Director, Economics
The number of electric cars on UK roads is growing – reaching 840,000 in July 2023 with EVs making up around 16% of new car sales. Like many other industries the transition to net zero is gathering pace and being driven by legislation: the UK Government has set a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, with the EU setting a date of 2035 across Europe.
Cities are introducing and expanding Low Emission Zones, as we have seen with ULEZ by London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan. The tightening over time of what constitutes a ‘compliant vehicle’ seems likely. Then employers, including Iceni, are introducing tax efficient electric car schemes – supporting their ESG commitments.
This provided the context for a planning application for delivery of the West Midlands Gigafactory on the current site of Coventry Airport. The proposals for a 5.7 million sq.ft facility would be the largest individual manufacturing plant in the UK. We at Iceni advised Warwick District Council on the economic justification, impacts and VSC case.
It was controversial as its fully within the Green Belt and would see the current airport use extinguished. Local aviators were up in arms. The Council needed to consider whether Very Special Circumstances existed.
So what did we find; and what does the transition to net zero mean for the UK automotive industry? Well there are significant opportunities but also existential risks. The Brexit deal, signed in December 2020, requires that from Jan 2024, 45% of the EV’s value needs to be produced in the UK; rising to 55% in 2027. For batteries specifically, the proportion of the battery cell produced in the UK rises to 50% in 2024 and 65% in 2027; with the figures for the battery pack set at 60% and 70% respectively. If these EU ‘Rules of Origin’ are not met, a punitive 10% import tariff to the EU would apply. In effect this means that if we’re not massproducing batteries in the UK, were not going to be mass producing cars for much longer.
UK battery production capacity today is around 3 Gigawatt hours (GWh) per annum. But the Government’s Faraday Institute forecasts we will need 140 GWh production capacity by 2040. The race is on to deliver this.
DISCUSSION Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 48
For the planners amongst us, the VSC case is evidently strong: if we’re not investing in battery production capacity now, our automotive industry could be significantly damaged and we might not be mass producing cars in the UK for much longer. Locally, the West Midlands is the right place - the heart not just of automotive manufacturing, but R&D. The site itself also had other advantages in terms of potential power network capacity and labour supply over alternatives. 6000+ jobs could be created. Planning permission was duly granted, informed by our report.
Where are we now? Well, the problem with gigafactories is the massive upfront investment required to bring them forwards. Government appears to have baulked at the cost of funding one at Blyth in Northumberland, with British Volt then falling into administration. Tata Group has however recently committed support to deliver a £4bn Gigafactory in Somerset – some positive news. But we likely need more capacity, to support the future production of electric cars and wider uses of battery storage. Ultimately, if it is to achieve its own climate and industrial strategy commitments, its time for the Government to put its money where its mouth is.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 49
For the planners amongst us, the VSC case is evidently strong: if we’re not investing in battery production capacity now, our automotive industry could be significantly damaged and we might not be mass producing cars in the UK for much longer.”
CREATING MEANINGFUL SOCIAL VALUE ON OUR PROJECTS
by Gemma Gallant Director, Engagement & Place
Iceni Projects | The Year Book
DISCUSSION 50 Yearbook 2022-23
At Iceni we are passionate about creating a positive impact for the communities we are working within. In the Engagement and Place team, we really get under the skin of communities to understand their specific challenges and priorities, and our masters of data in the Socioeconomics team support us by digging deep into statistics and identifying trends.
Harnessing the combination of desk-based expertise and on-the-ground insight means we are uniquely placed to offer a comprehensive social value service with an overarching economics, place and community offer. We ensure that the initiatives put into place take the community’s priorities into account and really address local need. This means that we not only raise our clients’ profiles with key partners and the community, but crucially we also provide targeted, meaningful local benefits that residents value for themselves.
A community who are going to be directly affected by a new development need to see the benefits to them as individuals, otherwise the statistics will be meaningless to them. Using social value to improve the lives of those residents is an opportunity we should not miss and a key priority for us. It takes a little more time to work through, but the difference we can make is huge.
DOING THE RIGHT THING – ICENI’S APPROACH TO SOCIAL VALUE
By considering social value in the decisions we take as a business - including the way we operate, employ staff, engage with communities and procure products and services - we believe we are helping to cultivate a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive society. Everymone in Iceni has a role to play in social value, and in playing their part is helping to build a better legacy for our clients and for ourselves.
Our approach for next year is built around three pillars which underpin our purpose and are interwoven through Iceni’s DNA:
Promoting fairness and embracing difference
Inspiring the future generation
Creating sustainable communities
Stay tuned to find out how we continue to build our impact in these areas.
£4,500 RAISED FOR LANDAID
32 HOURS OF VOLUNTEERING
15 RTPI OUTREACH PLACEMENTS
9 ICENI ACADEMY PLACEMENTS
9 MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE COMPLETED THE LANDAID SLEEPOUT
3 WORK EXPERIENCE PLACEMENTS
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 51
22 YEARS OF HURT
by Ian Anderson Chief Executive
So have you calmed down yet? Have you finished kicking the bins, throwing pizza at the TV, and blaming incompetent officials for having no idea?
I am, of course, talking about the Government’s various decrees and announcements regarding further proposed changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill (LURB), headlined by proposals to put communities at the heart of the planning system. For those of us that have tried to navigate the system for decades, this all feels increasingly like a recurring bad dream that we never wake up from.
But it’s important to get some perspective.
First and foremost, positive planning reform and the housebuilding industry have seemingly been made a scapegoat to appease a fractious and splintering parliamentary Conservative party. The Prime Minister and his Secretary of State clearly feel there are bigger fish left to fry during this parliamentary cycle than the housing crisis. We may not like it, but that is politics. The Conservatives are intent on staying in power for as long as possible, and Brexit remains the big ideological project to grapple with before the next general election. To do so requires
appeasement of the back benches. LURB was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It would also be right to state that the recent announcements are by no means the first time that a Government has sought to balance the seemingly impossible task of delivering more housing whilst also limiting the release of greenfield land. I still go back to the year 2000 and the release of PPG3 Housing as the point where the housing crisis first properly took seed. And some of the criticism of the guidance note at the turn of the century looks remarkably prescient: warnings of a greenfield moratorium, an inability for authorities in the South East to meet their housing needs and a major reduction in the flow forward of housing land and the falling away of building rates were all identified, together with reminders that strategic housing targets over prior decades had only ever been achieved by using large greenfield sites. What wasn’t anticipated was the sheer increase in house prices and the affordability gap – or homelessness, for that matter. It’s worth reminding ourselves that PPG3, which triggered much of the subsequent planning reforms of the noughties, was introduced by a Labour Government that had a huge parliamentary majority, and was riding the wave of a Cool Britannia economic boom at the time, so this isn’t simply about partisan politics.
DISCUSSION Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 52
What the proposed amendments to LURB do now magnify is the importance of leadership at a local level, as by definition, the Government is abdicating/delegating responsibility (depending upon your point of view) to local politicians. So you can have Conservative MP Jackie DoylePrice standing in the House of Commons two days after the LURB amendments were publicised to confirm that Thurrock embraces its obligations to build new homes, requesting assistance to speed up the process for delivering infrastructure, and being congratulated by the PM for doing so. You can have a local authority like Canterbury progressing a Local Plan that represents one of the most sophisticated and detailed planning documents produced, that takes a longterm, infrastructure-led approach to development, and bold and courageous leadership from councillors and officers. There are multiple examples where this is not being followed, but my point is that the amendments to LURB do not in all instances need to be the death knell on housing delivery.
Moreover, as long as I have lamented the consequences of PPG3, I have equally had cause to challenge the strategic land promotion and house building industry on their record in demonstrating that they are not to blame for the housing crisis. Spoiler
alert; I genuinely, sincerely, and passionately do not believe that land promoters and housebuilders are responsible, so why do some politicians continue to get away with casting aspersions that they do not provide infrastructure as part of their developments, that they land bank, throttle housing delivery, build the wrong homes in the wrong places, and are disinterested in design and quality?
Ultimately it is down to the development industry to change this mindset. And change has to start in schools, colleges and universities, because it is the first time voters in January 2025 that need to be convinced that only by properly planning for development will sustainable, well-balanced communities be created, that will improve their life chances and standard of living. Their parents are part of a generation that were told by politicians that brownfield sites would deliver their housing needs, which has palpably proven not to be the case, even if the public realm has been (in some instances) comprehensively improved. We need developers to demonstrate the benefits, and we need our young people to change the debate. Otherwise, we can anticipate many more years of hurt, and we’ve had enough of that already.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 53
The Prime Minister and his Secretary of State clearly feel there are bigger fish left to fry during this parliamentary cycle than the housing crisis. We may not like it, but that is politics.”
BUILT HERITAGE AND TOWNSCAPE – AN ARCHITECT’S VIEW
by Nick Walker Director, Built Heritage & Townscape
As a new member of Iceni Project’s Built Heritage and Townscape team in Scotland, I have been catching up with contacts made over many years of working as an architect in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Together we have been discussing our cities and their development, and our attitudes towards heritage and a changing townscape. These conversations have also given me the opportunity to describe our expertise, particularly north of the border, where our Built Heritage and Townscape consultancy is new.
So, what do Built Heritage and Townscape consultants bring to the table in terms of the design and construction of our built environment? We provide advice on the historic and built environment at all stages, from project inception to completion. As an architect, I have first-hand experience of trying to do everything all at once. As a result, I have been spending time telling my architectural peers that Built Heritage and Townscape consultants are here to help! Our aim is to get the best possible results for our clients and stakeholders, giving realistic and pragmatic guidance in relation to development, that will stand the test of time and help achieve consensus.
How new development can appropriately contribute to the existing urban fabric is an exciting aspect of
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 54
Retrofit has a vital part to play in our sustainable future and we are experts on advising architects how they can adapt, extend and reuse existing buildings of significance, or buildings within sensitive areas.”
how our cities and places evolve, becoming part of the future townscape. We work alongside architects, clients, and the whole design team to ensure proposals are contextually appropriate, while also adding value to the site. Townscape is a specialism within its own right, but by its nature benefits from an understanding of the layering of heritage.
Key to any successful planning application process is an understanding of context and place. How proposals fit into the townscape of our cities, how they bring new contemporary development to streets within our conservation areas, and how they respond to the many listed buildings and scheduled monuments, is a measure of their success. We are equally at home in more rural settings and provide advice ranging from the extension of listed mills, through to the impact on heritage assets related to proposed new solar farms.
Appointed early within the design process, we can offer advice on how to maximise the potential of sites, working with sensitive historic contexts to build for the future. We are pro-development and interested in supporting our clients and consultants in delivering new buildings and of increasing relevance, reusing existing buildings. Retrofit has a vital part to play in our sustainable future and we are experts on advising architects how they can adapt,
extend and reuse existing buildings of significance, or buildings within sensitive areas.
We are not conservative in our attitudes, indeed, many of my colleagues have an interest in tall buildings and how these are to be built within our cities! With good knowledge of how to successfully design for our Scottish cities, I am hoping to bring something extra and complimentary to our Built Heritage and Townscape team’s considerable existing expertise on both sides of the border.
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 55
by Jim Jaulim, Director, Impact Management
The fourth year of the Iceni Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (‘EDI’) Panel has seen a shift in focus of our objectives from goal setting to delivery of an action plan. With a focus on improving our internal practices, operations and attitudes, we have made great strides in embedding our thinking across the company. All of this is undertaken through the lens of our 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 key change we have made has been to set up a Neurodiversity and Neurodivergent task force with the specific intention of reviewing our current practices against recommended guidance. Using research within a Neurodiversity in Business and Birkbeck University of London Report as a starting point, we are now seeking to make changes and adjustments within our offices and practices to ensure those with visible and hidden conditions can be supported.
This September we are also welcoming Priya Shah of BAME in Property in to provide a ‘lunch and learn’ on EDI with a particular focus on diversity in the property industry, and a training workshop on race and microaggression. This follows on from our successful training regarding unconscious bias
A key thing we have acknowledged is that there are currently lots of gaps in our practices and improvements that can be made. We are not shying away from this and will continue to prioritise positive change within the company. We have full support of the Iceni Board when it comes to the recommendations for improvement that we have made, and hope to continue a year of delivery into next year.
THE TRIBE Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 56
by Philippa Curran, Director, Engagement & Place, and John Mumby, Director, Planning
Generating Partnerships and Powering Growth for our Town Centres
The challenge with town centre assets remains. Given the cost-of-living crisis, strikes and wet weather, it’s never been more important to look at the challenges driving vacancies, values and the resulting impact on the community.
Retail areas are key to local authorities, they still form a major source of revenue, employment, leisure opportunities, community and cultural activities.
Local authorities are sometimes involved as long term shareholder or owner, particularly where assets are struggling to be economically viable and perhaps most importantly offer an opportunity for investment and regeneration in a civic centre, town or city.
Research from retail property organisation Revo in 2020 showed local authorities had invested over £770 million in shopping centres since 2016, accounting for almost one in five transactions. Safe to say this will likely be over a £1 billion now, invested to protect and improve local areas and generate future revenue.
Local authorities need to prepare robust strategies and delivery frameworks that consider multiple place based issues and opportunities, for instance housing need and reducing the need for private car use. This should be done collaboratively with private partners, public bodies and, of course, the local community.
Significant and rising upfront costs will mean long term returns on investment need to be considered. ESG footprints and governance models should also feature in early discussions.
Public-private joint ventures are often the preferred way to implement town centre regeneration. Even in an unpredictable economy, private organisations are looking for growth opportunities and ways to deliver positive change.
With new council leaders and political parties now settled into councils following local elections in May, asset portfolio reviews are likely high on agenda given cuts in funding and pressures on council tax. Unique eco-systems of shared vision and expertise to generate partnerships and power growth are needed to solve the challenges.
DISCUSSION 57 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
HOW CAN WE CREATE VIBRANT AND INCLUSIVE RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES?
by Jamie Sullivan Director, Strategic Planning
Iceni Projects | The Year Book
DISCUSSION 58 Yearbook 2022-23
Nowhere is the UK’s housing shortage felt more acutely than the later living sector. The 2022 Mayhew Review found that the UK is failing to adapt to the impact of an ageing population. Leading academic on ageing societies, Professor Les Mayhew, says that with the number of over-65s set to exceed 17 million by 2040, the Government should initiate an accelerated programme of constructing older people’s housing with up to 50,000 new units a year, on top of the meagre 7,000 currently built annually.
However, the focus must not just be on increasing the number of homes brought to market but expanding market choice to cater to the diverse needs of older people and we’ve spent some time looking at one protected characteristics group in particular.
Building Safe Choices (2020) captured the ‘voice of demand’ of older LGBT+ people in London. The survey found that 64% and 25% of respondents would prefer to receive care from either an LGBT+ specific, or an LGBT+ accredited provider in later life, respectively. This is because many older LGBT+ people in the UK are surveyed as showing they do not believe their needs can be met in the mainstream sector and are looking for an option which offers safe and appropriate services that recognise and respond to their life experiences.
Research by Stonewall (2011) found that LGBT+ people over 55 are:
More likely to be single and live alone,
Less likely to see biological family members on a regular basis, and
Twice as likely to rely on external services due to their lack of informal support in later life
Widening choice within the later living market is therefore essential, and Tonic Housing are trying to do just that. We caught up recently with Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing, and she gave us an insight into the exciting product they offer at BankHouse in Vauxhall. The UK’s first LGBT+ affirming extra-care scheme puts community at the forefront of everything they do. Beyond the facilities
available to residents including a floating garden and roof terrace, Tonic focus on creating and sustaining community through monthly film nights, gallery visits and art workshops.
The Government recently announced the arrival of the long-awaited Older People’s Housing Task Force, which will work across the housing, heath, and care sectors to drive an increase in the volume and range of housing options and make recommendations to the Government. But how else can the planning system support widening choice in the later living sector? Iceni are keen to support Tonic Housing as they stride towards their goal to create vibrant, inclusive urban LGBT+ affirming retirement communities across the UK, and we are beginning to explore how planning policy can be developed to encourage LGBT+ retirement communities with Local Planning Authorities. If you’re interested in Tonic’s housing offer, perhaps to help unlock a difficult site, or our work, please get in touch.
 ILC (2022) The Mayhew Review: Future-proofing retirement living. [online] Available at:https://ilcuk.org.uk/mayhew-review/
 Tonic Housing, Stonewall, and Opening Doors (2020) Building Safe Choices. [online] Available at: https://www.buildingsafechoices.org.uk/2020report/
 Stonewall (2011) Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in Later Life. [online] Available at: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/LGB_people_in_ Later_Life__2011_.pdf
Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 59
The focus must not just be on increasing the number of homes brought to market but expanding market choice to cater to the diverse needs of older people.”
1:1 26 The Links St Andrews FIfe KY16 9JB Scotland IM01 09/03 2022 - NTS - A3 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 60
PAR-TEE! A HOLE IN ONE FOR TEAM SCOTLAND
by Pam Wright Associate Director, Scotland
To celebrate our stand out performances off the Green, Team Scotland chose the newly opened Top Golf in Glasgow for their celebratory Summer day out.
After a busy few months digesting the new National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) and advising clients on the implications of the new policies for their projects, as well as some huge planning wins, a team celebration was well overdue.
Some recent wins for the Scotland team include securing planning permission for the redevelopment of the St Enoch Shopping Centre in Glasgow’s city centre and the retrofit & extension of a high profile office scheme at 150 St Vincent Street. Iceni’s appointment to Crown Estate Scotland’s Built Environment Consultancy Framework has been a particular highlight, and securing planning permission for 260 new homes on a heavily contaminated site in south-east Edinburgh was a great result. Of course, a particular swinging success was achieving planning permission for a new residential development at the Home of Golf’s 18th Fairway in St Andrews – how fitting!
As well as celebrating our successes, the day out gave the us the opportunity to get to know our new joiners Helen Turnbull and Hannah Sally a little better. After arriving at our driving range bays and splitting into two teams (with one team taking the game a lot more seriously than the other!), we started practicing our swings before upping the ante with something a bit more competitive - a game of Angry Birds! After determining that none of us were ever going to be the next Rory McIlroy, we packed away the clubs and departed the Fairway, to much more familiar territory – food, drinks & karaoke!
With lots of exciting new projects in the pipeline, a little “Birdie” tells us next year will be just as good!
THE TRIBE Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23 61
MONEY WELL SPENT
by Ela Johnson Senior Landscape Architect
How much did we spend on shopping this week? It is a question more and more often heard in the British household. The repercussions of Brexit, Covid, ongoing war in Ukraine and other geopolitical events has resulted in a cost of living crisis many of us haven’t experienced before. So, we are carefully monitoring our spendings, stretching our imagination on preserving the savings, and carefully considering if everything we want, is what we really need. It is certainly not a good time for some large spends, and an especially sore topic is purchasing a house. I would summarise the current trend in our household as scrutinising our spendings, cutting down, and managing financial risks.
This deals with the money we currently have in our pockets. Let’s now talk about the money that no longer belong to us. It may appear that a similar level of scrutiny is not being applied to the use of the taxpayers’ money. One of the examples I find very hard to justify is rebranding. It appears that ministries and government agencies are not able to resume the work of their predecessors, without some costly changes to the banners. These, very often, cosmetic changes are tempting but not necessary to do a good
job. The change from ‘English Highways’ to ‘National Highways’ made in August 2021 costed £402,000 of taxpayers’ money. This was justified as a way to emphasise the national character of the agency. Is this a choice we would make in our own household? This and similar questions are up for discussion in the Conversation Starter LinkedIn series (for further detail please follow my profile ww.linkedin.com/in elajohnson-931004151).
Finally, what about the important matters which we cannot put a price on, like landscape. As much as it is possible to price the land, landscape goes way beyond just space. It is a living area for plants and animals, recreational land for people, it preserves history in the landscape patterns of hedges, stone walls and ancient woodlands, it holds the scenic beauty of National Parks. It is almost impossible to tell what the financial value of a hundred-year-old oak in a historic parkland would be. The Department for Transport attempted monetising different types of landscape, placing at the very top public spaces and city parks within urban core areas at £8.5m per ha, followed by natural and semi-natural land and woodland at £1m, extensive agricultural land at £0.5m, urban fringe forested land at £0.4m, urban fringe greenbelt at £140,000, with the lowest price for intensive agricultural land at £16,258.
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Financial matters are very complex and often trigger difficult emotions. As much as we can manage our home budgets well, the way the taxpayers’ money is spent is out of our immediate control. Investing in landscape appears to be the right decision. The benefits we can achieve outweigh any of the costs, like the improvement of our health and wellbeing, and the condition of the natural environment.
Introduce yourself as a planner at a party and this is the response we so often hear. The truth is there is a lot more report writing than actual planning of growth in our jobs, so we decided to try and change that with a handson CPD session.
In an internal CPD we set our colleagues (including many non-planners) the challenge of working together in groups to plan how housing growth for two settlements should occur.
We gave them all the constraints, available sites and then threw in some political curveballs. They were given plans and monopoly houses to move around the map to demonstrate how they would deliver sustainably grow the two settlements. Interestingly, each group came up with a different approach, but it got everyone thinking and talking in a new way.
We were so pleased with how it went, we offered this as an external CPD. At the time of writing, we have already taken this CPD on tour to our friends at Swindon Borough Council. The idea was that it allowed planning officers to explain to their various non-planning colleagues and consultees, the range of issues they had to balance when allocating sites in a Local Plan.
You can expect to see the tour rumble on, as we try and give colleagues and connections more opportunities to do some real old-fashioned town planning.
‘So you plan towns then?’
Jamie Sullivan, Director, Strategic Planning THE TRIBE
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ACTIVE TRAVEL ENGLAND EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION?
by Lee Talbot Principal Engineer, Transport
Let’s first focus on the basics. ATE is an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT) and a statutory consultee on major planning applications equal to or exceeding 150 housing units, 7,500m² of floorspace or an area of 5 hectares and on land used for highways, importantly outside of London. Its role is to drive a step change in walking, wheeling, and cycling with the strategic aim of increasing levels of walking and cycling to 50% of all journeys in towns and cities by 2030. While ATE will be consulted on all planning applications meeting the thresholds, it will not have any statutory powers to direct the outcome of them. This will mean that local planning authorities (LPA) and applicants will be required to consider ATE’s recommendations and make a joint decision on whether these could or should be accommodated. Any recommendations will also still need to meet the statutory planning condition and obligations tests meaning that not all recommendations will necessarily be feasible or justifiable; it will still be down to the LPA and highway authority to decide to what extent they agree with the advice.
Historically, transport planning was focused on how we accommodate the additional cars generated
by developments, but over the years this has evolved so that emphasis is placed on walking, wheeling, and cycling rather than car borne trips. The need to promote and facilitate active travel is not groundbreaking as this has become an increasingly important requirement for all new developments, but ATE will increase the focus on active travel for all larger applications wherever they are located. While TfL has placed greater focus on active travel for a number of years through Healthy Streets initiatives and Active Travel Zone assessments there has been no clear focus across the rest of the country, with some highway authorities embracing it more than others. It is much easier to promote and facilitate active travel in London (and other large towns and cities) than a rural community, but that’s not to say that active travel should be overlooked in areas where fewer people will be willing or able to travel by these modes.
In some circumstances this will require rethinking how new infrastructure within a scheme will work and upgrading or repurposing existing infrastructure. For example, infrastructure will be required to meet the core principles and standards set out in the Local Transport Note (LTN) 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design and to ensure that the design of routes should be coherent, direct, safe, comfortable, and attractive. This places
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walking, wheeling and cycling at the heart of ATE, with a view of providing high quality facilities for active modes as a way of reducing reliance on the private car. Whereas accommodating active travel may have previously been seen as an afterthought or a ‘nice to have’, the introduction of ATE will ensure that for larger developments the promotion of active travel will be a key component of new developments, both within the site and connecting to the site.
While this is fairly easy to achieve for a whole new settlement, such as a Garden Community, it is more challenging in some areas, particularly settlements that pre-dated the car where narrow streets and footways make providing wider pedestrian and cycle facilities more difficult to accommodate. How can we repurpose existing infrastructure? This requires us to equip existing infrastructure to align and meet the needs of ATE, which means a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate with sites and locations having individual needs.
The recent backlash to the ULEZ expansion has also demonstrated that discouraging car use is still a challenge, even within London where numerous alternatives to the private car exist. Many people need to drive or just prefer to drive and this will continue to be the case, so purely discouraging driving by making
it more expensive or less attractive will only go so far to reduce car travel. In order to get people to change the way they travel it is vital that we provide high quality facilities that will encourage walking, wheeling and cycling in all areas so that people have the choice to use these, rather than feeling that driving is their only option.
It is still early days in terms of ATE so it is hoped that the recommendations they give will be realistic, deliverable and feasible and that local planning and highway authorities will take a pragmatic approach when they consider the extent to which developers should be expected to solve existing active travel constraints.
Providing pedestrian and cycle access has always been a requirement for all new developments and improving connections to the site has become increasingly more important. Over the last 20 years the focus has certainly changed from ‘what do we do with all these extra cars’ to ‘how do we minimise the number of cars’ so the introduction of ATE is not really reinventing the wheel, it is just slightly changing what we do with it.
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SOCIAL by Jennine Romeo, Business Development THE TRIBE
The Summer Day Out
A hot summer afternoon in London’s Victoria Park provided the backdrop for our Annual Summer Day Out, the perfect weather for a good old-fashioned sports day complete with eggs, spoons and a bean bag that seemed to perfectly match the contours of Matt Bacon’s head.
See some snap shots of the action below.
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PRAGMATISM FIRST... RETROFIT SECOND
by Rebecca Mason Associate,
In the world of architecture and construction, the debate between ‘retrofit first’ and demolition has been a subject of fervent discussion. As we navigate the challenges posed by the climate emergency, it becomes crucial to examine this debate in depth, recognising the complexities that underlie each approach. We recognise it is imperative to strike a balance between preserving valuable historical structures and meeting the demands of the present while considering the environmental impacts.
One of the critical points to consider in this debate are the scenarios where demolition is inevitable. While the ‘retrofit first’ approach advocates for the conservation and repurposing of existing structures, there are cases where demolition is the most practical solution. Dilapidated structures that pose safety hazards, severely outdated buildings that cannot be efficiently retrofitted, or structures that no longer fulfil their intended purpose often fall under this category. In these instances, taking a proactive stance on demolition is not about disregarding the past, but about prioritising safety, functionality, and efficiency in the present. In these cases, the question becomes how we can integrate this way of thinking into the planning
system and how can we get engage with Local Planning Authorities early on in the planning process.
Considered demolition, after all options have been exhausted doesn’t imply a lack of consideration for sustainability and environmental impact. Rather, it stems from a careful evaluation of the overall lifecycle costs and benefits. Sustainable demolition practices that prioritise salvage, recycling, and responsible waste management can mitigate some of the environmental toll of tearing down structures. Reusing materials from the demolished building for new construction projects can significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with construction and create developments that integrate successfully into their surroundings.
Amid this debate, it’s essential to recognise that embracing demolition isn’t synonymous with ignoring the climate emergency. The urgency of addressing environmental concerns cannot be overstated. Nonetheless, a balanced approach acknowledges that there are instances where demolishing a structure is a more sustainable choice than retrofitting, especially if retrofitting would entail excessive resource consumption and energy use. The focus should be on making well-informed decisions that consider both short-term and long-term environmental impacts.
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Built Heritage & Townscape
The question of whether a building is worth preserving should not solely hinge on its age or historical significance. The value of a building lies not just in its antiquity but also in its ability to serve its occupants and the community effectively. Whilst our existing building stock may hold historical, cultural and heritage value, they must also meet the practical needs of modern society. A building that is outdated, inefficient, and unable to meet contemporary standards may hinder progress rather than contribute to it.
At the same time, a pragmatic approach doesn’t mean disregarding the importance of historical and cultural heritage. Preserving valued buildings that hold historical value can contribute to a sense of continuity and identity within a community. Retrofitting such buildings can combine their historical significance with modern functionality, allowing them to remain relevant and functional for generations to come. To us it seems the key to pragmatism is recognising where the value lies and honing it to create sustainable, contextual and well considered developments for future generations to enjoy.
It’s clear the ‘retrofit first’ debate is far from black and white. It should be a discussion that requires a
comprehensive understanding of the factors at play. While the climate emergency calls for sustainable practices and a commitment to reducing our environmental impact, we must also acknowledge that demolition is sometimes the most practical and responsible choice. This acknowledgment doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to environmental concerns but rather evaluating each scenario holistically and considering the most efficient path forward.
A question is therefore posed: how do we to sensitively manage historic buildings and meet the demands of the present? We do not shy away from the decision to demolish or retrofit, but understand this needs to informed by careful analysis, including factors such as safety, functionality, sustainability, and environmental impact. We will ask those questions so that we can make informed choices that contribute to the construction of a more sustainable and resilient future—one that respects our heritage while addressing the pressing challenges of today.
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THE YEAR AHEAD
by Nai Nosredna* Strategic Advisor
DISCUSSION 70 The Yearbook 2022-23
2024 starts with a bang, quite literally with New Years Day fireworks, as the Premier League announces its intention to form a super league tie up with Saudia Arabia and the United States. Jacob Reece-Mogg, newly appointed spokesman for the American Saudi English League Association (ASELA), standing on a podium at the Tower of London with Todd Boehly (Chairman Designate) and Amanda Staveley (Chief Executive Designate) announces: “this is just another example of how BREXIT is opening up opportunities for England – sorry, the United Kingdom – that wouldn’t have existed before we rightly and proudly extricated ourselves from the vertiginous trap that is the European Union. I for one cannot wait to see our passionate fans enjoying a boiling hot Tuesday night in Saihat. Soccerball will never be the same again”.
The build up to the London Mayoral elections is dominated by populist low blows and ongoing accusations concerning ULEZ. The Conservative candidate strikes an early, decisive lead, by launching NOLEZ, which immediately galvanises support across outer London, and also sees the Tory party machine click into gear across the Home Counties. Backed by a surge in Tory membership and campaign funding, Dominic Cummins is appointed campaign manager. On a closely contested May 2nd, outgoing Mayor, Sadiq Khan is left to rue his decision to reject Ford’s offer to temporarily reopen part of their Dagenham plant for the production of reconditioned Ford Fiestas and Mondeos. Dominic Cummins wins PR campaign of the year for his media blitzkrieg ‘Xhausted’ on X, and the subsequent tie up with Uber for all Londoners to receive a 50% discount when booking Uber Xhaust – the very same fleet of cars Ford offered to put into service for Khan.
Buoyed by their success in London, Rishi Sunak shocks all by appearing at the Shynefest Festival in Guildford and announcing a snap general election for July 4th. Citing his internationalist outlook for picking the date of American Independence Day, he wows the crowd with his rendition of ‘Born in the USA’. On the back foot, Kier Starmer immediately hot foots it to Shindig
in Somerset, replete with backing group of Yvette Cooper, Ed Miliband and Lisa Nandy. His version of ‘I’m Gonna Leave Old Durham Town’ sinks quicker that Jeremy Clarkson at a planning committee, not helped by Angela Raynor stumbling over the Bongos. Back on the campaign trail, Starmer tries to take back the initiative by suggesting a boxing match between himself and Sunaq, on the undercard of Zuckerberg v Musk. However, the idea is vetoed by the speaker of the House of Commons on the basis that honest, working class voters don’t have the means to pay the £15.99 pay per view fee for DAZN to screen the bout. The initiative further backfires when Penny Mordaunt beats Jess Philips in a ‘sitting chair’ time challenge, screened before the National Lottery results on Channel 5.
The night of the General Election is no less dramatic. The BBC brings back David Dimbleby to host the nocturnal extravaganza, but the octogenarian falls asleep and misses the count at Sunderland South. The exit polls point to ‘a no overall control’ outcome, resulting in early celebrations in CPHQ and fits of despondency in Blackfriars Road alike. Over the coming days, Labour frantically tries to form a coalition with the Lib Dems but Ed Davey hesitates, with the sudden realisation that the party will actually have to put some of its manifesto pledges into action. Seizing his moment, Sunak forms an unpreceded alliance with the SNP, Sinn Fein and Plaid Cymru, promising referendums on independence for all home nations. Two weeks after Sunak is invited by King Charles to form a new Government, Sunak unexpectedly resigns from political life, to take up a new role as Chief Executive of Space X. Boris Johnson replaces him after being unanimously selected by his Richmond Constituency and winning the subsequent by-election. Brushing off numerous rumours that he thought Richmond was in West London, Johnson vows to knuckle down and focus on the job in hand, further stating that it is ‘balderdash and poppycock’ to suggest that he has any ambition to return to PM, and wishing his long time sometime friend and sparring partner Michael Gove ‘the very best of British luck’, as he takes over the reins of power at No. 10.
*As imagined by someone that should know better
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LEEDS LEEDS LEADS
by Ashleigh Cook Associate, Planning
In true Iceni fashion, we wanted to make a unique entrance to UKREiiF. Whilst most people got there by train, bus, or car…we set ourselves the challenge of cycling there. And not just from London, no, from Leeds Castle, in Kent.
So on the 13th May, a motley crew of cyclists set off from Leeds Castle, on our three day cycle journey to UKREiiF in Leeds. The five Iceni cyclists, Lorna, Ian, Aidan, Lewis and myself, were joined by representatives from Lands Improvement, Mactaggart & Mickel and Taylor Wimpey.
Day 1 saw us tackle the 140km journey from Leeds Castle to Stevenage. Starting in the Kent countryside, the route took us through Rochester (with a quick visit to Rochester Castle) and over the Thames by boat at Gravesend. From there, we skipped round the edge of London, taking in Brentwood and Epping Forest. Before ending in our destination of Stevenage. Did you know Stevenage was the first town in the UK to get dedicated cycle lanes? An appropriate destination then for our first day of cycling. Whilst this was the shortest day of the trip, it was by far the hilliest, with the cyclist taking on 1,237m of climbing. The pub dinner at the end of the day was certainly well deserved.
Day 2 will go down as our favourite day of the trip, with Clive Burbridge pulling out all the stops on an incredible ride through the Bedfordshire countryside on our route from Stevenage to Melton Mowbray. We started the day strong with coffees and bacon sandwiches from a local café in Roxton. Lunch saw us stopping at Barnwell Country Park to enjoy the sun and some paninis. Arriving into Melton Mowbray after 142km and 1,010m of climbing, there were hopes of a few local pork pies to settle our hunger. But the big occasion that night was a trip to the local Chinese restaurant where the ‘lazy Susan’ ensured there was plenty of food to go around.
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It was safe to say there were a few sore bottoms by the time we started Day 3, but the final day energy got us through. So far, the weather had been kind to us. But Day 3 we were faced with an incredibly strong headwind which had the potential to slow us down. Nevertheless, some of the strongest cyclists took the wind and led the group full speed into Leeds. As the longest day, with 148km to cover, it was a relief to have slightly fewer hills to climb than Days 1 and 2. Doncaster was the lunch stop for the final day, with Lorna practicing her climbing skills to get the best photo of the trip. Rolling into Leeds, the sun came out and we
ended our three day trip with a lovely cycle along the canal, before arriving into our much loved Premier Inn for the evening.
Over the three days, the cyclists covered 431km, with 3,253m of climbing, across an incredible 25 different local authorities. The group also managed to raise an amazing £9,766 for our chosen charity, LandAid. There was a great sense of pride and achievement on our arrival into Leeds. For all the cyclists, this was by far the biggest cycling challenge they had ever completed, but the excellent route planning by Clive, and the great company shared amongst the group of cyclists made the whole experience a joy. Personally, I am already looking forward to the journey to Leeds for UKREiiF 2024!
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An Update from Manchester
While we at Iceni’s Manchester office have been flying the flag for the city for many years, the de facto capital of the North is finally well and truly on the map when it comes to cutting edge development. With Aviva Studios opening its doors, the Co-op Live Arena under construction, and new neigbourhoods emerging at Mayfield, Victoria North and Trinity Islands to name a few, there is an undeniable buzz to the city. We’ve moved closer to the action by relocating to the We Work on John Dalton street, and continue to take advantage of the excellent coffee and post 3pm beer tap. Visitors are always welcome!
Project wise it’s certainly been a busy year for us, and we are really proud of the relationships we are building with our clients. We’ve worked with Silverlane Developments to steer two major PRS schemes over the line in Eccles (even managing a cameo feature on the Church Street site hoardings which is currently under construction by BCEGI), and have recently submitted a third application to restore and extend a Grade II Listed building in Altrincham. Tilbury Douglas have also been keeping us busy by appointing us on six school projects being delivered for the Department for Education across Greater Manchester, which has involved extensive planning consultation and the preparation of often complex applications within very tight timescales. We’ve also been providing asset management advice
to a national student housing provider regarding their portfolio of 80+ HMOs across the North-West and are working with Care Home Providers on multiple schemes in the North-West, including obtaining permission for a 70-bed care home in Doncaster. We’ve loved getting stuck into these projects and showing our strengths in the ‘alt-resi’ sector. We look forward to seeing these much needed developments come to fruition.
Outside of work it’s also been a bumper year. Justine returned from maternity leave in May and has just about managed to remember what a planning application looks like. Meanwhile, Lucy has taken advantage of Iceni’s sabbatical programme to go off galivanting around South America (and will no doubt be revealing more about her trip in next year’s Yearbook). As if that wasn’t enough, Paul and his wife have also welcomed their second daughter to the world. Amidst all of that, we somehow managed to have our best financial year on record, and with Chris steering the ship we are continuing to build upon this success.
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by Laura Carver, Senior Consultant, Impact Management DISCUSSION
Maximising Economic Benefits for Local Communities Through Development
Community wealth building is a strategy for local economic development that aims to build longterm, sustainable wealth for communities (as the name suggests). This is done by promoting the growth of local businesses, creating well-paying jobs and working with local community groups. The goal is to create economic systems that are more resilient, equitable, and democratic, with local communities having more control over their economic futures. To achieve this, there are many levers a business or institution can pull, typically these are summarised by five pillars :
1. Plural ownership of the economy
2. Making financial power work for local places
3. Fair employment and just labour markets
4. Progressive procurement of goods and services
5. Socially productive use of land and property
Looking at the practical implications, if you’re submitting a planning application in Scotland, community wealth building really matters. The newly adopted National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) states “development proposals which contribute to local or regional community wealth building strategies and are consistent with local economic priorities will be supported”.
North Ayrshire is Scotland’s first community wealth building council and is a good example to demonstrate an alternative way to economic development. The Council has pushed forward with a range of initiatives including developing its own solar farm and wind turbines which could make North Ayrshire Council a net exporter of excess renewable energy. In addition, the renewable energy program is in municipal ownership meaning that the income generated can be reinvested in North Ayrshire
In England, whilst not yet a planning policy requirement, applying community wealth building principles to development proposals can help to articulate to councils how development will be embedded into their localities and can be considered in the planning balance. It can show how communities will benefit from developments by creating well-paying jobs for local people, supporting local businesses, improving access to services and amenities, and investing in community assets such as parks. Ultimately, community wealth building helps make development more palatable to local communities by understanding that the development’s benefits will remain local.
Please get in touch with Iceni if you like to help demonstrate your scheme’s compliance with c ommunity wealth building.
 Centre for Local Economic Strategies (2023) The Principles of Community Wealth Building
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 North Ayrshire Council (2023) Council reveal latest green drive
ADVENTURES, MISHAPS, AND HEARTFELT GRATITUDE: MY WHIRLWIND JOURNEY ACROSS THE GLOBE
CHAPTER 1: EMBRACING THE SABBATICAL
Sometimes you just have to hit pause and catch your breath. So I packed my bags, set my out of office and swanned off for a 9-month journey across the world. Iceni’s sabbatical policy became my golden ticket to freedom and I booked a one-way flight to Borneo. To ease myself into this new adventure, I spent the first few weeks with my Malaysian cousins, reunited after 10 years apart. We watched orangutans swinging through the rainforest and enjoyed 6-hour karaoke marathons. After a few weeks of easy living, it was time to continue my backpacking adventure through Asia and Latin America.
CHAPTER 2: BUSHTUCKER TRIALS!
Forget the Michelin-starred restaurants - my mission was to dive into the world of local delicacies that would make even Bear Grylls blush. From guinea pig in Ecuador to bull penis in Cambodia, I embraced the fear factor. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what some of the dishes were, but it’s all part of the experience, right?
by Jon Wright Associate, Strategic Planning
CHAPTER 3: OFF THE BEATEN PATH
In addition to the must-see touristy hotspots, I wanted to challenge myself and venture off the beaten track
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where speaking English won’t be any use. Let me give a special shout-out to the hidden gem that is East Timor, a truly beautiful country despite a tragic history.
CHAPTER 4: WEIRDOS AND WILD RIDES
I’ve had my fair share of misadventures, too. A bus crash in El Salvador? Yep, check that off my list of heart-pounding experiences. And let’s not even get started on the unexpected encounter with Colombian tear gas. Trust me, it’s not a souvenir you want to bring back home! And whilst I met my fair share of oddballs on the road, I discovered that strangers can become friends and guardian angels in the blink of an eye.
CONCLUSION: THE GRATITUDE GLOW
Amidst all the chaos and mayhem, I’ve come to realise the world is not as scary and dangerous as we’re often led to believe. It’s filled with warm-hearted people, magical landscapes, and unforgettable moments that make every bump in the road worth it. I’ve always known I am a lucky person (it is my middle name after all), but now my heart is even more full of gratitude, joy and peace. So after a whirlwind few months, here are my awards:
BEST NATURE KOMODO, INDONESIA
• MOST UNDERRATED BOLIVIA
MOST IMPRESSIVE SINGAPORE
MOST RELAXING OMAN
• FAVOURITE CITY MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
FAVOURITE COUNTRY PHILIPPINES
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by Paul McColgan Director, Economics & Alex Hamlet Planner, Strategic Planning
THE TRIBE 78 Iceni Projects | The Yearbook 2022-23
Early in the New Year an intrepid band of the Iceni tribe ventured to the alpine outpost of Saint Anton in search of some thrills and spills. However, not everyone was to come back in one piece (slight dramatic embellishment).
The organisation of the 2023 Iskini trip fell to Alex Hamlet and Ruby Ellis who overcame the first hurdle of train strikes by successfully managing to corral all 55 members of the tribe to Gatwick Airport for our 7am flight to Innsbruck.
As night fell, the tribe headed back to the Chalet for dinner and refreshments graciously put on by our hosts. While I was tucked up in bed for a relatively early night I believe the fun and games went on to the early hours.
Fresh from my slumber and only ninety minutes into the first proper day of skiing I became the first victim of the mountain in what could inaccurately be described
as a terrifying high speed accident. After which I was left on the slopes with a partially ruptured ACL, torn meniscus, torn hamstring and a bruised ego when my ski instructor suggested my accident might have been caused by me going “too slow”.
Six hours and a couple of thousand pounds later I was back in the Chalet with only a knee brace and a pair of crutches to show for it. Thankfully I had insurance but unfortunately I was also on medication prohibiting me from alcohol for the rest of the trip.
That second night also brought with it three foot of heavy snow which along with poor visibility made for hard work for those that ventured on to the slopes on day two. Luckily the only casualties were a few hangovers from the Apres Ski at the Krazy Kangeroo but nothing some alpine air couldn’t cure.
Dinner and a few more drinks were had back in the chalet where further high jinks ensued including a
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Sh*t Shihrt competition (see photo), a moustache competition and the annual ski trip awards ceremony.
On the final morning some hardy souls ventured back on to the slopes for a morning ski. Unfortunately one came back with a dislocated shoulder (weakened no doubt by a victory in the arm wrestling competition) and another with a broken wrist. This time NHS footed the bill as medical attention was held off until we arrived home.
A special shout out should be made to the Edinburgh team who had the earliest rises on the final day despite having a late night drinking “Spam Shots”. Despite the injuries and hangovers plans are already afoot for Iskini 2024.
How better to beat the winter blues and get the new year off to a good start than flying with your colleagues to the Austrian Alps in search of snow, schnitzel and booming euro-pop apres bars. No contest for that Sh*t Shirt competition...
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For me personally, it had been some seven years since last hitting the slopes following Covid cancellations and missed chances so the thought of planning Iceni’s big weekend away sounded like the best way to jump back on the horse.
So how do you plan a long weekend I-skini getaway in the Alps for fifty of the Iceni Tribe?
1. Find accommodation - Key to any successful trip is finding the right base. Not an easy task accommodating the fifty keen tribe members, but a chalet above St. Anton in Austria fitted the bill. The perfect spot nestled next to the chair lift with instant access to the pistes and just far enough from St. Anton village to keep the tribe successfully contained. Breakfast and dinner were served by our fantastic Dutch hosts.
2. Book transport - Not too challenging when flights from London to Innsbruck are regular enough. Making sure you have entered the right passport numbers? Anxiety inducing. I was waiting to be told someone didn’t make it. Fortunately, Ruby and I got everyone on that plane. We just had to hope the bus was waiting for us on the other side (it was, having had the original booking cancelled).
3. Herd the cats - Making sure you have everyone’s details, food requirements, luggage needs and getting them to Gatwick for 5am, it very much feels like you suddenly became the teacher tasked with that foreign school trip. I am pretty sure someone asked me ‘how much further’ on the bus to the resort.
4. Have fun - Following our arrival, ski’s being picked up, people running for their first few hours on snow, and no one having lost anything major at this point, you can begin to relax. Timings for meeting at the Krazy Kangaroo had been communicated and the sun was shining. It was time to shred.
While we may have returned to England with some damaged bodies (sorry Paul), the trip can be considered a huge success. The trip provides those old timers hitting 10, I-ski-ner’s and those new to the tribe, new to the slopes or masters of the slalom, the opportunity
to socialise away from planning. That being said, it didn’t stop many believing that Iceni’s next planning application should be securing ourselves a ski chalet to host future trips. Find the next iteration of the Year Book to see how we progress on this front.
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RISING TO NEW HEIGHTS IN GLASGOW
by Maura McCormack Associate Planner & Aidan Ball-Albessard Senior Consultant, Built Heritage & Townscape
Debate in Glasgow suggests that tall buildings can be integrated into the city’s landscape, with a focus on balancing increased density and economic growth while preserving existing character and identity.
An emerging policy context for tall buildings in Glasgow is expected to be published soon and will include the preparation of a View Management Plan.
The City Centre Strategic Development Framework (CCSDF) outlines the long-term vision and strategic objectives for the core’s development, recognising new residential opportunities. It acknowledges the need to increase the city’s population to support economic growth, improve social cohesion, and ensure the vitality of the city centre. The SDF emphasises the creation of attractive, affordable, and diverse housing options to encourage people to live in or near the city centre.
NPF4 promotes the sustainable development of brownfield land, and when such land is limited in a city centre, building upwards becomes a logical solution to increase residential density. What does this mean for Glasgow and how will new Guidance tackle the relationship between tall buildings and the historic environment?
Long established policy in Glasgow pushes taller buildings to the edges of the city centre to minimise their impact on the historic environment and the urban grid.
Historically, Glasgow has always been a city with tall buildings piercing the skyline. From its earliest etching, main steeples could be seen across the whole city. The Georgians added to the skyline with notable buildings such as William Cunningham’s Townhouse (now the Gallery of Modern Art) and St Andrews-in-the-Square. The Georgian City was predominantly three storeys high however the Victorians increased the general height of the city by two storeys. The Victorians also added a vast number of tall buildings to the skyline of Glasgow, not to mention at least a dozen more church steeples in the centre, the column in George Square and a number of industrial chimneys, most famously the Port Dundas Chimney. This was recorded in an encyclopaedia of 1896 as one of the tallest buildings in the world alongside the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids of Giza!
In the years leading up to the first world war, the general building line of the city was again raised with many buildings achieving six or seven storeys in height, and the inter-war period saw the growth
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of taller office blocks such as the Scottish Legal Life Assurance Building and the Bank of Scotland on St Vincent Street.
What cannot be left out of the conversation when talking about tall buildings in Glasgow is the modernist tower block. Within the city centre these can be seen at Townhead, Cowcaddens and Gorbals, and let’s not forget the Category A Listed architectural gem at Anniesland Cross!
As we recognise that Glasgow has always been a city pushing the building line higher and higher we can compare this and the emerging policy with other UK cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham, where our colleagues have a wealth of knowledge and experience in working within the parameters of tall building policies.
These UK cities all promote sustainable urban development within the city centre by encouraging tall buildings to be located in appropriate areas where the integration of new development can add to and enhance the character of the city, while preserving important views and heritage assets, and maintaining a balanced skyline.
It is also worth looking at other European cities which provide interesting approaches to tall buildings policies and the historic environment. Vienna, for example has the 2025 Thematic Concept for High Rise Buildings which analyses and defines the city’s goals for high-rise buildings in line with its history and assesses different urban areas individually. Rotterdam and The Hague are also interesting examples with the High Buildings Policy 2019. Their approach to tall buildings and the historic environment involves accepting high-rise buildings as unapologetically modern landmarks and integrating them into the historic surroundings by creating a stark contrast between old and new.
We look forward to engaging in the consultation process once the draft guidance on tall buildings in Glasgow is published. We hope that this will assess the entire city, considering factors such as built heritage to determine the appropriateness of tall buildings, while also taking account of considerations such as design excellence, public space enhancement and accessibility to public transport and walking routes. This should then guide appropriate development to appropriate locations while meeting the aims and ambitions of both NPF4 and the Glasgow City Centre Strategic Development Framework.
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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.
Birmingham: The Colmore Building, 20 Colmore Circus Queensway, Birmingham B4 6AT
Edinburgh: 11 Alva Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4PH
Glasgow: 177 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2LB
London: Da Vinci House, 44 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8FH
Manchester: This Is The Space, 68 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3EJ
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