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OCTOBER O OC TO O BER R 20 2020 20 PL PLANNING LAN ANNI NING N FOR OR THE HE F FUTURE UTURE  D UT DESIGN ESIGN C CODES ODES OD ES D DIVIDE IVIDE OP IV OPIN OPINION NIO ION N // p. p4 p.4 • INTERV INTERVIEW: VIE EW: NIALL NIA IALL CUSSE CUSSEN, EN, IRELAND’S IRE ELA LAND ND’S ’S PLANNING PLA LANNIN NG REGULATOR // p.22 22 • NEW NE USES S FOR REDUNDANT RED EDUN UNDA DAN NT BUILDINGS BUILD DINGS // p.26 • TE ECH: CA ARB BON ONN NEU E TRAL H OUSE EBU BUIL ILDI DING NG // / p.34 3 TECH: CARBONNEUTRAL HOUSEBUILDING

T H E B U S I N ES E S S M O N T H LY FO O R P L A N N I N G P R O F ES S IO N A LLSS

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CONTENTS

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10 NEWS 4 Government proposals for design in England’s planning system are dividing opinions 6 ‘Unsustainable commuting’ study wins RTPI research award 8 £45m boost for housing in Cardiff Capital Region 10 Brexit: Government set to fast-track temporary lorry parks 11 Newsmakers: 10 top stories from The Planner online

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“GLOBAL SOCIAL CHALLENGES SHOULD FEED INTO STATION DESIGN, FROM URBANISATION AND POPULATION INCREASE TO SHIFTING PATTERNS OF LIVING AND WORKING”

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OPINION 12 Louise BrookeSmith: Festivals of Britain

16 Helen Fadipe: The new BAME Planners Network can lead us towards a more equitable profession 16 Stephen Bennett and Lynda Addison: The white paper has nothing to say about transport 17 Gary Hoban: Extended PDRs and an airspace storey 17 Griff Rhys Jones: Planning is complex by definition – so how can ‘simplification’ work?

15 QUOTE UNQUOTE

“PLANNING IS OVERLOADED WITH DEMANDS TO MEET NEW CRITERIA AND UNDER­RESOURCED EVEN FOR BASIC TASKS” PROFESSOR PATSY HEALEY IN THE FIRST EDITION OF THE PLANNING RESEARCH & PRACTICE JOURNAL, PUBLISHED MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO

COV E R I M AG E |

RU I R I C A R D O  F O L I O A RT

FEATURES

INSIGHT 38 Cases & decisions: Development decisions, round-up and analysis

18 Many of Britain’s small and medium-sized rail stations need a refresh, says Design Council’s Victoria Lee

42 Legal Landscape: Opinions, blogs and news from the legal side of planning

22 Niall Cussen, Ireland’s first planning regulator, talks to Simon Wicks 26 The reinvention of buildings is part of an endless process of renewal, says Kevin Muldoon-Smith 34 Some housebuilders are going beyond government policy requirements in the race to cut emissions

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44 RTPI round-up: News and interviews from the institute 50 What to read, what to watch and how to keep in touch

Make the most of The Planner – mouse over our links for more information

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NEWS

Analysis {

Keep up with The Planner’s Planning for the Future coverage - click here: bit.ly/planner0920-futureplanning

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: DESIGN

Coding design Government proposals for design in England’s planning system are dividing opinions. Huw Morris reports For the perfect illustration of the opposition to government proposals for design across England’s planning system, look no further than Rights : Community : Action. The campaign group, which is taking legal action against the government’s extension of permitted development rights, notes that amid plans to cut public involvement in the planning system by half, communities can be involved in a design code. “The government is going to have a national one,” it says. “So you might be able to choose the colour of the gates.” A wave of design codes will underpin the growth, renewal and protection zones envisaged in the government’s white paper Planning for the Future. With a bow to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, the new system will guarantee faster permission for schemes complying with the codes and “fast-track beauty”. The planning white paper suggests “pattern

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books” in the form of style guides for “popular and replicable designs” that could be used for permitted developments and schemes in land designated for renewal. Opinion is sharply divided about the overall plans. Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) president Alan Jones predicted a wave of “slum” homes, while Paul Finch, former editor of Architects’ Journal, said the white paper should be taken seriously and suggested “beautiful” could usefully be replaced by “well-designed”. So what are the of improving the quality of government’s proposals? schemes and A National Design Code developments,” says (NDC) was published in Tibbalds Planning and October 2019, and the Urban Design director Katja government has Stille. “However, often it’s commissioned the process of developing consultancy codes that’s important. Urbed to write “The process of a national developing the design codes, model urban the way we prepare them, design code, how we involve people, the which will be technical details and published in the bringing together all the autumn. This will stakeholders is crucial. set out more details on Highway authorities, the development in different different officers, the types of location and will be statutory consultees – all accompanied by a revised those elements must be Manual for Streets. Local agreed as part of the design authorities will then adapt it into their own codes. What will the “THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO reforms mean in HAVE A NATIONAL [DESIGN CODE], practice? SO YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO CHOOSE “Design codes THE COLOUR OF THE GATES” – are a good way RIGHTS : COMMUNITY : ACTION

code otherwise they are not deliverable. “As an overarching proposal, design codes can help deliver better quality. What’s important is that a code is based on a commonly agreed vision of development. In a way, a code that has been agreed with the community, local authority and developer sets a benchmark and prevents the worst. Equally, it needs to allow good design so they need to be quite carefully pitched.” Would design codes lead to the beautiful buildings and neighbourhoods envisaged by the government? “Not automatically,” says Stille. “They set a benchmark for the minimum but they are not there to prescribe a style or detailed architecture.

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PLAN UPFRONT All of The Planner’s coverage of Planning for the Future can be read here on the website: bit.ly/planner0920-futureplanning

Design skills in local authorities Observers point to how Sheffield City Council responded to austerity by culling its urban design and conservation staff in 2019 as a nadir within placemaking. How far budget cuts damaged local authority skills was revealed by research by the Urban Design Group’s Place Alliance three years ago. Based on a survey of 201 councils, almost half had no dedicated in-house design capacity. Those that did had only one officer covering design but as part of a larger role. Only around 10 per cent had an urban design or placemaking team – judged to be more than two people. Planning authorities relied heavily on conservation staff to double up as design officers. The research concluded that nonspecialist planning officers make key decisions on design schemes of all types.

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They’re there to make a development locally distinct and ensure it addresses local characteristics, the urban form, the environmental opportunities and constraints, and to create distinctive developments. “For beautiful buildings, you need good architects, inspired landowners, good local authorities and all of them working together.” However, Jonathan Jenkin admits to rolling his eyes when he read the white paper. “It smacks of the enterprise zone ideas of the 1980s, which I am unfortunately old enough to remember and the damage to the fabric of town centres that they caused,” says the managing director of Planning and Design Practice. “I am not a fan of design codes unless they are used in self-build schemes, where they can be effective and are necessary. They can create pastiche and lead to a loss of innovation, but sometimes and depending on how they are written, they have the potential to maintain a standard and if combined with space standards could prevent the worst excesses of a laissez-faire approach to planning and building.” A renaissance in design skills would be needed across the development industry and most planning authorities. Each local authority would appoint a chief officer for “design and placemaking”, ironically after the battering this took during the austerity era (see box, left). An expert body would be set up to support “provably locally popular design codes” and to perform a

wider monitoring and challenging role in building better places – a move dubbed as Commission for Architecture and Built Environment Mark II, New Labour’s design watchdog that was scrapped in 2011. It is unclear whether this will be an arm’s-length body or whether, for example, Homes England would oversee the role.

“THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING THE DESIGN CODES, THE WAY WE PREPARE THEM, HOW WE INVOLVE PEOPLE, THE TECHNICAL DETAILS AND BRINGING TOGETHER ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS IS CRUCIAL” – KATJA STILLE

“There is a place for a body like that,” says Stille. “Just like design champions in a local authority, we need something on a national level. I can see it support and provide training for planning authorities as well as monitoring design quality to see if it’s delivering what we want. But it can also act as a critical friend to the government and become design champions there to make sure different departments go in the right direction together.” Planning for the Future can be found here on the UK Government website. bit.ly/planner1020-future

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NEWS

News { 2020 RTPI AWARDS FOR RESEARCH EXCELLENCE

‘Unsustainable commuting’ study wins RTPI research award By Laura Edgar A paper on the unsustainable travel patterns of homeworkers has won the Early Career Researcher Award at the 2020 RTPI Awards for Research Excellence. Telecommuting and Other Trips: An English Case Study examines the implications of non-work travel on the sustainability of telecommuters’ travel patterns by comparing the travel behaviours of those who work from home at least once a week with other workers. It proposes that the sustainability of the travel patterns of those working from home is more dependent upon the accessibility of non-work activities than on the distance to the workplace for less ess frequent commuting journeys. In conclusion, on, Dr Hannah Budnitz MRTPI TPI and Professor Lee Chapman, an, from the University of Birmingham, and Dr Emmanouil Tranos from om the University of Bristol found ound that “by proactively addressing the accessibility ibility of non-work destinations, ns, planners can help telecommuters travel sustainably”. Awards judge Janet

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Askew MRTPI said: “The judges considered that this very relevant piece of research has the potential to make a vital contribution to policy-making for the postCovid era. “The counter-intuitive findings of the research concluded that the impact of online access to work, which allows for living in more dispersed locations, results in more unsustainable transport patterns.

“The work carried out was thorough and robust, offering the potential for further research into sustainable land use and transport planning, with wider application internationally.” Professor Anthony Crook FRTPI (Rtd), from the University of Sheffield and Professor Christine Whitehead HonMRTPI, from the London School of Economics, were presented with the Sir Peter Hall Award for Research Excellence for their entry Capturing Development Value, Principles and Practice: Why Is It So Difficult? The paper considers how far ‘unearned increments’, particularly those arising with planning permission, should be taxed for the public good. Judges Jan Bessell FRTPI, Jim Birrell MRTPI and Nick Gallent FRTPI commented: “The judges considered this an excellent piece of new and innovative research, building further on a sustained body of expert work in this area from the authors. The work was judged to be of critical importance to contemporary planning debate. “Drawing on English experience, it provides

transferable lessons and will no doubt be a key resource for understanding value capture generally and planning-based value capture in particular.” Jacob George of Newcastle University won the Student Award for his research Accommodation Through Deregulation: Understanding the Social Impacts of OfficeResidential Permitted Development in Newcastle upon Tyne. The Planning Practitioner Award went to the Place Shaping Team – Lucia Cerrada Morato & Becky Mumford – at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for its High Density Living Supplementary Planning Document. The judging panel for this year’s awards comprised 30 public and private sector representatives as well as academics. Winners in all four categories were announced on 7 September in an online ceremony, which can be watched here on the RTPI’s YouTube channel. RTPI president Sue Manns FRTPI said: “The research awards are one way the institute promotes highquality and impactful research and ensures it helps planning practice to improve im across the UK and Ireland. acro “This year’s award entries addressed a diverse range of add issues faced by the planning issu profession in its delivery of prof high-quality, sustainable and high healthy communities. They heal shine a light on fantastic shin research from chartered rese members and accredited mem planning schools from around plan the world.” More on the winning M and commended research: bit.ly/planner1020-research bit.l

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PLAN UPFRONT

City centre redevelopment and aquarium approved in Belfast Revised outline proposals for most of the controversial Tribeca redevelopment in Belfast were approved in September after a threehour session of the capital’s planning committee. Plans for an aquarium were also considered. Castlebrooke Investments’ £500 million scheme would regenerate a five-hectare area of the historic city

centre between Royal Avenue and the Cathedral Quarter – a project formerly known as Royal Exchange. The mixed-use scheme of offices, retail, a hotel and homes is also set to create new streets and a reconfiguration of Writer’s Square. Opposition to the scheme has focused on open space and social housing issues as well as its effect on

the conservation area and local listed buildings. The council has insisted that the redevelopment chimes with its aspirations to revitalise the city. At the same meeting members also approved plans for a £12 million aquarium for a site on Queen’s Road opposite the Titanic Hotel.

Solar and wind set to be cheaper options for power generation by 2040

HS2 Interchange station approved in Solihull

New solar and wind plants in the UK built in the next 20 years will be much cheaper than the government previously forecast. Latest research from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows that these forms of renewable generation will cost significantly less than gas. According to the study, the cost of large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generation by plants commissioned in 2040 could be between £28 and £39 per megawatt hour (MWh) compared with gas, which would cost between £124 and £127 per MWh. Even before that date – by 2025 – large-scale solar plant will be much cheaper than gas at a range of £39 to £51 per MWh against £84 to £87. Offshore wind is estimated to cost between £36 and £44 per MWh by

Plans for HS2's landmark eco-friendly Interchange station in Solihull have won planning permission. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council approved the planning application for the station, which will be at the heart of the HS2 network in the Midlands. The application also covers the surrounding landscape and public realm, along with an Automated People Mover. The scheme recently became the first railway station in the world to achieve the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification at the design stage – putting it in the top 1 per cent of buildings in the UK for eco-friendly credentials. Solihull’s planners said the station design “draws upon the historic and agricultural character of the local area and delivers a strong sense of place and identity through its architectural form and the design of its landscape”. When in operation, the station will use natural ventilation, daylight, harvested rainwater and solar energy to cut carbon.

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2040, whereas the figures for onshore wind range between £38 and £50. The Solar Trade Association said that government estimates now officially recognise that large-scale PV is one of the cheapest generation options available. “Now it is time for the government to set an ambitious target for the deployment of solar PV in the UK as it has done with offshore wind,” said chief executive Chris Hewett. “Our favoured goal, 40GW by 2030, aligns with recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change and the National Infrastructure Commission, and is achievable with moderate policy support.” Electricity Generation Costs 2020 is on the UK Government website (pdf): bit.ly/planner1020-EGC2020.

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NEWS

News { £45m boost for housing in Cardiff Capital Region The local authorities involved in the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal have launched a new £45 million fund to help stimulate the housing market in areas where there has been little new residential development. Called ‘Homes for all the Region’, this city deal initiative is designed to deliver 2,800 homes in the region’s 10 local authority areas. The main aims of the fund will be to: unlock sites that have stalled; invest in projects that will build housing in areas where it is needed most; generate construction activity,

jobs and sustainable developments; and enhance the long-term growth prospects and competitiveness of the region through improved infrastructure, increased connectivity and regeneration. Funding will be given to local authorities on a competitive basis and projects must deliver at least 40 new homes. The fund is divided into two sub-funds: a Housing Viability Gap Fund of £35 million, and an SME Finance Fund of £10 million. The investment advisory team at property consultancy CBRE will support the Cardiff Capital Region in managing the fund.

McNairney clarifies housing and planning policy status Scotland’s chief planner has written to all planning authorities to stress that no decisions have yet been taken in respect of housing and planning policy – the subject of a consultation due to on 9 October. In the letter, John McNairney says that he has been warned that some authorities may be viewing the current consultation on proposed changes to the planning policy as a direction from ministers that may be given significant weight in current planning decisions. He underlines that no final decisions have been made on a change to existing policy. “Any such change will be informed by the consultation and we encourage all stakeholders to respond,” he writes. “Until then the existing policy remains in place.” His letter adds: “None of the changes proposed in the consultation aim to undermine or contradict ministers’ stated commitments to delivering goodquality development, including housing and renewable energy projects. We have adjusted the introductory wording introducing the consultation paper online to bring clarity to this position."

Large co-living scheme revealed for Dublin city centre Stoneweg, an international property investment company, has unveiled proposals for a new co-living development in Dublin city centre designed to deliver nearly 400 homes. The Geneva-based group has just acquired seven vacant buildings on Cork Street in Dublin 8 as part of a joint venture. Subject to planning permission, the adjacent properties, which are largely derelict, will be demolished and redeveloped into a high-quality, 397-unit co-living complex. The 0.4-hectare site close to the new National Children’s Hospital, within walking distance of Grafton Street and Trinity College Dublin, is zoned for residential development. Stoneweg said each unit in the new development would be “significantly larger than the current national minimum standards for co-living”. The proposed scheme has been designed by John Fleming Architects and would provide new connections from Cork Street through to neighbouring John St South.

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Infrastructure Commission in prospect for Northern Ireland Northern Ireland’s infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon (pictured below) has taken the first step towards creating an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland. She has set up a panel to advise her on the specific role and value of a commission and how it might be established and operated. Its scope will reflect the “hard” infrastructure that falls within the remit of the Department for Infrastructure, namely: water, drainage and inland waterways, public transport, roads and cycling infrastructure. Kirsty McManus of the Institute of Directors is chairing the panel, which will comprise a small group of independent experts. It will present a final report to the minister including a series of key recommendations during autumn 2020. Although it will focus on the responsibilities of the infrastructure department, it may also consider whether any future commission should have a remit that goes wider than that of the DfI. McManus said: “I look forward to exploring how we can secure a long-term approach to infrastructure planning and delivery in Northern Ireland and help drive our post-Covid recovery.” Mallon commented: “I have been engaging with key stakeholders on the need for a longterm approach to infrastructure planning and delivery and am keen to develop a proposal, which explores the potential value that an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland might bring not just to the North but to our entire island.”

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England’s ‘first’ land commission launched in Liverpool Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram has established England’s ‘first’ Land Commission to improve management and use of land. The commission will review the use of public land for community wealth building. Rotheram explained that since the 1980s, land has come to be “primarily treated as a financial asset serving as a collateral against which banks create mortgage debt”. As a result, the cost of housing has risen and there are now shortages of homes. Overall productivity has been reduced. “The unprecedented circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, with all its economic consequences, make it even more important for us to ensure that we can wring the maximum possible community value from our land assets to encourage sustainable economic recovery. “I’ve brought together a commission made up of senior figures from the worlds of academia, property development and planning. I have challenged them to think imaginatively and come back to me with radical recommendations for how we can make the best use of publicly

owned land to make this the fairest and most socially inclusive city region in the country. “Through success stories such as Baltic Creative we’ve already seen alternative, socially conscious approaches to land management in the city region. I can’t wait to hear the commission’s recommendations for how we improve the management and use of land to deliver the greatest benefit for the people of the Liverpool City Region.” The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will coordinate the commission alongside think tank Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES). Members of the commission were due to meet four times before November to discuss the challenges surrounding publicly owned land. The first meeting was on 9 September. The commission has been tasked with ensuring that recommendations are action-oriented, and they should generate ideas for actual projects rather than just general recommendations. CLES is responsible for drafting the final report of the commission based on the output of the meetings.

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NEWS

News { Brexit: Government set to fasttrack temporary lorry parks An order has been published granting temporary planning permission for land to be used in processing lorries entering and leaving Great Britain from January. The Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 has not been made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act, but it does relate to the United Kingdom leaving the EU. It is intended to guarantee that there is “an orderly transition to the new system of controls to secure the border of Great Britain from 1 January 2021”, according to an explanatory memorandum. Lorries, particularly goods vehicles, will be able to be stationed in the developments when entering and leaving the country. It also grants permission for associated temporary facilities and infrastructure. The order means consent from local authorities would not be required. An explanatory note issued with the legislation states: “Development permitted by this order can only be carried out by,

or on behalf of, a border department named in the order. The development must end by 31 December 2025, and all reinstatement works must have been completed by 31 December 2026.” Those who can carry out such development are the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs; the business secretary; the environment secretary; and the transport secretary. Article 3 of the legislation grants the temporary planning permission, describes the development permitted and provides that permission is granted subject to conditions, such as those set out in schedule 2. Land not subject to the order includes national parks, World Heritage Sites, scheduled monuments and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 came into force on 24 September.

Details can be found on legislation. gov.uk: bit.ly/planner1020-growthdeal

£100m Moray Growth Deal signed The multimillion-pound Moray Growth Deal is set to climb off the drawing board now a heads of terms agreement has been signed by the UK and Scottish governments, Moray Council and other regional partners. The two governments are each investing £32.5 million in the deal, with another £35.8 million from partners for a combined investment in Moray of more than £100 million. Over the next 10 to 15 years the deal seeks to unlock up to £200 million in private investment and deliver at least 450 new jobs across a range of sectors. Projects include: n £4.3 million for a bus project designed to boost public transport links to suit the largely rural economy; and n A £7.5 million housing project to deliver more homes in the area, including affordable homes in rural towns and villages. Details are on the UK Government website here: bit.ly/ planner1020growthdeal

Massive solar farm proposed in South Gloucestershire green belt A planning application has been lodged for a solar farm across 106 hectares in South Gloucestershire’s green belt. The proposal for Larks Green Solar Farm, by Enso Green Holdings, comprises photovoltaic panels and a battery storage facility near Iron Acton substation between Thornbury and Yate, close to the M5. The generating station would supply 49.9MW of renewable electricity to the National Grid, providing the annual electrical needs of 17,000 homes, says a planning statement accompanying the application. The anticipated CO2 displacement is around 23,000 tonnes

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per annum, which represents an emission saving equivalent of a reduction in 7,400 cars on the road. The battery storage facility would reinforce the power generation from the solar farm. It would store energy at times of low demand and release it to the National Grid at times of higher demand or low sunshine. The station would operate for up to 35 years, after which the site would revert to agriculture. South Gloucestershire Council is due to decide the application in November.

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CATCH UP WITH THE PLANNER

N Newsmakers Swansea in the hunt for a city centre regeneration partner Swansea City Council has launched a global hunt for a partner or investor, possibly a consortium, to work with the council to regenerate a number of major sites in the city centre. bit.ly/planner1020-swansea

Heat pumps key to emission cuts Heat pumps have a critical role to play in tackling emissions from buildings in London as well as delivering the mayor’s 2030 net-zero ambitions. So says a report by the Carbon Trust commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. It also advises how to scale up energyefficiency heat pump retrofit across the city and highlights the principles of good practice system design. bit.ly/planner1020-heatpumps

Housing targets in South Oxfordshire plan backed Housing targets and green belt allocations for development in South Oxfordshire District Council’s local plan have been backed by an inspector. These preliminary conclusions are set out in a letter to the council sent by inspector Jonathan Bore. It follows the removal of a holding direction on the plan in March this year, issued by housing secretary Robert Jenrick. bit.ly/planner1020-targets

New city quarter for Dublin makes progress UK property group Hammerson has appointed three Irish firms to join London-based Acme Architects to prepare the planning application for a new ‘city quarter’ for Dublin’s Moore Street and Upper O’Connell Street. bit.ly/planner1020-quarter

40% of homes consented since 2011 not built, says Shelter Research by housing charity Shelter shows that more than 380,000 homes granted planning permission between 2011 and 2019 have not been built. This accounts for 40 per cent of all the homes with planning consent in England. bit.ly/planner1020-shelter

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MP intervenes over County Antrim solar farm DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr has intervened over a proposed solar farm earmarked for land east of the villages of Kells and Connor, which straddles the boundary between Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtownabbey borough councils. bit.ly/planner1020-solar

Economic blueprint launched for Mid South West region An economic strategy for the Mid South West region of Northern Ireland has been launched. It centres on boosting productivity and is designed to guide investment and grow the collective economy. bit.ly/planner1020-blueprint

4 Infrastructure spending pledges made in Scotland The Scottish Government has committed itself to increase investment in infrastructure year-on-year so that by the end of the next parliamentary term it will be £1.5 billion higher than during 2019. bit.ly/planner1020infrastructure

5 6 Affordable housing prospectus published

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Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has launched the prospectus for the government’s affordable housing programme, which was announced in the Budget in March. The £12.2 billion overall investment includes £700 million to be spent on new homes through the 2016 to 2022 programme. bit.ly/planner1020-prospectus

Boost for Welsh offshore wind sector

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The Crown Estate, manager of the seabed around most of the UK coast, has awarded rights for two offshore wind projects in Wales. A lease agreement has been given to developer Blue Gem Wind for the proposed 96- megawatt Erebus floating wind demonstration project, located in the Welsh waters of the Celtic Sea, about 44 kilometres from the Pembrokeshire coast. Seabed rights have also been agreed for the proposed extension to the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm (known as Awel y Môr), located off the coast of North Wales. bit.ly/planner1020-wind

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LEADER COMMENT

Event Theories about planning about to be put into practice As we sit in the eye of the white paper storm, awaiting the end of a consultation period that would seem to signal significant structural reform, it was instructive to tune into the RTPI’s Research Excellence awards ceremony a few weeks ago. Prior to the gongs, 21 years of the Planning Theory & Practice Journal were celebrated by professor Patsy Healey, the journal’s former senior editor, and Heather Campbell who is senior editor now. Both were present when the idea for an academic journal was first proposed back in the Nineties. What was missing back then, they felt, was a journal with a strong social scientific background able to relate to planning’s focus on place while also having an understanding of what it takes to actually conduct planning work. Healey spoke about Volume 1, Number 1, and the

Martin Read journal’s first editorial, which suggested that “at the heart of the planning tradition is the promotion of the quality of places as a key ingredient of the quality of life”. Further comment in that first volume spoke of planning being “too locked in bureaucratic mindsets, lacking the knowledge and creativity to have a role in reinventing the futures which places could have”, and that “planning was overloaded with demands to meet new criteria and

under-resourced even for basic tasks, the result being that the practising planner in local planning offices has little time or encouragement to keep abreast of changes in the knowledge base available for planning work”. What’s striking here is not the obvious conclusion that things are ‘same as they ever were’, although perhaps there’s an element of that. What stands out is how such obviously longstanding concerns suggest one of two things from a 2020 standpoint, depending on your perspective. Either they speak of previous failures to declutter a burdensome bureaucracy that only a truly radical restructuring can now set right; or they demonstrate that there’s an abiding and inescapable need for proper planning process that with sufficient

“AN ABIDING AND INESCAPABLE NEED FOR PROPER PROCESS”

funding and empowerment will demonstrate its effectiveness. With the white paper outlining what many would say is the more radical path, interesting times certainly lie ahead. A reminder for readers to make the most of The Planner’s extensive links out, now tagged in yellow across our pages. We will now be running as an exclusively digital operation through to March 2021, to which end we’ll be doing more to embrace the digital medium to our readers’ advantage. For now, you can mouse over the bit.ly links we typically deploy to visit external links directly from the page.

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RT P I C O N TA C T S

© The Planner is published on behalf of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) by Redactive Publishing Ltd (RPL), 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL This magazine aims to include a broad range of opinion about planning issues and articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the RTPI nor should such opinions be relied upon as statements of fact. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in any print or electronic format, including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet, or in any other format in whole or in part in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of the publisher. While all due care is taken in writing and producing this magazine, neither RTPI nor RPL accept any liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. Printed by PCP Ltd.

Membership membership@rtpi.org.uk 020 7929 9462 Education education@rtpi.org.uk 020 7929 9451 Planning Aid England advice@planningaid.rtpi.org.uk 41 Botolph Lane London EC3R 8DL Media enquiries Rebecca Hildreth rebecca.hildreth@rtpi.org.uk 020 7929 9477 The Planner is produced using paper that is elemental chlorine-free and is sourced from sustainable managed forest.

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LO U I S E B R O O K E ­ S M I T H O B E

O Opinion

Festivals of Britain I’ve missed the festivals this year, but not just the big music affairs where a cohort of the would-be trendy, right-on middleaged try to relive their youth, or teenagers and 20-somethings make the most of drink and drugs and think they are the first to recognise deep meaningful lyrics. There’s something oddly satisfying about pitching a tent far enough away from the toilets for them to be odourless but close enough to be practical at 3am. And you need to be near enough to the action, but not on the main thoroughfare to risk being woken up by music aficionados without the necessary inbuilt satnav trying to find their pitch. There’s something of a hidden town planner in every festival-goer when it comes to setting up camp. It’s a mix of Weber’s location theory, central place principles and the current social distancing rules. The same principle applies when you arrive at a beach and your instinct is to find a place for your towel that is far away from everyone else but still near the ice cream kiosk. Apparently, if you were a seagull flying overhead you would recognise a pattern of hexagons. Well, that’s what my geography teacher taught me. However, it’s all the other gatherings that punctuate a normal summer that have created the gaps this Covid year that I am missing. All the main names have hit the press such as the Edinburgh Fringe,

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Glyndebourne and The Proms. But it’s the loss of more local events that are having as big an impact. October will lack the fabulous Goose Fair in Nottingham, the Honey Fair in Cornwall, the Conker Championships in Cambridgeshire, and Herring Day in Great Yarmouth. Bonfire Night next month may still take place, but we are anticipating it to be a challenging, socially distanced affair. I hope there will be sufficient oohs and ahhs to take our mind off the pandemic – we can’t miss out on our annual celebration of a man who was intent on blowing up an administration that he and others felt had misled the country, perpetuated fake news and were intent on persecuting swathes of the community. Of course, that would never

“THERE’S SOMETHING OF A HIDDEN TOWN PLANNER IN EVERY FESTIVAL­GOER” happen today, although it’s quite surreal to watch the political shenanigans ‘across the pond’ become ever more polarised in the run-up to the November elections with cultural community lines becoming even more defined than normal. Back to the culture of the UK and the quirky celebrations that have been postponed for a year or, at least have been modified to adopt the universal 2-metre rule. I live in an area where well dressing and clypping the local church still took place, although instead of the local community

walking around St Mary’s, hand in hand, the circle was expanded and we all held onto 2m poles in between each attendee. Not so lucky were the world pea-shooting championships in Lewes, Sussex, which weren’t able to adapt. Face masks and pea-shooters simply don’t mix well. And the point of these observations is that the culture and traditions of the UK may have been interrupted this year but we hope they will return with gusto in the next, and with even more people embracing local folklore, superstitions and general gatherings. They might become embedded as part of the solutions proposed to reinvigorate our town and village centres. They might not all require a tent or careful analysis of where to stand in a crowd but, with a face mask, some hand sanitation, and a dose of common sense, we will at some stage still be able to celebrate our historic quirkiness, our national festivals and old-fashioned British eccentricities.

Dr Louise Brooke-Smith is a development and strategic planning consultant and a built environment non-executive director I L L U S T R AT I O N | Z A R A P I C K E N

16/09/2020 12:49


Quote unquote FROM THE RTPI AND THE WEB

“Planning is overloaded with demands to meet new criteria and under-resourced even for basic tasks”

“The impact of online access to work, which allows for living in more dispersed locations, results in more unsustainable transport patterns”

PROFESSOR PATSY HEALEY IN THE VERY FIRST EDITION OF THE PLANNING RESEARCH & PRACTICE JOURNAL MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO  SAME AS IT EVER WAS?

“Forecasts of the pandemic’s effects on actual housing delivery are not directly relevant” INSPECTOR JOHN FELGATE DETERMINES THAT COVID RELATED IMPACTS ON THE PLANNING PROCESS SHOULD NOT BE USED TO AFFECT HOUSING SUPPLY FIGURES

THE WINNER OF THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER AWARD AT THE RTPI AWARDS FOR RESEARCH EXCELLENCE WITH A TIMELY WARNING

“In a scenario with increased conservation and restoration efforts alone, almost half of biodiversity losses estimated... could not be avoided” COMBINING CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION EFFORTS WITH A TRANSFORMATION OF THE FOOD SYSTEM IS THE ONLY WAY TO ‘“BEND THE CURVE OF BIODIVERSITY LOSS”, ACCORDING TO A STUDY CONDUCTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED SYSTEMS ANALYSIS

“Heritage-led regeneration is an important economic catalyst in many town centres and conservation does not need to be exclusive from growth” HERITAGE CONSULTANT REBECCA BURROWS WONDERS HOW LISTED BUILDINGS AND THEIR SETTING CAN BE PROTECTED OUTSIDE OF THE PROTECTION ZONES SUGGESTED IN THE PLANNING WHITE PAPER

I M AG E S | S H U T T E RSTO C K / I STO C K

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“The backlog of building in the midst of a housing crisis is one of this generation’s untold scandals” TOM FYANS OF CPRE COMMENTS ON SHELTER’S S INDICATING THAT MORE THAN 380,000 , FIGURES MES GRANTED PLANNING PERMISSION HOMES WEEN 2011 AND 2019 REMAIN UNBUILT BETWEEN

“People in later life face a tage of worsening shortage er living high-quality later n accommodation that can supportt d their health and wellbeing” EUGENE MARCHESE, CO NG,, FOUNDER AT GUILD LIVING, ENT OF THE UK’S SAYS THAT JUST 2.5 PER CENT WELLINGS ARE DEFINED CURRENT 29 MILLION DWELLINGS G AS RETIREMENT HOUSING

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B E S T O F T H E B LO G S

O Opinion

1 BLOG

Helen Fadipe MRTPI is a planning consultant and founder of BAME Planners Network, which launched in August 2020

New BAME Planners Network can lead us towards a more equitable profession

Why have we started a Black, Asian, Minority Ethic (BAME) Planners Network, and why now? The need for a formal network became clear following discussions over the course of a year or more with various planning professionals. The timing to start it now could not have been better, considering the strong emphasis placed on diversity and inclusion by Sue Manns, the RTPI President, and the unrest following George Floyd’s death in the USA in May. As evidenced at the Royal Town Planning Institute BAME round table in August, discrimination abounds within the profession. Hearing about the daily experiences of BAME planners further emphasised why the BAME Planners Network was created. Ours is a friendly platform for engagement and at its heart is an acceptance that BAME planners are diverse, work in various sectors and represent multicultural, multiracial society. Different minorities experience different levels of success in the profession and although indirect discrimination may not be intentional, it does have a profound and longlasting effect. A lot has been written about the implications planning policies and practice have for inequalities in cities. But not much is written about the

lack or under-representation of BAME planners within the profession, especially at the top of the planning hierarchy. In 2005, the UK Government produced Diversity and Equality in Planning – A Good Practice Guide. Fifteen years on, while there is more diversity within the profession arising from the Positive Action Training Pathway (PATH) Tomorrow’s Planners programme, little has changed in the level of BAME representation in management within the private and public sectors. The BAME Planners Network will focus on raising the profile of BAME planners, provide support in achieving career goals, encourage BAME people into the profession and collaborate with other organisations to eliminate discrimination. We have to work together. Every member has a role to play by sharing knowledge, experiences, mentoring, coaching, helping to reach out to their local communities and championing the planning profession. The network is free to join and though it is primarily for BAME people in the UK and Ireland who work or would like to work in planning, anyone who seeks to the network’s aims is welcome to join us as we journey towards a more equitable profession. Contact info@bameplanners. com or follow us on Twitter @BAMEPlanners

“TO SEE A DIFFERENCE IN THE PROFESSION, WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER”

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2 BLOG

Stephen Bennett is chair and Lynda Addison is planning and transport lead of the Transport Planning Society

Transport is integral – but the white paper has almost nothing to say about it

Planning for the Future is a serious attempt to grapple with significant challenges, while acknowledging that there are practical issues to work through. But the Transport Planning Society’s initial observation is that the inter-relationship of planning and transport is not addressed. Transport is key to land-use planning, achieving the legally binding target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and supporting wellbeing. Yet the white paper mentions transport only five times. Its three pillars (planning for ‘d e ve l o p m e n t’ , ‘beautiful and sustainable places’ and ‘infrastructure and connected places’) should explicitly promote integration with transport to, for example, support decarbonisation of transport and public health. This needs a statutory requirement for local plans with long-term visions that address such issues. We also need to understand how the rules proposed can ensure the right locations for development, as well as provision of walking, cycling and public transport facilities. What arrangements will ensure collaboration with transport policymakers and providers from plan-making to delivery? The proposals give the impression that delivering transport will simply be a case of collecting development charges then providing the

necessary infrastructure. It is essential that transport planning is a key part of plan-making. Will there be an infrastructure delivery plan? How will this relate to the funding mechanism due to replace CIL/section 106? One suggestion is to allow local authorities to determine development locations by sustainable accessibility standards and to specify mandatory sustainable transport infrastructure in developments. How transport fits into the zoning system is also unclear. We need to properly relate development capacity in each zone to issues such as public transport availability. It is difficult to see how the proposed structure will achieve such a finegrained approach. Given the challenges of changing travel behaviour, it is vital to engage with communities during planmaking – not least because once plans are approved permission is effectively given in growth areas. These proposals will require significant capacity and different skills in local authorities. How will the government ensure that they can deliver this new approach and that it reflects the paradigm shift to development that addresses climate change, decarbonisation and health? Transport Planning Day is 16 Nov. bit.ly/planner1020-tps

“THE WHITE PAPER MENTIONS TRANSPORT ONLY FIVE TIMES (AND TRAFFIC NOT AT ALL)”

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16/09/2020 09:37


Have your say Would you like to see yourself in these pages? Get in touch by email – editorial@theplanner.co.uk Topical, inspirational, angry or amusing – we consider all relevant comment

3 BLOG

Gary Hoban is a director at architects Hoban Design

Extended PDRs and an airspace storey

As anticipated, the extension of permitted development rights (PDRs), has caused an industry uproar. In an open letter, RICS, CIOB and RIBA rejected the government’s case for liberalising planning in this area, framing the move as an accelerated race to the bottom in terms of size and quality. Critics also cited a government commissioned report that had found recent PDR dwellings to be 51 per cent less likely to meet the nationally prescribed space standards than those built by the full planning consent process. A key element of the extended PDRs is the easing of rules on airspace d eve l op m e n ts – building new storeys on top of existing dwellings. I recently led on an airspace project for social landlord client Sutton Housing Society in south-west London, adding new storeys to 1970s tower blocks. Five separate planning applications, all approved in June under the old rules. What did we learn? First, adding new airspace storeys is usually more complicated than developers anticipate. Building anything more than one storey is likely to require new structural support to sustain the increased load, as well as new lifts, stair access and fire escapes, and all of these are likely to require formal planning consent. Second, more freedom

will certainly place more responsibility on the developer – responsibility for quality and ensuring that buildings remain balanced so that two-storey additions don’t visually impact on the street scene. Sutton Housing Society elected to improve the visual impact of all five of the existing buildings by specifying new façades, windows and improved communal facilities which helped to harmonise the extensions. Single storeys can often be visually accommodated as a ‘penthouse’ level, but keeping two-storey designs cohesive is more challenging, and an application was rejected on this project due to its proximity to a tall church. Finally, what constitutes ‘sensible’ density in airspace developments? Sutton Housing Society was clear on what it termed to be sensible density, but a similar project today may tempt some developers to push things to the limit – to the detriment of the quality of the homes and the lives of residents. I hope that extended PDRs will mean a positive mindset shift towards allowing twostorey extensions, but that local authority planning control can still be exercised to promote cohesive design, particularly where permission is needed for ancillary elements to support new homes.

“MORE FREEDOM WILL CERTAINLY PLACE MORE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE DEVELOPER”

I M A G E | PA L H A N S E N

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4 BLOG

Griff Rhys Jones is a broadcaster, developer and president of Civic Voice

Planning is complex by definition – so how can ‘simplification’ work?

Here we go again. Nobody seems to be looking forward to ‘simplification’ of the planning system, because everybody knows that planning is complicated – by definition. One size rarely fits all. I have been offering succour to friends whose grade II* setting is threatened by yet another application to whizz up some rotting barns alongside them with a housing development. It has been turned down once. The current planning system allows the determined to bang on ceaselessly. My friends have to prepare themselves for years of fighting, or give way to inappropriate development. But we need houses. I am a developer, too, and about to refurbish a disused site in fashionable Borough, London. To achieve a few flats and office space, I have started to organise my cohorts: lawyers at £450 an hour, ‘rights to light’ consultants, planning consultants, party wall advisers, valuers, surveyors. None of these expensive signings seem worried by the prospective changes. They know that the process of building will continue to suck in an army of hugely expensive advisers who will add cost before a single brick is laid. And people wonder at the price of houses. A government wants to simplify. I doubt they will achieve what they think they

want. I was once told by a doctor that changes to the way people paid for medicines or the NHS did have an effect. The poor who really needed help missed out more; those who cheated still got what they wanted. That will be true of this new one-size-fits-all proposal. There will be heart-breaking horrors perpetrated by those close to breaking the law anyway: greedy landlords forcing rabbit hutches into shops, ignoring building regs and threatening councils with appeals that they can’t afford to fight. And the lawabiding developer will still be struggling through miles of red tape. All that time spent on developing citizen awareness and trying to involve people in their own localities is going to be thrown away. The free-for-all areas won’t take account of the successful existing heritage within them; the strict conservation areas will stop development where it is needed. I have built in central London and in national parks. I would love to spend less time fussing about, say, bats. But I am also aware as I struggle to comply that the system is already allowing the less scrupulous to throw up horrors all around me. Is this initiative really going to sort out the real expense of building houses? Or make those houses any good? Planning is really not even half of that.

“EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT PLANNING IS COMPLICATED – BY DEFINITION. ONE SIZE RARELY FITS ALL”

O CTO B ER 2 0 20 / THE PLA NNER

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S TAT I O N D E S I G N

TRACK

CHANGES MANY OFF B BRITAIN’S MEDIUM­SIZED M ANY O RITAIN’S SSMALL MALL AAND ND M EDIUM­SIZED SSTATIONS TATIONS NEED REFRESH, DESIGN N EED A R EFRESH, SSAYS AYS TTHE HE D ESIGN CCOUNCIL’S OUNCIL’S NEW NETWORK RAIL VVICTORIA ICTORIA LLEE. EE. A N EW N ETWOR RK R AIIL CCOMPETITION OMPETITION AAIMS IMSS DISCOVER HOW CAN BECOME MORE WELCOMING TTO O DIS SCOVER H OW TTHEY HEYY C AN B ECOME M ORE W ELCOMING PASSENGERS COMMUNITIES TTO OP ASSENGERS AAND ND C OMMUNITIES

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majority of railway journeys. They n cities, towns and villages encompass a medley of building types everywhere, railway stations cater and facilities, contributing to different to new arrivals and to the people local atmospheres. Some local stations who use them routinely. They can are more cared for than others and offer make a strong statement about a more satisfying customer experience. the aspirations, character and resources Some are charming but others are of the places they serve. In addition to functional, nondescript places. providing an experience for passengers, Can these, too, become destinations? they help to set the civic tone. An international design competition Some stations have become run by Network Rail and RIBA is asking destinations. The award-winning St entrants to address this challenge in Pancras in London, which houses shops ways that overturn and restaurants, comes assumptions about to mind. Its national ““DESIGN DESIGN IISS M MUCH UCH station design and raise and international MORE M ORE TTHAN HAN TTHE HE for the connections build on PHYSICAL OUTCOME PHYS SICAL O UTCOME expectations quality of local stations. the station’s identity, for CREATIVE OF A CREA ATIVE The competition asks those in the UK and to PROCESS. IT critical questions: What an audience abroad. INVOLVES THE WAY does good design mean What then of the IN WHICH THE END for future stations? How 2,000 local stations that RESULT REACHED R ESULT IISS R EACHED can standardisation help make up 80 per cent of AS WELL” in improving design Britain’s station stock quality and customer under the ownership experience? How can of Network Rail? These station design support are category D, E and F future development in a stations – medium, small changing context? and in some entirely The answers should also mean we unstaffed – that cater to fewer than half a million trips per year. Together, can start answering the bigger questions these small and medium-sized stations about the characteristics of good make up a huge part of the country’s rail station design, how stations fit into travelling experience. their environment and where to set the Although individually small, they priorities for designing the passenger mark the start and end points of the hubs of the future.

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S TAT I O N D E S I G N

On rails The competition’s brief was informed by ThinkStation, a stakeholder engagement programme conducted by Design Council. This project and its subsequent report produced nine principles that we think should shape the design of future railways stations (see right). Running through the principles are ‘golden threads’ relating to growth and sustainability which could help us plan better and further into the future while addressing the challenges of today. Global social challenges should feed into station design, from urbanisation and population increase to shifting patterns of living and working. As we design, plan and enable growth, we must also think about the emerging trends in our communities and society. Local needs and priorities help us in understanding how and why

A pleasant wait Built from shipping containers, and thus both low-cost and easy to alter, Barneveld Noord (which inspired our cover illustration)was designed by NL Architects for the Dutch national railway service Pro Rail as part of a campaign called Prettig Wachten – ‘Pleasant Waiting’. The project funded station upgrades to make waiting for trains more bearable. It recognised that waiting can be an uncomfortable experience for passengers if environments are unwelcoming. Among other things, Barneveld Noord has a transparent waiting room, a café and space for art. The café introduced a human presence to the otherwise unstaffed station, an important component in making the environment feel safer and more cared for.

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a place will grow and prosper. Ongoing engagement can help in identifying where these trends may lead. Standardisation and contextuality matter, too. There is an opportunity now for more standardised station types – including those built through modern methods of construction. Contextual stations, those that are designed for the specific place and the community, tend to be preferred, however. Can we have both? A good balance seems to be something that is standardised in parts but can be built in reference to the place and people and, beyond that, cater to them directly through a ‘kit of parts’. For example, Barneveld Noord station in the Netherlands (see left), is made of standardised containers, but is characterful and contextual at the same time. Its ‘tower’ acts as a beacon and its colour and signage are distinct. Contextual design features can be small in scale (and potentially cost) but big in impact, such as the choice of materials and even external and internal artwork at the station. Getting processes such as contracting and procurement right is essential, too. In the case of station design, elongated and convoluted contracting and procurement methods can be hindrances to design quality, not just at the outset of the project but throughout. If we are to design, plan and build better stations, we have to streamline them. This will help to ensure energy and time are spent on delivering the best outcome. Importantly, we need contracting and procurement processes

that factor in design quality, are built on trust and go beyond the status quo. Ongoing engagement with suppliers and contractors can help, as well as expanding opportunities to a wider and more diverse pool of industry professionals. Design is much more than the physical outcome of a creative process. It involves the way in which the end result is reached as well. Good design is when both process and outcome are taken into account, improving the experience of all users.

Passing through barriers The timing of the Network Rail/RIBA competition is made particularly interesting by Covid-19 and the government’s proposed planning reforms. Pre-pandemic, the role of managing stations had already been identified by those who took part in ThinkStation as one of the drivers of change which could improve the quality of the experience of passengers and staff. In a post-pandemic world, good governance and management becomes even more crucial for the public’s health. Station managers must now tackle this challenge in the day-to-day running of the station buildings and infrastructure.

[Above] St Pancras in London is an archetypal modern transport hub [Left] Settle station in North Yorkshire is homely and cared for [Right] Many local stations have an air of untidiness and neglect I M AG E S | A L A M Y / I STO C K

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S TAT I O N D E S I G N

A design platform ThinkStation was a stakeholder engagement programme undertaken by Design Council in late 2019 and early 2020. Centred on 11 workshops with 324 attendees from 120 organisations in four British cities, the project gathered insights from passengers and industry stakeholders that could help shape the future of local railway stations. Nine design principles emerged, to inform the Network Rail/RIBA design competition:

Design can help in this task, by considering how to reduce the spread of viruses in station design and through the use of infrastructure. The housing secretary’s move to speed up planning is another consideration. Planning for the Future suggests we all play a greater role in achieving design quality at each stage of the planning process – from site selection and local plan creation to delivery. We cannot rely as heavily on the planning application process alone to be the steward for design quality and public benefits. Developers, viability specialists, planning consultants and other parties now have an even greater role to play in design, alongside architects, landscape designers and engineers. Under the proposed reform, housing development is likely to speed up and more station development will be required in either ‘growth’ or ‘renewal’ zones. Design principles and codes will be called on to guarantee design quality, including schemes with a transport infrastructure focus. Network Rail’s Principles of

Good Design and ThinkStation’s nine principles provide a sound foundation. The station design competition can showcase best practice and illustrate the role of clear design principles in enhancing the experience for users of stations and the communities that surround them. Better stations will improve our lives and connect us more meaningfully with our town centres, local communities and the environment. They can promote sustainable transport, lower carbon emissions and improve air quality. They keep us safe and sheltered, strengthen civic identity and help to enable physical, social and economic interactions. Engagement across the rail industry and with communities is more crucial than ever. The insights gathered so far should be an important building block for anyone exploring the challenges of urban regeneration and reenvisioning local areas where there is a significant transport infrastructure element. n Victoria Lee is a lead

programme manager for Design Council

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Support existing and new communities in their local area. A well-designed building or public space is not enough to create attractive and active places – physical spaces should support local activities and initiatives that strengthen a shared sense of community.

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Reflect and embody local character and heritage. A new station needs to be specific to its place, embodying and enhancing distinct characteristics, cementing a relationship with locality.

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Provide consistent quality of space and service. Ways that enable passengers to plan their journeys, reducing anxiety and increasing satisfaction, are essential.

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Establish connections with and between the town centre and/ or the high street. New passenger hubs should be a continuation of the public realm and

town centre, promoting permeability, forging strong connections and creating new relationships with the existing built environment.

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Celebrate, improve the quality of and provide access to green and open spaces. Landscape is of significant value to bring enhanced ecological and environmental resilience as well as increased wellbeing.

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Be welcoming and facilitate inclusive travel. An inclusive passenger hub would go beyond accessibility to provide an environment which can be used safely and with dignity by all.

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Support and better integrate crossmodal transport. Stations should facilitate multimodal links, for public transport, pedestrian and cycling routes, making it as easy as possible to cut car use.

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Help to address climate change through procedures and processes that prioritise the reduction in greenhouse gases and work towards decarbonisation.

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Ensure longevity by accommodating changes of use, capacity and trends. Passenger hubs should prioritise long-term adaptability to respond to the ageing population, urbanisation, climate change, technology and reduced natural resources.

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INTERVIEW: NIALL CUSSEN

PUBLIC FAC E EIGHTEEN MONTHS INTO HIS ROLE AS IRELAND’S FIRST PLANNING REGULATOR, NIALL CUSSEN TALKS TRANSPARENCY, BEING IN THE PUBLIC EYE, PLANNING EDUCATION AND THE TIME HE CYCLED HOME TO DUBLIN FROM A MEETING – IN SOUTH WALES

P I L L U S T R AT I O N | PA D D Y M I L L S

So successful was the venture that three more art of the job of the Office of the programmes about planning are being mooted for Planning Regulator (OPR) is to colour the next series. This desire to make the profession in the picture in relation to all the and its practice more publicly visible seems never different moving parts of the planning to be far from Cussen’s mind. process, all the different roles that are Perhaps this is unsurprising given that the OPR played,” Niall Cussen explains. “And through the emerged as an antidote to the furtive behaviour planning performance assessment framework uncovered by the 15-year Mahon Tribunal into properly tell the story of the doing of planning in corruption in planning that ended different parts of the country.” in 2012. This ‘Tribunal of Inquiry It seems an unusual way to “THERE’S NO into Certain Planning Matters describe the work of a regulatory VEIL. OUR and Payments’ led to multiple body. But this is, as Ireland’s first METHODOLOGIES prosecutions and the resignation chief planning regulator tells me, ARE PUBLISHED of then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. a body without precedent. Thus, ON OUR It also exposed the shortcomings communication of its purpose, as WEBSITE. OUR of a way of doing development well as the purpose of planning is, he PROCESSES ARE that was out of kilter with the insists, integral to its function. TRANSPARENT” needs of a nation undergoing rapid By way of example, Cussen modernisation. points to a documentary about The Tribunal made 64 spatial planning and health in the recommendations for increasing environmental current affairs series transparency in planning. One was Eco Eye, which was sponsored by the creation of an independent the OPR under its educational remit. regulator to ensure that the system works in “It was the highest-rated programme in their the public interest. During this period, too, Irish series,” he says with a blend of pride and surprise. planning has undergone a revolution of sorts “It was viewed by well over half a million people with the introduction of a National Planning which, in a country of five-and-a-half million Framework and Project Ireland 2040, a national people, is not bad going for what could be a fairly development plan. These provide a coherent dry topic. It was the runaway hit.”

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The Grangegorman campus of the Technological University Dublin is home to the Office of the Planning Regulator

national vision for de development and a system for achieving it rooted in a more plan accountable local development dev process. “Virtually all the 64 recommendations off th the ttribunal ib l were iimplemented and that has led to lobbying legislation, new systems for ethics and standards in public office and a much more evidence-based and transparent basis for zoning decisions,” Cussen wrote to me in a note ahead of our interview. “Where implementation of agreed national policies is uneven or inconsistent, economies, communities and the environment can suffer and the OPR is about seeing that the systems and procedures employed by planning authorities avoid this.” There is almost a sense here of coming out of the darkness and into the light. “There’s no veil,” Cussen says. “Our methodologies are published on our website. Our processes are transparent and the conclusions of them are published. And things “THE ROLE like trackers of what plans OF PLANNING we’re looking at, what we’ve REGULATOR published in relation to them. DEMANDS It’s all part of our ethos in SOMEBODY WHO supporting the greatest levels UNDERSTANDS of public understanding as to WHO WE’RE DOING what the purpose of planning THAT FOR, WHY is, what the public’s role in it is WE’RE DOING and how it can be improved.”

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an appeals body, An Bord Pleanála, and a planning ombudsman). Though its functions can be found in other planning systems, what makes the OPR different is that they are bound up in a THIS, AS A single organisation CITIZEN” independent of The face of planning government. Cussen The what and the how of the is unaware of any OPR are embodied in its three other planning founding objectives: system having • To assess statutory plans an independent prepared by local authorities regulator. for their consistency with This independence is expressed in national and regional planning policy and several ways. Unlike his previous role regulatory requirements. as Ireland’s chief planner, in which he • To ensure the effectiveness of systems was ensconced within the government’s and procedures used by planning Department for Infrastructure, Cussen is authorities through reviews and now running a start-up organisation. This examination of complaints regarding requires a more autonomous mindset. systemic matters. “Building the team was my immediate • To drive programmes of research, priority,” he stresses. “We had a whole training and public awareness senior management team, professional highlighting the role and benefits of the planning team that had to be built from planning process. scratch. The second major priority was The OPR then scrutinises the communicating our purpose. management of planning at an “The establishment of the OPR operational level, rather than at the sounded like a very good idea in some level of applications (for which there is

quarters, but in others there might have been some concerns about whether this was going to lead to a diminishing of local authority powers. It was very important to communicate our role in the process and to build effective working relationships with all our stakeholders from the very beginning. It needed a public-facing planning regulator to do that, and I think we’ve done that very successfully. “The third key priority was our procedures, our manuals for example, for testing plans or conducting reviews.” There has also been the task of finding a home for the new body. Cussen and his team eventually settled on the campus of the new Technological University of Dublin (TUD), itself the centrepiece of a large urban regeneration project in Grangegorman, north of the city centre. TUD is home to one of Ireland’s three planning schools, a co-location which offers “plenty of advantages and synergies”. Indeed, it’s the educational aspect of his brief that seems to animate the regulator the most. Aside from Eco Eye, this extends to training elected members of Ireland’s 31 local authorities. With no statutory requirement for councillors to undertake planning training, workshops offered by the OPR have attracted “hundreds” of participants. “I’ve been very struck by the degree

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INTERVIEW: NIALL CUSSEN

A PLANNING JOURNEY

to which our activities are filling a very significant gap in the training and the support that we provide to our elected members in discharging their planning functions,” Cussen reflects. “This is the first time that they’ve had training that’s specifically designed around understanding their critical position within the planning decision-making, policymaking process.” This can “only have a positive impact” when considered in the context of “the significant complexity that is inherent in our planning process today, compared to previous generations”.

The enthusiast Which brings us back to the Wild West days before the Mahon Tribunal. With systems comes the need to manage complexity. Cussen’s enthusiasm and energy are handy qualities for Ireland’s inaugural planning regulator, but he must bring tangible experience, too. “I have those backgrounds,” he replies when I ask him his qualifications for the role. “I worked in local government for 10, 12 years, in a lot of direct public facing roles, in development management and forward planning and enforcement and public engagement. So I have a very thorough understanding of doing the planning on the ground.”

I moved around a lot as I grew up, writes Niall Cussen. Constant travel, a keen geographical nose and a penchant for cycling to quell my curiosity about place and people – and a brilliant geography teacher, Eithne Cantwell of St Patrick’s Classical School, Navan – led me to planning. I knew early it would likely be the career for me. Eithne and a great career guidance teacher, Ray Mooney, advised that the best entry to postgraduate planning school in Ireland was via Maynooth University. A primary degree in geography and economics followed, then a master’s in regional and urban planning at University College Dublin. My career began in August 1989 at Clare County Council under a fantastic mentor and lifelong friend, Ciaran Lynch. I then worked with Meath County Council, again under a fantastic mentor and lasting friend in Brian Hunt. After sojourns with Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála, I settled in the Department of the Environment in 2000 as part of a team preparing Ireland’s first spatial plan, the National Spatial Strategy. I became chief planner in July 2014 and have been involved in almost every aspect of policy and legislative development, leading the team that enabled publication by Government of the National Planning Framework and Project Ireland 2040 – backed by a €114 billion capital investment plan we worked on with our Department of Public Expenditure colleagues. I’ve loved every minute in planning. It’s the most brilliant career for people interested in place and people. The opportunity to play a real part in how communities and places change – or not – is always rewarding. I’ve always loved the interaction with people, the debates and the outcomes where people smile and say “that turned out really well.”

He goes on: “I suppose the 20 years in the department has given me a very good understanding of working through the different levels within government – the contacts, the networks, and so on. The role of planning regulator demands somebody who understands who we’re doing this for, why we’re doing this, as a citizen, so representing that public interest.” There is one notable difference between his previous role and this one – public visibility and accountability. “Civil servants are there in the background, providing the essential steer but ultimately decisions are made by ministers. In the OPR, you’re very much the public face and the decision-maker. One thing that has slightly surprised me is the level of interest there is from the media and public in our work.” Yet Cussen embraces it. When we launched The Planner in 2013, a phrase we heard often was ‘Passion for planning’. Cussen has it in spades. I wonder what else, outside of work, enthuses him. Two telling pursuits emerge. First, he is a model railway enthusiast, with a “goodly chunk of the West Midlands modelled in an adjoining room”. Second, he is a serious, lifelong cyclist. Once, as chief planner, he cycled home to Dublin from a presentation in South Wales. “I’d never ridden across the Brecon Beacons and the southern part of Snowdonia,” he explains matter-of-factly. As a student at the School of Civic Design in Liverpool, his weekend rides took him to the Yorkshire Dales, where he discovered a love of English railways. Such pursuits require planning, an eye for detail, inquisitiveness, ambition, longterm application and a deal of stamina. Though model railway building may seem a solitary activity, cycling is one for – in the art historian Tim Hilton’s lovely phrase – “sociable individualists”. I would put Cussen into this category. He relishes the opportunity to share his enthusiasm publicly; but I also imagine him, happy with his own company as he gets on with the detailed work. Nicely balanced, in other words – which is probably a quality you want in a regulator who must plot an accessible public route through territory that has not been mapped before. Simon Wicks is deputy editor of The Planner

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The former Bankside Power Station has been transformed into the centrepiece of the Tate Modern, one of the world’s most celebrated art galleries

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ADAPTIVE REUSE

ADAPT, REUSE, RECYCLE THE REINVENTION OF BUILDINGS IS PART OF AN ENDLESS PROCESS OF RENEWAL, SAYS KEVIN MULDOON­SMITH – AND GREATER EMPHASIS ON ‘ADAPTIVE REUSE’ CAN HELP PLANNERS MEET MODERN BUILT ENVIRONMENT CHALLENGES

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uildings are produced in response to socio-economic circumstances to meet changes in demand. As that demand evolves through economic restructuring, technical innovation and social change, existing buildings and uses become obsolete. New buildings and uses are required to replace them. This can be seen in revisioning of existing housing schemes, office to residential conversions, historic buildings as they seek viable futures and even power stations being reimagined as art galleries. What is new, however, is the rate and regularity of obsolescence and vacancy. Traditionally, a typical office lease would be 20 to 25 years, with repair and insurance obligations placed on the tenant. In recent years, a typical lease is 2-3 years long and increasingly flexible as tenants demand the ability to expand or contract their business models without the restriction of a long-term property agreement. The retail built environment in particular was already under disruption from the internet; the office built environment was being pressured to

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reconfigure as a place to collaborate, alongside employees working remotely from home. Covid-19 has accelerated this disruption. Retail failure has sped up, with even more consumers moving online. Most employees have been working from home since March, rendering the traditional office building in the central business district obsolete – at least temporarily. This has led to a tension between landlords and businesses who want workers to return to their previous routines, businesses who are re-evaluating their building requirements and overheads, and employees who have adjusted well to change

Devil in the detail The need to resolve these kinds of tensions is why the focus on change and impermanence in the government’s Planning for the Future consultation – and its potentially radical change to use category E – is, in principle, to be welcomed. But there is no magic wand and the devil is in the detail: as Jane Jacobs remarked, “designing a dream city is easy. Rebuilding a living one takes imagination”. Research by Northumbria University has set out the need for adaptation in the built environment and the limitations of the permitted development rights (PDR) scheme for office-toresidential conversion. Our findings have been vindicated by UCL research into the quality of subsequent homes. The need for adaptation in the built environment is obvious but its principal exponent, PDR, has given it a bad reputation.

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ADAPTIVE REUSE

The question, therefore, is not whether to adapt, but how best to adapt. For 18 months, researchers at Northumbria have been studying how the planning system can better support adaptation of the built environment. The team has asked both local authority planners in England and private developers how the planning system should evolve to support adaptation. Central government has put considerable thought put into Planning for the Future. Academics and professional groups have responded meaningfully. But it is unclear to what extent local authority planners (often seen as the cause of local inertia) and developers (typically framed as those calling for deregulation) have been consulted in this process. Our research attempts to fill this potential gap and hints at how the planning system can better support adaptation.

Adapting to complexity Themes raised have been similar to those presented in Planning for the Future – planning tech, speed, clarity. However, what was very different was the means of achieving these aims and objectives. Planning for the Future appears to delocalise planning, favouring a blanket approach based on permission in principle. Our findings suggest that what is needed is a more locally sophisticated, agile, nuanced planning system – supported by a placebased system of managing competing and repeated change in use. Although the research findings support

Terminus House in Harlow, considered a poor example of permitted development

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spatial planning, the onus is on greater granularity of intelligence, rather than simplified zones within a centrally defined, permissive and permitted planning system. In these uncertain times, the best strategy for tackling Covid-19 seems to be local, targeted intervention as spikes develop and mutate in different ways – it is similar for built environment adaptation, which is also uncertain and dynamic. There is a demand to plan multifunctional spaces alongside supportive amenities. This demands careful planning to account for complexity. Infrastructure will be vital. Inevitably, there will be adaptation within areas previously planned for single use. More mixed-use areas will need different infrastructure from that previously installed. Although there is potential to use the proposed development land tax to shape future places, it will be harder to modify current locations. While it appears that adaptations constructed through permitted development will contribute via this tax, it is unclear whether changes within the new use class E will do so as well. The proposed change within this new category (see box) will potentially be more seismic for town centres than Planning for the Future. Moreover, without equalisation between locations, proceeds of the levy (collected and retained locally) will benefit already buoyant economic locations. Besides, the new levy is to be calculated on the final value of development. This does not account for the additional

budgets that developers need to put aside to cover the potential risk associated with adaptation schemes – leading to developers driving down costs associated with quality to compensate. Moreover, as with the original officeto-residential PDR in 2013, there is considerable scope to game the requirement for buildings to be vacant for six months. The embodied carbon impact of demolition is not considered in the consultation; one of the key advantages of adaptive reuse is its inherent sustainability. One of the strongest findings from the research is the lack of demand for planning deregulation at the local scale from developers. Recognising that built environment adaptation is complex and unique in every location, developers indicate that the successful building change process emerges from a continuing debate between planner and developer. However, in making the case for a more nuanced local planning system that also promotes speed and efficiency there needs to be a means of achieving this. Enhanced planning technology was overwhelmingly favoured – echoing

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Toffee Factory in Newcastle, now a creative business hub. See pages 31-32 for the full story

FLEXIBLE USES

the similar call in Planning for the Future. Our findings prioritised land use tools, ownership information, social media and decision making and design tools alongside local design codes. Both planners and developers indicated the need for a tool to assess the adaptability potential of buildings. The same tool should also have the ability to assess space standards, light, ventilation, amenity and location – key issues in recent criticisms of permitted development rights. However, the findings didn’t indicate any demand for an algorithmic allocation for building numbers, with the onus on local detail and interpretation. This reveals a risk that the use of data algorithms will discredit planning technology in the same way that PDR has discredited adaptation.

The threshold of change Most buildings of a certain age in any town centre have gone through several incarnations. Recently, previously redundant industrial sheds on the edge of urban areas have been repurposed as the infrastructure of last-mile retail delivery and container villages have taken root on previously moribund gap sites. This indicates that the 1947 Planning Act has in part been successful in managing the evolution of the built environment. Indeed, developers in the research project indicated that it is not the planning system that typically prevents adaptation. Rather, it is economic viability and the risk this imbues, which lead to an understandable I M AG E S | G E T T Y / GA R RO D K I R KWO O D

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push to reduce cost. This suggests that planning reform should be considered across departments in tandem with other policy initiatives. For example, until 2017 the little-known Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA) was a key enabler of many successful office building conversions in town and city centres. The built environment, and the way we use it, has reached a threshold. The old urban world of clear building use (and associated codes) is simply no more. The built environment will need to be different – more complicated and more diverse. This relates to another finding from the research: planners were not precious about preserving the traditional planning system. As with buildings, they recognise the need for the planning system to change in response to a more dynamic environment. However, they were concerned about the need to change being confused with a demand for less planning. The need to adapt the built environment should not be elided and overtaken by other competing planning policy demands, such as the need to speedily increase housebuilding. The proposed simplified tri-zone system with presumed permission may speed up some housing development – as long as underlying rental levels are supportive. But this proposed process does not account for the existing built environment, nor its complexity. The debate around adaptation has recently coalesced around a tension between quantity and quality. The research indicated that there is also tension between complexity and simplicity; speed and detail; automated technology and planning interpretation; and, complex adaptation and growth-related development. However, the overwhelming finding was that rather than binaries that lead to conflict, the real planning demand is for a recognised interaction between each to help the built environment to evolve. Much of the Planning for the Future consultation is encased in the rhetoric of development, housing growth and acceleration. But new development only accounts for a fraction of the built environment, estimated at around 2-5 per cent a year. The vast majority already exists. How we best adapt our built environment will define the future city. n Kevin Muldoon-Smith is a senior lecturer in built environment adaptation and investment at Northumbria University

From September 1, a revision to the Use Class Order reassigns several commercial, business and service uses to a new use class, E. This means that landlords (and business owners) have greater flexibility to respond to changes in the trading environment to change the use of their building within this class without requiring planning permission. They can operate across uses concurrently or have different uses at different times of the day. The uses falling within use class E are:

Shops

Financial and professional services

Food and drink

Business (office, r&d, light industrial

Non-residential institutions (eg, medical, créche day nursery)

Assembly and leisure (indoor sport, gyms, etc) These changes are, however, the subject of a judicial review which is expected to be heard in October.

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V I S U A L P R O J EC T

CLOSER LOOK:

ADAPTIVE REUSE AT THE TOFFEE FACTORY ONCE HOME TO THE PRODUCTION OF ACID DROPS AND BLACK BULLETS, THE FORMER MAYNARDS SWEET FACTORY IN NEWCASTLE HAS BEEN REPURPOSED ONCE MORE AND NOW OFFERS A ‘GOLDEN TICKET’ TO LOCAL DIGITAL AND CREATIVE BUSINESSES

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The building housing Toffee Factory in Newcastle has been many things over 140 years: a cattle sanatorium, a storage warehouse, a sawmill, and a sweet factory. In 2011 it was reinvented again as a modern hub for digital and creative businesses.

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The building’s life began in 1870 when the Newcastle Corporation identified a need for a “foreign cattle yard and slaughter shops” to handle livestock imported from Scandinavia. The Ouseburn Sanatorium opened beside the River Tyne and its Ouseburn tributary in 1877. The U-shaped building that became Toffee Factory was added later.

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V I S U A L P R O J EC T

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By 1899, with improvements in refrigerated transport, the buildings stood empty. The site served as a sawmill and timber yard before R Steenberg & Son took it on as warehousing in 1903. The Sternberg warehousing stocked large quantities of lard during the Second World War.

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The factory ceased production in the 1950s. Steenberg moved out in the early 1990s. In 1993 the former sweet factory was gutted by fire and remained a shell for more than a decade. In 2011, the new 1NG regeneration agency, formed by Newcastle and Gateshead Councils and the ONE regional development agency, made the sweet factory the centrepiece of a regeneration of the North East Quayside and the Ouseburn Estuary.

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From 1906, sweet maker Maynards leased part of the warehousing at £50 per annum. As the company expanded, it took on more of the Ouseburn buildings and produced its famous toffees at the site, as well as Acid Drops, Black Bullets, Brazils, Cloves, Pear Drops and Humbugs.

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Ouseburn architects xcite architecture designed the conversion of the building into Toffee Factory – high-quality move-on office space for digital and creative businesses. In 2012, the newly minted building won three RIBA North East Awards. Today, Toffee Factory is home to more than 20 digital and creative businesses. The quayside, still dotted with physical reminders of its past, is open for business and buzzing once again.

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Read Toffee Factory a Little History by Silvie Fisch, written as part of the Ouseburn Trust’s ‘Living Archives’ project: bit.ly/planner1020toffee

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LANDSCAPE

TTech { L A N D S C A P E

ABOVE AND BEYOND WHILE GOVERNMENT POLICY IS MOVING BACK TOWARDS ZERO­CARBON HOUSING, SOME HOUSEBUILDERS ARE LOOKING TO LEAPFROG POLICY REQUIREMENTS IN THE RACE TO CUT EMISSIONS. MATT MOODY REPORTS. In 2006, the UK became the first country in the world to commit to zero-carbon housing emissions, as then-chancellor Gordon Brown pledged that “within 10 years, every new home will be a zero-carbon home”. A year before that deadline, however, sustainable housebuilding in the UK suffered a blow. Fresh from winning a Conservative majority at the 2015 election, it took David Cameron’s new government just two months to axe Brown’s policy, despite widespread criticism from environmental campaigners. In 2019, a report published by the UK Committee on Climate Change underlined the scale of the problem. “UK homes are not fit for the future,” it stated. “Greenhouse gas emission reductions from UK housing have stalled, and efforts to adapt the housing stock for higher temperatures, flooding and water scarcity are falling far behind the increase in risk from the changing climate. The quality, design and use of homes across the UK must be improved now to address the challenges of climate change.” The same year, against a backdrop

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of growing climate protests around the world, the tide started to turn in the UK. The government pledged to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050, and this year, after six months of consultation, it began to move back towards zero-carbon housing by announcing the Future Homes Standard. Under the new rules, which are expected to come into force in 2025, new homes will no longer be connected to the gas grid. The government is considering two options to reduce emissions. The first option proposes a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emiswould be greater, and would cost more sions, to be achieved solely through in the long run because homes with fabric improvements such as triple lower fabric standards would need to glazing. The second option would be retrofitted to meet more stringent have more lenient fabric standards emissions standards in the future. but would aim to achieve a 31 per cent Others have called on the governreduction in emissions through other ment to focus on retrofitting existing means, such as renewable energy. buildings to reduce carbon emissions. The second option, Historic England’s report, reportedly favoured by There’s No Place Like Old the government, would Homes, points out that “AGAINST A see a greater short-term if “embodied emissions” BACKDROP OF reduction in emissions GROWING CLIMATE – those produced during and would save homePROTESTS AROUND construction, maintenance owners more money and demolition – are THE WORLD, THE each month. However, counted, a typical historic TIDE STARTED TO build costs for this option building, properly refurTURN IN THE UK”

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Goldsmith Street, a Passivhaus-based social housing project in Norwich [left], and [below] Etopia’s ‘ecitech’ homes in Corby, Northamptonshire

bished, will contribute less carbon by 2050 than a new building. The Architects’ Journal’s ‘Retro First’ campaign, meanwhile, is urging the government to cut VAT on refurbishment, which currently stands at 20 per cent, incentivising new development.

A win-win-win scenario New homes are still needed, however, and housebuilders are innovating in response to the climate crisis, going beyond policy requirements to build homes that achieve zero – and in some cases even negative – emissions. One example is the architectural practice Mikhail Riches, responsible for I M AG E | A L A M Y

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Goldsmith Street, a social housing project in Norwich. Each home was built to the Passivhaus standard, which is based on the principle of using ‘passive’ energy sources like sunlight and household appliances, along with efficient building materials, to eliminate the need for additional heating. After the project won the 2019 Stirling Prize, the practice stated that it would go further, only working on zero-carbon projects in the future.

One company at the forefront of low-carbon housing is Etopia, which describes itself as an ‘ecitech’ (energy, construction and intelligence technology) start-up. In collaboration with Samsung, the company is using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology to harness energy data in the home, reducing emissions and making life easier for residents. According to its founder, Joseph Daniels, the construction industry “needs to be dragged forward into the 21st century”, with room for innovation in housing construction and within the homes themselves. Etopia’s homes are constructed in its factory in Cheshire, cutting both emissions and build time. The company has achieved an average EPC (energy performance rating) of 103, with 100 indicating carbon neutrality. Its homes are therefore carbon-negative, producing more energy than they use, while smart-grid technology stores extra energy and can distribute it around the community as needed. The company’s pilot scheme, a 47-home development in Corby, is under way. Although the government’s commitment to cut emissions to zero by 2050 was welcomed, many environmental campaigners have warned that the measures don’t go far enough. In response, some local authorities have set themselves more stringent targets. Greenwich Borough Council in south-east London, which declared a climate emergency last year, is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality 20 years earlier, in 2030. It has also pledged to build 750 new council homes over the same period. A partnership scheme between modular housing company Ilke

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LANDSCAPE

TTech { L A N D S C A P E [left] In Wales, the FLATLINE project is reducing emissions and pressure on the National Grid and [below] eco-homes built by Ilke Homes in its factory in Knaresborough were installed in Woolwich

Homes and energy specialist ENGIE made progress on both fronts this summer, delivering four carbonnegative council homes in Woolwich. Manufactured in North Yorkshire, they were craned into place with minimal work required on site. “Rather than using carbon offsetting schemes,” says Matthew Bench, executive director of partnerships at ilke Homes, “all the carbon savings are achieved by the technologies of the homes themselves.” Each home is fitted with individual air source heat pumps and solar panels to heat and power them. Air source heat pumps work by absorbing heat from the outside air and can work with outdoor temperatures as low as -15°C. The homes are so efficient that residents can keep themselves warm for as little as £1 a day. The scheme also makes use of an emerging technology known as building information modelling. This process allows house-

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builders to use data about every aspect of a building to create a digital ‘copy’ of it, which can be used to model its efficiency virtually and improve future designs. In Wales, the government-backed (and cleverly named) FLATLINE project is reducing emissions and pressure on the National Grid. FLATLINE, which stands for ‘fixed-level affordable tariffs led by intelligently networked energy’, is an early small-scale UK example of demand-side energy management. Residents of the three-home pilot scheme in Cardiff will be the first to use an app, developed by tech start-up Sero, which will intelligently manage energy consumption, avoiding the National Grid when demand is at its peak and drawing down energy at

cheaper times. Performance data and occupant feedback collected by the system will be used to fine-tune the system and demonstrate the viability of demand-side energy management on a domestic scale. According to James Williams, managing director of Sero, achieving zero-carbon will require “a dramatic change in our approach to energy and housing”. The FLATLINE concept offers a “winwin-win scenario”, he says. It would offer “flexible and intelligently managed energy use resulting in significantly lower bills to a home occupant, practically eliminating the risk of fuel poverty; electrical demands on the National Grid being shifted entirely offpeak to help support renewables on the grid; all whilst delivering lower carbon emissions in a new UK business model that can lead to growth at home and abroad”. Given that the built environment reputedly contributes 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, low-carbon housing is crucial in the drive to reach zero emissions, whether by 2030 or 2050. As illustrated above, a number of firms and public authorities are developing technology that could take us to this point. There are also signs that policy is once again turning in the direction of cleaner, more energy-efficient homes. Yet the government continues to take criticism over its green credentials, being told as this edition of The Planner goes to press that the UK is falling short in 17 of 20 UN biodiversity targets. Environmentalists will continue to ask: is this too little too late? n Matt Moody is section editor for The Planner

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CASES &DECISIONS

A N A LY S E D B Y M A T T M O O D Y / A P P E A L S @ T H E P L A N N E R . C O . U K

Luxury ‘extra care’ scheme approved despite mayor’s ruling Plans to regenerate a former college in Kensington to provide 142 ‘extra care’ units worth an average of £3.6 million each can go ahead after an inspector rejected the GLA’s 2019 ruling that the units were not exempt from affordable housing requirements. In 2018, plans were submitted for a total redevelopment of Heythrop College, a former Jesuit seminary in Kensington, that included refurbishment of the college building, reinstatement of three historic townhouses, and a deck extending over the London Underground line behind the site with five new buildings of up to eight storeys built on top. The scheme would provide 142 ‘extra care’ homes, which the appellant suggested would fall under use class C2 (residential institution), making them not only exempt from affordable housing requirements but also compatible with the council’s aim to provide a “social and community use”. In 2019, Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor of London, ordered the council to refuse permission, citing Greater London Authority (GLA) officer advice that the extra care facilities should be considered use class C3 (residential), meaning the scheme would “fall well short” of the 35 per cent affordable housing required of all new residential schemes in London.

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LOCATION: Kensington AUTHORITY: Kensington & Chelsea Borough Council

INSPECTOR: David L Morgan PROCEDURE: Inquiry DECISION: Allowed REFERENCE: APP/ K5600/W/19/3228820

Council officers had recommended the scheme for approval, after finding that although there was “little to differentiate [the extra care units] physically” from regular housing, the level of care proposed meant that

use class C2 was the most applicable. In line with Pipe’s order, however, the council refused permission. The subsequent appeal inquiry considered the scheme’s effects on the historic environment, loss of trees, traffic (during and after construction), crime, and community space. But the decision ultimately turned on affordable housing and viability. In inspector David L Morgan’s view, factors including the provision of nursing stations on each floor of the complex and design details meant to reflect nonambulant needs suggested “physical attributes of a carefocused facility”. The extra care units “fell comfortably within use class C2”, and were therefore exempt

from affordable housing requirements, he decided. But the level of the rest of the affordable housing to be provided remained at issue. Morgan acknowledged that in a scheme where “the value of development is so great and the provision of affordable housing so limited”, it was understandable that the GLA had wanted to test the appellant’s viability evidence. But he noted, after “forensic analysis” of each aspect of the scheme’s finances, the GLA had found “financial headroom” of around £14 million – equivalent to roughly 2 per cent of the project’s gross development value. This was a margin that could be “eroded or consumed” by differing conclusions on any of the many key values that made up the viability assessment, he found, noting that on development costs alone, the difference between the parties was enough to wipe out the headroom. On this basis, Morgan found, the scheme would provide the “maximum reasonable affordable housing” while remaining viable. But he did agree with the GLA that both early and late-stage review mechanisms were “necessary and entirely justified”. He decided that the scheme’s “raft of public benefits”, including townscape and heritage enhancements, homes for (albeit very wealthy) older people, and the structural benefit of unlocking the site, carried decisive weight.

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These are just a few of the 40 or so appeal reports that we post each month on our website: www.theplanner.co.uk/decisions

Historic Birmingham music venue saved from demolition An inspector rejected plans to replace music venue The Flapper with a block of flats, noting that the ‘strength and volume’ of objections to the scheme demonstrated its value to the community ‘beyond market economics’.

‘Cat containment area’ deemed harmful to heritage

I M AG E S | A L A M Y / I STO C K

An inspector has refused retrospective permission for a ‘cat containment area’ added to the front of a stone-terraced home in a West Yorkshire conservation area, after rejecting the appellants’ claim that it was ‘almost invisible’. The appeal concerned an end-of-terrace stone house in Marsden, West Yorkshire, within its conservation area. Each property has a small front garden bound by a low stone wall, fence or hedge. In December last year, the appellants applied to install what they described as “a lightweight, non-permanent, almost invisible cat containment area” in their front garden. They told Yorkshire Live that the structure, which they referred to as a “catio”, would provide a safe space for their four “fur babies”. The council refused permission, but the appellants had decided to construct the scheme anyway – at a cost of £10,000 – before appealing to the Planning Inspectorate. The scheme drew more than 20 objections from neighbours, who called the structure an “eyesore” that created a blind spot for motorists. In his decision, inspector Philip Major noted that the terrace had “a strong unity of character... enhanced by the lack of tall vertical structures in front gardens”. Although he accepted that the plastic mesh used LOCATION: Marsden by the appellants was translucent, he did not AUTHORITY: Kirklees Metropolitan agree that it was “almost Borough Council invisible”. Major acknowledged INSPECTOR: Philip Major the appellants’ concerns that their pet cats could PROCEDURE: Written submissions damage neighbouring property, harm wildlife, DECISION: Dismissed and cause car accidents. However, he decided REFERENCE: APP/ that there was no Z4718/D/20/3251115 evidence to suggest that these problems were particularly prevalent in the vicinity.

The appeal concerned plans to demolish The Flapper, a canal-side pub in Birmingham with a 120-capacity music venue, and replace it with a block of 27 flats. The application drew 222 objections, and a petition to save the venue was signed by more than 12,500 people. But the developer pressed on with the plans, saying that the venue was unviable despite having benefited from a 25 per cent rent reduction for the past eight years. In January 2020, the venue closed when its lease expired, but a campaign to see it locally listed was launched. By then, the developer had appealed. The appellant’s key argument was that there are enough other live music venues in Birmingham that the loss of The Flapper would not be “unreasonably detrimental”, suggesting that “the established custom for live music performances is not local residents”. Inspector Darren Hendley was not convinced that these venues “would actually be able to accommodate” the performances that would

LOCATION: Birmingham AUTHORITY: Birmingham City Council INSPECTOR: Darren Hendley PROCEDURE: Written submissions DECISION: Dismissed REFERENCE: APP/ P4605/W/20/3251101

be displaced if The Flapper closed, given their existing performance schedules. The appellant’s said “the supply of live music venues is principally driven by market economics”. Hendley disagreed, noting the value of the venue “beyond such an approach”, as shown by the “strength and volume” of the objections to the flats. Hendley found no harm to traffic flow or listed buildings and the non-designated canal basin. Overall, however, he decided that there was not enough evidence to warrant the loss of the music venue.

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LANDSCAPE

C&D { C Forth Bridge visitor centre parking dispute solved

AUTHORITY: City of Edinburgh Council INSPECTOR: Timothy Brian PROCEDURE: Written submissions DECISION: Allowed REFERENCE: PPA­230­2312

Million-crystal sculpture of queen cannot remain for jubilee An 18ft sculpture of the queen in 999,999 crystals in glass, installed near Hyde Park in 2018, will not be kept in place for 2022’s Platinum Jubilee, after an inspector deemed it ‘alien’ and harmful to nearby heritage assets. The appeal concerned One Million Queen, a sculpture created by the Italian artist Matt Marga. The artwork comprises 999,999 partially gold-coated crystals and 53 real diamonds embedded in a sheet of glass, arranged to form a profile of Queen Elizabeth II. The sculpture is located on a traffic island near Hyde Park Corner and sits on a plinth, bringing its total height to 5.6 metres. It was initially created to celebrate the queen’s 92nd birthday and received a temporary six-month

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permission in December 2018. In July 2019, the artist sought permission to retain the sculpture until July 2022, citing “popular demand” to commemorate the queen’s forthcoming Platinum Jubilee. Inspector C Osgathorp noted the “very large” statue’s “prominent position” within the Royal Parks conservation

the appellant had initially proposed 78 spaces, and the council had allowed only 39. The council explained that it feared that more parking would “reinforce the tendency of visitors to come by car”, suggesting that comparisons with other remote and isolated tourist attractions were not helpful because of the appeal site’s good public transport links. But 155 letters of objection were received against the proposal, most of which pointed out that fewer

parking spaces would cause congestion in the area. Although he appreciated the council’s “desire to encourage visitors to use sustainable modes of travel”, Brian ruled that given the potential of the scheme to be a major tourist attraction, its car park needed enough capacity to prevent overspill. But, he continued, the 78 spaces first proposed was “a higher number than is justified by the evidence”. He sided with the appellant and allowed 57 spaces.

area and near to several listed buildings, as well as the grade I listed Hyde Park and grade II listed statue of Lord Byron. Its crystals created “a striking and eye-catching appearance”, the inspector noted, which would be “particularly evident after dark”, while its design and materials were deemed “alien to the site’s context”, resulting in an “obtrusive appearance” that drew attention away from the Byron statue and other heritage assets. Although public art can “contribute to the culture, vibrancy and character of an area”, Osgathorp noted, this must be balanced against

other policy considerations. Noting that the statue had already been in situ for well over a year, the inspector refused permission to retain it, mindful of advice in the planning practice guidance (PPG) that a second temporary permission is “rarely justified”.

I M AG E S | S H U T T E RSTO C K

The appeal concerned plans by Network Rail, approved in April 2020, for a visitor centre at the Forth Bridge, the iconic rail bridge at Queensferry, near Edinburgh. Visitors would be able to climb to a 367-foot viewing platform at the top of the bridge’s southernmost arch. The parties disagreed on the level of parking to be provided. Given evidence showing that a maximum of 57 cars would be on-site at any one time, reporter Timothy Brian asked why

LOCATION: Queensferry

/ V E N T I Q U E G A L L E RY / I S T O C K

In a dispute over the amount of parking needed for a planned visitor centre at the Forth Bridge, a reporter decided that the optimal number of spaces fell halfway between that proposed by the council and appellant.

LOCATION: Hyde Park AUTHORITY: City of Westminster Council

INSPECTOR: C Osgathorp PROCEDURE: Written submissions DECISION: Dismissed REFERENCE: APP/ X5990/W/19/3241199

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DECISIONS DIGEST{

SUBSCRIBE to our appeals digest:

https://subs.theplanner. co.uk/register

Paragraph 79 straw bale house ‘not exceptional’ Plans for a home in the south Lincolnshire countryside submitted under NPPF paragraph 79 have been rejected, after an inspector ruled that the scheme’s Passivhausstandard energy-saving features were ‘not exceptional’. bit.ly/planner1020-straw

Condition adjusted to protect red squirrels

GPDO scheme’s sealed windows not acceptable

A Scottish reporter has partly allowed an appeal to vary planning conditions to protect red squirrels during the development of a link road and roundabout near St Andrews. bit.ly/planner1020squirrel

Plans to convert an office building in Salford near an electroplating facility that emits levels of noise ‘harmful to human health’ into flats were not rendered acceptable by the appellant’s plan to use mechanical ventilation and double glazing, decided an inspector. bit.ly/planner1020-gpdo

Dormant tin mine would be ‘sterilised’ by 99­home scheme

G Green belt medicinal hemp ffarm fails on flood risk

Plans to reopen a 400-year old tin mine in Cornwall that has been closed since 1998 would be ‘constrained’ by a developer’s proposal to build 99 homes nearby, an inspector found, citing unacceptable noise impact on future residents. bit.ly/planner1020-mine

A inspector cited risk of An flooding in refusing permission ffor a medicinal hemp farm in Brentwood having elevated B iit to a determinative issue, despite ruling that the proposal d was not inappropriate green w belt development. b bit.ly/planner1020-hemp b

Historic galleon replica's advertising screens deemed harmful An inspector has refused retrospective permission for three screens advertising entry to The Golden Hinde [itals], a replica of Sir Francis Drake's famous 16th century ship, which is now moored on the South Bank of the River Thames and used as a museum. bit.ly/planner1020-galleon

Pandemic effects on housing delivery ‘not directly relevant’ to supply An inspector has rejected plans for 255 homes in Essex, ruling that the Covid-19 pandemic’s forecast effects on housing delivery were ‘not directly relevant’ to fiveyear housing land supply calculations ns concerned with deliverability of sites. bit.ly/planner1020-housing

Movie­referencing mural would harm listed cinema

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Plans for 85 homes in Dorset would fail to preserve three out of four Bronze Age ring ditches identified as ‘potentially y of national importance’ by Historic England, gland, as well as contradicting a newly adopted opted neighbourhood plan, an inspector has found. bit.ly/planner1020-bronze

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Plans to paint a large mural referencing 1990s films on the rear of a listed former Odeon cinema in Barnet to discourage graffiti have been rejected after an inspector decided its harm to the listed building outweighed its public benefits. bit.ly/planner1020-movie

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LANDSCAPE

LLegal landscape OPINION

Putting the squeeze on housing supply The government is consulting on a change to the standard method for calculating housing supply. Combined with zonal planning and scrapping of the duty to cooperate, Katherine Evans foresees trouble ahead for local authorities

The standard method for delivering the government’s assessing local housing need target of 300,000 new homes was first implemented in each year. The government is revisions to the NPPF in 2018. proposing to introduce a new Its objective was to make element into the standard assessing the minimum method that takes into number of homes needed in a account the existing stock in particular area easier, cheaper a particular area. A baseline and more transparent. will be set, being whichever When the NPPF was further is the higher of 0.5 per cent revised in February 2019, of existing stock in each the government local authority vowed to review area or the latest “POLITICALLY, the formula. projected average THE QUESTION Alongside the annual household REMAINS: Planning for growth over a 10WOULD THAT the Future year period. AUTHORITY BE white paper, This baseline PREPARED TO the government will then be published another TAKE UP THE adjusted using SLACK IF IT consultation that affordability data DIDN’T NEED includes changes that is designed TO?” to the standard to acknowledge method, but also areas where it is forms part of the considered lack government’s land of supply has supply reforms in had an effect on the white paper. affordability by an The consultation changes increase in house prices. focus from obliging local The consultation indicates authorities to release enough that this should result in a land for housing to a focus on national housing need of delivery. Changes to the plan337,000 homes a year, which making process set out in would then allow for a buffer the white paper are designed over and above the target of to make the preparation of 300,000 homes a year to take local plans quicker and easier, account of permissions that specifically avoiding “timenever get built. consuming debates about the The government appears number of homes”. to recognise that this will The proposed new affect a large number of approach is set out with local authorities (141 outside specific reference to London boroughs) so has

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given a short transitional period of six months for those local authorities whose strategic plan is at the second stage of consultation to submit that plan to the Planning Inspectorate. While no doubt some local authorities may be alarmed at the prospect of having to identify sites for housing that it would consider were not required based on housing projections alone, the standard method is not the end of the story. With there being no real system of strategic planning beyond local authority boundaries proposed with the abandonment of the last vestige of regional planning – the duty to cooperate – what happens in the planmaking process where a local authority simply does not have the capacity to identify sufficient sites for a larger number of houses? If ‘protected’ areas are sacrosanct and all the space in ‘growth’ or ‘renewal’ areas is used up, then it presumably won’t be necessary for the relevant local authority to identify sufficient sites to meet the newly identified figure. In essence, something will have to give, which would either be a protected area or a lower number of sites. Furthermore, some local authority areas are likely

to find themselves most constrained. Urban areas where the local authority boundary is tightly drawn up around the conurbation or which are surrounded by green belt may find that the housing numbers are very high with no capacity, whereas an adjacent, more rural authority may have a low figure and potentially capacity to take up the growth of the adjoining urban authority. Politically, the question remains: would that authority be prepared to take up the slack if it didn’t need to? This is something that will need to be considered carefully by the government as the consultation continues. Katherine Evans is partner and head of planning and environment at UK law firm TLT The Changes to the Current Planning System consultation closes on 1 October bit.ly/planner1020-changes

In brief The government is consulting on changes to the standard method for assessing housing need The new formula produces a higher figure for 141 local authorities outside London This presents issues relating to cooperation between boroughs and the proposed zoning system

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EVENTS

CASES

LEGISLATION

NEWS

ANALYSIS

NEWS Salford goes to court to protect green space Salford City Council’s decision that developer Peel L&P cannot build 600 homes at Broadoak in Worsley has been upheld by the Court of Appeal. The council first refused applications for the Worsley Greenway – one for up to 600 homes in 2013 and a second for up to 165 homes – in 2017. The housing secretary dismissed appeals against the refusals in November 2018. Peel L&P brought a claim under section 288 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 to quash his decision. In August 2019, the Planning Court dismissed the appellant’s claim. The greenfield site features woods and open land and is protected by policies in the Salford Unitary Development Plan, adopted in 2006. The Court of Appeal considered two issues: 1. The correct interpretation of the term “out-of-date” in paragraph 11d of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). 2. The proper application of policies contained within development plan documents that are time-expired and/or lack policy in respect of the strategic issue of housing supply. In 2018, the inspector assigned to the case decided that the applications conflicted with several of Salford’s plan policies and that the NPPF ‘tilted balance’ did not apply. He attached “substantial weight to the harm that arises from conflict with these policies, which are fundamental to the plan taken as a whole” and did not consider the plan or policy EN2 to be out of date, despite their expiry in 2016. He said: “If the secretary of state disagrees with my conclusion that the tilted balance is not engaged for whatever reason, I nevertheless recommend that the appeals be dismissed and planning permission refused because the adverse impacts of the developments would be such as to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.” Then-housing secretary James Brokenshire agreed and dismissed the appeals, and the Planning Court upheld this decision. In the Court of Appeal the judges’ argument notes that in this case the secretary of state had decided in 2009 to save 104 out of 125 policies in the Salford Unitary Development Plan, including policy EN2. Lord Justice Baker, with Lord Justice Lewison and Sir Stephen Richards in agreement, said: “There is nothing in paragraph 11d of the 2018 NPPF, or its predecessor paragraph 14 of the 2012 framework, to suggest that the expiry of the period of the plan automatically renders the policies in the plan out of date.” He said he agreed with “Sir Duncan Ouseley’s observations in Paul Newman New Homes [Paul Newman New Homes Ltd v SSHCLG] that a policy is not out of date simply because it is in a time-expired plan and that, if the framework had intended to treat as out of date all saved but time-expired policies, it would not have used the phrase ‘out-of-date’ but rather the language of time-expired policies or policies in a time-expired plan”. Baker said the judges did not accept Peel L&P’s argument that a plan without strategic housing policies is automatically out of date for the purposes of paragraph 11d in order to engage the tilted balance. The appeal was dismissed.

LEGAL BRIEFS RTPI Ireland Annual Law Lecture This year’s lecture will be delivered by Irish planning law expert Eamon Galligan, online on 7th October. bit.ly/planner1020-Galligan

Judicial review of UK roads strategy approved The campaign group Transport Action Network (TAN) has been granted permission for a judicial review to challenge UK transport secretary Grant Shapps’ decision to proceed with the £27 billion ‘Roads Investment Strategy 2’, Local Government Lawyer reports. bit.ly/planner1020-jv

The only way is up This webinar will consider the raft of changes proposed by the government concerning permitted development rights, changes of use and upwards development. bit.ly/planner1020-pdr

Council cites medieval charter to close down rival market Charnwood Borough Council has invoked a medieval charter to protect an 800-year old market in the town from a new local rival, reports Local Government Lawyer. bit.ly/planner1020-market

Online CPD - Giving Evidence at Inquiries This three-hour masterclass, to be held online on 1st December, will provide the tools and techniques needed to prepare for cross-examination at a public inquiry. bit.ly/planner1020-inquiries

Court to consider judicial review on PDR laws Natural Capital Rights: Community: Action’s (RCA) legal challenge against recently extended permitted development rights will be heard in October. The legislation, which came into force on 31 August, provides for upward house extensions and demolition of buildings for replacement with housing. In August, RCA instructed solicitors at Leigh Day to issue a ‘pre-action protocol’ letter to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, warning of its intention to launch a judicial review. The claim for a judicial review will be heard in “a ‘rolled-up hearing’ for 1.5 days between 8 to 15 October 2020 at the High Court. This entails two judges hearing the group’s application for permission to apply for a judicial review. If this is successful, a hearing for the application for a judicial review will follow. As a result, RCA will not pursue its application for interim relief, which would have suspended the new planning laws while the claim proceeds. All other grounds, the government’s failure to undertake environmental or equalities assessments or to consult properly before making the rules, will proceed.

Ralph Kellas, planning law associate at Dentons, explores the implications of the emerging environment bill over a series of blog posts. bit.ly/planner1020-law

Liverpool mayor blocks £5m city centre zip wire plan The elected mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has stepped in to block plans for a zip wire through the city centre following threats of legal action by the Victorian Society, the BBC reports. bit.ly/planner1020-zip

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NEWS RTPI news pages are edited by Will Finch at the RTPI, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL

Research consortium appointed for net-zero transport project The RTPI has appointed three organisations to jointly deliver an exciting new research project to demonstrate how spatial planning can deliver net-zero transport. LDA Design, City Science and Vectos will consider a variety of potential solutions such as increasing density, restricting car use, promoting mixed development and mobility hubs, and creating integrated active and public transport networks. The research will support the Department for Transport’s emerging decarbonisation plan by clarifying where planning can reduce transport emissions in different types of place. It will also inform the Institute’s response to the new planning white paper. RTPI Policy and Networks Manager James Harris said: “This is a critical

moment for planning. In December, the Committee on Climate Change will be establishing the sixth carbon budget for the UK, setting the path to achieving net-zero carbon by 2050. “However, transport emissions remain stubbornly high. Changes to planning policy and patterns of infrastructure investment have so far failed to tackle this problem. “Over the coming decade we will need bold and ambitious spatial plans to reshape the built environment, helping to reduce the need to travel, and maximising the use of walking, cycling, public transport and shared mobility. “As part of our campaign to ‘Plan The World We Need’, we are excited to work with LDA Design, City Science and Vectos to imagine what places might look like as we transition to a zero-carbon future.”

To carry out the analysis, LDA will work with City Science, an independent firm of software developers, data scientists and infrastructure experts – drawing on their award-winning modelling and decarbonisation tools. Vectos will contribute by drawing from their extensive research, sustainable transport planning and placemaking activities across the UK and Europe. The project will create fictional areas which represent typical places across England, from rural counties to cityregions. By using data and innovative decarbonisation software, the team will model the carbon impact of different land uses, activities and transport modes, and consider how barriers to decarbonisation can be overcome. The team will consider the potential impact of Covid-19, and the role of planning policy and culture in ensuring that decarbonisation delivers wider benefits to health and wellbeing, inclusion and strategic green infrastructure. LDA Design chairman Frazer Osment said: “Our team is hugely excited to be chosen to carry out this research for the RTPI. There is a need for urgent action to decarbonise transport. Working with City Science and Vectos we are seeking to demonstrate the step change in carbon emissions and place outcomes that can be achieved through intelligent spatial planning.” The project will culminate in the production of ambitious vision plans for each of the fictional areas. These will illustrate how combinations of solutions can achieve a zero-carbon transport network at different scales. The research is supported by the Transport Planning Society (TPS) and Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT). n To find out more about the project, visit rtpi.org.uk/zerocarbontransport

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I M AG E S | S H U T T E R S T O C K / RT P I

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Editorial E: rtpinews@rtpi.org.uk

RTPI (switchboard) T: 020 7929 9494

Registered charity no. 262865 Registered charity in Scotland SCO37841

MY VIEW ON… COVID­19 AND CANADA Canadian Institute of Planners CEO Beth McMahon is encouraged by increased cooperation between Canada's different levels of government Recovery is going to be slow and we are still in the early stages, but we are seeing in Canada – at least with the federal government – that we are heading in a direction that the Canadian Institute of Planners can support. One of the things I’ve seen coming out of Covid-19 has been more sharing. For example, with the Global Planners Network – we didn’t use to have these types of conversations and now we have them quite regularly! In Canada, I’m doing the same with my peers across the allied professions – architecture, landscape architecture, engineering. With our provincial regulators too, we’re having much more frequent conversations in terms of sharing information and trying to ensure that we are getting out the most current

information to our members as well as best practices. I know that our members are looking to see what others are doing and if they can perhaps apply those good ideas to their own communities. There are a lot of conversations happening and we’re seeing a lot of sharing and goodwill across the country and collaboration between the provincial, federal and territorial levels of government. Members of the Canadian Institute of Planners are looking at everything through a climate and equity lens – we feel as optimistic as it’s possible to be at this point in time.

n Beth was in conversation with other members of the Global Planners Network including RTPI Chief Executive Victoria Hills. To watch the conversation in full, hosted by director of RTPI of Scotland and Ireland, Craig McLaren, visit bit.ly/planner1020-gpn

POSITION POINTS

GREEN RECOVERY IN SCOTLAND IRENE BEAUTYMAN, RTPI SCOTLAND CONVENOR A green recovery from Covid-19 in Scotland will require a reduction in unsustainable patterns of consumption, which contributes to climate and ecological breakdown and increases the risk of future pandemics. Urban areas could see increased demand for sectors which support a circular economy, while rural areas could see changing patterns of demand for food, timber and minerals. These changes will be coupled with the contraction of at-risk sectors, creating challenges for certain places. Proactive planning and place-leadership will be needed to maximise the opportunities of a green industrial revolution, while helping vulnerable places navigate a difficult transition. RTPI Scotland believes that the 4th National Planning Framework provides an opportunity to effect real, positive change towards a green recovery. Read RTPI Scotland’s full submission to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee at bit.ly/planner1020-environment

SPATIAL PLANNING AND TRANSPORT DECARBONISATION RICHARD BLYTH, RTPI HEAD OF POLICY Over the past 30 years, most of the increase in travel demand, the accompanying shift to car-dependency, and 70 per cent of the increase in personal surface transport emissions has resulted from a dispersion of housing choices within the whole stock. This dispersion is driven by new development and the diversion of funding for regeneration, infrastructure and services in existing neighbourhoods. A Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) should recognise that place-based approaches to decarbonisation therefore require the close integration of transport and spatial planning, at a range of spatial scales, identifying holistic solutions that are appropriate to the local context and deliver multiple benefits. There are already a variety of mechanisms within the planning system that can support a robust and resilient strategy, but it will also be dependent on appropriate powers and resources being devolved to strategic and local planning authorities, who can in turn implement the TDP through their spatial visions, plans and policies. For the RTPI’s full response to the Department for Transport’s call for ideas on the TDP, visit bit.ly/planner1020-carbon

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NEWS

Conduct and Discipline Panel decisions At its June meeting, the RTPI’s Conduct and Discipline Panel found six members of the Institute to be in breach of the RTPI Code of Professional Conduct. The panel found Gareth Rennie of Hafod Planning Consultants to have seriously breached the code and has suspended his membership for six months (until the end of February 2021). Mr Rennie failed to progress a planning application on his client’s behalf and had lied to cover his lack of action, failed to respond properly to the complaint and did not provide his Professional Indemnity Insurance when requested. The panel found that he had not acted with honesty and integrity or discharged his duty to his clients with due care and diligence, therefore breaching clauses 4, 14, 23, 27 and Annex A5 of the code. The panel also found Michael Firth (North East region) and Frank Bennett (Scotland) had not responded to the Institute’s monitoring of CPD activities and Professional Indemnity Insurance despite having been written to many times to request these details. As a result both members have been suspended from membership for a period of six months (until the end of February 2021) and are required to provide the necessary documentation in that period. A failure to provide it will result in the termination of their membership. John Elvidge (South East region) has also breached the code and has received a reprimand and been named in this report. He failed to identify a conflict of interest between two clients, he therefore did not put appropriate procedures in place to manage that conflict and did not alert his clients of the potential conflict. Mr Elvidge also disclosed material provided to him in a client situation that should have remained confidential. He thereby breached clauses 6, 7 and 8 of the code. Within the remaining complaints where a breach was found the panel agreed that the members should not be named in the published report of the decisions. These complaints were: n A consultant member failed to

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properly advise their client of the potential for enforcement action should an application for a Lawful Development Certificate be unsuccessful and did not properly make the case for the LDC to the council. Therefore, the advice provided did not demonstrate due care and diligence as required by clause 14 of the code and the member was warned as to their future conduct. n A member who worked for a local authority accepted that they had failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure that no conflict of duty arose between their obligations to the authority and the work of their husband’s consultancy. The panel found no actual conflict of interest existed but that this may have been perceived by others. More robust procedures for identifying a possible conflict have now been put in place. The member was warned as to their future conduct.

RTPI AWARDS: ENTER NOW Entries are now open for the most prestigious awards in planning – the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. Now in their 44th year, these awards reward the brightest talent in the profession and projects that have helped to transform economies, environments and communities. We’ll be recognising the most outstanding projects, teams and people in the following categories:

People n Young Planner of the Year n Planning Heroes in a Pandemic

Teams n Small Planning Consultancy of the

Year n Send your queries about the code to Complaints Investigator Ruth Richards: email ruth.richards@rtpi.org.uk

n Planning Consultancy of the Year n Planning Authority Team of the Year n In-house Planning Team of the

Year

VICE­PRESIDENT 2021 Following the nominations process for the RTPI Elections 2020, Timothy Crawshaw MRTPI, current chair of the North East Regional Management Board, has been appointed as the Institute’s VicePresident for 2021. Timothy has extensive experience of working both within local government and the consultancy sector. He said: “I am delighted and honoured to be joining the RTPI Presidential Team and look forward greatly to being President in 2022. This is an exciting and challenging time for the profession and I hope, in my role as President, to engage fully with members and assist the RTPI in getting the message out that planning needs to be front and centre in the recovery, ensuring that our places serve the needs of all parts of society and the planet.”

Projects n Plan Making Practice n Planning for Heritage and Culture n Planning for the Natural

Environment n Planning for Health and Wellbeing n Planning to Deliver Homes – large

schemes (50 or more homes) n Planning to Deliver Homes – small

schemes (up to 50 homes) n Planning for a Successful Economy n Tech within Planning Practice n International Award for Planning

Excellence. Entries close on 14 December with the finalists announced in midFebruary and winners announced on 29 April 2021 n For more information on how to enter, visit www.rtpi.org.uk/ excellence l To sponsor the awards, contact dipty.patel@rtpi.org.uk n Join the conversation on Twitter using #RTPIAwards

I M AG E S | RT P I

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G PLANNIN AHEAD

Key dates for 2020 This year’s RTPI Young Planners’ Conference is extra special as it has become a totally virtual event. There NOV is no need to travel and there’s also no fee to pay – this year’s conference is free for members. The conference will feature a full- day programme entitled ‘New Decade, New Leaders’, discussing Young Planners embracing change. There will also be a range of networking opportunities hosted on the conference platform. Register your interest for tickets at conferences@rtpi.org.uk and keep an eye on the website for the ticket launch. Places are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so do book early to avoid any disappointment. For details of sponsorship packages, please contact Dipty. Patel@rtpi.org.uk

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n For the latest news about the Young Planners’ Conference 2020 and information on tickets, visit www.rtpi.org.uk/ypc2020 n Join the conversation on Twitter using #YPConf2020

Join us for a weeklong celebration of the best in planning as the RTPI’s annual Regional Awards for Planning Excellence NOV moves online. Across the week, eight of the RTPI’s English regions will be announcing the winners of their awards on the RTPI’s YouTube channel. Look out also for a special webinar featuring RTPI President Sue Manns and regional judges looking at some of the highlights from around the country. Many thanks to sponsors WYG, Francis Taylor Building, CMS Law, Kings Chambers, No 5 Chambers, Stride Treglown, Countryside Properties, BH Planning & Design, and Pegasus Group for making this event possible.

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n Subscribe to the RTPI’s YouTube channel now to ensure that you are among the first to learn when new videos are published youtube.com/theRTPI n For more information on the RTPI Regional Awards for Planning Excellence 2020, visit rtpi.org.uk/regionalawards

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE RTPI’S ONLINE EVENTS In April, the RTPI launched its Online Events programme, offering digital conferences, in-depth masterclasses and bite-sized modules. However, with most of us more used to networking and debating at face-to-face events, how can we make the transition to virtual training as smooth as possible?

Engage with the content proactively Josh Fothergill (pictured) of Fothergill Training & Consulting Ltd, delivers Environmental Impact Assessments masterclasses for RTPI Training. His advice to all those taking part in online learning is to recognise that the live session is only part of the equation. “You need to give yourself time to engage with the available materials both before and afterwards. If you log in and just listen for three hours you’ll undoubtedly learn something, but you won’t get the most out of the course. “Doing the preparation allows your trainer to focus the live session toward your specific needs. Participate in group activities during the live delivery to understand concepts from other stakeholder perspectives. After the class, test your knowledge and reinforce your learning with post-delivery activities and discussion.”

Determine your objectives Dipty Patel, RTPI’s Events Business Manager, encourages members to think about how the online event can benefit you as a planner and keep you engaged. She says: “Are you taking a class to keep up your CPD? Are you signing up to a conference where the speakers are experts on a topic that you’d like to explore? How can you apply the learning outcomes to your day-to-day job? “Find out as much as you can about the event so you can prepare ahead of time. If the event takes place over multiple days, pick the sessions of most value to you. After the event, remember to log it on your CPD record, and don’t forget that if an unscheduled meeting or urgent project does come up, most conference webinar sessions are available to view on-demand later.”

Network with attendees Networking at online events can be just as productive as it is at face-to-face events. For attendees of online conferences, the events platform allows users to set up a profile, add their social media details, and connect and chat with others. RTPI Professional Training Services Manager Kathryn Thomson says: “When it comes to masterclasses, learners have the opportunity to upload a short introductory video of themselves before the webinar, saying who they are, where they work and what they are hoping to get out of the course. In these smaller groups, we encourage everyone to keep on their audio and video during the webinar, so they can interact more.” n The RTPI is launching its 2021 Events programme in November with preferential rates for members. For all the latest information, visit bit.ly/planner1020-onlineevents

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Reach out to our audience of membership professionals There’s never been a more important time to reassure the planning community that their skills are in need.

The Plannerr job board board offers offfers you an opportunity it to t attract tt t the th attention tt ti of a guaranteed, dedicated audience of membership professionals, and reassure them that you are still looking to recruit. Whether you have vacancies now, or will be looking to recruit at a later time, remind our readers what sets your organisation apart, and let them know your plans. You might also consider advertising in The Planner magazine, and ensure you are seen by the profession’s top-calibre candidates and kept at the forefront of their minds. Show them that you are here, your brand is strong, and your organisation needs them.

For more information and rates, contact us now on: T: 020 7880 6232 E: jobs@theplanner.co.uk p48-49_PLN.OCT20.indd 48 2 BLEED.indd 1 The Planner full page ad2 option p49_PLN.MAY20.indd

09/09/2020 09/04/2020 12:14 16:16 09/04/2020 16:19


Throughout the pandemic, organisations are still actively and successfully recruiting for planning professionals. Here is a selection of the most recent opportunities from a few of those organisations working with The Planner to recruit the best quality candidates in the marketplace.

Planning Of·cer

Salary: £30,451  £32,910 pa Location: Wrexham

CIL S106 Of·cer opportunities Salary: Senior CIL £32,643  £45,704 Location: GreaterLondon

Principal Growth & Infrastructure Planner Salary: £48,252  £51,162 pa Location: Tower Hamlets, London

Local Land Charges Of·cer

You will assist with the work of the Land Charges department in collating and providing information in connection with the conveyancing process. Hourly rate

Group Engineer Highway Development Management Salary: £42,683.00 to £45,591.00 Location: Wake·eld, West Yorkshire

To a dve r ti s e pl ease em ai l : t he pl a n n e r jobs@redact ive. co. uk or ca l l 0 2 0 7 880 623 2

Laundry List FP OCT 20.indd p48-49_PLN.OCT20.indd 49 1

Planner

Salary: £27,041  £29,577 pro rata (parttime) Location: Bakewell

theplanner.co.uk/jobs 09/09/2020 11:38 12:14


ACTIVITIES Mouse around for more details As with the rest of this October 2020 edition of The Planner, you’ll note that mousing over most links allows you to directly connect to the events discussed. While we continue to function as an entirely digital operation, we’re keen to offer you as many ways of interacting with the title and its contents as possible. Happy exploring! WHAT WE'RE E RE WATCHING...

RTPI Awards ds h for Research Excellence 2020 Another awards ds ceremony obliged to be an n entirely online e experience, but one with that format’s virtue of being instantly available to experience again by an audience far eclipsing the typical meeting hall’s capacity. In this one, RTPI president Sue Manns chairs proceedings as all four awards are presented. We’ve written about the winning entries further forward in this digital edition (see page 6), and for more information on the winning and commended research you can visit bit. ky/planner1020-researchexcellence or watch the full video linked at the end of this piece. Note that the first half-hour is a tribute to Planning Theory & Practice Journal (see What We’re Reading, opposite) with the awards presented directly thereafter. bit.ly/planner1020-excellenceawards

Young Planners: Ask The Experts – Transport Planning Covid-19 is affecting how we get around, how goods are transported, and how transport planners do their work. This webinar considers current transport and connectivity issues with Matt Rudman from planning

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consu consultancy Vectos presenting and prese Arup’s James Forrest Arup chairing. Transport chai connectivity issues and c within are discussed di the context of the th Covid-19 pandemic. C Produced by the RTPI’s Yorkshire region.

YouTube channel is dedicated to the identification and analysis of British trees through a series of mercifully short (less than twominute) videos. bit.ly/planner1020-trees

bit.ly/planner1020-transport

Cities: Skylines – Radical Urbanism Welsh minister Julie James MS discusses ‘Building Better Places’ In these Zoom-first times, it’s been great to see politicians come forward to engage with the RTPI ahead of its Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish conferences this autumn. Here, Roisin Willmott, RTPI Cymru director for Wales and Northern Ireland (right) spoke with Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government at the Welsh Government (left) about Building Better Places: The Planning System Delivering Resilient and Brighter Futures, the paper it published in July “to respond to the need for recovery from the problems of the Covid-19 pandemic”. bit.ly/planner1020-brighterfutures

One With Nature Has autumn come early this year? What are those alien acorns? How can you correctly age specific kinds of tree? This

An interesting live-stream event on 25 September in which participants use the urban planning simulation game Cities: Skylines to visualise ways to transform Carlingdon-by-Sea, a fictional northern town. A panel of academics and community activists give pre-recorded lectures and take part in a live Q&A, with the changes that they propose introduced as simulations in the game. An interesting twist on plantech, with echoes of the concept of The Sims computer game but in a professional capacity. bit.ly/planner1020-urbanism

Institute of Economic Development event calendar The Institute of Economic Development (IED) has set up a series of round table events with bodies including the CBI, the UK Green Business Council and Constructing Excellence. IED chair Bev Hurley, who graced our pages last month, was keen to point out that plenty of this activity should be of interest to planners. If you’d like to see what’s on the IED’s agenda, click the link below: bit.ly/planner1020-ied

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LANDSCAPE

WHAT WE’RE READING... Reclaiming and Rewilding River Cities for Outdoor Recreation – Estuaries of the World

Green and Prosperous Land – A Blueprint for Rescuing the British Countryside

by Charly Machemehl, Olivier Sirost, Jean-Paul Ducrotoy ISBN: 9783030487089

by Dieter Helm ISBN: 9780008304508

Introducing sports and recreational facilities into natural environments calls for reflection on their impact on fragile ecosystems. This book provides an interdisciplinary approach to the ecological restoration of urban and industrial degraded habitats and their use by nearby city-dwellers for pursuits such as bird watching, entertainment, sports and culture. How can suitable, diligent planning be combined with both creative design and ecological care? This book seeks to demonstrate how biology and sociology can (and should) work in harmony to promote an ecosystem approach to environmental management.

In this book, Oxford economist and Natural Capital Committee chair Dieter Helm shares his radical but accessible plan for positive change. Helm gives the reader a summary of Britain’s green assets, a look towards possible futures and an achievable 25-year plan for a green and prosperous country. His plan assesses the environment as a whole, explaining the necessity of protecting and enhancing our green spaces and offering “a financially sound strategy to put Britain on a greener path”. Helm seeks to “expose the economic inefficiencies in our environmental policies and thus highlight the need for change”. His plan “champions the integration of the economy and the environment together to deliver sustainable, eco-friendly economic growth”.

Planning Theory & Practice Journal It has been more than 20 years since this journal, dedicated to linking the planning profession to a strong, researchbased knowledge stream, was first published. At the recent RTPI Awards for Research Excellence ceremony, founding editor Professor Patsy Healey and Professor Heather Campbell, the journal’s managing editor today, reflected on the reasons behind its introduction and how it filled what was then felt to be a gap. “What was missing was a good journal with a good social scientific background which related to planning, focused on place and also had an understanding of what it takes to actually do planning work.” With its place in planning literature rightly lauded, this is the right time to remind readers that the journal continues in its role and can be accessed via subscription. Click below to find out more. bit.ly/planner1020-journal

WHAT WE'RE PLANNING... November sees our annual focus on young planners and, this year, young achievers more generally. We’ll be looking at the people making a major impact on their communities and quality of place as a result of their activity, considering their actions from the perspective of the planning function. As well as further white paper reaction, our future

feature plan includes coastal change management, culture-led recovery and how the use of Blockchain could change planning process. As ever, contact us through editorial@theplanner.co.uk with your own thoughts on our future features – and check out our regular online reporting at any time by visiting www.theplanner.co.uk

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Training calendar September – December 2020

Boost your CPD with our online masterclasses

Day

Time

Challenges in Sustainability Appraisal / Strategic Environmental Assessment

09

09:30-12:30

Developers and viability: introduction

10

13:30-16:30

Heritage and conservation: making better places

15

09:30-12:30

We provide high-quality training for all professionals in the planning environment. Our online masterclasses offer a fullyblended learning experience with sequenced activities before, during and after a half-day webinar. Led by an expert trainer each masterclass is aligned to the RTPI Core CPD Framework to prioritise your learning and to fulfil your annual CPD requirement.

Flooding, sustainable drainage systems and climate change

16

13:30-16:30

06

13:30-16:30

Gaining insight into NSIP and PINS

07

09:30-12:30

Environmental Impact Assessments

08

13:30-16:30

Developers and viability: advanced

14

09:30-12:30

Communication skills for planners

15

13:30-16:30

Writing skills for planners

03

09:30-12:30

Planning and design: making better places

05

13:30-16:30

Book today

Personal wellbeing and resilience for planners

NEW for 2020

12

09:30-12:30

Planning for health and inclusivity

NEW for 2020

18

13:30-16:30

24

09:30-12:30

Giving evidence at inquiries

01

13:30-16:30

Leadership for planners

02

09:30-12:30

Negotiation and inuencing for planners

03

13:30-16:30

Business skills for planners

08

09:30-12:30

Planning for non-planners

10

13:30-16:30

rtpi.org.uk/training training@rtpi.org.uk + 44 (0)20 7929 8400 @RTPIPlanners #RTPICPD

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Online masterclasses September

October Planning and community engagement

NEW for 2020

November

Project management for planners December

10/09/2020 12:00

Profile for The Planner

The Planner - October 2020  

The Planner - October 2020  

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