Pass the word – ‘Researchers seek help to create ‘greener’ mortgages’

Partners, including BRE, on a green mortgage research project called LENDERS are asking householders for their help to complete a survey that aims to gather key information on homes, their energy ratings and their actual energy bills.

BRE writes:

LENDERS is an Innovate UK funded research project chaired by Nationwide Building Society and involving mortgage lenders, building industry experts, green energy groups and sustainability bodies. It looks at ways of moving away from current estimates of energy costs in the mortgage lending process and towards more detailed affordability calculations based on the individual property.

The data gathered will be used to create more accurate information on energy costs and affordability that feeds into the mortgage lending process. Such detailed data could allow lenders to acknowledge that smaller fuel costs could allow more to be borrowed on the mortgage, encourage buyers towards more efficient buildings and potentially reflect the added value of such properties.

BRE’s Andy Sutton who is Project Lead on LENDERS said ‘The survey is critical to the success of our project – the more people who complete the better informed we will be. It takes about 4 minutes to complete and all information gathered will be treated confidentially and will only be used to inform this project. We need to build a large evidence base, so we’d like to urge people to share the survey with friends and family.’

To complete the survey respondents are asked to have their recent fuel bills and their home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to refer to, but if these are not available the survey can still be completed. The survey can be found at http://tinyurl.com/jc7wjqa

Read more….

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Pass the word – ‘Researchers seek help to create ‘greener’ mortgages’

Last chance on the IHBC’s Annual School 2016: People Power

Worcs2016FlyerOne Full Residential School place left – don’t miss out!  But you can still book for the Day School to explore:

  • How communities are integral to the conservation and regeneration of historic places.
  • The diversity of those involved: practitioners, key personnel, the community groups and trusts directly involved with their local heritage
  • The impact of people and their passion for the historic environment on its future
  • How to ensure the continuation of ‘people power’ to safeguard heritage for all

Find out more and book your place at Worcester2016.ihbc.org.uk

Background to IHBC Annual Schools

For sponsorship and exhibition deals please contact Fiona Newton, projects@ihbc.org.uk

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off on Last chance on the IHBC’s Annual School 2016: People Power

IHBC at ICON 2016: ‘Conservation in the 21st Century’, Birmingham

IHBC Support Officer Carla Pianese, also a supporter member of the Institute of Conservation, ICON, represented the IHBC at ICON’s 2016 Triennial conference in Birmingham, hosting the IHBC’s stand and introducing the IHBC to many interested delegates and colleagues.

Reporting on the conference Carla Pianese said:

‘I am delighted to represent IHBC at the third Triennial ICON Conference `Turn and Face the Change: Conservation in the 21st Century` in Birmingham.

‘The conference offered a wealth of presentations that questioned accepted practices, explored how science and technology can contribute to our knowledge, and provided insights into developing practice,  while the headline events have been most impressive.’

‘On Thursday the keynote speaker, Dr James Noyes, author of The Politics of Iconoclasm’, discussed the impact of social and political change to both the tangible and intangible concept of heritage, as well as heritage and destruction in the Middle East and the conservation of ruins: what is deemed to be valued and why? This raised the interesting concept of heritage as vision that entails social justice, economic and society.’

‘Dr Noyes was followed by Jonathan Ashley-Smith, whose interests focus on decision-making in the field of cultural heritage’, and who offered a thought-provoking talk on the loss of craft skills in conservation practice’

‘Later sessions covered conservation standards; the importance of CPD for the profession and using standards to support decision making in relation to the impact of building works, all with, as I write, lots more to come on the Friday.’

‘Hosting the IHBC’s stand at ICON also has offered a great opportunity to raise awareness and disseminate information on what we do and how IHBC operates across the UK.  I’m delighted to say that many delegates were very interested in our work, especially those involved in preventive conservation and historic interiors, and were very keen on find out more about us.  It was also a great chance to meet some of the ICON members who also are members of the IHBC.’

‘Clearly the conservators’ world and that of the historic built environment have the potential to establish more collaborative working together, founded on our common concerns for heritage.  In my role as the IHBC’s Support Officer, I am keen to generate more joint training and advocacy events, helping empower people into the profession and increase dialogue among professionals in charge of buildings and collections.’

See more on ICON’s conference

See the impressive programme

See more on ICON

Posted in IHBC NewsBlog | Comments Off on IHBC at ICON 2016: ‘Conservation in the 21st Century’, Birmingham

SoS ‘calls-in’ nationally significant Ealing CA plans after Vic Soc push

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, has ‘called-in’ a major redevelopment of an entire block of an Ealing conservation area (CA) following The Victorian Society’s request, as it considered approval of the plans could set a precedent which would threaten conservation areas nationwide.

The Victorian Society writes:

The Victorian Society took the unusual step of requesting a call in as it considered Ealing Council’s approval of the plans could set a precedent which would threaten conservation areas nationwide. The decision on whether the development should go head will now be made by the Secretary of State following a public inquiry.

Senior Victorian Society Conservation Adviser, James Hughes, said: ‘Requesting a call-in is not something the Victorian Society does lightly. The plans approved by Ealing Council would have had such an irrevocable and negative impact on this Ealing conservation area that it would call into question its very existence. We are glad that the Secretary of State has recognised that the issues here are worthy of closer examination. This is a rare opportunity for clarification on the protection of conservation areas.’ 

A letter on behalf of the Secretary of State said: ‘In deciding whether to call in this application, the Secretary of State has considered his policy on calling in planning applications. This gives examples of the types of issues which may lead him to conclude, in his opinion, that the application should be called-in. In the light of his policy, the Secretary of State has decided to call-in this application’.

Ealing Council approved plans to demolish almost an entire block within the Ealing Town Centre Conservation Area – retaining just one building and two facades. The scale of the new towers will also impact on adjoining conservation areas and harm the setting of a number of listed buildings, in particular Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Grade II*-listed church of Christ the Saviour. Ealing Council’s decision is regrettable given the huge public outcry and warnings from both the Victorian Society and Historic England that, if the scheme is built, it is likely ‘that the Ealing Town Centre conservation area would no longer merit its status’. Conversely the Council reportedly stated that ‘the plans would have no ‘significant impact’ on conservation and said there was ‘no threat’ to redesignate conservation areas’.

In 2014, Henderson Global Investors’ plans to demolish large parts of historic Victorian buildings at Smithfield Market and replace them with a large office and retail development were rejected at a public inquiry. The Market is now set to become the new home of the Museum of London.

Read more… and see more background and read about it in The Evening Standard

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on SoS ‘calls-in’ nationally significant Ealing CA plans after Vic Soc push

British Council Cultural Protection Fund seeks specialist assessors: by 15 July

The British Council seeks ‘Specialist Assessors’ with expertise to support the Cultural Protection Fund grants team, now managing the Cultural Protection Fund, the new £30 million fund to help create opportunities for economic and social development and promote cultural heritage in conflict-affected regions overseas, with a closing date of Friday 15 July 2016 at 5 p.m.

The British Council writes:

In partnership with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the British Council is managing the Cultural Protection Fund. The objective for the new £30 million fund is to help create opportunities for economic and social development through building capacity to foster, safeguard and promote cultural heritage in conflict-affected regions overseas.

The British Council wishes to appoint Specialist Assessors to support the Cultural Protection Fund grants team by providing advice on grant applications. We envisage this will require a commitment of approximately three days twice a year in Feb/Mar and Aug/Sept to support the assessment of applications. The Assessor will be asked to deliver a brief report on each application that they are sent for review, for which we will offer a standard daily consultancy rate. Acting as a Specialist Assessor will not disqualify you from making an application to the Fund, provided there are no conflicts of interest.

Eligible applicants will be able to demonstrate competence in an area of cultural heritage relevant to the Fund (museums, archives, libraries, archaeology and monuments, buildings or intangible heritage) and will possess experience in at least one of the relevant skill or knowledge areas detailed in the application form. Experience of cultural heritage work in developing countries or in any of the Fund’s current target countries (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestinian Territories, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen) will be advantageous but is not a requirement. If you are interested in applying to be a Specialist Assessor, please contact Hayley Gardiner (Hayley.Gardiner@britishcouncil.org) to request an application form.

The closing date for submitting completed application forms is Friday 15 July 2016 at 5 p.m.

Read more….

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on British Council Cultural Protection Fund seeks specialist assessors: by 15 July

Theatres Trust Director to stand down

The Theatres Trust announces that Mhora Samuel is stepping down from the Trust as its Director after 10 years in the role, as Rebecca Morland, currently the Trust’s Theatres Adviser, has will take up the role of acting Director pending the recruitment of a new Director. 

The Trust writes:

The Trustees would like to pay tribute to the huge commitment Mhora has shown in her time as Director and thank her for all her many contributions to the Trust’s success.

Tim Eyles, Chair of the Trustees commented: ‘I’d like to thank Mhora very much indeed for all her hard work at the Trust and on behalf of all the trustees wish Mhora every success in the next phase of her career.’

Mhora Samuel said: ‘I have enjoyed my 10 years at the Theatres Trust immensely and am so proud to have had the opportunity to work alongside and support really talented and committed people who have brought new life to the theatres in their care. Leading the Trust’s campaign to include cultural well-being in planning policy in 2012 will be one of the most memorable highlights of my working career. I leave the organisation in its 40th anniversary year in strong shape and with a fantastic staff team and trustees to take the Trust forward.’

Read more….

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Theatres Trust Director to stand down

Honours celebrate heritage planning and regeneration, from Middleport to BEFS

Among those celebrated in the recent Queen’s Birthday honours list with OBEs are Fred Taggart, well known from the of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust for his work on a number of projects, including most notably the award winning ‘Middleport Potter’ initiative, who received his awarded for his services to Regeneration and Charity, and Cliff Hague, past-chair Scotland’s built environment link body Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) and awarded an OBE for services to planning.

The RTPI writes:

RTPI members Cliff Hague, Past President of the Institute and a former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP), and Tony Thompson, a senior civil servant in the Communities department, have been awarded OBEs in the Queen’s Birthday list announced at the weekend. They were given their honours for ‘services to planning’.

Vice-President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Stephen Wilkinson said: ‘We are very proud that Cliff and Tony have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to planning and to wider society. Each has made a significant mark within the profession, working tirelessly to make life better for others over many years. I know their colleagues will also be celebrating news of their awards. Once again planners, whether in government, in academia or in practice, are being acknowledged for their impact and influence in our communities and for the roles they are playing in our national lives.’

Other honours awarded include:

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE):

Roger Victor John Cadbury for services to the Bournville Village Trust in Birmingham and to charity in Warwickshire.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE):

  • Nicholas John Way, lately Director General, Historic Houses Association [Alliance member], for his services to the Conservation of the UK’s Architectural Heritage.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE):

  • Malcolm George Fisher, for services to the Heritage of Norfolk’s Churches through the Norfolk Churches Trust.
  • Lucan Gray, entrepreneur and owner of the Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios, for service to Regeneration of Digbeth, Birmingham.
  • Catherine Slessor, former Editor of The Architectural Review, for srvices to Architectural Journalism.

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM):

  • Julie Huckle, Administrative and Logistical Support, Project Hougoumont Farm, Belgium, for services to the restoration of Hougoumont Farm in Belgium and commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo.
  • John Walker Hunter, for services to the History and Heritage of Galloway.

RTPI news article

See the full list of honours

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Honours celebrate heritage planning and regeneration, from Middleport to BEFS

DCLG insists new infrastructure bill won’t destroy archaeology

In response to a petition The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has insisted that measures in its forthcoming neighbourhood planning and infrastructure bill will not curtail the use of planning conditions requiring archaeological surveys.

The petition states:

‘Stop Destruction Of British Archaeology. Neighbourhood and Infrastructure Bill’ 

Britain has some of the most amazing and diverse archaeological remains in the world, however the new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill announced today puts all of this at risk, leading to the destruction of our past for good.

The lack of surveys will inherently lead to this.’

The Department for Communities and Local Government responded as follows:

Government actively supports the use of planning conditions where necessary to protect the wider social, cultural and environmental benefits that conservation of the historic environment can bring.

The Queen’s Speech of 18 May announced Government proposals to introduce a power in the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill which would ‘ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions are only imposed by local planning authorities where they are absolutely necessary’. However, concern was expressed by some that the use of planning conditions to require archaeological excavations would be curtailed by the Bill. This interpretation does not accurately represent the Government’s intention.

The proposed power is to help address the urgent need to tackle the overuse of ‘pre-commencement’ conditions which prevent development, including new homes, from starting until the local planning authority has approved certain details. The measure will not restrict the ability of local planning authorities to propose conditions that are necessary. In the unlikely event that an applicant refuses to accept a necessary pre-commencement condition proposed by a local planning authority, the authority can refuse planning permission. This will maintain appropriate protections for important matters such as heritage, as well as human health, the natural environment, green spaces, and measures to mitigate the risk of flooding.

We are not proposing that all pre-commencement conditions are removed; only that they are used proportionately and provide the applicant with an opportunity to agree to them before they are attached to planning permission. The process envisaged by the Government is that the local planning authority will notify applicants of any proposed pre-commencement conditions before the determination of an application. Most applicants are already aware of likely conditions through early engagement with the authority, at which point they can challenge any pre-commencement conditions which may be unnecessary or can be fulfilled at a later date (i.e. during build); ensuring construction can go ahead without delay.

The National Planning Policy Framework remains unchanged in that it requires ‘developers to record and advance understanding of the significance of any heritage assets to be lost (wholly or in part) in a manner proportionate to their importance and the impact, and to make this evidence (and any archive generated) publicly accessible.’

In conclusion, the Government values the petition in highlighting the importance of archaeology and the historic environment as a material consideration in the planning process, and will continue to engage fully with the sector during the passage of the Bill and beyond’

View and sign up to the petition

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on DCLG insists new infrastructure bill won’t destroy archaeology

Southwark consults on removing PD rights for housing in railway arches

Southwark Council is consulting on an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights from over 800 railway arches – currently used for a mix of retail, industrial and storage activities as well as for community purposes and as cafes – so the arches can’t be converted into housing without planning permission.

See the consultation

See the background

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Southwark consults on removing PD rights for housing in railway arches

Great Exhibition of the North 2018 Competition: Closing 30 June

Towns and cities across the North have been invited to bid to put on the two-month exhibition, celebrating the best of art, culture and design, with a closing date for bids of 30 June.

Government writes:

Towns and cities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire are invited to bid to put on the two-month exhibition, which will celebrate the best of art, culture and design across the northern regions.

The Government is contributing £5 million towards the exhibition itself and a further £15 million into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

The exhibition will showcase the great creative and cultural sectors across the North, to help boost the economy in the region.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘The Great Exhibition of North is a fantastic opportunity to promote the very best of Northern art, culture and design.  Investment in our arts and culture not only benefits these sectors but, as we have seen from Hull being named UK City of Culture 2017, can drive regeneration of whole towns and cities.’

The competition will close in June this year and the chosen venue will be announced in the Autumn.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, has been appointed by the Chancellor George Osborne to chair the Great Exhibition Board that will report to Ministers on the applications.

Sir Gary said: ‘There are many towns and cities across the North of England that have what it takes to host the Great Exhibition of the North and I hope that many of them put in a bid.

‘We will be showcasing our art, design and culture to the world in 2018 and high quality bids are an essential part of ensuring that we deliver an incredible Great Exhibition.’

For more information please email great-exhibition@culture.gov.uk or see Great Exhibition of the North Guidance

Read more….

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Great Exhibition of the North 2018 Competition: Closing 30 June

Take a Wandle wander, as the Building Exploratory’s Kickstarter seeks £4200 to tour its map

The Building Exploratory, commissioned by the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme to deliver the ‘Wandle Treasures’ project, is seeking to raise £4,200 to tour its new map to venues along the River Wandle – regarded during the Victorian period as one of the world’s hardest working rivers.

The Building Exploratory writes:

The Building Exploratory, one of London’s key heritage organisations, was commissioned by the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme to deliver the ‘Wandle Treasures’ project as part of the wider Industrial Heritage Recording Project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

‘Wandle Treasures’ saw a group of local volunteers researching and documenting more than 50 heritage treasures and it’s our job to make this work accessible to a wider audience. In addition to Stephanie Theobald’s beautiful Treasures Map all the treasures have been digitally recorded and can be accessed online through the Wandle Library digital archive resource.

We need to raise £4,200 to tour the map to venues along the River Wandle – regarded during the Victorian period as one of the world’s hardest working rivers: The Wandle supported over 90 water mills powering the enduring textile enterprises of William Morris, and London’s famous department store, Liberty & Co. Their close affiliation with the Wandle can be seen in Morris’ printed design ‘Wandle’, of 1884 inspired by the river.

Discover more about the remarkable heritage of the Wandle and help us share these treasures with local communities by supporting our funding campaign. Make a donation and choose your own treasure as a reward including limited edition prints and postcards.

For further info about the fundraising campaign or the Treasure Map tour, please contact Katie on 020 7608 0775 or email: mail@buildingexploratory.org.uk

To donate, please visit the Kickstarter campaign page

For more on the Building Exploratory see buildingexploratory.org.uk

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Take a Wandle wander, as the Building Exploratory’s Kickstarter seeks £4200 to tour its map

STBF event, supported by IHBC, BEFS etc., prompts Scottish Parliamentary motion on ‘Traditional Building Skills and Materials’

STBF_TradSkillsJun2016_image

Traditional Building Skills and Materials Event STBF June 2016

The Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF) ran its traditional building skills event in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square Garden on 6 and 7 June, jointly supported by IHBC, BEFS and others, which attracted more than half a dozen MSPs and has inspired Gordon MacDonald MSP to lodge a motion urging greater awareness of traditional skills and materials and the return on investment that this generates.

The motion (Motion S5M-00396) was lodged on 8 June 2016 by Gordon MacDonald, who is Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Pentlands.

The Scottish Parliament reports the motion:

That the Parliament welcomes the Traditional Building Skills and Materials event held at St Andrew Square Gardens in Edinburgh on 6 and 7 June 2016, which featured apprentices demonstrating traditional building skills, including masonry, slate roofing, plastering and painting and decorating; recognises that the event was a collaboration organised through the Scottish Traditional Building Forum and included British Geological Survey, Built Environment Forum Scotland, National Federation of Roofing Contractors, Edinburgh College, Institute of Historic Building Conservation, Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, Architecture and Design Scotland, Stone Federation Great Britain, Historic Environment Scotland and Essential Edinburgh; notes that the event was open to members of the public for advice, with the aim of highlighting the importance of traditional building skills in the construction sector, and brought together pupils from across Edinburgh with local apprentices; believes that practical demonstrations of traditional building skills provide a platform to promote the construction industry and the many varied and desirable career paths that it can offer, and welcomes the ongoing work of all partner agencies to draw attention to the necessity for traditional building skills and, in turn, help to create a hi-tech, world-class industry with outstanding career prospects, helping companies to skill-proof their businesses, invest in skills and plan for the future.’

The motion was supported by: Miles Briggs, Kenneth Gibson, Stuart McMillan, Mairi Evans, Richard Lyle, David Torrance, Colin Beattie, Peter Chapman, Bruce Crawford, Andy Wightman, Monica Lennon, Ivan McKee, Graeme Dey, Jeremy Balfour, Alexander Burnett, George Adam, Jackie Baillie, Bob Doris, Joan McAlpine.

Read Motion S5M-00396

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on STBF event, supported by IHBC, BEFS etc., prompts Scottish Parliamentary motion on ‘Traditional Building Skills and Materials’

Hotel under demolition partially collapses into street

On 28 May a Seaham hotel undergoing demolition – after a fire damaged the building in 2015 – partially collapsed into the street.

ITV News writes:

The Harbour View Hotel at 18 North Terrace, Seaham, partly collapsed onto the street. Police say nobody was inside and nobody was injured in the incident.

read more….

ChronicleLive reports….

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on Hotel under demolition partially collapses into street

SPAB launches campaign to promote awareness of historic floors: ‘History at your Feet’: tweet #lookdown

Providing a welcome partner to the various ‘Look-up’ campaigns, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) has launched a campaign to turn attention to the resource under our feet, and asks those finding historic floors to tweet photographs to @SPAB1877 using the hashtag #lookdown.

The SPAB writes:

SPAB believes a vital ‘step’ is being missed by many of those involved with and responsible for the care of the built historic environment. A great number of schemes are being developed without initial consideration of the beauty and interest of the materials, literally, underfoot.’

SPAB has produced a free information download based on a popular SPAB technical pamphlet written by Adela Wright (available from SPAB).  The Society asks those finding historic floors to tweet photographs to @SPAB1877 using the hashtag #lookdown.

The campaign webpage includes a blog detailing SPAB’s Top 20 Floors.

Visit the campaign website

Read the press release

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on SPAB launches campaign to promote awareness of historic floors: ‘History at your Feet’: tweet #lookdown

RIBA 2016: ‘Architect workloads growing’

The RIBA Future Trends Survey for April 2016 shows increased revenue from projects outside the UK compared with 2013 and that the North of England leads the way in future workload predictions.

The RIBA writes:

In April 2016 the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index fell marginally to +29 (down from +31 in March). Despite this, workloads in April 2016 were 8% higher than those in April 2015. All Nations and Regions returned positive forecasts, with the North of England remaining strong (balance figure +43). Large practices (51+ staff) stood as the most positive (balance figure +71), followed by small practices (1–10 staff, balance figure +28) and medium-sized practices (11-50 staff, balance figure +24).

The RIBA Business Benchmarking survey showed 22 per cent of revenue for RIBA chartered practices is generated from projects outside the UK, compared with 16 per cent in 2013. For large practices, the proportion stands at 32 per cent in 2016.

The private housing sector workload forecast saw the biggest increase in April (rising from to +33 from +28 in March). The commercial sector forecast decreased to +11 (down from +18 in March). Meanwhile, the public sector and community sector forecasts changed little.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index was unchanged, standing at +10. Responding practices reported that permanent staffing levels were 6% higher than twelve months ago.

Large practices were the most optimistic about recruiting new staff, with a balance figure of +71. Medium-sized practices and small practices were less optimistic, though positive overall (with balance figures of +6 and +24 respectively).

RIBA Executive Director Members Adrian Dobson said: ‘The private housing sector clearly remains the key driver of growth. Buoyant housing activity is no longer confined to London and the South East but is widespread throughout the country.  Workload growth has been strong throughout the last year, and this is the twelfth consecutive quarter in which we have seen rising workloads, as the value of work in progress begins to climb back towards pre-recession levels.  The past year has also seen strong employment growth. However, there is some way to go before employment levels will attain their pre-recession peaks.’

read more…. 

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on RIBA 2016: ‘Architect workloads growing’

New report presses case for sustainable urban extensions to Oxford City

The Oxford Growth Options Report commissioned from Turley by Oxford City Council argues justification for release of Green Belt land to allow for strategic housing and calls for a review of its designated extent to allow for this.

Oxford City Council writes:

The City Council has published a new report which sets out the technical evidence to support its case that Oxford’s unmet housing need is best addressed through urban extensions closest to the city.

The report provides authoritative evidence of the exceptional circumstances justifying the need for a review of the inner boundaries of the Green Belt to allow strategic housing allocations on the edge of Oxford. It also assesses the comparative sustainability benefits of the various options for urban extensions to the city.

A key conclusion of the report is that an urban extension to the north of the city in Cherwell District, providing 2,800-3,600 homes, and an urban extension to the south of Grenoble Road, providing 5,500-7,500 homes, would be the most sustainable and most readily deliverable options for addressing the need.

The Council has also assessed the transport opportunities and constraints associated with the preferred options and put forward high level mitigation strategies to effectively address the transport impacts.

Other urban extension options that may receive further consideration include Wick Farm/Elsfield estate to the northeast of the city, a strategic housing site at Begbroke/Yarnton, or an enhanced strategic allocation north of Abingdon.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning, Transport and Regulatory Services, said: ‘Successive Planning Inspectors have concluded that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ that justify reviewing the Green Belt boundaries mainly due to the severe housing crisis and the lack of suitable land for development that threatens the viability of the city.

Our evidence shows that properly planned urban extensions are an efficient and sustainable solution to housing need. They provide opportunity to extend existing public transport and cycle networks as part of an integrated transport strategy, and reduce the need to travel longer distances.’

The City Council has published the report as part of its responses to the Local Plan reviews of neighbouring local authorities.

DOWNLOAD the report

Posted in Sector NewsBlog | Comments Off on New report presses case for sustainable urban extensions to Oxford City