Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Glentress Forest and Tweed Valley public consultation

Forestry Commission Scotland is holding two drop in public consultation sessions this week; they are to take place at Glentress Forest, Peebles on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th May.  

The sessions are part of the development process of a Forestry Commission ‘masterplan for Glentress Forest which will explore further opportunities to develop the popular forest as a major recreation destination with key linkages to the surrounding communities'.  The aim is to gather comment on work carried out to date and views on how Glentress Forest and the Tweed Valley corridor in general can be developed for tourism and recreation in the future.

Further consultation concentrating on the development of Glentress Forest itself is proposed for July.

Forestry Commission consultation poster

Forestry Commission news

Glentress Forest, Peebles, Sottish Borders, image by CB3 Design Architects

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Raft of change-of-use development rights come into force in England on 30 May

The date for a raft of new permitted development rights to come into force in England, including office to residential conversions and larger domestic extensions, has been set at 30 May 2013. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the go ahead for the controversial changes by laying secondary legislation that amends the GPDO 1995.

Having been forced to introduce a ‘light touch’ neighbour consultation process for domestic extensions that exceed the old permitted development rights, following a revolt by both MPs and peers, Pickles still faces widespread opposition from local authorities that failed to win exemption from his office conversion policy.

It has emerged that applications for opt outs from the office conversion policy included 30 of the 33 London boroughs, seven of the eight largest English cities, and hundreds of individual local authority employment zones around the country. In the event, the DCLG has allowed just 17 exemptions, including 11 central London boroughs.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Architect in the House update

Less than a month after CB3 Design carried out their first consultation, Architect in the House have advised that they're off to a fantastic start with over £13,000 having been raised in return for consultations so far.

The joint charitable initiative by Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) gives homeowners an hour's consultation with a RIBA chartered architect in exchange for a suggested donation of £45 to Shelter.  If you would like to arrange a consultation while helping out those with significant housing problems there is still plenty of time; the scheme continues until the end of August.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Larger house extensions regime detailed

Reblogged from Planning Portal Director

Just in case you missed it, the Government yesterday unveiled the details of the new regime for larger house extensions in England.

The new regulations granting new Permitted Development rights – including those for rear-of-house extensions – will come into force on 30 May.

The measures include increasing the size of single-storey rear extensions which can be built under permitted development for a period of three years between 30 May 2013 and 30 May 2016.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Warrington Borough Council to charge for Pre-Planning Application advice

In a very disappointing development, Warrington Borough Council has announced that they are to charge for pre-planning application advice for non-householder proposals.  The fees are to range from £55 for advertisement proposals through to £1000 for ‘significant major developments’, with additional charges for follow up meetings and written advice ranging from £45 to £500.  In some cases applicants may also be subject to further additional costs such as for independent assessment of viability reports.  The only exception to the charges is for charities. 

There is no consultation proposed; the Council have advised that the new protocol will be introduced in August this year with the current system continuing up to that point.

We fear that this proposed change in policy is likely to add significant project time delay and costs associated with obtaining advice in advance of an application: potentially to the point where it no longer becomes practical for many clients to seek advice in advance of submitting planning applications.

It is difficult to see how this policy change really benefits anyone: with additional costs in advance of applications for clients (particularly with the level of detailed information required to accompany a pre-application advice submission), loss of time in the critical path of projects; the loss of a common sense approach to obtain "in-principle" advice by arranging short meetings with a duty officer; potential additional workload for planning officers dealing with additional applications which are submitted without sometimes vital pre-application advice; and general frustration at the further distancing of planning officers from those making applications, making it more difficult to make submissions with the best chance of approval.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Government land disposal search portal

The UK Government Property Unit has recently launched a new web portal that details all Government land available for redevelopment.

The portal can be searched by postcode, town or size of property to locate government owned property, buildings and land that is available to rent or buy. The search currently covers England, Scotland and Wales with properties in Northern Ireland due to be added in the near future.

The portal includes sites being offered by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), although the HCA continues to maintain its own list of land opportunities in England. Many of the disposals managed by the HCA are being offered on terms designed to promote growth, such as its Build Now, Pay Later programme.

Government Property Unit search

HCA land and development opportunities

Friday, 10 May 2013

Free Green Deal assessments with Low Carbon Lymm

CB3 Design have been helping local community group Low Carbon Lymm to provide advice on domestic energy saving measures and funding for home improvements.

As part of a Government initiative Low Carbon Lymm has secured funding to provide 100 free Green Deal assessments to local residents (the normal cost of these assessments ranges from £100 to £150).  Although uptake has been strong, at the time of writing there are still a few assessments available; application can be made directly to Low Carbon Lymm.

Under the Green Deal scheme assessments are carried out to establish the energy performance of a property and recommend energy saving improvements.  The assessment then provides the basis on which an application can be made for a Green Deal loan with which to carry out energy saving improvements. CB3 Design and Low Carbon Lymm have been helping homeowners navigate some of the issues with the scheme by providing impartial advice to homeowners in advance of them going to Green Deal advisers and suppliers.

Low Carbon Lymm is a voluntary, not for profit, body established by a group of Lymm residents. The main purpose of the group is to work with all areas of the local community to address the challenges of climate change, reduce carbon emissions, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and, in improving energy efficiency, to save money.

To find out more on what Low Carbon Lymm has been up to follow the link below or contact us.

Low Carbon Lymm

For an overview of the Green Deal see:

Energy Saving Trust on Green Deal Green Deal 
Low Carbon Lymm logo