Planning Portal News – 26th November 2015 – Research identifies most promising locations for housing growth.

The following is report is by the  on November 26 2015

New research from Knight Frank and planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore has identified local authority areas where economic and planning data, combined with regional knowledge, suggest good fundamentals for residential development in the short to medium term.

Factors taken into account include forecast economic and employment growth, as well as future housing supply and demand. Sales to stock ratios, social environment, infrastructure and affordability were also measured.

Local planning knowledge was then added, examining which planning authorities had a five-year land supply and where a local plan was in place, as well as looking at policy support for housing and economic growth.

This, along with input from Knight Frank land agents, resulted in a list of areas where the fundamentals suggested development opportunities.

Key findings highlighted that:

  • Manchester and Leeds are expected to be among the councils which will experience the strongest rates of household growth over the next ten years
  • In the Midlands, Warwick scores highly on “liveability”, and also has strong employment growth forecasts, while robust household growth is projected in Leicester
  • Brentwood is one of the hotspots with the strongest forecasts for future employment increases, as well as showing one of the largest imbalances between pipeline supply and household growth over the next five years
  • South Cambridgeshire also has a particularly strong forecast for employment growth and has been rated highest in an independent survey of rural locations across the UK
  • Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset local authorities have a local plan and a five-year housing supply, and the determination to step up development
  • Guildford and Reigate & Banstead in Surrey are well positioned to take advantage of the housing need generated by the capital.

Iain Painting, Senior Planning Partner, Barton Wilmore, said: “Our shortlist of development opportunities is aligned with an increased emphasis on urbanisation, focusing on many of England’s key cities both in and well beyond the South East.

“Opportunities exist where local authorities are struggling to source a five-year land supply through the local plan system, such as York, but also where councils have a positive appetite for growth, supported by policy, such as Leeds and Bath.”

Planning Portal News – 19th November 2015 – CPRE Challenge to Housing Targets

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has called for an overhaul of the way local authorities set housing targets after claiming the present system led to countryside being lost unnecessarily.

The pressure group claimed in a report that research it has commissioned showed that local authorities were being asked to base their plans on aspiration rather than need. This resulted in ever higher housing targets and the consequent unnecessary release of countryside for development without an increase in overall house building.

(The above is an extract from the Planning Portal News 19th November 2015).

The Answer Lies in the Soil – Geology Expert comes to Welwyn

Welwyn Natural History Society and the Hertfordshire Natural History Society

Joint Annual Invited Lecture

Dr Haydon Bailey will be speaking at this year’s Annual Invited Lecture at the Civic Centre on Wednesday 25th November at 8 p.m in place of Professor John Catt, who is unfortunately unwell.

The original talk subject ‘Aspects of Hertfordshire Geology & Landscape‘, has now been sub-titled ‘Living in Hertfordshire – for the last 100 million years‘.

Dr Bailey is founder and director of Network Stratigraphic Consulting Ltd, in Potters Bar, and is a micropalaentologist specialising in the cretaceous period, and chalk field studies for the oil and related industries in the UK, Europe, and North Africa.

Dr Bailey co-authored ‘Hertfordshire Geology and landscape’ with Professor John Catt, which was published in 2010 to national acclaim. He contributed the chapters on ‘The Upper Cretaceous period’ and ‘Mineral Resources and Building Stones’.

This book is intended to explain the geology of the county to natural historians and others working in the county, who have little knowledge of geology. In the book, Prof. John Catt describes Hertfordshire, ‘in many respects an undistinguished county’, but one that has amazingly interesting geology.

For more information about the Invited Talk go to the Hertfordshire Natural History website .

The Dr Haydon Bailey talk will be held in the Civic Centre Large Hall at 8 p.m. on Wednesday 25th November.

Everyone welcome – entrance £3 – pay at the door, includes a glass of wine or soft drink.

What is – the Government Housing & Planning Bill 2015-2016 ?

The Housing & Planning Bill 2015-2016 is currently before Parliament and is at the final stage. To read about the Bill in more detail go to:

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/housingandplanning/documents.html

The Impact Assessment (from which the following is extracted) relates to clauses within the Bill and poses two questions:

  • What is the problem under consideration?
  • Why is government intervention necessary?

Explanatory Notes are provided as follows:

In the year to June 2015, 131,000 new homes were completed. Although housing starts are at their highest annual level since 2007, and there are now almost 800,000 more homes in England than there were in 2009, we are still not fully meeting the demands of over 200,000 households formed every year.

In addition, not enough people who want to own their own home have the opportunity to do so.

The rate of homeownership in England has been falling since its peak in 2003, despite the aspiration for home ownership remaining strong. Although over 230,000 households have been helped by government-backed schemes to buy a home since spring 2010, younger households, in particular, are now less likely to own their own home than a decade ago.

The public need to have confidence that housing policy in our country is fair and fit for the future. Social housing needs to work as efficiently as it can. Private tenants need additional reassurance that rogue landlords will be driven out of business. Further government intervention is required to ensure this happens.

(The Impact Assessment proceeds to pose questions about the policy objectives and the intended effects, i.e. getting the nation building homes faster, helping more people buy their own home, ensuring the way housing is managed is fair and fit for the purpose).

WPAG AGM – 12th November 2015

All fully paid up members of WPAG will have received an official Notice of the AGM to be held next Thursday 12th November. Notices were delivered either by email or by hand.

If you are a fully paid up member of WPAG and have not received Notice of the AGM please contact secretary@wpag.org.uk

1st Welwyn Scouts – a legacy that needs your help.

Wear and Tear.

The 1st Welwyn Scout Group Headquarters in Lockleys Drive was closed down between 2012 and 2014 because major structural repairs and essential improvements were needed. During that time the Scouts and Cubs shared meetings with their counterparts in Codicote, and the Beavers had moved to New Church House, Welwyn.

But, quite apart from the structural damage, the enforced departure from Lockleys Drive, Welwyn had an alarming hit on membership numbers too: whereas decades ago the Group totalled some 200 members, by the time of their return to Lockleys Drive in October 2014, membership had fallen to 25, more or less!

A Brighter Future

Led by Group Scout Leader Andy Trotter, the 1st Welwyn Group returned to their new Headquarters at Lockleys Drive in October 2014 with a great fanfare. The new Scout HQ has been named after the late Derek Nash, the inspirational Group Scout Leader who led a hard working team for over 20 years, battling to resolve the problem of a rapidly deteriorating HQ, and tirelessly fund-raising in order to open up alternative options for the future.

Those of you who are familiar with the original Scout Hut, should pay a visit to the new Derek Nash Scout HQ and be prepared for a big surprise.

scouts02

Membership is recovering too: from the low-point of 20 young people in October 2014 this has now risen to around 80, with beavers, cubs, brownies and scouts meeting in the building on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The high quality of the refitted Scout Hall also attracts the over ’60’s Friendship Club, Welwyn Wailers, adult and childrens yoga, keep fit classes, and Painting in Watercolour classes. Birthday parties are being held there and it is anticipated that a local band, and a drama group for kids, might also start meeting in the Hall.

A Challenging Future

But this success is leading to new problems – the perennial problem of finding volunteers: leaders and helpers.

The Group is currently operating with the minimum of two leaders per section, and the cub leader will shortly be moving on. A replacement is being sought urgently otherwise  the cub section will have to close at Christmas 2015 causing the 20 boys and girls in the cub pack to lose out on the experience of a lifetime, an experience that many of us are able to look back on as a building block for life.

The Group does desperately need volunteers, and not just for leaders. There are 60 Proficiency Badges for beavers, cubs and scouts to qualify for. Volunteers are always needed to help teach some of these subjects and to evaluate the work. Most of us have skills acquired through our lives which might be put to good use. If you believe you might have something to offer, have a word with with Andy Trotter, Group Scout Leader on 07580 942319

Our Heritage

Welwyn Scouts are classified as a ‘Foundation Group’, meaning that the 1st Welwyn Group was formed in 1908 when Baden Powell first started scouting.

Please consider what you might be able to do by way of help or support to ensure that the 1st Welwyn Group remains as a Heritage for our childrens’ generation too.

(For more information about the 1st Welwyn Scout Group – its history and its legacy – go to the 1st Welwyn Scout Group Page).