Sunday, 8 December 2013

Designing homes

A District Council's decision to reject a housing development by a national builder has been supported by the Communities Secretary.
Despite the lack of a Five-year Housing Land Supply, the development cannot be approved:

Pickles blocks Lancashire homes on design grounds

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has refused plans for a development comprising more than 200 homes in Pendle, ruling that the scheme is 'relatively unsustainable because of failings with its design approach'.

Pendle District Council refused housebuilder Persimmon Homes’ application for a development comprising 203 homes on a 9.9-hectare site to the south of the market town of Colne in January, reported Planning Resource. The council’s reason for refusal was that the "design and layout of the proposed estate is poor and unacceptable".

Persimmon Homes’ appeal against the decision was recovered for the secretary of state’s determination in May and a public local inquiry was held in July.

Planning inspector Mike Robins recommended that the appeal be dismissed. In a decision letter issued this week, Pickles agreed with his inspector’s recommendation, dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission.

In the decision letter, Pickles agreed with the inspector that "there is little evidence of a design led approach to the appeal scheme and little attempt to connect the housing into its countryside setting".  The scheme "fails in a number of key respects to provide for a high quality, sustainable community that would contribute to enhancing the area for existing or future residents," the letter said.

The note said that Pickles had concluded that the proposal falls "significantly short" of the expectation of high quality design in both the council’s 2006 local plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The scheme is "relatively unsustainable because of failings with the design approach", the letter said. The decision letter said that the communities secretary had given "significant weight" to the fact that the council had confirmed that it cannot identify sufficient land to meet a five-year housing land supply. The main parties had agreed that there is only a 2.1-year supply of available housing land in Pendle, the letter said.

However, Pickles’ decision letter concluded that the lack of a five-year housing land supply "needs to be weighed against the adverse impacts of the scheme which, when assessed against the policies in the NPPF as a whole, significantly and demonstrably outweigh the identified benefits".

North West Housing News | News in the housing sector
Pickles blocks Lancashire homes on design grounds | Planning Resource

See also: Futures Forum: Does not having a new Local Plan or Land Supply in place leave East Devon vulnerable to development?
Futures Forum: "Planning Minister Nick Boles said there was 'no excuse' for a local authority not putting a local plan in place."

There are more imaginative notions to deal with the demand for affordable housing:

Welcome to the Cube Project website. On this site, you can find out about our low-energy microhomes, designed by Dr Mike Page at the University of Hertfordshire and built under licence by our partner Bolton Buildings. You can find out below about QB2, our production model, as seen on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on UK’s Channel 4 TV. By choosing from the menu bar above, you can also find out about QB-Move, a second design, with moving walls, that featured on Channel 4′s Gadget Man.
If you wish to enquire about purchasing any of our buildings, they will be available from our partners Bolton Buildings as a kit of parts for self-assembly, or as a complete building at various stages. Please contact Trevor at Bolton Buildings
QB2 is a practical, modern microhome, in which one person or a couple can live a comfortable low-carbon life.
QB2 has a 3m x 4m floor plan and has a 3m internal height. Though compact in size, it enjoys:
  • A fully functional kitchen (with hob, oven, fridge-freezer)
    The kitchen of QB2
  • A 4m-long galley bathroom

    Sink and the (composting) loo
    The shower in QB2
  • A two-seater sofa and two further ottomans, for 4-person dining/sitting or 2-person lounging
    QB2 lounge and dining area
  • A four-seater table, movable to reconfigure the seating area
  • A full sized double bed
    The double bed in QB2
  • Ample storage space
The exterior of QB2
Low-energy options offer the potential for zero energy-bills together with regular incentive payments from the Government’s feed-in-tariff and renewable heat incentive. Options include:
  • A highly insulated construction, with Passivhaus-standard windows and door
  • Low-energy lighting (LED) and appliances (TV, washing machine)
  • Mechanical heat-recovery ventilation
  • Very efficient heating and hot water, using an Ecodan air-source heat pump
  • Full carbon-neutrality, using up to 3kWp of photovoltaic solar panels
QB2 is a post-and-beam structure developed jointly with Bolton Buildings. The outer structure can be assembled and made waterproof in around 4 hours and the whole structure (including inner and outer wall surfaces, the windows/door, the insulation, and the electrical wiring) can be completed in 3-4 days. Options exist for cladding and for fitting out and, once constructed, QB2 is easily transported by road and sited wherever a static caravan is permitted.
QB2 is an ideal living space:
  • For “boomerang kids” or others seeking independent housing
  • For leisure/holiday purposes, usable all year round
  • For emergency accommodation, e.g. in post-disaster situations
  • For construction workers or other workers in remote locations
Again, if you wish to enquire about purchasing any of our buildings, they will be available from our partners Bolton Buildings as a kit of parts for self-assembly, or as a complete building at various stages. Please contact Trevor at Bolton Buildings

the cube projectThe Cube Project – University of Hertfordshire
An express tour of QB2 from the Cube Project - YouTube
George Clarke's Amazing Spaces - 4oD - Channel 4


Another design of the Cube, by Dr Mike Page is QB Move. This concept has recently been shown on Gadget Man on Channel 4. This is a similar concept to QB2 but with moving walls to create better use of the space available.


See also: Futures Forum: Innovative solutions to the lack of affordable housing....... self-build alternatives...
Futures Forum: The PassivHaus: cheaper than you think to build.... and only £20 annual heating bills.....
Futures Forum: Building Cob Castles in East Devon... on Grand Designs
Futures Forum: Self-build

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