As winter yields to spring, there is an unrelenting pace to work at MHP, it has been a very busy few months.
Perrybrook, a project that we have been involved with for over ten years, has recently been shortlisted for the category ‘Excellence in Planning to Deliver Housing’, in the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2017. This has been a very complex master plan, incorporating new residential property, primary school and medical centre into a rural edge community with existing green infrastructure. Our landscape design includes the preservation of access to public green areas and watercourse, restoration of an ancient perry orchard as well as planting of new orchard area and SUDS provision.
The Housing White Paper that was released on February 7th was eagerly anticipated as an opportunity for the government to reform the planning system and clear the way for much needed growth in the housebuilding sector. The UK has a clearly defined need for substantial increase in new build property if demand for new housing is to be met, but current planning legislation continues to severely restrict development in green belt areas. The white paper when it came, however, did little more than summarise the current housing crisis without offering solutions. The focus of the paper is the provision of more new houses more quickly, with LPA’s encouraged to act against developers who are granted planning permission but don’t immediately use it, to diversify the market with more custom built homes and greater investment in the build-to-rent sector and to make starter homes only available to those on lower incomes. All useful steps but not the radical new direction that we were hoping for.
Also in the headlines, planned new Garden Villages across the UK bring hope for a return to a more landscape led approach to master planning, as was seen in the 1960s housing boom with the likes of Welwyn Garden City and Milton Keynes. We are working on the early stages of one of these schemes in South Gloucestershire and very much enjoying the collaborative planning process, a return to an approach where consideration of the environment is not dictated to by traffic provision. We hope to bring you more news of this scheme as plans are further developed.