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BDC Magazine

October 17, 2021

Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

October 17, 2021

Developer and manufacturer join forces for unique Lake District residential development

A UK specialist in custom built homes has joined forces with a leading manufacturer of timber frame properties for a unique development in the Lake District. Hugr Homes, which is based in the North-West of England, with its private equity partner FNS, is behind Wellbank, a 50-plot development on land on the edge of the village of Bootle, in West Cumbria, with views of the Western fells. As part of its aims to create a development of eco-friendly and sustainable homes, it has partnered with Fleming Homes, which is based in the Scottish Borders and has more than 35 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of bespoke, timber frame homes. Joe Higginson, founder and managing director of Hugr Homes, said: “We were keen to work with a timber frame company to help the process for the buyers of plots at Wellbank and it was clear that Fleming Homes had the right product and the experience in this sector. “The Fleming Homes team will provide guidance and expertise to plot buyers to help in the design and specification of their homes in this beautiful part of the Lake District National Park, which is just 10 minutes from the Cumbrian coast.” Custom build is ideal for people who want to create their own home with minimal risk because it enables them to have control of the design and specification to suit them and their budget, while benefiting from the expertise of a developer. Hugr Homes offers a range of plots with planning permission and ensures buyers can create homes that are thermally efficient and sustainable. The timber frame super structures are quick to erect – the average four-bed family home can be erected to wind and watertight in two to three weeks – which results in considerable efficiencies when it comes to managing build schedules. Modern methods of construction and offsite manufacture also ensure homes are produced within a factory environment to exacting standards.  At Wellbank, both companies have designed a range of homes to suit the site and because their approach is flexible, buyers have multiple options to achieve their ideal home. “Custom building your own home can seem a little more daunting than it really is, but we help to make the process as smooth as possible,” said Joe. “If you buy a new home in the UK, your choice is limited to the designs the national house builders decide you should have, but with custom build, the buyer is in charge of room layouts, specifications and the green and smart elements to boost the eco credentials. “It’s far more economical than many people believe and they may be surprised to find a custom-build option is well within their budget. It’s an option that is well-established across Europe and we want to see the UK catch up.” Wellbank, which is about one mile away from Bootle railway station and less than half an hour from Broughton in Furness, will be one of the largest custom build schemes in the UK, with 18 plots available in phase one. As well as accommodating bungalows and detached houses on spacious plots, the site will also have cycleways and pathways and particular attention is being paid to the open space and circulation routes, with wide pathways linking separate parts of the site. Hugr Homes is already in discussions with interested buyers from as far away as London, while two plots of the first phase are already reserved.  Sarah Mathieson, managing director of Fleming Homes, said: “We both align on the idea of helping more people live in higher quality homes. What Fleming Homes is keen to do is open-up the possibility of self and custom-building as a real option to more people to achieve more low-carbon, energy efficient, quality homes. “It’s about giving more choice for homeowners to live their lives in homes that meet their aspirations for living and in homes that are ultimately fit for the future.”

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£500m investment in planning system can help government achieve climate and levelling up aims, RTPI says

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is calling on the government to provide the English planning system with funding of £500m over four years, which will facilitate its efforts to tackle the climate crisis and level up the country. Next month the government will set out its investment priorities in the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will determine how public funds are used to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic. In the Spending Review, the RTPI would like to see greater funds directed to the English planning system, total expenditure on which has fallen by 29% since 2009-10, meaning local authorities are spending just £5.50 per resident annually on planning policy. An extra £500m for the planning system over four years can help rebuild our communities as we look to recover from the pandemic. This is because planning influences all aspects of life including access to economic opportunity, housing, public health, access to green space and transport. These are the same factors that will determine the success of the government’s levelling up agenda and ministers should therefore consider how planning can inform its flagship policy. This Spending Review is also crucial as it comes in the immediate run up to the COP26 conference in Glasgow. The eyes of the world will be on the UK and in particular what the outcome of COP26 is. However, as the host country the UK must lead by example and the government’s commitments in the Spending Review can set the tone for the event. A survey we carried out earlier this year found that just 17% of RTPI members in the UK felt the country’s planning system or policy framework was well-equipped enough to deal with the climate crisis. Funding Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) adequately can help the country’s response to the climate crisis. Issues such green infrastructure, low-emissions transport and flood defenses are core issues for the planning profession. A relatively small investment of £67m over four years would deliver the equivalent of one planner to work exclusively on climate proofing policy and development management in each local authority. This £67m pot is one of nine funds proposed by the RTPI which would feed into the overall £500m Planning Delivery Fund that we are asking for. Other pots are listed below: Plan Making Fund            £170 million Design Fund                       £81 million Monitoring Fund              £67 million Digital Transformation   £46 million Placemaking Fund            £100 million Jointworking Fund           £15 million Public Engagement         £50 million Climate Action                   £67 million Capacity Building              £17 million Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI, said: “The forthcoming Spending Review will be one of the most important in years. A combination of factors such as the climate crisis, Covid-19 recovery and the government’s levelling up plans mean that every penny must count. “We are asking the government to provide £500m over four years as we see the planning system as a key lever in addressing all of these issues. “With a well-funded planning system the government can realise its ambitions to create a more level society whether it be through more housing, better and greener transport or vibrant communities. The planning system can also be the first line of defense in the country’s tackling of the climate crisis. “With this funding the government can acknowledge the planning system has the potential to help fulfill some of the most pressing issues of the day.”

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Council urges landlords and homeowners to get ready for new fire safety legislation

The City of Edinburgh Council is reminding all city landlords and homeowners that every home in the Scotland must comply with new fire safety legislation which will come into force early next year. By February 2022, all Scottish homes will need to be fitted with interlinked smoke and heat alarms which talk to each other – so when one goes off, they all go off. As Edinburgh’s biggest social landlord, the Council is currently working with its contractors to fit new interlinked smoke and heat alarms, so that every one of its 20,000 Council-owned homes meets the new legislation and is made even more fire safe. When this work’s done in each property, the electrical contractors will also undertake an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) if one has not been carried out recently. Older residents in particular are being asked to be aware of the new fire safety legislation. The Council’s Older People’s Champion, Councillor Catherine Fullerton, is calling on everyone who manages properties for older tenants in Edinburgh to make sure all new standards are met so everyone has the best chance of getting to safety in the event of a fire. Cllr Fullerton said… It’s absolutely vital that landlords and property management companies, particularly those that have a responsibility for older people within our communities, understand the new fire safety rules coming into force and act on them as quickly as possible. All properties, without exception, must be fitted with the new interlinking alarms, heat alarms and, where required, carbon monoxide detectors too.     I’d also urge older people or people with older relatives who own their own homes to check out the Scottish Government’s dedicated ‘Fire safety for homeowners’ webpages for more details and, if necessary, to help them to get their homes fitted with the right kind of alarms. There is also clear guidance for private and social tenants as well as new build homes. I’d encourage everyone to be sure they are using a Trusted Tradesperson to change their fire alarms to meet the new law – please don’t run the risk of having faulty or non-compliant ones fitted A ‘Trusted Trader’ in Edinburgh can be found by using this website: www.trustedtrader.scot/Edinburgh/ If an older person is receiving Universal Credit, Edinburgh Care and Repair Service has been awarded funding from the Scottish Government to provide this service for free.   If not, there will be a reasonable charge.  You can telephone for further advice on 0131 337 111 or email reception@cre.scot.  

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