February 19, 2018

Work starts on increased flood protection for Starcross and Cockwood


More than 660 homes and businesses at Starcross and Cockwood will be better protected from coastal flooding as work started this week on a new £4 million flood scheme.

At Starcross the Environment Agency will install 2 new floodgates at Church Road and Generals Lane slipway. They will also raise the car park levels at the Fishing and Cruising Club.

In Cockwood the harbour wall will be improved with a raised level along Dawlish Road in line with predicted sea level rises. Work is expected to take around 6 months and be finished by summer.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “The storms hitting our coast in the past week demonstrate the importance of tidal defences. We are making a number of improvements to increase the level of flood protection in this area. Across England we are investing £2.6 billion in over 1,500 flood and coastal schemes to help protect homes and businesses at risk. This important scheme has been designed to reduce the risk of tidal flooding to more than 660 residential and commercial properties.”

From 8 January the road around Cockwood harbour, including Church Road and Dawlish Warren road, will be closed to traffic to allow work to be carried out and to ensure public safety. Pedestrians will continue to have access.

Works and road closures have been timed to avoid school holidays and the summer season but we apologise for any inconvenience the closures cause.

Construction of the Starcross and Cockwood tidal defence scheme begins just a few weeks after the £12m Dawlish Warren beach management scheme was opened by Michael Gove. The Dawlish Warren scheme provides increased flood protection to around 2,800 properties in the Exe estuary. Once complete, the Starcross and Cockwood tidal defence scheme is expected to further reduce flood risk for over 660 properties.

£50m masterplan for National Railway Museum overhaul


The National Railway Museum is set for its biggest upgrade since it opened in 1975.

Plans to completely overhaul the Leeman Road site have been unveiled.

The museum has drawn up a £50 million, seven-year masterplan, designed to increase visitor numbers from 750,000 today to 1.2 million.

It will see the two halves of the museum – now divided by Leeman Road – unified by a brand new building. This will be built where Leeman Road is now, after the road is diverted away from the site.

And the original Stephenson’s Rocket – now housed at sister attraction the Science Museum in London – would be brought to York when the upgrade is complete.

“Our ambitious redevelopment plans will radically reimagine the visitor experience to demonstrate how railways changed our world and how modern science and engineering are transforming our railways,” said Tom Devine of the National Railway Museum.

The NRM’s regeneration will be made possible by the development of the York Central site.

That has given bosses the opportunity “to completely rethink the museum” Mr Devine said. That will make it the “cultural heart” of York Central.

Its mission will be to inspire the nation through railway innovations of the past, present and future.

The Great Hall will focus on the past, telling the story of how railways changed the world.

This would include the fact that they enabled national newspapers for the first time. “They enabled the Football League – and they even enabled things like dog breeding,” Mr Devine said.

A Wonder Lab will give a hands-on experience for younger visitors.

And a new Central Gallery will give insights into the future of rail, showing what could be possible with engineering technology.

 Speaking at the Built Environment Networking conference in Merchant Taylor’s Hall on Monday (January 8), Mr Devine said the first phase would be the Great Hall.It dates from the 1880s, and has been expanded and adapted over the decades. It was repaired in 1942 after the major air raid in York.

“We want to tell the epic story of the railways in a series of exhibitions,” he said. “We’re looking at bringing in some double height spaces so people can get different perspectives on the collection.

Stephenson’s Rocket, built in Newcastle in 1829, is now in the Science Museum.

“This is our new star item,” he said. “The group has pledged that, when we deliver the masterplan, that will be relocated from London and come to the National Railway Museum in York as the star item in the collection.”

There is only a replica of the rocket in the NRM at the moment.


Green light for residential-led regeneration scheme at Icknield Port Loop, Birmingham


Birmingham City Council has approved plans for the first phase of a major residential regeneration scheme at Icknield Port Loop, Birmingham.

Working closely with Glenn Howells Architects, Maccreanor Lavington Architects and ShedKM, Grant Associates has created a detailed landscape masterplan that will see 207 family homes and 90 apartments built, along with green infrastructure including a new public park, public open spaces, communal gardens and canal-side public realm.
The scheme is the first phase of a proposal by Urban Splash and Places for People to develop a total of 1,150 homes on the 43-acre, city centre site. Located next to the Icknield Port Loop canal, the homes will be a mixture of family houses and apartments. Commercial, retail and leisure facilities will also be delivered.
Outline planning permission for the site was secured in 2013. Birmingham City Council and the Canal and River Trust appointed Places for People and Urban Splash as joint venture delivery partners for the project in 2016.
Claire Hobart, senior associate at Grant Associates, comments: “Our aim is to reinvigorate this piece of brownfield industrial land close to the heart of Birmingham that has to date been largely hidden from public view. We want to connect Icknield Port Loop’s new community with an inspiring series of new waterfront and green spaces. The landscape creates a sense of place that draws on the site’s unique island location and connections to the waterways of the city to add to Birmingham’s credentials as a great city to live, work and play.”

Barcham plans for arboretum and visitor centre given green light by council planning committee


Published by Darren Shelton

Barcham Trees, the Cambridgeshire nursery which has provided more than a million instant-impact trees for the urban environment in Britain, has been given the go-ahead by East Cambridgeshire District Council Planning Committee for the development of an arboretum, lake, visitor centre, restaurant and shopping area on part of its 300-acre site adjacent to the A142 between Ely and Soham. This unique and exciting development will create up to 40 new jobs.

The company, which is the largest container tree nursery in Europe, had support from a range of interests, including East Cambridgeshire’s tourism office and Soham Town Council. A report by planning officers stated there are no directly comparable visitor attractions in the area and that such a facility could only be beneficial to the local and tourist economy.

The focus of the 17-acre development will be a 12-acre arboretum, which Barcham’s managing director Mike Glover believes will fulfil several rôles. “It will be aesthetically pleasing, educational, practical and a showcase for both our trade and private customers. We are the first major tree nursery to see such a facility as part of its remit, and our knowledgeable staff will be on hand to share their expertise with visitors. We see this as a natural extension of what the nursery does, which already includes the education of tree-care professionals and involvement with setting arboricultural industry standards”, he says.

The site will also include a lake, visitor centre, restaurant, conference centre, plant centre, shopping area and 150 formal car parking spaces, plus overflow parking. The nursery’s arboricultural director and chairman of the Arboricultural Association Keith Sacre emphasises the development will demonstrate best practice from its beginning through to completion and beyond. “More people than ever now appreciate the huge benefits trees provide for human health and the environment in general, and we are determined the arboretum will be a beacon of sustainability”, he comments.

Mayor approves £1.4bn scheme to regenerate Croydon town centre


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today approved a major development which will give a major boost to long-term plans to regenerate Croydon town centre.

The redevelopment of the Whitgift shopping centre by the Croydon Partnership – a joint venture between Westfield and Hammerson – will create 7,000 jobs, deliver nearly 1,000 new homes, and provide the local community with brand-new leisure facilities and rejuvenated public spaces.

More than half-a-million square metres of shops and restaurants will be built, alongside space for future student accommodation or a hotel.

Sadiq gave the project the green light after it was approved by Croydon Council’s planning committee.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Today marks a crucial step forward in the regeneration of Croydon town centre.

“This development will play a key role in unlocking the borough’s potential and is set to deliver huge economic benefits to residents and businesses in the borough.

“As well as the creation of 7,000 jobs and the delivery of almost 1,000 new homes, it will also attract many visitors to its brand-new leisure facilities and public spaces. I’m confident the benefits of this scheme will be felt for generations to come.”

Westfield UK/Europe’s Head of Development, John Burton OBE, said: “The endorsement from the Mayor of London represents a great start to the year for the project and for Croydon. The London Borough of Croydon responded positively to our revised outline planning application, and we’re pleased that this has now been approved by the Mayor. Our plans will help establish Croydon as South London’s best retail, dining and leisure destination and deliver new homes and 7,000 jobs.”

Hammerson’s Chief Investment Officer, Peter Cole, said: “This confirmation from the Mayor of London that he supports our proposals will give further confidence to retailers, investors and the community, giving us the mandate to deliver a transformative, world-class retail and leisure destination which is already stimulating the ongoing wider regeneration of Croydon.”

Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, Councillor Alison Butler, said: “I’m delighted another milestone in this project has been reached and the Mayor of London has approved the Croydon Partnership’s plans. The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre will transform Croydon town centre and today’s green light brings us a step closer to the works getting under way.”