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How to object if a new housing development is being built near you

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If you have heard that an unsuitable new housing development is being proposed near where you live then you may want to raise an objection.

The plans could involve building on the Green Belt or countryside, or simply see an increasing number of homes in your area, putting pressure on existing traffic congestion and air quality, or local infrastructure such as doctors surgeries and schools.

These – and poor quality development – are all justifiable reasons to protect your local area that combat the Nimby tag (not in my back yard) often levelled at those wanting to object to house building.

But if you want to object, where do you begin? It can be a complicated process wading through planning proposals and finding out who you send your objections to.

Here, we give you a steer on what information you’ll need and where you can find it, if you want to start the process of objecting to a proposed new development. 

We have not outlined the entire planning process, but merely provided a starting point for your objections.

It can be a complicated process wading through planning proposals and finding out who you send your objections to

It can be a complicated process wading through planning proposals and finding out who you send your objections to

Where to find proposals or a planning application?

You’ll need to begin by finding out what stage the plans are at. They may only be proposals at this stage, and a planning application may not have been submitted yet.

If a planning application has been submitted, you can find the full details via the Gov.uk website by clicking here

Alternatively, your local council website will have a list of its planning applications.

If you have got wind of plans that are still only an idea and a planning application has not yet been submitted to the council, you may be able to find out more information by calling the council and asking it for more information about any proposals to develop the land. 

The council may also be able to give you the details of the associated estate agent or owner of the land who wants it developed. 

If you are worried about development in your area, for example, proposals to release chunks of the Green Belt or build on countryside or areas os special interest, then check your council’s Local Plan. 

All councils have had to submit Local Plans to government outlining how they intend to meet future housing needs. These will contain details of areas earmarked for development. You should also search the council’s website for – or ask them for help to find – details of any Calls for Sites. These are when the landowners are invited to put forward land they think could be developed for assessment.

What to look for in in the proposals?

Before planning application stage, you may have heard about the potential development via a leaflet through your door from a neighbour, local rumours, or the owner of the land informing you of their intentions to submit a planning application. 

At this early stage in the planning process, any illustrations may not reveal the full extent of the plans for the site and so it is worth taking a closer look and asking specific questions.

For example, the drawings may only appear to show 30 buildings on the site, but each of these buildings may not be a detached house. Some may be a block of a dozen flats. So it is worth asking how many households are being proposed. 

The final number of households could be more than double the amount of buildings shown, at closer to 70, once terrace houses and flats are taken into account.

With households potential having one or two cars or more each, it could equate to a significantly higher number of cars in the area. This would impact traffic congestion and air quality, especially if there already concerns about those issues in the area.

Also look at the proposed density of housing, will homes be packed together with small gardens? 

A question to ask: How many households will occupy the proposed development site?

A question to ask: How many households will occupy the proposed development site?

How to write your objections

The key document you need to find is the the ‘core’ planning strategy for your area. You can find this on your local council’s website. 

The core strategy highlights the issues why an application may be passed or rejected, highlighting some of the issues you may be concerned about – including traffic congestion, air quality, and the impact on local wildlife. 

It may be helpful to use the same language that it uses to build your argument against the development.

For example, Wiltshire’s ‘core’ strategy covers several market towns, including Devizes, which has serious issues with traffic congestion and air quality, particularly outside of lockdowns.

Its core strategy talks about air quality ‘becoming a major issue’, and that one of its roads – the A361 – could ‘exceed the mandatory limits set by European Directive 2008/50’.

This is all information that someone could use in an objection they were fighting against a nearby proposed housing development. 

For example, they could could write : ‘The A361 is already being monitored amid concerns that it is exceeding mandatory limits set by the European Directive 2008/50. The proposals will contribute to those limits being broken. There is reason for those limits in place, not least for people’s health.’

You can then go on to address each of your topics in the same way. These could include the lack of amenities serving the areas, including doctors and health services, as additional housing would put pressure on those amenities.

You can wrap up by confirming that you reject the proposals and request instead that the space remains as open countryside, or is developed as an open green area and parkland for local people.

Who do I send my objections to?

If a planning application has been submitted, a case officer at the council will have been assigned and you can send your objections to them. 

The case officer’s name will normally be visible on the application found on the council’s website. Or you can try ringing the council and asking them who it is.

You might feel that waiting for the planning application stage is too late and that proposals need to be tackled earlier. 

The council should be able to let you know who to raise your concerns with if the plans are at an earlier stage and a planning application has not been made.

It is also worth copying in your local MP on your objections, especially once a planning application has been made, as they can help to put pressure on the Secretary of State to look at the plans. You may also want to copy in other local councillors.

This is only a steer on how to begin your objections at a early stage as there will be lots of residents and council meetings that you can also voice your concerns at during the whole process, which can take months. 

But the earlier you can start raising your objections, the better. 

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Irish chief-of-staff meets Russian ambassador to discuss defence issues

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The Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov and the Chief of Defence Staff Lieut Gen Seán Clancy have met to discuss armed contacts between the two countries.

The meeting took place on Friday at the Russian embassy in Orwell Road, Dublin.

It was announced in a tweet from the embassy on Friday evening: “On January 21 the Ambassador of #Russia to #Ireland Y.Filatov met with the Member of the Chief of Defence Staff of Ireland S.Clancy.

“Parties discussed the issues of Russia-Ireland relations and international agenda, as well as prospects of contacts between (the) armed forces of (the) two countries.”

In response the Department of Defence said the meeting was a “routine courtesy call”.

A spokeswoman added: “As the recently appointed Chief of Staff, it is normal for foreign ambassadors to pay routine courtesy calls. This is one of a series of meetings. Such meetings are a matter for the chief of staff, not the minister. There is no ongoing military cooperation with Russia and there is no intention to do so.”

A spokesman for the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has not responded yet to the tweet.

Live fire exercise

Independent TD Cathal Berry said he believed the meeting has to do with a proposed naval exercise that the Russian navy intends to undertake in February.

The live firing exercise will happen 240km off the Irish coast outside Irish territorial waters, but within the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Irish Aviation Authority has sent a notification to air traffic control in Ireland stating that the live firing exercises will take place between February 3rd and 8th and between 5am and 3pm on those days. The area in question is off the southwest coast.

The IAA states that “pursuant to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)annexs 11,15 and for safety of air traffic in the area you are kindly requested to issue international notam (a notice to airmen) to temporarily close above area for flights from surface to 11,000 metres”.

Dr Berry, a former army ranger, said the live firing exercise, while being legal, is a “warning to Ireland that we are military weak”.

He believed it was designed as an international provocation as it is close to flight paths and underwater submarine cables.

The Irish talks took place while negotiations ended between Russia and the United States in Geneva without agreement.

There are fears that Russia will invade Ukraine after Moscow massed tens of thousands of troops at the border, while the west has ramped up supplies of weapons to Kyiv.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met for about 90 minutes in Geneva at what the American diplomat said was a “critical moment”. Expectations had been low going in, and there was no breakthrough.

Mr Blinken told Mr Lavrov the US would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals next week, and suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that – offering some hope that any invasion would be delayed for at least a few more days.

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British Land unveils London Exchange Square scheme (GB)

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British Land reveals the opening of its new 1.5-acre Exchange Square located at Broadgate in the City of London. Designed by architects DSDHA, the park quadruples the amount of green space at Broadgate and creates a new outdoor space for workers and the wider community to enjoy in the capital. Exchange Square is now open to the public and includes 420m² of lawned areas, an exciting mix of planting and trees within its gardens, an amphitheatre with plenty of seating, and new retail and event space.

 

It aims to blend nature with the energy of London and promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of people who live and work in the local area. As spring approaches, the park will become a haven for workers looking to enjoy high-quality outdoor spaces when working from the office, and for the local community to enjoy a range of plants and biodiversity. The park’s range of planting is maintained by Exchange Square’s Head Gardener and is expected to be a popular choice for workers looking to make the most of premium outdoor space.

 

Health and wellbeing form a vital part of the €1.8bn (£1.5bn) investment in Broadgate to create an environment that brings people together to work, shop, drink and dine. Research commissioned by British Land shows that putting good design at the heart of urban development could lead to substantial improvement in peoples’ mental health, which would result in substantial economic rewards.

 

David Lockyer, Head of Campuses, British Land said: “As we start the New Year, Exchange Square aims to create an accessible, sustainable and better-quality place for workers and residents in the community in 2022 and beyond. Broadgate has undergone a significant transformation as a mixed-use destination that appeals to everyone. We hope that by creating a new outdoor area filled with green space, it allows visitors to find a tranquil place within a busy capital.”

 

Matthew Webster, Head of Environmental, British Land, said: “Exchange Square is a brilliant addition to London’s green spaces, and has a unique position within the City of London. Creating opportunities for people to encounter nature as part of their daily lives boosts wellbeing and productivity. This new, green space has been designed to enhance both physical and mental health in a variety of ways – through providing an area for tranquillity, opportunities for social interaction or through encouraging and making it easy for people to visit and move through the space.”

 

Deborah Saunt, Founding Director of DSDHA, said: “With Exchange Square, we are delighted to see the culmination of our Public Realm Framework for Broadgate, which has already enhanced and better connected the open spaces of Broadgate Circle, Broadgate Plaza and Finsbury Avenue Square. Our ambition for this new park was to create a landscape that nurtures both plants and people through retrofitting nature into the heart of the City, breaking down perceived barriers to the surrounding areas, and offering a space that provides opportunities for both recuperation and recreation.”

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Paint colour of 2022 is a deep purple called Very Peri

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Purple may not have graced our homes much since the psychedelic era of the 1970s, but all is set to change this year.

That is, at least, if we decide to follow Pantone’s recommendation. The world’s leading colour trend forecaster has controversially selected Very Peri, a shade inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower, as the colour of 2022.

It may seem like an odd choice when we’re still embracing muted tones and understated interiors. 

But Pantone’s annual colour choices wield huge influence with fabric and paint manufacturers and also among interior designers keen to deliver the latest looks.

Love it or loathe it: Pantone¿s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Love it or loathe it: Pantone’s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Pantone says Very Peri embodies ‘carefree confidence and a daring curiosity’. Such assertions are another reason why some interior designers will not be recommending Very Peri. 

One remarked: ‘None of my clients would want purple in their homes, especially in the corner that they’ve set aside for their desk.’

Others are more positive, praising its effectiveness in almost any space.

Andrew Dunning, of London Contemporary, says that it represents a further move away from the Elephant’s Breath, the mid-grey Farrow & Ball paint that held sway in interiors in the early years of this century.

As a champion of the deft use of patterned wallpapers and brighter colours, Dunning considers Very Peri to be warm rather than chilly, particularly if furnishing fabric companies produce a lush velvet in the shade.

‘People have been scared of colour, but I think Very Peri could work well in a ‘wow’ piece like an accent armchair upholstered in the shade,’ he says. ‘It’s also an option for a cloakroom, a smaller place in the home in which you can be more audacious.’

Beth Travers, of Bobo1325, a Manchester design business, also argues that we should lower our resistance to the colour purple. 

Its historic links with royalty endow the colour with ‘luxury, power and nobility’. Since Very Peri is a blue tone of purple, Travers believes it can be ‘relaxing and soothing’.

Paula Taylor, of Graham & Brown, the paint company whose range includes the purple-blue Tanzanite, also thinks going bold could bring decor dividends.

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

‘Our Tanzanite used in a hallway would make visitors feel reassured and joyful. In a living room, it would be crisp but comforting, especially when teamed with one of our soft-whites, such as Baked Cheesecake, for a more timeless effect.’

The warm reception to Very Peri — in some quarters at least — could indicate that the shade will become an important part of the rise of blues and greens, a movement that began this year.

Simone Suss, of Studio Suss, a London design business, says this is connected to the wish to bring nature into our homes.

Such is the growing demand to introduce more elements of the great outdoors in the interior that more housebuilders will be prioritising ‘biophilic’ elements in their developments next year.

‘I am always inspired by the natural world,’ says Suss. ‘ I think biophilic design will be key in 2022.’ 

The other shades vying for supremacy in 2022 include Dulux’s selection Bright Skies, an airy blue that aims to inspire hope. Dulux recommends several palettes to accompany Bright Skies such as Greenhouse.

This array of blues and greens encompasses Fresh Foliage and Calming Meadow.

Breakfast Room Green, a cheery tone ideal for kitchens, and Stone Blue, a light indigo, are among the five shades that Farrow & Ball is tipping as the colours of 2022. 

The company is also backing the elegant School House White, along with Incarnadine, a dramatic crimson, and Babouche, a sunny yellow.

F&B senses people are ready to step outside their comfort zone which could augur well for Very Peri. 

But, in the short term, this shade seems less likely to suddenly explode than to be seen in small touches, such as Dark Flowers, a £23.95 poster print featuring sultry purple blooms from Desenio and purple cushions, such as the £25 cotton velvet cushion from Cotswold Company.

Loaf’s Joelle £2,345 19th-century style bed is available with a purple headboard for those who aspire to a more formal, almost regal setting after the pared-down aesthetic of the past two decades. But experimenting with Very Peri does not necessarily mean a break with the past.

It can look smart with any shade of beige or grey. Going with purple requires confidence. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for Very Peri over the next 12 months.

Savings of the week! Draught excluders 

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

The draught excluder, a long sausage-shaped pillow placed at the foot of a door, is a low-tech, planet-friendly means of staying cosy indoors.

This utilitarian item seems to inspire creativity among designers meaning that you can have warmth, plus aesthetic appeal. 

Low-cost options include the Kaia from The Range in charcoal, reduced from £11.99 to £10.99 and the Plush Bear in mustard at £5.59, down from £6.99. 

Not On The High Street’s cheery blue and red plaid version, pictured left, is reduced from £22 to £11.

The Snap Croc from Dora, a mid-price option, is down from £32 to £9.60. 

It resembles a crocodile whose aggression focuses on warding off chills. Wayfair’s Emmett excluder, with its prints of bees and ladybirds, reduced from £28.99 to £26.99 would lift any decor.

If you want to splash out, William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes. The widest (99cm) is £40.80, from £48.

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