Forum Digest 25th April 2021

Neighbourhood Plan Latest Update

In the 21st March edition of the Digest I said that we expected to see a draft of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Scoping Report from AECOM in early April. Well, we did receive it just before our Steering Group meeting the week before last. There were a few minor tweaks and the updated report has now been sent to the statutory consultees (Natural England, Historic England, and The Environment Agency) for them to review over the next five weeks. This means we are still pretty much on track with the Roadmap timetable towards Plan adoption.

The Scoping Report has “scoped in” Biodiversity, Historic Environment, Landscape, Population & Housing, and Transportation to be included in the final Environmental Report; and “scoped out” Air Quality, Climate Change & Flood Risk, Waste, Minerals, Land & Soil & Water Resources, and Health & Wellbeing. Once we have this final report (the main outcome from the SEA process), we’ll share it with you.

The SEA we have been asked/required to undertake is to assess the impact of the Forum Plan policies and where they may be in conflict with any of Broxtowe’s Local Plan Part 2 policies. Therefore, the elements that have been “scoped out” of the report are those where our policies are least likely to impact on, or conflict with, policies in the Local Plan. The current statutory consultation will confirm whether the elements scoped in and out are correct, before AECOM proceed to complete the final report for us.

As always, we will keep you updated and informed via the Digest and the Plan page of the website. Please do feel free to ask any questions you may have via the Contact Us page, and we’ll do our best to answer them on our new Questions and Answers page (see below).

David, SG Vice Chair

Questions and Answers

As part of our efforts to keep the Forum Membership actively involved in the process of Neighbourhood Planning, we have added a “Questions & Answers” page to our website. Ask us questions about the plans for the Neighbourhood Area and we will do our best to answer them.

The page is here

Mark, SG Website/Communications Officer

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Future of our Town Centres

Hello again,

I attended an online video link presented by industry experts on the future of our town centres. I thought it prudent and timely to relay some of the highlights. To keep you informed and ourselves up to speed with the latest development ideas.

Clearly, the last year has had quite a devastating effect on the high street and hospitality venues of all types. The main subject of the video was how the high street and workplace can recover given the obvious increased reliance on online shopping, and the fact many workers have been working from home for extended periods. Obviously some of the shopping chains were in decline before the pandemic, and lack of customers through the doors spelt their premature demise.

So solutions were discussed. This included the re-purposing of former shops and offices; hybrid landscapes where employees work different work patterns between home and workplace. An advantage here is more support for local shops, hospitality and food outlets near the place of work. So location, particularly with what we have gone through, has become an important consideration. Office space is still important to attract talent, but companies need to be more inventive in their approach. Using the space in different ways and in a more collaborative way. It is anticipated that local town centres will gain in importance as it is they that have made progress in finding ways to support local communities over the last year or so. In the main cities, larger shops may change business models by offering both online and in-shop experiences.

Modern shopping has changed over the years where people shop more as a leisure activity, and include dining out as part of the experience. This is anticipated to continue and shop owners need to rethink in some cases how they will operate post Covid.

Flexibility in building uses has new legislation to make it easier for owners to maximise the potential of their buildings, and put them to different purposes and utilise development opportunities for both shops and homes. This can be seen already in Nottingham in the new developments we see going up.

Other key points: Developers need to ensure the places are where people want to be, both to live and to work. Green spaces are seen as important, especially in built up areas, and even more so now. In a lot of designs this is being considered before the actual buildings. Places where people can escape from their office and homes for a while. Flexibility is seen as key to all developments.

With all these considerations, it is pertinent as a group, that we ensure our Neighbourhood Plan includes the majority of these features, which actually we think it does. However, it still needs your influence to ensure we include what you want to see. So as you know, we are looking to create a plaza in the centre of our development. We would like to hear your suggestions for what kind of shops and hospitality you would like to see included. We are also looking to include office space, but again your ideas would be appreciated and we want to ensure the Plan is inclusive for all our residents both current and in the future.

Please take time to consider what you would like to see and let us know your ideas. They will be most appreciated, and if you have any thoughts on any matters in our development plans, we’d like to hear from you. Thank you in anticipation.

Steve and the Community Development Focus Group

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Forum Digest 4th April 2021

Happy Easter everyone. This is just a short update so as not to take up too much of your valuable leisure time this long bank holiday weekend, even if the weather isn’t forecast to be as good as it might have been! Typical bank holiday weather I’m afraid.

Anyway moving on swiftly, last time I promised to share the Steering Group’s response to the Greater Nottingham Strategic Plan Consultation. Here it is GNSP Consultation Response so at least you can see our thoughts on the wider strategy and in relation to our Area. How much we’ve been able to influence policy, only time will tell.

That’s it from me this time. You can now get back to enjoying the remainder of your long weekend break.

David, SG Vice Chair

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Achieving Community Power Revolution Webinar

One of the Aspirations included in our Neighbourhood Plan is to be “Energy Positive”. By including green power generation, storage and distribution as part of the design of the neighbourhood and building energy efficient homes, our aspiration is that the Area should be able to generate more power than it consumes, with an Energy Service Company directing profits back to the community.

We recognise that this probably can’t be achieved on the scale of new housing to be built in the area but nonetheless, Aspirations are meant to be challenging targets, not simple to achieve.

As part of this aspiration some of us attended a Webinar by an organisation who believe that the structure of the UK’s energy market prevents Local Communities setting up their own power generation companies which they believe would accelerate the development of local power generators and speed up the green revolution.

The webinar was recorded and is available to view here. We would encourage you to watch the webinar and make up your own mind whether you think the Local Electricity Bill is something you should support as an individual.

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Focus Group Community Development: Modular Housing

Our recent Focus Group meeting involved the group participating in questions set by our Modular Build expert Yann. They covered a whole range topics based on our Neighbourhood Plan site and housing ideas including: housing types, affordable housing, care and over 55 accommodation amongst others. There were questions asking what styles were were looking to produce from traditional through to ultra modern, however behind each style was the same basic build process.

The objective now we have completed the questionnaire is that Yann will produce a suite of house designs based on our answers so we can select what we think will fit our vision within the Neighbourhood Plan. Our ambition is to put these ideas out to the greater Forum for you to have your say, so watch this space for further updates.

As a group we firmly believe the Modular or the very least Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is the way forward. The fact that modular is far more sustainable and energy efficient should be reason enough to support. Add the fact our area is already behind its housing targets and modular can be built much more quickly and reliably to a higher standard is confirmation to us that we have the right approach supporting what is seen as an emerging industry.

A couple of us attended an on line seminar on the latest updates on modular build that was very interesting. Follow this link to see the presentation.

If you have any question on this subject or ideas, please do not hesitate to get in touch as we want you to be involved as it is our future we are planning for.

Best Regards,

The Community Development Focus Group

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Forum Digest 21st March 2021

Neighbourhood Plan Progress Update

The second stage of the Strategic Enviromnmental Asssessment (SEA) process is well underway – this is the Scoping Report. The Steering Group (SG) can expect to see a draft of this from AECOM in early April to review, prior to the statutory consultation with Natural England, Historic England, and The Environment Agency. More on this as things progress.

You may remember last time that I said the Planning Team at Broxtowe would assist us by producing a Roadmap (with indicative timescales) from where we are now through to the local referendum to adopt the Plan. Well as good as their word, we received it shortly afterwards. If you wish you can view it here Roadmap.

They have taken a cautious approach in drawing it up, to take into account ‘uncertainties’ in relation to the length of time that the SEA and Independent Examination could take. It’s possible that 2 – 3 months could be saved if these elements take a significantly shorter time. The Roadmap will be able to be updated after each stage as we make the journey towards the referendum. It also highlights some of the most significant uncertainties and elements of the process which are outside of both the Borough Council’s and Forum’s control!

As always, we will keep you updated and informed via the Digest and via the Plan page of the website. Please do feel free to ask any questions you may have via the Contact Us page, and we’ll do our best to answer them!

New Forum Address

Following the loss of the office at Oban House at the end of last year, we have been trying to find an ‘accomodation’ address to comply with legal requirements. Although we no longer need an office to work from, we do need to have a physical address. Last time I alluded that we had asked our colleagues at the council for a big favour. The outcome of which is that we now have a correspondence address at the Council Offices in Beeston. We are not expecting masses of post, but if you do need to write to us, other than by email or online, then the address should now appear at the bottom of each Digest (fingers crossed!) and also on the Contact Us page of the website. Another big thank you to Broxtowe for agreeing to this as a solution to our problem.

Greater Nottingham Strategic Plan Consultation

Just a reminder that if you are intending to submit any comments to this consultation, then the deadline is this coming Wednesday 24th March. The Steering Group is currently finalising its response, so unfortunately we can’t share it in time for you to adapt for your own responses, but we will do so after the event so you can see our thoughts. It’s quite a lengthy consultation, hence it has taken some time to pull the response together! If you are intending to comment on it then you can find the information on the GNSP Consultation website. Essentially it is a review of the Aligned Core Strategy or Part 1 of the Local Plan which was adopted in 2014 and now due for review.

David, SG Vice Chair

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Green Initiatives latest news

As a follow on our latest post where we advised on two schemes to support homeowners, the “Green Deal” and the “Renewable Heat Incentive it has come to our attention that a new local scheme has been made available and it is aimed specifically for those on a lower income.

Headline – Nottingham Energy Launch Nottinghamshire Green Homes Grant

Local climate change charity, Nottingham Energy Partnership (NEP), has joined forces with Nottinghamshire County Council and E.ON to launch the Green Homes Grant Nottinghamshire. Eligible residents can now access low-carbon heating systems such as air source heat pumps and solar power to generate hot water and electricity. Solid wall, cavity wall and loft insulation measures, which have the quickest and biggest impact on energy conservation, are also covered in the grant. The scheme offers smaller measures such as replacement doors and smart heating heating controls for your new system too.

To meet eligibility criteria for these free measures, residents must:

  • Be a Nottinghamshire homeowner;
  • Have a combined gross household income of under £30k; and
  • have an Energy Performance Certificate of D,E,F or G.

To register your interest for the Green Homes Grant project, apply at www.nottenergy.com/green-homes-grant-notts or call them on 0115 9472207

As you will note this is a local scheme as opposed to the two Government Schemes relayed previously.

The reason for making you aware of these schemes is it is these types of green solutions we as a group are looking to promote for any future homes that are built and associated in our Neighbourhood Plan. There will be more on this in the ensuing months.

Best Regards,

The Community Development Focus Group

To see more posts on Green Energy go here

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Green Energy posts follow up 6th March 2021

Following our latest Green Energy post we have been asked for more details on how to start the process, potential firms to use and costs that maybe incurred. So to be clear we are not the experts on these matters or making recommendations but we are happy to share our experiences.

How to start the process – There are two options here. One is to look up the Government initiatives and follow links to suppliers, not always straight forward, particularly under the voucher scheme. The second is to look up companies that are renewable energy experts. It is good if you have an idea what you would like to do. From experience, one of our team was interested in solar power but also was aware that gas boilers will become more expensive to run and within 10 years there will be a move to do away with them completely. Their boiler was 10 years old and the seed was sown that instead of renewing the boiler to look into a new form of energy, namely an Air Source Heat Pump. The pump is electrically driven but with additional solar power it was felt this would be more cost effective in the long run and actually future proof the home.

Technical bit: There are Ground Source Heat Pumps, mainly for larger housing plots and sites and the sort we are looking at to promote for our housing of the future. Then there are Air source heat pumps that can be retro fitted to most properties. The air source pump draws in outside air and draws out the heat at a ratio of up to 4:1, so it increases the temperature fourfold and uses this to heat a water tank that provides all the hot water as well as heating the house. As well as being efficient it is also very smart in its use of green energy. Using an outside temperature sensor, it compares inside and outside temperatures. So as an example we set the temperature inside to 20 degrees and outside temperature is 13 degrees your radiators will be warmed 7 degrees = 20 degrees…clever. Instead of a conventional boiler banging out heat that’s not required. Also part of the heating assessment and included are replacement larger radiators due to the design of the system. Some thought is needed as to where the system needs to be housed but the experts will guide you with this.

This is not something you should do without expert advice. There are lots of companies out there but the ones used by our member was a Nottinghamshire company called FDG Group Limited at The Nottingham Energy Centre (IKANO) who are part of the Energy Performance Scheme. They are expert at Renewable Energy/Solar Energy, so do not fit double glazing or insulation but they will arrange an Independent Energy Performance Certificate for your home before and an assessment of your heating requirements.

Costs are so varied if you price solar and heat pumps and without knowing exactly what is involved can be a minefield. So for this example we will base our figures from experience. Initial costs for a top quality air source pump are from £12,995-13,995. This includes a full 10 year warranty and 10 year service plan included. Also included is a complete radiator upgrade. The correct pump and water tank and capacity is designed individually for each property. The system is calculated by running costs to pay for itself in 7 years.

If you then consider the Renewable Heat Incentive, based on our example of £10-12k, is paid back at £448 per quarter for 7 years it becomes a more viable proposition. Remember this initiative runs till March 2022. An option used in our example finance is also available over 5, 8 and 10 years, but obviously we are giving you a guide of what is available from a well proven company and a well proven industry product.

Costs for solar power vary for relatively cheap to expensive, but the example here the costs were £5,995 for 12 panels and Solax inverter (that converts roof DC current to AC mains current). The savings over a year are estimated between £200-400 per year. Allied to this with a solar boost fitted all your hot water is heated during daylight hours saving on energy for your heat source pump. With the added benefit of no gas bills. The solar system carries a 30 year warranty so is considered in our example a good investment for heating an power well into the future as well as support the green vision in supporting the planet.

In adding this information and using a real example we thought this would be more useful and give a real world answer to what a lot of you are asking and wondering.

Dependent on when this information comes out we have more information on another scheme aimed on lower income families from a Nottinghamshire County Council initiative.

Once again you will understand why our group is looking into these renewable energies for future developments in our area as it is important to ensure we look to take advantage of the smart technologies that will support us for years to come. As ever we will keep you up to speed with our progress and hope you will help us achieve our goals set out in our Neighbourhood Plan.

Best Regards,

Community Development Focus Group

To find out more of our Green Initiatives information go here.

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Biodiversity Gain Presentation

The UK Government has announced new English developments will be required to demonstrate a 10% increase in biodiversity on or near development sites. In other words, developers must improve wildlife habitats. What does this mean for the developments taking place in Toton and Chilwell? Nick Sanderson of RammSanderson Ecology, a local resident and a member of the Environment Focus Group of the CTTC will be giving a short talk on the implications of this new Government policy with the opportunity for questions afterwards. Talk starts at 8pm on Wednesday 10th March.

The talk was recorded and is available through the Environmental Focus Group’s Page here

Environmental Focus Group

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Government Green Initiatives (Renewable Heat Incentive)

Air Source Heat Pump

As part of our Community Development Focus Group, “green initiatives” are one of the many areas the group is working on. We are aware that the Government is currently running two initiatives and one is receiving bad press whilst the other other is not very well known, so we thought it prudent to update our members just to clarify the latest information to allow you to take an informed view.

Green Deal (Green Homes Grant Scheme) – This scheme was set up to help homeowners make energy saving improvements to their homes, such as insulation, heating, draught proofing etc.. The scheme involves a voucher system that homeowners could apply for and the vouchers represented a sum of money (£5,000) that could be exchanged for part payment of the work. However, take up of this scheme has been poor, in part as the vouchers in some cases were not forthcoming by the UK Government so the works could not go ahead in many cases. It seems now the Government is looking to withdraw this scheme in April, due to lack of take up, in part caused by erratic voucher support.

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)-Is another scheme formed by the UK Government to encourage private households, communities and businesses to install renewable energy technologies for heating purposes, through financial support. The RHI scheme has been extended for a further 12 months. It will run until 31st March 2022. The difference with this scheme is the incentive money is claimed after the owner pays for the improvements. So in reality maybe out of reach for some. The benefit of the scheme is that the Government will pay back £10-12000, dependent on energy assessment, over 8 years to reimburse the outlay, but as stated this differs from the “up front” voucher scheme. One option taken up by one of our members was to take out a loan to cover the cost of the works knowing they would be reimbursed over said period of time. In doing so they have completely reformatted their energy supply for their home thus future proofing their property for the foreseeable future.

If you are interested in the schemes there are suppliers out there who are happy to advise and help. Government information is available here or you can contact us.

Community Development Focus Group

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