Self-build and custom-build opportunities at Beeston Park, Broadland

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In association with BuildStore, we’re invite people to register their interest in potential custom-build and self-build opportunities in a new community to be developed at Beeston Park, Broadland, northeast of Norwich.

Set within easy reach of the world-famous Norfolk Broads and stunning North Norfolk coastline, Beeston Park will be a new community functioning both as a resolved place in its own right – with local schools, shops and workplaces and green spaces alongside housing – and as an integrated extension to Norwich, the buzzing medieval city centre of which is less than three miles away.

Beeston Park has been conceived to set new standards for sustainable development in the UK, combining the principles that have underpinned successful settlements for centuries – including proper streets, ‘walkable’ centres and a mix of housing types – with contemporary sustainable design including very low carbon energy infrastructure and measures to conserve water. By the time it is complete in around 20 years time, Beeston Park will provide around 3,500 homes and 1,000 jobs, plus two new schools and a major new country park. Broadland District Council resolved to grant outline planning permission in September 2013. You can read more about the plans at www.livebeestonparkbroadland.com.

As Town Developer, Beyond Green Developments is currently looking at how best to enable the delivery of Beeston Park, which is expected to start on site in summer 2015 and start releasing building plots from the autumn. Fulfilling a promise made at outline planning, we’ll bringing at least 90 plots forward over the life of the project for custom-built or self-built homes. But that’s only a handful each year, and we think the real potential for custom- build and self-build is potentially much greater. Big enough, even, that it could become the pre- eminent way of building homes in this exciting new community – making for a unique place that we build together with the people who will live there, and is truly the work of many hands.

We want to gauge the real level of interest accurately so that we can plan the optimum number and type of opportunities into the earliest phase of the development, and give potential custom- builders and self-builders as much input as possible into the detailed planning to take place over the next year. So we’re asking anyone who might be interested in building or commissioning their own home at Beeston Park to register and take our short survey before Friday 8th August.

We’ll invite anyone who expresses an interest to an open event in Broadland this autumn to meet the team behind the Beeston Park project, visit the site, hear more about specific opportunities, and register your interest more specifically.


North Sprowston and Old Catton shortlisted for a RTPI 2014 Planning Excellence Award

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North Sprowston and Old Catton (NS&OC), a new community to be developed in Broadland, north-east of Norwich, has been shortlisted for a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) 2014 Planning Excellence Award.

The project, nominated jointly by developers Beyond Green and local planning authority Broadland District Council, has been shortlisted in the category of “exemplary planning to deliver housing” and is up against a shortlist of projects from across the country for the prestigious award.

Broadland Council resolved to grant outline planning permission for the scheme in September 2013 and, following the necessary legal agreements and detailed planning, work is expected to start on site in 2015. Key elements of the project include 3,520 homes, 1,000 jobs, a new high street and square with local shops and services, two primary schools and the dedication of historic Beeston Park as a new country park serving the whole area.

Beyond Green planning director Neil Murphy said, “North Sprowston and Old Catton is intended to be a blueprint for a place that offers a high quality of life with a very small carbon footprint, combining proven features of places people like – such as proper streets, accessible local services and well-built adaptable homes – with the best of contemporary sustainable design. Broadland Council’s cooperation and support is crucial to the project taking shape and we are delighted to have been able to nominate the plan jointly with the Council.”

Cllr Shaun Vincent, Portfolio Holder for Planning at Broadland District Council, said, “Broadland continues to support the right type of development in the right locations and we are convinced that this scheme is an exemplary proposal which will bring many benefits to the area. We are therefore very pleased that it has been recognised as such by the professional body for planning in England.”

The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on 23rd June. Details of our proposals for North Sprowston and Old Catton can be found here.


Jonathan Smales speaking at Norfolk Constructing Excellence Club

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This evening Jonathan Smales, Executive Chairman of Beyond Green will be speaking at the Norfolk Constructing Excellence Club’s meeting on sustainability.

Jonathan’s  presentation – The Urgent and Remarkable Future: How Shall We Live? – will consider the need for remarkable transformations in how we live as inspired and enabled by where we live. Not only are the challenges remarkable but so too are the opportunities if we grasp them on our increasingly hot, flat and crowded planet. He will examine these issues through the lens of the city and urban places, spaces and infrastructure, with the conclusion that we can live well, affordably and sustainably if we have the right mindset.


Neil Murphy speaking at Newcastle’s Love Cycling, Go Dutch conference

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Neil Murphy, Beyond Green’s Director of Planning, Policy and Economics will be speaking at the Love Cycling, Go Dutch conference in Newcastle on Tuesday 5th November.

The conference will show how Dutch politicians and planners have succeeded in building high cycling levels with public support and consider how this can be achieved in Newcastle and surroundings. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will be hosting the event in collaboration with Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Cycling Campaign and Cycle Nation and the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

Neil’s presentation will consider how new developments can and should provide for cycling (and why they often don’t), and how that provision can act as a catalyst for wider change across the city. He will explain how cycling is integrated into Beyond Green’s proposals for North Sprowston and Old Catton, north of Norwich, and consider how successful recent developments in Newcastle have been at creating conditions that will encourage and enable residents to cycle as part of their daily routine.


New community to set UK benchmark for sustainable places

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Plans for the most authentically sustainable new development ever built in the UK are set to become reality after councillors resolved to grant the proposals outline planning consent on Wednesday.

Broadland District Council’s planning committee voted by a majority of 14-1 to approve the application, which has been brought forward by Beyond Green Developments and financed by Development Securities plc. It incorporates 3,520 homes, 1,000 jobs and local shops and services at North Sprowston and Old Catton (NS&OC), north of Norwich.  The proposals also include sites for two new primary schools, new and improved bus services, over 80 hectares of green space including a major new Country Park in a restored historic parkland, a very low-carbon decentralised energy network, and infrastructure to enable the achievement of water neutrality.

Beyond Green’s Executive Chairman, Jonathan Smales, said: “Sustainable development has become a debased term in the UK, covering everything from housing estates with photovoltaic panels on every roof and two cars on every drive to one-off so-called zero-carbon curios.  Sustainability isn’t just about buildings, it’s about how we live in a radically carbon- and resource-constrained world.  We’ve got to start making proper places again that let us live terrific lives with tiny environmental footprints.  We’ve got to make culture change to low-carbon living easy and attractive and that’s what NS&OC is intended to do…”

Download the full article here.

Further information can be found in the Notes to Editors here and on our website here. If you would like to receive updates on NS&OC, please email nsoc@beyondgreen.co.uk asking to be added to our mailing list.


Sprowston Town Council consultation events for NS&OC, 16th and 17th January

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Sprowston Town Council will be holding to sessions to consult local residents on our proposals for North Sprowston and Old Catton (NS&OC).

The public open sessions will be held on Wednesday 16 January, 10am – 4pm and Thursday 17 January, 6pm – 9pm at Sprowston Diamond Centre, School Lane. More details can be found here.

The outline planning application for NS&OC can be viewed in full here, and our responses to frequently asked questions on the application can be found here (pdf).


Latest NS&OC FAQ: Beyond Green claim to have consulted extensively, but these proposals have come as a surprise to some local people, why is that?

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This post is the latest addition to the Frequently Asked Questions for North Sprowston and Old Catton (NS&OC). The full FAQs document can be found here (PDF).

Beyond Green claim to have consulted extensively, but these proposals have come as a surprise to some local people, why is that?

During the three years of work leading up to our planning application Beyond Green consulted widely on NS&OC with local residents, local authority members and officers, Parish and Town Councils, voluntary organisations, and statutory bodies such as the Environment Agency. We undertook several phases of community involvement, each with events aimed specifically at local residents:

  • Community planning: a series of public events over summer 2011 including exhibitions at Sprowston Fete (Saturday 18th June), Spixworth Fete (Sunday 10th July) and Old Catton Flower Show (Saturday 16th July);
  • Design review: public exhibitions over the weekend of 8th and 9th October 2011, held at the former Sprowston Parish Council offices on Recreation Ground Road; and
  • Presentation of the outline planning application: public exhibitions at the Sprowston Diamond Centre over the weekend of 6th and 7th October 2012.

Each of these events was promoted through the distribution of 15,000 leaflets to homes in Sprowston, Old Catton and Spixworth, adverts in the Eastern Daily Press and the Norwich Evening News, press coverage in those papers and online, and through information on Beyond Green’s and Broadland District Council’s websites. Further details can be found in the Statement of Community Involvement submitted with the planning application, which also summarises the issues raised during consultation and our responses to them.

Our efforts to consult and engage were in addition to earlier consultation by Broadland District Council and the Greater Norwich Development Partnership while they were developing the Joint Core Strategy, which set out plans for development in the Broadland ‘growth triangle’ to which our specific proposals in part respond. We also took part in Sprowston Town Council’s Neighbourhood Planning workshop in January 2012 where our proposals were discussed in public meetings and stakeholder workshops.

No advertisement process can guarantee that news of events will reach all interested parties, even in areas with such strong community links among residents as Sprowston and Old Catton, but it is nonetheless regrettable if any local resident with an interest in the proposals for NS&OC, particularly residents living close to the site, was not made aware of any, never mind all, of these opportunities to influence the project.

Beyond Green’s approach to consultation has gone far beyond that required by planning regulations and that typically undertaken by house-builders and developers in the UK; however, such consultation is intended to be a complement to, not a substitute for, the rigorous and formal consultation undertaken on any planning application by the local authority.  That remains open and the views of local people will carry weight whether or not they have participated in Beyond Green’s earlier processes. Details of how to comment on the NS&OC application are available here (Application No. 20121516)

If successful in securing planning permission we intend to re-double our efforts to engage and involve local residents and others in the detailed design and ongoing delivery of NS&OC.   Anyone who would like to be kept informed of future consultations and receive occasional updates on NS&OC should email nsoc@beyondgreen.co.uk to be added to our mailing list.


NS&OC Outline Planning Application – Frequently Asked Questions

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Since our outline planning application for North Sprowston and Old Catton (NS&OC) was submitted, several aspects of the plans have been subject to discussion in the local media and direct questions posed to us by local people.  In responding to these queries we have wherever possible sought to refer people to information contained within the submitted documents, we’re very pleased however to offer further clarification where necessary to answer people’s questions.  This is the first version of a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document which we’ll keep regularly updated on our website and circulate to people on our distribution list as and when further questions arise. If you would like to be added to our mailing list please email nsoc@beyondgreen.co.uk.

Broadland District Council is currently consulting on our planning application. The full application is available to download from the planning portal on the their website (here – for best results view in Internet Explorer, application number 20121516) and can also be viewed in person at Broadland District Council’s offices and Sprowston Diamond Centre.

Sprowston Town Council will also be holding two public open sessions to gain the opinions of residents before submitting a response to the planning authority. The open sessions will be held on Wednesday 16th January 10am – 4pm and Thursday 17th January 6pm – 9pm at Sprowston Diamond Centre. More details here.

We hope that as many people as possible will provide their comments, whether positive or negative. Further information on how to comment on the application, including how to submit comments once the statutory consultation period has ended, is available here.

 

Could the proposals for water storage in Beeston Park NS&OC pose additional safety risks to planes using Norwich Airport?

No. The Airport Safeguarding Statement submitted with the planning application explains that Beyond Green intend to work with Norwich Airport to ensure that any areas of water within the development are designed and managed in such a way that there is no additional risk of bird strike to planes.  We want to do this whilst ensuring as far as possible that water features can add to the quality of the local environment, and therefore that ‘bird-proofing’ them is done as unobtrusively as possible.  But there is no question of compromising safety.

 

Is Beyond Green primarily a marketing/promotional agency for the landowners?

No. Beyond Green, together with its joint venture partners Development Securities, have entered into a promotional agreement with the landowners that allows us, if outline planning permission is granted for the proposals, to buy the land. As part of that process it is our job to ‘promote’ the land for development through the planning system, but we are not being paid by the landowners to do that – we do it entirely at our own risk.

If outline planning permission is granted Beyond Green will become the master developer for the project, exercising its option to buy land to deliver development directly in some instances and in other instances working with other delivery partners such as local building firms. Our intention is to stay involved to deliver NS&OC from inception to completion. The landowners also have a long-term perspective and will remain involved over the lifetime of the project rather than selling the whole site as soon as planning is granted.

 

Two primary schools have been proposed at NS&OC – but what about secondary schools?

As set out in the Social and Economic Development Statement submitted with the planning application, pre-application discussions with the Local Education Authority (LEA) and other stakeholders have indicated that the preferred location for a new secondary school in the Broadland ‘Growth Triangle’ would be at Rackheath.  Therefore secondary school pupils from NS&OC will require school bus services to this school when it is completed and to existing schools in the meantime.

Beyond Green is aware of local people’s concern about pressure on existing secondary schools in the area.  We understand that the LEA is aware of that concern too and that there are several options under consideration for improving and/or better managing capacity at existing schools in the short-term to provide for secondary education for children living in NS&OC.  Payments of Community Infrastructure Levy on the NS&OC development – which are likely to total well in excess of £25 million – will provide funding that can be used for capacity improvements as the local authorities deem fit.  We look forward to discussing detailed arrangements with the LEA and other stakeholders as part of the planning application process.

 

What is the proposed energy centre and what will be its impacts on the local area?

At the time of the planning application there are several options for providing NS&OC with a very-low-carbon energy supply, which is essential to minimising the environmental footprint of the development.  Some, but not all, of these options would entail locating an energy centre on-site.  An energy centre is simply a building housing the plant that generates energy in a ‘decentralised’ system (i.e. one that operates outside the national grid).

If it proves necessary to provide a decentralised system on-site only to serve NS&OC then a system of gas-fired electrical engines is being considered.  These, together with ancillary offices and service space, would be housed within the energy centre.  The sizing of the energy centre, if one is required, will depend on final modelled demand, the mix of technologies ultimately chosen and whether the centre is scaled only to meet demand from NS&OC or to serve additional demands off-site.  The planning application allows for an energy centre of up to 1,500m2 in floor area; it is likely that the building will be much smaller.

The impact of the energy centre has been addressed in our Environmental Statement.  The greatest cause for concern around energy centre proposals usually relates to air quality.  However, in this case the proposed energy centre at NS&OC is assessed as having a negligible impact on local air quality.

 

Won’t the proposals worsen traffic conditions and congestion locally?

The Transport Assessment submitted with the planning application provides a detailed analysis of likely transport impacts.  As with all significant developments, NS&OC will contribute to growing demands on the transport network.  In some parts of the network there is spare capacity; in others, there are capacity problems that either exist now or would arise in the near future regardless of whether or not new development takes place.

It is widely recognised that significant new development cannot take place in Greater Norwich without improvements to transport infrastructure and that is why the Norwich Area Transport Strategy (NATS) was developed.  Large-scale developments such as NS&OC will make an important contribution, through the Community Infrastructure Levy, to funding the implementation of NATS, as well as funding additional new infrastructure and services – such as improved local bus services – in their own right.  However, the evidence is clear that it is ‘background growth’ – i.e. the changing travel habits of existing residents – rather than the development of NS&OC that will account for the largest share of additional traffic over the next 20 years and that even with no new development NATS would be necessary.  Resisting new development on traffic grounds would remove a key funding source for transport improvements but it would not prevent rising problems of congestion.

However, it is clear that simply adding new capacity is not a long-term solution to traffic and transport in Greater Norwich.  People in both new and existing communities need much better choices that reduce the need to travel (by making services more accessible) and make it easier to travel by modes other than the private vehicle.  That is why Beyond Green is committed to an integrated, mixed-use development, to providing (and if necessary subsidising) excellent new bus services and a car club, to developing an area-wide travel planning service, and to working with the local authorities to develop better strategic public transport and cycle connections across Greater Norwich.

 

Many recent developments around Norwich have involved broken promises about the level and timing of investment in public services like schools and community centres.  Why should people believe this project will be different?

Beyond Green’s business model is long-term: investing in high-quality development and staying involved to ensure that it grows in value over time.  Essential to this model is that people who move into NS&OC will do so not just because of the house they buy or rent but because of the place they buy or rent it in.  Our business will not succeed if investment in local services does not keep pace with housing development. Much of this investment will be undertaken by public bodies with funding contributions from the development.

This is a very different model from most developers for whom housing is the ‘product’ and any contributions required to local services or infrastructure are seen as costs of business to be minimised as far as possible rather than as essential investments that enhance the value of assets.  It is the model that has underpinned how Beyond Green has developed its outline planning application and if planning consent is granted we expect that it will be reflected in the terms of planning permission.

 

These will be more ‘rabbit hutch’ homes: does Beyond Green’s aim of creating a ‘compact’ development just mean crowding people together; and why aren’t you showing details of what homes will be like?

Statistics show that new homes built in Britain are among the smallest in Europe and Beyond Green believe this is one of the primary reasons why the majority of households would not even consider buying a brand new house.  Our intention is that homes built at NS&OC will be generously proportioned, with attention given for instance to volume (i.e. ceiling height and window size) as well as floor area.

An ‘outline’ application – which is essentially concerned with the principle of development – is too early in the process to undertake such detailed design, but it doesn’t mean that the need for it hasn’t been considered.  We are committed to producing – and to submitting for the approval of the local planning authority – a Design and Sustainability Code before any detailed architectural design takes place, and among the issues addressed by the Code will be how design provides for appropriate sizes and proportions of dwelling.

‘Compact’ development doesn’t mean crowding homes together.  Traditional, street-based forms of development like that proposed at NS&OC use land more efficiently and can provide people with generously-proportioned homes and good-sized gardens whilst ensuring that public space feels alternately intimate or spacious depending on its purpose.  This is not novel: it is a return to how we used to make places a century or more ago.


NS&OC Outline Planning Application – Broadland District Council consultation opens today

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The Outline Planning Application for North Sprowston and Old Catton has now been validated by Broadland District Council (application number 20121516), and formal statutory consultation begins today and lasts 21 days.

The full application is available to download from the planning portal on the Broadland District Council website (here – for best results view in Internet Explorer) and can also be viewed in person at Broadland District Council’s offices and Sprowston Diamond Centre.

We hope that as many people as possible will provide their comments, whether positive or negative. Further information on how to comment on the application is available here.


Press release: NS&OC Outline Planning Application submitted today

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Following presentation of proposals at public exhibitions on 6th and 7th October, Beyond Green have today submitted an Outline Planning Application for North Sprowston and Old Catton (NS&OC).

Proposals include:

  • up to 3,520 homes of mixed size, tenure and type including up to 33% ‘affordable’ homes;
  • up to 16,800m² of business and employment space including adaptable office buildings, incubators, workshops and studios for small businesses and start-ups and an enterprise ‘hub’ supporting micro-companies and homeworkers – creating 1,000 local jobs by the time the development is completed;
  • up to 8,800m² of retail and services development providing for shops, banks, cafés, restaurants, pubs and other essential local services to meet local people’s daily needs in a traditional high street setting;
  • sites for two new primary schools and up to 2,000m² of community space including two community halls, a health centre and library;
  • up to 1,000m² for up to two small hotels or guesthouses;
  • easy access to public transport and streets designed to make walking and cycling the most convenient modes of transport;
  • over 80 hectares of green space including a major new public park at Beeston Park, three recreation grounds, allotments and community gardens, with 40% of the site, not including private gardens, becoming accessible green space; and
  • a very low-carbon decentralised energy network, plus infrastructure to manage water resources sustainably.

Jonathan Smales, Executive Chairman of the Beyond Green Group, said “we’re delighted to be submitting this outline planning application for a superb new extension to Sprowton and Old Catton. If the proposals in this application are granted consent, we want to work with people in Broadland to deliver a place that helps us to achieve the highest quality of life with the lowest environmental footprint.

“Future residents will enjoy a range of housing types and tenures that are affordable to local people; a stunning park consisting of the restored historic landscape of Beeston Park (currently inaccessible, privately-farmed arable fields) with Red Hall Farm; two new primary schools and community spaces; and a place where it will be easiest as well as most pleasant to move around for everyday journeys on foot and by bicycle.

“We have been greatly encouraged by the way in which people in Broadland have been prepared to commit their expertise, local knowledge and time to working with us to explore opportunities for NS&OC. We had a great turnout at the exhibitions last week, with over 230 members of the public and over 70 stakeholders attending the events. This input will continue to be invaluable should this project proceed; now that the application has been submitted we will renew our efforts to engage and involve, looking for people to input into proposals and for those who want to become actively involved in the delivery of this development.”

Beyond Green’s application will be considered by Broadland District Council in the context of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) for Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk, adopted in March 2011, which provides for the development of 33,000 homes within the ‘Norwich Policy Area’ between 2008 and 2026.

The application site is within the Broadland ‘Growth Triangle’ proposed for at least 7,000 dwellings by 2026 rising to at least 10,000 after 2026. In February 2012 following a legal challenge the High Court remitted policies relating to the Growth Triangle for further consultation and sustainability appraisal, and revised draft policies are currently undergoing public consultation.  Reflecting the importance of the plan-making process, Beyond Green has requested that Broadland District Council does not determine the planning application until the outcome of this further work is clear and the JCS is re-adopted, probably in spring 2013.

The full NS&OC Outline Planning Application including technical appendices can be viewed on the Beyond Green website. Once the application has been validated by Broadland District Council, they will conduct a formal consultation inviting comments on the proposals, which will be available on their website (www.broadland.gov.uk) and to view in person at the Broadland District Council offices and at Sprowston Diamond Centre. Beyond Green hope that as many people as possible will provide their comments; we welcome all comments, positive and negative, and are keen to see as many viewpoints as possible represented in the response.

Further details can be found in the Notes to Editors accompanying this press release. If you would like to receive updates on NS&OC, please email nsoc@beyondgreen.co.uk asking to be added to our mailing list.