It is not often that we get involved in a job like this but last year Mr & Mrs A Appelboam-Meadows commissioned us to design them an orangery extension to the rear of their beautiful home in Rake, Hampshire.
In an excellent article by Roger Milne we learn the North Yorkshire County Council have granted permission for an exploratory fracking scheme.
What?! Why?! and How?! Has this scheme been given approval? The move has upset environmentalists, scientists and local residents; the people who really know about these things and live there.
Gas, oil, coal and other fossil fuels are yesterday's fuels. We are currently in a cross over period from fossil fuels to renewable energies such as wind, wave and solar power, and it is the latter energy sources that all should be putting their efforts into.
The car park at Purbrook Chase Precinct has always been a free for all in terms of positioning of vehicles. As a resident I have even witnessed arguments and more regarding parking. But not any more............
The traffic management team have been working closely with me following a suggestion to line the public car park located in Purbrook Chase Precinct.
From an article shortly to appear in Havant Borough Council's magazine Serving You:
Glenn Bramble-Stewart, a local resident and Chartered Building Engineer approached the traffic management team to suggest that the car park be formally marked to maximise the available space within the car park. He had kindly prepared a plan showing exactly how the car park could be marked. The plan was reviewed by the traffic management team and it was agreed that Mr Bramble-Stewart’s idea was something that should be pursued.
A works order has now been placed and the car park will be lined in the coming months. We hope that this will benefit the community as a whole and would like to thank Mr Bramble-Stewart for taking such a positive interest in the local area and working with the team.
If you have any suggestions that you would like the traffic management team to consider please email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the team will be very happy to discuss your idea with you.
So as you can see, councils are willing to work with residents.
On personal level I would like to thank Miss Emma Pond (Senior Traffic Engineer, Parking and Traffic Team at Havant Borough Council) for open mindedness and 'can do' attitude towards this scheme that will make many lives much easier - thank you Emma.
Happy New Year to you all and we hope you had a good Christmas.
The article below below looks interesting. I wonder if it could break the hold that local authorities have over planning and bring more consistency? Planning minister Brandon Lewis has announced proposals to pilot competition in the processing of planning applications. This move was signalled just past midnight on Tuesday in the Commons during the first session of the report stage of the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill. Opposition MPs complained the plan would “weaken the accountability of local planning services” and risked undermining local planning departments. The proposal to test whether planning could be speeded up if “alternative providers” handled planning applications is the subject of a number of amendments to the legislation proposed at the end of last year after the bill had completed its detailed scrutiny by a committee of MPs. Lewis said the amendments would give the Secretary of State the power to introduce pilot schemes “for competition in the processing of applications for planning permission”. The SoS would have the power to designate who could participate in a pilot which would be for “a limited period specified in regulations”. He explained provisions in the bill would allow regulations to be made for the “setting, publishing and charging of fees by designated persons and planning authorities in the pilot areas, and for the refunding of fees in specific circumstances. “They would also provide for the Secretary of State to intervene when he considers that excessive fees are being charged”. The minister said regulations would be drawn up “to provide for the sharing of information between designated persons and planning authorities in pilot areas, and with the Secretary of State”. Lewis stressed that the scheme would be confined to processing applications and would not mean competition in determining planning applications. He told MPs: “Let me be clear: this is about competition for the processing of applications, not their determination. “The democratic determination of planning applications by local planning authorities is a fundamental pillar of the planning system, and that will remain the case during any pilot schemes that the Secretary of State brings forward.” Lewis insisted: “These new clauses will allow us to test, in specific areas of the country and for a limited period, the benefits of allowing planning applicants to choose who processes their planning application”. He added: “That will lead to a more efficient and effective planning system, better able to secure the development of the homes and other facilities that our communities need and want. “Introducing choice for the applicant enables them to shop around for the services that best meet their needs. It will enable innovation in service provision, bringing new resources into the planning system and driving down costs while improving performance.” At the same session during the early hours of Wednesday (6 January) Lewis confirmed that the Secretary of State’s scrutiny of appeals involving housing proposals in neighbourhood plan areas will continue for a further six months.
In an article from Construction Manager, the HSE’s chief inspector of construction feels that:
Six months after the shake-up of CDM 2015 and with the transitional arrangements ending today (6 October), the HSE’s chief inspector of construction has told Construction Manager that the revised regulations are “bedding in well” and designers are “on a journey” to fulfilling their new responsibilities.
Well, that is certainly one way of looking at it!
The other way could be that as a practice whose clients are domestic homeowners simply wanting to improve their home; the last thing our clients need is to pay for something (as obviously professionals like us have to charge for their time and expertise) they do not want or need. Our clients already know the risks at their home; such as living on a busy road, overhead cables, underground pipes, etc, etc. They do not need a report telling them this information and neither do the builders. Builders know the risks associated with the construction of an extension or conversion.
Quite why CDM 2015 has been applied to domestic projects is not as simple as it seems. Yes, more people are sadly injured or worse on domestic building sites than commercial ones. Of course they are! There are always vastly more domestic projects happening than commercial projects, and therefore obviously more people get injured on domestic building sites than on commercial ones.
A couple of examples:
If, 80% of drivers drove blue cars and only 20% drove red ones then obviously there would be more road traffic incidents involving blue cars than red ones. But it would not mean that people driving blue cars are more dangerous than those driving the red ones; that would be a false statistic.
In any joinery or cabinetmaking workshop there are more machine saws than any other type of machines. There could be the rip saw, the cross-cut saw, the dimension saw, the band saw, the fret saw and others. However, there would likely only be one mortiser, lathe, sander, over-hand planner, thickness planner, spindle molder, vacuum press and such like. So, guess which type of machine is involved with the most incidents? Yes, that is right; sawing machines obviously! There are more of them in the workshop. Therefore, stating that saws are more dangerous than other machines would be based upon a false statistic.
There is an old saying that you can prove anything with statistics and a cynical person might think that the HSE has applied CDM 2015 to domestic projects so as to create work for itself! Especially as we have just come through one of the worse recessions ever - the construction industry is always the first to suffer and to recover.
Many in the industry believe that CDM 2015 has been applied to domestic projects based upon false statistics that need further examination or to be seen in proportion.
There is no denying that CDM 2015 is here and needs to be adhered to and we just hope that proportionality is applied and that common sense prevails.
You can read the full Construction Manager article here