Residents are to stage a protest against a proposal to build homes on green spaces in the heart of their estate. They hope to block a plan to build houses on Brent Knowle Gardens and Homestone Gardens, in the Thurnby Lodge area of the city.
Officials at Leicester City Council believe the two pieces of land are suitable for housing and have included them in the authority’s Local Plan. The plan is a blueprint for development which sets out where housing, schools and employment areas can be built between now and 2036.
The final draft of Leicester’s Local Plan was published last month and a public consultation launched, running until Monday, February 27. The council suggests 12 homes could be built in Brent Knowle Gardens and a further nine in Homestone Gardens, also known as Croyland Green.
In response, residents have announced they will be protesting against the plans on Saturday, February 11, starting at Brent Knowle Gardens. The group will then move on to Homestone Gardens later in the day.
They have hit out at the proposals, citing road safety, lack of parking, loss of green spaces and pollution as their main concern. Angela Marston, 50, one of the organisers of the protest, has used the spaces since she was a child and described them as “vital for the local community.”
She said: “We have many, many residents who are really upset and concerned about this. We understand that we need homes, but we have very limited green spaces in the city.
“The green spaces we have are used by children, elderly people and those who are disabled. They are safe spaces for people to exercise, get fresh air and are also very important for the environment.
“There is a real safety concern here too, if the houses are built. Parking is already a nightmare round here and it is very hard to find spaces as it is.
“Having more cars in the area means a greater risk to children and also added pollution to the area. They say each house will have one car park space, but what household only has one car these days.”
“We have been petitioning, going out speaking to local people of Thurnby Lodge estate, and spoken to local councillors all about our concerns. This has led to us staging a walking protest this coming Saturday between the two greens and are encouraging people to come join us. On the 22nd, we are also planning on being outside the town hall square to show our concerns.”
Other locals have expressed their frustrations towards the plans. One disgruntled resident said on an online petition that has nearly 2,00 signatures: “I live on this street, and by putting more houses would make parking a nightmare and unsafe as people double park.”
Another added: “The green space on homestone Gardens is enjoyed by young and old alike during the summer months it is used alot by local residents for family gatherings and kids playing football and games. This should not go forward.”
In response to the coming protest, a spokesperson from the city council has stressed the importance of “using the formal consultation process” in reference to the Local Plan. They said: “Of course people are entitled to organise and carry out peaceful protests and while we also welcome petitions as a way in which people can let us know their concerns, it’s very important that people use the formal consultation process for the Local Plan as the primary way of making their views known.
“Leicester’s Local Plan is in its fourth and final consultation stage until the end of February. This consultation seeks views only on whether the council has followed the correct legal and procedural requirements. Anyone who wants to comment on these elements of the plan can do so at consultations.leicester.gov.uk
“Responses received on these aspects of the plan and process will be sent to the Secretary of State to be considered by a Government appointed Planning Inspector at an Examination in Public to be held later this year, and the inspector will hear from people raising relevant objections.”
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A view West Oakland and downtown Oakland are seen from this drone view in West Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
Regulators have determined Oakland’s plan to add at least 26,000 new homes over the next decade isn’t up to snuff — putting the Bay Area’s third-largest city at risk of missing out on crucial funding and losing control over local rules governing development.
Under state law, cities must come up with plans — dubbed “housing elements” — explaining how they aim to approve significantly more housing for residents of all income levels between 2023 and 2031. Bay Area cities and counties were supposed to have their plans finalized by Jan. 31, but most blew the deadline.
In a Feb. 2 letter, regulators informed Oakland that its plan — which the city council adopted at the end of January — still needs more work, meaning the city is now subject to penalties.
That could include the “builder’s remedy,” a provision in state housing law enabling developers to push through projects of virtually any size almost anywhere they please, as long as a portion of the building includes affordable units. The law isn’t legally tested, however, and builder’s remedy proposals could end up in court.
In the letter, regulators asked Oakland to prove that many of the sites the plan identifies for housing have a realistic chance of development, and to create a program to track the city’s progress in meeting its state-mandated homebuilding goal, among other requests.
In a statement, the city said “staff are currently reviewing the suggested edits” and “anticipate being able to resolve all comments.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, just 30 of the region’s 109 cities and counties had adopted housing element plans, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. And just four of those plans — from San Francisco, Emeryville, San Leandro and the city of Alameda — had received final approval from the state.
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“Gov. Hochul’s ambitious housing plan meets suburban blockade” was the headline last week in the Gothamist.
“Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to build 800,000 new homes over the next 10 years statewide is running into a familiar obstacle: suburbanites,” began the article.
It continued: “Already, local officials in Westchester County, the Hudson Valley and on Long Island are organizing against the central plank of the Democrat’s newly unveiled plan that would set housing production targets for every city, town or village in the state.
If a municipality misses the mark, the state could step in and approve new housing development, Hochul said.”
“Suburban leaders,” it went on, “have proved themselves formidable foes; last year they led an organized, sustained public pressure campaign to force Hochul to retreat on a prior proposal that would have allowed single-family homeowners to legally rent out apartments in their attic, basement or garage, regardless of local zoning. Now, the same political forces say Hochul is again overstepping, even though hardly anyone is willing to criticize the plan’s intent of providing housing in areas of the state that desperately need it.”
State Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) was quoted as saying: “Look, do we need additional housing? Of course we do, but local control is critical.”
Earlier, after Hochul announced her “New York Housing Compact” in her “State of the State” address last month, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) issued a statement saying that “as the chair of the State Assembly Committee on Local Governments, it is important to offer constructive suggestions now to implement the governor’s vision.” He said “the governor’s proposal alludes to the creation of a State board to overrule local zoning decisions and possible rollbacks to the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Both of these actions are ill-considered. The best way to create affordable housing is with carrots and not sticks and with incentives and not mandates.”
The districts of Palumbo and Thiele include Shelter Island, where the affordable housing issue has been very hot. The website realtor.com says the “median listing home price” on the Island was $1.8 million in December.
Our affordable housing situation is not unique to Suffolk County. Consider what’s happening on Nantucket, the island due east of Suffolk, part of Massachusetts, where an affordable housing battle has been going on.
An article in the Daily Mail last month began: “Plans to build an affordable housing complex in Nantucket remain in limbo after locals objected to the scheme, insisting the affluent island does not have the infrastructure or resources for the development.“ What’s been named Surfside Crossing would be condos and homes on 13.5 acres with, it said, “70 percent designated for people who live on the island year-round.”
“The governor proposes a 3% new homes target for Long Island over the next three years,” said Thiele. He authored the Peconic Bay Region Community Housing Fund Act, approved by voters in the last election — just barely on the Island — that is to be financed with a .5% real estate transfer tax to help first-time homebuyers, and has advanced a State Accessory Dwelling Unit Incentive Act.
“Our region has seen the greatest growth in population in New York State” and “has seen successive development booms, all while still protecting critical natural resources … Local communities do not need to be bludgeoned into action with mandates and state overrides of local decision making. A much more collaborative approach is necessary,” Thiele said.
Long Island Association CEO Matt Cohen said last month that “affordability is the existential crisis facing” this area “and it’s causing young professionals and others to leave because they cannot afford to live here. We must develop creative solutions now.”
Images have been released showing what a new site for Ukrainian refugees in Llantwit Major will look like. The Vale of Glamorgan Council confirmed in January that the site of the former Eagleswell Primary School on Eagleswell Road will house 90 temporary accommodation units for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Work on the site, which will be made up of single bedroom and four-bedroom family units, is expected to commence this month. The leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Councillor Lis Burnett, said it is not possible to say for certain how long the accommodation units will be needed.
Cllr Burnett said: “A range of alternative locations were considered, owned by both the council and private individuals, but this was deemed most suitable for a number of reasons. Its size means it can significantly address the accommodation needs of those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, it already has facilities such as a water supply, drainage and electricity so can be developed quickly, and it is in close proximity to public services and transport.
“These units are not permanent structures so can be moved to another location in the future. The development on Eagleswell Road will be carefully designed, well presented and resemble a traditional housing estate.” The council has used its permitted Development Rights to commence work on the scheme. Permitted Development Rights allow certain types of developments to take place without planning permission.
In order to maintain the use of the site for temporary accommodation beyond the duration of the Permitted Development Rights, the council will need to submit a planning application. Some residents in the area raised concerns about the potential increase in pressure on local services and the perceived lack of consultation over the plans.
There have also been calls for the site to eventually be developed as a new medical centre. Cllr Burnett added: “The units are built to exacting design standards that surpass traditional levels for quality. The contractor is close to completing the design stage of the project, with the council providing extensive feedback on landscaping, ecology and drainage.
“Design images of the development can be viewed on the council website, while hard images are available by visiting the Llantwit Major Town Council offices. The future long-term use of this site is also being discussed amid calls within the community for a new medical centre. Conversations have taken place and will continue with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board over the possibility of utilising part of this site for that purpose.”
The development is expected to be completed before the end of the year and there is potential to make some of the temporary homes available as soon as this summer. The scheme will be funded through the Council’s Housing Business Plan and financial support from Welsh Government.
More gloom for the UK housing market emerged on Wednesday after the country’s biggest housebuilder, Barratt Developments, said its forward sales of new homes fell by 35 per cent in January, compared with the same month last year.
Forward sales at the end of January 2023 were 10,854 homes at a value of £2.7 billion, compared with 15,736 valued at £4.1 billion at the end of January last year.
That points to a 31 per cent fall in units and a 35 per cent slump in value.
In addition to this, net private reservations — the number of people putting their names down for a new house — fell by 45.6 per cent in January, compared with the same month in 2022.
The housing market in the UK has hit the brakes in recent months as soaring inflation curbs spending power, with both house prices and the number of mortgages approved by lenders in December slumping the most since the 2008 global financial crisis.
“While we have seen some early signs of improvement in current trading during January, we will need to see continued momentum over the coming months before we can be confident that these challenging trading conditions are easing,” said Barratt Developments chief executive David Thomas.
The company’s first-half profit showed a 6.9 per cent growth in total home completions to 8,626, with adjusted profit before tax up 15.9 per cent at £521.5 million.
“However, other metrics point to the strain which the sector as a whole is beginning to face,” said Richard Hunter, head of Markets at Interactive Investor.
“Adjusted gross and operating margins fell by 1.7 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively, while there was a noticeable decline in reservation rates, particularly during the second quarter of the period.
“Although house prices generally were estimated to have risen by 8.8 per cent, build cost inflation remained high at around 10 per cent, thus wiping out the gains.”
In what analysts said was a clear sign that the company faces a challenging year ahead, Barratt Developments also cut the dividend on its shares by about 9 per cent.
Back in November, rival builder Persimmon in November scrapped its dividend policy and ruled out a special dividend.
“Barratt Developments is continuing to show cracks in the housing market,” said Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“The mortgage-rate environment remains challenging for home buyers too. We saw net private reservations fell 44 per cent compared to last year, highlighting both the lack of confidence in the market, as well as reduced affordability.”
“As consumers’ incomes get stretched thin by the cost-of-living crisis, jumping on to the housing ladder and forking out cash on higher mortgages becomes much less achievable,” he said.
Spring into action?
Given the forward sales and net reservation numbers, the coming months will be crucial for both Barratt Developments and the housebuilding sector as a whole.
“This puts real focus on the coming Spring selling season, which will be key in revitalising the fortunes of the sector,” said Richard Hunter at Interactive Investor.
“If there are currently signs of cooling inflation and peaking interest rates, this could result in a new influx of potential buyers.
“By the same token, the general economic backdrop is likely to weigh on consumer sentiment although, from a broad perspective, the general shortage of UK housing supply at least provides a foundation on which to build.”
After an initial dip, Barratt Developments shares were up by 9 per cent in morning trade in London.
Updated: February 08, 2023, 11:22 AM
- By Daniel Mumby
- Local Democracy Reporting Service
Almost 30 new homes could be built on a road “notorious for accidents” on the Somerset Levels.
The Crossman Group has submitted proposals to create 27 houses on the B3151 Northload Bridge, on the western edge of Glastonbury.
The Bath-based developer said it would meet local housing targets.
Residents have criticised the plans because of concerns the road is not currently safe and the land is prone to flooding.
Mendip District Council is expected to make a decision on the plans later in the year.
‘Pedestrians at risk’
Tania Ross, who lives near the site, has strongly objected to the proposals, arguing they will put pedestrians at risk and lead to local services being overwhelmed.
“The road and nearby junction is notorious for accidents,” she said.
“Extra traffic from the dwellings will increase this and is a major concern for me and my children, who already feel at risk living on this road. Cars already do not abide to speed limits.
“The current drains can not cope with existing dwellings. As soon as we have heavy rain, the drains back up; extra dwellings will increase this, and the proposed site is on a flood plain.
“There are few green spaces left in the parish and it will be very sad to lose this field.”
The Crossman Group, which is also seeking to build nearly 100 homes on the edge of Tatworth, near Chard, wants to create eight affordable homes within the site, matching Mendip District Council’s 30% target for any new development of 10 homes or more, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
A spokesperson for the developer said: “Given the chronic under-supply of housing across the district and in Glastonbury, the delivery of 27 dwellings, including eight affordable homes, within the next five years must be considered a significant benefit.
“The proposed development is sustainable, would satisfy all development plan policies, and would play an important role in meeting the development needs of Glastonbury.”
The western edge of Glastonbury has seen growing interest from housing developers in recent years.
Keepmoat Regeneration Ltd. and the Sanctuary housing association were given planning permission in January 2018 to build 133 new houses on the northern side of the A39, a short distance from the proposed Crossman site.
A planning inquiry into plans for a further 90 homes on Lowerside Lane is due to get under way in early March, with a final ruling by the Planning Inspectorate being expected later in the year.
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The city of Eugene, Oregon, will join other local governments throughout the country in phasing out gas appliances in some types of new construction in an effort to cut climate pollution.
The Eugene City Council passed the measure by a 5-3 vote Monday night. The ordinance, believed to be the first of its kind in the state, bans natural gas hookups in the new construction of residences that are three stories or less.
Existing buildings are not affected by the new requirements.
Council members in favor said the move would reduce carbon emissions and eliminate the air quality hazards of gas stoves, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
“We have a governor who has pledged to build 36,000 new houses a year,” Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said. “We do not want those houses with natural gas hookups.”
Council member Mike Clark said the change will discourage developers.
There is good evidence that gas stoves emit harmful levels of oxides of nitrogen, which is known to cause asthma, Dr. Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said last month.
Research has found that gas stoves in California are leaking cancer-causing benzene, while another study has determined that gas stoves in the U.S. are contributing to global warming by putting 2.6 million tons (2.4 million metric tons) of methane in the air every year even when turned off.
In a statement Tuesday, Jerrel Brown, environmental and climate justice organizer with the NAACP Eugene-Springfield, said Eugene had taken an important step to increase access to healthy, all-electric homes.
“Communities of color in Eugene are more likely to breathe hazardous air in our neighborhoods – our homes should be places of refuge, not one more source of pollution for overburdened lungs,” Brown said.
Dozens of local governments throughout the country have moved to restrict the use of gas in some types of new construction, including in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington, and San Francisco and Berkeley, California.
Multnomah County, home to Portland, in 2021 approved a resolution to prohibit the use of fossil fuels such as natural gas in new and remodeled county buildings.
Some federal lawmakers have called for addressing the potential health risks of natural gas usage through regulation, such as requiring that gas stoves be sold with range hoods to improve ventilation or issuing mandatory performance standards for gas stoves.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the start of construction on a $2.5 million project to improve resiliency at Edgewater Park, a co-op neighborhood in the Bronx. The improvements, funded through HCR’s Office of Resilient Homes and Communities (RHC), will allow Edgewater Park’s volunteer firehouse and community center, which is also a polling place during elections, to serve as a shelter during extreme weather events.
HCR Commissioner Visnauskas said, “Our $2.5 million investment will fund essential upgrades to the Edgewater Park facility, ensuring the firehouse and community center remains a vital link in the emergency response chain and an asset to the surrounding neighborhood. As New York is impacted more and more by the effects of climate change, our work to improve the resiliency of communities and keep residents safe will take on even greater importance.”
The Edgewater Park project will include:
- Installation of a new backup generator for emergency power to provide accessory usage for equipment, support essential functions of both the community center and the volunteer fire department during power disruptions, and provide backup power for street lighting to enhance public safety.
- Upgrades to the heating and air-conditioning units in the community center
- ADA-compliant bathrooms in the community center
- New windows throughout the entire building that provide increased resiliency to high winds and preserve the building envelope
- New roofing, flashings, and waterproofing to mitigate leaks on the roof
The upgrades will ensure that the facility can function as a shelter during major storms and as a cooling center during extreme heat. The measures at the volunteer firehouse also improve the Edgewater Park’s emergency preparedness. Many of the Fire Department of New York’s (FDNY) emergency vehicles are too big to navigate Edgewater Park’s small streets, which often requires the volunteer firehouse to provide essential first response.
Assemblymember Michael Benedetto said, “I am delighted to hear about this project finally underway. I know the people of Edgewater Park have been waiting patiently and will rightfully be able to have proper accommodations with these resiliency updates to the firehouse/community center facilities. “
“The long-term recovery of Edgewater Park has been stalled for years, and with this investment, the long-awaited repairs will finally happen. While a unique geographic area, it is more vulnerable and requires special attention. This project will provide much-needed upgrades to benefit the community during emergencies,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. “Resiliency projects have become necessary and essential to protecting our waterfront neighborhoods. I look forward to the Edgewater Park community getting the support they’ve longed for and will continue working with Governor Hochul to ensure they are not forgotten.”
The Edgewater Park co-op said, “The Edgewater Park community is proud to be working with NYS RHC on the much anticipated and certainly needed upgrades to our Volunteer Firehouse to make it a relief center that serves not only the 675 homes in our Park but the surrounding areas as well.”
In October 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the creation of the Office of Resilient Homes and Communities (RHC), which assumed the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s portfolio. GOSR was established as a temporary agency in 2013 to coordinate statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. More recently, the agency is also coordinating long term recovery and resiliency efforts for Hurricane Ida. RHC is also partnering with the State’s disaster-response agencies to lead New York’s recovery and resiliency efforts and develop a pipeline of resiliency initiatives and strategies across the State.
HARBOR SPRINGS — Within two hours of the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society putting out an urgent call for foster homes on Monday, community volunteers had stepped up and fulfilled the need.
“We’ve been really pleased with the response so far,” said Jessica Evans, communication and marketing coordinator at the humane society. “People in this community are wonderful. When we have a need and we put it out there, people respond in a big way and that’s very much appreciated.”
The humane society asked for those interested in fostering dogs as they’re preparing to welcome several Detroit-area dogs rescued from a suspected dogfighting operation.
Six dogs were transferred to the humane society on Monday, and shelter staff said they expected more to arrive in the near future.
“We are so grateful to be trusted with these beautiful souls who have been through so much,” said Little Traverse Bay Humane Society Director of Operations Elise Ramsey in a statement. “Many of us have connections to the city of Detroit and have experienced firsthand how heartbreaking this work can be. Already overloaded agencies are tirelessly putting in the work to educate, offer resources and prosecute when appropriate. Unfortunately, so many of these operations are impeded by animal placement, and we couldn’t let that stop lives from being saved. Although we literally have no open space, we just couldn’t say no to taking in some of these survivors.”
The humane society is working with the nonprofit Bark Nation in a situation involving the removal of 133 dogs from multiple locations in Detroit in January. According to the humane society, most of the dogs were found to be living outdoors with little to no shelter and chains attached to their necks. Most will require immediate medical attention.
According to Bark Nation, they deployed 66 responders to assist local, state and federal law enforcement officers with the documentation and removal of the dogs in what is believed to be the largest operation to combat dogfighting in Michigan’s history.
The local foster homes were needed for both the new arrivals, which Evans said were mainly dogs 6 months old and younger, as well as for dogs already at the shelter.
The humane society will transport an additional six dogs up north later this week. The organization is still seeking foster homes as more dogs are scheduled for transport.
“We had a really good response so far (Monday),” Evans said. “However, with this unknown number of other dogs that are going to be coming up here soon, anybody who is possibly interested in fostering, if they could reach out to us that would be very helpful. If we have an approved foster application for them, if we have the need arise and we can contact them when we are in need, it’s really, really helpful not to be scrambling at the last minute.”
Anyone interested in fostering can contact foster coordinator Shannon Graves at 231-347-2396 or email@example.com.
“We are so fortunate to have an incredible community who immediately stepped up to help us move many of our current animals into homes and make room for the new ones, but we are still in need of additional fosters,” Ramsey said. “If ever you’ve considered fostering, adopting, or even having a dog over for a sleepover, you could truly help us to save more lives by doing that now. If you can’t bring an animal into your home, we can still use your help. Share the word about our available dogs, drop off a bag of dog treats, collars, food or a monetary donation. Every little bit helps. We are so excited to get these dogs up north and into new homes of their own!”
For information on fostering or to make a donation, go to www.ltbhs.com or call 231-347-2396.
— Contact Jillian Fellows at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the power went out at Nate Graham’s New Mexico home last year, his family huddled around a fireplace in the cold and dark. Even the gas furnace was out, with no electricity for the fan. After failing to coax enough heat from the wood-burning fireplace, Graham’s wife and two children decamped for the comfort of a relative’s house until electricity returned two days later.
The next time the power failed, Graham was prepared. He had a power strip and a $150 inverter, a device that converts direct current from batteries into the alternating current needed to run appliances, hooked up to his new Chevy Bolt, an electric vehicle. The Bolt’s battery powered his refrigerator, lights and other crucial devices with ease. As the rest of his neighborhood outside Albuquerque languished in darkness, Graham’s family life continued virtually unchanged. “It was a complete game changer making power outages a nonissue,” says Graham, 35, a manager at a software company. “It lasted a day-and-a-half, but it could have gone much longer.”
Today, Graham primarily powers his home appliances with rooftop solar panels and, when the power goes out, his Chevy Bolt. He has cut his monthly energy bill from about $220 to $8 per month. “I’m not a rich person, but it was relatively easy,” says Graham “You wind up in a magical position with no [natural] gas, no oil and no gasoline bill.”
Graham is a preview of what some automakers are now promising anyone with an EV: An enormous home battery on wheels that can reverse the flow of electricity to power the entire home through the main electric panel.
Beyond serving as an emissions-free backup generator, the EV has the potential of revolutionizing the car’s role in American society, transforming it from an enabler of a carbon-intensive existence into a key step in the nation’s transition into renewable energy.
Home solar panels had already been chipping away at the United States’ centralized power system, forcing utilities to make electricity transfer a two-way street. More recently, home batteries have allowed households with solar arrays to become energy traders, recharging when electricity prices are low, replacing grid power when prices are high, and then selling electricity for a profit during peak hours.
But batteries are expensive. Using EVs makes this kind of home setup cheaper and a real possibility for more Americans.
So there may be a time, perhaps soon, when your car not only gets you from point A to point B, but also serves as the hub of your personal power plant.
I looked into new vehicles and hardware to answer the most common questions about how to power your home (and the grid) with your car.