Archived News (May 2023 to Septemeber 2017)
Archived News and Projects (Pre September 2017) can be found by clicking here
Cambridge Challenges: Planning
Simon Payne participated in a local radio discussion with Councillor Katie Thornburrow, Cambridge Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Infrastructure, and Councillor Sam Davies. The item dealt with a resident perspective on major new developments and can be listened to at https://cambridge105.co.uk/challenges-14-05-2023/
Demands of the Transport Revolution: Back to the Future
Future Cities Forum https://www.futurecitiesforum.london/single-post/demands-on-towns-and-cities-with-transport-revolution recently published this article by Simon Payne:
‘Garden Cities of Tomorrow’ published in 1902 and written by Ebenezer Howard mapped out a utopian vision where ‘beautiful homes and gardens may be seen on every hand; how the bounds of freedom may be widened, and yet all the best results of concert and co-operation gathered in by a happy people’. Howard’s vision was mapped out in perfect geometric design and with clear advice about the administration and financial organisation of these ideal new settlements.
In one hundred and twenty-one years the needs of people have not changed, clean water, pure air, green and pleasant local spaces, affordable housing and well paid jobs. Most of Howard’s expectations still remain to be properly fulfilled, even if he did express his ideas in the language of the time when for instance he recommended that: ‘The smoke fiend is kept well within bounds in Garden City; for all machinery is driven by electric energy, with the result that the cost of electricity for lighting and other purposes is greatly reduced’.
Howard envisaged rapid railway transit as the primary means to move people and goods: first, an inter-municipal railway connecting all the towns of the outer ring — 20 miles in circumference — so that to get from any town to its most distant neighbour required one to cover a distance of only 10 miles, which could be accomplished in, say, 12 minutes. These trains would not stop between the towns — the means of communication for this purpose being afforded by electric tramways which traverse the high-roads, of which, it will be seen, there are a number— each town being connected with every other town in the group by a direct route.
Of course Howard had not anticipated the growth of the internal combustion engine and the consequences for urban and transport planning. The impact of the motor car has had a profound impact on the design of our urban places and the quality of our environment.
And so one hundred and twenty years later we stand on the edge of another transport revolution that will have a huge influence on the places where we live and work. Not only in relation to moving away from fossil fuels and the greater use of renewables, but in the way in which we choose to use the new technologies. For example the impact of a pandemic has shown us how the balance of lives can change without the need for a daily commute to work.
The introduction of autonomous vehicles will alter the economics of personal and public transport to allow more demand responsive services and enable individuals access to convenient personal transport options without having to own and maintain a vehicle which spends most of the time parked. We are planning places now which will last for generations and yet, to give one example, within 30 years it is likely that many existing car parking spaces within residential and town centre locations may no longer be required. We need to future proof our plans in anticipation of change.
So whilst people’s needs have not changed since Howard’s time, and we may still seek to achieve a utopian vision, it is important to recognise that change is a continuous and, in our time, an accelerating process. Our plans need to be capable of adaption and evolution if we are to create places that measure up to Howard’s and our own aspirations for the future.
Future Cities Forum in Cambridge
In February 2023 Simon Payne attended the Forum workshop to discuss the future of Science Cities. The workshop included senior built environment practitioners and key representatives from the commercial world.
Simon Payne reported workshop findings from a team that included East West Railway Co, Cambridge University Estates Division, TusPark and BDP:
‘Our four points on Sustainability and Carbon are: taking carbon out of journeys, building re-use, self-generation of energy, and reducing carbon in embedded materials and the use of composites. We made three points on People and Culture: proper integration with people in the locality, provision of services with local communities to achieve more critical mass, and more opportunities to attract and keep talent by maximising opportunities for social engagement. Finally, two points on transport and infrastructure: season-proof micro – mobility and an integrated approach to transport which is attractive to users.’
In the general discussion Simon commented:
'More than one hundred years ago when Ebenezer Howard was writing, it was about having jobs, clean air and good housing - what has changed? Nothing. But I think the whole approach to development has gone wrong in this country and there has been a polarisation of debate in Britain. There is too much short term funding and we are planning developments now but in thirty years time transport will be entirely different. We should be talking about existing places too and how to join things up. Cambridge is seeing one of the fastest rates of growth in the country and we should take advantage of that. I have been working in Essex where three garden villages have been proposed but people didn't want them. I think people should not be afraid of growth, if it is done well.
'The Building Beautiful Commission is an example of listening to people and we should go further with this. However, we need to be aspirational and the way the system works - we need to take the longer view. What is maintainable in developments is also important. Often we don't want to sit in areas that are not well maintained, with dirty seats and where we don't feel secure. Often we have to tax people to achieve the right environments when this should be taken out of the land value uplift instead.'
More information about the workshop is available at the Future Cities Forum website at https://www.futurecitiesforum.london/
Creating a Leading Planning Service in Somerset
Payne has completed a Planning Service Transformation Project to support the establishment of a new Planning Service for Somerset following the formation of the Unitary Council. Paula Hewitt, Deputy Chief Executive Somerset County Council, commented:
‘We commissionedPayne, an Associate of SOLACE in Business, to assist with preparations for our new Planning Service. has worked with our Senior Elected Members and Managers to draft a Service Vision and Principles; a Workforce Strategy, and Options for Service Design. He has also provided an overview of current working practices and identified strategic issues to be addressed. The work is a valuable contribution to our plans to create a high performing, efficient and dynamic Planning Service for Somerset.”
New Somerset Council
Simon Payne, as an Associate of SOLACE in Business, is very pleased to have been appointed Planning Transformation Consultant to support the establishment of a combined planning service for the new Somerset Council. Simon is working with Somerset County Council and four District Councils in advance of the new unitary authority starting up in April 2023.
Organisational Review of Transport East
Simon Payne recently assisted an organisational review of Transport East which is a member led organisation that brings together the local transport and planning authorities and business leaders with Network Rail and National Highways to enable the region to speak with one voice on the transport investment needed to drive transformational growth and improve the quality of life for all that live and work in the region.
Andrew Summers, Strategic Director of Transport East commented:
‘We are at an important stage of our development, as we mature from a young organisation developing strategy to focus on delivering against the challenging objectives set by our members. The East of England LGA were commissioned to help us in this important process - Dave Fergus and Simon Payne from the EELGA Talent Bank supported and challenged us as an executive team as expert critical friends, working alongside us to deliver a range of positive outcomes including clarifying our longer-term direction, ensuring financial resilience and understanding how to effectively manage our organisational development. ‘
Land Use Framework for Cambridgeshire
Simon Payne recently attended and supported a Leadership Group meeting of the Food, Farming, and Countryside Commission who are preparing a Land Use Framework for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
This initiative follows a submission to the House of Lords Special Inquiry Committee on Land Use. More details about the work of the Commission can be viewed at https://ffcc.co.uk/
Elected Member Training in Bassetlaw
The Queen's Speech - why the planning system needs reform
East of England Local Government Association
Simon Payne is delighted to join as an Associate of the Talent Bank of the East of England Local Government Association.
Protecting Landscapes and the Importance of Place in "Science Cities"
On 10 March Simon Payne took part in panel discussion at Newnham College in Cambridge. The event was arranged by the Future Cities Forum and also included Alice Midmer of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Tony Calladine of Historic England, and Nicola Longland of LDA Design.
Simon spoke at the Forum about the problems with the planning system in England preventing an appropriate joining up of housing development and infrastructure and the development of high quality placemaking:
'I have been working in planning since 1974 and started my career in Birmingham where in those days any growth would be a good thing, Now it is all about engagement with people and place. I think we need a conversation about protectionism as people don't want change very much and also about the gummed up nature of the planning process. The Planning Bill is not coming forward and we need to discuss how we can join everything up with biodiversity, and talk about the ecosystem in its own right.
'We are living in an enormously exciting time with change everywhere from Brexit to climate concerns but we do need a different approach now so that we can have a proper debate about the Arc and more certainty around policy - we need to step up to the current challenges. The ideals of Ebenezer Howard around designing garden towns and villages hold true today because he was trying to create healthy places with clean air and water, but our systems are under pressure, so we must remember to embrace his concepts wholeheartedly.'
Planning Officers Society Enterprises
Simon Payne is delighted to join POS Enterprises as an Associate.
Simon Payne receiving an award for services to the Heidelberg Club International (HCI) from Professor Dr Wȕrzner, Mayor of Heidelberg, at the City Hall on 29 October.
The HCI is an association dedicated to collaboration between world cities that share values with Heidelberg in relation to economic success and environmental sustainability.
Future Cities Forum: Climate Change and the UK Response to COP 26
Wysing Arts Centre Project
Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited has been very pleased to provide planning advice to support proposals by Wysing Arts Centre to reduce carbon emissions and improve accessibility for artists and audiences. Wysing Arts Centre is a well established and highly regarded regional cultural facility that makes a very significant contribution to the arts in South Cambridgeshire. Wysing Arts Centre website can be found at www.wysingartscentre.org
Community Stakeholder Forum Secures Planning Award
Simon Payne is delighted to have worked with Uttlesford District Council in establishing and organising the Community Stakeholder Forum that has been recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute as one of the best examples of planning practice in the East of England Region.
Planning Appeal Success
Consulting of Cambridge Ltd recently won the case against a planning refusal by Stratford-on-Avon District Council for the installation of a historic railway signal as a landmark feature in the front garden of a home in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire.
The appellant, Richard Hewins said: ‘I am so delighted by the decision. The Planning Inspector accepted Simon Payne’s argument that the signal will make a positive contribution to the street scene. We could not have secured the permission without Simon’s help’.
Build Better Together - Who are we planning for?
We are delighted to bring you this week a guest blog on the need for better planning by Simon Payne, Director of Consulting of Cambridge and former Director of Environment at Cambridge City Council
We are now in the age of slogans. ‘Build Back Better’. ‘Hands Face Space’. ‘Check Change Go’. Our complex changing, sometimes threatening world compressed into a short simple instruction. But what is ‘Better’ and where should we go? These questions surely need to be answered by those we are building for.
I started my town planning career in the city of Birmingham in the mid 1970s at the tail end of a comprehensive redevelopment that provided for the rehousing of hundreds of thousands of people over three decades. There was no doubt that demolishing unfit housing for modern housing apartments amounted to ‘building back better’. The information films of the time featured men in white coats proudly pointing at great plans describing the wonderful new places. But in time it became clear that these wonderful visions broke up established communities and imposed a way of life that many found isolating and unwelcoming.
The lesson from the post war era was the need for public participation and the ability for the ‘consumers’ of our planned places to shape the new plans. In our time co-design is the imperative. And our age also gives us new opportunities to consult and involve the future occupiers of our new places. Digital tools allow abstract plans to be turned into three dimensional models that viewers can walk through or even fly through. Digital communication tools provide the means for many more people to engage in the conversation and to ensure the true diversity of our society is reflected in our thinking.
In a global world there is plenty of inspiration to be had from other places. I believe we can learn a great deal from cities such as Heidelberg in Germany. The City Government has worked closely with citizens, the University and business in developing redundant areas of the city – and Patrick Henry Village (a former US Army base) are good examples where zero and positive carbon solutions are creating attractive places where people want to live and work.
But I also think there is another important lesson to be found in the planning of post war redevelopment in Britain. Culture, climate and technology need to work in harmony to create successful places. These three elements are different throughout the world and in my view post war British planning failed to properly this. Different cultures have varying approaches to everyday matters such as need for privacy, tolerance of noise, use and responsibility for shared spaces, personal safety … the list is long. Solutions used successfully in one place sometimes fail in a different context. For manicured municipal parks were not sufficient compensation for a private yard or a quiet residential street where children could play overlooked by their parents and .
Successful planning is not making a choice from a pattern book (even if it is a digital three dimensional one) but engaging in meaningful conversation with those who will use and occupy the new places. I believe it is their view about what is ‘better’ or even ‘beautiful’ that will determine if the choices are successful.
in the spirit of the time my slogan is ‘Build Better Together’.
IBA Concept creating Science Cities in Germany
Interior of Arm HQ at Peterhouse Technology Park, Cambridge (Scott Brownrigg - image by Clements Photography)
Simon Payne was invited to attend a recent Future Cities panel discussion and contributed
to the debate about how the UK can compete for connectivity and environment with the progress of
German technology cities. Simon made comparisons with the German approach to innovation campuses:
'We are competing on a world stage so how we compete on the quality of life, whether it's social, cultural, academic infrastructure-led, or scientific, is important. Germany and Heidelberg in particular have been very strong on this. One example is how Heidelberg has taken the ' Bau-' model (International Building Exhibitions experimenting with urban and regional development) and applied it as a 'living lab'. A good example is the Patrick Henry village, a former US army base six miles out from the old town, which is a place developed as a 'city for knowledge' with homes for 10,000 people and 5,000 jobs.'
'Taking the IBA concept, the Heidelberg authorities have been able to experiment with autonomous vehicles on the campus alongside walking and cycling, and a energy network. This makes it a strong model for sustainability and knowledge innovation. This IBA project has been done within the context of an international advisory symposium, and Carlo Ratti the Italian architect has been involved. The question is how do we raise the debate in the UK on quality and innovation? Covid-19 has propelled forward us on this debate to 2030 in terms of how we live, so now is a good time to have this discussion on how we develop our knowledge and tech cities.'
Science Cities II- Discussion Findings
An extract of Simon Payne's contribution to the Forum on 7th October can be found by clicking the link below:
Future Cities Forum; Science Cities II
On 7 October took part in a discussion forum that included Stephen Dance (Director – Commercial Adviser Team: Infrastructure & Projects Authority) and Sue Kershaw (Managing Director, Costain Group – Transportation Division) along with other influential participants in the delivery of environmentally sustainable growth.
The Forum reviewed progress on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc initiative and connections to Birmingham’s important Edgbaston Medical Quarter via HS2. The discussion focussed on the opportunities for delivering high quality growth and infrastructure in a post pandemic world. The report has been published separately.
Garden Towns in Halle, Germany
Simon Payne met Rene Rebenstorf, Deputy Mayor for Urban Development and Environment at the City of Halle, Saxon-Anhalt, Germany.
The discussion focussed on plans in Halle to create two new garden towns on the edge of the city. There is a good opportunity to share best practice between British and German town planners.
Sue Manns, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute
Payne was honoured to attend the inauguration of Sue Manns as President of the Royal Town Planning Institute on 22 January 2020. The ceremony took place in London at the Royal Society of Arts. Sue gave an inspirational speech highlighting the vital importance of community engagement in planning, the duty of planners to address climate change in place making and the need to have greater diversity in the town planning profession. More about her speech is available at: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2020/january/planning-profession-must-become-more-diverse,-says-new-rtpi-president/
Transport Strategies for Congested Science Cities
Future Cities Forum: Cambridge Workshop 20 November 2019
Heather Fearfield writes:
Future Cities Forum
Visit to Poundbury, Dorset
Simon Payne recently attended, along with Hayley Richardson from Uttlesford District Council, a site tour of the highly acclaimed model town at Poundbury Dorset being developed by the Duchy of Cornwall. Simon had the privilege of discussing Garden Towns with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Passivhaus Scheme in Uttlesford District
On 20th September Simon Payne accompanied a delegation of senior councillors and officers to view the Passivhaus scheme at Wimbish, Essex. The 14 dwelling scheme by Hastoe Housing Association is an excellent example of highly energy efficient homes which also meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Tenants enjoy significantly reduced costs, for instance annual electricity bills of around £150, and the approach demonstrates the real potential for carbon neutral housing.
Future Cities Forum 26 June 2019
Reproduced from the Future Cities Forum Blog at www.futurecitiesforum.london
Planning infrastructure and place for garden communities
Our Future Cities Forum on 26th June at London City Hall will conclude with round table discussions looking at joined-up infrastructure for cities and planning for new towns and garden communities.
Simon Payne of Lambsquay Consulting, who is leading one of the round table discussions on 26 June, writes here about planning lessons from the past for the future of housing development for new communities:
Are there lessons for urban regeneration emerging from the new garden communities being planned in the UK? The Town and Country Planning Association is providing strong leadership through nine principles that have their roots in the 20th Century Garden City Movement. Each principle has been formulated in the context of 21st century challenges.
How is it that we currently have a development process that directs resourcing away from much needed infrastructure and quality of life objectives? Grant of planning permission often gifts a huge financial windfall to the landowner (for example on the allocation of land for housing in a local plan the value of one acre can increase 20 times - with further premiums when planning permission is obtained). £100 million in a new settlement which could otherwise fund excellent schools, high quality design and much needed genuinely affordable housing. Land value capture is at the heart of success in this case.
Stewardship is a second key priority. The creation of an entity, with an assured income in perpetuity, that belongs and is managed by the new community to look after and maintain public spaces and buildings in the new place. This approach also links into the need to build in adaptability to design so the community can meet their needs as technology and behaviours change. A new settlement can take a generation to be built and in that time there will be great technological change. We can no longer think in terms of creating the perfect end state plan for a place. For example a future world made up exclusively of autonomous vehicles will result in differing demands for our public spaces.
Finally we need to think more holistically. Putting the quality of life of people at the heart of creating new places. Recognising that catchment areas of excellent schools are a better incentive
than slick marketing. That schools linked to local business (for instance STEM schools), and the provision of genuinely affordable housing, start to give people more choices about where they live.
Great design of buildings and spaces with real community involvement underpinned the Garden City Movement. We surely need to apply these principles to the new communities of the 21st century whether
or not they exist on greenfield sites.
Simon Payne DipTP MSc MRTPI FCMI
Director: Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited
Below: Original plan for Hampstead Garden Suburb
Healthy Homes Bill
On 18th June 2019 Simon Payne attended a Parliamentary Reception hosted by Lord Best to celebrate the centenary of the Addison Act which allowed the building of state owned housing. The Town and Country Planning Association has published ten principles, set out in a draft ‘Healthy Homes Bill’, that all new homes must:
1. be safe in relation to the risk of fire;
2. have adequate living space;
3. have access to natural light;
4. be accessible and the environment that the homes are in should be accessible and safe places;
5. be within walkable neighbourhoods;
6. secure radical reductions in carbon emissions in line with the provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008;
7. have walkable access to green and play space that is open to everyone;
8. be resilient to a changing climate;
9. be secure and meet designing out crime standards; and
10. meet enhanced standards to prevent unacceptable noise pollution.
The intention is that a ‘Healthy Homes Act’ will enable Councils to have stronger powers to secure decent and genuinely affordable new homes.
Essex Design Guide Wins National Planning Award for Design Excellence
The new Essex Design Guide has won a major new Planning Award.
Simon, together with other colleagues from Uttlesford District Council, helped shape the digital and smart technology components of the Essex Design Guide to turn this into an award winning excellent piece of collaborative work (pictured). The document forms part of a range of initiatives by Essex Chief Planning Officers to promote excellence in design.
Successful Garden Communities Bid
Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing, has announced a successful bid for three Garden Communities in Uttlesford to join the Government’s national programme.
An initial grant of £750,000 has been awarded to support preparatory work on the delivery of the new Communities.
Simon Payne assisted the District Council and Essex County Council in preparing the bid and details are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/37-million-to-fund-5-new-garden-towns-across-the-country
All Party Parliamentary Group on New Towns
On 12 March 2019 Simon Payne attended a Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons. Lucy Allan MP, Chair of the APPG on New Towns, spoke about the vital role New Towns in addressing housing and economic needs.
The Reception followed an excellent conference organised by the Town and Country Planning Association on a New Future for New Towns.
The need for clear strategic vision and long term investment in infrastructure provision is a clear message from these events.
Uttlesford Local Plan Submitted
On 18 January 2019 Uttlesford District Council submitted the draft Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate for examination. The Local Plan includes proposals for three new garden towns that will be built in accordance with the Town & Country Planning Association garden city principles.
Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited has assisted in providing consultancy support for the Local Plan.
Information about the Local Plan can be viewed at https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/new-local-plan
More details about the garden city principles may be viewed by clicking the link below:
Blueprint for a Better Planning System
Simon Payne attended the Town and Country Planning Association Annual Conference on 22 November 2018.
Kit Malthouse (Minister of State for Housing) was the keynote speaker. He emphasised that his critical mission is to deliver 300k new homes per annum which will require 1m new homes in the pipeline at any one time. Stating support of the planning profession is key to addressing this objective and he wanted to see more planners in top management teams in local authorities and more routes into joining the profession.
The conference reflected on the fundamental importance of placemaking and quality design in bringing forward significant increases in housing delivery.
Parliamentary Launch of TCPA Report on Planning for Affordable Housing
On 11 October 2018 Simon Payne attended the launch of the Town and Country Planning Association Report on Affordable Housing.
The event was chaired by Helen Hayes MP Member of the Select Committee on Housing. The publication of the Report followed extensive research by the TCPA which included a workshop discussion that Simon contributed to on behalf of Uttlesford District Council.
The Report can be viewed at https://www.tcpa.org.uk/planning-for-affordable-housing-report
UK Study Tour: University of Washington, Seattle, USA
On 2 July 2018 Simon Payne gave a presentation on New Garden Towns to Urban Design & Planning students from Seattle. The presentation was part of a study visit to Milton Keynes which also comprised contributions by Troy Hayes (Managing Director of Troy Planning), John Acres (President of the Royal Town Planning Institute), Michael Edwards (Teaching Fellow – University College London), Tim Skelton (Milton Keynes Forum) and James Povey (Milton Keynes Council)
Simon Payne (left) John Acres (centre) and Troy Hayes (right)
Uttlesford Local Plan Reaches Regulation 19 Stage
On 19 June 2018 Uttlesford District Council approved the publication of the Regulation 19 Draft Local Plan. Lambsquay Consulting of Cambridge Limited has assisted in providing consultancy support for the Plan which comprises a strong environmentally led strategy including the provision of three new garden communities in the district that comply with the Town and Country Planning Association Principles for Garden Cities.
The Plan may be viewed via the link below
Launch of Cambridge Innovation Park China Centre
Simon Payne joined the celebrations for a new partnership between Incubyte, Cambridge Accelerate and the Cambridge Innovation Park. Jenny Wong, founder and CEO of Cambridge Accelerate and Councillor George Pippas, Mayor of Cambridge, took part in the formal opening of the new Centre which will encourage and facilitate two-way investment and international expansion of Cambridge, UK and Chinese companies.
Planning England's Garden Cities
In April Simon made a Garden Cities joint presentation in New Orleans at the National Conference of the American Planning Association. The presentation can be found below:
British Academy Seminar: Big Cities - Small Changes
In February 2018 Simon Payne took part in the British Academy Seminar in London entitled ‘Big Cities – Small Changes: Thinking Creatively Through Urban Infrastructure’. The seminar explored the challenges of how cities need to be able to adapt to change. Topics included considering the issue of accessing local knowledge in China, coping with the aftermath of an earthquake in Kathmandu and understanding the causes of violence associated with poverty in Sao Paulo.
Planning the new Garden Cities of England
Simon Payne is speaking in New Orleans, USA at the Annual Conference of the American Planning Association . The session, on Sunday 22 April 2018, will comprise a joint presentation with Troy Hayes, Jon Goodall and John Fregonese. The focus will be on contrasting the UK approach to planning garden cities with a new development in Louisville, Kentucky.
Lecture Series for Senior Officials from Hebei Province, People's Republic of China
On 29th of November 2017 Simon Payne gave a series of lectures to a delegation of senior officials from Hebei Province China. The delegation was led by Mr Jiang Wending, Vice Mayor of Shijazhuang. The presentation included an overview of the Planning System in England and case studies of development in Cambridge and garden towns in Essex. The sessions were able to focus on a 'Quality Charter for Growth' and the Garden City principles promoted by the British Town and Country Planning Association.
Why is the Garden Town Movement Relevant Today?
In September Simon attended a Town and Country Planning Association study tour of Garden Villages in the UK. The tour comprised six villages including Bournville, Port Sunlight and Saltaire. The visits included recent development at Lightmoor, New Earswick and Derwenthorpe and there was a good opportunity to see the garden town principles of land value capture and long term community stewardship in operation.
The visits illustrated the opportunities to successfully apply garden town concepts to contemporary development to achieve places where people want to live out of choice.