Archives for posts with tag: Joe Holyoak

Its message: the greatest need is for affordable rented housing in urban areas. Any solution to Britain’s housing crisis must include a bigger contribution from the public sector. Rather than coercive measures, the focus should be on enabling local authorities and housing associations that wish to build social housing.

Shame is poured on George Osborne’s ‘massive’ reduction of Housing Associations’ capability to invest in new housing with a 1% rent reduction per annum for 5 years: “Social housing rents are already at a large discount to private landlord rents, so this ill-advised move in one go, reduced the capital raising capability of Housing Associations”.

The FT thinks that local authorities should be allowed to:

  • set planning fees,
  • to levy taxes on idle land when developers fail to use planning permissions
  • and, crucially, to borrow in order to fund their own social housing developments.

There is a great deal that can still be done by making better use of brownfield sites and releasing public land for development. An annual tax should be levied on undeveloped land that has residential planning permission but has not been developed whether publicly-owned, or land owned privately, by companies, NGOs or agencies.

Mixed developments are being built, income from sales invested in social housing

At the end of March, Birmingham’s council newsletter reported on the completion of 251 ‘quality’ homes in Erdington. There is a mixture of social housing and houses for sale, for a range of family sizes – from one to five bedroom properties.  The income gained from houses sold from this latest development will be reinvested into the council’s housing stock of social housing. News of other social and affordable new housing in the city may be read here. Today we are reminded that a four year programme has been set up to enlist smaller housebuilders to use smaller plots of land.

Birmingham City Council won Social Housing Provider of the Year’ at the Insider Residential Property Awards in 2016. This highlighted the work of the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT, currently the largest provider of affordable homes per annum in the Midlands with projects in Nechells, Sutton Coldfield and Ladywood. In 2015, BMHT also won the Public Sector Award at the Urban Design Awards for its Newtown redevelopment (See architect Joe Holyoak’s article – one photo above.).

BMHT celebrated the completion of its 2,000 home milestone in March – a culmination of 1,125 homes built for rent and almost 900 built for sale since the council launched the BMHT programme.  The council plans to build around 1,800 further new homes for rent and market sale between now and 2020 in order to close the city’s housing gap.

 

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2013 attwood award 3The award was set up in 2003 in memory of Thomas Attwood (1783-1856), one of the city’s first two MPs, who worked to extend the vote and promoted measures which would lead to full employment, peace and prosperity, including reform of the monetary system.

joe holyoak 3Though Joe Holyoak has served the city well in his professional and academic capacity as director of the MA Urban Design course at Birmingham City University until 2010, the award has been given for ‘going the extra mile – working ‘pro bono’. 

One of the ‘Digbeth People’, with offices at the Custard Factory, he is described as a true friend of Digbeth, lending ‘a very helpful hand’ to Digbeth Residents Association with planning issues and regularly attending HS2 Community Forums and other planning meetings on behalf of DRA.

Joe is a member of the expert panel of MADE – an organisation dedicated to improving the quality of our towns, cities and villages, which believes that a high quality built environment is essential for economic prosperity and wellbeing.

His experience includes restoring and returning to use of good Victorian buildings and forward looking urban design. As a founder member of the citizens’ group Birmingham for People, he was involved in making counter-proposals for both the Bull Ring (1989) and Brindleyplace (1991) redevelopments. The People’s Plan for the Bull Ring was opposed to the developer’s proposal, and succeeded in changing the proposal substantially for the better over the next few years. In the case of Brindleyplace, there was less variance between the two. BfP’s plan was published before the developer’s masterplan of 1992, and was influential upon it to some degree, helping to shape this successful development.

A design retaining the wholesale markets on their city centre site

Joe Holyoak’s design, creating a new expansion of the city centre and including the wholesale markets in a new form, was presented by Dave Everett, co-chair of the outdoor market traders’ association, in the Birmingham Mail.

This alternative design proposes that the present site is comprehensively redeveloped, creating a new expansion of the city centre, but including the wholesale markets in a new form. This can be done in such a way as to meet the objectives of the Big City Plan.

It proposes a return to the mixed-use urban quarter, expressed in modern terms. In order to provide land for non-market uses, both for economic viability and for sustainable occupation, the footprint of the wholesale markets has to be reduced. This is done by replacing the present horizontal sprawl with vertical layering.

More detailed information and the drawings may be seen here.

balsall heath forum logoBalsall Heath Forum is the first organisation in the country to be designated as a neighbourhood forum with responsibility for producing a statutory neighbourhood plan. As a Balsall Heath resident, Joe has coordinated the forum’s neighbourhood planning work. Two-thirds of the draft plan’s proposals are place specific, including changes to local shopping centres and enhancements to a river that runs through Balsall Heath. The Balsall Heath Forum will formally submit the Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Development Plan to Birmingham City Council in December. See the documents via this website page.

paradise circus plans

Another 2012 project related to the proposed redevelopment of Paradise Circus. The alternative plan for Paradise Circus was drawn up for the Friends of the Central Library by Joe Holyoak and Rob Turner, of Eatarchitecture. 

Earlier local recipients of the award include the Aston Reinvestment Trust, Kirsty Davies of Professional Polishing Services and the Green New Deal designers.

 

The Planning Committee will consider Argent’s Paradise Circus Planning Application today

This will include the fate of the Central Library building, acclaimed by English Heritage and the World Monuments Fund which included Central Library on its watch list of significant buildings at risk.

BirminghamCentralLibrary4

On Tuesday, Alan Clawley (Friends of the Central Library) was interviewed on BBC Radio Lancashire about the campaign to save the Central Library. Graham Liver was broadcasting from Preston Bus Station, which – like the Library – has been nominated as a ‘building at risk’ by the World Heritage Fund.

Yesterday, architect and conservationist Joe Holyoak met James Bovill of BBC Radio WM to talk about the Alternative Master Plan and the Planning Committee meeting.

The carbon consequences of demolition – an issue raised in a June post – were not mentioned:

It was powerfully articulated at a public meeting about the future use of the building by consultant Martyn Park. This resident of Central Birmingham – like many – sees the library as an enormous asset not least for the financial and environmental cost resources involved in construction. Cement making alone is estimated to be responsible for 7-10% of global CO2 emissions.

In Architecture Week, Susan Smith pointed out that a lion’s share of the pollutants that cause global warming is attributable to ‘new-build’. American architect Edward Mazria calculates this share at 46% of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) output.

In July 2011 the International Business Times reported that Birmingham had exceeded its CO2 reduction target with a 155,059-tonne cut in CO2 emissions – so far, so good. Will Councillor Bore and his cabinet renege on this commitment?

Demolition entails pollution and waste and a net carbon loss

New-build is carbon intensive and demolition carries many wider environmental impacts, including air pollution and disposal of waste materials. As the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)  – under the former government – realised, it is important to concentrate on refurbishment because there is so much “embedded energy” in existing buildings that, no matter how energy-efficient a new one might be, there will be a net carbon loss in knocking it down and replacing it.

However we expect the decision to be corporate-friendly, regardless of the body of public, environmental and professional opinion.

Phil Beardmore, consultant to third sector and environmental organisations, Sustainability West Midlands ‘Green Leader’ and vice-chair of the Birmingham Carbon Reduction Partnership, comments on the last post.

At the time of writing he was actually sitting in Central Library, using their excellent free wifi, and it occurred to him that a large part of the CO2 emissions of this building must come from lighting:

“This building is surely ripe for the council’s Birmingham Energy Savers, since installing LED lighting through a Green Deal approach would pay for itself in a short space of time”. BES, which aims to enable people and organisations to save money on fuel bills, support local jobs and training and protect the environment, could also focus on the building’s heating system – as recommended by Robin Clarke in a comment on the earlier post.

Saving the loss of embodied energy and contruction-related carbon emissions

The desire for ‘connectivity’ expressed by councillors and developer Argent was shared by John Madin, who designed the Library’s central atrium to allow easy movement between Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square. If later additions were removed, connectivity could be achieved by Argent incorporating the alternative drawn up by architect Joe Holyoak and Rob Turner of Eatarchitecture, which is very similar to theirs except for the retention of the library.

Instead of a street through the centre of the Paradise site there would be the Madin building

Mr Holyoak summarises: “The offices and other buildings are arranged in a similar way and there are two public squares either side. The only difference is that instead of a street through the centre of the site we have the Library.”

By incorporating this plan and involving Birmingham Energy Savers the city would avoid the energy-profligate, disruptive and polluting process of demolition and retain a building appreciated by the public and many architectural authorities.

 

 

 

Some time ago, Dave Everett, co-chair of the outdoor market traders’ association, outlined the Holyoak recommendations for the city’s historic market areas to a Birmingham Mail reporter.

“This is just a vision, the start of something that will be constructive for all parties, including the council. I want it to be the instigation of imagination. It is an individual plan put forward, without prejudice, by retail market traders. It is an invitation for discussion”.

Fellow chair of the outdoor traders association, Bernice Ellis, said the plans drawn up by the retail market would be a world first and, if realised, become a benchmark for wholesale markets across the world:

“This is setting the standard into the next generation. Birmingham was built around these markets and we should be leading the way and showing other cities how to run their markets.”

Historian  Carl Chinn, who has backed a campaign to keep the wholesale markets in the city centre, said the plans were the right idea and would place the markets back at Birmingham’s heart:

““I would support this whole-heartedly – I think it’s very exciting,” he said: “The markets have to stay in the city centre. This would bring alive the wholesale market and make it a local attraction after the traders have finished work. It would integrate it with the city centre, now it’s cut off by a wall. It’s been a major problem since the 1960s.

The Holyoak recommendations will be published here this week.

Earlier recipients include ART, Kirsty Davies of PPS and the Green New Deal designers. The award was set up in 2003 in memory of Thomas Attwood (1783-1856), one of the city’s first two MPs, who worked to extend the vote and promoted measures which would lead to full employment, peace and prosperity, regarding foreign trade as incidental to the nation’s wealth.

Joe Holyoak is a member of the expert panel of MADE – an organisation dedicated to improving the quality of our towns, cities and villages, which believes that a high quality built environment is essential for economic prosperity and wellbeing.

JH walking tour cityHis experience encompasses both the restoration and returning to use of good Victorian buildings and forward looking urban design. As a founder member of the citizens’ group Birmingham for People, he was involved in making counter-proposals for both the Bull Ring (1989) and Brindleyplace (1991) redevelopments. The People’s Plan for the Bull Ring was totally opposed to the developer’s proposal, and succeeded in changing the proposal substantially for the better over the next few years. In the case of Brindleyplace, there was less variance between the two. BfP’s plan was published before the developer’s masterplan of 1992, and was influential upon it to some degree, helping to shape this successful development.

Balsall Heath Forum is the first organisation in the country to be designated as a neighbourhood forum with responsibility for producing a statutory neighbourhood plan. As a Balsall Heath resident, Joe has coordinated the forum’s neighbourhood planning work. Two-thirds of the draft plan’s proposals are place specific, including changes to local shopping centres and enhancements to a river that runs through Balsall Heath.

Other projects this year related to the Bull Ring markets and the proposed redevelopment of Paradise Circus. The alternative plan for Paradise Circus was drawn up for the Friends of the Central Library by Joe Holyoak and Rob Turner, of Eatarchitecture.   

Next week Joe’s recommendations for the rebuilding of the Bull Ring markets area will be published on this site, with drawings. It is rumoured that the plans of the commercial developer commissioned to draw up plans are not unlike the Holyoak design.

 

 

 

Soon after Neil Elkes’ article in the Post showing an attractive alternative: The Paradise Circus plan which retains Birmingham Central Library came the news, which will be deplored by many, that Birmingham Central Library will be demolished. At a seminar organised by the Friends of the Central Library, alternatives were put forward, one being Steve Beachampé’s proposal to retain the Ziggurat alone.

There was great interest in the alternative master plan (left), drawn up by architect Joe Holyoak and Rob Turner, of Eatarchitecture. Mr Holyoak said that the Argent developers’ masterplan is excellent – the only fault to be found is that it does not retain the library. Several good alternative uses were proposed one being a ‘Tate Modern’. Artist Margaret Braithwaite pointed out the potential of the six floors high atrium and the internal openings two floors high for displaying art and sculpture. She said that the library’s low ceilinged areas – like those in the Guggenheim – could display drawings and etchings.

The first compelling reason 

The first compelling reason to be mentioned here was powerfully articulated by consultant Martyn Park, a resident of Central Birmingham, who – like many – sees the library as an enormous asset not least for the financial and environmental cost resources involved in construction.

In Architecture Week, Susan Smith pointed out that a lion’s share of the pollutants that cause global warming are attributable to ‘new-build’. American architect Edward Mazria calculates this share at 46% of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) output. Cement making alone is estimated to be responsible for 7-10% of global CO2 emissions.

Will Councillor Bore and his cabinet renege on this commitment?

In July last year the International Business Times reported that Birmingham had exceeded its CO2 reduction target with a 155,059-tonne cut in CO2 emissions, surpassing the 130,000-tonne target set, by taking measures including the installation of energy-efficient lighting at Cadbury’s Birmingham site and the NEC, beginning to renovate the city’s street lights and fitting solar panels on 167 of the Bournville Village Trust’s properties.

“Look at carbon consequences of demolition!”

New-build is carbon intensive and demolition carries many wider environmental impacts, including air pollution and disposal of waste materials. As the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) realises, it is important to concentrate on refurbishment because there is so much “embedded energy” in existing buildings that, no matter how energy-efficient a new one might be, there will be a net carbon loss in knocking it down and replacing it.

Penny wise and pound-foolish – are differential VAT rates skewing the  strategic decision?

As a DCLG Committee has pointed out, differential VAT rates may in some circumstances make the demolition and reconstruction more financially attractive than its refurbishment or renovation to a higher environmental standard.

Mr Park: “No local authority has the (moral) right to commit this environmental vandalism!”

The second compelling reason to be posted next week will find favour with the prudent – and be more appealing to environment sceptics.