Well, another year gone and what interesting times these are to be working in the built environment. 2013 was a good year for us, with plenty of exciting projects undertaken and lots of new initiatives lined up for 2014. Here is a quick recap:
Didcot has plans to grow the town by over 2,000 new homes, and TransForm Places are acting as expert advisor on design issues. Key to the success of any new development will be integration with the existing community, allowing new residents to support the town centre and to make those trips by modes other than the private car.
TransForm Places ran a number of workshops designed to explore ideas as to how the proposed urban extension at Barton, Oxford could come forward in a way that creates a sustainable community. Key to this will be the treatment of the A40, the integration of the new development with the existing community in Barton, and the accessibility of the City and its facilities for new residents.
A fascinating project with a great group was conducted under DC-CABE’s ‘Design Your Neighbourhood’ programme, which was designed to support community groups looking to improve their local area. We undertook a series of worships, seminars and site visits which culminated in an action plan for making incremental improvements to the town centre and beyond.
BfL12 is gaining momentum and recognition as the industry-standard for assessing design quality in residential developments. TransForm Places have been supporting organisations across the country in training people on the new system, with events in Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham, Kent, and Exeter. We will be running more events this year so keep an eye out for places as demand is high and places are limited.
Our relationship with BOB-MK continues to grow, with TransForm supporting their training and events program each year. This year we ran a BfL12 training session for members of the BOB-Mk network and had a full house. The session included workshops, presentations and a site visit.
Wycombe DC take design quality seriously and have a good track record of implementing national initiatives at the local level. With this in mind, TransForm undertook three training session that brought together officers, elected members and people from the development industry. These sessions concentrated on using BfL12 to improve the quality of development in and around Wycombe and on how BfL12 can be used to better understand how a design is performing.
Looking forward into 2014, we have some absolutely fascinating projects in the pipeline. The University of Northampton is moving to a new location in the town centre, and TransForm Places are working with them to make sure this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture the regeneration benefits of such a large investment is realised. We will keep you up to date on progress. We will also be continuing our involvement with the Didcot SUE, working with all stakeholders as the master plan is developed. In addition to this, we are embarking on Neighbourhood Planning support with a number of communities, and are working with housing providers to help them better engage with their residents.
Of course, we will also be running our usual programme of training with BOB-MK and others, so keep an eye out for events as they are planned.
Finally, on behalf of the team, I’d like to offer my thanks to all of you who have supported our work and allowed us to carry on offering impartial design expertise. Here’s to a good new year.