Beyond the numbers: How do we create prosperity and wellbeing for all?

Posted by

Robert Purton

Are logistics parks becoming the new high street?

In our major towns and cities, the historic plethora of independent stores with kind and considerate service that was enjoyed by previous generations have largely made way for national and international stores.  The levels of customer care provided by these stores is different and with technology we are voting with our phones, computers and tablets.  Even John Lewis, at the summit of service and price is feeling the cold winds of the change in customer purchasing. They are cutting back their rate of new stores being opened and have recently opened a £150-million-pound national logistics centre in Milton Keynes. Read more »

Beyond the numbers: How do we create certainty for all?

Posted by

Naomi Williamson

Will reducing pre-commencement conditions actually speed up delivery?

The reduction in and simplification of planning conditions has been a constant theme in reform of the planning system for a number of years in England. From the introduction of the principle of deemed discharge[1] in 2015, which allows applicants in some circumstances to write to a planning authority deeming that a condition has been discharged if not already done so within the statutory timeframe, to the Government’s current consultation on ‘Improving the use of planning conditions’,[2] it seems this issue is here to stay. Read more »

Smart Cities – more about the technology than the challenges?

Posted by

Duncan Chadwick

Smart cities? What are they? Worryingly only two in ten people in the UK had even heard of a ‘smart city’ according to a national survey carried by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)[1] in 2015. There are various definitions but the British Standards Institute (BSI)[2] defines a smart city as one where there is ‘effective integration of physical, digital and human systems in the built environment to deliver a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens’. This is a very ambitious target so how successful have they been? Have they just been an opportunity for some of the world’s largest companies to sell their products, software and new technologies to city leaders? The smartness of a city is surely not about technology as such, but more about how well the technology is used in an integrated way to help the city function more effectively. Read more »

Smart Cities - David Lock Associates

Beyond the numbers: How do we create place and identity for all?

Posted by

Joe Carr

Will Brexit have a dramatic impact on the economic potential and vibrancy of our cities?

With the UK voting to leave the EU, it is no secret that there are planned changes in how immigration is managed across the country. A key element of the campaign to leave the EU was to gain full control of our borders, with a view of allowing less EU immigration. However, with predictably less Europeans allowed to work in our cities without applying to do so, will this impact both the economic potential and the vibrancy of our cities?

In the short term, the impacts may be small, as EU migrants currently in the country are unlikely to be deported[1]. However, over a significant number of years, the impacts could be keenly felt. As non-UK nationals leave the UK, and UK nationals have less opportunity to live abroad, this is likely to result in a significant reduction of cultural and ethnic diversity caused by reduced free movement of people. Read more »

Beyond the numbers: how do we create prosperity for all?

Posted by

Greg Pearce

How has Milton Keynes succeeded where other ‘new towns’ have struggled?

A prosperous place to live effectively means that there are a wide range of employment opportunities available to all groups of people. This should be achieved at the same time as facilitating an inclusive and hospitable environment in which to live, to ensure people are able to maintain a healthy and happy environment.

Milton Keynes is proving to meet this criterion; it was ranked the second best town/city to work in the UK[1] and has seen the highest growth in jobs out of the 64 biggest towns and cities in the UK over the last decade[2] .Specifically, 24,000 jobs have been created since 2003. Milton Keynes is clearly growing, and attracting a wide range of businesses, including firms such as KPMG, PwC and Deloitte, who have chosen to locate secondary offices in Milton Keynes, as well as John Lewis and Waitrose at a flagship logistics park at Magna Park. Read more »

Beyond the numbers: How do we create a collective vision for all?

Posted by

Naomi Williamson

Will the Sustainable Development Goals unify city leaders? 

Following the recent meeting of the UN General Assembly, the community of world leaders has met to iron out the details of the international development agenda to 2030 – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals are a sequel to the Millennium Development goals which ran from 2000-2015 with the overarching aim to eradicate global poverty and inequality. The SDGs have global poverty at their centre but focus on a much wider range of issues, spanning 17 goals from quality education to responsible consumption and production.

There is added interest for a wide range of urban practitioners this time around as the importance of cities as a tool for social and economic success and wellbeing is very much on the map. For example, Goal 11 focuses for the first time on sustainable cities and communities – and although the goals have traditionally focused on developing countries, the targets for 2030 are ambitious for more developed countries as well. Read more »

Smart Cities - David Lock Associates

Beyond the numbers: How do we create movement for all?

Posted by

Joe Carr

Driverless cars, are these the answer to our growing transport need?

Over the last few years, there have been significant forward steps regarding the production and use of driverless cars both in the UK and in the USA. In the UK, trials have been undertaken in Milton Keynes following the publishing of The Pathway to Driverless Cars[1] by the Department for Transport in February 2015. Across the pond, Google have undertaken on-the-road trials across California, Texas, Arizona and Washington[2], and the U.S. Department of Transportation has committed to producing a regulatory framework to support the use of the cars[3]. Read more »

Beyond the numbers: how do we create certainty for all?

Posted by

Charlie Brown

Temporary is the new permanent: Permitted Development rights are creating uncertainty and its impacts for LPA’s and our towns/cities are yet to be fully understood  

In 2011, we first heard of the Government’s ‘bold’ plan to boost the supply of housing by developing underused office stock and regenerating our town centres.

What emerged was a temporary permitted development right (limited to 3 years) for the conversion of offices to residential use introduced in 2013. It all seemed very sensible – converting underused office stock into a viable use that would provide a much needed, temporary boost in housing supply at a time of historically low delivery. The prior approval process, allowed a local authority to consider only transport and highways issues, contamination and flooding considerations. The time limited right brought a focus on converting vacant units.

Case law began to catch up as well; from April 2014, conditions could be reasonably attached so long as they related. It also reminded us that external works were not up for grabs – a permission that wasn’t a planning permission. Read more »

Beyond the numbers: how do we create belonging for all?

Posted by

Harry Jones

Is devolving power to the inhabitants of a new settlement crucial to creating belonging?

Development on a large scale is a difficult and complex challenge.  The physical elements which form a new place are relatively understandable and quantifiable.  Buildings, infrastructure, open spaces and landscaping can be planned and then constructed (in basic terms, as we all know, the reality is that delivering development is an enormous challenge requiring substantial amounts of time, commitment, expertise, investment and patience).

To create a sense of belonging and identity for all inhabitants, planners must think carefully about using governance structures, social and community enablers and the built form to establish characteristics which foster social bonds between people and their environment. Read more »

Young Planners’ Conference 2016

Posted by

Phil Copsey

David Lock Associates (DLA) are proud and excited to be sponsoring the Young Planners’ Conference 2016: ‘Planning for Change, Shaping Our Future.’  Taking place in Belfast on the 14th to 15th October, the conference will focus on up-to-the minute issues such as the changing face of our planning system, smart cities and healthy cities.

DLA Partner Phil Copsey will be chairing the healthy cities element of the conference promoting Sport England’s Active Design Guidance, which was produced by DLA with Sport England and supported by Public Health England. The guidance, produced to promote the role of sport and physical activity in creating healthy and sustainable communities, can be viewed here.

DLA are also exhibiting at the conference, harnessing our belief that debate and discussion is integral to how we operate. In order to stimulate this discussion, we are asking delegates how they can look beyond the numbers that dominate our profession – population growth, housing needs and supply, viability – by asking the question:




You can find out more about our debate here, and have your contribution on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the #dlacreate hashtag.