News

Phil Jones Associates wins place on Hertfordshire Property Framework

Phil Jones Associates is delighted to announce that it has been appointed onto Hertfordshire County Council’s Property Framework as one of its specialist Highways advisors.

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The Framework will be in place for four years until 2019 and PJA’s role will be to advise the County Council, the Districts and other public sector bodies within the County, on the transport implications of their own land development projects.  PJA has also been successful on one of the first mini-competitions to be held with the Framework period, being appointed by the County to advise on a number of school expansion projects.

Copenhagen Study Tour

PJA recently organised a study tour to Copenhagen and Malmo. The trip was attended by officials from the DfT, TfL, Sustrans, Wheels for Wellbeing and British Cycling’s campaigns team led by the Olympian Chris Boardman.

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We were welcomed to Copenhagen by Henriette Lund, a Danish consultant previously employed by TfL to help develop the Cycle Superhighways, which are modelled on Danish routes. Copenhagen is an interesting comparison for UK planners and engineers as its urban form is much more like UK cities, with low density residential areas, shopping malls and out of town developments. Being a northern coastal city it is cold and damp for much of the year, so not the most conducive climate for cycling. 
 
The City Planner, Neils Jensen, provided some background information. Cycle tracks were constructed in the city from 1905 to 1980, with a network of around 250km and around 20% of trips by bicycle. The ‘car boom’ that started in the UK in the 1960s didn’t happen in Denmark until the 1980s, but there was a public backlash against removing cycle tracks to increase road capacity. Consistent investment in cycling since the 1990s resulted in a cycling mode share of around 36% by 2010.

The last few years however have seen another significant rise to around 45% (over 52% in the city centre) as existing facilities have been improved to ‘Superhighway’ standards and extended into the suburbs and villages. 

We loaded 18 bikes onto the train without any problem to visit the Swedish city of Malmo on the other side of the Oresund Bridge. In Denmark cycle tracks are generally one-way adjacent to the carriageway but in Malmo the network is largely two-way tracks that offer complete routes either alongside or away from the carriageway. 
 
In both cities the bicycle is very much regarded as an essential part of creating more attractive places to live and work that are not dominated by motor traffic. This doesn’t mean that the bicycle dominates traffic planning, but it is given equal consideration alongside public transport, freight and car movements.

In addition to lessons about infrastructure design, the delegates were able to learn about some of the cultural and legal background that has enabled more and safer cycling and we hope to follow these up with the Department for Transport to consider legislative change.

Planning consent for Kitchener Barracks

Plans for a residential led mixed-use development comprising up to 260 dwellings and commercial space have been approved as part of the redevelopment of the former Kitchener Barracks in Chatham, Kent. 

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As part of the Transport Assessment process, PJA used GIS to demonstrate the sustainable credentials of the site and also undertook a detailed assessment of the traffic impact of the proposals on the highway network within Chatham Town Centre.
 
Aside from the Transport Assessment, PJA also provided detailed assistance to the project team to achieve a deliverable scheme which overcame significant level differences on the site.

PJA unveils Shared Space proposals for Buntingford

Annabel Keegan, Principal Consultant at PJA, recently presented initial design concepts to the Town Council for a Shared Space scheme.

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"The design concepts presented offer an opportunity to address the gradual erosion in the quality of place that has arisen in Buntingford over the years as a result of motor traffic growth," she said.

"It offers a fresh opportunity for Buntingford to reconsider the approach to the design and management of vehicle and pedestrian movement, allowing the potential to improve safety and liveability."

Further work will be required to refine the designs, establish the cost of the scheme and determine funding sources.

Building for Life

PJA is pleased to announce that Phil Jones and Annabel Keegan have both been appointed to the Building for Life 12 assessor panel.

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Built for Life™ is the sign of a good place to live with new well designed homes & neighbourhoods.  Approval is designed to give the homebuyer confidence that important design elements have been checked during the planning process. These include details such as adequate car parking, safe street design and access to amenities. Developments that are Built for Life today have the greatest chance of being the places estate agents will be proud to show buyers around in 5 to 10 years’ time.

Phil and Annabel will now be part of a national expert panel that will assess development schemes against the 12 urban design criteria and placemaking essentials.  The Built for Life™ quality mark helps developers showcase their best new housing developments whilst helping homebuyers choose the best places to live.

PJA opens in Bristol

PJA is delighted to announce that we have opened a new regional office in Bristol.  New recruit Jon Tricker will head up the office at Temple Quay to service our existing client base in the region, including St Modwen and various public sector clients, whilst also developing new business opportunities.

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Jon said: “The Bristol Development Framework provides a structure for the future development of the city centre and has created a variety of opportunities for developers to act on for the next 20 years and more. 

“There is a wealth of regeneration potential in Bristol and the region beyond and PJA can provide high quality transport planning expertise to assist with this. We are already talking to a number of public and private developers in the area and are intending to hit the ground running when we open in April 2015.”

Phil Jones, founder of Phil Jones Associates, added: “We are delighted to be establishing a permanent presence in the South West having continually worked in the region for a number of years on projects such as Taunton Firepool. Jon is a hugely experienced transport planning expert and will be an important addition to our team. He will be supported by our staff from our head office in Birmingham while we look to recruit locally.”

Planning consent for Meon Vale

Planning permission has been issued this week for St Modwen's proposed development of 550 dwellings and a Primary School at Meon Vale, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

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PJA prepared all the transport planning inputs to the project, including detailed PARAMICS modelling of town centre highway improvements and specifying bus service enhancements. PJA Director Nigel Millington addressed the Committee and responded to the various transport related questions.

Phil Jones debates people before profit

Phil Jones was part of a celebrated panel at this year’s Ecobuild, debating the topic 'People before Profit’ in front of a packed out audience.

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Joining Phil on the panel were Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London; Chris Brown, the Chief Executive of Igloo Regeneration; Lord Richard Best, President of the Local Government Association, and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People; and Tim Gill, owner of Rethinking Childhood. The panel was chaired by the televison broadcaster Louise Minchin. 

The panellists debated the complex issues around designing and planning a successful town according to the diverse needs of its inhabitants, as well as meeting the ‘bottom line’ profit requirement for the developer

Phil Jones said: “It was great to be involved with EcoBuild and part of such a fantastic panel debate. Each of my fellow panellists had a different perspective, but it was useful to look together at how people-focused development can be achieved. New towns and urban extensions are crucial to increasing housebuilding rates and solving this housing crisis which at present deepens each year. Proper planning for these areas is a real necessity, and provides an opportunity to make sustainable places with infrastructure that will effectively serve their communities well into the future.” 

Green Light for 800 houses in Coventry Green Belt

Plans for 800 homes on green belt land in Keresley have been approved by Coventry City Council. PJA has provided advice to Lioncourt Homes in relation to the site since 2012, including the preparation of written representations to the Core Strategy, Transport Assessment, Framework Travel Plan and a Mitigation Strategy to accompany an outline planning application. 

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After extensive negotiations with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Highways Agency, the application went to the planning committee with support from each of the highway authorities. 

The proposals will now be referred to the Secretary of State to determine if the application will be called-in for further scrutiny.

Further details on the proposals can be seen here.

PJA in meeting with Transport Minister, Patrick McLoughlin

Director Mark Nettleton was invited to meet the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport. Mark accompanied St Modwen to talk about the ongoing regeneration of the Longbridge development, as the Minister and prospective Conservative candidate for Northfield, Rachel Maclean, visited the site. 

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PJA has supported St Modwen since 2012 submitting planning applications for 300 family homes, a 150,000 sqft Marks & Spencer in the Town Centre and a new £35 million ExtraCare retirement village. St. Modwen aims to deliver 2,000 new homes together with employment and retail facilities to support up to 10,000 jobs at Longbridge over the next 15 years. The fast-growing Longbridge community has already seen a £300 million investment from St. Modwen, and the creation of 3,500 jobs, since regeneration began in 2005.