News

Representing national private firms at public inquiry pays off

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PJA has recently given evidence on behalf of Bloor Homes for a recent appeal in Pershore, Worcestershire.  Directors Nigel Millington and Phil Jones appeared at the informal hearing and successfully argued that the proposed street layout was safe, appropriate and in accordance with Manual for Streets, the Government’s guidance document on residential highways.  The inspector agreed that the local Worcestershire Design Guide was out of date, and as such the scheme was not unsafe just because it did not comply with the local WCC guidance.
 
Phil has also successfully represented Richborough Estates at Public Inquiry, preparing and giving evidence in relation to a site in Haslington, near Crewe. He demonstrated to the inspector that a suitable access could be provided with appropriate visibility splays. 
Paul Campbell, director at Richborough Estates, said: 'Traffic impact is always a big concern for local people, and in the Haslington inquiry, Phil had to rebut quite detailed and well-informed evidence submitted by residents.  Using his extensive knowledge and experience, we are delighted that Phil satisfied inspectors that the developments would not have any significant adverse effects and met national policies as expressed in the NPPF.'

PJA has supported Richborough Estates at a series of public inquiries into residential developments over the past year, all of which have been successful. Three of the inquiries were on sites in East Cheshire, while another inquiry is about to begin for a site in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Phil is one of the country’s leading experts in the design, planning and approval of new residential streets and helped draft Manual for Streets.

PJA helps to secure £8 million funding for infrastructure support

PJA has played a pivotal role for leading regeneration specialist St. Modwen in helping to secure £8 million in funding for an infrastructure package that will significantly affect the largest regeneration of the former MG Rover plant at Longbridge. 

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Working as part of the Longbridge Connectivity Group formed by local MP Richard Burden, along with St. Modwen, Centro and Birmingham City Council, a package of measures was developed aimed at improving connectivity and unlocking the potential for thousands of jobs. 

The infrastructure package puts the development on National Cycle Network Route 5, which will be re-routed to serve Bournville College and the new Longbridge town centre via the newly created Austin Park. It also trebles the number of spaces at the nearby park and ride; and provides real-time information, wayfinding, new bus stops and a significant upgrade to Longbridge Railway Station. 

Connectivity to the M5 and the M42 enterprise corridor will also be improved with significant investment in the local highway network that will also offer significant safety benefits for local residents. 

Part of the Government’s flagship ‘Growth Deal’ project, the Longbridge Connectivity Package is aimed at attracting further investment, generating new jobs and unlocking future growth. The funding will also boost the digital infrastructure in the area. 

 

PJA and PCL - Combined Cycling Expertise

PJA and Project Centre Ltd, the leading engineering and landscape architecture consultancy, have joined forces to provide a complete service to local authorities on cycling related projects.

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As independent experts in their fields PJA and PCL will offer a comprehensive planning, design and implementation service for cycling infrastructure. This means they can effectively take a new cycle network scheme from the overall planning and preliminary design stages right through to detailed design and implementation of public realm improvements.

PJA is rapidly becoming the go-to consultant for cycling design and has undertaken a best practice study for Transport for London (TfL) analysing 14 cities where mass cycling is either established or has a clear policy goal in order to encourage cycling, as well as working on a London to Leeds and Manchester cycleway for the Department for Transport.  

The role of the Highways Agency in the planning process could be about to change

Currently, local planning authorities in England must consult the Highways Agency (HA) over every development likely to lead to an increase in the volume of traffic on a trunk road, or have an impact on the character of traffic entering or leaving the road.

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However, at the end of last month [September], the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) closed its ‘Technical consultation on planning’, which proposed that local planning authorities should only be required to liaise with the HA when a development is likely to have an adverse impact on the safety of, or queuing on, a trunk road. 

The DCLG also suggested that, in future, the HA should no longer be consulted on ‘minor’ developments. The aim is to refocus the HA’s role in the planning process, thus reducing the number of applications it deals with. 

At PJA we’re extremely interested to discover the outcome of the consultation, as we believe the move away from a capacity-led approach, to a more pragmatic consideration of queuing and safety, may lead to the tests for new developments becoming less onerous. 

However, whether the new rules would make it easier for LPAs to determine when to consult the HA remains to be seen. 

Under the proposals, LPAs will no longer be required to judge whether a development will result in a material change to traffic flows on the trunk road network before consulting the HA. Instead, they will be required to consider the effects on safety and queuing, which is arguably more difficult for an LPA to assess unless the applicant has provided clear information setting out those effects.

Click here for more information on the HA consultation exercise.

A birthday to remember

Inspired by a milestone birthday, PJA Director Nigel Millington (pictured left) has devoted some serious energy this summer in raising money for Action Medical Research, a charity dedicated to medical research into conditions specifically affecting babies and children.

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In July, Nigel got on his bike and joined 240 others in a charity bike ride from London to Paris. The 296 mile ride took four days and was one of the Director’s lifelong highlights. He said: 

“I’ve been an amateur cyclist for a long time, but this year it felt like the right time to really go for it and raise some money for an incredible charity in the process. We rode into Paris on my 40th birthday so it was definitely something to remember! I’m already looking forward to the next challenge, Paris to Geneva?”

To boost the fundraising still further, Nigel and his family sent real cream teas direct to a number of PJA’s clients and contacts to encourage them to dig deep and donate to the cause. Over £1,500 was raised, adding to the collective total of £420,000. 

 

PJA support Longbridge Light Festival

PJA was proud to sponsor the Longbridge Light Festival on Saturday evening - which attracted more than 5,000 people.

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Highlights included a lantern parade, window dressing competition, artworks, films and alien face painting. Workshops showed people how to make sci-fi costumes and futuristic effects and animations.

The event was organised by public arts organisation WERK and Bournville College. It was preceded on Friday with the Tran-si-tion International Conference at Bournville College, which highlighted best practice within regeneration schemes, urban design, strategic planning, placemaking and art within a social urban context. It was headlined by world-famous artist Daan Roosegaarde, with other speakers including Jean Francois Zurawik, Director of Fête des Lumières in Lyon; Mike Murray of St. Modwen, Glenn Howells, Director at Glenn Howells Architect and Michael Artz, Director and Programme Curator at Halle 14, Helen Marriage, Director at Artichoke and Nigel Edmondson, former City Design Manager at Birmingham City Council. 

For more information on Longbridge Light festival visit www.longbridgelightfestival.co.uk

 

We are recruiting!

Based in our Birmingham head office, we are looking for an experienced AutoCAD Engineer/Technician with a proven track record in the production of accurate and high quality engineering based AutoCAD drawings. 

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Responsibilities

  • To produce Highway and Transportation drawings with attention to detail, which will form an essential part of reports, planning applications, legal agreements, etc
  • To produce other project related graphics using specialist software
  • To apply and adhere to the company CAD standards for consistency.
  • Must be flexible and adaptable regarding CAD task programmes with respect to both client & project requirements.

Experience and Skills

  • Extensive experience as a Highway / Transportation CAD Technician working within a Transport Planning environment, either gained from a consultancy or local authority
  • Proficiency in AutoCAD with related experience and knowledge of using blocks, external references, raster images, topographic surveys, ordnance survey digital maps, etc
  • Proficiency in using third party software for road markings, traffic signs design and vehicle swept path simulation. 
  • Confidence in complying with all relevant CAD standards.
  • Experience of producing high quality output from CAD systems for use in discussions, contract documents and reports in a Highway / Transportation environment.
  • Ability and desire to work on a diverse range of projects, combining good organisational skills with effective prioritisation and management of tasks
  • Good written and verbal communication skills. Able to communicate well with senior and junior staff alike and within the client environment about project objectives and details.
  • Able to make reference to various design guides as DMRB, MfS, TSRGD 2002, Traffic Signs Manual Chapters 3, 4, 5, etc.
  • Motivation to work effectively as a fully participating member of a busy team within the business.

Essential software ability

  • Experience of using AutoCAD software
  • Experience of using KeyLine software
  • Experience of using KeySign software
  • Experience of using AutoTrack software

Desirable software ability

  • Experience/ knowledge of 3D design packages such as Autodesk Civil 3D, MX, etc
  • Experience/ knowledge of graphic packages such as In-Design, Photoshop, Sketch-up, etc

Please submit a full CV and covering letter by email.

Another Shared Space consent for PJA

We are very pleased to report that outline planning permission was last night granted for our shared space scheme at the former Winter Gardens site in Bournemouth, on behalf of Inland Homes.

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The mixed use redevelopment of this historic music venue will comprise 5,959 sq.m of commercial space, 114 dwellings, 8,764 sq.m of leisure space and a hotel, together with new open air public piazzas.

The scheme includes an exciting new shared space to Exeter Road, designed by PJA, which contributes to the delivery of the Grand Garden Walk.  PJA worked on the concept design of the shared space and was responsible for the detailed VISSIM traffic modelling of the scheme.

The project includes major interventions to Exeter Road which carries around 10,000 vehicles per day, including the removal of traffic signals at the junction of Exeter Road and Terrace Road.

Redevelopment of the site was previously rejected in 2012 and 2013.

Further information can be found here.

PJA scheme ranked amongst best new affordable housing schemes

We're delighted that our affordable housing scheme for Accord Housing has won an award as one of the best new affordable housing schemes in the UK at the Inside Housing Awards 2014.

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The flagship development in Church Hill, Redditch, built by Redditch Co-operative Homes, has been ranked amongst the country’s top 50 affordable housing developments 2014.  The former school site in Redditch, Worcestershire has been transformed into a modern and innovative housing development comprising 79 homes and apartments managed by a new housing co-operative.

The development, completed in December last year and partially funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, includes 58 houses and 21 apartments for affordable rent and shared ownership.  It also has allotment space for families to grow their own fruit and vegetables and is being run as a co-operative, which means families manage the estate themselves.
Published in Inside Housing magazine, the top 50 UK affordable housing developments were judged by leaders in the housing field, including Janet Askew, the vice president of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

PJA provided advice on the design of the residential streets, which were based on Manual for Streets principles, included a shared space and landscaped square in the centre of the site.

More details about the scheme are available from the Redditch Co-operative Homes website
 

 

PJA compete in charity cricket tournament

Friday 5th September saw a team from PJA compete in the No 5 Chambers Anthony Barker QC Charity Shield cricket tournament at Moseley Cricket Club in Birmingham.

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The team put up a valiant fight in the group stage of the tournament but 'allowed' the team from Wragge & Co to proceed to the knock-out stages and eventually win the competion.

PJA team captain Steve Bates commented 'The event was very well organised and everyone really enjoyed the day.  Thanks go to all at No.5.'

Over £3,000 was raised on the day for Marie Cure Cancer Care the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The team consisted of (pictured left to right) Matt Franklin, Andrew Saffrey, Steve Bates, Annabel Keegan, Alex Johnson, Susan Pearson and Matt Proctor.