FUTURE BRIXTON SPD principles, TTB submission
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TTB submission of principles for FUTURE BRIXTON Supplementary Planning Document, June 2012
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These are concrete principles that would sit inside the One Planet Living principles http://www.oneplanetliving.net/. They may seem quite extreme but they are about building now (because we can) infrastucture to enable a future functional Brixton in a fast changing world of depleting resources and changing climate. PLEASE MODIFY or COMMENT (Click insert, then comment to attach a comment to a principle). We have asked how these can be built into the SPD but received no reply as yet. If you think they are sensible a supportive comment would be helpful. You can contact the people from Transition Town Brixton who are focussing on this via dl@duncanlaw.co.uk.
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numberOverarching principles
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Peak Oil is happening now. We must design new infrastructure and built environment to function well on zero fossil energy input. (See Bio-energy point below)
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Peak Gas is already happening for the UK (N Sea supplies declining at 18% a year) making our supplies increasingly secure. It will be very sudden, like running out of petrol. We need to make space heading unnessary in new build and upgrade insulation on existing stock to reduce dependency - or we will have unliveably buildings.
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We must not use liquid biofuels or biomass. They are dangerous false solutions. Locally produced biogas is good but must not create a dependency on a waste stream. Incineration is not a solution.
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We must use regeneration to build participation in the people of Brixton co-creating future solutions. Also encouraging local investment in improving the local environment.
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We must use regeneration (which increases surface area) to increase available food growing space.
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We must redefine regeneration to include making the existing stock in the area future appropriate - not just new build
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We must do full carbon accounting of the regeneration, taking into account energy used in demolition, construction, embodied energy of products. We must use full lifecycle analysis on all parts of this accounting.
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Buildings should be 'optimally' insulated taking into account carbon embodied against energy saved. Natural carbon sequestering materials, cork, woodfibre, hemp, warmcell should be used where possible.
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All new buildings should be designed and built to last many hundreds of years as we simply won't have the availably energy to rebuild every 20 years (current average design life) nor even every 68 years average London building life. They should be adaptable ie we should be able to add to and convert without large energy costs. They should be disassemblable by people with spanners and cranes (rather than heavy grinding machinery) and the componentry should be re-useable as is.  NOTE: All modern construction is built with a design life of 60 years.
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We should use reinforced concrete minimally as it is responsible for 10% of our carbon emissions and is very difficult to demolish and reuse efficiently. We should be pioneering the use of local materials, clay, tyres, waste esp cans, cardboard, paper.
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Inward investment is necessary but any regeneration based on an expansion of Tesco's or similar is not sustainable. Also selling key strategic assets, rights, or land is not a good way to fund regeneration. A participatory cost/benefit analysis with local people should be conducted.
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We should be demanding, a significant quota of local employment, local sourcing, local training by developers - who ideally will be local, community based or run. We should explore a development model pioneered in Africa of converting development money into B£s and demanding developers work with local suppliers to use it.
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Specific Principles:
Actions relating to numbered overarching principles, New-build, Retrofit, Planning process, Food growing, Energy generation,
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Buildings should be built to highest building code in existence. Code 6, Excellent, Passivhaus and should seek to advance the science eg help develop a passivhaus standard appropriate to a Cool Temperate Climate.
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Buildings should prioritise the most appropriate technologies taking into account building local resilience, carbon saving, participation and all the other principles.
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Buildings, new and retrofit should be maximised as collectors of heat energy, growing spaces and generators of power (probably in that order of priority given that space heating is the biggest input energy demand.)
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Buildings should surpass Merton plus and generate as much renewable energy as possible.
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Building roofs should be presumed to be energy collectors either as growing spaces, perhaps polytunnels/sun spaces trapping heat for the building or renewable energy collection.
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Rainwater collection should be included in all new builds and retrofitted where possible to old, for permitted uses, ie toilet and washing.
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Collection of grey water and rain water in underground tanks should be a priorty for new residential and commercial schemes.
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Russell Smith (Parity Projects) late night suggested additions
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Lambeth ought to have an explicit policy on the application of External Wall Insulation so that residents and professionals alike know where they stand and they don’t have to tiptoe around interpretations. (This hasn’t been managed anywhere in the country yet)
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Since the Building Regs Part L consultation is likely to throw out Consequential Improvements, the council could gain massive plaudits for pushing it via Planning a la Uttlesford. http://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/main.cfm?Type=CCEE&MenuId=361
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It would be nice to see a standard for upgrade for empty properties. E.g. AECB Silver
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Some plan to aid the coordination between things suggested above with a delivery Green Deal service or similar.
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Alan Piper comments:
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My initial thoughts are that the SPD needs to ensure a mix of uses continues in Brixton Town Centre, rather than allowing private residential to continue displacing everything else.
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There is a risk that developers will just use "greenwash" to justify the same inappropriate developments as before.
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Policywise, I am sceptical about the PassivHaus approach, and prefer the more holistic approach of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
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Probably more important will be identifying the key sites and what mix of uses they should have.
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As a sop to the planners, developers have tended to provide a proportion of generic retail or "business" space which is of little relevance to real traders or creative industries.
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Bear in mind also that, in parallel, the Planning Department has other consultants producing proposals for the new Community Infrastructure Levy which will be chargeable on most housing developments and larger commercial schemes.
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By consolidating the town hall function LBL will be able to release Olive Morris House and other council owned property for demolition and conversion to residential.  This will help to improve the area whilst providing the opportunity to create zero carbon homes on Brixton Hill.  A centralised local government department could potentially work more efficiently, removing the need for internal post vans etc
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