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Technology and Planning

Technology and Planning

Case studies, Featured
An article in the August edition of The Planner carried short articles about various technologies currently utilised by the planning profession which have the potential to offer greater advantages to those involved in planning.  Some of those articles are summarised below. VIRTUAL REALITY - VR has great potential and multiple applications for planning and planners and is capable of transforming the way built environments are designed and engaged with by planners, elected representatives and the public.  Its immersive experience allows a more complete interaction with interventions in the built environment and can highlight the parts of a proposal for instance that will be 'invisible' from the public domain.  It is likely to be of greatest impact to those not from a built environment profession who may otherwise struggle to read…
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New data hubs proposed for Lucan site

New data hubs proposed for Lucan site

Case studies, Featured
American data centre operator EdgeConnex has submitted plans to South Dublin County Council to allow it to build two more data centres at its existing site in Lucan, Dublin. The latest data centre proposal for the city highlights a growing debate between those who believe the facilities are a welcome addition to Ireland's burgeoning tech sector and understand the environmental benefits from the centres and those who highlight the environmental impact because of the large electricity usage. Virginia-based EdgeConnex concentrates on hosting and delivering digital content as close to its end users as possible and has built 25 data centres around the world since 2013, mainly in the US, and it counts Virgin Media and Comcast, as well as Irish industry body Host in Ireland, among its clients and partners.
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NI construction SMEs report strong growth

NI construction SMEs report strong growth

Case studies, Featured
Small construction firms in NI enjoyed strong growth in the second quarter of the year despite many expressing concerns over the ongoing political uncertainty. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) State of the Trade Survey shows performance of NI construction SMEs rose by 21 per cent in three months to +47 per cent.  54 per cent of local builders are positive about the outlook in the industry, with just 7 per cent suggesting a decline in current of future workloads.  Despite the relative positivity more than three quarters of builders expect material prices to continue to rise over the next six months and a large proportion have reported recruitment difficulties.  65 per cent said they are struggling to hire bricklayers, while 60 per cent state they are facing problems hiring…
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UK Chancellor officially calls for Derry City Region Deal

UK Chancellor officially calls for Derry City Region Deal

Case studies, Featured
The Chancellor formally invited a bid in a move welcomed by Derry City and Strabane District Council. Over the past year the local authority and its partners have done a lot of preparatory work on the business case for a deal.  Chief executive John Kelpie has said: “We have developed a robust, evidence-based Statement of Intent for a city deal based on the currently adopted city and district’s strategic growth plan.” That plan highlighted the development of skills and education with a key focus on the expansion of the Magee Campus of the Ulster University and the integrated development of the North West Regional College.  Also proposed were the development of existing and proposed innovation centres for medicine, cognitive analytics and advanced manufacturing as well as the delivery of new…
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Nambarrie Tea building bought by Hotellier

Nambarrie Tea building bought by Hotellier

Case studies, Featured
The Nambarrie Tea building in Waring Street in the Cathedral Quarter is believed to have attracted interest from at least four hotel companies before the successful bid. Pragma negotiated planning permission through a difficult planning process in 2013 and in particular rebutted successfully the view put forward by objectors that apartments would not be suitable for the site.  Objectors claimed that the building was an important reminder of Belfast's tea trade, however documents discovered by Pragma proved that assertion to be unfounded with the building being a recent addition after the Belfast blitz and the previous use on the site being unconnected to the tea trade. Assertions that the proposal would be out of character also proved to be unfounded and the design by Povall Worthington was accepted and deemed…
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Outcry over historic ceiling demolition ‘influenced council decision’

Outcry over historic ceiling demolition ‘influenced council decision’

Case studies, Featured
An Article in The Planner (details below) carries the planning appeal decision in relation to an appeal by a developer over a decision by Bristol City Council to refuse to grant planning permission. The Planner article is here. The appeal concerned a 400-year old townhouse in Bristol’s historic centre, which was last used as a bar with offices and flats above.  The owner of the building applied to the council for permission to convert the building's upper floors to form four student accommodation units, retaining the bar use below.  Part of the upper floors contained an ornate Jacobean pendant ceiling. After the application was submitted, Bristol’s conservation advisory panel applied to Historic England for the building to be spot-listed in order to preserve the  Jacobean ceiling, however, the day before it was…
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Pragma advises parties on planning, land and development matters.

Pragma advises parties on planning, land and development matters.

Case studies, Featured
Pragma undertakes due diligence and provides strategic advice in respect to the agreement between Fraser Homes Limited and Gardrum Holdings Ltd, which will see the delivery of up to 1000 homes over the next 10 years. The houses are likely range between £120,000 and £400,000 at current market values. Commenting on the matter David Fraser of Fraser Homes, said: “For over 50 years we have built over 4,500 high quality homes across Northern Ireland and we are pleased and proud that our tradition and family heritage in house building will continue under this new agreement.  We are also pleased to be joining another Northern Ireland family company with similar values and the same commitment to excellence as we have always had.  This augurs well for the new generation of homes we will be…
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