A Ground Source Heat Pump should cost no more than a Fridge

The cost of ground source heat pumps is used by the legacy gas/Hydrogen lobby as an argument for the vast energy cost of creating hydrogen and not going all electric. Its a red herring.

Heat pumps are just fridges in reverse. They need cost no more than a fridge. So why no mass manufacture them in china and housebuilders buy them in bulk. Just look at the prices on Alibaba

There are too other costs. Pipework for underfloor heating (radiators are inefficient at the lower heat loads). Just build them into modular wooden floor plates, and the cost of digging horizontal heat collection pipes. Note you would need to dig new gas pipes for a fair comparison.

Lets not fall for the entire nation subsidizing the legacy gas industry, as ridiculous as the whale oil industry demanding a subsidy in the switchover to coal gas .

The real issue is existing housing with gas boilers. The cost benefit here is between extra insulation and the national cost of the generation of electricity to convert hydrogen. Has anyone in the legacy gas industry ever done a calculation? It may be cheaper simply to replace gas with electric boilers and offset the extra energy cost with extra capacity, as this, with extra insulation, is still more energy efficient than creating hydrogen.

Hence there is no real reason to not ban new gas boilers from 2023. This is enough time for housebuilders to build supply chains and change their standard timber framed designs.

Why a National Design Code is a Very Bad Idea

Design codes are great. But the concept of a national design code as promulgated by the government is a contadiction in terms.

No other country uses the term ‘design code’, it only arose because the UK was trying to catch up to the rest of the world with a discretionary planning system that fares badly at regulating quality and now the rest of the world has moved on.

Take the definition.

a system whereby land owners establish the key components of the design of new developments up front and, through legal requirement, then require abidance by any developers subsequently wanting to build
in the area covered by the code.

Note the limitation – the intent of land owners. Urban coding arose from the work of pioneers of CNU such as Andreas Duany at places like Seaside to masterplan in 3d and push against many of the sprawl based zoning rules that demanded large lots, separation of uses and wide roads.

Since then the movement has moved on. Rather than being promoted by land owners form based codes are promoted by municipalities as part of the zoning code. Why cant we keep up with the language and thinking.

The second reason why a national design code is a bad idea is that on large sites the design codes flows from the illustrative 3d masterplan. You arn’t talking about plot level typologies fitting into adjoining existing lots.

Unless you have a national masterplan you cant have a national design code.

The government doesn’t seem to understand what nation it is planning for. The National Design Guide doesn’t use the term England once (or even explain what nation it is planning for) or once explain the evolution, origin and diversity of English development norms.

Any masterplan or code must respond to context in terms of settlement patterns, building materials and local vernacular. I suspect there will just be a few woolly words about local character. This is not good enough, A code is a rule not ‘guidance’ . If all it says is look nice and traditional without any analysis of geographical patterns of form it will be as worthless as a badly written neighbourhood plan design policy.

No other country has attempted such a silly endaeovour as a national design code. Their is a reason for this.

If it was to perform any useful function at all it would codify and replace technical standards in MFS 1 and 2 and incorporate the very latest thinking from the CROW cycling design guide. Their has been no technical group to do this.

Welwyn Hatfield Ignores Inspector and reduces housing target – just to deny housing not to protect Greenfield site

This shows the true motivation of Advocados, anti people not pro environment.

The key site will be removed from the Greenbelt and will be developed at some pint. It has been for 40 years been the preferred direction of growth of Welwyn.

They have ignored government policy to use the 2016 based projections and ignored the governments intention to remove the cap, so their is no intellectual argument for reducing numbers. Its purely and simply cowardice to avoid the political flack for increasibg housing. It is expressly a political decision to deny people housing.

By the way the Inspector made a stupid mistake contrary to national policy with reference to the 2018 projections – as the government says they are nt reliable as households wont form if the homes arn’t available – which WH don’t want to make available. If you are going to use the 2018 projections you have to remove the cap – as the government recently acknowledges, and make an adjustment for household suppression, which the household factor does (badly).

Welwyn Hatfield Times

Welwyn Hatfield borough councillors have agreed to 13,277 homes under the draft Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan, subject to approval by the council’s cabinet and full council.

Originally, it was agreed that Welwyn Hatfield needed 16,000 homes from 2016 to 2036 and the inspector Melvyn Middleton warned the borough if the 16,000 number was not achieved under the Local Plan, the council must withdraw or find more sites.

However, Mr Middleton did say the Full Objectively Assessed Housing Need (FOAHN) – the way housing needed is calculated under a Local Plan – could be revised to take into account 2018 figures, which could require fewer homes to be built.

And council officers have now proposed at the cabinet planning and parking panel on Tuesday, November 17 that the need can be reassessed down to 13,800 and the council could meet this by allocating 13,277 homes.

To justify this new number, the borough has allocated around 2,000 homes at the Wheat Quarter and Bio Park developments on Broadwater Road but reduced the “high harm” Green Belt site, Birchall, by 700 dwellings.

However, a Potters Bar site, PB1, – which crosses Five Acre Wood – would act as a safeguard meaning it “could then be considered as part of a future review, developed during the plan period if required or left undeveloped,” according to a report to the council.

Borough councillor Jane Quinton, a Lib Dem, voiced her discomfort that this new housing need and proposals could be thrown out by Mr Middleton as the council must also pay attention to the nationwide need for housing.

Mr Middleton has said: “In my view, a fundamentally lower housing requirement would not support the national objective to boost the supply of housing, which is as relevant in Welwyn-Hatfield as anywhere.”

The 13,800 figure was agreed by Labour and Conservative councillors Pankit Shah, Alan Chesterman, Glyn Hayes, Tony Kingsbury, Stephen Boulton, Drew Richardson, Samuel Kasumu and Barbara Fitzsimon. While Lib Dem councillors Paul Zukowskyj and Ayesha Rohale voted against with fellow party member Jane Quinton abstaining after they wanted a lower number of housing.

Both Labour councillors Shah and Chesterman advocated a higher housing need was required if the council is able to achieve affordable homes in the borough. A view echoed by Conservative leader of the council Tony Kingsbury – who called for the vote so the meeting could progress.

Cllr Chesterman explained that local residents, who work in our shops, factories and in lower paid jobs need housing and those moving out from London as commuters fo not contribute to the local community.

He also did not like that a lot of the housing is allocated to the towns and “not spread out in the whole borough”, which would reduce open spaces of those living in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.

Cllr Glyn Hayes, also Labour, explained more housing could “squeeze the life out of Welwyn Hatfield” and did not want to give into pressure from the government to turn the borough into concrete.

He added: “This isn’t a plan I would put together [..] but we are stuck with a plan I don’t like.”

He explained that infrastructure such as doctors surgeries, schools and transport were ignored in favour of an idea that everyone walks and cycles, which is a view “shared” by the borough’s residents that primarily drive.

The Lib Dem’s Paul Zukowskyj agreed more social housing needs to be built but thinks many developers “would weasel” their way out of any affordable housing agreement, so substantially fewer homes would make more sense.

Samuel Kasumu, a Conservative councillor, said the fault does not lie with the government and as 80 per cent of Welwyn Hatfield was in the Green Belt it was very likely the borough would not end up a concrete jungle even in his lifetime as one of the “younger” members on the panel.

“We have to consider what kind of garden city we wish to live in and who we want to have the opportunity to live in this wonderful place”, Cllr Kasumu.

When it came to approving the full range of sites, Labour and Lib Dems – who are represented by six councillors on the panel – abstained with five Conservative councillors voting for the draft Local Plan, which carried the vote.

Councillor Stephen Boulton, executive member for environment and planning: said: “Our challenge throughout this process is to balance two competing demands – to protect our green belt and preserve the character of our towns and villages, while delivering the new homes and jobs residents need now and for the future.

“The decisions we have faced are really tough, but I believe with these proposals we have got that balance right.

“We understand the concerns people have about the impact of growth on their quality of life, and that is why the adoption of our Local Plan is so important; it is how we will secure the vital infrastructure such as roads and schools needed to support growth.”