Five things you need to know this week

The biggest placemaking stories from the past seven days, including the unveiling of plans for a £100 million mixed-use development in Birmingham.

The planned Great Charles Place project in Birmingham
The planned Great Charles Place project in Birmingham

Detailed proposals for a planned £100 million mixed-use project in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter have been unveiled by developer Sterling Property Ventures and funding partner Long Harbour Ltd. The first phase of the Great Charles Place scheme seeks to deliver 8,000 sq ft of space for small businesses, alongside retail and leisure space, and 320 apartments. A second phase seeks to deliver a 205,000 sq ft office development with car parking facilities. 

Tightening developer obligations to fund more affordable homes through the planning process could help deliver 100,000 affordable public homes annually over the next five years, according to a report by Labour's new shadow housing and planning minister. The report by John Healey and published by think-tank the Smith Institute, says during the last Parliament government "made it easier for developers to get away with building fewer affordable homes by introducing a test of project viability". 

Hundreds of affordable homes are being built on redundant public sector sites in Scotland, including hospitals, prisons and police stations, the Scottish Government announced. Among the projects supported by the Scottish Government is a £34.2 million redevelopment project to transform the former Eastern General Hospital in Edinburgh into 291 homes, as well as proposals to deliver around 120 homes on the site of the former Craiginches Prison in Aberdeen.

The Guardian reports that hundreds of protesters attacked a cereal café in east London on Saturday as part of an anti-gentrification demonstration. According to the newspaper, the café has been "seen by some as a symbol of inequality in east London". The Guardian added that the Facebook event page for the protest said: "We don’t want luxury flats that no one can afford, we want genuinely affordable housing. We don’t want pop-up gin bars or brioche buns, we want community." 

Hundreds of electric bikes will be installed at cycle-hire schemes across the country as part of a drive to make cycling more accessible, transport minister Andrew Jones announced. The government said the so-called ‘e-bikes’ that offer battery-assisted pedalling "will make it easier for people who are keen to cycle more but who may be put off by hilly routes or not having cycled regularly".


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