City's grand designs at festival for planet 🌍

Welcome to our latest Wednesday update!

City's grand designs at festival for planet  🌍
Goldsmith Street in Norwich will feature in the two-day conference 

Welcome to the Wednesday Seeker!

Did you get caught in that rain on Tuesday? Luckily I was able to leave my bike in the secure bike park at St Andrews and get the bus home, but I did wonder how the drains and buildings would cope as the water gushed past, not to mention everyone struggling to get home in the deluge.

Which ties in nicely with our lead story today about how Norwich is hosting the Design for Planet Festival looking at how we can build and plan sustainably as part of a Net Zero future.

Guess what? We're just shy of 900 subscribers! As I've only a few weeks left in The Seeker hotseat, how about we get to over 1000? May be you could refer-a-friend, or add us to your email lists and socials? 🙏

📰Today's Edition

  • Better by design
  • Campaigner's UN trip
  • Growing gains
  • Solar sale
  • Misrule of law
  • Out and about

So let's get going!

UEA to host Design for Planet festival

Leading voices in sustainability and design are heading to Norwich next month to look at ways to collaborate towards a net zero future.

The two-day Design for Planet festival brings together in person and online leading experts from the world of design, fashion, built environment, policy, media and education to find collective solutions for dealing with climate change.

Speakers at the flagship Design Council event, which starts on October 17, include design anthropologist, Dori Tunstall, science communicator Asher Minns, illustrator and designer Stefanie Posavec, as well as social housing activist and TV presenter Kwajo Tweneboa.

Housing campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa. Photo: Supplied

Free to attend, topics range from designing with communities in mind, future mobility needs, and climate justice through housing design.

Delegates will also have an opportunity to discover more about some of the city's sustainable design successes including the Goldsmiths Street housing redevelopment, The UEA Enterprise Centre, and Passivhaus homes in the city.

Cat Drew, Chief Design Officer of the Design Council and Design for Planet Festival Curator said: “The climate crisis is too big for anyone to solve on their own. We need to collaborate with citizens and consumers to co-design solutions that people will actually use."

Discover how Norwich Eco Hub and Aviva are supporting the Possitopia Festival in November where you can help create a green, safe, and fair future for the city.

Norwich campaigner's UN visit

Disability rights campaigners make the case against cuts at the UN in Geneva. Photo: Mark Harrison (centre)

Norwich disability rights campaigner Mark Harrison has returned to the United Nations to highlight how austerity and welfare changes have hit disabled people.

Mark, of DPAC Norfolk, joined fellow disability organisations in Geneva for an evidence inquiry session to follow up a special investigation carried out by the UN committee responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People.

Issues looked at in its original 2016 report included the closure of the Independent Living Fund, the Bedroom Tax and the introduction of the Work Capability Assessment.

Campaigners also condemned the UK government's failure to provide an update to the UN committee as "the latest demonstration of their contempt for deaf and disabled people".

Mark said things had got worse for disabled people since 2016 while a recent government's Health and Disability White Paper outlining a shift towards Universal Credit, could force people unable to work because of their disabilities into a 'sanctions regime'.

"Changes to benefits and social care have disproportionately hit disabled people relative to the rest of the population," he said.

Growing gains?

Are the benefits of growth in and around the city finally being realised?

Yes say South Norfolk Council's ruling cabinet who recently lauded the start of work to build a new multi-use sports pavilion at Cringleford.

The £2.5m project on the 350 home St Giles Park housing development is designed to provide sports facilities for local junior teams as well as community functions and exercise classes.

There are also plans for a nursery for up to 30 children.

The project is being funded by £1.8 million  from Cringleford Parish Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy reserves, £800,000 from South Norfolk Council’s Co-Investment Grant Fund, as well as a £650,000 developer contribution from Big Sky Living, a company also owned by South Norfolk Council.

With housing developments also popping up around Easton, and nearby on the Dereham Road before Longwater, there could be quite a developer pot to fund the new facilities.

And yet there are also concerns about the lack of joined up thinking to extract cash from developers to connect the areas to the city with decent public transport networks or cycling routes.

South Norfolk Cabinet member, Lisa Neal said it would be a 'fantastic new resource' for people in and around Cringleford.

Solar sale

A scheme to cut the costs of solar panels and batteries for homes and businesses is back.

The Solar Together group buying scheme is open to city residents or firms looking to opt for sustainable clean and cheap energy, including electric vehicle charging points. Since its launch the countywide scheme has seen 15,600 solar panels installed across Norfolk.

Emma Hampton, cabinet member for climate change at Norwich City Council, which has been involved in the scheme since 2015, said it offers a simpler way for people to make the switch to low carbon renewables.

Register by October 27.

Misrule of Law

Ministers risk undermining the rule of law in this country by legal cherry picking to suit their political agenda.

That is the warning by former attorney-general Dominic Grieve who will be giving the annual Norfolk Community Law lecture at the Hostry, Norwich Cathedral, next Thursday.

The former Conservative MP and Brexit critic, will also share insights into his time in government and how lack of access to legal services risks undermining confidence in the system.

Out and About

Looking for something to do this weekend?

🎵 Scrumptious Sundays - Head to the Riverbridge Building in Oak Street for good vibes and family fun

🏯 Why not explore Caistor Roman Town with guided tours this Sunday?

🤣 Or head to the Reindeer in Dereham Road Sunday night for comic fun and fundraising for Norwich Food Banks courtesy of the 'Earlham Bus Incident: Greedy Bustards!' show.

Thank you for supporting The Seeker!

See you again on Saturday.