22 February 2019

Lawn need cutting? Floor need to be hoovered or mopped? Put your feet up. You need trouble yourself with tiresome household chores no more with a fleet of robot servants on hand.


Automated home devices are getting smarter and smarter, so you no longer need to manage them quite so much as in the past, either.

The Honda Miimo 3000 will return itself to its docking station when it's running low on battery, while the Roomba i7+ is app or voice controlled meaning you needn't lift even a finger.

And most of these products have been around for a while in some form so have had any irritating faults and less useful features ironed out — on that note, when will the robot iron be invented?

Here are four of the best home cleaning robots currently on the market.



About £348: design your own wall art with the Scribit

Promising to crawl up and down any vertical plane, this clever robot inks the walls as it goes, turning them into giant interactive canvases, like the fun high diver on the right.

Think of it as a sort of plotter, using coloured pens to draw and producing up to 15 colour combinations. All you need is a power point.

It can draw any content sourced from the web, and there is a growing library of online designs to choose from, with everything from geometric patterns to inspirational quotes.

The Scribit can erase its work in a jiffy and start again, changing the designs according to your whim.


iRobot Roomba i7+


£1,199: sit back and tell the robot to vacuum

This robotic vacuum cleaner may be pricey but it has an invaluable feature: when it returns to its charging base it empties its dustbin into a disposable bag that holds 30 bins’ worth, so shouldn’t need emptying for weeks.

It makes its own map of your home and offers both app and voice controls, so you can tell it which rooms to clean from your sun lounger.


iRobot Braava

£249.99: this little jet robot will whizz round loos and pedestals to mop the floor

If you have hard floors, an iRobot Braava robotic mop will make them shine. The smaller Braava jet 240 is designed to sweep and mop spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms and is able to whizz around objects such as loos and pedestals.

Meanwhile, the larger 390T can handle an open-plan living space of up to almost 1,000sq ft in a single pass, dry- or wet-mopping floors daily to ensure they are always clean and gleaming.


Honda Miimo 3000

£2,350: not cheap but a huge timesaver, this robo mower can be scheduled via app

Prepare for spring. Robo mowers aren’t cheap but they are huge time savers. This one can be scheduled via app and is so quiet that it can do the job in the middle of the night without disturbing anyone.

Miimo mows little and often, scattering the tiny clippings to fertilise the lawn. It automatically heads back to its docking station whenever it runs out of juice.

Big wheels mean it copes well with bumps and inclines, while it mows lawns of up to an acre.


See original article here


13 February 2019
Cash boost to help build 200,000 homes in new garden towns has been announced

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and Kit Malthouse MP

A £9 million cash injection to speed up the locally-led building of new garden towns and villages across the country has been announced today (13 February 2019).

The Garden Communities project is expected to deliver 200,000 properties on large sites by 2050, and the latest funding will help get 21 sites ready for development.

The government project is helping ambitious councils get well-designed homes built on large sites, and the money will help pay for master-planning and technical studies.

Work is already underway on 10,000 properties across the country in garden towns and villages, with 36,000 expected to be underway or completed by 2022.

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP said:

We have not built enough homes in this country for the last three decades, and we are turning that around as we work towards our target to build 300,000 properties a year by the mid-2020s.

This £9 million funding boost is giving councils the support and cash injection they need so they can finish planning new developments and get diggers on site.

The developments being funded include a 2,000 home site for custom and self-builders in Bicester, on land purchased by the council from the Ministry of Defence.

It also includes developments in Basingstoke, Didcot, Taunton, Harlow-Gilston and across Northamptonshire where work is already underway on the first phase of developments.

The funding will be administered by Homes England.


Place Capacity award Homes

Aylesbury £420,000 15,000

Basingstoke £695,000 10,000

Bicester £770,000 13,000

Harlow & Gilston £715,000 24,000

North Essex (Colchester, Tendring & Braintree) £1,000,000 43,000

North Northants (Corby, Kettering & Wellingborough) £725,000 33,000

Otterpool Park, Folkestone £1,250,000 10,000

Taunton £550,000 15,000

Bailrigg £100,000 3,500

Culm, Mid Devon £300,000 5,000

Dunton Hills £100,000 3,500

Halsnead £300,000 1,589

Handforth £150,000 1,650

Infinity, Derbyshire £150,000 3,200

Longmarston £300,000 3,500

Longcross £125,000 1,700

West Oxfordshire £150,000 2,200

Tresham £300,000 1,500

Welbourne £300,000 6,000

West Carclaze £300,000 1,500

St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle £300,000 10,000


See original article here




Brokenshire champions parks with over £13 million new funding

Councils across the country are to benefit from more than £13 million funding to breathe new life in to our green spaces for the benefit of all.


Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP


Government announces £9.7 million for local authorities to improve their parks and green spaces

A further £2.75 million confirmed for the Pocket parks plus programme

£1.2 million invested in the National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Future Parks Accelerator initiative

Councils across the country are to benefit from more than £13 million funding to breathe new life in to our green spaces for the benefit of all, Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP confirmed today (Sunday 17 February).

From day-to-day maintenance costs to essential playground repairs and the creation of new green spaces, £9.7 million of new funding will give local leaders and communities resources to better maintain, protect and increase their recreational spaces.

An additional £2.75 million will also be made available for the pocket parks plus programme to support communities to take the lead in transforming their neglected and derelict spaces.

A further £1.2 million has been provided to the National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Future Parks Accelerator initiative. The partnership supports local authorities to test new and innovative approaches to managing and funding parks, ensuring the benefits of public parks and green spaces are enjoyed by future generations.

With this latest set of actions, this government reaffirms its commitment to creating great places to live and work and ensure communities are able to enjoy the benefits parks and green spaces bring to local life.


Communities Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

"Our parks and green spaces are huge assets to our towns and cities, offering precious spaces for all of us to get together, to exercise and to play."

"This latest funding will support bold proposals to help renovate and restore existing parks and create new vibrant, safe green spaces for our communities."

"The future of our nation’s parks is an issue close to all our hearts and we will do all we can to preserve these vital green lungs that breathe life into our communities."


Today’s announcement builds on action the government has already taken to encourage more people to make better use of parks including:

creating the £1 million ‘pocket parks’ fund to help communities transform neglected and derelict spaces and establish over 80 new green spaces in urban areas across the country.

extending the Green Flag Award licence by a further five years in September 2017 means the people behind Britain’s best parks and green spaces will continue to be recognised and awarded for their tireless dedication.

The government will continue to work with the Parks Action Group, which represents leaders from across the parks sector, to help ensure that current and future generations can continue to access safe, high quality and local parks.

See original article here