15 OCT 2018
Bellway breaks 10,000-homes barrier
15 OCT 2018
Lodger dodgers and Airbnb landlords may be targeted in Budget
14 OCT 2018
Government to make new homes freehold with ground rents capped
26 SEPT 2018
Not fake news - the truth about Britain's new homes
25 SEPT 2018
Not fake news - the truth about Britain's new homes
24 SEPT 2018
Labour unveils review of planning system
24 SEPT 2018
Holiday home market could be hit by Labour's £560m tax plan
26 SEPT 2018
Why build more when you can build less
19 SEPT 2018
What now for faster house sales as search roll out ‘could take seven years’?
18 SEPT 2018
May to announce £2bn for ‘strategic partnerships’ with associations at NHF conference
10 SEPT 2018
A slide, cocktail bars and a cinema room
13 SEPT 2018
Planning practice guidance
12 SEPT 2018
Housing Land Supply in Oxfordshire
07 SEPT 2018
House prices rose at fastest rate in almost a year, says Halifax
25 MAY 17
Learning from zoos -
26 AUG 18
Theresa May's housing adviser backs a controversial campaign
16 AUG 18
How housing has divided the young
16 AUG 18
James Brokenshire plans increase in garden towns.
26 JUL 18
Government publishes revised NPPF
26 JUL 18
Housing need ruled more important than heritage hopes in Bournemouth scheme
19 JUL 18
James Brokenshire provides stronger powers for councils to tackle empty homes
Appeal: Housing need ruled more important than heritage hopes in Bournemouth scheme
An inspector has overturned a refusal for an application to demolish a doctor’s surgery and replace it with flats in Bournemouth. He said the need for housing outweighed the heritage aspirations of an emerging neighbourhood plan.
Holton Homes had appealed against the decision by Bournemouth Borough Council.
The building is not statutorily listed, is not located within a conservation area and does not appear on the council’s “list of locally important buildings”. However, it is recognised within the emerging Boscombe and Pokesdown Neighbourhood Plan (NP) as a candidate for listing at a local level.
Planning inspector Robert Parker noted that the definition of “heritage asset” within the glossary to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) does not preclude assets identified by third parties and therefore treated the appeal building as a non-designated heritage asset.
He acknowledged the proposal would run contrary to the aspiration, as expressed through the emerging NP, for retaining the existing building. The aim of the government’s neighbourhood planning agenda to give communities direct power to shape the development and growth of their local area was a material consideration of high importance, he said. However, the weight attached to it in this case is tempered by the fact that the emerging NP has not yet been examined or subject to a referendum.
Parker said there is no statutory protection for the building as it stands. Prior approval had already been granted for demolition and he could not ignore “the realistic possibility that this course of action would be taken in the event of the appeal being dismissed”.
The harm to the character of the area from demolishing the building must be balanced against the benefits of using previously developed land to provide much-needed housing within 400 metres of a key transport route and within walking distance of local services in Boscombe.
Parker said that the new flats may not be attractive to all types of occupier, possibly appealing more to individual occupiers and couples than to families with children. However, the framework advises planning authorities to deliver a wide choice of high-quality homes and against this background the scheme was satisfactory.
He therefore allowed the appeal and granted planning permission.
The inspector’s report – case reference 3169594
Full article from The Planner here
Government publishes revised NPPF
National Planning Policy Framework can be viewed here
Building attractive and better-designed homes in areas where they are needed is at the centre of new planning rules published by Secretary of State Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP today (24 July 2018).
The new rules will also make it easier for councils to challenge poor quality and unattractive development, and give communities a greater voice about how developments should look and feel.
The revised National Planning Policy Framework follows a public consultation launched by the Prime Minister earlier this year to provide a comprehensive approach for planners, developers and councils to build more homes, more quickly and in the places where people want to live.
The new rule book will focus on:
promoting high quality design of new homes and places
stronger protection for the environment
building the right number of homes in the right places
greater responsibility and accountability for housing delivery from councils and developers
Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
Fundamental to building the homes our country needs is ensuring that our planning system is fit for the future.
This revised planning framework sets out our vision of a planning system that delivers the homes we need. I am clear that quantity must never compromise the quality of what is built, and this is reflected in the new rules.
We have listened to the tens of thousands of people who told us their views, making this a shared strategy for development in England.
Ministers have been clear on their ambition to achieve 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, which follows 217,000 homes built last year, the biggest increase in housing supply in England for almost a decade.
The new rules will see 85 of the proposals set out in the housing white paper and the Budget, implemented in the new National Planning Policy Framework.
Promoting high quality design of new homes and places
Refocusing on the quality and design of proposals which are in line with what local communities want, the framework ensures councils have the confidence and tools to refuse permission for development that does not prioritise design quality and does not complement its surroundings.
With an emphasis on engaging with communities and allowing residents to see proposed development before it’s even built, the new framework encourages councils to make use of innovative new visual tools to promote better design and quality, which will also make sure new homes fit in with their surroundings.
Adopted neighbourhood plans will demonstrate clear local leadership in design quality, with the framework allowing groups seeking such plans to truly reflect the community’s expectations on how new development will visually contribute to their area.
Whilst the framework sets the strategic direction for driving up new build quality, it will remain up to councils to apply these polices in the most appropriate way in their area, recognising that they are well placed to know their area’s unique character and setting.
To maximise the use of land we are promoting more effective use of the land available and giving councils more confidence to refuse applications that don’t provide enough homes.
Stronger protection for the environment
The new framework has also been updated to provide further protection for biodiversity; ensuring wildlife thrives at the same time as addressing the need for new homes.
Changes to the framework see the planning system align more closely with Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan, which aims to leave the environment in a better state for future generations. This includes more protection for habitats, and places greater importance on air quality when deciding development proposals.
It provides strengthened protection for ancient woodland and ancient and veteran trees across England, ensuring they can be retained for the benefit of future generations.
Whilst giving councils real flexibility to make the most of their existing brownfield land, the revised framework makes sure they exhaust all other reasonable options for development before looking to alter a Green Belt boundary.
The government has more explicitly outlined the protection of the Green Belt in England, explaining the high expectations and considerable evidence that would be needed to alter any boundary.
Building the right number of homes in the right places
To help tackle unaffordable house prices in many areas across the country, the framework sets out a new way for councils to calculate the housing need of their local community (including different forms of housing, such as older people’s retirement homes).
This new methodology aims to deliver more homes in the places where they are most needed, based on factors including the affordability of existing homes for people on lower and medium incomes.
Greater responsibility and accountability for housing delivery from councils and developers
From November 2018 councils will have a Housing Delivery Test focused on driving up the numbers of homes actually delivered in their area, rather than how many are planned for.
In addition, to make sure that the necessary infrastructure and affordable housing is delivered to support communities, clearer guidance for both developers and councils will also be published today.
Meaning that developers will know what is expected of them up front, even before they submit a planning application and councils have greater power to hold them to these commitments.
The publication of the National Planning Policy Framework follows the government’s first Design Quality Conference held in London earlier this year, which demonstrated our commitment to engaging local government and industry to promote and deliver a step change in the design quality of new development.
See the final National Planning Policy Framework published today (24 July 2018).
During the consultation the government held 10 regional engagement events and approximately 40 individual meetings.
29,224 responses received to the government’s consultation on the revised National Planning Policy Framework. This included over 25,000 campaign responses.
James Brokenshire provides stronger powers for councils to tackle empty homes
Councils across England will have powers to charge even greater Council Tax premiums on homes left empty for many years following an amendment to a government bill.
Introduced in March, this legislation originally contained provision for councils to double the rate of tax on properties that had been empty for 2 years or more.
The government is now going further and introducing an amendment that would allow councils to triple the council tax on homes left empty for five to 10 years and quadruple it on those empty for more than a decade.
Homes which have been empty for between 2 and 5 years would still be subject to the Council Tax bill being doubled under the proposal.
Secretary of State for Communities the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
We’re determined to do everything we can to ensure our communities have the housing they need.
That’s why we’re giving councils extra flexibility to increase bills and incentivise owners to bring long-standing empty homes back into use.
By equipping councils with the right tools to get on with the job, we could potentially provide thousands more families with a place to call home.
Councils will be able to use funds from the premium to keep Council Tax levels down for hard working families.
Currently, there are just over 200,000 homes empty for 6 months or more in England, compared to 300,000 in 2010. This number has reduced dramatically since 2013 after councils were given powers to charge a 50% premium on council tax bills.
The vast majority of councils have introduced 50 per cent premiums on long-term empty homes. Where councils have applied the premium consistently every year, there has been a nine per cent fall in the number of homes being charged the premium.
To ensure the proposed new powers are not used to unfairly punish those facing difficult circumstances, the government has also announced today that it will publish revised guidance for councils on the use of premiums. This will also take into account issues relating to low-demand areas and ensure it does not hinder complex regeneration schemes.
The move is one of a range of measures introduced by the government to fix the country’s broken housing market. Through an ambitious package of long-term reform and targeted investment, government is ensuring communities have the homes they need.
The amendment was made during the Third Reading of the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill in the House of Lords today (18 July 2018).
Decisions on whether to charge a premium, and the exact rates to be charged will remain a matter for councils, taking local circumstances into account. It is anticipated that councils will be able to charge 100% premiums from April 2019, 200% premiums from April 2020 and 300% premiums from 2021.
The government is clear that the premium must not be applied where homeowners can demonstrate that their properties are genuinely on the market for sale or rent, or in cases of hardship. Councils will also need to take into account the issues of low-demand areas.
Councils have powers to refrain from charging the empty homes premium in individual cases, and there are various exemptions. No Council Tax at all can be charged on empty properties where the liable council taxpayer:
has gone into care or hospital, is severely mentally impaired or has gone elsewhere to provide care
is living elsewhere in armed forces accommodation for job-related purposes
has died and probate has yet to be granted
No Council Tax premium can be charged on annexes being used as part of a main property.
Councils already have powers and incentives to tackle empty homes. Through the New Homes Bonus scheme introduced in 2011, councils earn the same financial reward for bringing an empty home back into use as for building a new one.
Since 2013, councils have been able to charge a 50% premium on the council tax bills of owners of homes empty for two years or more. A total of 291 out of 326 councils applied an empty homes premium in 2017 to 2018. All but 3 are charging the premium at the maximum 50% rate.
Full article from Gov.uk here
New garden communities programme announced.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP calls for an increase in garden towns in England, as he announces the new garden communities programme.
The programme will see more high quality homes built and green spaces created, expanding on government’s plans for more locally-led developments.
The garden towns push in England is part of government’s clear ambition to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
Councils across England and private developers who have secured support from local authorities will be able to apply for a place on the programme
The winning bidders will receive tailored advice and potential grant funding for help with staffing or environmental assessments; part of the planning process for new garden towns.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
This plan is about the government working with councils and developers to get great homes in keeping with beautiful areas in England.
We want to help local authorities build strong and vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and raise families.
Our garden communities programme already has the potential to provide over 200,000 new homes by 2050, and we want to go further.
Strong community involvement and engagement will be at the heart of judging garden community proposals; ensuring developments reflect local character while also designing beautiful green spaces near homes.
Garden communities can take the form of new villages, towns or cities and have the potential to deliver well designed homes at an increased scale, with projects ranging in size from 10,000 to 40,000 homes.
This prospectus is the latest step by government to get Britain building, with 23 locally-led garden communities already receiving funding support, with the potential to deliver over 200,000 homes by 2050.
The launch today signals the start of a 3 month application process, with successful garden community proposals being announced later in the New Year.
Last year 217,000 homes were built, marking the biggest increase in housing supply in England for almost a decade.
Rising house prices have not only left fewer young people able to buy a home, they have also divided them into property "haves" and "have-nots".
Over the past 25 years only a small group of young adults have been able to get on to the property ladder - and this has been getting smaller.
A result of rapidly rising house prices, this trend has led to concerns that younger generations will never be as wealthy as their parents.
But housing inequality doesn't just exist between the young and the old.
It has also led to a divide between richer and poorer young adults.
The young homeowners
Home ownership among the young has fallen across all income groups.
Indeed, among the top fifth - those with a family income of £41,000 a year after tax - the proportion of those aged 25 to 34 who own a home has fallen from 85% 20 years ago to 65% now.
This is the same proportion as that for middle-income earners - those who would now have a family income of £22,200 to £30,600 after tax - 20 years ago.
The decline among this middle-income group has been even greater, with just 27% now homeowners.
And the proportion drops to just 8% among those on less than £15,080, who make up the bottom fifth in terms of income.
In other words, rising house prices have seen home ownership become increasingly the preserve of not just older generations but also the better-off among the young.
About 40% of young homeowners have household incomes in the top fifth of their age-group - up from 30% in the mid-1990s.
What has happened to explain such a huge change in a relatively short period of time?
The main reason is that house prices rose rapidly during much of the 1990s and 2000s.
Accounting for inflation, house prices have risen by almost 160% since the mid-1990s while young people's incomes have grown by only 23%. This means that fewer and fewer can afford to get on the housing ladder.
This gulf can essentially explain all of the fall in the home ownership rate over the past 20 years, analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests.
A country divided
Of course, there are a wide variety of experiences within any generation and these housing trends have not affected all young people equally.
Over the past 20 years, these large falls in home ownership have been seen among young people across the country.
But some places have fared much better than others.
The biggest falls in home ownership have been in south-east England, where house prices rose especially steeply.
Twenty years ago, 64% of 25- to 34-year-olds in this area owned a home, a figure that has now halved, to just 32%.
There's a similar picture in London, where the proportion of homeowners of this age fell from 47% to 20% over the same period.
This is in contrast to smaller falls in areas where house price rises were less dramatic.
In north-east England and Cumbria, for example, the number of homeowners fell from 54% in 1995-96 to 44% in 2015-16.
Renters V owners
This picture of rising house prices has led to a steep decline in home ownership between the generations.
At the age of 25, 40% of people born in 1969 owned their own home, compared with 15% of those born in 1989.
And while it may be that an increasingly small band of young people own their own home, the inequalities do not end there.
The divide between young homeowners and renters is growing over time, as those who have managed to buy a home are benefiting from historically low mortgage interest rates.
This has kept the proportion of their monthly income spent on housing each month down. When they reached their late 20s, homeowners born in the early 1980s spent 15% of their income on mortgage interest payments, compared with the 28% spent by renters of the same age.
This is tilting the playing field further against those who are unable to buy, in a way that was not true for previous generations.
In fact, because low interest rates make home ownership more attractive, they have probably helped keep house prices high.
This locks out those who can't raise a big enough deposit, while benefiting those who can.
Of course, homebuyers also have to slowly pay back the cost of the property itself as part of their overall mortgage. This means on average their total monthly payments are higher - but they will eventually own their property, unlike the renters.
Not only is this group finding home ownership out of reach but high housing costs mean that more and more young adults have less to save for the future or to spend on themselves and their families today.
By Jonathan Cribb
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Theresa May's housing adviser backs a controversial campaign to force landowners to offer huge discounts on the price of their land, it can be revealed.
Toby Lloyd, who was hired by Mrs May in April, called for an overhaul of compulsory purchase laws months before his appointment to Downing Street.
Writing on the website of Shelter, Mr Lloyd, then head of policy at the housing and homelessness charity, said the government should be able to buy up land at its "true market value", rather than current rates, which generally include a speculative uplift based on planning permission the site could gain for future development.
"The current value of land is inflated – because its value is dictated by the wildest dreams of the landowner and enforced through legal processes ... We need to reset the price of land to its true market value," he wrote in November. "That means reforming the compulsory purchase laws ... which ultimately determine the market price of land."
Last week a coalition of organisations, led by Onward, a new think tank, and including Shelter, started a formal campaign for such a move, with an open letter to James Brokenshire, the Housing Secretary.
Mr Lloyd "liked" a tweet by Will Tanner, Mrs May's former deputy head of policy and now director of Onward, canvassing support.
Today, the Home Builders Federation, the industry group for developers, warns in a letter to The Sunday Telegraph that the campaign seeks a "wholesale erosion of private property rights".
The open letter to Mr Brokenshire had claimed that agricultural land typically becomes at least 100 times more valuable when it is granted permission for housing to be built.
The groups, also including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said more of the uplift in value should be "captured" to provide benefits to the local community.
They also called on the Government to "reform the 1961 Land Compensation Act to clarify that local authorities should be able to compulsorily purchase land at fair market value that does not include prospective planning permission, rather than speculative 'hope' value."
In his letter to The Sunday Telegraph, Stewart Baseley, the executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, insists that the existing system "provides communities with billions of pounds worth of infrastructure and affordable housing each year, as a by-product of private housing delivery."
"This new campaign seeks an entire rewriting of the system and wholesale erosion of private property rights," he adds.
"After a few years of progress in addressing decades of undersupply, we must not become complacent. Compromising the delivery of homes for families to buy because of an ideological opposition to private housebuilders and landowners would do nothing to tackle the housing crisis."
Find the full article here
By Edward Malnick
Learning from zoos - How our environment can influence our health
We are told that we are a nation of couch potatoes, lacking the will and the strength to turn around the obesity tanker. We all need a little help in our quest for a healthier life, and design can play a crucial part. If we designed our towns, cities, homes and workplaces more like animal experts design zoos, we could be one step nearer to reaching our fitness goals – as long as we can have some fun along the way.
It is reported that British people will be the fattest in Europe by 2025 and that if we want to reverse this we should have a healthier lifestyle by exercising more and eating less. But we are often made to feel guilty for not sticking to these healthy lifestyle plans. I would suggest that before we start blaming people for adopting sedentary lifestyles, we should be taking a step back to look at the design of the environments, towns and cities in which we live.
The link between the design of the built and natural environment and its role in our health and wellbeing has been well explored. Now new research, led by Lancaster University, on “design for health” suggests that the environment, including buildings, cities, urban spaces and transport infrastructure, is closely linked to the lifestyles we adopt.
What is abundantly clear is that, as we shape our environment, it is also shaping us. Our psychological, physiological and physical status, as well as our interactions with other people and with the natural environment, are all affected. A key challenge that governments and policy makers worldwide are facing is how our built environment and infrastructure should be shaped to support healthier behaviours to prevent disease.
First, we should stop focusing on methods that tell people what to (or not to) do and which attempt to change their behaviour simply through media campaigns and punitive measures, such as tax schemes. While seeking to minimise the barriers that prevent healthy behaviours, we should make sure that the design of new environments is taken into account.
Looking to zoos
A good model would be to look at how zoos are designed. Before a zoo is built, it is common practice for zoologists, biologists, animal psychologists, nutritionists, architects, designers and landscape architects to work closely together to create an environment that optimises the living conditions for the animals.
Important environmental elements, such as vegetation, habitat, lighting, materials and each animal’s requirements are taken into account. The ultimate aim is to design an environment that fully supports the animals’ physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Ironically, we do not seem to make the same demands when a town, neighbourhood or workplace environment for humans is planned and designed.
Another opportunity that has recently emerged is the healthy new town NHS initiative. The aim is to radically rethink how we live and take an ambitious look at improving health through the built environment. Ten demonstrator towns will be built across England with community health and wellbeing as their main focus. Clinicians, designers and technology experts will re-imagine how healthcare can be delivered in these places. Although this is a step in the right direction, what it is currently missing is the more holistic approach we have seen in the design of the zoos.
A crucial element in designing these towns so they are places that people would want to live in, is to include community members in their creation. This strategy would help design in health-promoting behaviours, such as access to healthy food outlets or green spaces in which people can walk and exercise.
Playful design – the mapping of playful experiences from games and toys to other non-game contexts – can play an important role here in inviting and encouraging people towards healthier alternatives. For example, the piano stairs project in Stockholm, which converts the metro stairs into a giant functioning piano keyboard – much like the piano made famous in the Tom Hanks film Big (1988) – demonstrates great promise. It encourages commuters to opt for the intriguing new stairway instead of the escalators to enjoy making musical movements as they go up and down.
A project in The Netherlands, meanwhile, illustrates how everyday street furniture, such as lampposts, benches and bollards, can be inexpensively converted into impromptu exercise devices, inviting people to engage in casual activity and socialise with their neighbours. We could therefore envisage several other contexts where playfulness can transform mundane everyday activities into fun ones that encourage people into a more active and social lifestyle.
We could convert building walls into activity walls to encourage stretching of arms and legs through touch; redesign public squares and walkways into interactive dance floors that invite movement and guide you through a city; and transform workplace spaces and public places into “playgrounds” that boost movement and productivity and decrease lethargy.
So, there you have it. If we want to be a nation of lean, mean and healthy citizens, we need to learn from zoos and the animals that live in them. And we need to embrace playfulness and enjoy the place where we live. That way, we can tackle life with a hop, skip and a jump.
Find the full article here
By Emmanuel Tsekleves
House prices rose at fastest rate in almost a year, says Halifax
Lender’s August data differs from that of rival Nationwide, pointing to north-south market
House price inflation has risen to its highest rate in nearly a year, according to Halifax, with prices accelerating at an annual rate of 3.7%, significantly above the rate of wage growth.
Britain’s biggest mortgage lender said the price of an average home in the UK hit a record £229,958 in August despite the month-on-month increase slowing to 0.1%.
Its managing director, Russell Galley, said: “A low unemployment rate and a gradual pickup in wage growth are helping to support household finances. This has been accompanied by interest rates still remaining at a historically low rate and a stable, yet constrained, supply of new homes onto the market further supporting house prices.”
But the Halifax figures show a marked divergence from the other closely watched index of prices, issued by rival mortgage lender Nationwide. Last week Nationwide said its data for August showed the biggest monthly fall for six years, lopping more than £2,200 off the typical house price.
Both lending indices have to deal with a relatively low number of transactions and a two-track UK property market in which activity and prices have stalled in the south but are robust in the north.
In Leeds, Mark Manning of the estate agents Manning Stainton said: “We experienced the strongest month we’ve had since 2007. The number of properties we sold in August was up by 9% compared with the same time last year and we also experienced an increase in first-time buyer activity, with a 16% increase in inquires compared to the same time last year. The housing market is still in a robust position and prices will keep rising steadily.”
In London, the market is “largely stuck in neutral”, said Jeremy Leaf, an estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. “Both buyers and sellers need to come to terms with new market realities.”
However, Jonathan Hopper, one of the previously more downbeat commentators on the London market, said there were signs of a fragile pickup in the capital, dampening hopes that prices could fall further.
“While Britain’s tortuous Brexit negotiations, and the fear of an inconclusive no-deal, still have the potential to deliver a market earthquake, for now the national picture remains one of fragile progress,” said the managing director of Garrington Property Finders.
Find the full article here
by Patrick Collinson
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
In March this year the Government committed to the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, to support ambitious plans to deliver 100,000 homes by 2031. The Oxfordshire-wide Joint Statutory Spatial Plan to be adopted by 2021 will be supported by £215 million of funding to help deliver more affordable housing and infrastructure improvements to support sustainable development across the county.
Paragraph 217 of the National Planning Policy Framework sets out that the Government will explore potential planning freedoms and flexibilities, for example where this would facilitate an increase in the amount of housing that can be delivered. Such freedoms and flexibilities are to be considered by the Government on a case by case basis. In this instance the Government has worked closely with the authorities in Oxfordshire to agree planning freedoms and flexibilities that will support the ambitious plan-led approach through a Joint Spatial Strategy and the Housing Deal.
As part of the Housing Deal, Oxfordshire sought flexibility from the National Planning Policy Framework policy on maintaining a 5 year housing land supply. This policy supports the delivery of housing by ensuring sufficient land is coming forward to meet housing need. However, we recognise the ambitious plans in Oxford to deliver above their housing need in the long term. The Government wants to support this strategic approach to supporting housing delivery through joint working. We have therefore agreed to provide a short term flexibility which will support the delivery of the local plans for the area and ensure that the local authorities can focus their efforts on their Joint Spatial Strategy. The Government recognises that in the short term this will result in fewer permissions being granted under paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework but the Government believes that it is important to support these ambitious plans that will deliver more housing in the longer term.
Having considered the responses from a local consultation, which closed on the 12th July 2018, I am today implementing a temporary change to housing land supply policies as they apply in Oxfordshire.
For the purposes of decision-taking under paragraph 11(d), footnote 7 of the National Planning Policy Framework will apply where the authorities in Oxfordshire cannot demonstrate a three year supply of deliverable housing sites (with the appropriate buffer, as set out in paragraph 73). This policy flexibility does not apply to the Housing Delivery Test limb of footnote 7 of the National Planning Policy Framework nor plan making policy in paragraph 67. If a local authority intends to fix their land supply under paragraph 74 they will still be required to demonstrate a minimum of five year supply of deliverable housing sites, with the appropriate buffer.
This statement is a material consideration in planning decisions and applies to those local planning authorities in Oxfordshire with whom the Government has agreed the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, namely Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council. This statement applies from today and remains in effect until the adoption of the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan in each area, provided the timescales agreed in the Housing and Growth Deal are adhered to. I will monitor progress against these timescales and keep the planning flexibility set out in this statement under review.
National Planning Policy Framework
The National Planning Policy Framework was published on 27 March 2012 and revised on 24 July 2018 and sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.
Download the full policy document here.
A slide, cocktail bars and a cinema room: inside the UK's most luxurious student accommodation
Forget the damp basements, slugs climbing up the walls and lumpy mattresses of your university halls. Developers have realised that they have to work much harder to attract the current crop of students and their rent money.
A slew of student properties across the country now boast features including rooftop bars, saunas, cinema rooms and even a helter skelter, to make getting out of bed and off to morning lectures that little bit more tempting.
Boasting some of the wackiest design is True Glasgow, where KKA Architects installed a giant slide in its accommodation block. There are also indoor swings, and a so-called dedicated festival area, comprising a renovated caravan to listen to music in, deck chairs and picnic benches. And, of course, study rooms – they are students after all.
“When we were first coming up with our concept and discussing what our sites needed, a slide was jokingly thrown into the mix by one of our directors,” says Sarah Storey, head of sales and marketing at True Student.
“So when we were nailing down exactly what a site should look like we thought, why not? The slide has been a big hit with guests and visitors.”
iQ Shoreditch, meanwhile, boasts a cinema room and a lobby area that is reminiscent of nearby hipster hotels, with leather club chairs placed around a fireplace and taxidermy artwork, designed by celebrity interior designer Naomi Cleaver.
In return, the developers can charge premium rates: a Platinum suite at iQ Shoreditch costs £380 per week, or £16,340 for the academic year – on top of the £9,000 tuition fees for most universities in London. (For this term the suites are fully booked; overall iQ boasts a 98 per cent occupancy rate.)
The seventh-floor penthouse at True Glasgow costs £205 per week, far higher than the average for student halls in the city at £134. The UK average student rent is around £144 a week, according to Mystudenthalls.com. Many who are able to pay these higher rates are from abroad, with 93 per cent of iQ Shoreditch’s tenants international students.
A trend is for student accommodation providers to include more social areas, such as the low-lit dining room with luxury upholstered chairs at Eclipse in Cardiff, that is designed for students to host Come Dine With Me-style dinner parties in.
At Ernest Place in Durham, there is a rooftop bar in which to sip cocktails – certainly a step up from the grotty common rooms with worn-out sofas of yesteryear. There’s also an emphasis on encouraging a sense of community and offering a higher level of pastoral care, says Dan Roberts, founder of Mystudenthalls.com.
“This community-led approach means providers are focusing more on offering spaces and events that allow students to interact, learn and socialise with one another, helping them to thrive in their accommodation.”
Storey says that the expectations of both students and their parents about where they will live are much higher than they used to be. “Younger people are increasingly experiencing the finer things in life, and they expect no less when looking for accommodation,” she says. “We need to appeal to the Instagram generation who are always looking for something cooler, newer, and with more wow-factor.”
Even without the headline-attracting gimmicks, many developers now have to include hotel-style flourishes as standard, such as Little Greene paint finishes.
Hypnos, the mattress maker to The Goring, where the Duchess of Cambridge spent the night before her wedding, has even created a special version for student digs that are used in Duncreggan Student Village in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. There are Miele kitchen appliances in flats developed by Criterion Capital marketed to discerning students in central London
By Jessica Salter
Find full article at The Telegraph here
May to announce £2bn for ‘strategic partnerships’
with associations at NHF conference
Theresa May will announce £2bn of new funding to bankroll “long-term partnerships” with housing associations to build “tens of thousands” of affordable and social rent homes.
Ms May will announce the cash in a speech to the National Housing Federation Summit tomorrow - the first appearance by a serving prime minister at a housing sector conference.
She will call on housing associations to use their “unique combination of qualities” to “achieve things neither private developers nor local authorities are capable of doing”.
The speech resembles a new high watermark in the sector’s increasingly positive relationship with central government, a rise from the nadir of 2015 when a cut to rental income was followed by an attack the sector’s efficiency from David Cameron.
The funding announced by Theresa May tomorrow will fund long-term partnerships with ‘the most ambitious’ housing associations, potentially stretching through to 2028/29. It comes almost exactly a year after she announced £2bn for social rented housing at last year’s Conservative Party conference.
A detailed breakdown of the new funding has not yet been released, but it will be modelled on the long-term strategic partnerships currently being struck by large associations with Homes England.
Taking the stage at just after 10am tomorrow, Ms May will say: “You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals. Well, eight housing associations have already been given such deals, worth almost £600 million and paving the way for almost 15,000 new affordable homes.
“And today, I can announce that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the most ambitious housing associations through a ground-breaking £2 billion initiative. Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028/29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.
“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”
Long term partnerships currently involve agreeing a sum of grant funding which can be used flexibly throughout across a housing development programme stretching over several years. The tenure of the homes can be negotiated throughout the life of the programme depending on market conditions.
It contrasts to previous grant programmes, which paid grant at a fixed rate for a set number of affordable homes on particular schemes.
In July, Homes England announced strategic partnerships with EMH Group, Great Places, Home Group, Hyde, L&Q, Places for People, a joint bid between Sovereign and Liverty, and the group of five Midlands associations known as Matrix Partnership. They are expected to deliver 23,500 homes overall with 61% affordable.
Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, has said he expects the deals to boost the amount of social rented housing associations can build.
The recent Social Housing Green Paper said the model would be used more widely.
Ms May will add: “Rather than simply acquiring a proportion of the properties commercial developers build, I want to see housing associations taking on and leading major developments themselves. Because creating the kind of large-scale, high-quality developments this country needs requires a special kind of leadership – leadership you are uniquely well-placed to provide.
“Given the right tools and the right support, you can act as the strategic, long-term investors in the kind of high-quality places this country needs. To put it simply, you get homes built. And I want to work with you to transform the way we do so.”
Ms May will also use the speech to urge housing associations to use their “unique status, rich history and social mission” to change the way tenants and society as a whole view social housing. She will add: “Whether it is owned and managed by local authorities, TMOs or housing associations, I want to see social housing that is so good people are proud to call it their home… Our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens.”
National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr welcomed the new money: “The really big news here is the Prime Minister’s long-term commitment to funding new affordable homes. This represents a total step change. For years, the way that money was allocated meant housing associations couldn’t be sure of long-term funding to build much-needed affordable housing.
“Now, by changing the way in which they allocate funding, ministers have given long-term confidence and confirmed that we are trusted partners in solving the housing crisis, building new homes and communities.”
Chartered Institute of Housing deputy chief executive Gavin Smart said that the announcement was a vote of confidence in social landlords. “As the Prime Minister recognises in her speech, it’s crucial that government investment helps housing associations to build the right kind of homes at the right prices. In practice this means building more homes at the lowest social rents – which is often the only truly affordable option for people on lower incomes,” he added.
Homes England chief executive Nick Walkley said:“We welcome the additional £2bn announced by the Prime Minister. This extra funding will deliver a further 40,000 affordable new homes.”
Inside Housing will be reporting from the NHF Summit in central London tomorrow.
By Peter Apps
Full article available here
HM Land Registry says the full roll-out of its Local Land Charges digital register could take up to seven years, with the final decision on timings down to government ministers.
The programme of migrating LLC data from individual councils to the Registry started in July when Warwick became the first area on board - from that time onwards, anyone requiring LLC searches had to contact the Registry, not the local authority.
Then earlier this month Liverpool became the second council area to take part, and the Registry has now identified the City of London corporation as the next to pilot the project - it will be part of the national digital register from October 8.
However, in a document released on the Gov.UK government website yesterday, the Land Registry says: “Phase 1 of the new service will be rolled out over the next few months with up to 26 local authorities’ local land charges registers transferred to HM Land Registry by March 2019. The timing of future phases has not been decided yet and will be subject to decisions by Ministers. Because of the scale and complexity of the service change … this data migration could take up to seven years.”
The Registry claims the first phase of activity will benefit 125,000 buyers and, after later phases, all 326 local authorities currently holding local land charges information will have their data available digitally.
This should dramatically cut the time it takes for conveyancers to retrieve the appropriate information during a property transaction, and statements over the past year closely linked the LLC digital roll-out to the government’s long-stated ambition to modernise and simplify the house-moving process.
Until now, referring to local councils for LLC information has been a mixed blessing with costs varying from £3 to £76 and results coming in some cases in days, and in other cases only after several weeks.
You can see the Land Registry’s latest guidance note on the roll-out here.
Why build more when you can build less: Wirral Council first to reduce housing sites following release of updated ONS household projections
Last week the Office of National Statistics released an updated version of its household projection figures, which estimate the number of new households to be formed in England over the next 25 years. The update showed a reduction in the estimated number of households of somewhere between 44,000 and 63,000 households, when compared with the previous predictions.*
I will leave the debate over the reasons for the reduction with those better qualified to have the argument,** but its political implications have already started to be felt. The ONS figures are a key input into the Government's standardised formula for assessing housing need, and when the new figures are used some parts of the country's housing need is wiped out entirely.
Wirral is just one council whose housing need has been slashed, using the new figures, reducing from 803 homes a year to almost 500. As a result, they are now seeking to reduce the number of housing sites they are proposing to allocate in their new local plan. They had originally been seeking to release almost 50 green belt sites to help meet their unmet housing need.
Whilst Wirral is the first council to actively seek to reduce housing sites as a result of the new housing statistics, they are not the only council to see a significant reduction in their projected housing needs under the new formula as a result of them. Oxford and Cambridge's housing need would also drop to practically zero, and the housing need across London has reportedly dropped by a third*.
The new ONS figures could be a great relief to a number of local councils, particularly in the home counties, where large new housing schemes tend to be highly controversial and unpopular amongst local residents. If the Government's standardised approach to assessing housing need is not amended, it would also reduce the pressure on councils to release green belt land to meet future needs; or meet the housing needs of neighbouring authorities. Decisions which are also frequently deeply unpopular with local residents, and can lead to judicial review challenges (for example in Waverley, attempts to meet Woking's unmet housing need led to three separate challenges against the Council's local plan***). It would, however, run directly contrary to the Government's attempts to boost housing supply across the country.
This is particularly problematic, when you consider the argument that one of the reasons for the predicted drop in household projections is that younger people simply cannot afford to move out of home - and are living with their parents for much longer than was previously the case**. This seems to be borne out by the fact that largest proportionate increase in new households is amongst the over 60s**.
The Government is aware of the problems that the new ONS statistics are likely to cause. Indeed the official response to the draft revised NPPF consultation (which was released when the revised NPPF was published)*^ states:
"In the housing White Paper the Government was clear that reforms set out (which included the introduction of a standard method for assessing housing need) should lead to more homes being built. In order to ensure that the outputs associated with the method are consistent with this, we will consider adjusting the method after the household projections are released in September. We will consult on the specific details of any change at that time. It should be noted that the intention is to consider adjusting the method to ensure that the starting point in the plan-making process is consistent in aggregate with the proposals in Planning for the right homes in the right places consultation and continues to be consistent with ensuring that 300,000 homes are built per year by the mid 2020’s. "
Given that solving the housing crisis is one of the key planks of both major parties' domestic policies, I strongly suspect that proposals for revisions to the standardised method for assessing housing need will be released in the not too distant future. If this is correct, Wirral's attempts to reduce the number of housing sites allocated in the green belt may well be short lived.
full article available here
By Nicola Gooch
Sales of holiday homes could be hit as a result of a new £560m tax proposal put forward by Labour.
Under the plans, set out at the opening of Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool, properties in England used as holiday homes would be subject to an average tax bill of over £3,200.
The exact amount will be based on the value of the property and equivalent to double the current rate of council tax.
Up to 174,000 properties could be subject to the tax, with many in popular tourist destinations like Cornwall, North Norfolk and South Lakeland as well as urban areas such as Kensington and Chelsea in west London.
“It’s unforgivable that under the Tories, the number of children stuck growing up in hostels and B&Bs has skyrocketed. Over the last eight years, the government has turned its back on the scandal of poor housing and homelessness” says shadow housing secretary John Healey.
“As part of the next Labour government’s plan to rebuild Britain, we will introduce a levy on second homes used as holiday homes to help homeless families. Labour will act to put a brake on the growing gap between Britain’s housing ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’” he continues.
Revenue from the new tax would be given to councils across the country to help homeless families with children living in temporary accommodation.
Labour claims there are over 120,000 children homeless in temporary accommodation, up two thirds since 2010.
Party promises rethink of current system with results due next year
Labour has the appeals system in its sights as it embarks on its new review to restore people power in planning.
The party’s “root and branch rethink” of the planning system was officially launched at the party conference in Liverpool last night (Sunday).
Roberta Blackman-Woods, the party’s planning spokesperson, told the launch event at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool that the exercise aims to deliver a “system of local plan making that is genuinely democratic’’.
The review, which reflects leader Jeremy Corbyn’s enthusiasm for grassroots empowerment, will aim to give local people a say over what their area will look like in 20 to 25 years’ time.
It will include a look at whether the appeals system and the Planning Inspectorate, which administers it, is ‘fit for purpose’.
She said: “The Planning Inspectorate is in our sights.”
Under the current planning system, developers from across England can appeal to the Bristol-based inspectorate if their application has been turned down or if the local council has spent too much time taking the decision.
But Blackman-Woods told the launch event that more community involvement when shaping local plans would save time later on in the process when individual applications are being determined.
She said the review would also cover modern methods of construction, energy efficiency, developer contributions and the connections between the different tiers of neighbourhood, local, regional and national planning.
The review is designed to future proof the planning system, Blackman-Woods said, who added: “Buildings should be fit for purpose for the 22nd century not just the 21st.”
The broad-based commission will include representatives of professional bodies like RICS and RIBA as well as industry organisations like the British Property Federation and the Federation of Master Builders.
The commission will be publishing a call for evidence on the 25 October after which it will hold a series of regional meetings, kicking off in Liverpool. The review’s conclusions, which are due to be delivered next year, will then feed into Labour’s wider policy making process.
full article available here
By David Blackman
Not fake news - the truth about Britain's new homes
We’ve all heard the comments - the countryside is being covered in concrete, new houses are springing up everywhere, our green and pleasant land under permanent threat. Well, the reality is not quite what the slogans suggest.
The NHBC Foundation has now produced a guide called ’40 facts: homes, housing and house building today’ which throws the spotlight on what is really happening, rather than what opponents to new homes say is happening.
Five areas are covered in the guide, which looks at the type of homes built, who builds them and where. The contribution of housing and house building to the economy is also explored, along with how the age and condition of a home can affect the health of those living in them.
While many facts may be familiar to some in the agency industry, others may come as a surprise.
For example, although having one of the highest population densities in Europe, the amount of land taken up by homes and gardens across the UK is a little over five per cent.
That’s just 12,700 square kilometres of land used for residential development out of the total 244,000 square kilometres across the UK.
Another example - in 2016/17, 56 per cent of all new homes in England were built on previously developed ‘brownfield’ land, not non green or unbuilt sites.
Other facts include:
40% - the percentage of land in England where development is restricted;
82.8% - the percentage of the UK population defined as ‘urban dwellers’ living in either urban or suburban areas;
60,000 – number of planning approvals in 2017 for homes in both London and the South East, far exceeding approvals in other regions of the UK.
Find the full article here
by Graham Norwood
I am a patient man; a pacifist. Yet there is little in life right now that would satisfy me more than smashing my B(ig) T(elephone) internet router into a million pieces with my fists and feet.
Not even its dental records will help identification. I can’t seem to stream anything and it has got worse year on year, on year. Another router, sir? I must have heard that suggestion at least three times.
Once I was told the errors were as a result of me leaving the router in the sorting office for a few days. That must be it, I was convinced of it.
My most engaged Facebook and Twitter posts for many a year were around an alternative service provider. Virgin was mentioned, Sky another. Upon researching both, I find neither accommodate my humble abode in the fields of Surrey, surrounded by cows and sheep (and beehives of course). WTF!?
As I type this, I note the news that WiredScore, the commercial real estate digital connectivity rating system, is launching in Birmingham, having already found incredible success in London and around the world.
Might it be time for a residential version of WiredScore? Will official and guaranteed connectivity ratings add value to a home?
Hierarchy of speeds
WiredScore provides certification for commercial property, stating how strong and reliable the building’s digital connectivity is.
The way in which it does so is complicated and, for the purposes of this article, unimportant. We just need to know that the ratings are accurate and reliable, and, more importantly, that a good WiredScore rating is proven to add value to commercial space. That is to say, people are proven to be willing to pay more for guaranteed connectivity in the workplace.
Commercial landlords and owners have realised that digital connectivity is at the top of the commercial sector’s list of wants and needs. Poor internet in the office results in frustration, wasted time, and, let’s face it, doesn’t make you look good in those important meetings.
It is therefore no surprise that the ability to prove your property’s connectivity speed to prospective tenants adds value to the proposition. On the hierarchy of speeds, faster is always better, yet, in London, some internet speeds remain shamefully slow, even in The City.
My question today is, does the residential sector need a similar solution? Because I for one am sick of crappy internet speeds at home, and I can’t be alone. I bought my property here in the fields, over 12 years ago. Would I do it again knowing the terrible experiences I am now having now that the digital age is nearly upon us? No. Pure and simple.
Much like those sampled in the WireScore poll when it launched in Berlin, I now see internet speed and connectivity as more important than the money I pay for in rent/mortgage - in their case 89% stated connectivity was more important than rent payments.
I need the internet for pretty much everything I do. Nevermind that Mrs. D uses a feather and scroll at times (one of the many reasons I love her dearly), we all need the internet. Period. If it doesn’t work, our house comes to a bit of a standstill.
Hierarchy of needs
The next time I come to look for a new home for my family, I have zero doubt that connectivity issues will be at the top of my agenda. I have been struggling with my BT broadband for months now and there doesn’t seem to be a solution. Certainly not one that BT can help me with.
We bought this house long before realising how vital connectivity would become. It’s in the countryside, yes, but certainly not in the middle of nowhere. It’s an old building, yes, but not made of reinforced steel or anything that might block digital signals. So why is our internet connection so laughable? According to BT, God only knows.
For me, connectivity is now very, very high on my hierarchy of needs. If and when we move home, I can confidently say I would pay for guarantees on my internet speed, especially with the introduction of 5g networks in the coming years.
Interestingly, and as an aside, a report out this week from KPMG started to show how important 5G is becoming to the industry. Worth a read here to see the results of many people from around the world and their attitude to PropTech
But do others feel the same?
It’s obvious that the workplace needs top-notch WiFi, and understandable that paying more for the privilege is 100% worth it. Do we feel the same way about the home? Does good internet warrant a higher purchase or rental price?
Invisible digital value
I believe, yes, it does, and that yes, people will pay more for such guarantees. On the hierarchy of needs, the internet only climbs higher as the months go by. From streaming television, to Facetiming with the grandkids, from online banking to home security, good internet speeds are vital.
Add to that the increase in remote working we are seeing; more and more people call their home their office and therefore the connectivity needs of the workplace apply increasingly to the home.
I wonder: will a company come along and offer connectivity ratings for homes? And if so, will people then be willing to pay more for those homes than they would in the absence of a rating? Furthermore, will people start insisting on a connectivity rating before making a purchase, in the way they currently do structural survey?
If so, it could signal an entirely new age of property valuation. The industry idiom of location, location, location might soon be challenged as the biggest dictator of value. Yes, we will still want to live near our friends, family, and favourite pub, but will we worry so much about transport links?
If we are set to change the ways we measure house value, that could mean that owners are able to add more value to an existing property with much more ease than has previously been possible. Rather than rely on physical extensions, for instance, to add value, it could become as easy as paying £50 for a connectivity audit.
This then becomes part of the digital identity of the building and part of its sales appeal.
If that happens, we could find ourselves living in a time where two outwardly identical houses, built on neighbouring plots of land, could have wildly different values because the invisible structures of digital connectivity are different. In fact, those invisible structures could actually be identical, except that one has official certification of excellence and the other does not.
I’m talking about this today because it dawned on me how odd it is that nobody has come along with this offering yet - or have they? Has anyone offered a connectivity rating for residential buildings? If they haven’t, there you go. An idea for someone to go out there and solve.
A no sh*t sherlock PropTech idea for someone to go and resolve. Surely they are the best ones, aren’t they?
*James Dearsley is a leading PropTech influencer and commentator. You can follow him on Twitter here.
The vast majority of new-build houses are to be sold as freehold with ground rents for new leases capped at £10 under new government proposals.
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire MP will tomorrow launch a consultation on the plans, according to a government statement released today - another Sunday morning announcement.
The government claims that on average leaseholders pay over £300 ground rent each year, with some paying as much as £700.
The consultation will also seek views on what are the appropriate and fair exemptions, such as shared ownership properties and community-led housing “to ensure consumers’ best interests are at the heart of the property market.”
In addition, landlords will be required to provide contact information of eligible leaseholders to the secretary of the residents’ association within four months of the request, providing that leaseholders have expressly consented to their details being shared.
The government says the move will help leaseholders act together to represent common interests and raise complaints with their landlords and agents for things such as service charges and management practices.
“Unfair ground rents can turn a homeowner’s dream into a nightmare by hitting them in the back pocket, and making their property harder to sell” says Brokenshire.
“That’s why I’m taking concrete action to protect homeowners and end those unscrupulous leasehold practices that can cost tenants hundreds of pounds.”
Find full article here
A newspaper claims landlords who ‘game’ the current tax regime for short term lets and lodging may be in the firing line in the Budget on October 29.
Currently amateur landlords can claim up to £7,500 tax free per year through the Rent A Room allowance system by letting their spare rooms in properties where they live.
But the Sunday Times says the government suspects some landlords using Airbnb and similar short Let platforms are claiming the allowance on income derived from properties used solely for letting purposes, and where the landlords themselves do not live.
The Treasury has told the paper that the number of people claiming Rent A Room allowance rose 38 per cent between 2007-8 and 2014-15, the latest figures available.
The paper says new occupancy rules, drawn up following a formal consultation held by the government earlier this year, will be included in a Finance Bill to be published after the Budget.
It is thought that a residency requirement in the property on which tax relief is claimed is to be a central element of the new rules.
The consultation received 178 responses including one from room letting platform SpareRoom which has suggested some 170,000 individuals are renting out their spare rooms.
Find full article here
North East housebuilder adds that it has set aside
£6m for post-Grenfell recladding work
Bellway Homes has completed more than 10,000 units in a year for the first time in its history, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne housebuilder revealed today.
Announcing its results for the year to the end of July 2018 Bellway said it had completed 10,307 homes at an average price of just over £260,000.
Turnover for the year came in at £2.96bn, up 16%, with an operating profit of £653m and pre-tax profit of £641m, both up 14%.
Net cash at the end of the year was £99m and the firm announced a 17% hike in the annual dividend, making the total payout to investors for the year worth 143p a share.
The group noted the contribution of the government’s Help To Buy scheme, accounting for 39% of its completions during the year, versus 37% in 2017, while more than two thirds (67%) of its customers using it were first-time buyers.
However it didn’t add its voice to the growing calls for the government to extend the scheme beyond 2021.
The group also said that following last year’s Grenfell fire it had set aside nearly £6m to deal with what it called “any likely remedial costs” arising from the use of aluminium composite materials (ACM) on a small number of its developments in the UK.
It added: “Bellway has a small number of developments where ACM has been used. Whilst we received Building Regulations approval for their use at the time, as a responsible developer we are fully engaged with the government and our partners to develop solutions that protect our customers and future occupiers…We have also strengthened our processes and training relating to fire safety issues and will continue to develop these in the year ahead as government guidance no doubt evolves.”
It is rolling out a new homes range, the ‘The Artisan Collection’, a range of 24 standardised house types which will help drive down costs “through the scale of standardisation”, and launching two new operating divisions; one labelled ‘Eastern Counties’, building homes in the Cambridge area, and London Partnerships, which will work with housing associations and institutional investors to build affordable homes in the capital.
Looking ahead, Bellway said it was “mindful” that the UK’s exit from the EU in March could pose a threat to consumer confidence during the busy spring selling season. “Assuming that market conditions remain unchanged, however, this healthy position should enable Bellway to further increase output in the year ahead,” it added.
Brewin Dolphin equity analyst Stephen Williams said: “Management is bold in continuing to grow the business as the housing cycle approaches a cyclical peak. Nevertheless, Bellway’s balance sheet is strong and it should be better placed than some of its peers, with a relatively affordable, good quality product.”
The housebuilder also announced the retirement of non-executive chairman John Watson after its AGM in December. He will be replaced by current audit committee chairman Paul Hampden Smith.
By Hamish Champ
Find full article here
“Intelligent Land know the housing market like the back of their hand"
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Christopher Boyle QC
‘Instructing Intelligent Land is like having a spy in the enemy camp.. they get underneath the superficial appearance of the evidence, and test its substance"James Pereira QC
"they didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear but they told us exactly what we needed to hear"
Patrick Trant, Chairman of Trant Engineering ltd
'He, Mark Hewett, can spot creative angles in deals and is certainly capable of adding significant value to deals in imaginative ways'
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'The NPPF has to be interpreted by experts in this field and none come better than Intelligent Land who have a proven track record.'
Lee Newlyn, Partner at Barton Willmore
'Mark's expert evidence can be crucial to the outcome.'
Richard Phillips QC, FTB Chambers
'Mark's evidence drew on a deep understanding of the dynamics of the house building industry.'
Mark Lowe QC, Cornerstone Barristers
'He is particularly talented at spotting development angles that can add significant value to projects'
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David Brocklebank, Managing Director of Wates Developments Ltd
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Tim JoblingTrustee, Barker Mill Estates
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I would not hesitate in recommending your firm to other parties. thanks'