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Plans submitted to build more than 130 homes at Brandon Stadium

Plans been submitted to Rugby Borough Council by the owners of Brandon Stadium to build houses on the mothballed speedway site.

The application by Brandon Estates was submitted on Friday January 26 and although the detail has not been revealed as yet it is believed to be for 137 homes, in line with a proposal put forward in October last year.

The stadium, former home to the Coventry Bees speedway team and CoventryStox stock car racing operation, has remained derelict since a long-running row between Brandon Estates and former Coventry Bees speedway team owner Avtar Sandhu ended with many of its fixtures and fittings being removed.

Brandon Estates reported their removal by Mr Sandhu to Warwickshire Police and a criminal investigation was launched but later dropped.

During the stand-off Mr Sandhu pledged to return the fixtures and fittings but the stalemate continued, meaning the Bees, now owned by Mick Horton, were excluded from speedway’s Elite League last season.

The Bees are set to return to competitive speedway in the forthcoming season this spring but at a lower level – and 30 miles away at Leicester.

Uncertainty over the future of the stadium continues and the Save Coventry Speedway campaign group has expressed its fears that speedway may never return to the troubled site, which has been home to top level speedway since 1928.

Brandon Estates has claimed speedway is no longer viable at the stadium and has made it clear it wishes to build new homes on the site.

But the site does not form part of Rugby Borough Council’s Local Plan and as such it is thought unlikely any application would be successful, meaning Brandon Estates might appeal a Rugby Borough Council refusal and development be the subject of a public enquiry.

David Rowe from the Save Coventry Speedway campaign group said: “The application was put in on Friday afternoon, though we can’t see it yet as it takes some time to be registered.

“As far as we know it is the same as proposals put forward in October for 137 homes.

“We are urging the council to turn it down.

“This can’t be allowed to happen.”

Mr Rowe said despite the dilapidated state of Brandon Stadium, something made worse following a number of incursions by travellers, Save Coventry Speedway had not given up hope of a return to Brandon.

He added: “It is a wearing down process but we won’t be worn down.

“We hope that if they get knocked back enough times they will get fed-up.

“The stadium is now in a terrible state because of the damage done by travellers though the speedway track is still there and good to go.

“It could be made race ready in three to four weeks and the buildings are still standing.”

Source: Coventry Telegraph

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Scotland ‘building more affordable homes than England’

Scotland is building more affordable homes per head of population than England despite predictions that Holyrood ministers will miss their own ambitious target for new housing.

The Scottish Government’s supply of affordable housing per capita was found to be 33 per cent higher than the UK government’s supply in England over a 10 year period from 2007.

In answer to a parliamentary question from Edinburgh North and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson, housing minister Kevin Stewart revealed that 70,861 affordable homes had been built from April 2007 to September 2017.

In 2016, Scottish ministers pledged £3 billion to build 50,000 affordable homes, 35,000 of which are destined for the social rented sector.

But the number of affordable homes completed per quarter since the middle of 2016 has averaged at just 1,808, well below the 2,673 needed to reach the 50,000 target by 2021.

The gap in completions for social rent is even wider, with an increase in the completion rate of 159 per cent needed to meet the target.

But Mr Macpherson said the per capita figure demonstrated Scotland’s “strong position” when it came to building new homes.

“This demonstrates the stark difference between the SNP and the Tories, who have let housebuilding drop to its lowest level in England since 1923, whilst cutting winter fuel payments for the elderly and lumping the Bedroom Tax on the vulnerable,” he said.

“Since coming to office, the SNP has built more than 70,000 affordable homes and will continue to increase affordable housing with our ambitious target to deliver 50,000 homes during the lifetime of this Parliament, backed by £3 billion of investment.

“Making sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home is central to the SNP Government’s drive for a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”

Source: Scotsman

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New £25m ‘build to rent’ scheme proposed for Belfast

PLANS have been revealed for a new £25 million ‘build to rent’ apartment building in the east bank area of Belfast city centre.

The proposal, being brought forward by a joint venture between the local property developer, Vinder Capital, and Oisin Quinn of London-based developer Aldgate Developments, is the second of its kind in Belfast, following the planned 19 storey development on Academy Street in the city.

The ‘build to rent’ model sees apartments purpose-built for rental only, with ownership retained by the building owner. A management company then provides additional services such as 24/7 security, communal space and cafes for long-term tenancies. Aimed at the ‘millennial’ generation, who choose to rent or can’t yet afford to buy, it has already become a successful model in other UK cities such as London and Manchester.

The proposed Belfast development, to be known as ‘The Residence at Quay Gate’ will be located on a current surface level car park at Scrabo Street in an area south of the Lagan Bridge. The proposed building, designed by Belfast based LIKE Architects, will provide over 150 one and two bedroom apartments in the city centre set overlooking the river Lagan and the Titanic Quarter.

Gavin McEvoy from the joint venture behind the scheme believes the proposal offers potential residents a unique living experience in the city.

“Build to rent is an exciting opportunity to introduce premium services and a customer focus to apartment living which is not typically found in build for sale apartments in the Belfast market. The Residence at Quay Gate will include a dedicated relaxation area, a state of the art gymnasium, work spaces and meeting rooms and will include an integrated IT system,” he said.

“Having assessed the model in other major cities in the UK with our high class design and delivery team, we believe there is an exciting opportunity to use our knowledge of the local property market to apply the model in a Belfast context. Build to Rent is an exciting progression from the major investment that has been made in Belfast in the student accommodation sector that fills a growing need for city centre living in Belfast. Our plans will deliver a cleverly-designed, premium scheme which will deliver well managed homes and create new, sustainable communities in an area of the city centre close to the river with easy access to transport links.”

The developers will undertake a 12 week pre-application community consultation before submitting their plans to Belfast City Council. A public exhibition will be held on February 7 at the Odyssey Pavillion.

Earlier this month Lacuna/Watkin Jones, the joint venture behind multiple student accommodation schemes in the city centre, submitted a planning application for 105 one and two bed apartments on Academy Street in the Cathedral Quarter. The build to rent development includes an active ground floor with communal space for tenants, management facilities and proposed space for a café or retail use.

Source: Irish News

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Plans for 500 new homes at Connaught Barracks in Dover have taken a step forward

Plans to start building 500 new homes at Connaught Barracks in Dover have been boosted, with work expected to begin this year.

Connaught Barracks is a former Ministry of Defence site of 55 hectares acquired by the Homes and Community Agency, now known as Homes England, in 2008.

With a Land Trust owned Napoleonic fort Fort Burgoyne at its core, it is hoped the development will bring a flurry of homes for first time buyers and families to the district.

Work started on the demolition of the buildings in 2016, with outline planning permission obtained for the first 64 homes in July that year.

The demolition work was originally due for completion in spring 2017.

But unknown push-backs meant the demolition phase at the site off Dover Road has only just been completed, almost a year later.

Now, all the old buildings have been knocked down and Homes England has been approaching housing developers ahead of construction.

Bids were received for the first phase of the scheme – the Officers’ Mess – last month.

An artist’s impression

The preferred bidder is expected to be announced soon.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke was shown around the site by bosses from Homes England on January 19.

He said: “There is so much potential for Connaught Barracks and I’m really excited about what can be achieved.

“I have urged Homes England to use the site to offer quality homes for first time buyers and families.

“I was pleased to see things are progressing. It’s vital the construction of the much needed homes now moves forward swiftly – and that we see work begin this year.

“The people of Dover have waited a long time for this project – now it’s time to deliver.”

Source: Kent Live

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Developers believe 19 parking spaces will be enough for 71 new flats in Tonbridge town centre

Plans to build 71 new flats with just 19 parking spaces in the centre of Tonbridge have been unveiled.

F Estates, which specialises in affordable rented property development, wants to extend the existing block at The Bank House on Medway Wharf Road.

But some residents have come out against the plans saying the “overcrowding” would “ruin” the riverside area with bedsits.

The five-storey building would incorporate 71 rented studio flats which, when added to the existing 64, would mean a total of 135 on site. The parking provision would increase from 52 to 71 spaces.

A similar scheme for 72 flats on the plot was thrown out by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council in September on the grounds of overdevelopment.

But in a statement to the council, planning consultants Barton Willmore claimed previous concerns had been addressed.

It said: “The proposed development seeks to provide a high-quality living environment, extending the successful conversion of the existing Bank House building undertaken by the applicant.

“The proposals would provide much needed new homes – of a particular type and nature identified as being locally deficient – assisting with the council’s undersupply of five-year housing land supply.”

An artist’s impression of the rear of the site

The statement adds 40 per cent of the flats would be affordable homes let out at 80 per cent of market rate.


Despite the assurances, the plans are courting controversy locally with residents citing over-development, a lack of parking spaces and fears the building would block out neighbouring properties’ sunlight.

One objector, whose name has been redacted from planning documents but lives in nearby Cannons Wharf Road, said: “I am shocked and disappointed that the same company that wishes to build a 14-storey building down our road now wishes to double the size of an existing building and again not provide adequate parking. The additional traffic will burden a local infrastructure already under strain.

“It is unrealistic to assume that in this age of mass car ownership that the people who move into the proposed extension will either want or be able to rely on local bus services, so the question remain, where will these people park?”

Another, a serving police officer, feared the development could “ruin” life for existing residents, adding: “I object to this quite simply due to overcrowding. I work as a police officer in the Met and often see how disruptive a block of flats of this scale in an already busy area can be, often ruining many residents’ lives to the point they will move.”

Source: Kent Live

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Housebuilder plans to build 2,800 homes across Yorkshire during 2018

A housebuilder has announced plans to open 19 new sites across the Yorkshire region in 2018, creating 2,800 new homes and over 1,000 associated jobs.

Barratt Developments Yorkshire West, which includes the David Wilson Homes brand, said sites will be in Leeds, Barnsley and Huddersfield. New employment will be in construction trades such as bricklayers, electricians and landscapers, through to head office support roles.

In the 2016/17 financial year Barratt Developments supported 610 sub-contractor companies and 370 supplier companies. The company intends to continue to support the local environments in which it builds. During 2017, more than 3,110 trees or shrubs were planted or retained on developments and 19.2ha of green space was created through public open spaces or private gardens, equivalent to 759 tennis courts.

The housebuilder recycled 95 per cent of its construction waste. Ian Ruthven, managing director at Barratt Developments Yorkshire West, said: “We’re delighted to continue contributing to the regional economy through local jobs for local people across our 19 new sites.

“We’re committed to investing in and supporting tradesmen across the region and look forward to working with them over the next year to build even more quality homes.

“As well as creating more jobs, the communities in which we build we be supported through our S106 contributions. In the 2017 financial year we provided over £13 million in local contributions to the areas surrounding our developments, which goes towards facilities such as public open spaces, school and educational facilities, public transport measures, and recreational facilities, as well as many other projects.

We look forward to continue helping create thriving communities over the next 12 months.”

Source: Wakefield Express

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Local councils ‘continue to ignore’ building affordable homes on farmland

Local authorities are continuing to ignore ways to deliver much needed affordable homes for local people across the countryside, according to a rural organisation.

New government data shows that despite a 9% increase in affordable homes built in small rural communities across England, only 51 more than the previous year were built on rural exception sites, farmland not usually granted planning permission but used for affordable housing developments.

The CLA, which represents landowners and farmers, welcomed the overall increase but said local councils across England could use these sites more effectively to help solve the rural housing crisis.

CLA Housing Adviser Matthew O’Connell said housing need is “widespread” throughout rural England.

“The increase in the total number of affordable homes being built is encouraging, however, large discrepancies between local authorities mean that certain councils are doing more than others,” he explained.

‘Missing a trick’

According to the data, Cornwall Council leads the way in number of homes built, whilst other councils lag behind.

Mr O’Connell believes local authorities are “missing a trick” by not using rural exception sites to their full potential.

“Rural exception sites are a key means of providing affordable homes in rural areas where a landowner provides land at below market value to build affordable homes for local people.

“We know that 27% of CLA members want to build affordable housing and many are keen to manage their own affordable properties. To harness this ambition, local councils and housing associations must engage with rural landowners to help bring more sites forward increasing the range of housing options for people in rural areas.

‘Hold the key’

Mr O’Connell added that rural landowners “hold the key” to easing the shortage of rural housing.

“Without challenging a few orthodoxies we are not going to solve the rural housing crisis. New build rented housing, affordable home ownership and affordable rented homes are all crucial to maintaining a living, working countryside,” he said.

To help increase the supply of affordable homes across the countryside the CLA is calling on the Government to formalise the process for landowners to manage affordable homes and implement the Housing White Paper proposals on rural exception sites.

The Housing White Paper proposed to give stronger support for rural exception sites and the role they can play in providing affordable housing for the community, even if this relies on an element of general market housing.

The CLA is also urging the government to exempt properties provided as affordable homes from liability for Inheritance Tax, and exempt the value of land sold for affordable homes from Capital Gains Tax.

Source: Farming UK

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Brighton & Hove’s Biggest New Council Housing Development In Years Completed

The first tenants will soon be moving into brand new homes in Whitehawk, following completion of the biggest new council housing development in the city in recent years.

Fifty-seven new homes have been built at Kite Place consisting of 10 one-bedroom, 33 two-bedroom and 14 three–bedroom flats.

Each of the properties has a balcony or patio, some with sea views, and they are designed to be energy efficient, with communal boilers providing hot water and heating.

Six of the homes are designed for wheelchair users and their families, with a number of mobility-rated units available for people needing accessible shower rooms. All the rest are built to the latest ‘accessible and adaptable’ standards, with lifts to all floors.

Kite Place is the largest development in the council’s New Homes for Neighbourhoods building programme, which aims to build at least 500 new homes on council land to provide much needed affordable rented housing. Building began in February 2016.

It’s situated off Whitehawk Road, on the site of the former Whitehawk Library which moved to new premises. There are good bus services on the doorstep, plus cycle storage, and a car club vehicle will also be based at the site. The first tenants in each of the flats will receive free car club membership for two years.

The first Kite Place tenants are due to move in over the next few weeks. The homes were let through Homemove, the council’s choice based lettings system.

Another 29 new council flats are nearing completion in Whitehawk at Hobby Place, next to Whitehawk Community Hub. The one, two, and three bedroom homes are due to be finished next month.

Kite Place and Hobby Place will bring the total number of new council homes completed under the New Homes for Neighbourhoods (NHFN) programme since 2015 to 136, with many more in the pipeline.

This is a step in the right direction but much more new and affordable housing is needed if the city is to meet the needs of it’s growing community, and if it is to offset the incessant and incremental price increases that are being stoked by ever increasing demand for housing.

Within the next few months, planning applications are expected to be accepted for the first three sites in the city’s ground- breaking plan to deliver a thousand truly affordable homes across the city, alongside the 500 council homes.

Available for rent or shared ownership, with the homes to rent affordable for those on the National Living Wage, these will meet some of the demand for housing amongst workers in our public sector and key industries currently priced out of living in Brighton and Hove.

Toads Hole Valley north of Hove is the last major site for housing in the city, bounded as we are by the National Park. It offers the potential for over 700 new homes as part of our City Plan. As many of these must be as truly affordable as possible.

Long-standing national policy requires up to 40% of homes to be affordable in new developments. However it uses the 80% of market rates definition of “affordable” which, if it ever was affordable, isn’t now, and especially in high housing cost areas like Brighton & Hove.

Developers push back on providing affordable housing even at this rate, but in truth few in need of housing in Brighton & Hove can afford a home at 80% of market rates.

Westridge Construction won a Considerate Constructors award for community involvement at this site and the artwork by local children and young people won runner-up prize in a hoardings competition run by the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

Source: B Journal

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Worst case no-deal Brexit could see 43,000 fewer UK construction jobs, report says

A no-deal Brexit could see up to 43,000 fewer construction jobs in the UK, according to an economic forecast commissioned by the mayor of London.

The research undertaken by analysts Cambridge Econmetrics has produced a damning report on the adverse effects a hard Brexit could have on the UK economy and various sectors. Sadiq Khan claims the study shows that a no-deal outcome could cost the country half a million jobs and £50bn in lost investment by 2030.

The findings also looked at London alone where increased housing numbers are desperately needed. Experts believe there could be 5,000 fewer jobs and a drop in output of up to £1.2bn by 2030 in the construction sector should the UK decide to walk away from a deal and leave both the EU customs union and single market.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “If the government continue to mishandle the negotiations we could be heading for a lost decade of lower growth and lower employment. The analysis concludes that the harder the Brexit we end up with, the bigger the potential impact on jobs, growth and living standards.”

The analysis looks at the potential impact five different Brexit scenarios could have on nine key sectors of the economy. It shows that every Brexit outcome analysed would be bad for the British economy, but that the harder the Brexit, the more severe the consequences. The worst of the five scenarios postulates a departure in March 2019 with no deal or transition arrangements and researches have estimated this would lead to 482,000 fewer jobs across the entire UK and a loss of £46.8bn in investment by 2030.

“If the government continue to mishandle the negotiations we could be heading for a lost decade of lower growth and lower employment.”
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London.

James Murray, deputy mayor for housing and residential development, said: “This report lays bare the huge risks we would face as a result of Government’s failure to secure a Brexit deal that works for London and the rest of the UK. The fact the Mayor has had do the prime minister’s job in publishing the full impact of Brexit is truly damning. It shows the scale of the blow that a no-deal hard Brexit could have on our homebuilding efforts. London needs 13,000 additional construction workers to build the homes the capital needs – we simply cannot afford to lose skilled European labour.”

The research was commissioned after the Brexit secretary David Davis told MPs in December the government had failed to produce any economic forecasts on the likely impacts Brexit could have. Answering questions from the Brexit select committee, Davis also said no economic impact study had been undertaken before the cabinet decision to leave the customs union.

The Labour mayor was also a strong supporter of the remain campaign and has since argued for the UK to stay in the EU’s single market and customs union. Davis’s admissions in December have said to ignite a drive to produce some research-based evidence of future impacts. While the report’s authors have stressed the figures are reliant on a range of factors, it is the first time analysis like this had been undertaken to delve into the wider impacts of a no-deal Brexit.

Analysis by Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation

Not knowing if we’ll have enough skilled workers to resource the construction industry over the coming years is deeply concerning.

We urge government to provide clarity on the status of EU workers as soon as possible – we are already seeing this uncertainty undermine regeneration up and down the country.

Government must get migration policy right if we wish to build much-needed homes and the physical environments capable of driving innovation, which underpin a successful post-Brexit UK.

Source: Infrastructure Intelligence

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Sunderland social club could be demolished to make way for housing

A Sunderland social club could soon be a thing of the past if plans to demolish it and build new housing get the green light.

Proposals have been submitted to Sunderland City Council to bring down the single storey Farringdon Social Club, which is in Anthony Road.

Farringdon Social Club redevelopment of residential accommodation plans

Farringdon Social Club redevelopment of residential accommodation plans

Agent TTS Planning Consultants has said that if permission for the move is granted, residential accommodation will be built in its place, although there are no concrete plans for what type of housing would be created at this stage.

The application reads: “The application site is currently a social club and therefore the proposal for residential accommodation would be the development of brownfield land.

“The site is also within a highly sustainable location being within short walking distance to shops, services and public facilities. “Farringdon Primary School is directly north of the site with St David’s Church immediately to the west.

Farringdon Social Club redevelopment of residential accommodation plans

Farringdon Social Club redevelopment of residential accommodation plans

“There are a number of shops and facilities on Ashdown Road to the south of the site, which includes a Post Office, The Dolphin public house and Gills Golden Fry fish and chip shop. “There is also access to good public transport links with bus stops on Ashdown Road and Allendale Road which are a short walk from the application site.”

The time of accommodation which could be built on the land should the club be demolished is not specified in the plans. The application added: “A proposed layout for a residential scheme would very much depend on the type of development which would eventually be brought forward.

“It is considered necessary that a strong frontage is created along the main highway of Anthony Road. “Therefore it would be suggested that whether apartment blocks or individual houses/bungalows are brought forward, the built form would be built up to the main road, creating parking and garden/amenity areas to the rear of the site.

“It is considered that a suitable residential layout can be delivered which would offer a strong built form in the Farringdon area.” The application adds that a residential scheme would create an improvements in terms of an environmental impact on the surrounding area, with less noise if the social club was demolished.

No-one from Farringdon Social Club or TTS Planning Consultants could be contacted for comment. The application, which can be viewed on Sunderland City Council’s planning portal, is set to be decided on by February 13.

Source: Sunderland Echo