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London City Hall development chief to lead L&Q 100,000 home plan

London housing association L&Q has lured head of development at  the Greater London Authority to drive its plans to build 100,000 new homes over the next decade.

Fiona Fletcher-Smith will join the housing provider, which now ranks as one of London’s leading developers, as group director for development and sales.

She will oversee landmark projects such as Barking Riverside, L&Q’s joint venture with the GLA to create a new town of 10,800 new homes as well as vital infrastructure, and a strategic partnership with the Mayor of London to deliver another 20,000 new homes across the capital.

Her remit will also include responsibility for Gallagher Estates, one of the largest strategic land companies in the UK which was acquired by the L&Q Group in early 2017.

During her time at the GLA she has delivered several key strategic initiatives such as the London Plan, the Economic Development Strategy, and the London Environment Strategy, and also oversees the operation of the Mayor’s powers in relation to significant planning applications in the capital.

L&Q’s large development operation includes in-house teams to manage land and planning, development projects, construction, and sales and marketing.

The department underwent a major reshaping in 2017, with the aim of scaling up to deliver 5,000 new homes a year by 2020.

David Montague, L&Q Chief Executive, said: “Fiona has helped to put housing at the forefront of the London planning agenda and we hope that her passion will drive our own ambitions to help tackle the housing crisis through the delivery of tens of thousands of genuinely affordable, quality homes.”

Source: Construction Enquirer

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150 new homes look set to get the go-ahead despite objections

Proposals for 150 new homes on the eastern side of the estate on Birmingham Road will go before Warwick District Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, 27th March.

And council officers have recommended that councillors approve the expansion that will see Taylor Wimpey build 90 open market homes and 60 so-called affordable houses of between one and five bedrooms.

Hatton Parish Council supports the development, but has concerns about the perceived lack of pedestrian and cycle connectivity to local facilities, the absence of solar panels to all dwellings where it is feasible, and what it described as ‘the additional burden on services’.

Hatton Park Residents’ Association has complained about the lack of a direct pedestrian link between the two sites, saying that new residents would be ‘isolated as opposed to integrated with the existing community’ as they not be able to safely easily access the existing community and its facilities without going out onto Birmingham Road.

And that existing Hatton residents would have limited access to the new area of open space, which it said was the only facility being added to the estate.

A number of neighbouring residents have also objected, citing additional traffic on Birmingham Road which is ‘already not acceptable and results in regular queuing and congestion’, claims of lack of school and doctors places, loss of green belt, fears over flood, the loss of trees, and a lack of parking.

MP Matt Western said that he had ‘received several letters of complaint regarding the proposed development’ and as such has requested to speak at the planning meeting.

The 18-acre site is in the council’s recently-adopted local plan, which sets out housing sites between now and 2031, and, according to planning officers, it ‘is considered to accord with all relevant provisions of the development plan.

Hatton Park is on the site of a former general hospital and King Edward VII memorial hospital, and the first homes were built there in the late 1990s.

It is in the green belt and includes the Ancient Woodland of Smith’s Covert to the north of the site.

At the time of the 2011 Census, it had a population of just over 2,000 and 798 homes.

The planning committee will make a final decision at its meeting at Leamington Town Hall on Tuesday, which starts at 6pm.

Source: Stratford Herald

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Housing minister announces £215m to build new homes in Oxfordshire

One hundred thousand new homes are to be built in Oxfordshire by 2031. It’s part of a £215m housing deal announced today.

More than one thousand of these will be affordable housing to help first time buyers.

The remaining government funding will support transport infrastructure – such as bridges, roundabouts and roads – in the county.

It was announced by the Housing Minister, Dominic Raab:

Our priority is to work with councils to build the right homes in the right places that work for everyone.

I am delighted to be here in Oxfordshire today to see first hand how our new funding will help deliver 100,000 homes for the county, not only helping address Oxfordshire’s housing challenges but also providing the kind of transport infrastructure such as roads, bridges and roundabouts which new homes need.

We’re clear the housing market must work for all which is why we have dedicated over a quarter of the £215 million funding directly to affordable housing so working families can get the support they need.”


I’m pleased that so many councillors of all parties and from all parts of the county have backed the Deal. It represents a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing Oxfordshire’s severe housing shortage and infrastructure challenges.

It also demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working with Oxfordshire and recognises the critical role the county will play in driving forward the UK economy post-Brexit, attracting global investment.”

Source: iTV
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£4M of funding set aside to build new homes in Dorset

  • West Dorset District Council has launched a new housing company.
  • Its been given £4M of funding from the council’s reserves.
  • The Local Authority Trading Company will acquire sites and fund development.
  • Its all aimed at tackling the housing shortage in Dorset.

Councillors have backed plans to help tackle housing shortages in West Dorset by building a mix of new homes.

These will include open market sale, shared ownership sale, open market rent and affordable/social for rent.

Members of West Dorset District Council’s strategy committee approved a recommendation to set up a Local Authority Trading Company with initial funding of £4m from council reserves.

This funding will be used to operate the business, acquire sites and fund development.

The move is part of the council’s Opening Doors campaign to meet housing need at a local level when faced with a lower number of active developers that can typically be found in larger urban areas.

It comes 25 years after the district council transferred its housing stock to the then West Dorset Housing Association in 1993.

That organisation has since become Magna Housing. The council recognises that local housing associations do a great service but the area still needs more housing provision with 1,572 people on the council’s Housing Register.

The new company will:

  • target areas of need that are not currently being served by the locally based developers 
  • Work with community land trusts to deliver smaller sites
  • Acquire new land as well as developing the council’s own
  • Acquire sites that have been granted planning consent for housing but not brought forward 
  • Work with other developers and housing associations where its involvement can unlock development that would otherwise have not taken place

Councillor Tim Yarker said: “We are determined to do everything in our power at a local level to tackle housing shortages.

“More good quality homes of all tenures are absolutely vital for the future of our communities and strength of our local economy.

“A Local Authority Trading Company will give us a degree of greater control over the tenure and location of housing developments whilst also offering significant potential to help ameliorate housing shortages.

“In addition to increasing the supply of housing locally, receipts from the sale of properties and rents would create revenue streams that in the longer term could be reinvested in further housing provision.”

Cllr Yarker added: “Opening Doors is about the council being proactive to tackle housing problems.

“We are one of a number of councils nationwide taking such an innovative approach and establishing a Local Authority Trading Company could be one of the most important steps we take.”

The council aims to develop the homes using local labour which could help create more jobs and a boost for the local economy.

Opening Doors aims to encourage the construction of a total of 20,000 good quality homes of all tenures by 2033 across the areas covered by West Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council and West Dorset District Council.

The councils have also launched a Home Ownership Register to gauge need for different types of homes and in what areas, and feed information to prospective buyers.

Source: WessexFM

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Kirklees Council announces plans to build 10,000 new homes

Kirklees is set for some major residential developments, as they announce their ambitions to build 10,000 new homes in the next five years. The plans, revealed at MIPIM this week by Kirklees Council’s Deputy Leader Shabir Pandor, will see the Council build 1,000 new homes themselves and look to secure the support of developers the fulfil the 10,000 home promise.

The news is another huge boost for the regions housing numbers, and another positive in the economic story in the region – which is set to be the talking point at the West Yorkshire Economic Growth Conference later this year, where topics such as housing, skills, infrastructure, and industrial strategy will be discussed.

Kirklees Council were exhibiting at the conference as they look to engage with developers to make the ambitions a success – with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority also in attendance alongside leaders of Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield councils.

Councillor Pandor used the event to announce the council’s Big Build – a programme set to accelerate the construction of homes across the borough. The proposed plans to build 10,000 homes will be on council-owned sites, and it’ll create a new housing development company itself to build 1,000 homes, whilst searching for developers to build the additional 9,000.

Speaking at the conference he said: ”The Big Build is a major opportunity for us to accelerate the rate of housing delivery across Kirklees. This not only provides the homes our residents need but, looking outwardly, helps us as a region to attract and retain the talent which businesses across the Leeds City Region need to fuel growth and underpin our regional economy as a whole. We know that we have a great deal to offer people in terms of lifestyle here in Kirklees. Our great strength is our location at the centre of the Northern Powerhouse – on the major North/South and East/West M1/M62 corridors of the M1 and M62. Around 70% of our district is rural, yet neighbouring cities are commutable within 40 minutes. We have England’s top performing sixth form – Greenhead College – and a University voted number one in the world for teaching excellence.”

Further details of the Big Build are set to be revealed over the coming weeks.

Source: Built Environment Networking

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Government signs West Midlands deal to deliver 215,000 homes in 13 years

West Midlands authorities have agreed to deliver 215,000 homes by 2031, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Spring Statement today.

Hammond said he’s currently working with 44 authorities who are bidding for the government’s £4.1bn housing infrastructure fund to unlock housing in areas of high demand.

He said: “We have just agreed a deal with the West Midlands who have committed to deliver 215,000 homes by 2031 facilitated by a £100m grant from the land remediation fund.

“The housing minister will make further announcements over the next few days on the hosing infrastructure fund.

“We will more than double the size of the housing growth partnership with Lloyds Banking Group to £220m, providing additional finance for small builders.”

London will also receive £1.7bn to deliver a further 26,000 affordable homes, including homes for social rent.

Hammond went on to say that 60,000 first-time buyers have benefited from the stamp duty cut he made in the Autumn Statement last November.

And he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to up housing supply by 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s.

Neil Knight, business development director at Spicerhaart Part Exchange & Assisted Move, welcomed the news.

He said: “It is very encouraging that the West Midlands is receiving such a substantial grant.

“Following the Spicerhaart group’s latest acquisition Staffordshire based estate agency business butters john bee, we have widened our coverage into the West Midlands so this announcement is very pertinent for us.

“We know the West Midlands is in desperate need of new housing and where usually, funding tends to be focussed on London and more recently, the North, it is encouraging to see a deal like this in the Midlands.”

Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of Emoov, agreed.

But he reckoned the government isn’t doing enough to help the struggling market in London.

Quirk said: “Today’s additional announcement of 215,000 homes within the West Midlands region by 2031 will see an already strong area of the UK property market further accelerate where price growth is concerned.

“In contrast, London has been one of the worst hit in terms of a dwindling appetite for property amongst buyers.

“While the commitment of 26,000 affordable homes in the capital and a total of 116,000 affordable homes by 2022 would be a step in the right direction, the government delivered just under 7,000 affordable homes in 2017.

“So, there is quite a large gap between their good intentions and reality and this is simply not adequate enough to fix London’s broken housing market.”

Jonathan Sealey, chief executive of Hope Capital, was pleased by the move to increase the housing growth partnership with Lloyds.

He said:  “While the Spring Statement wasn’t earth shattering it was positive news that the Housing Growth Partnership for small housebuilders will be more than doubled to £220m.

“It is these smaller developers and housebuilders that often turn to bridging funding to get their developments off the ground.

“Any measure that increases positive sentiment amongst builders and developers and gets them building, not only increases the much needed housing supply but also helps to boost the economy.”

Paresh Raja, chief executive of bridging lender Market Financial Solutions, welcomed the move.

He said: “It is positive to see the government focusing on developing property markets outside of the capital – the West Midlands has led the way with house price growth of late, and helping meet demand will be important in this region.

“Ultimately, however, we will need to wait and see whether or not the government successfully hits its targets when it comes to building new homes, both here and across the UK as a whole.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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£1m new-build homes drive up Edinburgh house prices

Edinburgh has had a major boost in £1 million new builds and boasts the most seven-figure properties in Scotland, despite a fall in the number of millionaire homes across Scotland last year.

The average selling price of properties in some of Scotland’s most popular areas increased 35 per cent over the past five years, with Portobello the biggest climber in Edinburgh at 28.6 per cent.

Property agency Rettie & Co said Edinburgh is at the heart of the £1m new build market with a combination of conversion and refurbishment schemes in the New Town, complementing high value new builds across the city.

The sale of all penthouses and flats at a new development in Morningside has pushed Woodcroft up to be the second most expensive street in the city. And Rettie said the joint venture between Queensberry Properties and Telereal Trillium demonstrates the importance of the million pound market in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The Scottish £1m plus market fell overall in 2017, with 159 such sales, a drop of 4 per cent on the 2016 total. But the capital bucked the trend, with Edinburgh and its hinterland accounting for around three-quarters of the country’s 2017 £1m-plus sales last year.

Dr John Boyle, director of research and strategy at Rettie & Co, said: “There have been some significant shifts in the £1m-plus market in Scotland in recent times.

£1m new-build homes drive up Edinburgh house prices A new development helped make Woodcroft one of Edinburgh’s most expensive streets.

Edinburgh has had a major boost in £1 million new builds and boasts the most seven-figure properties in Scotland, despite a fall in the number of millionaire homes across Scotland last year.

The average selling price of properties in some of Scotland’s most popular areas increased 35 per cent over the past five years, with Portobello the biggest climber in Edinburgh at 28.6 per cent.

Property agency Rettie & Co said Edinburgh is at the heart of the £1m new build market with a combination of conversion and refurbishment schemes in the New Town, complementing high value new builds across the city.

The sale of all penthouses and flats at a new development in Morningside has pushed Woodcroft up to be the second most expensive street in the city.

And Rettie said the joint venture between Queensberry Properties and Telereal Trillium demonstrates the importance of the million pound market in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The Scottish £1m plus market fell overall in 2017, with 159 such sales, a drop of 4 per cent on the 2016 total. But the capital bucked the trend, with Edinburgh and its hinterland accounting for around three-quarters of the country’s 2017 £1m-plus sales last year.

Dr John Boyle, director of research and strategy at Rettie & Co, said: “There have been some significant shifts in the £1m-plus market in Scotland in recent times.

“There has been a concentration of such sales in Edinburgh and surrounding areas and new build sales are 
playing a much bigger role in this market, partly due to the lack of available stock elsewhere.

“The performance of this market is important in a Scottish context, even though it only accounts for 0.2 per cent of all Scottish house sales, it contributes around 7 per cent of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax revenues.”

As well as an increase at the upper end, the burgeoning market in Edinburgh’s Dalry, Gorgie and Slateford has seen a huge hike in prices of one-bedroom flats, up 28.5 per cent in a year to £144,052.

And showing speed really is of the essence for buyers keen for a slice of the Edinburgh property pie, the average time to sell in these areas has slashed from 92 days in 2013 to just 14 days.

ESPC’s business analyst Maria Botha-Lopez says: “Property prices in some areas of Edinburgh have risen fast over the last five years, and over the last couple of years in particular, the market has been in favour of the seller.

“Over the last three months, the percentage of properties sold within 14 days rose by 13.3 per cent year-on-year to 35.4 per cent, and 29.4 per cent of sales set a closing date, indicating that sellers are attracting a number of competing offers from buyers.”

Earlier this week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said the number of homes on estate agents’ books has dwindled to a new low.

Average property stock levels per branch on agents’ books fell to a new record low of just under 42, as new buyer inquiries, new instructions from sellers and newly-agreed sales continued to drift lower in February, its report said.

New buyer inquiries fell for the eleventh month in a row while sales trends have remained similar over the past six months.

Source: Scotsman

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LendInvest funds £5.5m development deal on historic Glaswegian site

Specialist property finance lender LendInvest has provided a £5.5m loan to fund the development of 24 new homes in Glasgow, Scotland.

The development finance loan will fund the conversion of a Grade II listed former Belmont Church two miles outside of Glasgow city centre with good transport links into the city.

Upon completion the historic site will have been converted into 21 one, two and three-bed flats, and three two-bed mews houses with small private gardens. These homes will be marketed to young professionals who seek quick access to the city. The borrower, Ross Harper, is experienced.

Construction is expected to be completed by late October 2018. The total Gross Development Value is forecast at just under £8.m. The developer acquired the site in 2017 with planning permission already in place for the proposed works.

Steve Larkin, director of development at LendInvest, said: “The potential for development in Glasgow is huge, and projects such as Belmont are a key example of where developers can bring old or disused properties back into circulation in ways that add social and economic value to their local areas.”

This deal coincides with the second Scottish LendInvest Property Development Academy which will be hosted in Glasgow today. The Academy will equip 25 aspiring Scottish property developers with the knowledge they need to start and complete projects.

The Academy’s Scottish courses, the first of which was officially launched last year by Kevin Stewart MSP, the Scottish Housing Minister, are supported by Homes for Scotland, the voice of the Scottish homebuilding industry.

Larkin added: “The untapped potential in the area is why initiatives such as our Property Development Academy are so important.

“Ensuring local developers are armed with right tools to get started with their projects is essential to helping add new homes to Scotland’s housing stock.”

Ross Harper, owner of Plutus Developments, added: “Not only do LendInvest products work for developers, but the team deliver at every stage of a deal.

“By providing crucial support, and creating a partnership that I hope will grow, I am already looking to LendInvest to fund my future deals.

“The Academy in Glasgow is a perfect example of the time that LendInvest takes to educate their developers in making the right choices for their projects and their business.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Government ‘rewriting rule book’ to ensure councils meet home-building targets

Theresa May has insisted the Government wants to be “rewriting the rule book” on planning in a bid to solve Britain’s housing crisis.

The Prime Minister acknowledged there is a “real problem” and a need to build more homes, with councils to be encouraged to develop plans for their area or face intervention.

An overhaul of planning laws will see the creation of new rules to give councils targets for how many homes they should build each year, taking into account local house prices, wages and the number of “key workers” such as nurses, teachers and police officers in the area.

Higher targets will be set for areas with higher “unaffordability ratios”, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has said.

UK construction figures
The Government is claiming it will overhaul planning laws (Joe Giddens/PA)

The Prime Minister has made housing a key domestic priority as more young people struggle to get on the property ladder.

Mrs May told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “We do have a real problem in this country. We need to build more homes.

“There are too many people in the UK today, particularly young people, who fear that they’re never going to be able to own a place of their own.

“What I’m doing on Monday is setting out how we’re rewriting the rule book in terms of planning, so we’re saying to councils you’ve got to take local communities into account, you’ve got to ensure you’ve got a proper plan for your local area – if you don’t have it, the Government will intervene.

“We’re ensuring we won’t see so much money spent on expensive consultants by setting the number of homes on a national framework, national calculation on the number of homes needed in each area.

“But also what we as government are also going to do is release more public sector land for homes and make sure actually as we do so, some of those homes are affordable for key people like nurses working in our public services.”

Mr Javid also warned local authorities he would be “breathing down your neck every day and night” to ensure home-building targets are met.

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid
Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid (Victoria Jones/PA)

“We need a housing revolution. The new rules will no longer allow nimby councils that don’t really want to build the homes that their local community needs to fudge the numbers.”

Mr Javid said homes would not be built on green belt but any area outside “naturally protected land” would be free for construction.

He also revealed plans to build new towns between Oxford and Cambridge.

“Along that corridor there’s an opportunity to build at least four or five garden towns and villages with thousands of homes,” he said.

And he said rules will be relaxed for homeowners who want to add storeys to their houses.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey
Shadow housing secretary John Healey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He added: “In the week he’s surrendered £800 million of unspent housing funds to the Treasury, more buck-passing from Sajid Javid isn’t going to cut it. It’s time the Tories changed course, and backed Labour’s long-term plan to build the homes the country needs.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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2,675 home development gets green light

A development which includes 2,675 homes, employment space, three schools and a railway station among other components has been given the green light.

Alder King submitted the initial outline application on behalf of original site owners BAE Systems and were retained by developer YTL upon purchase of the site to submit amendments to the scheme and negotiate with the council to secure consent.

The plans for Filton Airfield, South Gloucestershire, include two primary schools and a secondary school as well as community facilities, public open space and sports facilities.

Simon Fitton, partner and head of planning at Alder King, said: “We are pleased to be involved in this exciting project which will transform a significant area of north Bristol.

“It will combine new homes with a celebration of aero heritage, new employment opportunities and community infrastructure, into a new neighbourhood at the gateway into Bristol.

“It will benefit existing communities through the provision of new road and public transport infrastructure that will enable much enhanced movement across what has historically been a barrier for north/south connectivity.”

The site is part of the 50 acre Cribbs Patchway agreement, which will see 5,700 homes built over ten years with developers Deeley Freed and Taylor Wimpey also involved.

Cllr Colin Hunt, cabinet member responsible for planning, said: “The new communities planned here will be well-connected with key transport and employment hubs. A key feature of infrastructure identified on the former Filton Airfield plans is the proposed ‘North – South Public Transport Link’, which will provide a new bus link across the site connecting Merlin Road/Hayes Way to the north and Charlton Road in Brentry to the south. This link will bring significant accessibility and connectivity benefits to large areas of Bristol’s North Fringe; providing a direct public transport link from the parts of northern Bristol south of the airfield to Cribbs Patchway and the Mall area.”

Source: Insider Media