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Plans for new homes in Nottingham get green light

Plans to build 30 new council houses in Bulwell and Basford have been approved by planners.

Planning permission has been granted for Nottingham City Homes (NCH) to deliver 13 council houses on a former care home site in Bulwell, and a further 17 new homes in Basford.

Two, three and four-bedroom homes will be built on the derelict site at Aldgate Close, Bulwell, after plans were given the go-ahead.

17 new homes on Tunstall Drive in Basford have also been approved by Nottingham City Council’s planning committee. Work on these new homes is due to start in spring next year. NCH are yet to appoint a developer to the project, but will be going out to tender in the coming months.

The construction in Bulwell is being carried out by local firm, Robert Woodhead Group and work should begin in December 2018.

Nick Murphy, Chief Executive of NCH, said: “We are continuing to develop sites and build much needed new homes across the city, delivering twice as many homes as any other arms-length management company. These sites form part of the ongoing Building a Better Nottingham programme, which is transforming communities across the city.

“Our vision is to create homes and places where people want to live, and these new developments add to this by providing affordable housing in Bulwell and Basford to meet the growing requirement of the community.”

Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage at the City Council, said “Nottingham has a number of different types of housing needs. Sites like the ones at Tunstall Drive and Bulwell, provide an opportunity to develop attractive, well managed homes to meet local demand for that area.

“Developing apartments on sites like at Tunstall Drive, also allows tenants who are living in larger properties and looking to downsize to do so, freeing up much needed family housing for those who need it.”

Craig Pygall, Construction Director for Woodhead Group, said: “We are delighted to be working with Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham City Council again on what will be a transformational development.

“The Building a Better Nottingham programme is close to our hearts as we have been involved in projects from the start of this iconic scheme. Being a Nottinghamshire company ourselves, we always aim to work with as many local people and businesses as we can, while ensuring we deliver quality, efficient and affordable buildings. This site will be no different, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Source: West Bridgford Wire

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More new build completions but at a slower rate

New build completions rose from 183,570 in 2016/2017 to 195,290 in 2017/2018, a 6.4% increase, housing supply data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has found.

This represents a slowdown from last year’s rate of growth, which was 11.9%.

Annual housing supply in England amounted to 222,190 net additional dwellings in 2017-18, up 2% on 2016- 17.

Russell Quirk, chief executive and founder of estate agency, said: “Whilst the increase in new homes delivered is of course welcomed, there is a huge dose of caution needed here before the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government reaches for the Bollinger in celebration.

“Year-on-year growth in supply has dwindled to just a whimper at just 2% and at this rate of growth the government target of 300,000 new dwellings delivered each year will take 15 years to reach”

However Communities Secretary James Brokenshire welcomed the statistics.

He added: “Today’s figures are great news and show another yearly increase in the number of new homes delivered, but we are determined to do more to keep us on track to deliver the homes communities need.

“That’s why we have set out an ambitious package of measures to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. This includes over £44 billion investment, rewriting the planning rules and scrapping the borrowing cap so councils can deliver a new generation of council housing.”

The 222,190 net additions in 2017-18 resulted from 195,290 new build homes, 29,720 gains from change of use between non-domestic and residential, 4,550 from conversions between houses and flats and 680 other gains (caravans, house boats etc.), offset by 8,050 demolitions.

In 2017-18, the 195,290 new build completions accounted for 88% of the net change, the largest component of new homes.

‘Change of use’ is the second largest component with a gain of 29,720 dwellings (13% of the net change).

Conversions added 4,550 dwellings, 2% of the net change, and there were a further 680 other gains, 0.3% of the net change. Demolitions resulted in a loss of 8,050 dwellings, -4% of the net change.

Net additions from change of use decreased in 2017/18, down by 7,470 (20%) on the previous year. This component includes the amendments to ‘permitted development rights’ making it easier to change buildings to residential use.

New build completions increased by 11,720 (6%). Since 2015-16, new data have been collected on dwellings from change of use under permitted development rights.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular smart homes developer Project Etopia, said: “The country faces a race against time to get house building up to speed but the needle has barely moved in the last year, rising from a walk to a gentle jog.

“Failing to maintain the building rate from one year to the next is a socially unsustainable policy as the gap between the ‘haves and have nots’ widens each year. The growth rate in the number of new homes being built has slumped from 11.9% in 2016/17 to 6.4% in 2017/18.

“Young people and families desperately want to get on the housing ladder but are hamstrung by weak supply of new homes.

“Despite the desperate need for new housing, fewer homes became available in 2017-18 than 10 years ago. Clearly the political capital that has been invested in talking about solutions to the housing crisis is not translating into working capital on the ground.

“A fresh approach to house-building is needed, along with a greater sense of urgency,  to ensure people are provided with quality accommodation in the future.

“Councils can look to innovative modular homes, which are high-quality and, more importantly, can be built extremely quickly, as a way to catch up to their house-building targets — but authorities and the government alike must act quickly to rapidly pick up the pace or they will only fall even further behind.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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The role of modular in addressing the UK’s housing crisis

The UK’s housing crisis demands urgent answers and decisive action. The gap between the number of houses currently being built and the number required is alarming and is exacerbating the unaffordable house price issue. Nationwide, housebuilding needs to almost double to hit the government’s target of 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the next decade.

It is not just a question of picking up the pace of construction, however quickly. The critical point is to deliver affordable housing. In 2017, 70,000 families were forced to live in emergency housing.

This will require political will and innovative thinking. In London, for example, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 844,000 new homes will be needed by 2041 – but that fewer than 54,000 have been built in the previous two years. There is certainty a case to be made in favour of easing construction restrictions on parts of the green belt: not to damage the  integrity of rightly cherished areas of natural beauty, but to consider developing portions of brownfield land which has an arbitrary ‘green’ designation.

This, however, will achieve little if most people continue to be priced out of the market. According to a recent report by the CBRE, barely a quarter of homes built or approved on greenfield land in the past decade are considered affordable under the government’s definition.

There is no easy solution to the affordability problem. But there are compelling reasons to think that modular housing has a part to play.

The UK’s housebuilding industry faces stifling cost pressures. Resources, skills, and materials are in short supply. Last year, for example, research by the Federation of Master Builders found that some small building firms were being told to wait for more than a year for brick orders.

One advantage of modular houses is that they have the potential to save more than a third of the costs of construction. They can cost as little as £125,000 to build – compared to an average of £200,000 using traditional methods. Off-site production allows for materials and components to be purchased in bulk, and the manufacturing methods are far more efficient.

Prefabricated homes can be built in as little as three to four days – and the process is not easily disrupted, for example, by the whims of UK weather conditions.

Today’s prefabricated homes are typically at the highest end of the energy efficiency scale. The use of a repeatable template in their manufacturing helps new forms of renewable energy and heat recovery systems to be widely adopted – and reduces the potential for defects in their replication. In other words, they have turned quality of construction and efficiency into their hallmarks.

What about their desirability? Architects have long held qualms that modular construction constrains design creativity. This may have been a defendable view in the past. But recent technological innovations, such as in 3D modelling, have unleashed a new wave of ingenuity. The result is that modular buildings, large and small, require every bit as much creativity and skill as their traditional counterparts.

We have supplied our own proprietary modular building method to Be First, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s regeneration company. As an example of modular, this is a volumetric manufacturing method, which expedites the assembly of low-energy homes, fitted-out, completed and manufactured offsite using precision methods of engineering to provide robust, high-design, high-quality modular housing.

There is no questioning that investment in modular housing is growing. London’s City Hall has indicated that it is willing to give more funding to modular development. Homes England has also provided financial support for the industry. Earlier this year, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, awarded £11 million from the GLA Innovation Fund to a group of 16 London Boroughs that plan to deliver modular housing as emergency housing for homeless families.

Design challenges remain. If the sector is to reach its potential, modular manufacturers need to do more to foster greater standardisation of their respective building methods – to make modular housing a viable option on a large scale.

It’s important to recognise, however, that in itself modular building is not a panacea. There is a broader framework to be fixed. Finding solutions to the UK’s dearth of affordable housing will require developers and landowners to come together with local councils and communities on a much grander scale. Land urgently needs to be freed up. Reducing the price of constructing homes will not tackle the roots of this crisis if we cannot find affordable land to build them on.

The £500 million increase in the UK’s Housing Infrastructure Fund in the Chancellor’s last Budget is an encouraging step. It is welcome that the funds are being focused on parts of the industry currently better able to build affordable homes, such as the housing associations. But a great deal more needs to be done if we are to make inroads into the estimated £68 billion that needs to be spent, to build 300,000 properties per year required to keep pace with demand. Modular building is a very good start.

Source: Open Access Government

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Councils already six years behind house building targets

Councils have fallen more than six years behind their own house-building targets, spelling disaster for Britain’s bid to end the housing crisis, modular smart homes provider Project Etopia has found.

Development across the country is moving at such a glacial pace, local authorities are on average 6.2 years behind the rate of building needed to hit targets identified as part of the government’s 10-year plan ending in 2026.

Joseph Daniels, chief executive of Project Etopia, said: “It is alarming to see so many areas so far behind already. If the pace is not rapidly picked up, we will be in an even deeper black hole in 10 years’ time than we are in now.

“Housing need is plain for all to see but not enough is being done about it. There is an air of complacency — everyone knows we need to build more houses and fast, but not enough decisive action is being taken to ease the crisis.

“Fresh ideas are vitally needed, and the most innovative and forward-thinking councils will have to include modern modular housing in their armoury. They can be built quickly, more economically, and still provide the standard of living people expect when they move into a new-build.

“The deficit is only going to grow unless councils think outside the box, and look for faster ways to build homes but retain quality — and modular housing offers this.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government jointly set out annual housing targets with local authorities up to 2026 and published these in September 20171.

However, building in 316 locations identified by the study is set to fall short of housing need by 889,803 homes over the decade.

Some of these areas (75) are keeping pace with housing requirements but just one year in, 241 locations are already in deficit, leaving them 9.2 years behind target on average.

If those councils not building fast enough do not speed up, they will miss their targets to the tune of 1.01 million homes by 2026.

Of the 10 councils which have fallen the furthest behind, it would take until between 2042 and 2060 for all the homes required by 2026 to be built.

Figures show Southend-on-Sea is by far the worst town or city outside London for meeting its targets, and is set to be 8,405 homes short of what it needs by the end of 2026 — if it does not speed up, it will take 34 more years to build that amount of housing stock.

York and Luton are the only other towns and cities that are more than 20 years behind — and all 10 councils with the biggest deficits are two decades off the pace on average.

The Project Etopia study found even councils with fewer homes to build, such as Gosport, Hants, which only needs to build 238 a year, have been struggling to meet their own targets. Gosport is 17 years behind.

Councils have for years been prevented from building new housing stock themselves, leaving them at the mercy of developers whose building can be hampered by economic and planning constraints.

However, the Prime Minister announced at the Conservative Party Conference that the borrowing cap would be lifted to encourage local authorities to commission new developments.

Preston, Lancs, was ahead of housing need by the biggest margin, with Scarborough, North Yorks, and Burnley, Lancs, close behind.

In London, the situation is even worse. Redbridge is in the worst shape in the country — 82.5 years behind its housing need.

Boroughs are 19.2 years behind on average, and those that are in deficit lag their house building targets by 21.4 years. Come 2026, London boroughs are on target to have a shortfall of 429,973 homes.

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Budget to support new housing, high streets and local services

Budget will boost efforts to build homes, restore the dream of home ownership, help our high streets and support councils to deliver local services, says Communities Secretary

Building on the current comprehensive package of reform and targeted investment to deliver the homes the country needs, the measures outlined in the Budget include:

  • continuing to help people onto the housing ladder by announcing a new Help to Buy scheme from April 2021 and exploring proposals to deliver a new wave of shared ownership homes
  • supporting councils and housing associations by removing borrowing restrictions to enable them to deliver a new generation of council housing and affordable homes
  • further planning reforms to make the most of available space for homes and ensuring developers pay their fair share to support new and existing communities

Recognising the pressures faced by councils, almost £1 billion of extra funding will be provided to help deliver the services communities need and support the most vulnerable residents:

  • a £650 million boost for adults and children’s social care, including £240 million to support vulnerable people over winter months and help manage the impact on the NHS

This is alongside a package to support high-streets meet the new challenges brought about by changing shopping habits, providing short-term relief for struggling retailers and a long-term vision for town centres.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “This Budget provides positive news for those struggling to get on the housing ladder with certainty given on the future of Help to Buy and freeing up councils to deliver a new generation of council housing.

“It also supports communities across the country by helping councils deliver services for their most vulnerable residents while also helping our high streets to flourish.”

Building the homes communities need

The Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap has been the biggest barrier to councils building homes and the Chancellor has no confirmed that this has been removed- freeing up councils to deliver a new generation of council housing – up to an estimated 10,000 homes a year.

In a move to help more first-time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder, a new Help to Buy scheme has been announced from April 2021 – restricted to first-time buyers and including regional property price caps to ensure it is more targeted on people who need it most.

And with most first-time buyers now exempt from paying Stamp Duty following last year’s Budget – benefitting over 120,000 buyers so far – this year’s Budget went a step further by extending this relief to all first-time buyers of shared ownership properties worth up to £500,000 – and making this retrospective, so any first-time buyer who has made such a purchase since the last Budget will benefit.

To make sure that the infrastructure is in place to support new and existing communities ahead of development of new homes, the Housing Infrastructure Fund has been boosted by £500 million – bringing the total to £5.5 billion with the potential to unlock up to 650,000 homes.

Grant funding of £291 million for vital infrastructure on the Docklands Light Railway in East London has been announced, meaning less pressure on existing services in the area and the potential to unlock over 18,000 homes.

The next wave of deals with 9 housing associations were announced, allocating £653 million from the Affordable Homes Programme to deliver over 13,000 additional affordable housing starts by March 2022 and £1 billion of new guarantees to support small and medium sized builders, implemented by the British Business Bank.

A consultation on a package of planning reform to allow greater flexibility to extend existing buildings upwards and allow a change of use has been launched – to ensure that the planning system is speeding up the delivery of homes and supporting the regeneration of high streets.

Support was confirmed for up to 500 neighbourhoods to develop plans to allocate or permission land for homes sold at a discount.

Almost £1 billion extra support for local services

This Budget has provided a boost of £650 million to help councils support the most vulnerable people in their communities. Of this £240 million will be focused on winter pressures next year with flexibility to use the remainder where it is needed most – for adult or children’s services.

This is on top of the £240 million announced last month to address winter social care pressures this year.

An additional £84 million over 5 years will also be made available as a targeted children’s social care fund over the next 5 years, along with an additional £55 million Disabled Facilities Grant in this financial year.

This will mean councils will be able to deliver the services their residents need while also protecting them from excessive Council Tax bills.

Help for the high street

A £1.5 billion plan that includes a cut to the business rates bills for small retailers worth almost £900 million over 2 years, funding to transform town centres and a relaxation of planning rules has been announced as part of the Budget to support the country’s high streets.

This includes:

  • the launch of a £675 million Future High Streets Fund to transform local high streets so that they can remain firmly at the heart of communities; this will be used to improve infrastructure and transport and also support areas to redevelop under-used retail space into homes and offices, helping to restore high street properties and put historic buildings back into use
  • business rates relief targeted at small retailers to cut their bills by a third and a new mandatory relief for public lavatories, building on over £10 billion of business rates support since 2016
  • relaxing planning rules to support new mixed-use businesses on the high street and the conversion of under-used retail units into offices and homes

This is accompanied by additional support for local leadership to prepare and implement new strategies for their high street, including a new High Streets Taskforce to offer support and advice to help revitalise high streets.

Source: Open Access Government

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Plans for 600 new houses in Nuneaton

Another colossal housing estate boasting 650 homes could become the SIXTH new development in the north of Nuneaton.

More than a year after proposals were first revealed, developers Gladman have officially submitted a planning application.

They are seeking the green light to build 650 dwellings at Poplar Farm at The Long Shoot.

The firm, which is behind other developments in the town, says the new development will help to ‘meet the needs of the area, whilst respecting and enhancing the site’s environmental assets’.

If given the go-ahead by planning bosses, it will be the sixth development in the area, with Warwickshire County Council seeking permission for 360 homes on land off Eastboro Way.

There are homes currently being built by Bellway, Davidsons, Barratt and David Wilson Homes.

In the latest application received by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Gladman explains that the development will boat public open space landscaping sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS) and vehicular access off The Long Shoot and Eastboro Way.

Where the developers plan to build up to 650 homes (Image: Image courtesy of planning application)

What sort of houses?

The outline planning application says it covers an area of 35.17 hectares and comprises 650 new homes at an average net density of 35 dwellings per hectare with a mix of dwellings types from two to five bedroom properties.

The development will offering a mix of market housing from first time homes to larger family homes.

As well as residential parking within the proposed development the application proposals also include a separate car parking area to serve neighbouring land use; an area for 25 parking spaces will be located off the proposed eastern access point adjacent to the existing residential home.

There will be two and two-and-a-half storey homes with some three storey buildings.

Public open space

Where the play areas will be located. (Image: Image courtesy of planning application)

A substantial area of public open space is proposed throughout the site.

There will be a series of connecting footpaths running across the site within green corridors and through the built up areas.

A new community park to the east of the site will provide habitat and recreational opportunities.

Harrow Brook Wetland Park will form part of the new community park to the east of the site.

The park will be focused on the natural habitat of the adjacent watercourse; Harrow Brook. The wetland habitat will be reinforced through a robust landscape management plan which will tie into the objectives of the local landscape and green infrastructure initiatives.

A path network will permeate throughout the park and link to the rest of the site green infrastructure making the park accessible to all. There will be opportunity for grazing areas to be included within this park to help achieve landscape objectives of the area

Also forming part of the new community park will be the sports and nature parkland. The proposed outdoor sports facilities will be located within this area alongside a larger equipped area of play. The play area would be able to provide natural play elements within an area of quality landscaping.

An outdoor sports area will be located to the south-east of the site with outdoor sports facilities. Several areas equipped area of play will be provided on site.

How to access the site

Two vehicular access points are proposed off The Long Shoot.

The western access point is located where the current access to Poplars Farm is located, directly west of 51 The Long Shoot.

The eastern access point is taken from the existing access route to Longlea Residential Home.

Pedestrian access will also be available into the site from the existing right of way that runs through the south western corner of the site.

Access to Wheatcroft Farm and Wheatcroft Farm Cottages will be retained along the track that forms the site’s western boundary.

The sprawling development plan off The Longshoot.

Public consultation

Last summer, the firm held a public consultation into the plans and, in the planning application, it states: “Gladman is pleased that a number of people engaged with the consultation process for the proposed site and provided comments during the pre-application process.

Whilst many respondents objected to the principle of residential development on the site, others expressed support whilst some offered constructive comments.”

Among the concerns raised included the already ‘significant residential development’ in the area, the impact on the value of existing houses, there are more than 1,900 new dwellings already built or permitted in a small area of the town as well as flooding and highways issues.

What happens next?

Planning officers at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council have set a target decision date of January 10 next year.

In the meantime, people can have their say on the application by logging on to the council’s website and searching for application number 035033.

Source: Coventry Telegraph