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New builds to launch in High Wycombe

Developer Inland Homes is launching the next phase of homes at High Wycombe development Centre Square across the weekend of 26/27th September.

The Pavilion Apartments and Alexandra House are due to launch in September, with final completions in March 2021.

They are eligible for Help to Buy.

Vicki Noon, sales and marketing director at Inland Homes, said: “We are thrilled to be launching the next phase of homes at Centre Square next month.

“These apartments make perfect homes for a range of buyers, especially those looking for their first home, with properties situated at the centre of everything the town has to offer.

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“Being just across the road from the Eden Centre and with fantastic transport links within walking distance, the properties are in a prime location to thoroughly enjoy the lifestyle that town centre living brings.

“And, with all apartments available on the Help to Buy scheme with just a 5% deposit needed to secure a home, buying a property is made even more affordable for those looking to buy new in High Wycombe.”

The Pavillion Apartments have seven apartments, comprised of one and two bedroom properties.

Alexandra House will offer a contemporary selection of 36 one and two bedroom apartments, each with an underground parking space and access to a private communal courtyard garden.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Housing minister calls for VAT reduction to support construction recovery

Housing minister Kevin Stewart is calling for the UK Government to reduce VAT charged on construction works to existing buildings to 5% to support the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, Mr Stewart said that while successive Scottish ministers have made such requests at various points in recent years, the “exceptional circumstances” faced by the construction industry as a result of the pandemic has brought this issue to the fore once again.

Setting out the benefits the reduction would bring, Mr Stewart added:

  1. A reduction in the cost of such work would undoubtedly encourage and enable domestic investment (which can be undertaken safely under well-developed safe operating practices which have been developed and adopted by industry) at a time when many households are reluctant to invest due to financial uncertainty.
  2. The pandemic is clearly bringing major changes in our working and home lives and existing buildings need to be adapted in order to support these new patterns of behaviour. Without this we risk losing buildings that could have been re-purposed and may well force people to work in unsatisfactory conditions at home. A reduction in VAT would significantly increase building flexibility and also send a clear signal that government is actively responding to these changing patterns.
  3. In responding to the climate crisis it is essential that we make best use of existing buildings and the current favourable VAT treatment for new buildings is a perverse incentive in this respect. Making our existing buildings as heat and energy efficient as possible will be critical to meeting our net zero carbon emissions in the future and a reduction in VAT would undoubtedly incentivise such investment.

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The minister said: “It is at the request of industry that I write to urge you to reconsider this vitally important matter with a view to delivering the stimulus that this VAT reduction would provide.

“Many industry partners have commented that this is probably the single most significant change that could support recovery in the domestic construction sector.

“Successive Scottish ministers have made such requests at various points in recent years but the exceptional circumstances faced by the construction industry as a result of the pandemic has brought this issue to the fore once again.”

Hew Edgar, head of UK government relations and city strategy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “RICS fully endorses this call from the Scottish Government and have long been advocating for a change to the VAT regime to stimulate the repair, maintenance and enhancement of existing property as part of a build back greener approach to construction.”

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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Planning permission secured for 1,550 homes at New Eastern Villages in Swindon

Property developer Capital Land Property Group has secured planning permission from Swindon Borough Council for Great Stall East, part of the New Eastern Villages (NEV) development in the eastern side of the town.

Founded in 2014 by Swindon developer Jeremy Francis, Capital Land will deliver a minimum of 1,550 homes along with a primary and secondary school within the Great Stall East development.

There will be a selection of two, three, four and five bedroom private and, according to Capital Land Property, ‘affordable’ homes.

Francis said: “I am Swindon born and raised and my family roots here date back three generations. In fact, the whole Capital team has an emotional attachment to the town, so the news that we have secured planning permission after years of meticulous preparation is tremendously satisfying.

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“Not only will we build some great homes for people to live in, our plans show that we will create a genuine ‘village’ community, with all the local amenities you would expect in a thriving location and the kind of expansive green spaces families of all ages will appreciate.

“I take pride in all my projects, but being able to contribute to Swindon’s growing reputation as a residential and business hub is extra special.”

He added that securing planning permission for Great Stall East is the result of several years of detailed technical and design work, and follows meetings with Swindon Council as well as a public consultation.

Francis added: “We are talking about an investment of over £400 million, so this is a really significant project for the town’s future.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Construction industry sets out plan for recovery

Plans for a post-Covid-19 revival of the UK construction sector have been published by the Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 Task Force.

The proposals have been developed and agreed by the sector’s leading trade bodies include recommendations to:

  • Get industry back to work wherever it is safe to do so
  • Maximise employment and retain key skills
  • Ensure a pipeline of future workload for all parts of the sector
  • Boost productivity to secure improved value
  • Transform the industry through technology & digitalisation

The task force was established as the crisis took hold to provide focus on industry efforts to combat the impact of coronavirus. In the early days of the crisis it tackled immediate issues such as development of Site Operating Procedures to safeguard workers and addressing shortages of product availability.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Our commitment to get Britain building is central to the mission of this government, which is why last month I ensured home building can restart in a way that is safe. We are a pro-development government that wants to build houses of all types in all parts of the country, so that people have the homes that they need. I welcome the CLC’s Roadmap to Recovery and I will be continuing to work closely with the industry to ensure we’re backing the success of our construction sector.”

Builders Merchants Federation, chief executive officer, John Newcomb said: “Since its formation at the start of the crisis the CLC’s Covid-19 Taskforce has shown how effective the industry can be when it works towards a common goal. As we enter the recovery phase we have a real opportunity to deliver a coordinated programme that will benefit the whole industry and support the UK economy.”

Construction Leadership Council joint chair Andy Mitchell said: “The unprecedented challenge of coronavirus calls for unprecedented solutions. I am delighted by the way that the industry has collaborated at pace to develop this plan, targeting those interventions that will help the industry get back on its feet as quickly as possible. We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to read the plan and consider the part you can play in its delivery.”

Trussed Rafter Association chief executive Nick Boulton said:? “As part of the essential supply chain for housebuilders, housing associations, general builders and other parts of the construction industry, TRA members are fully supportive of the recovery plan published by the CLC this week.

“Technology, quality, safety and sustainability are key principles in the trussed rafter sector and so TRA members are well placed within the housebuilding and domestic RMI sectors to help deliver the plan’s objectives.

“The TRA and its members welcome the demand-side measures proposed for the ‘reset’ phase in the housing sector. This includes the extension of the Help to Buy scheme and delivering commitments under the housing guarantees programme to support social housing, build-to-rent and SME housing delivery.

“The TRA has long advocated a more collaborative approach through technology in the housing sector. A more collaborative, fairer and resilient industry is within our gift if we all choose to work in this way.

“As a sector we also place a high priority on professionalism and strongly support all the measures proposed for the ‘reinvent’ phase related to training and apprenticeships, including the development of an overarching competency framework for industry.

“The TRA will seek to contribute to the future development of the plan via the forthcoming sector groups, such as through the Construction Products Association and Home Builders Federation.”

Source: TTJ Online

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Homes England gives long-term hope to housing market

Home England has announced today (Apr 14) that it acquired £180m worth of housing sites in the last financial year, with the 19 sites having capacity for 5,000 new homes across the country.

The Government’s housing agency completed several of these major purchases in the lead up to the end of the financial year, which in the context of Covid-19, shows a positive long-term view of housing demand, with a strong pipeline of projects ready to support the recovery of the housebuilding sector.

Homes England is able to attain challenging or stalled sites due to its experience and resources, unlocking development opportunities for much-needed new homes on the market across the country.

Included in the new sites is the 37-hectare Panshanger Aerodrome in Welwyn Garden City, with the capacity for 815 homes. An expected 30% of these will be affordable housing and come with a new primary school, a community centre and self-build plots.

The site’s infrastructure will be delivered by Homes England before marketing to developers in parcels, making the delivery quicker and more efficient.

2.5 hectare of land in Digbeth has been acquired from Birmingham City Council, forming one of the largest development sites in the city centre, with total capacity for 1,000 new homes and 25,000 square metres of employment space.

Other sites include Brislington Meadows in Bristol, Burtree Garden Village in Darlington and land just south of Rugby, Warwickshire from the County Council expected to deliver over 900 homes.

Simon Dudley, interim Homes England Chair, said:

“It is testament to the hard work and dedication of colleagues and our partners that we’ve met such a strong year-end at this challenging and unprecedented time.

“I want to reassure the sector that Homes England is very much open for business and investing in a long-term pipeline of development opportunities to support market recovery.

“The need for new housing will remain a priority, so we will continue to do business with partners across the sector to create opportunities for future development and support the government’s housebuilding objectives.”

Source: PSE

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Plans for 90 new homes in Mold formally submitted

Plans to build 90 new homes in Mold have formally been submitted to Flintshire Council.

Gower Homes originally set out its intention to redevelop land off Ruthin Road on the outskirts of the town last August by holding a public consultation.

According to documents put forward to the local authority, the scheme would be delivered in partnership with Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and Cornerstone Flintshire.

It would consist of 40 per cent affordable housing, as well as public open space, landscaping and road improvements.

However, opposition was voiced by members of a local campaign group as the site at Plas Aney is currently allocated as green barrier land.

In a statement previously posted on the Protection of Green Barriers Action Group website, representatives said: “Letters have been delivered to a number of residents adjacent to the proposed development.

“This means that we must now act and co-ordinate our responses via the action committee so as to gain the greatest effect and ensure this development does not go ahead.

“The field is part of the Mold Town Council Future Plan and has been identified as green barrier.

“The council has gone to great expense to get expert advice from consultants, and there is the possibility of someone just riding roughshod over the top and ignoring the advice and wishes of the council and the residents.”

The number of houses outlined in the formal proposals is three more than originally set out by the Wrexham-based housing company.

The firm has acknowledged that the site is on green barrier land, but said the lack of available housing sites elsewhere in Flintshire meant the development could be justified.

They added that it would provide social and economic benefits for the area.

Comments are currently being invited on the application via the Flintshire Council website.

The authority is aiming to make a decision by mid-May, although timescales are currently impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

By Liam Randall

Source: Deeside

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The 21,000 homes set to completely transform Essex – here’s exactly where they will be built over the next 18 years

A major policy document formalising where more than 21,000 homes should be built in the next 18 years has been given the green light.

The final Inspector’s Report on the examination of the Chelmsford Local Plan received by Chelmsford City Council on Tuesday, 25 February, concludes that the plan is legally compliant and sound, subject to a number of changes which were the subject of public consultation last autumn.

This means the city council can now formally adopt the plan.

The local plan provides a long-term strategy that will ensure local needs for new homes, employment, shops, open space and supporting infrastructure, are met in a sustainable and appropriate manner. It has also been drawn up following significant consultation with local communities and other stakeholders.

The council has planned for a total of 21,893 new homes to be built between 2013 to 2036, in order to meet its housing commitments.

Housing completions between 2013 and 2017 have totalled 3,090, around 8,100 homes have been given planning permission and are set to be built and another 220 commitments are set to be given planning permission.

The majority of the remainder of the 10,400 homes have been allocated to three major growth areas.

The “Chelmsford urban area” has been earmarked for 3,400 new homes.

Development north of Chelmsford will be centred most notably in north east Chelmsford and Great Leighs as new garden communities comprising of 4,500 homes.

The council says that development here will help to bring forward the Chelmsford North-East Bypass and provide a secondary access into Broomfield Hospital.

This growth area around South Woodham Ferrers will accommodate around 1,130 homes.

Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Councillor Stephen Robinson, said: “We are delighted to receive the Inspector’s Report which concludes that the Local Plan will provide an appropriate basis for the planning of the council’s area.

“It now allows us to make arrangements to formally adopt the plan as council policy. We will use this plan to deliver more infrastructure to go with development, genuinely affordable housing and to ensure that it is really sustainable.”

By Piers Meyler

Source: Essex Live

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Housebuilding rates failing to meet government targets

The number of new build homes started and completed continues to fall below government targets, according to new figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The report suggests the new build dwellings figures should be regarded as a leading indicator of the overall housing supply.

New builds slow to start

Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 157,550 in the year to September 2019, a 7 per cent decrease compared to the year to September 2018. During the same period, completions totalled 177,980, an increase of 9 per cent compared with last year.

On a quarterly basis, new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 39,510 (seasonally adjusted) in the latest quarter, a 2 per cent increase compared to the previous 3 months and an 11 per cent increase on a year earlier. Completions were estimated at 46,000 (seasonally adjusted), a 2 per cent increase from the previous quarter and 11 per cent higher than a year ago.

“The government has set a target of delivering a million homes in the next five years, yet today’s figures show that the construction industry is way off meeting those rates on current trends.”

Clive Docwra

Managing Director, McBains

Housing association completions down by 14%

Private enterprise new build dwelling starts (seasonally adjusted) in the September quarter 2019 are up by 3 per cent on the previous quarter, and completions are up by 5 per cent. Starts by housing associations are 4 per cent lower compared to the last quarter, and completions down by 14 per cent.

Clive Docwra, Managing Director of construction consulting and design agency McBains, commented:

“Annual new build starts in the year to September 2019 saw a decrease of 7 per cent on the previous year, and while completions totalled close to 178,000, we need to be building more than 200,000 homes each year to meet the government’s ambitions.

“The government needs to set out how it intends to boost housebuilding and increase the supply of new homes needed to tackle the housing crisis, such as freeing up more land to build and cutting red tape on planning.”

 

Article written by Ella Tansley

Source: Twin FM

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Number of new build homes started dips by 11%

The number of new build homes started across England fell by 11% in July to September 2019 compared with the same period a year earlier, Government figures show.

Some 39,510 new builds were started during the quarter, down from 44,480 between July and September 2018.

But the latest total was up 2% compared with the previous three months. Between April and June last year 38,860 new build homes were started, according to figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The figures also showed that 46,000 new build homes were completed between July and September last year – 11% higher than the same period in 2018.

New home completions were also up by 2% compared with the previous quarter.

The number of new house builds was strongly affected by the economic downturn from the start of 2008, when there was a period of rapid decline to a trough in 2009.

From 2013 to 2018, starts and completions grew again gradually.

But the report said that more recently, while completions have continued to grow, there has been a slowdown in starts.

It added that there are relatively high rates of new build starts in local authorities stretching from west of the London commuter belt across the Midlands to East Anglia.

Areas with relatively high rates of completion include Dorset and south Derbyshire, the report said.

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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House completions fall as Persimmon puts quality over quantity

Housebuilder Persimmon saw the number of homes it completed fall by four per cent in the last year, as the company attempts to improve the quality of its building work following a scathing report into its work practices.

Bosses were told that they were focusing too much on building as many houses as possible – but failing to ensure the homes were habitable for the long term.

The fall means full-year revenues hit £3.65 billion in the 12 months to December 31, down 2.4 per cent compared with a year earlier. The average selling price was just £137 more than a year ago, at £215,700, the company added.

Persimmon has sites in the Black Country, Shropshire and Staffordshire, and its West Midlands office at Broadlands, Wolverhampton.

Dave Jenkinson, chief executive, said: “Delivering the maximum benefit to our customers from our quality and service improvement initiatives will continue to be my top priority for 2020.

“I am pleased with the progress we have made in 2019 and there is more to do.

“Action taken to maintain our increased levels of work in progress investment, the increase in quality assurance and customer service resources, and our plans for the implementation of the recommendations of the recent independent review, will all add to our momentum.”

Published in December and led by Stephanie Barwise QC, the report found Persimmon did not properly install fire barriers in homes.

The company was criticised for a series of failures and accused of focusing on achieving a five-star rating from the Home Builders Federation (HBF), rather than building high-quality and safe homes.

Criteria

Persimmon is moving away from focusing on the HBF rating, which is based on customer reviews shortly after the house is completed, and is not “a measure of the true quality and safety of the build”.

Although Mr Jenkinson said: “While our plans for delivering a sustained improvement in quality go far beyond a focus on the criteria of the HBF customer satisfaction survey, our current rating, which is trending strongly ahead of the four star threshold, is tangible evidence of the improvement we are making.”

He added that more details and a fuller response to the independent report and an update on the UK housing market would follow in the next few months.

The company said: “Looking ahead to the 2020 spring season, Persimmon is in a strong market position. The group has a nationwide outlet network and a range of attractive house types available at affordable prices across the UK regions, supported by high quality land holdings and a conservative balance sheet.”

Persimmon also announced non-executive director Claire Thomas, who joined the board in August last year, has decided to quit.

She said: “I have valued being part of the Persimmon board and the experience it presented but it has also made clear to me my preference for working in a large-scale complex global business environment.

“In my time on the board I have seen clear and determined efforts to transform the business and I wish Persimmon the best in their ongoing efforts.”

By James Pugh

Source: Express And Star