Published: Thursday, 30th May 2019 on the Planning Portal News
Permitted development for home extensions comes into force, Deals agreed with local authorities to deliver 4,000 homes, A38 improvement scheme will be examined and more stories...
This weeks planning news in association with The Planner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Permitted development for home extensions comes into force
The extension of permitted development rights to allow homeowners to extend their properties without a full planning application – as well as high street conversions to offices and homes – has come into permanent effect.
The regulations, which were laid before Parliament earlier this month, do not include the right to allow upward extensions.
Under the rules, homeowners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes – or eight metres for detached homes.
Over 110,000 extensions have been completed since 2014 under the previously temporary rules.
Speaking about the extension, which became valid on 25 May, housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.
“By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move.
“This is part of a package of reforms to build more, better, faster and make the housing market work – and sits alongside our drive to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”
Local authorities can now consider proposals for the conversion of shops and other high street uses such as takeaways and launderettes to offices under the prior approval process. Class M already allows retail and sui generis uses to be converted to residential without the need for planning permission, but the new regulations would allow takeaways to be converted to housing.
High streets minister Jake Berry said: “This fantastic news joins our £675 million Future High Streets Fund and our High Streets Task Force in ensuring our country’s high streets are fit to thrive not just now, but in the years to come. “Giving greater certainty to property owners and the wider industry, it will also help businesses to adjust to the changing needs of the consumer.”
Martin Tett, planning spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “While we recognise building extensions under permitted development has been popular with homeowners, the planning process exists for a reason.
“We do not believe this right should be made permanent until an independent review is carried out of its impact, both on neighbouring residents and businesses, and also the capacity of local planning departments.
“The introduction of the prior notification scheme as a result of permitted development for larger household extensions has led to an increased workload for planning officers and a loss of income. Any continuation of this must see councils properly resourced.
“The current process also means that councils have limited opportunity to consider the impact of such extensions on the local area because they don’t go through the full planning process.”
Laura Edgar, The Planner 28 May 2019
An initial £250 million has been earmarked by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to buy and prepare land for new and affordable homes in his draft Housing Strategy.
According to the strategy, the money made from selling the land to housebuilders would be recycled to buy further land for housing.
Khan’s plans for housing aim to bring together the capital’s private tenants and landlords to develop plans for a new London Model of renting. It will focus on increasing tenancy security to support “a more stable, family-friendly sector, where the legitimate rights of landlords are protected too”.
A proposal for the London Model will be submitted to the government once ready.
For there to be a “really significant step-change” in delivering housing, the strategy sets out how the government should provide a comprehensive devolution of funding and powers, something a statement from the mayor describes as being urgent.
Khan wants to recruit new technical deal-making experts for his Homes for Londoners team, to identify and prepare the new sites he secures. He said he would use his compulsory purchase powers where necessary to secure the land.
The £250 million would come from a new land fund, to be used alongside the £3.15 billion affordable housing cash the government allocated to London in last year’s Autumn Statement.
City Hall will work with a range of housebuilders, such as councils, housing associations and commercial home builders, on housing developments.
Khan said: “From £250 million to kick-start my plans to secure more land for new and affordable homes, to a new model and fairer deal for millions of private renters, I want to help all Londoners facing the housing crisis. I will use my powers and resources to their fullest extent, but the government needs to play its part too by giving London the powers and resources we need to see an even greater step change in the number of homes being built. This launch marks the start of a three-month consultation – I want as many Londoners as possible to let me know their views on how we can improve housing in London.”
Other measures in the strategy include:
Jonathan Seager, executive director of housing policy at London First, a business membership organisation, said: “We have to dramatically increase the number of new homes London is building, doubling the rate to 50,000 homes each year, so making more land available is absolutely critical. We’d also urge the mayor to bring new ideas and new entrants into the market to finally tackle London’s housing crisis, including the build-to-rent developments that give people a better choice of secure, long-term places to live.”
Barry Mortimer, director of the Federation of Master Builders London, said: “The London Housing Strategy marks a step forward in empowering smaller housebuilders in London. In order to reach the 50,000 new homes London needs to build each year, this renewed emphasis on small sites is vital. However, all such progress could be undermined if the mayor fails to protect small sites from onerous levels of developer contributions. National planning guidance states that planning obligations should not be sought from developments of 10 units or fewer, but implementation of this policy in London is patchy at best. Unless the mayor, and London boroughs, recognise the need to minimise burdens on the very smallest developments, SME builders will continue to struggle to enter the market.”
The consultation on the Draft Housing Strategy can be found on the Greater London Authority website.
It is expected the strategy will be published in 2018.
6 September 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner
A housing charity says the government’s proposed reforms for leasehold would become a ‘stranglehold’ for community-led housing providers that could jeopardise thousands of new homes.
In July, The Planner reported on communities secretary Sajid Javid’s proposals to stop new homes being sold as leasehold and to restrict ground rents to as low as zero.
Leasehold, on the whole, applies to flats that have shared spaces, but the government has expressed concern that developers, particularly in the North-West, have been selling houses on these terms.
Through Community Land Trusts (CLTs), leases are used to retain control of land to ensure that prices remain affordable. The approach allows CLT properties to be aligned to what people earn in the local area, explained the National Community Land Trust Network.
Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS), a London-based CLT, is developing 33 new mixed-tenure homes. The CLT will keep a stake of at least 20 per cent in each property to ensure that the development remains affordable in perpetuity. Residents can expect to spend only a third of their income.
Now, the National Community Land Trust Network has called on the government to protect community-led housing by exempting CLTs from the ban. Together with UK Cohousing, it has also suggested a Code of Conduct for Public Interest Leases, where best practice of the leasehold market is promoted.
Catherine Harrington, director of the National Community Land Trust Network, said: “Community Land Trusts have played no role in the exploitation of leasehold. While we support the consultation’s goal of addressing the unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold by developers and private investors, CLTs are one of a few approaches using leasehold to deliver genuinely affordable housing. That's why we are calling for the government to exempt CLTs and other affected community-led housing models from this proposed ban.
“CLTs are a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people who want to help those in housing need. It’s the fastest-growing housing model in the UK. We hope other responsible housing providers will join us to campaign for a Code of Conduct for Public Interest Leases.”
The National Community Land Trust Network and UK Cohousing have issued a proposed approach to the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on its leasehold proposals, which can be found here (pdf).
31 August 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell has announced that local authorities across England will now have to produce and maintain up-to-date registers listing all brownfield sites available for housing.
The registers will be available to the public and the aim of them is to help house builders identify suitable brownfield sites for development.
They will allow local communities to highlight local derelict or underused building sites that are primed for development.
Barwell said reusing brownfield land is “crucial” to building more homes.
“We need to build more homes in this country so making sure that we reuse brownfield land is crucial. We want to bring life back to abandoned sites, create thousands more homes and help protect our valued countryside.”
These new registers will give local authorities and developers the tools to do this.
Brownfield registers were first piloted in 2016, when 73 local planning authorities across the country pioneered the measures.
At the time the government said the councils taking part in the pilots would inform future government policy and guidance on the operation of brownfield registers.
In addition, the £3 billion Home Builders Fund, announced by communities secretary Sajid Javid at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2016, will be used to support the development of brownfield sites.
Permission in principle will be used to gain planning permission through these registers. The government said this would give developers more certainty over whether a site is suitable for development.
Further legislation is expected later this year on extending permission in principle more widely through the planning system.
Jason Lowes, partner in the planning team at commercial property and planning consultancy Rapleys, noted that the announcement is light on detail, but the attempt to streamline development of brownfield land is welcome progress.
He said together the two mechanisms have the potential to “lower the initial hurdle” of bringing forward development through the planning system, which “has to be supported”.
“The owners, particularly of small and medium-sized sites, would no doubt be pleased with a relatively simple method of getting on the planning ladder, and provide them with early confidence to further investigate the potential of their land.
“Of course,” said Lowes, “the success of this venture very much depends on local authorities’ ability to keep the register up to date and implement the new permission in principle regulations. This has the potential to be a real administrative challenge and will require careful management to ensure the opportunity to increase the delivery of housing isn’t missed.”
4 April 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Communities secretary Sajid Javid has announced a £40 million cash boost for coastal communities to create new jobs and improve local economic growth.
The investment will go towards 30 new projects, including regenerating piers and promenades.
The government said the funding is intended to help coastal tourism regain its position as England’s largest holiday sector, currently worth £8 billion to the economy each year.
Javid said: “We’re backing the Great British Coast with £40 million to create new jobs, boost economic growth and increase tourism.
“There’s a range of exciting projects set to benefit across the country, from a new conference centre for Blackpool to new beach huts and lifeguards for Hastings.
“This new funding will help attract even more tourists to our coast and help our seaside towns and coastal areas thrive.”
Projects that received funding include:
4 April 2017
Laura Edgar, The Planner
Councillors in England think that the planning system works in the interests of developers over councils and local communities, according to new survey.
The survey of 1,200 ward councillors in England was carried out by think tank Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and commissioned by the National Trust.
According to the findings, 72 per cent of councillors think that the planning system is too weighted in favour of developers, at the expense of local communities.
In addition, half of those asked suggested that sites that are not in line with the local plan are being approved for housing, while the same percentage think planning departments are not adequately resourced. 36 per cent said that it is adequately resourced.
Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive at the LGiU, said: “The planning system is one of the fundamental pillars of local democracy, allowing communities to help shape the physical structure of the places they live. Councillors are the most important link between communities and that system. Our survey with the National Trust shows that many councillors feel that this democratic tool is at risk of being undermined.”
Other key statistics from the survey include:
Ingrid Samuel, historic environment director at the National Trust, said it is worrying that councillors feel the NPPF hasn’t delivered the localism that was promised.
“If ministers are serious about local plans being at the heart of the planning system, then they should invest in council planning teams and use the housing white paper to give them the tools to deliver good quality housing in the right places.”
With the housing white paper due later this month, the LGiU and the National Trust said there are concerns that matter could be made worse if it sets out “rigid” housing numbers for local plans which don’t take account of local factors as the green belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The organisations hope the government will take a number of steps to improve the confidence councillors have in the planning system, including:
Laura Edgar, The Planner
11 January 2017
So, the 43-year long uneasy marriage between the UK and Europe is very surprisingly, ending in divorce.
We have already seen the verdict of the markets - the huge volatility in sterling and the FTSE. And with plenty of political and economic uncertainty stretching into the weeks and months ahead, a quick rebound for stocks is not on the cards.
Markets prefer stability and there is nothing certain about the future, for either Great Britain or the partners we are going to be leaving behind. While we can expect plenty of volatility, and possibly even upside in the medium-term, it is likely to be some time before currency fluctuations and equity markets calm down.
What does this mean for property?
During periods of uncertainty, investors tend to prefer assets that provide a reliable income, combined with low volatility to preserve their wealth.
Despite the oil shocks of the Seventies, the recessions of the early Eighties and Nineties, the bursting Dotcom bubble and the Global Financial Crisis, residential property has proved to be the best performing and lowest risk of all the major asset classes. In fact, between 1973 and today, the UK residential market has seen no five-year period with negative total returns, after accounting for both rental income and capital gains.
During even the Global Financial Crisis for example, UK property prices strongly outperformed the FTSE All-Share Index. Unlike other asset classes, far fewer people are willing to sell residential property in uncertain times, which in turn further reduces supply and eventually provides upward pressure.
What about interest rates? With UK households heavily burdened by debt, any increase in rates would put further pressure on the economy. Economists at JP Morgan have forecast borrowing costs could fall to zero by August. Speaking at a Property Partner event, Chief Investment Officer at Coutts Bank, Alan Higgins, echoed Mark Carney’s comments that “rates will be low for long.”
Prime Central London
Let’s now consider the impact of Brexit on what is known as ‘Prime’ Central London - areas such as Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia. Say what you like about them, but foreign buyers are the engine of this market and will likely wait for the smoke to clear to see if the warnings about Brexit turn out to be true.
So, it is likely that the immediate future will see Prime Central London transaction volumes remaining low, with flat or falling prices. During the Global Financial Crisis, Land Registry figures show that transactions in Prime Central London dropped 70%, while prices fell 14% as investors mostly preferred to hold onto their assets and await economic clarity.
But as the recession continued and sterling devalued, the London market gradually picked up, then boomed as foreign investors bought up property in prime central postcodes at relatively cheap prices given the currency movement. By 2010 prices had returned to their pre-crisis levels.
At Property Partner, we have avoided the Prime Central London market, despite demand from our investor base. Our strategy has instead been to target areas offering genuine upside for investors in terms of both income and capital return. When buying in London, we have sought out areas like Woolwich or West Drayton, set for long-term outperformance, often driven by regeneration schemes or infrastructure investment like Crossrail.
The surge in capital values in areas like Mayfair has compressed yields to such an extent that properties in this market simply do not to comply with our investment criteria. But London is going to remain a leading global city where people want to live, Brexit or no Brexit. Overseas investors over the longer term are attracted by the security of our legal system, the safety, stability and cultural strengths of our society.
The fundamentals still apply
In the long-term, being in or out of Europe simply does not reverse the fundamental driver of the mainstream housing market in which we operate, namely that there are too many people chasing too few homes.
Supply is constrained by things like planning rules, lack of public investment, skills shortages, even the availability of raw materials. Demand is further boosted by domestic population growth and the low cost of borrowing. This simple disconnect between supply and demand has driven prices and will continue to provide upward pressure over the medium to long-term.
Major transport infrastructure and regeneration projects such as Crossrail and town/city upgrade investments will continue to positively influence prices and outperformance in adjacent areas. Likewise in London, projects like the Thameslink upgrade and Overground extension will continue, improving connectivity and transforming neighbourhoods.
So, while “Leave” has won the day, we believe that for the UK housing market in general and Property Partner in particular, the watchword is “Remain”. It is going to seem like a helter-skelter for all markets for the next few months, but the medium and long-term prospects for UK residential property remain strong. In the end, people need somewhere to live.
Dan Gandesha Founder and CEO, Property Partner
Article from Huffington Post Website Dated: 27 June 2016
The UK Residential Market Survey
Article from the RICS Website Dated: 07 Sept 2016
London houses are second most over-valued in world - UBS
‘Bubble index’ rates Vancouver as city with most unsustainable house prices and puts several other cities in middle of bubbles
London now has the second most over-valued property market in the world, beaten only by Vancouver in Canada, according to a new “Bubble index” compiled by Swiss bank UBS.
Two years of strong price growth, mostly fuelled by an influx of Chinese buyers, have pushed Vancouver above London, which was last year’s “top” city, as the place with the world’s most unsustainable house prices.
Economists at UBS compared prices in 18 cities against the economic backdrop in each country, and concluded that Stockholm, Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong are also in the midst of a property bubbles. UBS said the prices in each of the at-risk cities have increased by almost 50% on average since 2011.
All European cities are overvalued, according to the report, apart from Milan. Low-interest rate regimes across Europe have pushed prices in London, Stockholm, Munich and Zurich to record levels, after accounting for inflation.
UBS Wealth Management’s Claudio Saputelli, said prices in the bubble cities are out of proportion to the local economic conditions, and inflation rates.
“What these cities have in common are excessively low interest rates, which are not consistent with the robust performance of the real economy. When combined with rigid supply and sustained demand from China, this has produced an “ideal” setting for excesses in house prices.”
San Francisco, which has also seen real prices rise by more than 50% over the last five years, is heading into bubble territory – despite a boom in the local economy, he warned.
New York and Boston were described as fairly priced while Chicago is “undervalued”. Valuations are also stretched, but to a lesser degree in Paris, Geneva, Tokyo and Frankfurt.
The report admits a bubble cannot be proven conclusively unless it bursts. However, it warns: “The situation is fragile for the most overvalued housing markets. A sharp increase in supply, higher interest rates or shifts in the international flow of capital could trigger a major price correction at any time.”
by Miles Brignall
Article from The Guardian Website Dated: 27 Sept 2016