Week commencing 14 August 2017

In today's bulletin

• ‘Better laws on land use’ could make households £10k better off
• Highways England identifies strategic roads as key to economic success

• ENA’s Open Networks Project consultation launches
• New developments must meet strict affordable housing threshold for fast-track planning

Property, Planning and Regeneration

New developments must meet strict affordable housing threshold for fast-track planning

According to new supplementary planning guidance from the GLA, new housing developments in London that do not meet the 35 per cent affordable housing quota will be required to submit ‘detailed viability information’ to the Greater London Authority (GLA).
The guidance document, ‘Homes for Londoners, affordable housing and viability supplementary planning guidance 2017’ (16 August), also says that to qualify for ‘fast-track planning’ permission, developments will need to achieve at least 50 per cent affordable housing.

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‘Better laws on land use’ could make households £10k better off

A report released last week has claimed that UK households would be £10,000 a year better off if the planning system is improved and more homes are built in the right places. Put together by pro-development group London
YIMBY (Yes in my back yard) in conjunction with the Adam Smith Institute, the report claimed that GDP per capita could rise by 30 per cent in 15 years if the right changes were made.

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Office space take-up increases as bigger deals return

The latest Lambert Smith Hampton report into office space has shown a 12 per cent increase in take-up of UK office space in the second quarter of 2017. The report puts this down to a large rise in bigger deals for grade A space,
which was up 55 per cent on the previous quarter. Development under construction fell by two per cent due to a number of completions.

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Homes ‘will have to last 2,000 years’ if dwindling build rate continues

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that new homes will have to last 2,000 years if the sluggish rate of house building and replacement continues, as research released on Friday (18 August) showed a drop in confidence in new builds.
The research, conducted on the LGA’s behalf, also found that one in 10 new home buyers are dissatisfied with the quality of their home and one in six would not recommend their house-builder to a friend.

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Developers ‘underestimate profits’ to avoid building affordable housing

A 38 Degrees campaign already backed by tens of thousands of people has called on local councils to prevent housing developers deliberately misleading profit margins to avoid building affordable housing. The campaign comes after leaked documents from developers demonstrated that calculations
used to work out profit margins are designed to be misleading, allowing housebuilders to cut the number of affordable homes proposed in their developments.

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Transport

Highways England identifies strategic roads as key to economic success

The Planner reported on Friday (18 August) that Highways England has announced three road improvements worth £45 million, which could create more than 6,000 jobs in Leicestershire and the South East. Highways England will contribute £19.9 million from their Growth and Housing Fund,
which was set up as part of the government’s £15 billion investment in roads, while contributions from private developers will also play a significant part in the scheme.

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Energy and environment

International future for Green Investment Bank

On 18 August the Climate Change and Industry Minister, Claire Perry MP, confirmed that the sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Macquarie Group Limited has been completed in a £2.3 billion deal. The deal ensured that all invested taxpayer funding has been returned, along with a gain of approximately £186 million.
Macquarie and the GIB have announced that the company will be known as the Green Investment Group (GIG) as it looks to make overseas investments. A private sector company, GIG ‘will be able to operate on an international level to tackle the global challenge of climate change’, according to Ms Perry.

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ENA’s Open Networks Project consultation launches

Energy Networks Association’s (ENA) Open Networks Project launched a consultation on 17 August, seeking views on how to create a smart electricity grid. The Open Networks Project is working with all seven of Great Britain’s electricity network operators, in addition to academics, NGOs, the
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Ofgem to transform the role of our energy network operators. The feedback from this consultation will inform the Open Networks Project on how best to coordinate access across networks in the future.

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Other News

CBI’s new council to ensure manufacturing is heard in “dizzying economy”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has announced they will create a new CEO-level manufacturing council, bringing together dozens of top manufactures from across the UK. The CBI’s aims include building a
visionary industrial strategy to support productivity in a “dizzying global economy”, and shaping skills to build a workforce fit to adapt to Artificial Intelligence and digitisation.

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