Week commencing 16 October 2017

In today's bulletin

• Councils press on with building without government funds
• Local roads to receive £350m funding boost

• World-first wind farm for Scotland
• Ten-point plan to ‘get London building again’

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Councils press on with building without government funds

Local authorities are directly funding their own housing companies to ensure local need is met, rather than waiting for government grants, according to a study by The Smith Institute. There are now around 150 local housing companies (LHCs) established in England, with the largest concentrations
in London and the South East. The study suggests that the number of new homes delivered by LHCs could increase from 2,000 up to 10,000-15,000 a year in the next five years, with 30-40 per cent potentially being affordable.

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Ten-point plan to ‘get London building again’

London needs a radical planning shake-up to solve its housing crisis, according to a report from the Housing and Finance Institute. Published on 20 October, The Housing Problem in London outlines six factors it feels are restricting the supply of new housing and a ten-point plan to get London
building again. Included in the report’s recommendations are a change of policy towards land use, including the Green Belt, and recognition that the problem will not be solved by building on brownfield land alone.

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Localis sets out strategy for solving housing crisis

Think-tank Localis has released a report, Disrupting the Housing Market, setting out a series of proposed planning changes to boost home ownership.
The report calls for a new approach to green belt policy, a programme of new towns in the South East and a clearer strategy on the use of public land.

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UK house prices increase by five per cent in the year

Average house prices in the UK increased by five per cent in the year to August 2017, the Office for National Statistics’ House Price Index, UK: August 2017 has revealed. Published on 17 October, the report records the
average UK house price as £226,000 in August 2017 – £11,000 higher than August 2016 and £1,000 higher than July 2017.

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Housebuilding and big infrastructure to prop-up flagging construction industry

Brexit, rising inflation and limited economic growth will contribute to stagnant output levels for construction firms in 2018, according to forecasts from the Construction Products Association (CPA), published 16 October. Any significant growth will largely be reliant on government-backed infrastructure
projects which, if not delivered, could lead to a decline of one per cent across the industry next year. In its findings, the CPA also flagged housebuilding as the sector’s current key driver for growth, with private housing starts looking to rise by five per cent this year and two per cent in 2018.

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RICS aims to understand impact of AI

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published an insight paper looking at how artificial intelligence will change the built environment and how it can be used to improve quality.
The paper uses current thinking and predictions for the future to examine how AI can be utilized as the technology moves into new areas of work and life at a faster pace than previously seen.

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Welsh Government unveils £100m community regeneration fund

A new £100 million programme of targeted regeneration investment aimed at increasing prosperity and building strong communities was launched on 20 October by Carl Sargeant AM, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for
Communities and Children. Local authorities and partner organisations can apply to the programme for funding to help them tackle challenges such as inequality, and to support economically disadvantaged communities.

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Local roads to receive £350m funding boost

A £345.3 million funding package to improve local roads and public transport across the country was announced on 19 October by the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP. A total of 76 projects across the country have been awarded funding to improve access to public
transport, open more roads for cyclists, address traffic ‘pinch points’ and support the development of new housing. £101.3 million of the fund will pay for two new major roads in Middlewich, Cheshire, and Worcester in the Midlands.

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New bill to increase access to electric car charging points

New plans for motorway services and large petrol retailers to be required to install charging points for electric cars were announced on 18 October by Transport Minister, the Rt Hon John Hayes MP. The Automated and Electric
Vehicles Bill will increase the access and availability of charging points to support the increasing number of electric and automated cars on the roads, which will be worth £50 billion to the UK economy by 2035.

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Railway station development hubs to boost economy

The UK has a lot to learn from other countries when it comes to maximising the economic, social and environmental benefits of railway stations, according to a report by think-tank Tracks. Released on 18 October,
the report examines the international experience of creating development hubs around railway stations and the benefits that can bring.

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Traffic jams cost UK drivers £9bn a year

The number of traffic jams on UK roads reached over 1.35 million in the past year, new research from INRIX has revealed. The cost to drivers has been calculated at an estimated £9 billion, composed of the value of wasted
time, fuel and unnecessary carbon emissions. The causes of the five worst queues ranged from fuel spills to broken down lorries.

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Energy and environment

World-first wind farm for Scotland

The world’s first floating offshore wind farm opened on 18 October off the coast of north east Scotland. The 30MW five turbine-strong “Hywind Scotland” farm is set to cover about 4km and could power around 20,000 homes.
Developer, Statoil, has suggested the development could pave the way for much larger installations in the future, especially if bolstered by the significant cost savings forecast for the technology.

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