Week commencing 25 June 2018

In today's bulletin

• £1.67 billion boost to social housing investment
• Variety key to speeding up housebuilding on large sites

• Heathrow third runway expansion backed by Government
• Government confirms nuclear energy sector deal

Property, Planning and Regeneration

£1.67 billion boost to social housing investment

The Government will invest an additional £1.67 billion in social housing, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed on 26 June 2018. The extra funding announced by the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP will deliver over 23,000 affordable homes across England, including at least 12,500 social-rent homes in high-cost areas.
Councils will also be invited to bid for a share of a £1 billion fund to increase council housing provisions across the country.

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New report calls on government to boost social housing

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has called on the Government to reinstate social housing as a central pillar of society, alongside education and the health service, in its new report Rethinking Social Housing. Its publication is bolstered by Ipsos Mori research early this year that found six out of 10 people now support building more social housing in their area.
Recommendations of the report include scrapping the Right to Buy scheme, giving power to tenants to influence future government policy, strengthening the link between social housing rents and local incomes.

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Swap shops for offices and cafes

English and Welsh city centres remain over-dependent on retail, leaving them exposed to decline as the sector continues to struggle. This is according to Building Blocks, a new report from Centre for Cities (supported by Capita) that was published on 26 June.
It claims that, if high streets are to thrive, shops must be swapped for employment and residential uses, as well as public spaces.

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Local authorities worst hit by framework amends, says Savills

Revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will challenge local authorities the most, according to research from estate agent Savills. Planning: new measures to increase delivery (published 25 June) concludes new measures, which were announced by the Prime Minister in March to improve planning policy in England, will impact local authorities’ functions without necessarily improving rates of housing delivery.
The report’s concerns centre around a new methodology for the Housing Delivery Test – it estimates that 21 local authorities will be at risk of receiving sanctions for failing to meet housing need.

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Variety key to speeding up housebuilding on large sites

Developers are hindering housebuilding by limiting homes released for sale to avoid driving down prices in the local market, a government-commissioned review led by Sir Oliver Letwin has found. Independent review of build out: draft analysis (published 25 June) suggests that the size and tenure of new homes could instead be increased on sites of between 1,000 and 15,000 units to avoid saturation, speeding up the delivery of new homes.
The independent review also calls for 15,000 more bricklayers to be trained over the next five years to boost construction

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Heathrow third runway expansion backed by Government

MPs have voted in favour of a third runway at Heathrow airport, backing the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) at the House of Commons on 25 June 2018 by 415 votes to 119. The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, formally designated the Airport NPS on 26 June 2018, one day after the vote, offering Heathrow Airport the opportunity to submit a formal planning application.
Dependent on the outcome, construction work could begin at Heathrow within three years with a new runway operational by 2026.

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Plans unveiled for Dutch-style cycle network in Manchester

Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, has unveiled plans to connect every community in the city with 1,000 miles of cycling and walking routes – the largest system of its kind in the UK. Initial plans for the ‘Beelines’ network have a combined budget of £500 million which is the first step of a £1.5 billion investment.
This level of spending on walking and cycling infrastructure is equal to cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen. A list of the first routes to be built is expected to be published at the ned of July.

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Highways England releases first sections of updated road design manual

Highways England has published the first suite of regulations from its update to the road standards document, Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB).
It claims the updated framework will put design requirements at the centre of road infrastructure planning, resulting in greater efficiency and innovation.

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Active transport is transforming cities

Active travel now plays a central role in urban planning and transport strategies, according to a new report from the Urban Transport Group published on 27 June.
Active travel: solutions for changing cities looked at a range of schemes across UK cities and found that they are having a transformative effect on urban spaces. These transport networks are creating healthier and happier places, according to the research.

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Energy and environment

Government confirms nuclear energy sector deal

The Government has announced a new £200 million deal to ensure nuclear energy continues to power UK homes and businesses.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, earmarked £32 million of the funding from the Nuclear Sector Deal for investment in nuclear technology and innovation.

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Renewable electricity generation hits record high

Renewable energy sources accounted for 30.1 per cent of electricity generation in Q1 2018 – a record quarterly high according to data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Energy Trends 2018 (released 28 June) revealed a 3.1 per cent upswing compared to the first three months of 2017, driven by increased capacity and higher wind speeds. During the same period, coal accounted for 9.4 per cent of electricity generated while gas remained the largest contributor at 39.9 per cent of total generation.

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Government abandons tidal lagoon proposals

Proposals to build a £1.3 billion tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay have been abandoned by the Government after its analysis determined the project did not offer energy consumers value for money. In a statement to Parliament on 25 June, The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, revealed that the lagoon could have cost Welsh households an additional £15,000 between 2031 and 2050.
The Swansea project was one of six tidal lagoons proposed by Tidal Lagoon Power Limited. The Government has said it is considering other proposals for similar projects.

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Action needed as UK set to miss emissions targets

The UK is on course to miss its major carbon emission targets for the 2020s and 2030s, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC reported that the Government must learn the lessons of the last decade if it is serious about meeting its climate change goals.
The CCC said that unless action is taken now, the public will face a large bill to switch to a low-carbon economy in the future. The Committee published its recommendations to Government in its report, Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament.

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Other News

Private sector growth cools in June

Latest figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Growth Indicator show growth in the private sector slowed to 6 per cent for the three months to June. The slowdown in overall growth from 10 per cent in the three months prior was driven by weaker activity in the business and professional services sector.
Meanwhile, manufacturing output growth returned to the healthier levels seen towards the end of last year. The CBI predicts higher levels of growth (11 per cent) for the next quarter, based on growth in the distribution and consumer services sectors.

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One million new homes for Thames Estuary

At least one million new homes will be provided across north Kent, south Essex and east London by 2050 to support the region’s growth, according to a new report published by Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.
Published 25 June, Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission report: 2050 vision sets out the Commission’s vision for the Thames Estuary over the next 30 years which it forecasts will create 1.3 million new jobs and generate an additional £190 billion for the local economy.

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