Week commencing 13 January 2020

In today's bulletin

• Communities to get £8m cash boost for neighbourhood planning
• UK housing stock hits record high

• Decline in onshore wind building casts doubt over ‘net zero’ ambitions
• Business optimism flatlines in anticipation of Brexit

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Communities to get £8m cash boost for neighbourhood planning

The Government will give a total of £8 million to help communities develop new neighbourhood plans, which it says will prioritise building on brownfield land instead of the green belt.
The cash injection includes £6 million to help 21 garden towns and villages deliver up to 200,000 homes, and £1.9 million to councils to support neighbourhood planning.

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UK housing stock hits record high

The nation’s housing stock hit a value of £7.39 trillion in 2019, and growth over the decade totalled £2.39 trillion, according to new analysis by Savills. It reports that established homeowners have gained the most from this growth, and that 46 per cent of homeowner wealth belongs to over 65s.
The report also revealed a change in trends from the past decade, with areas outside London and the South making a greater percentage of total housing value gains.

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Leaseholder reform will happen, says Housing minister

The Government will create a structure to help leaseholders access redress and escalate complaints, the Housing Secretary has told the House of Commons.
Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP’s commitment to leasehold reform follows the Queen’s Speech proposal of a New Homes Ombudsman.

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Post-election positivity for housing market

More people have shown interest in and agreed to buy homes since the general election, according to December’s ‘RICS Residential Market Survey’.
The housing market perked up post-election and RICS says it looks likely to stay that way, with two thirds of respondents predicting sales will rise in the year ahead.

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Edinburgh and Birmingham to be carbon neutral by 2030

Two major UK cities have set their sights on becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Edinburgh and Birmingham have both unveiled ambitious plans to transform their city centres and will be consulting over the coming months.
Each aim to make greater provisions for public transport services in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

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TfL creating 7,800 new cycle parking spaces

7,800 new cycle spaces are soon to be built in response to London’s cycling boom.
Transport for London (TfL) has granted £3.5 million of investment to provide more cycle parking in town centres, schools, residential areas and stations across 30 London boroughs.

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Small businesses demand pledge to fix nation’s potholes is fulfilled

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has demanded the Government fulfil its manifesto pledge to provide funds of £2 billion to help recover the nation’s roads.
FSB called for action after their own research showed 700,000 potholes were reported in 2018/19.

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Energy and environment

Decline in onshore wind casts doubt over ‘net zero’ ambitions

RenewableUK is highlighting new statistics that show the amount of new onshore wind capacity built last year fell to an even lower level than the year before, largely because of Government policy that effectively closes their access to subsidy support.
Just two onshore wind projects – three turbines totalling 1.9 MW – received planning approval in England in 2019, with none in Wales. Just 23 projects went operational in 2019, compared with 91 projects in 2018 and 343 in 2017.

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Agriculture Bill to reward farmers for improving “public goods”

Farmers in the future be rewarded with public money for “public goods”, such as better air and water quality, higher animal welfare standards, countryside access and measures to reduce flooding.
The Government says this will contribute to the its commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, while at the same time helping to boost farmers’ productivity. It will replace the current subsidy system of direct payments post-Brexit, which pays farmers for the total amount of land farmed.

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Other News

Business optimism flatlines in anticipation of Brexit

Service provider BDO’s ‘Optimism Index’ reveals that businesses are currently waiting to see the impact of the new Government and its policies, particularly regarding how the UK will leave the European Union.
While there were expectations that business optimism would increase given the greater certainty in the wake of the General Election, the Index shows there is still a reluctance to commit to long-term planning.

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