Week commencing 11 April 2016

In today's bulletin

• York, Taunton and Swindon to be at forefront of rail station regeneration
• Government initiative One Public Estate supporting local councils’ property-based initiatives

• Network rail value to jump £100bn as government changes accounting standards
• Green Deal not worth the money

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Over 40 million square-foot of ‘prime’ housing – valued at an approximate £77 billion – to be built across London

On April 11 global design and consultancy firm, Aracadis, reported that 35,000 ‘prime’ houses are to be built in 196 London sites over the next decade. The Chelsea and Fulham area tops the investment list with 10,914 homes in
development. Southbank and City and Fringe make up the top three with 8,863 and 5,898 respectively.

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York, Taunton and Swindon to be at forefront of rail station regeneration

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, announced on 10 April that the government is seeking the cooperation of at least 20 local authorities regarding ambitious plans to build 10,000 new homes around rail stations, creating thousands of jobs.
Councils in York, Taunton and Swindon are at the forefront of this new initiative, having already identified potential sites for redevelopment and regeneration.

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Government initiative One Public Estate supporting local councils’ property-based initiatives

The Cabinet Office Government Property Unit and the Local Government Association (LGA) have combined to deliver One Public Estate: a trailblazing project allowing councils to apply for up to £500,000 to support councils’ property-based initiatives. Currently, the programme successfully supports 112
councils throughout England and is expected to deliver estimated property sales of £138 million, 36,000 new jobs and 16,500 new homes over the next five years.

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ONS reports on slowdown in UK house price growth

Growth in UK house prices slowed to 7.6 per cent in the year to February, compared with 7.9 per cent in the year to January, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Price increases were stronger in the East and South West of England, whereas Scotland saw prices fall by 0.8 per cent over the 12 month period.

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Government commits £4.7bn to shared ownership housing scheme

The government has made £4.7 billion of capital grants available in an attempt to deliver a five-fold increase in the supply of shared ownership homes. This budget, to be managed by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority, will seek to provide 135,000 homes for Help to
Buy: Shared Ownership, 10,000 homes for Rent to Buy and 8,000 homes for specialist housing. Significantly, private developers will also be able to access this fund in addition to housing associations.

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MPs support hike in planning fees

A ComRes poll, commissioned by the British Property Federation (BPF), has shown cross-party support in Westminster for an increase in planning fees, with 61 per cent of MPs stating that applicants should pay more. The results show that parliamentarians are in agreement with the property industry and
local authorities. The BPF’s annual survey showed 55 per cent of Local Authorities perceived under resourcing to be a significant challenge, while 65 per cent of applicants surveyed stated they would be happy to pay more for shorter waiting times.

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Study reveals predicted growth in rolling stock fleet

According to a study released by the Rail Delivery Group last month, the national passenger rolling stock fleet could almost double by 2046. The survey, which predicts growth of between 51 and 99 per cent, also found that an average of 17 vehicles per week will be built over the next four years.
Other findings included the average age of the train fleet falling from 21 to 16 in the next five years and that between 13,000 and 20,000 new electric vehicles will need to be built by 2045.

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Network rail value to jump £100bn as government changes accounting standards

The value of Network Rail could almost treble this summer when the Government makes changes to its Financial Reporting Manual. Currently, the company is valued by estimated future passenger fares, but the new criteria will change this, valuing the cost of replacing railways, stations and
equipment. The changes, which will bring it in line with how Highways England is valued, could see the current £54.1bn valuation increase by as much as £100bn. Network Rail is currently considering selling off assets in an attempt to pay off its predicted £50bn debts.

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UK transport needs a ‘shared vision’ to move forward, says Transport Systems Catapult

Transport Systems Catapult has warned the UK transport sector to adapt to the ‘digital revolution’ within the sector or face losing out in the global market. The innovation centre has called for the development of a shared vision or new technology strategy for intelligent mobility as the industry moves away
from traditional transport models. They have warned that if the response to developments is slow and uncoordinated the UK industry could fail to keep a big enough share of the £900bn market.

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Energy and environment

Green Deal not worth the money

On Thursday 14 April the National Audit Office (NAO) finished its investigation into the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s flagship Green Deal. The NAO has found that the deal has not achieved value for money. The investigation revealed this is because the DECC didn’t do enough to convince
households that energy efficiency measures were worth paying for, while the design of its supporting Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, increased energy suppliers costs of meeting their obligations.

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Sweat and sewage to power homes of the future

91 per cent of the British public believe there will be changes to the way we will power homes in the future. 84 per cent of the public think more sustainable sources of energy will be used to power houses in year to
come, including; sweat, sewage and more renewables, according to a poll of more than 2,800 members of the British public.

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Other News

Survey reveals UK’s economic growth softened further in 2016

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published its Quarterly Economic Survey for the start of 2016. The survey which is based on over 8,500 responses from private sector businesses shows that overall, the figures from
the services and manufacturing sectors show continued growth. However a number of key survey indicators remained static or decreased, which suggests that economic growth continues to soften.

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