Week commencing 24 October 2016

In today's bulletin

• Parliament told to remove barriers to affordable rural homes
• Shortfall in housing for older people is growing problem for nation’s capital

• ‘Digital railway’ could bring significant benefits to rail network
• Renewable power capacity growth reaches all time-high

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Parliament told to remove barriers to affordable rural homes

The Countryside Landowners Association (CLA) says the extension of Right to Buy is among policies preventing the provision of affordable homes in rural areas. Last week (27 October 2016) it met with a cross-party group of MPs to argue that allowing landowners to make land available for housing will
help young families, local workers and older people who are keen to downsize. It suggested that local authorities should grant landowners the power to own and manage their own affordable housing projects.

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UK regions see increase in commercial property demand

According to the latest RICS UK Commercial Market Survey 2016, demand for commercial property has risen across all sectors in Q3. The biggest growth was seen in the industrial sector where demand for property rose 27 per cent across the country.
While most regions saw an increase, London and Scotland suffered a fall in demand, particularly in requests for office space, with political uncertainty following the Brexit vote suggested as one of the key drivers behind this.

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Shortfall in housing for older people is a growing problem for nation’s capital

London is facing a huge shortfall in accommodation for older people and needs a drastic change in mindset in order to effectively meet their housing demand, according to New London Architecture (24 October). Commenting on a recent breakfast talk on the issue, it suggested that new housing needs to be high quality, affordable and offer community facilities and places to
socialise in order to effectively persuade older people to leave their family-sized homes. Schemes in Denmark, Holland and Germany have been held up as successful examples of how intergenerational housing can bring benefits and balance to the wider community.

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Study finds Edinburgh and Bristol homes sell fastest

New research by Post Office Money Mortgages has found that properties in Bristol and Edinburgh are the fastest sellers in the country, on the market for an average of 51 and 53 days respectively.
Conversely, homes in Swansea and Liverpool have the slowest selling times, waiting for more than 100 days to find a buyer. Overall it found that it took 91 days for the average UK property to sell.

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CIL review to be included in housing white paper

On Thursday, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Gavin Barwell MP, revealed that the government’s forthcoming housing white paper will include its response to a review into the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
In a parliamentary response to Labour’s Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, Mr Barwell reiterated the government’s position that the state should be in a position to ‘capture some of the uplift’ from new developments.

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“Invest in place, not just homes”

New housing developments will be more successful and more valuable if developers include a mix of amenities like shops, employment land
and schools, a new report from Savills suggests.

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Government announces backing for new Heathrow runway

The Government announced its support for the proposed new runway at London Heathrow on 25 October. Transport Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP, made the long-anticipated announcement following a cabinet committee meeting.
A draft National Policy Statement (NPS) is expected to be published in the New Year and will be followed by public consultation to assess the impact of the airport’s expansion before a final decision is reached.

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‘Digital Railway’ could bring significant benefits to rail network

In its latest report published on 27 October, the Transport Committee has detailed the impact that a properly instituted Digital Railway programme could have on the capacity and efficiency of the UK’s rail network.
The report, Rail Technology: signalling and traffic management, suggests that intelligent implementation of technology could deliver substantial improvements for passengers and the wider industry.

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All London black cabs to offer card payments

All users of black cabs will be able to pay for their journey using credit or debit cards from Monday 31 October, following a consultation by Transport for London (TfL) which found 86 per cent of respondents called for the service.
The implementation comes as part of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan, which aims to simplify and improve the capital’s taxi and private vehicle hire market, and is supported by leading campaign groups and industry associations.

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Energy and environment

Growth in renewable power capacity reaches all-time high

Energy generated from renewable sources grew at the fastest-ever rate during 2015 and accounted for the majority of additional global electricity capacity, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Published on 26 October, the 2016 Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report
cited reduced costs, improved financing and government policy support as reasons for the strong results, but warned there was still some way to go to meet international targets set out by the Paris Agreement.

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Renewable energy continues to win public support but nuclear loses favour

According to the latest attitude tracker by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (October 2016), support for renewable energy continues to grow with only four per cent of people expressing opposition.
Support for nuclear has remained largely stable over the last four years but approval declined rapidly last month with over a quarter of respondents opposed to the energy form – down four per cent since July 2016.

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