Week commencing 28 November 2016

In today's bulletin

• Housing associations ability to borrow key to meeting new homes targets
• Housing white paper delayed until new year

• English regions set to benefit from £3 billion worth of investment to improve roads
• National Grid to provide recommendations to government on future role of gas

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Housing associations ability to borrow key to meeting new homes targets

Housing associations can play a key role in tackling the housing shortage though their ability to borrow against existing assets, according to a report out by Savills. Published on 28 November, the report states that housing
associations in England have the financial capacity to more than double the number of new homes they bring forward, delivering up to a total of 84,000 a year by 2029.

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Manchester’s appeal to Powerhouse investors holds firm

Property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) has published research showing the appeal of Manchester and the surrounding region to property investment professionals. The report (Northern Powerhouse Office Market
Report 2016, 28 November) notes that two thirds of property investment professionals surveyed regard Manchester as the most attractive city to invest in, with the availability of high quality co working space a key factor in its popularity.

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Mayor of London unveils plans to meet 90,000 affordable homes target

New planning rules published on 29 November by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will aim to speed up the development of affordable homes in the capital. Intended to deliver a mixed portfolio of properties including low-cost
rent, shared ownership and London Living Rent, the new homes are expected to be delivered primarily by housing associations.

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Online retailers boost UK warehouse market

The UK warehouse market is set to have its best year since records began, according to research from Savills, with take-up surpassing the record set in 2014. The research, published on 29 November, attributed increased demand to online retailers, who now account for up to one third of the market.
The report does warn, however, that as a consequence existing warehouse space has fallen by 71 per cent since 2009, leaving enough supply for only 14 months.

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Increase in affordable homes builds across England

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) housing statistics, published 29 November, show an increase in the number of affordable homes being built for all tenures. Covering April to September 2016, the statistics show
there were 14,007 housing starts on site and 11,598 housing completions on HCA managed programmes. This represents a 23 per cent increase compared to the same period in the previous year.

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House price growth falls again

Annual house price growth slowed again last month, dropping to 4.4 per cent from 4.6 per cent in October, according to Nationwide. This equates to a 0.1 per cent growth in house prices in November, with the estimated average
price now almost £205,000. The figures also showed an increase in mortgage approvals in October, while there are reports that enquiries from new buyers have also increased.

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Government review of Homes and Communities Agency published

The government has published a review into the Homes and Communities Agency, introducing changes which it claims will improve efficiency and allow more focus on housebuilding. Released on 30 November, the review concluded that the agency should concentrate its efforts on supporting
housebuilding and increasing the supply of available land. The review also stated that the social housing regulation work carried out by the HCA should fall under the purview of a separate public body.

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Housing white paper delayed until new year

The housing white paper due to be published by the government in November will now not be ready until the new year. Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, informed the House last Monday that the
document would now be published in January and will set out “a range of radical plans to boost the housing supply”.

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Traffic congestion to cost drivers £61.8 billion in 2025

Recent researched published by INRIX Roadway Analytics (Europe’s Traffic Hotspots, 30 November) has identified the worst traffic hotspots in 19 European countries.
It calculated that time wasted in traffic jams will cost UK drivers almost £62 billion in 2025, if current rising congestion levels are not addressed.

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English regions set to benefit from £3 billion worth of investment to improve roads

Towns and cities across England will benefit from major investment in roads from the government. In addition to the £1.3 billion fund announced as part of the Autumn Statement, Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, has
pledged new funding to help tackle congestion and build new roads. The Department for Transport has also published five new strategies on how it will tackle some of the most complex issues facing the road network.

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Road users want plan to tackle congestion, says driver survey

Transport Focus, an independent watchdog representing the users of England’s main ‘A’ roads, has released the conclusions from its survey on drivers’ top priorities for roads in the future.
The report, Road to the Future, found that tackling congestion and making long term improvements to the road network were top of drivers’ to-do lists.

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Low emission vehicles to receive £290 million boost from government

Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, has announced a new £290 million fund to support low emission vehicles and to help the government
meet its target for nearly all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050. The government will invest another £80 million to improve electric charging infrastructure.

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Energy and environment

Local communities to be central to energy planning

A new energy consultation tool, written jointly by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), launched last week with the aim of putting communities at the heart of their own low carbon future.
The new tool seeks to empower communities, through workshops and consumption calculators, helping them to combine their understanding of the landscape with planning their energy needs.

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National Grid to provide recommendations to government on future role of gas

National Grid last week launched a consultation to gather feedback on the role of the gas transmission system in ensuring a transition to a low carbon system. The ‘Future of gas system’ project looks to collect the views from gas
shippers, power generators, network operators, policy makers and NGOs to better understand the role of gas today and in the future.

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