Week commencing 3 August 2015

In today's bulletin

• Three per cent of new homes created on Green Belt in 2013/14
• Companies keen to stay put, according to CRBE

• Report reveals positive impact of transport on local economies
• World’s largest wind farm gains permission to expand

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Three per cent of new homes created on Green Belt in 2013/14

Only three per cent of new residential addresses were created in the Green Belt in England in 2013/14, according to new figures published on 6 August by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).  The figures also show that 60 per cent of new
residential addresses were constructed on previously developed land and 7 per cent were created within areas of high flood risk.  The average density of new dwellings was 32 per hectare, with an average of 37 per hectare on previously developed land, and 26 on land that had not previously been developed.

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Build to rent sparks rental revolution

£30 billion of institutional investment has been earmarked to build and manage new homes for rent according to the British Property Federation and law firm Addleshaw Goddard. Funding Britain’s rental revolution, a joint report published on 4 August, indicates a shift
towards a ‘rental revolution’ with a professionally run market with schemes owned by single companies, rather than multiple buy-to-let investors.  The report argues that Build to Rent companies will offer renters higher standards, better value and greater transparency than individual landlords.

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House price growth edges up in July

UK house prices increased by 0.4 per cent in July, according to figures published on 4 August by the building society Nationwide.  Annual price growth increased to 3.5 per cent, up from 3.3 per cent in June, with the average price of a property in the UK now up to
£195,621.  The report suggests that, although the number of new homes under construction has risen in recent months, further increases will be required to meet the high levels of demand.

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House building growth rate slows to 2013 levels

A report published on 4 August by Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply has shown that UK construction output growth slowed in July, with residential building growing at the slowest rate since mid-2013.
By contrast, the report showed that the pace of job creation at construction companies remained strong in July and work on commercial projects had bucked the trend by rising at the fastest rate since March 2015.

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Companies keen to stay put, according to CRBE

The vast majority of companies choose to remain in situ when their commercial lease expires, new market analysis from real estate advisor CBRE suggests.  Of the 500 companies surveyed across the UK and Netherlands, just 12 per cent moved the last time their lease expired and, of those who had moved premises, 50 per cent had expanded.
CRBE found that the quality of the property management service was a significant motivating factor when choosing to move or renew a lease – occupier satisfaction ratings were 10 per cent lower for movers versus renewers regarding maintenance and cleaning of a building.

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Report reveals positive impact of transport on local economies

Road and rail projects can positively impact local employment, attract new businesses and benefit property prices, a new report has found.  The What Works Centre for Economic
Growth’s Transport Review, published on 6 August, considered evidence from more than 2,300 policy evaluations from the UK and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

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Younger people increasingly turning to trains to travel

Younger people are ‘falling out of love’ with the car and turning instead to trains as a preferred means of transport, according to a report published on 6 August by the Independent Transport Commission and the Office of Rail and Road.  On the Move:
exploring attitudes to road and rail travel in Britain claims that younger people are ‘concerned’ about the high cost of using a car, including insurance and learning to drive – resulting in an increase in young rail passenger numbers.

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Energy and Environment

World’s largest wind farm gains permission to expand

The next stage of the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, located in the North Sea, has been given the go-ahead by the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.  Once complete, Dogger Bank Teesside A&B will have an installed capacity of up to 2.4 GW
– enough to meet the electricity needs of two million homes annually.  The project’s developers – RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil – have suggested that the project could create 4,750 jobs and generate more than £1.5 billion for the UK economy during its period of operation.

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Solar panels should mimic butterfly wings

Recreating the structure of a butterfly’s wings could boost the output of solar panels by almost 50 per cent, researchers from the University of Exeter have discovered.  The team studied the Cabbage White butterfly, which has a unique ability to use energy from the sun to heat its flight muscles.  Mimicking the ‘V-structure’ and mono-layer sub-structure of the wings,
which allows the butterfly to reflect the sun extremely efficiently, could allow solar panels to generate 17 times more power on a power-to-weight basis.  It is thought that the research could lend a welcome boost to the solar industry after the latest round of government cuts looking to scale back financial support for the sector.

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Other News

Local authorities could get say over longer Sunday trading hours

A consultation will be launched on reforms that could give local authorities the power to decide whether shops and high streets stay open for longer on Sundays, Minister of State for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis MP, has announced.  The Government believes that providing local authorities with discretion over which parts of the local area would benefit
from longer Sunday trading hours will boost local economies.  Rt Hon Anna Soubry MP, who jointly launched the consultation on August 5, suggested that the current arrangement is outdated in the modern retail climate and reforms have the potential to create thousands of jobs across the country.

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Bank of England hold off on predicted interest rate rise

On 6 August, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 8-1 to hold interest rates for August at 0.5 per cent – where they have been for more than six years.  Dubbed ‘Super Thursday’, it was the first time that the Bank announced the interest rate,
published the minutes of the MPC meeting and released the accompanying Inflation Report all on the same day.  The decision to release all three items together is a key part of Governor Mark Carney’s plan to make policymaking more transparent at the Bank of England.

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