Week commencing 20 July 2015

In today's bulletin

• Record half year for West End property investment
• Commercial property market goes from strength to strength

• £1.5 billion investment to build ‘smart motorways’
• Government ends funding for Green Deal Finance Company

Property, Planning and Regeneration

RTPI launches search for England’s Greatest Place

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is inviting members of the public to put forward their nominations for England’s Greatest Place, as part of its centenary celebrations.
Ten places, ranging from historic towns to National Parks, will be in the running to win an award which will celebrate England’s most inspiring and attractive places.

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Record half year for West End property investment

Investment in London’s West End reached record levels in the first half of 2015, with total transactions reaching £3.85 billion according to Savills. 
The real estate services provider put the increase, 22 per cent higher than the previous record, down to a bumper June and growing investor appetite.

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City centre living boom thanks to young people

Young people are leading the move back into cities, causing a rise in city centre living according to a new report by the think tank Centre for Cities.

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Commercial property market goes from strength to strength

RICS’s latest commercial market survey has shown that in the second quarter of this year, occupier demand for commercial space is rising at its fastest rate since 1998.
Up to half of London respondents believe commercial property is now ‘expensive’, compared to 5 per cent of respondents from across the rest of the UK.

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Councils urged to release land to aid productivity

Local councils are being encouraged to release surplus public land and property to boost development, as part of the Government’s productivity plan.
The 32 councils that are currently included in the programme own 28 per cent of council land and property assets in England.

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Mortgages and house sales continue to rise

The number of mortgages approved for house purchases increased to 44,488 in June.  The British Banker’s Association (BBA) says this is an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year.
BBA High Street Banking Statistics also show remortgaging was 20 per cent higher than in 2014.

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Transport

£1.5 billion investment to build ‘smart motorways’

Highways England has announced a joint venture with six companies to upgrade ten motorways in England to ‘smart motorways’. 
Three of the projects are expected to start in autumn this year, and include work on the M1, M5 and M56.

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Eight cities shortlisted for £20 million plug-in taxi scheme

Eight cities have been shortlisted as part of a bid to win funding for new green transport schemes.  The shortlisted cities will receive a government-backed study into providing
environmentally-friendly travel opportunities in their area. The Government will announce the winning schemes in April next year.

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Inquiry launched into emissions, air quality and noise as part of airport expansion

The Environmental Audit Committee will be holding an inquiry into how airport expansion would affect the Government’s commitments on carbon emissions,
air quality and noise, if the recommendation for a third runway at Heathrow Airport is given the green light.

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Energy and Environment

Government ends funding for Green Deal Finance Company

The Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed on Thursday that it will end funding to the Green Deal Finance Company, following concerns about industry standards and low take-up.  Energy Secretary Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP also announced that future
funding releases from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund will cease.  The Government says it will now work with the building industry to develop value-for-money schemes that will insulate more homes and tackle fuel poverty.

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Capital’s economy facing climate change risks

Businesses in London are highly unprepared for the impacts of global warming, according to a report from the London Assembly Economy Committee, The report found that over 50 per
cent of FTSE 100 companies had no strategy for coping with the effects of climate change; leaving London’s economy and supply chains at severe risk of disruption in the event of extreme weather.

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Other News

House of Commons electronic petitions launched

Members of the public will be able to electronically petition the House of Commons via petition.parliament.uk, a petition website launched by the House of Commons and the government.
British citizens and UK residents will be able to start or sign a petition about issues that either the government or the Commons are responsible for.

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Budget cuts to be announced as part of 2015 spending review

Chancellor George Osborne has launched the government’s spending review 2015.  The review will set out departmental budget cuts over the next five years with a view to make
savings of £20bn by 2019/20 to end Britain’s deficit.  The review will take place on 25 November.

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