Have a look at our January 2017 edition of The Source.
Welcome to the latest edition of “The Source” – prepared by the team at Gladman with the specific aim to inform you of curent news and views in land & planning.
We’re pleased to extend this welcome to our many readers who have recently joined our continually expanding list of subscribers. Please use the links below to view all the back issues of “The Source” from the experts in the strategic residential development industry.
Ways to Increase Housing Delivery
It is acknowledged and agreed by most large plc housebuilders that they will contribute a mere 5% – 8% output growth in new homes being built per year. There is always an exception to the rule, however chief executives and senior management teams are increasingly employing a more cautious attitude to growth, preferring to increase ‘cash in the bank’ rather than engaging in ambitious delivery plans. Planning delays are also thwarting housebuilders’ abilities to deliver new homes; this was recently clearly demonstrated by Gladman research, which found it took 45 weeks (10 months) on average from lodging an appeal to receiving a decision. Short of nationalisation, there is little the Government can do to force the plc housebuilders to do more to help deliver the new homes the country so desperately needs.
Ministerial Statement on Neighbourhood Planning
In a written ministerial statement released on the 12th December 2016, further support is given to the Neighbourhood Planning process, reaffirming the importance of the process and offering
fresh impetus to communities across the country.
Click here to read the full article.
Are we in an Era of Bad Local Plans?
With the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) insistence on Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) putting Local Plans in place as quickly as possible to meet the Government’s imposed deadline of March 2017, what we seem to be seeing as a consequence is a stream of plans which are not fit for purpose. Some are fundamentally flawed, which is coming to light through the Local Plan Examination process; however despite this, they are still being recommended for adoption by Inspectors. Read more here.
Where is the White Paper
With many dates flying around, only confusion surrounds the timing of the Government’s eagerly-anticipated Housing White Paper.
Labour’s John Healey, the shadow housing minister, told Twitter that: “We were set to get the Housing White Paper with the Autumn Statement, then ‘before Christmas’, then ‘in January’ … Read more here
Who owns England?
In the early 2010’s, an infographic surfaced on the World Wide Web which rapidly gained traction to become one of countless viral sensations to storm through social media channels. Dubbed “The Illusion of Choice”, the infographic, despite being rather crudely put together, effectively demonstrated how hundreds upon hundreds of popular supermarket brands can all be traced back to being owned and managed by some six or seven multinational corporations and their subsidiaries. Read more here.
Latest news from the sector
Countryside continue to grow
Countryside, reporting on the 13 week period from October 1 2016 to the end of the year, says the firm saw overall completions up an impressive 23% year on year to 581 units. Net reservation rates were up 20% with open sales outlets up to 46 from 32 last year.
The firm reported growth, with its average selling price managed lower to improve affordability of the firm’s product. They reported some weakness at the top end of the market but this is “more than compensated for” by strong performance at lower price points.
Ian Sutcliffe, Countryside group Chief Executive, said: “Our balanced and differentiated business model positions us well to deliver growth, capital efficiency and long term resilience. We continue to see strong growth in our housebuilding division.”
Kier issue positive trading statement
At Kier, the residential division performed in line with expectations in the second half of 2016.
The firm said that the division continued to benefit from the demand in the UK for all forms of housing:
“We continue to recycle capital from our private land bank into our mixed-tenure business and improve the division’s ROCE through the use of cash efficient joint ventures,” said Kier. “In early January, the division secured a £42 million four year allocation from the Homes and Communities Agency which will underpin the delivery of completions from 2019 onwards.
“Our private sales are performing well with strong sales, visitor and reservation rates. The division is on track to deliver more than 2,200 completions by 30 June 2017.”
Taylor Wimpey on track
Total home completions at Taylor Wimpey rose 4% in 2016 to 13,881, 19% of which were affordable according to a trading statement issued this month.
“We are pleased to report good progress in 2016, with an increase in housing completions and robust trading despite wider macroeconomic uncertainty…. we ended the year with a strong forward order book” said Pete Redfern, Chief Executive of TW.
The firm’s net private reservation rate in the year was 0.72 homes per outlet per week, slightly down on 2015, but private average selling price was up 13% to £286,000.
The statement said: “We start the year in an excellent financial and operational position with significant embedded value in our short term land-bank and strategic pipeline.”
Gladman Land Sales Successes
2016 saw our strongest year yet in terms of land sales. Despite a brief hiatus immediately following the Brexit vote in June, the market outside the M25 had largely returned to normal by September and finished the year very strongly indeed. The strength of the land market reflects the underlying performance of the housebuilding industry as the financial performance of many of the key players evidences. The overall residential land market continues to evolve and we welcome the increased diversity that this is bringing to the land market.
Interesting Appeal Decisions
At Gladman, we monitor all residential appeal decisions issued by the Planning Inspectorate, to better understand current interpretations of government planning policy.
An appeal for 17 dwellings in Painswick, Stroud District, has been dismissed. The refusal hinged on two reasons; the first being the site’s incongruence with local planning policy. As the site lies outside of the settlement boundary and is not entirely affordable housing, the site would not conform with adopted Local Plan policy from November 2015. The second reason for refusal was the site’s impact on the nearby AONB. The Inspector decided that the site contributes to the rural and open nature of the AONB and its development would change the character from rural to urban. These two reasons led the Inspector to dismiss the appeal as these negative effects outweighed any benefits.
An appeal for 34 dwellings in Eggborough, Selby District, has been allowed despite the fact that the site is outside of the settlement boundary and is within a settlement that already has a large level of commitments. The Inspector concluded that the site would not cause an unacceptable level of harm to the surrounding area and is a natural extension of the settlement. Furthermore, the growth options document not yet adopted and the lack of five year housing land supply weighed in favour of the scheme being approved.
An appeal for 21 units in Tillingham, Maldon District, was dismissed, despite seeming fairly logical; the main reason being insufficient provision of affordable housing. The application proposed 25% affordable housing, but this was in conflict with development plan Policy H9, which requires 30% to be affordable units. The Inspector attached great weight to this, which, despite causing no urbanising effect to the countryside, no harm to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area outweighed all benefits, leading to dismissal of the appeal..
An appeal for 12 dwellings in Bentley, East Hampshire, was dismissed, as whilst the development sought to boost the supply of housing, it would adversely affect the rural character of the settlement and result in the loss of habitats of protected species. Although within proximity of local services and facilities, the development was located outside the settlement boundary identified in the made neighbourhood plan. There were also inadequate provisions for affordable housing and surface water drainage. The Inspector concluded the potential benefits of the scheme would be contrary to the development plan and did not outweigh the potential harm that would arise..
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