• The key annual Conference for the London Resi Market returns on 6th March....
  • Join hundreds of delegates from both Private & Public Sectors at the Affordable Housing Conference on 19th March....
  • The Market Leaders in Student Housing from across the Uk, Europe & Globally gather in London on 14th May

Events Diary

Student Housing 2019

Tuesday 14th May 2019

Resi Development & Site Finding 2019

Tuesday 21st May 2019

latest news

Trends and opportunities in UK student housing development

The provision of student housing in the UK is currently the highest in Europe, with 27% of all students able to be accommodated. Despite higher levels of supply, the UK market is still a lucrative one for investors. We’re looking at where the current opportunities are for investment, the trends affecting demand and how external factors could influence the sector.

Regional property trends 2019

It’s an interesting time for the UK property market. Despite political and economic uncertainty leaving mainstream buyers waiting to see how the year pans out, reluctant to buy or sell unless they have little choice, it’s not all as doom and gloom as some would have us believe. We’ve examined some of the key regional property trends for 2019.

How is residential development changing in London?

After a peak in mid-2017, the London Residential property market is facing strain as low affordability and falling house prices contribute to a slow decline. A recent sales report by Molior London found that, removing Build to Rent figures from the picture, the London new homes market sold fewer units in the inner-city area in 2018 than every year since 2012. With these statistics in mind, we’re taking a look at how residential development in London continues to change.

Draft National Planning Policy Framework - What will reforms mean for residential developments?

Three years after calls to review the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the Chief Planning Officer confirmed this spring that the NPPF will be revised. The reform will see the implementation of the planning reform package set out within the government’s housing white paper in 2017, as well as planning for the right homes within the right places and announcements made in the latest Autumn Budget. We examine the latest draft of the revised NPPF to analyse what this will mean for the development of new homes.

Provision of housing

As expected, the revised NPPF draft focuses primarily on the provision of new and affordable housing, with strategic plans based upon local housing need assessments and policies identifying the tenure of homes required for different groups within each community. Notably, the framework outlines support for entry-level exception sites by local planning authorities (LPAs), in a bid to provide housing for first-time buyers and renters, and it is highly expected that a standardised method of calculating local housing need will be implemented.

Alongside this policy, the government instruct LPAs to identify large-scale development opportunities, including new settlements and significant village or town extensions, as well as potential for upwards extension, that meet needs in a sustainable way and consider the establishment, or enhancement, of Green Belt areas.   

Planning to support long-term sustainability and viability

Acknowledging the difficulties plan-makers face in terms of long-term forecasting, the government have proposed that plans for town centre sites should look at least 10 years ahead but consider the diversification that town centres are subject to, particularly in this current era of decline, so as to avoid any unnecessary loss of facilities. Where applications for leisure and retail developments are to be considered, planning authorities must consider the impact such developments may have on existing, committed and planned centre developments, as well as on trade within the community, town centre viability and local consumer choice.

In terms of environmental sustainability, plans and decisions should, wherever possible, help to improve local environmental conditions, such as air quality. This amendment comes as a result of legal challenges in recent years on the Government’s failing to act faster on sustaining air quality.

What do these changes mean for planners and developers?

In short, the revisions will place a greater responsibility on developers to ensure commitments are delivered, with the consideration of supporting local communities and meeting needs by working closely with them and other stakeholders. The requirement for effective use of land will bring its challenges, as it will involve the need to balance an increased density of homes with maintaining acceptable standards of living, such as the consideration of daylight, nearby public transport and green spaces, and consulting with the community to ensure aesthetically pleasing design. Fortunately, local planning authorities will be required to adopt a more lenient view where daylight is concerned, as achieving optimal levels will prove trying amongst the instruction for high-density development.

Despite its challenges, this grants more freedom in terms of making the most of existing brownfield sites, as well as developing sites that are dedicated to first-time buyers and build to rent homes, whilst the instruction to unlock smaller sites provides further opportunities for new or smaller developers to enter the market in response to demand. However, there is debate amongst property experts as to whether the reforms provide the means to reach the 300,000 homes a year mark, particularly for SME builders. the framework focuses on achieving development success through thorough plan-led strategy to ensure viability, whilst positively enhancing land to promote recreational opportunities and environmental quality, but it is important to note that the current draft revision does not provide mechanisms for developers to do so, which may lead to sales risks and barriers to entry for smaller organisations.  

The introduction of a standardised method of calculating local housing need is welcomed, although there are concerns that this approach to setting targets will not take additional factors, such as job creation, into consideration, particularly in areas where the two are intrinsically linked, such as the North. Whilst the correct problems are being addressed within the NPPF, it remains to be seen as to whether the final revision of the framework will provide the mechanisms needed for a more coordinated method of planning between planning authorities at different levels and developers.

The UK’s leading conference on Planning and Viability for Residential Development in the UK returns for an 11th year on 27th September 2018. Join hundreds of Developers and Local Authorities from across the Country at this event. If you would be interested in attending, please book now to avoid disappointment.


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Posted: 03/07/2018
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