A decision on whether 400 homes could be built on land near to Nuneaton’s largest tip will be made in the New Year.
New plans have been submitted to Nuneaton and Bedworth Council to build a mini housing estate on land off Tuttle Hill.
A target decision date of February 14, 2020 has been set for the plans, which are the second to be submitted.
It was in May last year that proposals were first sent to the Town Hall, but they did not ever get to the stage where they were debated.
This followed a public consultation in November 2017, when plans for a local centre which would include uses such as a ‘canalside’ pub, doctors surgery, shops, a coffee shop and small hotel were on the table.
However, the latest proposals are simply for up to 400 homes to be built, with two access points off Tuttle Hill, landscaping, open space and two new bridges over the Coventry Canal.
What the plans show
The homes will be split into phases and be built to the right of the entrance to the tip.
It includes the current building, used as offices, at the main entrance.
There are new bridges over the canal and an access point at the side of the new development.
What happens next?
Residents can look at the plans and make comments during public consultation, which will run until December 10.
They can be viewed on the council’s website, searching for planning application number 035595.
Once the public consultation is over, any comments will be reviewed before the target decision date in the middle of February.
It is likely that the plans will be debated by the Town Hall’s planning applications committee.
With housing completions in 2018 exceeding 20,000 for the first time in a decade, Homes for Scotland (HFS) has stressed the need for more SME home builders if growth is to be continued.
In a new report entitled ‘Small Scale Home Builders: Increasing Supply’, which was published following a year-long special project, the trade body highlights how smaller firms were impacted by the financial crisis and have been slower to recover than larger players in the industry.
HFS chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “Despite the strong demand for housing that exists, smaller builders are delivering some 2000 fewer homes per annum than before 2008. Encouraging more into the market is crucial, not just in terms of volume but particularly in relation to increasing diversity of product, creating local employment opportunities and sustaining more rural communities.
“Smaller companies generally have fewer resources and limited routes to finance which make the challenges of home building all the more difficult to overcome.
“Thanks to their insight, and working alongside other key stakeholders such as the Scottish Government and Heads of Planning Scotland, this report identifies solutions and prioritises the action required to support and grow the small scale home builder sector.”
The report comes as HFS begins tracking quarterly housing completions for 2019 against those of last year. With 15% growth achieved in 2018 compared to the previous year, maintaining such levels of improvement would see a return to the pre-recession build rate average of 25,000 new homes per annum that HFS believes Scotland requires within the next two years. However, this can only happen if the right conditions are in place to support them.
The organisation is also monitoring the volume of new build transactions and planning consents in the pipeline, and on which Barclay added: “We will be keeping a close watch on these two metrics, given the importance of continuing growth to achieving Scotland’s housing and sustainable growth ambitions.”
A controversial plan for a new housing development in the Ashley area of Armagh is to be recommended for approval two years after proposals were first revealed.
As Armagh I reported in November 2017, an application had been submitted to build 47 houses at a cost close to £3.5 million.
Amended plans were brought forward almost a year later with a new application on a smaller scale.
And it is this – consisting of a total of 38 properties – which planning officials at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council are poised to recommend for approval.
The new development would have access from Ashley Gardens.
It is described currently as a site made up of “agricultural lands”.
The exact location is given as “lands at Ashley Park (adjacent and west of No’s 7-9 11 12 14-16 Ashley Gardens adjacent and south of No’s 2 3 4 and 4a Ashley Heights adjacent and east of No’s 88 90 92 94 96 and 98 Newry Road and adjacent and north of No’s 8 10 12 and 14 Ashley Avenue)”.
A total of 13 objections had been received in response to the original application, some from the same objectors.
The applicant behind the proposals is Silverbridge-based Blackgate Development Ltd.
The development would consist of two-storey semi-detached and detached homes.
Among those objecting are residents who feel their properties will be impacted upon as they are living in bungalows.
One wrote that they were “deeply unhappy and distressed” by the proposals and insisted that “the surrounding properties are all bungalows”.
She claimed there would be a “loss of natural light”, “loss of privacy” and “loss of view” if proposals proceeded.
The objections and the amended plans have now been considered and planners are of the view that the scheme should be allowed.
That is the opinion which will be presented to the planning committee of ABC Council when it sits on Wednesday.
Councillors there will be tasked with making final decisions.
Housing minister Esther McVey has said she wants a green housing “revolution” in the North of England composed of hi-tech, prefabricated, modular houses.
Modular housing involves building the majority of a property in a factory beforehand, allowing for mass production and for the main structure to be transported in one go to the site and fitted into place.
Backers of prefab construction point to the need for less construction traffic and the need to address the sector’s ageing core workforce, which is currently being topped up by migrant workers.
She has announced £38m for the initiative, but Labour has criticised it noting that only two of the councils benefiting from the extra cash are situated above the Watford Gap, the theoretical divide that separates the north and south of England.
Hull City Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council will take a slice of the funding, along with North Somerset Council and Bristol City Council in the south west, and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council and Hastings Borough Council on the south coast.
The money will help with the construction of 2,072 homes and McVey used a speech in Sheffield to say she believes the industry could be worth £40bn post-Brexit and become Britain’s hi-tech manufacturing answer to Silicon Valley.
Of the potential in the north of England she said: “We must invest in this new technology. It’s as simple as that. The benefits are clear. Some modular homes can be built in a factory over a week. And assembled on site in a day.
“Industry has told us some homes built using modern methods can have 80 per cent fewer defects and heating bills up to 70 per cent lower.
“Homes built using modern methods can be of higher quality, greener and built to last. I want to see a housing green revolution. In the north of England where the first industrial revolution began.”
The deals are the latest to be awarded through the government’s £350m Local Authority Accelerated Construction programme, which was launched to accelerate the delivery of local authority housing schemes.
Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey said McVey had “been caught out” during the announcement.
“The Tories’ pathetic housing proposals have nothing to offer the north of England,” said the Opposition frontbencher.
“The Housing Minister has been caught out making promises to the north, but then giving most of this paltry pot of cash to areas in the south.”
Critics of the new housing tech say smaller suppliers are overlooked in the process and imported materials are favoured, whereas traditionally constructed homes contain 80 per cent of UK-produced materials.
Mike Leonard, from Building Alliance, said modular houses would last for only half the time of a masonry-built home – approximately 60 years – and were “fire prone” given their timber structures.
“They are not designed to last. To put it bluntly, they are caravans without wheels,” he said.
The number of new homes being registered slowed down in the third quarter of this year, according to industry figures.
There were 39,364 registrations – down by 9% compared with the same period a year earlier, the National House Building Council (NHBC) said.
The NHBC is a warranty and insurance provider, covering around 80% of new homes built in the UK.
Builders register homes to be built in the coming weeks or months – so the figures are an indicator of the level of new housing supply in the pipeline.
The year-on-year fall in registrations was driven by home registrations in the private sector.
In the private sector, 27,916 homes were registered, 16% down on a year earlier.
The number of affordable homes being registered increased by 11% annually, with 11,448 registrations.
In the West Midlands, registrations jumped by 52% annually, which the NHBC said was boosted by plots registered in Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village.
NHBC chief executive Steve Wood said: “It is great to see the strength of the affordable and rental sectors whilst we would hope that the slowdown in private sector registrations is transient, and a function of short-term Brexit uncertainties.
“In any event, NHBC will continue to work with builders to raise standards and improve quality for home owners.”
Here are the number of new home registrations between July and September 2019, followed by the same period in 2018 and the percentage change, according to the NHBC:
– North East, 1,849, 2,168, minus 15% – North West and Merseyside, 3,161, 4,273, minus 26% – Yorkshire and Humberside, 2,284, 2,901, minus 21% – West Midlands, 4,760, 3,136, 52% – East Midlands, 3,232, 3,073, 5% – Eastern England, 4,143, 3,808, 9% – South West England, 3,055, 4,604, minus 34% – London, 5,143, 6,005, minus 14% – South East England, 6,735, 7,006, minus 4% – Total England, 34,362, 36,974, minus 7% – Scotland, 2,820, 3,681, minus 23% – Wales, 1,045, 1,473, minus 29% – Northern Ireland and Isle of Man, 1,137, 1,275, minus 11%
UK construction firms saw another tough month in September, according to the latest IHS Markit Construction PMI, which fell to its lowest level since April 2009 on Wednesday after activity fell at its second fastest pace for a decade last month and suggests the sector is in danger of another brush with recession.
The IHS Markit Construction PMI came in at 43.3 for September, down from 45.0 previously and when markets had been looking for no change. This marked the third consecutive decline for the index, which has zig-zagged lower ever since topping out at 55.8 in July 2018. It comes after commercial, civil engineering and residential construction firms all suffered in September.
Commercial firms were again the weakest link, with many suffering due to client hesitancy, which is said to be the result of the Brexit process. Civil engineering activity was reported sharply lower while housebuilders, long the star of the UK construction show given the home supply and demand disparity, saw their fourth consecutive decrease in building. Input costs rose due to higher charges for fuel and some raw materials while employment across the sector fell at its fastest pace since the end of 2010.
“Falling demand from investors and brutal, margin-slashing competition among contractors have sent confidence skittling. Many contractors are now fighting on two fronts, and are being squeezed by rising input costs just as new orders fall sharply,” says Gareth Belsham, director of national property consultancy and surveyors Naismiths. “Britain’s construction sector has become adept at riding out both feast and famine. But even by its volatile standards, the rapid slowdown in demand is causing concern.”
PMI surveys measure changes in industry activity by asking respondents to rate conditions for new orders, production, hiring intentions, prices and inventories. A number above 50.0 indicates industry expansion while a number below 50 is suggestive of contraction. The survey results often correlate with official measures of output, although they can often be wide of the mark too.
The UK construction industry has struggled since the June 2016 Brexit referendum, which has hit the commercial construction sector particularly hard, leading the industry to fall into recession in 2017. Output contracted for three consecutive quarters that year before seeing only a tepid and short-lived recovery in 2018, which has since unwound as the Brexit saga rolls. But the under-the-cosh industry is also now having to cope with the impact that an uncertain global economic backdrop is having on clients.
“The downturn in the construction sector is continuing to worsen, with the risk of a no-deal Brexit largely to blame. The PMI is consistent with construction output falling by about 2.0% in Q3, building on Q2’s 1.2% decline,” says Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “The construction sector could revive quickly if the risk of a no-deal Brexit subsides; in aggregate, the corporate sector has ample cash reserves.”
Tombs, who’s been rated one of the UK’s top forecasters by Bloomberg and Reuters, says the housing market could soon experience a revival because of a decline in the cost of borrowing, which is now feeding through into lower mortgage rates. However, his forecasts suggest the overall construction sector has now seen two consecutive quarters of decline, which is enough to return it to recession at a time when the broader economy is also weak.
UK GDP growth was 0.3% in July, up from 0% previously and marking a strong start to the third quarter for an economy that shrank by 0.2% in the three months to the end of June. The earlier result had seen economists fret about the prospect of a technical recession, which is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction, although the probability of that happening is now tipped as low.
“We’re revising down our forecast for quarteron-quarter GDP growth in Q3 to 0.3%, from 0.4%, in response to signs that the rebound in industrial production is shaping up to be smaller than we had anticipated. Nonetheless, our forecast still exceeds the MPC’s 0.2% expectation and likely would be sufficiently strong to persuade the Committee that lower interest rates are not warranted,” Tombs wrote, in a recent note to clients.
The UK economy has slowed in recent years amid elevated inflation that’s at times crimped consumer purchasing power, slowing business investment and more recently, a global economic slowdown that’s put the German economy on the door of recession and left the Eurozone at risk of stagnation. Amid that latter slowdown, central banks the world over have rushed to support their economies with lower interest rates and other assistance measures, although the Bank of England (BoE) is yet to follow suit.
Hundreds of new family homes for rental are to be built across Scotland thanks to a partnership deal struck between two property companies.
Five cities have been targeted – Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness, Perth and Stirling – following the agreement between Scottish housebuilder Springfield Properties and Sigma Capital Group, the Edinburgh-based residential development and urban regeneration specialist.
The move follows the launch earlier this year of the Sigma Scottish PRS Fund – the first dedicated vehicle to focus on the creation of new homes for the private rental market in Scotland. It has initial resources of £43 million, with £30m provided by the Scottish Government’s Building Scotland Fund.
Under the new agreement, Springfield will build family homes for Sigma’s PRS property platform, with the majority of them to be built in the former’s “village” developments.
Graham Barnet, chief executive of Sigma, said the partnership would target the construction of hundreds of new homes for families across the five cities. Once built, the homes will be let under Sigma’s Simple Life lettings brand.
He added: “Springfield has a well-established reputation for delivering quality homes in Scotland and this partnership brings significant benefits for both sides, especially in accelerating the rate at which mixed tenure sites can be developed.
“We look forward to working with Springfield as we develop the partnership and extend our model in Scotland.”
Springfield Properties chief executive Innes Smith said: “We are proud to be chosen by Sigma as their first partner in Scotland to deliver homes for the private rented sector.
“This agreement stands to accelerate our delivery of homes, particularly on village developments, and we expect it to provide a further revenue stream, alongside our existing private and affordable housing activity, with good visibility over cash flows.
“It will also increase the number of homes available in the private rented sector and contribute towards our goal of ensuring that everyone within Scotland has a great place to live.”
Earlier this month, Sigma provided an upbeat outlook for the year and hailed its push into the Scottish private rented sector after revealing solid first-half numbers. Until recently, the firm had been focused on property projects and investments south of the Border.
Barnet said that market fundamentals remained strong with high levels of demand for quality, family-sized rental homes from workers on moderate incomes.
The interim results showed that revenues in the six months to 30 June increased by 19 per cent to £5.8m. Profit before tax for the period rose by 3 per cent to £4.3m. Sigma said the second half of the year had started well.
Many of us dream of building our own homes. Yet, while it’s a common aspiration in the UK, we’re far less likely to self-build here than in other countries across Europe.
Self-build accounts for between 7% and 10% of all new housing across the country, around 12,000 homes per year, according to a House of Commons briefing paper. By contrast, that figure is 80% in Austria.
Yet a 2011 survey by the Building Societies Association found that more than half of Britons (53%) would consider self-build if the opportunity was available to them. As such, the government has encouraged self-build in recent years, hoping to boost housing supply.
There are both rewards and risks with self-build houses. What is a dream can soon turn into a nightmare as cost and complexity derail self-build projects. Here are the major pros and cons of self-build:
Because you’re building your own home (or more likely, paying someone else to do the actual work), you’re involved at every stage of the process.
That means you can tailor the design and finish to all of your specific wants and needs. For example, you can build a super-green home that’s so energy efficient you don’t get any electricity bills. Self-build homes are bespoke, so you can get exactly what you want from a property.
Often when buying a home you’ll need to compromise on the plot. The building may be what you had in mind, but it’s not in the greatest setting.
But when you’re self-building, you’re buying the land as well. So you can choose a plot that meets your desires, such as overlooking the sea, or in a remote rural location.
In theory, and often in practice, self-build can be cheaper than buying a ready-made home. The cost of land plus construction can, with research and careful planning, come in lower than the resulting property’s market value.
So not only would it be cheaper than buying a similar property that’s already there, but you could make some money off of the end product, too. What’s more, you can claim back VAT on the construction.
There’s always the risk that things go wrong or that you weren’t stringent enough in your planning beforehand.
Budgets can quickly spin out of control as unforeseen problems arise during construction and if you’re relying on a mortgage, the money will usually be released in stages, which can create cash flow problems that delay and disrupt the project.
You need to be sure that you have enough money saved up to see the self-build project through to the end because otherwise you’ll end up living in an empty shell of a property with no utilities.
Another risk is that you might make the property a little too bespoke, meaning it’s so unique that the resale market is small, affecting your chance of reselling the house if you ever wanted to.
Self-build is not for the faint-hearted. These projects can take months, sometimes even years, before the home is finished. That requires a lot of patience, especially if you’re having to rent in awkward or uncomfortable accommodation while work takes place.
You’ll also need a cool head if things go wrong. Moreover, you need to be an excellent project manager, or hire a good one, which is hard if you’re having to work a full-time job alongside overseeing the construction.
No building project is ever straightforward. In truth, self-build is highly stressful. There’s a lot of money — and your home — at stake. Do you have the mettle for it?
Tunbridge Wells town would be better protected from large scale new house building if the council proposal goes ahead to put 6,800 homes at Tudeley and Paddock Wood.
The controversial proposal for the tiny village in the heart of the countryside and the small town were officially unveiled this week to parish councils.
Residents were getting to grips with the shock of the proposition put forward by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. which is grappling with a housing target more than doubled by the Government, to reach 13,500 new homes in the 20 years up to 2036. This is around 680 each year.
But while two areas could be changed forever during a timescale council leader Alan McDermott put at “probably 25 years” – Tunbridge Wells, which for years has seen controversial infilling, office conversions to residential, sizeable brownfield developments and new estates built or under way, might get something of a breather.
The proposals are in the draft Local Plan which will go out for public consultation in the early autumn.
Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough.
“Similarly, this option does not add such intense pressure to the existing infrastructure as much as other options would – for example, if the vast majority of the development were to be around the main urban area, Tunbridge Wells and Southborough.”
Mr McDermott said new infrastructure, potentially including schools, drainage, utility links, a road off the A228, doctors’ surgeries and employment development, would be built as part of the Tudeley and Paddock Wood proposal.
Talking of the council’s track record in Tunbridge Wells as the planning authority, Mr Baughen said: “We always look to prioritise previously developed land and the redevelopment of previously developed land but as you are seeing, a lot of the sites which have been identified as suitable for redevelopment sites in the previous Local Plan and the Site Allocation Local Plan now have planning permission or indeed are being built out.”
He added: “This is a finite resource but this Local Plan looks again to make sure that suitable sites within the urban areas are being identified and allocated but a number of them have permission already.”
Petrina Lambert, who lives in Brampton Bank, Tudeley, said: “Our first reactions were shock, distress, upset then extremely angry.
“The whole idea made us feel sick. We moved here to live in a rural community that was now going to be destroyed.
“Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock Wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district?
“There is also the development at Woodgate Way in Tonbridge only two miles away and no infrastructure in place to support this and a new development with a sudden and large increase in this area’s population.
“It is the destruction of a small and happy community and that of an area of outstanding natural beauty that upsets us most and there are not the right words to describe the loss.”
The Local Plan will go out to public consultation
The original housing target of 6,000 new homes for Tunbridge Wells was more than doubled by the Government to 13,500 during the past few years.
The Local Plan, an evergreen and constantly updating document, is in its 2016 to 2036 planning period.
In order to work out how many homes need to be built in the future, the council must take account of the housing which has already been built or permitted since 2016.
This leaves 9,000 homes – and the council is putting forward Tudeley, which is little more than a large cluster of homes, and Paddock Wood, which had a 8,253 population in 2011, for around 6,800 of them.
The explosive proposal was unveiled officially to parish councils on Monday and Tuesday nights, although the borough council said it had been working with the parishes behind the scenes.
The council said by building homes on such a large scale rather than ad hoc, proper planning could go into infrastructure.
The Local Plan will go out to consultation in September/October and again a final consultation on the final Local Plan next September before submission to the Planning Inspectorate in December 2020. It will be examined formally in the spring or summer of 2021.
A VISION of how East Renfrewshire will develop over the next 10 years has been set out by council chiefs.
Councillors will consider a draft strategy outlining the local authority’s long-term ambitions at a meeting today.
The revised ‘Vision for the Future,’ originally launched in 2015, reveals how the council will address five key outcomes.
These are early years and vulnerable young people; learning, life and work; environment and economy; safe, supportive communities; and older people and people with long-term conditions.
A report to councillors states: “East Renfrewshire is a modern, ambitious council, creating a fairer future with all. Our mission is simple: to make lives better for the growing numbers of residents who choose to live here.
“East Renfrewshire, however, faces many of the same challenges as the rest of Scotland over the next 10 years.”
These challenges include population growth, changes in the world economy, climate change and rapid developments in technology.
“The financial landscape for the public sector has become increasingly challenging, with councils having to find significant year-on-year savings while continuing to deliver services that meet the growing and more complex needs of local people,” the report adds.
In East Renfrewshire, this has meant making savings of over £54million since 2011, with a further £22m to be made by 2021.
Over the next decade, the council plans to significantly expand nursery provision, increase support for young people with additional support needs and ensure fewer children and families are in the care system.
The draft strategy states that increasing demand for places in schools will see a growth in the number of classrooms.
The council also wants East Renfrewshire to be a key tourist destination, with better rail and bus services and improvements to park and open spaces.
In addition, it plans to build at least 4,350 houses by 2029.
Vision for the Future also commits to continuing work to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as encouraging electric cars and ensuring any new-build housing is as energy efficient as possible.
And, for older people, there will be a shift away from hospital wards to community alternatives for those who require long-term or round-the-clock care.