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UK Construction Industry in Sharp Slump

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.

Written by James Skinner

Source: Pound Sterling Live

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Five Scottish cities in line for hundreds of family rental homes

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.

By SCOTT REID

Source: Scotsman

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Self-build revolution: The pros and cons of building your own home from scratch

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:

Pros

Bespoke

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.

Ideal plot

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.

Savings

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.

Cons

Risky

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.

Stress

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?

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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This is where 6,800 homes could be built in Tunbridge Wells borough

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.”

 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
‘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?’ asked resident Petrina Lambert (Image: Lewis Durham)

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.”

 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.
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. (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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.

By Mary Harris

Source: Kent Live

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New housing and more schools feature in ‘vision for the future’ for East Renfrewshire

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.

Source: Barrhead News

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New Wrexham developments feature as part of £63m affordable housing plans across region

A social housing provider has unveiled plans for new developments in Wrexham County Borough.

Clwyd Alyn says it is set to create 380 affordable, sustainable homes for local people across the region costing around £63 million.

The developments have been financed with £37 million of Welsh Government funding secured in partnership with local authorities, together with private finance arranged by Clwyd Alyn.

In Wrexham this involves new developments in both Pontfadog and the Brymbo areas.

Clwyd Alyn, which currently manages over 6,000 homes and employ more than 700 people across seven county areas, completed a total of 277 new homes and one community hub in the last financial year, including 200 specialist extra care apartments across North Wales.

Locally this includes Maes y Dderwen, a million pound extra care housing scheme for older people in Wrexham, which welcomed its first tenants in 2018.

Located on Grosvenor Road near the town centre, it is specifically designed for local people aged 60 or over who wish to live independently in a home of their own with the peace of mind of 24-hour access to care support.

The total number of homes developed by the organisation over the last two years, combined with those currently being built, or proposed for the years ahead, represents a total investment of £221 million covering the creation of a of 1,435 homes.

Commenting on both current and future developments locally, Craig Sparrow, executive director of development for Clwyd Alyn said: “In Wrexham County last year we completed Maes Y Dderwen, a state-of-art extra care development with 60 apartments, promoting independent living for older people and we’ve recently also welcomed new residents to a development of 50 general apartments in Rivulet Road.

“We’re also currently creating new homes in Pontfadog and we are proceeding with proposals for 70 homes in Brymbo.”

Clare Budden, group chief executive of Clwyd Alyn added: “We know there is a significant shortfall of social and affordable housing across Wales, with increasing levels of homelessness, growing waiting lists and too many people living in poor quality and short-term housing.

“We are working in partnership with local authorities and other agencies and working hard to deliver our mission; – ‘Together to beat poverty.’

“We firmly believe that by building new affordable homes, working in partnership, and through delivering a range of support services, we can encourage and help people to live well and build their own strong communities.

“We have a total of 792 homes either completed during the last two years, in progress, or about to start on site. We have proposals for another 643 homes for the years to come, representing an overall investment total of £221 million and 435 homes.

“We would like to thank the Welsh Government and all our Local Authority partners from across the region for their support in helping us to provide these vital homes bringing hope and joy to local people for generations to come.”

Source: Wrexham

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Affordable homes to be built on site of former sports club

Work is under way to build 48 new affordable homes on the site of the former Barton Lane Sports and Recreation Club in Eccles, Salford, which had sat unoccupied since November 2016.

ForHousing is transforming the disused site at Barton Lane into 48 modern apartments for affordable rent, comprising 24 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom homes.

The landlord owns and manages 24,000 homes across the North West of England, in Fylde, Knowsley, Oldham and Salford, and provides housing management services on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Mangrove Estates is the developer on the site with Watson Homes responsible for the build and Grays Architecture leading on the scheme design.

Nigel Sedman, group director of homes said: “It’s really good news that the Barton Lane development has started on site.

“It will provide greatly needed affordable homes for 120 people and takes our investment into new homes in Eccles to over £20m.”

He added: “At ForHousing we are committed to building high-quality homes, stronger neighbourhoods and working together with tenants to make more things possible for more people.

“In the North West we have developed over 900 new homes to date across a mix of tenures and will be building a further 540 by 2020.”

The Barton Lane development is part funded by a £1.68m grant from Homes England. It is earmarked for completion by Winter 2020.

By Neil Hodgson

Source: The Business Desk

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More than a million homes could be built on brownfield land – campaigners

More than a million homes could be built on brownfield land, helping to meet housing demand and regenerate towns and cities, campaigners say.

A new analysis of councils’ brownfield land registers by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) suggests there is space for a million homes on suitable sites which were previously built on and now sit derelict or vacant.

Two-thirds of the potential new homes are on sites which are “shovel ready” and are deliverable within five years, so they could make an immediate contribution to meeting housing need, the analysis suggests.

CPRE argues that prioritising the brownfield land which councils have shown is suitable for development will provide more homes and transform run-down areas.

And it will prevent the unnecessary loss of countryside and greenfield sites for housing, the campaign group said.

With more than 120,000 potential new homes added to the registers across England in the last year alone, brownfield land could continue to provide a steady pipeline of new housing, CPRE said.

Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration

Rebecca Pullinger, CPRE

But it warned that the definition of the land available for residential development for the registers may be missing opportunities to make better use of existing developed sites – meaning more homes could be provided.

And the assumptions for the density of housing on a site are low, so that increasing the number of properties built on brownfield could help councils make the best use of the space and deliver more homes, the charity said.

The analysis shows 18,277 sites identified across the country with 1,077,292 potential new homes – of which 634,750 homes are deliverable within five years.

London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield have identified suitable previously-developed land which could provide almost half a million homes.

CPRE is calling for the Government to introduce a genuine “brownfield first” policy which ensures suitable previously-developed or under-used land is prioritised for housing over green spaces and countryside.

And clearer definitions and guidelines are needed for the registers to be a better pipeline of sites, identifying all brownfield areas and recording their suitability for uses other than housing, including protecting their wildlife or heritage value where appropriate, it urged.

Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at CPRE, said: “Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration.

“It will help to limit the amount of countryside lost to development, and build more homes in areas where people want to live, with infrastructure, amenities and services already in place.”

She added: “Councils have worked hard to identify space suitable for more than one million new homes.

“But until we have a brownfield first approach to development, and all types of previously developed land are considered, a large number of sites that could be transformed into desperately needed new homes will continue to be overlooked.

“The Government, local councils and house builders must work hard to bring these sites forward for development and get building.”

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “This Government is committed to building the homes our country needs while still leaving the environment in a better state than we found it.

“We’re encouraging planners to prioritise building on brownfield land and working with local authorities to ensure sensible decisions are made on where homes get built.”

Source: iTV

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‘Our towns must expand to thrive’: Shropshire Council says green belt homes are a necessary evil

The prospect of building on the county’s green belt has provoked significant criticism – but Shropshire Council says it is ready to defend the plans as the best way of tackling issues faced by towns.

Plans for thousands of homes in Shropshire are vital to stop the decline of communities and ensure controlled development.

That is the message given today by the man in charge of a ‘preferred sites’ consultation for work up until 2036.

Shropshire Council planning expert Adrian Cooper says the plan for 28,750 new homes is the only way to protect communities from speculative developers, and to prevent towns falling into decline.

He said: “There is a reason – we are not just doing this because we want to upset people. We are doing it to stave off a worse outcome.”

All of Shropshire’s towns and villages feature in the plan, which varies from the modest to the large scale plans for hundreds of homes in both Shifnal and Bridgnorth.

Mr Cooper, the council’s planning policy and strategy manager, said that the impact of a lack of affordable housing was affecting communities across the county, and particularly Bridgnorth, and having a knock on effect on employers and the availability of jobs.

He said: ““If we do not make provision for business to remain and grow and expand and attract and retain employees then they will move and that’s really harmful because it exacerbates existing issues you have in towns like Bridgnorth.”

Green belt homes ‘a necessary evil’

Campaign groups in Bridgnorth and Shifnal have been outraged by Shropshire Council plans for development, with sections of green belt earmarked for future development and the prospect of more than 28,000 new homes.

Permission to build on the green belt is only allowed in exceptional circumstance – something campaigners have insisted does not exist – but a senior council official has moved to defend the plans, particularly in relation to Bridgnorth.

Under Shropshire Council’s preferred sites consultation, land across the county is allocated for where houses and businesses can built up until 2036. The plans are yet to be fully approved by the council and there will be another round of consultation.

It also needs to be approved by a government inspector.

For Bridgnorth a large section of green belt at Stanmore is being allocated for development after 2036, and areas are also included in Shifnal.

The choice has sparked a strong reaction from campaigners who have vowed to resist the proposals.

Mr Cooper said: “In both Shifnal and Bridgnorth the difficulties for some areas is it is in the green belt – somewhere people do not expect to see development and it is more difficult to justify that outcome.

“We say in both cases there is a strong argument in the case of intervention because if you do not do something there are some real risks those places will decline, lose employment opportunities, housing will decline and a whole section of the community risks being disenfranchised over decades.”

Asked about the attitude towards building on the green belt Mr Cooper said: “The way government policy works is no, you should not be looking at it.

“We need to produce good reasons and evidence to justify the outcome.”

Policy will help prevent decline

The planning manager said the council believes the policy is necessary to prevent the decline of the area.

He also said other options for providing the housing in other areas had been looked at and discounted.

He said: “Local circumstances are such that if we do not do something that is being proposed, in effect that outcome justifies the change because you can already see evidence of negative impact, of businesses relocating, local employers being restricted, wage level being relatively poor, affordable housing being limited and all of the social outcomes that come from those changes.

“You could take it and put it in another town. Shrewsbury or a different set of sites that are not in the green belt. What we are saying is we have looked at those options and this is, as far as we are concerned, the best way to tackle the issues Bridgnorth faces in the long term. And we therefore think it is justified to do that. We accept there will be differences of opinion and expect there to be.”

Mr Cooper also said there was pressure from local employers over the need to provide homes for potential workers – a claim which has been questioned by Bridgnorth campaigners.

He said: “In particular in Bridgnorth, local employers are really struggling to retain employees. There are not houses for people on the wages they pay.”

Asked if companies had come forward to raise their concern Mr Cooper said: “Yes, through things like the chamber of commerce and the LEP, these are what spurred the concerns.

“This is an issue that pertains to the local economy in Bridgnorth

“We have had a situation in recent years where we have lost businesses, they have chosen to relocate into Telford or the West Midlands because either they could not get enough space to expand and they needed the space to stay where they were.

“Part of that mix is also access to staff, and it is a bit of a vicious circle and has informed why we have chosen to intervene in the way we have with the local plan.

“Because if we do not make provision for business to remain and grow and expand and attract and retain employees then they will move and that’s really harmful because it exacerbates existing issues you have in Bridgnorth which are about limited employment opportunities for a town of its size and people travelling out of town for work.”

Mr Cooper also said that some of the development which has taken place in Shifnal is the result of not having a plan, and that they are seeking an organised approach to ensure associated infrastructure is built.

He said: “Much of the development in Shifnal now was not planned. It was not in the local development plan. It happened because you do not have five years of housing land set aside so the industry was able to argue it should be able to build on land in Shifnal that had not been allocated for that purpose.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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Another £250m will go towards building new homes in England

The UK government has announced another £250m for building desperately-needed new homes across England.

A new round of housing deals is the latest in a series of steps taken by the government as it strives towards its goal of building 300,000 new homes each year.

As part of this, £157m will be invested for new infrastructure in Cumbria and Devon, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said.

The money will pay for a new motorway link between south Carlisle and the M6, unlocking up to 10,000 new homes at St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.

In Devon, £55m will be spent on road improvements and other infrastructure so 2,500 homes can be built to the south-west of Exeter.

In addition, 1,500 homes will be built in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park following a £78m loan from Homes England.

The loan is part of the government’s £4.5bn Home Building Fund, which provides development and infrastructure finance to home builders.

The first phase of the development is expected to end in summer 2021, with full completion by 2028, the MHCLG said.

The UK is currently facing its biggest housing shortfall on record, with a backlog of almost 4 million homes, according to research by Heriot-Watt University.

James Brokenshire, communities secretary, said: “We delivered 222,000 homes last year, which is the highest number in a decade, but we must keep upping our game.

“We are invoking the spirit of Britain’s post-war push to build as we strive to hit our target of 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, for the first time since the days of Harold Macmillan.

“By investing in infrastructure, freeing up public sector land and offering targeted loans we are making the housing market work.

“These deals struck today will help us build almost 25,000 more homes – which is another symbolic step towards our homebuilding targets.”

A new partnership by Homes England will create 10,000 properties on Ministry of Defence land on seven military bases – with the potential for surplus army land to be used in the future.

Tobias Ellwood, minister for defence, people and veterans, said: “As we work to make our military bases more modern and efficient, it’s important that former MOD land is used in a way which serves local residents and the economy.

“This new partnership underlines our commitment to helping housebuilding in this country and will provide good value for money to taxpayers.”

Sites will be developed at bases RAF Henlow, MOD Site 4, Swynnerton Training Camp, Claro and Deverell Barracks, MDPGA Wethersfield, Prince William of Gloucester Barracks and Chetwynd Barracks.

Source: Yahoo Finance UK