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UK annual house price growth picks up to nine-month high – Halifax

British house prices rose in the three months to August at their fastest annual rate since November last year, figures from major mortgage lender Halifax showed on Friday, bolstered by a gradual pick-up in wages and limited supply.

Halifax said house prices in the period were 3.7 percent higher than a year earlier, up from a 3.3 percent growth rate in the three months to July but a slightly smaller increase than the average forecast in a Reuters poll.

The figures contrast with data from rival mortgage lender Nationwide last week, which reported prices were up just 2 percent on the year in August, the joint-smallest increase in five years.

Britain’s housing market began slowing in the run-up to June 2016’s Brexit vote. The biggest slowdown has been in London, due to reduced appetite from foreign investors and concerns about the financial services industry, with less of an impact in other parts of the United Kingdom.

A “stable, yet constrained” supply of new homes was supporting prices, as was a gradual pick-up in wage growth, Halifax managing director Russell Galley said.

Looking at the month of August alone, house prices rose 0.1 percent from July, when they jumped by 1.2 percent.

Howard Archer, an economist at consultancy EY ITEM Club, said he did not see an upturn on the way for British house prices and expected annual house price growth of 2.5 percent this year and next.

“Consumer confidence is fragile and appreciable caution persists over engaging in major transactions. Potential house buyers may also be concerned that they are likely to face further interest rate hikes over the medium term following August’s hike,” he said.

The Bank of England raised interest rates to 0.75 percent in August in only its second increase since before the global financial crisis. BoE Governor Mark Carney said market expectations of one rate rise per year over the next few years would be a good rule of thumb for households.

Source: UK Reuters

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What’s going to happen to property prices in 2018 and 2019?

Annual UK house price growth is projected to slow to around 3% in 2018 and is likely to remain around this level until 2025, according to new analysis from PwC.

The average UK house price is estimated to rise from £221,000 in 2017 to around £285,000 by 2025 according to PwC’s projections. Price growth at this pace means the ratio of house prices to earnings is likely to remain broadly stable, but still at high levels by historical standards.

In London, however, the average house price could drop by nearly 2% in 2018 compared to last year and house price inflation could continue to be negative in 2019.

Richard Snook, senior economist at PwC, commented:

“UK house price growth remained resilient in 2017 despite a weakening economic backdrop, but has shown signs of moderating during the first half of 2018, particularly in London. Affordability in the capital has been stretched due to three factors: a high deposit saving hurdle, increased economic uncertainty relating to Brexit acting as a drag on international investment, and reduced numbers of housing transactions due to stamp duty changes.

“However, London house price growth should pick up again from 2020. We project the average price of a London home in 2022 to be £509,000, compared to £141,000 in the North East. This means the large affordability gap between the capital and other UK regions is set to remain.”

Projected UK and regional house price growth and house price values (£000’s)

Average house price growth Average house price values (£’000s in cash terms)
Region 2018 2019 2020-2022 (average) 2017 2022
East of England 4.0% 4.5% 3.4% 283 340
East Midlands 4.4% 3.7% 3.4% 180 216
South West 4.3% 3.7% 3.6% 245 295
West Midlands 4.8% 4.3% 3.6% 185 225
South East 2.3% 3.1% 3.3% 318 369
North West 3.2% 2.7% 3.5% 155 182
London -1.7% -0.2% 2.6% 480 509
Wales 3.0% 2.1% 3.4% 150 175
Scotland 4.8% 3.4% 3.6% 143 172
Yorkshire & the Humber 3.5% 2.7% 3.4% 155 182
Northern Ireland 3.4% 3.9% 4.0% 128 154
North East 1.2% 0.7% 3.1% 127 141
UK 2.9% 2.8% 3.4% 221 259

Source: ONS, PwC analysis

Increased stamp duty for higher valued properties has been one of the factors dampening London house price growth recently. Rob Walker, head of real estate tax at PwC, commented:

“While, in theory, 95% of buyers are winners from the removal of the previous slab system, the increase in stamp duty for homes above this threshold appears to have contributed to an overall slowdown in the property market.  High stamp duty rates are dissuading people from upsizing and downsizing which is affecting both ends of the market. Government should look at other options to kick start the housing market.”

Past rises in UK house prices have been driven by a number of factors, but one of these has been a lack of new housing supply. PwC’s new analysis at the local authority level across England suggests a clear link between a lack of new housing supply, relative to population growth, and local house price growth since 2011. This has been particularly marked in London, PwC estimates around 110,000 more homes would need to have been built between 2011 and 2016 to keep up with population growth.

Looking ahead, if the government can achieve its target of building 300,000 new homes a year in England by the mid-2020s, then this should exceed the increase in housing demand from projected population growth and therefore start to make up the backlog from past under-supply. But PwC’s local analysis suggests that many of these homes need to be built where demand is highest in London and the South East and the East of England to prevent a further worsening of affordability in those regions.

Source: London Loves Business

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Revealed: the London boroughs topping the tables for getting rid of council homes

Figures have revealed the extent of the loss of council housing across London between 2016 and 2017. The Canary has been given access to in-depth calculations, which show some boroughs losing council homes at a shocking rate, including one which lost 5% of its total in just one year.

Number crunching in London

As Inside Croydon reported, figures [xls] from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the number and type of houses across England show that, in London, there were 3,620 fewer council-owned houses in 2017 compared to 2016. But, for the first time since 2014, there was also a net loss in the number of overall social housing properties (including housing association stock).

Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry has crunched the numbers:

Londons social housing stock by year

She also gave The Canary the breakdown of the net change in the number of council homes by borough. The figures show that some boroughs were losing council homes at a far faster rate than others:

London borough changes since 2016 in council house numbers

 Labour’s housing problem

Labour-led boroughs reported some of the highest losses. These included Ealing, which lost over 5% of its total council housing stock; Hackney, down 1.7%, and Islington, down 2.2%.

James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, told The Canary:

Sadiq wants to get London building much more social rented housing, and so earlier this month he launched the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated to council housing, that will help get 10,000 new council homes underway over the next four years.

But the fact of the matter is that, at the same time, London is losing council homes through the national Right to Buy, and the government is failing to give councils the resources or obligations to replace any homes sold. To do all he can to help protect social housing, Sadiq’s new scheme offers councils an innovative way to ringfence their Right to Buy receipts to invest in building new homes to replace those sold in the local area.

As Mayor, Sadiq has also introduced tough new policies that, for the first time, protect any social housing that may be demolished, including by giving residents a say through ballots on schemes that want his funding. Although a true step change in the amount of social housing in London will require far more money and powers from national government, Sadiq’s efforts already mean London has started to build homes based on social rent levels again after the pipeline he inherited from the previous Mayor shamefully saw new social rented housing drop to zero.

Stop knocking down homes

But Berry told The Canary:

Londoners’ housing needs mean we should be seeing a net gain of more than 30,000 council homes each year, so it’s shocking and disastrous to see that up to last year we lost more than 3,600 council homes instead.

The new stats for each borough show this is partly due to speculators driving Right to Buy sales in high value areas like Islington, but the drop in council home numbers is also more acute in some boroughs with big ‘regeneration’ programmes, like Ealing and Barnet.

Responsibility for this has to lie ultimately with the Mayor. London clearly needs more powers over housing policy to put a brake on Right to Buy. But our councils also need to stop knocking down our existing homes, and our Mayor needs to do more to prevent this with the powers he already has.

Khan is going to have his work cut out if he’s going to stem the tide of London’s housing crisis. So far, his plans have not held water with politicians like Berry. And it remains to be seen if London’s Labour Mayor will be any more effective than his Conservative predecessor at restoring social housing across the capital.

Source: The Canary

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Sadiq Khan pledges to build 10,000 council homes by 2022

Sadiq Khan has pledged to build 10,000 new council homes in London over the next four years.

The mayor of London will use funds from a £1.67bn pot he secured from the government in its spring statement to increase the number of homes in the capital.

He is also allowing London councils to bid for grant funding at a special rate, which will allow them to offer new homes based on social rent levels more easily, his office said.

Mr Khan criticised the government for failing to give councils in London the freedoms they require to ensure homes sold under the Right to Buy scheme are replaced.

Since Right to Buy was introduced in 1980, 306,000 social homes have been sold by councils in London, according to the Ministry of Housing.

During the same time, only 62,000 new homes have been built at social rent.

Mr Khan said: “I grew up on a council estate and I know first-hand the vital role social housing plays in London.

“Council homes for social rent bind our city together, and they have been built thanks to the ambition of London’s councils over many decades.

“Back in the 1970s, when I was growing up, London councils built thousands of social homes, providing homes for families and generations of Londoners.

“But the government has turned its back on local authorities, severely hampering their ambition to build by cutting funding and imposing arbitrary restrictions on borrowing.”

Mr Khan added: “I am proud to launch Building Council Homes for Londoners – the first ever City Hall programme dedicated to new council housing.

“I want to help councils get back to building homes for Londoners again, and I’m doing that with support from the £1.67bn fund I secured from government to help get 10,000 new homes underway over the next four years.

“I am offering councils expertise and resources from City Hall to scale up their homebuilding programmes, and I will help them to replace homes sold through Right to Buy.

“The government is failing to enable councils to replace the hundreds of thousands of council homes sold through Right to Buy, and so I will do all I can to help councils replace as many of them as possible.”

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Broker searches show need for later life mortgages

The top search on Criteria Hub backs up evidence that more older borrowers are looking to buy property. The deep search engine for mortgage advisers, clubs and networks, has revealed the number one search for residential mortgages is the phrase “maximum age at end of mortgage term”.

This reinforces evidence of the growing number of cases where older borrowers are looking to seek funding either to raise capital or for new purchases.

In the buy-to-let (BTL) section, the requirement from lenders for applicants to show an income separate from their rental income has meant that brokers’ primary search is to establish which lenders have a minimum personal income requirement.

Jason Hegarty, director of Criteria Hub, said: “Simple criteria like maximum age limits for residential mortgages and minimum income requirements for buy-to-let cases might not seem important, but the volume of enquiries about the same topic allow us to create a bigger picture of the areas where advisers are seeing the most demand.”

Martin Stewart, director at London Money, said: “Longevity is going to be the silent killer for current mortgage criteria and the sooner people wake up to the fact that the speed in demographic changes is moving faster than the pen that writes the rules, the sooner we can start to address the issue.

“We all need to realise that things change whether we want them to or not. It is far better to get ahead of the curve and wait for the problem to arrive than forever be chasing it off in to the distance .

“There is an opportunity for government, regulator and lender alike to grasp the issue. The later life sector will be more fruitful and longer lasting than buy-to-let so moving capital and resources into a new area would make perfect sense.”

This comes as Criteria Hub revealed the top three searches made by its broker users for residential and buy-to-let mortgages so far in 2018.

The second most popular search for residential enquires was “defaults (unsatisfied) potentially accepted”.

This indicated if a lender can potentially accept applications from applicants that have had or currently have unsatisfied defaults registered against their name.

In the buy-to-let category, the second most common search was on expat buy-to-let, which indicates if a lender can potentially consider buy-to-let applications from expats.

Finally, the third most popular search for the resident market was “interest-only: sale of mortgaged property”.

This specifies whether interest-only, with the repayment vehicle ‘sale of the mortgaged property’, is an acceptable repayment method on residential mortgages.

Lastly, the third most common search for the buy-to-let market was ‘first-time buyer’, which indicates if a lender can potentially consider applications from those trying to get onto the property ladder.

Source: FT Adviser

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Wages, Rates, Recycling, Connectivity – Spring Statement Need to Knows

No Budget this time around but Chancellor Hammond has issued his Spring Statement – here’s what you need to know with a summary of what Philip Hammond said in Parliament:

The Spring Statement gives people and businesses certainty and stability to plan for the future. Major tax or spending changes will now be made once a year at the Budget in the Autumn.

Living Wage

In April 2018 the National Living Wage will rise to £7.83. National Minimum Wage rates for under 25s and apprentices will also rise.

The tax-free personal allowance – the amount you earn before you start paying income tax – will rise to £11,850 from April 2018.

Business rates revaluation – 2021

At Autumn Budget 2017 it was announced that business rates revaluations will take place every three years, rather than every five years to makes bills more accurately reflect the current rental value of properties. However, the next revaluation, currently due in 2022, will be brought forward to 2021.

Transport in English cities

£1.7 billion was announced at Autumn Budget 2017 for improving transport in English cities. Half of this was given to Combined Authorities with mayors. The government is now inviting bids from cities across England for the remaining £840 million.

Digital connectivity

The Autumn Budget 2017 launched a £190 million Challenge Fund to help roll out full-fibre to local areas. Hammond has now allocated the first wave of funding, providing over £95 million for 13 areas across the UK.

Reducing single-use plastic waste through the tax system

Disposable plastics like coffee cups, plastic cutlery and foam trays damage our environment. The government is seeking views on how best to use the tax system to encourage the responsible use of plastic.

Some of the money raised from any tax changes will be used to encourage the creation of new, greener products and services. In addition, £20 million from existing budgets will be given to businesses and universities to research ways to reduce the impact of plastics on the environment.

Seeking views on the role of cash in the new economy

While cash will continue to be an important method of payment, more people are moving towards digital payments every year. The government is seeking views on what more it can do to support people and businesses who use digital payments, ensure that those who need to are able to pay with cash and prevent the use of cash to evade tax and launder money.

Supporting people to get the skills they need

To support upskilling and retraining, the government is seeking views on extending the current tax relief to support self-employed people and employees when they fund their own training.

Housing

An investment programme of at least £44 billion over the next five years was announced at Autumn Budget 2017, putting the UK on track to raise the supply of homes to 300,000 a year on average by the mid-2020s.

Economy and jobs

The economy has grown for five consecutive years, and exceeded expectations in 2017.

Employment has increased by 3 million since 2010, which is the equivalent of 1,000 people finding work every day. The unemployment rate is close to a 40-year low. There is also a joint record number of women in work – 15.1 million.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expect inflation to fall over the next 12 months and wages to rise faster than prices over the next five years.

Borrowing

Borrowing has fallen by three-quarters since 2010. In 2009-10 the UK borrowed £1 in every £4 that was spent. The OBR expect that we will borrow £1 in every £18 this year.

Even so, the UK’s debt remains equal to around £65,000 per household.

The cost of debt interest payments is around £50 billion each year – more than the amount spent on the police and armed forces combined.

Brexit

Over £1.5 billion has been allocated to departments and devolved administrations to prepare for Brexit in 2018-19. It is part of the £3 billion to be spent over two years announced at Autumn Budget 2017.

Colliers International Reacts

Oliver Kolodseike, Senior Property Economist said: “The Chancellor delivered his Spring Statement, which laid out scant initiatives impacting on commercial property. The Office for Budget Responsibility revised up its 2018 growth forecast marginally from 1.4% in the Autumn Statement to 1.5% and now believes that positive real wage growth will return in the second quarter of 2018. This does not come as a surprise. However, it is indeed surprising that the OBR is now more pessimistic about the longer-term outlook for the UK economy beyond 2020. For both 2021 and 2022, it now predicts slower growth. This comes despite the strongest labour market in four decades, a predicted return of positive real wage growth, signs of rising productivity and improving public finances, which should provide the government with extra money to spend should they have to.”

Infrastructure investment

Mark Charlton, Head of UK Research at Colliers International said: “Recognising the cost to the UK economy of congestion on British roads (c. £9bn per annum), £1.7bn was announced in the Autumn Budget for improving transport in English cities. Half of this has been allocated to Combined Authorities with mayors. The government is now accepting bids from English cities for the remaining £840m. The resulting infrastructure spend could result in new relief roads and the subsequent release of land parcels ripe for development. This could provide opportunities for the development community – both residential and commercial (retail and logistics).”

Business Rates Revaluation

John Webber, Head of Colliers Rating, said: “The Chancellor’s proposal to bring the next Business Rates Revaluation forward to 2021 and that revaluations would then be every three years rather five, enabling a fairer reflection of rental values, is all very good but it does nothing to help those businesses, particularly the retailers, who are struggling with the system today.  The change from a seven year to a five year, then a four year and finally a three year revaluation system, only underlines how the Government has finally realised how disastrous the seven year 2017 Revaluation really was. The Chancellor has missed a trick in his Spring Budget by failing to properly tackle the issue of business rate reform, leaving many businesses and retailers out to dry, particularly as the 2018/9 rate bills for 1st April start to hit home.”

Late payments

The Chancellor’s announcement of a new consultation on late payment should be the beginning of the end for unfair payment practices which hit small businesses across the UK, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said.

Brian Berry Chief Executive of the FMB said: “The Chancellor’s announcement of a consultation to tackle the scourge of late payment should mark a turning point on this issue. We should use this opportunity to bring about a spring clean of payment practices which negatively impact on small business. Construction giant Carillion’s collapse at the start of the year brought to light once again the need to eliminate poor payment practises that plague the construction sector particularly.  Indeed, one London based small building firm was once paid more than 270 days late by a construction giant. Now is the time to move away from these unsustainable business models which threaten the existence of many firms and their supply chains.

“This announcement should be followed by a fundamental rethink ending in the permanent abolition of late payment terms and the exploitative use of retention payments.”

More on late payments

Commenting on the Spring Statement, John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “The BMF is pleased to see the government focus attention on tackling the issue of late payments which is a big issue for our members, particularly for smaller builders merchants. The collapse of Carillion gave a clear indication of how vulnerable suppliers can be to their customers and we support measures that minimise these risks to our members in the future. In order to keep Britain building and delivering the building blocks for growth, it is vital that merchants are paid quickly.”

Source: TwinFM

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New £25m ‘build to rent’ scheme proposed for Belfast

PLANS have been revealed for a new £25 million ‘build to rent’ apartment building in the east bank area of Belfast city centre.

The proposal, being brought forward by a joint venture between the local property developer, Vinder Capital, and Oisin Quinn of London-based developer Aldgate Developments, is the second of its kind in Belfast, following the planned 19 storey development on Academy Street in the city.

The ‘build to rent’ model sees apartments purpose-built for rental only, with ownership retained by the building owner. A management company then provides additional services such as 24/7 security, communal space and cafes for long-term tenancies. Aimed at the ‘millennial’ generation, who choose to rent or can’t yet afford to buy, it has already become a successful model in other UK cities such as London and Manchester.

The proposed Belfast development, to be known as ‘The Residence at Quay Gate’ will be located on a current surface level car park at Scrabo Street in an area south of the Lagan Bridge. The proposed building, designed by Belfast based LIKE Architects, will provide over 150 one and two bedroom apartments in the city centre set overlooking the river Lagan and the Titanic Quarter.

Gavin McEvoy from the joint venture behind the scheme believes the proposal offers potential residents a unique living experience in the city.

“Build to rent is an exciting opportunity to introduce premium services and a customer focus to apartment living which is not typically found in build for sale apartments in the Belfast market. The Residence at Quay Gate will include a dedicated relaxation area, a state of the art gymnasium, work spaces and meeting rooms and will include an integrated IT system,” he said.

“Having assessed the model in other major cities in the UK with our high class design and delivery team, we believe there is an exciting opportunity to use our knowledge of the local property market to apply the model in a Belfast context. Build to Rent is an exciting progression from the major investment that has been made in Belfast in the student accommodation sector that fills a growing need for city centre living in Belfast. Our plans will deliver a cleverly-designed, premium scheme which will deliver well managed homes and create new, sustainable communities in an area of the city centre close to the river with easy access to transport links.”

The developers will undertake a 12 week pre-application community consultation before submitting their plans to Belfast City Council. A public exhibition will be held on February 7 at the Odyssey Pavillion.

Earlier this month Lacuna/Watkin Jones, the joint venture behind multiple student accommodation schemes in the city centre, submitted a planning application for 105 one and two bed apartments on Academy Street in the Cathedral Quarter. The build to rent development includes an active ground floor with communal space for tenants, management facilities and proposed space for a café or retail use.

Source: Irish News

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UK house prices fall for first time in six months – Halifax

British house prices unexpectedly fell in December compared with November, their first decline in six months, mortgage lender Halifax said on Monday, adding to signs of weakness in the country’s housing market since the 2016 Brexit vote.

House prices slipped by 0.6 percent month-on-month after a 0.3 percent rise in November, Halifax said.

Economists taking part in a Reuters poll had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

On an annual basis, house price growth slowed to an annual 2.7 percent in the three months to December, weaker than a rise of 3.9 percent in November. The Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a 3.3 percent rise.

Shortly before the referendum decision to leave the European Union in June 2016, Halifax was reporting annual gains in house prices of around 10 percent.

The pound’s fall after the vote pushed up inflation and added to pressure on the finances of households. Furthermore, many businesses are holding back on investment decisions as they await clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Samuel Tombs, an economist with Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the Bank of England’s first interest rate hike in more than a decade, made in November, was also weighing on the market.

“Halifax’s data suggest that the recent jump in new mortgage rates has poured cold water on a market that already was flagging,” he said.

Two surveys published earlier on Monday showed that British shoppers tightened their belts over Christmas, leading to the first year-on-year fall in spending since 2012, and leading businesses aim to do the same over 2018.

“The housing market in 2017 followed a similar pattern to the previous year,” Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax Community Bank, said.

“House price growth slowed, whilst building activity, completed sales and mortgage approvals for house purchase all remained flat. This has been driven by a squeeze on real wage growth and continuing uncertainty over the economy.”

However, a shortage of homes up for sale was likely to continue to shore up the market and Halifax reiterated its forecast for growth of between 0 and 3 percent in house prices in 2018.

Last week, rival mortgage lender Nationwide said its measure of British house prices grew last year at its slowest pace since 2012 and in London it fell for the first time in a full year since 2009.

Source: UK Reuters

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Britain’s broken housing market needs radical solutions

As your report points out, this housing crisis has been obvious for some time, is getting worse and has been largely caused by deliberate political decisions (‘Ordinary’ working families are falling into homelessness trap, 15 December). But many steps could be taken to increase the supply of affordable housing. Here are some: reduce or remove the right-to-buy discount for council houses, increase the term before they can be sold on, and sell them with covenants that prevent their being sold as buy-to-let properties; proceeds of council house sales should go back to councils, which should be allowed to borrow to build replacements; do not introduce right to buy for housing association stock (it damages their economic viability); insist that all privately rented housing is licensed and inspected for habitation fitness; lengthen the term of ensured tenancy; introduce rent controls; more controversially, capital gains higher than a certain percentage on house sales could be taxed and the proceeds used to fund social housing.

If the government truly wished to deal with the housing crisis and its wider social and economic damage – it curbs social mobility for one – they could take steps to do so. But I’m sure they have neither the inclination nor the imagination to do it, largely because it would show up the folly of their neoliberal ideology.
Michael Miller
Sheffield

 Your report (Housing chief resigns over ‘obscene’ bonus, 16 December) tells us a lot about Britain’s broken housing market. When profit is king and venality is rife, which is always, the unregulated free market is incapable of delivering the basic necessity of affordable housing to buy or rent. With their current business model (build executive houses on green spaces for maximum profit), the developers are not part of the solution, but part of the problem. Releasing land for development in the current unregulated climate is a waste of land. Add into the mix the circulating sharks of property speculators, foreign investors and greedy landlords, and all hope for many of affording a place to live vanishes.

In the 50s, I spent the first six years of my life living in a prefabricated house, one of many built to ease the housing crisis. The postwar consensus meant that government thought that the basic needs of its citizens had something to do with running the country. This government needs to get grip on housing, and pronto. Radical ideas and innovative solutions are required. Even though it might run counter to their free-market ideology, more of the same will not do. If UK developers are only interested in building large personal fortunes, then look abroad and regulate.
Keith Howells
Morpeth, Northumberland

 Zoe Williams’ characteristically surgical dissection of what passes for current housing policy (A Christmas story Dickens would struggle to believe, 18 December) omits two largely overlooked issues. In addition to the pitiful numbers and price of what is being built are the facts that space standards are among the lowest in Europe and energy conservation requirements were deliberately reduced by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.
Jeremy Beecham
Labour, House of Lords

 At the 2010 election housebuilders were major donors to the Conservative party, and in a subsequent budget George Osborne invented help to buy. Then Eric Pickles added his bit of help by letting housebuilders off most of their planning obligations to build affordable housing for rent. With the resultant massive boost to company profits that has followed, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Persimmon shareholders and senior executives now get stratospheric dividends. What’s more surprising is that you don’t highlight the essentially immoral relationships here, which might be seen to lead to political influence and higher corporate and personal reward. Nor is there any evidence that affordable housing has been delivered. An issue on which the public accounts committee should focus its forensic attention?
John Rigby
Much Wenlock, Shropshire

 What do management bonuses mean to the average customer? Persimmon’s CEO will receive a bonus of £110m. Senior staff bonuses will exceed £500m. Persimmon builds approximately 15,000 houses a year. Arguably, therefore, the CEO’s bonus adds at least £7,333 to the price of a house and the senior staff bonuses add £33,333. It is unlikely that the customer would think it money well spent.
Martin Jeffree
Maresfield, East Sussex

 Surely the housebuilding company Persimmon can now afford to run its own help-to-buy scheme.
David Simpson
Datchet, Berkshire

Source: The Guardian

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Anger over plan to demolish Telford house to make way for 85 new homes

Plans have been put forward to demolish a house in Telford to make way for more than 80 new homes.

Shropshire Homes want to knock down the home in Wellington Road, Muxton, to build the estate of 85 homes, which will include affordable housing.

It would form part of a huge development of 665 homes plus industrial units on the site, which were put forward by Tesni Properties – close to the site on land north of Breton Park Residential Caravan Park, off New Trench Road.

Now, those living nearby have criticised the plans – with 24 objections made to Telford & Wrekin Council.

Residents claim the village is being “continually harassed” by developers and called for it to be stopped.

Richard Green, spokesman for Wellington Road Action Group, said: “Yet again we have another pot shot being fired at the residents of Muxton and in particularity those living on Wellington Road.

“This time Shropshire Homes is planning to build 85 houses on prime agricultural land. However, once again, they initially must demolish a house of outstanding character on Wellington Road to which to gain access.

“When are we, the residents, going to see the 2011 to 2031 local plan approved – only then, will this continual harassment be stopped once and for all.”

The property, called Green Gables, will be demolished to form the access to the new site.

Thirty-five per cent of the properties would be affordable. The application was submitted towards the end of November.

Council officers have said that a contribution of £600 per dwelling would be sought in order to upgrade nearby play facilities.

Howard Thorne, managing director of Shropshire Homes said: “The Tesni application is for a large area and has a number of complications – mainly concerning access and landscape impact.

“Our application is for just a small part of the Tesni site. Access will be from a modest junction on Wellington Road which meets council requirements and the site is surrounded by mature trees so there are no landscape concerns.

“The great benefit of our proposal is that, because there are no technical issues, it can be delivered very quickly. If our application is approved we expect to be building much needed houses, including over 20 affordable homes, by autumn 2018.”

Donnington and Muxton Parish Council will meet at 6.30pm today at Turreff Hall in Donnington to discuss the matter.

Mr Green has urged residents to attend the meeting.

Angry resident, Roger France, who is part of the action group, added: “The key first phase of the Tesni scheme is this access and an initial build of about 85 houses. The project is on hold awaiting conclusion of the TWC Local Plan.

“We now have another application – this time from Shropshire Homes – identical to that of Tesni’s first phase and amazingly also for 85 houses.

“By a stroke of luck, this application has a ‘village green’ in precisely the right position to allow the site’s main access road to be extended if Tesni subsequently submitted a new application for the balance of the 665 properties.”

“Shropshire Homes’ seemingly innocuous application is a cynical attempt to secure a main construction site access from Wellington Road for a major development of 665 houses and industrial units.

“If residents do not want years of heavy construction traffic polluting Wellington Road, they must write to TWC Planning Department and object to this proposal.”

Source: Shropshire Star