headlines and more

No Mayoral Guarantees for Garden Bridge

No Mayoral Guarantees for Garden Bridge

28 April 2017

Following the Hodge report, the London Mayor has written to the Garden Bridge Trust that the GLA is not willing to expose London taxpayers to such risks as increasing capital costs, inability to complete construction and future maintenance costs. 


Securing operations and maintenance guarantees is required from the Port of London Authority and the planning authorities before the start of construction.


Properties wanted for gig economy companies

Properties wanted for gig economy companies

28 April 2017

Similar to the demand for city fringe on line retail distribution centres, "gig" economy service providers like Deliveroo and Uber are increasingly seeking physical space in central locations.  The nature of the businesses would seek to secure small units (e.g. parking, small industrial / storage units) near their primary customer bases.


Read more here >

City commercial real estate investment on a high

21 April 2017

According to Savills, transactions for commercial real estate in the City of London in Q1 2017 was at its highest since 2007. 


Totaling £1.9bn, 64% of the transactions were with Asian purchasers, followed by UK (13%) European (13%), US (5%) and Middle Eastern purchasers (5%).

PM proposes snap general election

18 April 2017

The Prime Minister has called for a snap general election on 8th June. She has cited persistant opposition to the Government's Brexit strategy by other parties as the key driver for calling the election, stating: "If we don't hold a general election now, their political game playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run up to the next scheduled election."


A vote to hold the elections will be held in the House of Commons on 19th April, where two-thirds majority vote is required.





Industry pledges longer tenancies for build-to-rent

18 April 2017

In a letter to the Government signed by twenty investors and developers in the build-to-rent sector, the British Property Federation has set out a pledge to offer the option for three-year tenancies for new build-to-rent properties, as well as rent reviews no more than once a year.  Shorter tenancies would continue to be available.


The pledge comes as a response to the Housing White Paper calling for mix of tenures, to accommodate households such as families that may require greater tenancy security.


4 Kingdom Street practical completion achieved

18 April 2017

The newest addition to the Paddington Central campus provides 138,000 sq ft of office space over nine storeys with 15,000 sq ft of retail on ground. The building also features a roof terrace with a cafe / bar and sports court.


Find out more about 4 Kingdom Street >





PM triggers Article 50

30 March 2017

Theresa May has triggered Article 50 to start the process of Brexit negotiations.


The Great Repeal Bill has been tabled, proposing to repeal the European Communities Act and leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Taking effect the day after finalising UK's exit from the EU, the bill aims to also transpose current EU legislation into national legislation to faciltate a smooth transition.






New Chair for ARB

21 March 2017

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has named Nabila Zulfiqar as its new Chair, replacing Peter Coe. 


Currently Chief Adjudicator at the Solicitors Regulations Authority, Zulfiqar has been on the ARB board since 2013, having led its Investigations Oversight Committee.






£6m funds for Heritage Action Zones

21 March 2017

Historic England has launched the fund to help restore listed buildings and conservation areas to bring about regeneration . The ten Heritage Action Zones include Hull Town Centre, Weston upon Mare, Ramsgate and Appleby (see full list here >).


Historic England aims to award the Heritage Action Zone status to more towns, villages and cities over the next two years.





Housing Forum publishes solutions to boosting housing supplies

21 March 2017

In their report Future proofing housing supply, the Housing Forum offers ten solutions addressing Leadership and structures, Sector capacity and Commissioning and investment.  Among their recommendations is to depoliticise housing delivery, facilitating delivery by local authorities and modernising housebuilding skills and technologies.


Read the full report here >




Unemployment rate lowest since summer 1975

16 March 2017

The Office on National Statistics has reported that the unemployment in the three months to January 2017 was 4.7%. 


However, while wages are rising above inflation, wage growth as compared to the same period the previous year.


More info at the ONS website >




New capital for global real estate investment drops

15 March 2017

According to Cushman and Wakefield's Wall of Money report, there is an overall drop of 2%, which EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) dropping 9%.


The report notes a trend of single country investment strategies, with the US and China being the most targeted countries. 




Met Police to dispose of surplus sites

10 March 2017

The Metropolitan Police has told London Assembly that it plans to vacate 75 freehold sites, releasing surplus sites to deliver an estimate of 1,900 homes.


This forms part of the plan to reduced the number of desks by nearly half, and the number of buildings in its estate from 363 to c. 100.




Budget increases funding for technical training

9 March 2017

The Government has confirmed an additional £500m funding for technical courses and provide students access to loans, to help equalise regard for academic and technical education.


The Budget also allocates an additional £216m for investment in schools over the next three years, including creation of new free schools. 




BSI ranks countries with high risk of modern slavery

9 March 2017

Their Trafficking and Supply Chain Slavery Patterns Index ranks 191 source countries and 193 destination countries from low to severe risk.  According to the report, more than 20% of contruction marterials imported into the UK in 2015 come from China and Italy, both identified as "high risk" countries. 




Foreign investment in UK regional office investment steady

8 March 2017

The overall investment volumes have gone down from £3.2m in 2015 to £2.5m in 2016. 


Out of the 10 cities surveyed, only Edinburgh, Bristol and Sheffield have experienced increased investment over that period.




Housing for London reveals extent of reliance on EU construction workers

28 February 2017

The report shows that 27% of London's construction works are from the EU, 3% from other European countries and 14% from the rest of the world. Accordingly to industry experts, c. 13,000 new construction workers would be needed each year to 2021 to ease the potential skills gap as a result of Brexit.


The Mayor has created a sub group within the Homes for Londoner's board to produce a strategy to recruit and train skilled workers and develop less labour-reliant construction techniques.




Educational Modular Buildings Framework launched

28 February 2017

The £225m framework spans four years, in four lots covering temporary accomdation through to construction of over £3m.  The aim of the framework is to provide pre-fabricated solultions for cost effective and sustainable learning spaces.




Phase 1 of HS2 passed into law

24 February 2017

The £21.4bn first phase of HS2, running between London and Birmingham, has been granted Royal Assent. The government expects work to begin later this spring, with aim for the line to be in operation in 2026.




New HCA board members named

24 February 2017

Four new Board members have been appointed at the HCA: Richard Blakely, formerly London's Deputy Mayor for housing, land and property under Boris Johnson; Simon Dudley, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead; Teresa O'Neill, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley; and banker Stephen Bell.




New Assistant Director of Planning for the GLA

New Assistant Director of Planning for the GLA

14 February 2017

The GLA have confirmed the appointment of Juliemma McLoughlin as Assistant Director of Planning. Juliemma leaves her role as Director of Planning and Growth at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fullham, having worked on projects including White City and Chelsea FC's stadium redevelopment.


In her new role at the GLA, Juliemma will oversee the development of the new London Plan, due later this year. 

London Mayor unveils vision for Thames Estuary creative hub

London Mayor unveils vision for Thames Estuary creative hub

14 February 2017

Sadiq Khan has submitted plans to transform the Thames Estuary into a major hub for the creative industries across several London Boroughs, Essex and Kent, including facilities for the production of large-scale artworks, a centre for experiential arts and opportunities to deliver training to some of the 1.2 million new workers required for the creative sector.

The vision document, produced with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, has been submitted to the head of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.    

Second phase of Priority School Building Fund goes out to market

10 February 2017

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has released the £2bn fund to rebuild or refurbish 277 schools after several delays.   It is understood that the EFA will manage most of the capital programme centrally as per Phase 1, but has also given the go ahead to local authorities and several academy trusts to procure more than 70  projects directly.

Housing White Paper published

8 February 2017

The Government has published the long awaited Housing White Paper.  Aiming to boost delivery of new houisng supply, the White Paper provides support to the Build-to-Rent and modular construction sectors, while enabling local authorities to increase planning fees and use compulsory purchase powers to seize stalled development land.  It also puts pressure on local authorities, with new delivery tests to identify local authorities that do not meet its targets and introduce presumption in favour of development for those areas. 


To review the White Paper in full, click here >