Plymouth’s tallest building up for £35m refurbishment

Plymouth Surveyors – Plymouth’s tallest building is to be sold for a £35m revamp. The 15 storey civic building is located in the heart of the city and may be converted to flats or a hotel, or refurbished for council use.

Some Chartered Surveyors specialise in commercial, high rise buildings. Find such a surveyor here.

Four New Residential Construction Schemes Set For Manchester

Manchester Surveyors  – Four new residential construction schemes on the fringes of Manchester City Centre could be ‘shovel ready’ as soon as the end of this year, following up to £11m of Government funding through the ‘Get Britain Building Initiative’.

The developments could be a valuable stimulus to Manchester’s property market and wider economy, although some of the designs have not be met with overwhelming support.

Ashford to be One of the First Councils to Receive Section 106 help

Ashford Surveyors – It has recently been announced that Ashford Council will be one of the first to receive assistance from the Government’s new team of negotiators, tasked with mediating in stalled 106 negotiations. An estimated 1400 construction projects across the country have been moth-balled and this scheme hopes to get them up and running once again.

This could be a valuable stimulus to the economy and to the construction sector in particular. Read our newsletter this month for more information by signing up here.

China’s ‘white elephants’ litter the landscape

Property Surveying

Much has been made of the failed construction projects in Ireland and Spain that lie dormant for lack of funding of consumer interest, but the scale of those failures is nothing compared to the huge undertakings that have been left mothballed in China.

Whole theme parks, shopping centres, cities and even a town made to look like old England (cobbled streets and Tudor housing included, in the style of Ashford or Canterbury) are more reminiscent of the tumbleweed occupied ghost towns of the wild west than the thriving  hubs they were designed to be.

Read about the many projects that growth orientated China has consigned to the history books here.

Planning Changes to Navigate the Burden of 106 Arrangements

London Surveyors

Fears are mounting that the planning system will struggle to deliver affordable housing as the government this week proposed allowing developers to tear up planning agreements.

On Monday, the government published plans to make it easier for section 106 deals to be renegotiated to help restart stalled sites, and acknowledged that contributions to affordable housing would be the first casualty.

The Communities and Local Government department maintained that it would deliver more affordable homes in the long term and many market commentators are applauding the moves. Quite simply, any housing is better than no housing and affordable housing has to take a back seat for now in the interest of the wider economy. Of course, a simple economic argument would be that more houses would bring down prices across the board regardless, but opinion is split on the subject.

Read more on the subject here

Race starting for Portsmouth Student Tower Tender

Portsmouth Surveyors – A £30m plan for a student accomodation tower in the City of Portsmouth, previously put on hold, has now been restarted pending the university’s ability to find a new partner. Original developers Watkin Jones pulled out of the 300ft development, dubbed ‘The Blade’, over planning issues.

Read more here.

Solihull Secures Landmark Tenancy Succession Victory

In a complex battle of conflicting statute versus common law positions, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (Birmingham) has finally won out in the Supreme Court, marking a new precedent for future cases of joint tenancy succession.

The case dates back to 1967 when Mr and Mrs Hickin became joint tenants of a property in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, under a tenancy later made secure by Part IV of the Housing Act 1985.

Full details of the case and its verdict will be coming in our newsletter, released at the beginning of August. To subscribe, click here.

Big Contractor Bosses Unite to get Britain Building

Twenty Three of the Country’s biggest contractors, including Kier Group (based near Stevenage) and Wilmott Dixon (based near Welwyn Garden City), have put their names to a new campaign: “Creating Britain’s Future”. They want the Government to speed up the decision making process and find new ways to help finance construction projects.

The initiative has kicked off with a letter published in the Daily Telegraph setting out the industry’s ability to stimulate growth, and the official launch today at London’s Centre Point tower to an audience including representatives from the CBI.

Villagers share ‘good will’ payout of £1m

Manchester Surveyors – 600 villagers in Knutsford, Cheshire have received £1500 each, alongside further compensation for six local schools, following claims that noise and fumes from Manchester’s second runway had wiped thousands off the value of their homes.

After the runway’s construction in 2001, airport management had to pay out £9m in compensation, but refused to pay those that had not submitted claims before the 2010 legal deadline. Regardless, following a campaign by the residents backed by local MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, a goodwill figure of £1m was agreed despite the lateness of application.

Planning Inspector Suspends Wigan Council Plans

Wigan Surveyors – In a letter to Wigan Council, inspector Kevin Ward has suspended the planning document for six months in order for the council to carry out additional work and public consultation on further housing sites. His concerns are that the plan does not deliver enough land for housing.

The inspector indicated that the council should plan for at least 16,500 homes over a 15 year period, but that the current plan for Wigan contained a shortfall of 2,500 which needed to be rectified.