Court of Appeal confirms position on ‘switching’ planning permissions to avoid S. 106

R (Robert Hitchins Ltd) v Worcestershire County Council [2015] EWCA Civ 1060
The Court of Appeal has found in favour of a developer who attempted to switch between two similar planning permissions in order to avoid a £1m s. 106 liability. The result is a strong precedent for other developers with the same advantage…
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The Property Market Monthly Fact File – December 2015

The property market fact file is a collection of data compiled each month by our Chartered Surveyors and the propertysurveying.co.uk team; collating survey data, statistics, trends and information from the property market. This aims to provide a single place where anyone with an interest in UK property can find the information they need.
To read the monthly fact file, click here.

Mortgage Market Update

Various sources are claiming that now is as good a time to buy a property as there has ever been, with interest rates low and the property market surging forward. We have compiled stats from various sources around the country to give you a complete view of the mortgage market, in case you are looking to invest…
To read the whole article, click here.

New Proposals are set to introduce a more efficient appeals system, allowing business owners to better check and challenge their business rate bills.

Proposals announced on the 30th October are set to make it easier for business owners to check and challenge their business rates bills, by introducing a more efficient appeals system.
To read the whole article, click here.

Brandon Lewis announces new measures to crack down on the fight against rogue landlords

An announcement by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis earlier this month has outlined new measures in a bid to crack down on rogue landlords, trapping tenants in unsafe, overcrowded properties…
To read the whole article, click here.

New Housing and Planning Bill to enforce councils to produce local plans for new homes by 2017

A new Housing and Planning bill has highlighted the government’s ambition to build 1 million new homes by 2020, as well as set a deadline for local councils to provide a local plan.

At present 82% of local councils have published local plans setting out how many homes they plan to deliver, however, only 65% have fully adopted them. Furthermore, almost 20% of councils do not have an up to date local plan at all.

The new bill will aim to improve these figures by setting a deadline of 2017 to produce a local plan. Failure to do so will result in the government consulting with local people to produce one for them, with David Cameron saying:

“If they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them”

Other proposals set out by the bill in order to boost home building and ownership include a legal duty on councils to guarantee the delivery of Starter Homes and to promote the scheme to first time buyers.

David Cameron explains:

‘The government will do everything it can to help people buy a place of their own and at the heart of this is our ambition to build one million new homes by 2020. Many areas are doing this already but we need a national crusade to get homes built and everyone must play their part”

The new legislation will also incorporate automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites, enabling as many homes as possible to be built whilst protecting green belt land.

Cameron has also announced that a temporary rule that was introduced in May 2013 that allowed disused offices to be converted into residential properties without planning permission, will be made permanent after more than 4,000 conversions were given the go ahead between April 2014 and June 2015.

One supporter of the new bill is Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who explains:

“It is good to see these now coming forward in the Bill. Some sites have been locked up for too long and these measures, coupled with a brownfield register and fund, will get them moving. While these new measures build on the National Planning Policy Framework and are welcome, the system needs to really pick up speed in order to deliver the vibrant property sector on which the success of our economy depends.”

The Chief Executive of the British Property Foundation also supports the bill:

“Measures to ensure local plans be put in place by 2017 will bring much needed certainty for potential investors and provide a catalyst for growth. Our members focus on brownfield opportunities and so measures that bring more land forward will also be warmly supported”

BT www.propertysurveying.co.uk 10.10.15

Higher earning tenants set to pay fairer rent under consultation proposals

Higher earning tenants that live in social housing, will find themselves paying a ‘fairer’ rent due to consultation proposals published by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis.

Currently, higher income social tenants benefit from tax payer-funded subsidies of up to £3,500 per year, but the new ‘pay to stay’ proposal will see households with a total annual income of over £40,000 in London, and £30,000 elsewhere, pay a rent at market or near market levels.

Under the proposal, social rents would increase as the tenant’s income increases above the threshold meaning that those in real need of the help continue to pay a subsidised rent, whilst those currently taking advantage of the subsidies are no longer able to.

Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, explains:

“It’s not fair that other hard-working people are subsidising the lifestyles of higher-earners to the tune of £3,500 per year, when the money could be used to build more affordable homes.

’Pay to stay’ will ensure that those tenants on higher incomes who are living in social housing have a rent that reflects their ability to pay, while those who genuinely need support continue to receive it.”

The money saved from the removal of the subsidy will enable councils to contribute towards the government’s £12 billion of welfare savings. Housing associations will also be able to retain the additional income and use it to support their role in providing new housing.

The scheme, which is intended to come into effect as of April 2017, proposes that local authorities will be able to recover any reasonable administrative costs before they are required to return the additional income from increased rents to The Exchequer. Alternatively, as housing associations are expected to retain income they receive from higher rent payments, the policy sets out that they are expected to absorb the administrative costs.

At present more than 40,000 social rented tenants have a total annual income of over £50,000 and will therefore be affected by the new policy. A further 300,000 social tenants have incomes over £30,000.

BT 10.10.15

www.propertysurveying.co.uk

George Osborne announces plans to hand local councils the power to control business rates

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester earlier this month, the Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans that will enable local councils to take full control of business rates.

At present, local councils keep up to 50% of the rates with the rest being sent to Westminster, who then redistributes them so that areas with fewer businesses do not miss out. Currently around £11.5 billion in business rates goes to Westminster, with around £9.4bn being redistributed in grants.

Described by the Chancellor as “the biggest transfer of power to our local government in living memory”, the plans will allow local councils to keep the rates that they collect from businesses as well as to set the level. It aims to provide local councils with the freedom to cut the tax, therefore encouraging companies to invest locally.

The plans, which will also allow areas with directly elected mayors to increase business rates if they invest the extra money into infrastructure schemes, has come under scrutiny from a number of critics.

Frances O’Grady, the Trade Union Congress General Secretary says:

“By devolving business rates without any national safeguards, regional inequalities will get wider. The communities that most need investment are often those with the weakest business revenue base”

Another critic, Shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham took to twitter:

“Big contradiction at heart of Osborne speech. Says wants to close North-South divide. But then announces taxation reform that will widen it.”

However, the Chancellor backs his plan by saying to councils:

“Attract a business, and you attract more money; regenerate a high street, and you’ll reap the benefits; grow your area, and you’ll grow your revenue too”,

He goes on to explain that the changes, which are due to be in place by 2020 would mean cities and communities will no longer have to go to the government with what he described as a “begging bowl”.

– – –

Following on from our article about Britain’s ‘Rising Star’ high streets, business rates are often cited as one of the greatest obstacles to high street vitality – particularly as online competitors have no such burden. It is interesting therefore, to see Mr Osborne finally putting the power to control rates in the hands of local government, though it remains to be seen whether councils will use it to bolster their beleaguered coffers or to incentivise business on their ailing high street.

BT www.propertysurveying.co.uk 10.10.15

Looking for a Property Surveyor in Cheam?

Building and Property Surveyors Cheam

Do you need a local independent Chartered Surveyor in Cheam or the surrounding area? We can assist, including being able to provide a structural survey, major defects report, single fault assessment, rebuilding / reinstatement valuation, building survey, property valuation, homebuyers report, property acquisition advice, or other property assistance.

Chris Hunt MRICS
Chartered Surveyor

0203 390 3203
or Freephone on 0800 880 6024

chris_hunt“My surveying experience extends from a solid core of survey reports, like the HomeBuyers Survey and the House Purchase Survey, to a wide range of residential and commercial expert surveys, valuations and reports. I can highlight any and all issues and defects at your potential property purchase or your current home, making sure you have all the information you need to proceed.

“If you are buying a property, you could save thousands in unexpected remedial works by instructing us to carry out a property survey on your behalf. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call”

Chris will deal with you directly, giving free, impartial advice on choosing the service that’s best for you. Our fees are all inclusive, so time you need to discuss the building, structure and defects after the report is free. There are no hidden costs.

Find out more about our experienced local Chartered Surveyor / Director here.

Looking for a surveyor in Newbury?

Surveyed Buildings
These are actual buildings inspected by McCall & Co, chartered surveyors of the propertysurveying network.

Pre-purchase (or pre-lease) Residential Property Surveys by McCall & Co Chartered Surveyors with experience of Period, Individual and Character houses and cottages, including with thatch and/or timber-framed walls, and/or cob walls. Personal service for discerning buyers covering the Newbury area, Berkshire.

For an informal, friendly, no- obligation discussion, please call Ian McCall TD, FRICS on

01488 686 986


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