Lexington’s Property Bulletin: NOVEMBER 2010
Countryside Properties has won permission to build 810 new homes at the former Harold Wood Hospital site in the London Borough of Havering.
Lexington was called in to support the project in the last month, following hundreds of objections from local residents. Our strategy was focused on building support from the wider community and emphasising to councillors that the project could generate over £7 million for the Council as part of the Government’s New Homes Bonus.
Despite 250 objectors attending the meeting, councillors backed the plans.
For more information about the campaign, please contact Chris Yearsley.
‘Build to let’ to provide affordable housing in London
Following the political furore over changes to housing benefit payments, one new property start up has promised to deliver ‘affordable’ rental housing in the capital.
For the last couple of months, Lexington has been working with the London Rental Housing Company, whose stated aim is to provide grant-free housing for the new and growing ‘sandwich class’ of economically active families who cannot get into social housing or onto the housing ladder.
The LRHC, which was set up by Iain Hutchinson, and is based on the housing model he discovered in Switzerland, intends to build 2000 private rented units over the next five years. Iain told Peter Bill from the Evening Standard: “The London Rental Housing Company wants to take the no-frills airline approach and build robust, spacious three-bed affordable flats that will last 200 years.”
More information can be obtained from Clare Coghill.
Lexington brief eco-towns
Lexington recently spoke at a TCPA seminar on how the local authority-led ‘first wave’ eco-towns manage their communications and build community support for their plans.
Grant Shapps MP, the Housing Minister, has written to all eco-towns saying that “we will support an eco-town if the local community support it”. Representatives from DCLG, HCA and CABE attended the seminar along with all four eco-town local authorities who presented their communication activities to date.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive from the TCPA, said “It was great to get Lexington’s more strategic and political perspective on how to bring forward large-scale eco-developments and ideas for how to engage the local community. It was a great help to those that attended.”
For more information, contact Wyn Evans.
Making localism work
The localism bill is expected to be published this month, along with details of how a new national planning framework will be established. The Coalition Government has set an ambitious date of April 2012, when the new system will be in place.
The localism agenda has been a controversial issue within the property industry. On the negative side, many councils have stopped work on their local development plans while others have demanded development projects must ‘enjoy community support’ to secure approval.
But as we have illustrated above, the New Homes Bonus, which will allow councils to keep their council tax receipts, will give councils a big incentive to support development, particularly in light of the spending review which cut local authority budgets by 26%.
Localism will require developers to re-consider their approach to planning. There will be a greater need to understand the political environment in which they are operating and win local support.
For more information on localism, and how you can make it work for your projects, please contact Lloyd Milton.
Keep informed of the big political issues
Lexington prepares regular political briefings. Recent briefings have covered:
• The comprehensive spending review
• The 2012 London mayoral election campaign
• The Conservative Party Conference
• The Labour Party Party Conference
• The Labour leadership
• The Liberal Democrat Party Conference