All the latest rgp news

March 23rd, 2018

Changes ahead for permitted rural development – even better news for farmers!

Housing minister Dominic Raab has announced changes to permitted development rights that mean up to five houses can be created from existing agricultural buildings, rather than the current maximum of three. Happy days if you are a farmer with a few spare barns sitting idle.

Excerpt below from the Planning Portal

“”According to the government, “several hundred” homes are created each year through the conversion of agricultural buildings. These changes are expected to increase this number.

The changes aim to help communities make the best use of existing buildings to help meet local housing needs “more efficiently”. They will also make sure the developments are “in keeping” with the character of the area and safeguard people’s privacy.

The new measures, says the government, will also help farmers to adopt the latest innovations in modern farming practices by increasing the size limit of new agricultural buildings on larger farms from 465 square metres to 1,000 square metres.

Raab said more creativity is needed if housing needs of rural communities are to be met.

“That’s why I’m changing planning rules so rural communities have more flexibility on how best to use existing buildings to deliver more much-needed homes for families.

“This is part of our comprehensive reform programme to build the homes Britain needs.”

Applicants will have an extra year to convert storage and distribution buildings into new homes to help relieve local housing pressures, added the government.

Harry Burchill, planning policy officer at the RTPI, noted that the delivery of affordable rural housing is an “important priority” for the planning system, however, “the use of permitted development rights to meet this priority is not an approach consistent with local plan or even neighbourhood plan led decision making”.

“The institute previously raised its concerns about chipping away planning powers from local authorities through the introduction, and extension, of permitted development rights. In practice, the so-called bureaucracy permitted development rights are designed to circumvent still exists in the form of prior approval applications – for a fraction of the fee. More importantly, however, it is unclear how the incremental relaxation of planning regulations will assist the government in delivering the right homes in the right places. Our work studying the location of development goes some way to addressing this question and we will be interested to see how additional homes on agricultural land, allowed through permitted development rights will effect this picture.”

The regulations will come into force on 6 April 2018″”



February 6th, 2018

CITB forecast reveals construction set for growth despite Brexit uncertainty

According to PBC Today,

“A new forecast from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has revealed that over 150,000 construction jobs are set to be created over the next five years despite Brexit uncertainty and Carillion’s collapse

A massive 15,350 carpenters and 9,350 labourers will be needed as homebuilding ramps up, according to this year’s Construction Skills Network report, the UK’s most comprehensive and up-to-date sector forecast.

However, the strongest job growth will be in a range of professional and managerial roles as the industry seeks to boost its productivity, which will grow by 7.8% and 5.6% over the next five years.

The Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts average output growth of 1.3%, with 158,000 jobs created. Infrastructure remains the strongest performer with an annual growth of 3.1%. However, housing output, both public and private, is also expected to expand, by 2.8% and 2.2%, respectively. In contrast, the commercial sector is not predicted to grow at all over the next five years, as investors potentially hold back decisions due to Brexit uncertainty.

Construction Skills Network figures show employment is projected to grow for the fourth consecutive year at 0.5% a year on average to 2022. This would take employment in the industry to 2.77 million in 2022, only 3% below the 2008 peak.”

CITB Policy Director Steve Radley said:

“Despite all the gloom around Carillion and uncertainty from Brexit, our report’s message is that construction will continue to grow and create more jobs.

“Though growth is slightly down on 2017, it’s looking more balanced with housing and infrastructure both expanding significantly. And the range of job opportunities is growing. While we need to bring in lots of people in the trades, the fastest growth will be for professionals at 7.8% and for managers and supervisors at 5.6%.

“By 2022, employment will be in touching distance of the heady 2008 peak so we face a massive recruitment and training challenge, which is likely to get harder after Brexit. So while we can take some comfort from weathering the recent storms, it’s vital that we make the investment in skills today that will shape our own destiny for tomorrow.”

Nations and regions

The report reveals a varied picture across the devolved nations and English regions. Like last year, Wales continues to perform best with output growth estimated at 4.6% per year. Scotland is likely to remain largely static at 0.1%, with housing growth mitigating a decline in infrastructure from record highs.

Wales’ forecast growth is largely attributable to major infrastructure projects including Wylfa nuclear power stations as well as a series of major road improvements such as the M4 upgrade.

In Northern Ireland, annual growth is down from last year’s 1.6% forecast to 0.5% – this is largely attributable to a slackening of the commercial sector.

In England, the North West and South West lead the growth rankings, both with 2% growth anticipated. The West Midlands is also expected to perform well with an overall average output of 1.8% over the five years. The remainder of the English region’s growth is predicted to range between 1.5% in Greater London to -0.8% in the North East.

January 11th, 2018

Date set for 20% planning fee increase.

According to the Planning Portal, a letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s chief planner reveals that a 20 per cent increase in planning fees will come into effect on 17 January 2018.

The House of Lords approved the regulations that introduce the fee increase as well as other changes to the fees regime in December.

According to the letter from Steve Quartermain CBE, the regulations – No. 1314 – will also introduce a new fee of £402 per 0.1 hectare for permission in principle application; the ability for local authorities to charge for applications for planning permission following the removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 directions or by condition; and for mayoral and urban development corporations to charge for providing a pre-application service.

In addition, the regulations introduce a fee of £96 for prior approval applications to permitted development rights that were introduced in April 2015 and April 2017.

These include the rights for the installation of solar PV equipment on non-domestic buildings, the erection of click-and-collect facilities within the land area of a shop and the provision of temporary school buildings on vacant commercial land for state-funded schools.

The government has also published regulations – No.1309 – that enable applications for permission in principle to be made for minor housing-led development. These will come into force on 1 June, with planning guidance aimed at supporting authorities to be published “in due course”.

December 10th, 2014

Part Q – Consultation Document

The Government is proposing to incorporate security of dwellings into the building regulations. If the document is approved all new dwellings and dwellings formed by a material change of use will need to comply with Part Q. At the moment this document is only in the consultation stages but does give an insight into things to come.

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February 27th, 2014

Levy cuts to help hard-working people build their own home

More good news for the housing industry as Section 106 Levy imposed by Local Authorities to be removed for self-builders.

February 9th, 2014

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced the Part L 2014 transitional provisions


How does this impact developers?

The transitional provisions are the same as those announced in 2009 for the 2010 Part L changes, so you can register your sites early with to take advantage of the transitional provisions and so avoid the 6% uplift on pre-registered sites – providing they are commenced before the final deadline.  This means that pre-registered sites can be built to Part L 2010 requirements.

DCLG’s Transitional Provisions
The introduction of the new Part L target is subject to the transitional provisions in regulation 9.  In brief, these mean:

  • where building work has commenced on site before 6 April 2014 the provisions on target energy efficiency rates will not apply; and
  • where a building notice, full plans submission or initial notice has been given to a local authority before 6 April 2014 the provisions on target fabric energy efficiency rates will not apply so long as work is commenced on site before 6 April 2015.

January 17th, 2013

Current Permitted Development rights

Under current legislation you can make certain types of minor changes to your property without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights“.

Generally under your permitted development rights a single storey extension to the rear of your semi detached property may extend 3m or 4m if the property is detached. There are of course exceptions to this and permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings.

A more in depth guide can be found at the Planning portal website.

January 6th, 2013

UK house prices set to rise by 2% in 2013

House prices in the UK will see an increase of 2% over the course of next year while the cost of renting a home should rise by around 4%, according to the 2012 forecast from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

RICS says that although challenging times are still ahead for the nation’s economy, 2013 may see some slight improvements and this will be reflected in the housing market.

In addition to rising prices, the number of transactions will also see a further increase, moving up just over 3% to 960,000 from 930,000 in 2012. But this needs to be put into context. It is indeed an improvement but before the global economic downturn sales were much higher. For example in 2006 they were 1.67 million.

What happens in the market will vary according to location. In London, RICS expects the prime central market to be broadly stable following the tax changes announced earlier in the year but much of the rest of the capital will continue to see above average increases. Elsewhere in the country it believes that the South East and the North West should also see modest rises. The rest of the country will either see prices dip slightly or remain flat.

The recent trend in repossessions looks set to continue. However, with the number of possession claims and mortgages currently more than three months in arrears falling, the number of repossessions should dip below 35,000 for the first time since 2007.

When it comes to new homes RICS says that housing starts should edge up towards 115,000 in England but this is still short of the number that many experts believe is needed to solve the country’s chronic shortage of homes, especially in the more affordable sector to encourage first time buyers.

‘The average house price in the UK looks set to rise by a further 2% next year, despite the uncertain outlook for the economy. More positively, the amount of sales going through should also see an increase across the country, climbing to its best level since 2007, as the Funding for Lending scheme helps boost the availability of mortgage finance,’ said Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist.

‘But these tentative signs of recovery in the sales market should not blind us to the very real problems that still exist. Even with the Funding for Lending scheme and come other government policies beginning to be felt in the mortgage market, many first time buyers will continue to find it difficult to secure a sufficiently large loan to take an initial step on the housing market,’ he explained.

‘Meanwhile, the alternative of renting is becoming more and more costly with a further increase in rents likely in 2013. Critically, the government needs to ensure that the conditions are in place that will enable the stock of new housing, whether for purchase or rent, to rise more rapidly,’ added Rubinsohn.

Article courtesy of Property Wire


January 5th, 2013

The Building Regulations & Amendment Regulations 2012 Released


As you may well be aware changes to the Building Regulations have gone through the consultation phase and we have been awaiting notice of intended release.

Well, they have now been released and printed.

We have provided links to the documents below so that you can be aware of the changes and the transition periods.

When we have had the opportunity to read and understand the new changes we will post further details of the most relevant and important issues.

The Building Regulations &c. (Amendment) Regulations 2012

Circular guidance of changes

Amendments to Approved documents list

Reprinted Updated Approved Documents

There are a number of other AD’s that have been republished with the amendments included, you will need to work through all documents to pick them out.

December 31st, 2012

Important information if you use wood pellets!

Gas Safety Trust warns of wood pellet danger

The Gas Safety Trust is warning installers, distributors and users of wood pellets to be aware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, following 9 fatalities since 2002 caused by poisoning following entry into wood pellet storage areas.

Although there have not been any incidents so far in the UK, the use of wood pellets is increasing and awareness of this danger is essential.

Gas Safety Trust Board Chair, Chris Bielby MBE said: ‘The use of wood pellet boilers in homes, businesses and schools in the UK as an alternative to oil or gas fired boilers is increasing. The HSE have issued a warning to all users of these appliances, as it is not a danger that most people would consider. Carbon monoxide can kill quickly without warning, and we support the HSE in raising awareness of this potential hazard’.

Read the full press release here

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