15 MAR 2018

HFi Today, March 2018

- Sir Mark - ING talk

- Natalie Elphicke: Newts Holding Up Housebuilding Is Snow Joke

- Housing Business Breakfast

- Build Out Review

Sir Mark - ING talk

Recently at ING Media, our Chairman, Sir Mark Boleat, gave a talk on his radical solutions to improve housing delivery.

He built on many of the arguments he made in his report for the HFi – The Housing Problem in London. Sir Mark argued that "the housing crisis is caused by government, not by property developers." And calling for reform of the planning system as it is "weighted too heavily towards local residents".

You can read Sir Mark's paper in full here.

Sir Mark will also be speaking in London at City & Financial Global's 'UK Infrastructure Policy & Investment Summit' on 28 March.

Natalie Elphicke: Newts Holding Up Housebuilding Is Snow Joke

Our Chief Executive, Natalie Elphicke, has written for HuffPost about the impact of Newts on housebuilding.

Natalie argues that this winter there are homes waiting in factories and diggers sitting idle, while newts, other amphibians and reptiles gambol in the snow. Not literally gambol, because newts do not gambol. We know this because we know an awful lot about newts.The UK Government and the EU each fund study after study on these creatures. Newts are abundant in the UK. They are protected not because of a lack of them, but because of other EU countries who have failed to take adequate steps to preserve them.

"Up and down the country, I have visited sites where priority is given to building what has been described as bat hotels and even bat playgrounds – leisure spaces for our winged friends to, literally, spread their wings. We are building five star bat accommodation before builders can get on with building affordable homes for people.

"Of course, there is a balance between species and development. But is that balance in the right place? Has the pendulum swung too far in wildlife's favour? What about the plight of vulnerable people this winter?"

Click here to read the article in full.

Housing Business Breakfast

Our last Housing Business Breakfast at Trowers & Hamlins took the form of a roundtable and discussed in detail Housing Delivery Partnerships, a topic which Trowers wrote a paper on last year. Tonia Secker of Trowers gave a short presentation on Housing Delivery Partnerships which led to a fruitful discussion.

You can read Trowers & Hamlins' report of Housing Delivery Partnerships here.

Our next Housing Business Breakfast will be held on 4 April at a central London location. This is a great opportunity to not only network, but also, discuss the most important issues facing the housing industry. More details coming soon.

To reserve your place email events@thehfi.com

Build Out Review

Sir Oliver Letwin has written to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Housing with an update on his review into build out rates on large housing sites.

Sir Oliver's letter identifies two distinct stages for large developments: Stage 1 is 'the regulatory stage', and Stage 2, 'the build out stage'.

Acknowledging that labour, materials, utilities installation and others affect stage 2, Sir Oliver is 'not persuaded that these limitations are in fact the primary determinants of the speed of build out'. Instead he identifies absorption rate as the key factor, with the rate 'largely determined by the type of home being constructed and the pricing of the new homes built'.

His research to date has explored the importance of expanding the availability of different types of housing which can increase absorption and higher build out rates. He references the requirement for cross-subsidy from the open market housing on the site as a limiting factor in building out affordable housing. Also, he describes demand for specialist private rented sector housing as largely additional to demand for owner occupied housing.

Click here to read Sir Oliver's letter in full.

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