Industry Intel

February Industry News Headline Round-Up; Property, Environmental Health & Housing.

Tina Ledger

Graphic Designer

Jul 27, 2022

This month, the housing industry has been plowing ahead! There has been great news in the fight against homelessness, as rough sleeping numbers have decreased dramatically, and an old law criminalising vagrancy is set to be scrapped.

In other news, unsafe cladding is to be removed by building companies in a bid to protect leaseholders, and the Mayor of London has launched a new green bond initiative to increase investment and create a more environmentally friendly London.

Read more in our latest roundup below!

Rough Sleeping Numbers Decrease

New data from the government has revealed that the number of rough sleepers has decreased by 9%. In 2021, approximately 2,440 people were estimated to be sleeping rough, the lowest number in eight years.

However, the number of homeless people is still 38% higher than in 2010. Government data also revealed that 4,880 homeless people were still housed in emergency accommodation in December 2021. Areas with the highest numbers of rough sleepers included Bristol, Westminster, and Camden.

Osama Bhutta, Director of Campaigns for homelessness charity Shelter, stated that the drive to end rough sleeping is far from over, and there is a significant danger of more people ending up on the streets because of the rising cost of living.

For more information, click here.

Law Criminalising Homelessness To Be Scrapped

A law established in 1824 that criminalises homelessness is set to be repealed. The Vagrancy Act was created almost 200 years ago, and many people have long advocated for its removal.

Matt Downie, Chief Executive of charity Crisis, said that the law only serves to drive people further away from seeking support. Others have called the law archaic, and many have welcomed the change.

For more information, click here.

Zero Emission Zone Extended Across Oxford City

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council revealed plans to extend the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) from its current pilot area to cover Oxford city centre. The proposals will also improve public transport, cycle routes, traffic filters and introduce a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL).

The scheme is set to be implemented between 2023 and 2024, with Councillor Tom Hayes stating that the council wants to consult with citizens and organisations to get their input over the next several months. Councillor Duncan Enright adds that this proposal aims to create a more sustainable and reliable transport system for everyone in Oxford.

The proposed WPL would raise funds to improve citywide transport, and traffic filters would improve congestion and create safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

For more information, click here.

Unsafe Cladding To Be Removed by Developers

Developers in the building sector will be forced to pay to remove any unsafe cladding as part of a new government plan to protect leaseholders. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, has stated that the measurements will prevent leaseholders from paying high fees to remove the cladding themselves.

This comes as part of an amendment to the Building Safety Bill, ensuring that all repairs and modifications to properties are necessary and proportionate. Gove stated that the building industry should not continue to profit whilst families suffer and must play a part in improving the safety of buildings.

The new powers will allow the government to block planning permission and apply the new Building Safety Levy to many more developments. Courts will also have more power in preventing developers from setting up shell companies, which makes it difficult to identify who they are run by.

For more information, click here.

230,000 Private Rented Homes Needed per Year To Meet Demand

New research has shown that 230,000 new homes need to be built each year in the UK to meet government housing targets. The report, published by Capital Economics for the National Residential Landlords Association, shows that the private rented sector supply has to increase by 227,000 per year to meet the goal of 1.8 million new houses over the next decade.

Over the last five years, the supply of private rented housing has fallen by 260,000, and estimates have shown that without intervention, numbers will fall by a further 540,000 properties over the next ten years.

Managing economist for Capital Economics, Andrew Evans, states that the private rented sector has a crucial role in addressing housing needs in the UK. Without further changes, the supply of housing could fall massively, and so more investment is needed by landlords to increase the supply of housing.

For more information, click here.

More Funding Secured for Homes for Rough Sleepers

Councils in England have been granted £174m to provide 2,900 homes for rough sleepers. Named the ‘move on’ homes, the houses will be provided between 2021 and 2024.

The housing will also come with support workers retained to offer treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues. Eddie Hughes, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, stated that this funding would help people access housing and specialist support that will enable them to rebuild their lives. Councils are still bidding for the remaining funding.

For more information, click here.

Mayor of London Launches Green Bond Programme

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has plans to launch a £90m green bond initiative that could unlock £500m for zero-carbon projects. The bonds will raise money for new and current projects with environmental benefits, including social housing, energy efficiency, and delivering clean energy projects across the city.

These proposals could save more than one million tonnes of carbon and lower energy usage by over 300,000 MWh per year. Mayor Khan states that the projects will help make London a zero-carbon capital by the end of the decade, adding that it would also have significant economic benefits.

For more information, click here.

£47m Legal Services Framework for Homes England

Homes England has begun searching for law firms to help fill the places in their £47m legal services framework. The current framework has thirteen suppliers, but the new framework will see twenty-three suppliers appointed.

Three £15m lots are available for routine real estate and investment, corporate and specialist real estate, and bespoke projects. The fourth lot, worth £2m, is for affordable housing and home ownership.

For more information, click here.

New Details Submitted for the Stonehenge Tunnel

New details have been published surrounding the controversial Stonehenge tunnel. These updated plans include new environmental documents after their original proposal was rejected for an insufficient briefing on the heritage impact of the proposed motorway.

The purpose of the motorway would be to solve traffic issues on the A303 and would include a 13km dual carriageway, part of which would be tunnelled over. However, as the motorway runs close to the ancient site of Stonehenge, the plans have received backlash from groups, including the Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site campaigners.

For more information, click here.

Derelict Sites To Be Transformed Into New Homes

Brownfield and derelict sites will be turned into new homes to level up the country. As announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Tees Valley Combined Authorities have been awarded a share of £30m in funding for regenerating various brownfield sites and building 2,500 new homes.

The funding aims to support young people and families buying homes and protect green spaces. A further £8m funding from the Brownfield Land Release Fund has been allocated to thirteen councils across the UK and will help deliver 900 homes.

The government has also recently launched a £1.5bn Levelling Up Home Building Fund, which provides loans to small and medium-sized builders to support them in building 42,000 homes.

For more information, click here.

Government To Announce Planning Reforms

The government is expected to announce an update to its proposed planning reforms. The reforms were first announced in 2020, but controversies, including introducing a zonal planning system, caused the bill to be delayed.

The update is set to provide more details on how new measures will create a modern, effective planning system. Proposals include:

  • A new digital planning system.
  • Hosting street referendums on developments.
  • Investing heavily in brownfield sites.

The planning system was last updated in 1947, and the government now states that it aims to increase the speed that planning permission is granted to new housing developments.

For more information, click here.

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Graphic Designer

Tina Ledger

Being such a people person makes Tina exceptionally good at her job. She not only can relate to most people in one way or another, but she also genuinely enjoys hearing about other people’s experiences. Couple that with her creativity, resilience and ability to flourish under pressure, and you’ve got yourself a cracking Graphic Designer.

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