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October: Property industry news headline round-up

Property industry news

Many new developments have taken place during October, with billions in public spending announced and the start dates given for several exciting projects. Developments have been made for the refurb of the estate surrounding Grenfell tower. Ali Akbor has also joined the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Panel.

£1bn in council funding has been allocated for local councils to help with COVID-related spending, with a further £100m for local authority leisure centres. Local Councils will also receive a £10m fund to help rough sleepers during the coming winter months. A further £1bn has been announced to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings. 

It has been announced that ARA Venn will provide £3bn of cost-effective long-term loans, of up to 30 years, to registered providers developing new affordable homes to combat the lack of affordable housing.

TFL have stated that the delayed Crossrail project will begin testing in early 2021, with its first trains set to open their doors to the public in the first half of 2022.

Designers for £58m Refurb of Lancaster West Estate Chosen

A team of 40 residents of Lancaster West Estate in West London have selected Karakusevic Carson, Penoyre & Prasad, and ECD Architects to lead a £57.9m upgrade to the 700-home estate surrounding the Grenfell Tower. The estate is the largest in Kensington and Chelsea.

The work will include external refurbishment, upgrading the internal communal areas and improvements to individual flats such as new kitchens and bathrooms. New district heating systems and windows are also on the list.

The consultants involved are: Derisk UK Ltd (principal designer); Frankham Risk Management Services (FRA type-4 assessor); TACE (mechanical, electrical and plumbing); TGA Consulting Engineers (CCTV, door entry and digital TV); Chapman BDSP (lifts).

Read more about this here.

Property industry news
Photo credit: TheTimes.co.uk

Chief Executive of Leeds Housing Association Ali Akbor Joins Grenfell Tower Inquiry Panel

On the 14th of October it was announced that Mr Akbor will join the panel from the beginning of next month.

On the appointment, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The appointment of Ali Akbor is an important step forward in Phase 2 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. He will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the role, as well as a crucial understanding of the issues at the heart of Phase 2 and an unwavering commitment to improving people’s lives.”

Read more about this here.

Ali Akbor, OBE and Chief Executive of Unity & Equity housing. – Photo credit: InsideHousing.co.uk

Jenrick Announces Allocations for £1bn Council Funding

Local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, has confirmed allocations for individual councils from the £1bn of extra funding to help combat the COVID crisis announced by the prime minister earlier this month. All councils will receive a minimum of £100,000 from the fund, which has not been ring-fenced.

A new £100m fund has also been set up to support local authority leisure centres during the Covid crisis. Many leisure centres have not reopened since the COVID lockdown; it will be up to them to bid for the money.

Read more about this here.

Council funding announced by Jenrick

Operational Testing Of Crossrail to Begin at ‘Earliest Opportunity In 2021’

The operational testing of the delayed Crossrail project has been scheduled to start at the “earliest opportunity in 2021”. Direct control of Crossrail has now been handed over to TFL, which will be the operator and maintainer of the railway.

The line, which runs from Berkshire to Essex via central London, was originally expected to open in December 2018 but repeated delays have pushed it back.

Crossrail Ltd stated that the opening of Crossrail was to be delayed again until the first half of 2022 following the operational testing.

Read more about this here.

Property industry news

ARA Venn awarded £3bn Affordable Housing Guarantee Scheme in UK

ARA Venn will provide £3bn of cost-effective long-term loans, of up to 30 years, to registered providers developing new affordable homes. ARA Venn is a subsidiary of the Singapore-based global asset manager ARA Asset Management Limited.

The scheme is expected to support the delivery of around 17,000 critical homes for lower income families and help combat the lack of affordable housing in the UK.

ARA Venn will be responsible for establishing and managing the scheme, including the origination, underwriting and ongoing management of the loans, and developing and managing a Government guaranteed bond programme to efficiently fund them. Whilst initially set for £3bn, there is an option to increase the scheme up to £6 billion.

Currently, ARA Venn also manages the £3.5bn Private Rented Sector Guarantee Scheme (PRS), a similar lending scheme focused on the private rented sector, on behalf of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Read more about this here.

Property industry news

Government Launches £3m Supported Housing Pilot

The Government has announced a £3m budget which will fund pilots in five areas aimed at improving the quality, enforcement, oversight and value for money in supported housing.

The supported housing pilots, in Birmingham, Hull, Blackpool, Bristol and Blackburn, will involve collaborative working between local partners and will test different approaches to greater oversight of the sector. It will also look at how higher standards can be enforced.

The pilots will focus on short-term supported accommodation and will run until the end of March 2021.

Read more about this here.

Property industry news

£95,000 cap on Public Sector Exit Payments Signed into Law

This law will come into force on November the 4th and will affect any worker over the age of 55 who is made redundant. This will also include the payment employers make to pension funds.

Trade union Unison said this was ‘unfair, unjustified and causing anxiety’ among ‘thousands’ of long-serving council staff who would suffer in retirement as a result.

Read more about this here.

Property industry news

Councils Secure New £10 Million Cold Weather Fund to Help Rough Sleepers During Winter

The funding will help councils to provide more self-contained accommodation for rough sleepers to protect them from the risks posed by coronavirus. An additional £2m will be made available to faith groups and community groups to secure accommodation for rough sleepers.

New guidance has also been published to help shelters reopen safely if needed, providing communal facilities only if there is no other alternative.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, warned: ‘Traditional night shelters should only open as a last resort if self-contained accommodation is not a possibility.

‘We welcome the operating principles published today, which will help make shelters open as safely as possible if they do become a necessity. We ask that local areas adhere to these principles in order that people sleeping rough can be supported safely in line with COVID-19 guidance.’

Read more about this here.

Property industry news

£1bn Funding Allocated For Improved Energy Efficiency Of Public Buildings

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, delivered by Salix Finance, will help councils install energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures with the aim of reducing energy bills and carbon emissions.

The scheme is also expected to create up to 30,000 low-carbon jobs. Local authorities will be expected to bid for a share of the £1bn.

Read more about this here.

Property industry news

City of Edinburgh Council to Set an Official End Poverty Date

The council has pledged to end poverty in Edinburgh by 2030 following a challenge from the Edinburgh Poverty Commission.

The commission has set the council four targets including ensuring:

  • no-one in the city goes without basic essentials
  • no-one lives in persistent poverty
  • no-one experiences stigma due to their income
  • fewer than one in ten people are living in relative poverty at any given time

Read more about this here.

Property industry news

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