Chelgate Local Newsletter – February 2019

infrastructure projects


2019 picks up speed: Land values languish, key infrastructure projects, jobs boom but young suffer, and breakfast briefing recap

Three key infrastructure projects to watch in 2019

By Daniel Fryd, Account Director

Ahead of Chelgate’s Breakfast Briefing on ‘Infrastructure-led Growth’ on 6th March, we take a look at three of the key infrastructure projects set to drive growth and change the shape of the country. No earth will be moved, nor any bricks will be laid for any of these projects this year but make no mistake: 2019 will be a critical year for each of these schemes.

With key consultations and vital decisions to make on final routes and budgets, there is a great deal to be agreed to ensure economic and housing growth is focused where it is needed most.

Crossrail 2

With plans for a new £30bn underground link between National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire, Crossrail 2 has the potential to unlock 200,000 new homes in London and the South East and help the UK economy grow by up to £150bn.

The mammoth project was back in the news this month when London deputy mayor Heidi Alexander told the London Assembly that a proportion of funding set aside for Crossrail 2 has been diverted to complete the unfinished Elizabeth Line. The funding, thought to be in the region of £2bn, will come from the Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy and the business rates supplement.

Areas of North London including Tottenham, Waltham Forest, Harringey and Enfield are set to benefit and grow significantly due to the improved journey times and connectivity which will be brought about thanks to the route.

However, the benefits of it are expected to be felt more widely than in North London and Hertfordshire alone. Around 35% of the UK’s rail network – more than 800 stations around the country – will have a direct service to a station served by Crossrail 2.

With the Elizabeth Line now set for completion in 2020 we can expect further news on the funding and plans for Crossrail 2 throughout the year.

Lower Thames Crossing

With businesses and local authorities across the South East crying out for a new Thames crossing over the last decade, last year’s consultation on a preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) was met with widespread approval.

There are currently only three road bridges east of Tower Bridge, so the Dartford Crossing and QE2 Bridge increasingly act as a bottleneck for the largely free-flowing M25.

Anyone who uses the existing crossing knows a new one is desperately needed to provide capacity and growth across the region, and to divert many of the HGVs taking goods from Kent up to Harwich and Folkestone.

The new LTC tunnel will be the longest road tunnel in the UK, and at over 15m wide will become the third-largest bored tunnel in the world. As part of the project, infrastructure projectsapproximately 14.5 miles of new roads will connect the tunnel to the existing road network.

The regions of Kent, Essex and Thurrock are set to benefit most from journey time and connectivity improvements, and junction enhancements are also set to take place along the M25, A2 and A13.

Consultation on the new route closed in December 2018 with over 26,000 responses, and following further redrafting, a Development Consent Order is set to be applied for this Autumn.

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway

A full public consultation on the route of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway is now set to take place this year following confirmation of Corridor B as the preferred option.

Corridor B, which will follow the path of the newly proposed East West Rail, will provide a direct motorway to link Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.

Question marks remain about the final route of the Expressway around Oxford, and following consultation on whether the route connects to the west or east of the city, a final preferred route is expected to be announced in 2020.

The economic growth opportunities brought about by the expressway are expected to create up to one million new homes by 2050, through the expansion of existing settlements and the development of up to five new towns or villages.

The improved connectivity will take 40 minutes off the journey time between the A34 south of Oxford and the M1, meaning hundreds of thousands of people will be brought within easier reach of high quality jobs in centres of rapid growth such as Oxford Science Park.


Land values languish amid Brexit uncertainty

By Vivienne Shirley, Senior Consultant

Land values slumped at the end of 2018 thanks to increasing build costs and economic uncertainty over Brexit, according to Knight Frank’s latest Residential Development Land Index.

The biggest decline was seen in prime central London, where land values fell a further 2.8%, taking the annual price decrease to 5.6% in 2018 – a drop of almost 20% since the market peaked in 2015. Brownfield land values also declined along with greenfield land value growth.

Patrick Gower, Associate at Knight Frank, suggested the hesitation of developers to purchase land is partly due to growing costs, noting: “Labour costs continue to edge up and the relatively weak pound has made imported building materials more costly for housebuilders.”

Hesitation and stagnation

The continuing economic uncertainty over Brexit is also weighing on home buyers and developers. In the resale market, the time taken from listing a home to sale agreed rose more than 30% since 2016 in the South East and London, as buyers bide their time. Sellers are also holding off in the weakened market, particularly in central London, with no sign the stagnation will end soon. At the same time, the greater risk of building in the current climate has prompted developers to increase their margins, suppressing land value prices.

infrastructure projectsDavid Fenton, UK Head of Regional Land at Knight Frank, commented: “Any business, be it manufacturing, housebuilding or professional services, needs clarity in order to inform their decision making process. Across the UK, businesses cannot plan for the short to medium term, therefore we have seen the housebuilders pricing in higher margins to address the unknown risks going forward.”

The hesitation felt by housebuilders is plain to see, with new build starts down 7% in the year to Q3 2018 in London, according to research by Centre for London. The number of approved planning applications declined for both major and minor schemes, which could see the slowdown in construction continue into the longer term.

Michael Hardware, Director of Planning and Property at Chelgate Local, noted: “The housing market continues to slow and shows no signs of abating while the Brexit chaos continues, with London particularly sensitive to the antics in Westminster.”

Who dares wins

However, for those developers with the appetite to take the plunge, there may be big profits to be had in the future by buying land now. In central London in particular, some major players have taken advantage of the weak sterling and drop in prices.

“The majority of central London developers are choosing to wait for greater economic certainty before purchasing land, however there have been notable exceptions in which investors have opted to buy while land values remain 17% below the 2015 peak, and sterling continues to trade at a discount relative to its value before the 2016 referendum,” Gower explained.

To misquote Spiderman, with great uncertainty comes great opportunity. Only time will tell if the gamble pays off – in the meantime, all we can do is urge politicians to get their act together and avoid a Brexit apocalypse.


Jobs boom but young are left bust

By Kasia Banas, Consultant

Britain is seeing unprecedented jobs and employment growth despite an ageing population and increased health problems, a new report has shown.

Resolution Foundation started the year with launch of ‘Setting the record straight’ – its latest report exploring how record employment levels have changed the country since the financial crisis.
At the event in their Westminster headquarters, Senior Economic Analyst Stephen Clarke presented the findings on the post-crisis job growth and the current record employment rate of 75.7%, taking place against a demographic headwind of an ageing society with increased health issues.

The good news is that the rising employment has resulted in falling ‘employment inequality’ with two-thirds of jobs going to households in the bottom half of earnings. Single parents, people with ill-health or a disability, and people with low qualifications have also done particularly well. This does not mean that all jobs growth has just been in low-paid jobs however and, in fact, higher-paid occupations have expanded faster.

Young hit hard by insecurity

However, one group that has not fully benefited from the growth of higher-paying occupations are young people. The share of 18-29 year olds in lower-paying job roles has expanded over the last decade, while it has fallen for the rest of the workforce. Young people have also been amongst those most affected by another post-crisis trend – an increase in atypical and insecure roles such as self-employment, zero-hours contracts and agency work.

The stats will come as further unwelcome news for young people struggling to make a living and get on the housing ladder, especially with the average first-time buyer deposit in London at an eye-watering £114,952 – 27% of the purchase price and a three-fold increase from £38,335 in 2008.

Another positive is the strong performance of typically low employment areas such as South Yorkshire and Merseyside, which have had the highest growth rates. However, while overall geographic infrastructure projects‘employment inequality’ is falling, the Foundation warns that some areas outside of big cities have seen less benefit from Britain’s jobs boom.

Minister for Employment Alok Sharma welcomed the foundation’s work and assured the audience the that government’s three employment priorities are focus on quality new jobs; growth of employment for disadvantaged groups; and support for career progression to escape from low pay. He also expressed his confidence in technological change and the growth of AI having a positive impact on the labour market in the future.

Other speakers addressed the issues of mandatory gender pay gap reporting, need for employment rights to reflect the modern workplaces, and Britain’s continuing shift towards service sectors, which disproportionately benefits urban areas.

While the report points to a lot of positive developments in Britain’s labour market since the crisis, they have been overshadowed by ‘the deepest pay squeeze in over 200 years’, with Britain’s real average earnings £470 lower than they were a decade ago.

Policy makers now have the difficult task of tackling the new challenges that have developed alongside the jobs boom, in particular the poor pay and productivity performance of younger workers, the relatively poor performance of rural areas and smaller urban areas, and the endurance of atypical work. Good luck to them.


Waking up to an ageing population

By Kasia Banas, Consultant

January saw Chelgate Local kick off 2019 with another successful breakfast briefing event.

The Chelgate team partnered up with Barton Willmore to host a timely discussion on the impact of an ageing population on housing provision. Delegates from across Kent gathered to hear from speakers from MHCLG, planners Barton Willmore and older people’s housing developers McCarthy & Stone.

Dan Fryd, Account Director at Chelgate, welcomed the packed room and started proceedings by setting out the main issues around housing supply for our ageing population. He pointed out that in the midst of the housing crisis the topic rarely gets the attention it deserves, but the proportion of over 85-year olds is set to double over the next 25 years – making it necessary for the government and the housing sector to start planning for this particular housing need now.

Lucy Seymour-Bowdery, senior planning officer at MHCLG and the lead on older people’s housing, then presented the recent regulatory changes relating to provisions for an ageing population. She noted the revised NPPF strengthened the policy approach to planning for the housing needs of different groups of people; revised the definition of older people; and introduced the expectation that planning policies for housing will make use of Optional Technical Standards for accessible and adaptable housing.

infrastructure projectsShe also mentioned the statutory duty to produce guidance for local planning authorities on how local development documents should meet the housing needs of older and disabled people​, introduced by the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017. While she was not able to provide a date for the release of new policy guidance, she teased that it will focus on the importance to plan for older and disabled people’s housing needs, benefits of accessible and adaptable housing​, types of specialist housing for older people​ and inclusive design.

James Donagh, development economics director at Barton Willmore​, then took to the stage to present a high-level review of supply and demand for specialist housing for older people across mid-west Kent. He outlined the population changes expected between 2017 and 2041, most notably, the fast-growing demographic groups of over 65s and 75s. He projects that this increased demand for specialist elderly housing will generate a need for an extra 5,300 units (45%) by 2029 and 10,500 units (90%) units by 2041. James pointed out that there is a lack of diversity in tenure and type of available units with two-thirds being social rent and four-fifths being sheltered housing. He concluded suitable housing for older people could be a part of the solution to the housing crisis.
The event finished with a panel discussion with Cllr Clive English, chair of the Planning Committee at Maidstone Borough Council​; Guy Flintoft, planning director at Retirement Villages Group​; Gary Day, land and planning director at McCarthy & Stone,; and chaired by Barton Willmore’s director, Simon Flisher.

There was a consensus amongst our panellists that there is a growing need for housing provision for older people in the UK and Kent specifically. The example of Japan was mentioned a number of times as a warning for what’s to come if this demand is not addressed. Gary Day encouraged new entrants into this market space, and there was agreement that existing providers must grow to help deliver new retirement communities. Innovative multi-generational housing models were also identified as an opportunity area that could contribute to solving the issue at hand.

Developers and politicians are not the only ones looking for sustainable solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of our ageing communities. Programmes such as ‘Transform Ageing’ are paving the way to taking a community and design-led approach to improve people’s experience of ageing and we hope they can drive positive change, responding to the challenge of our ageing society.

Our next event will take place in March and will address ‘Infrastructure led growth’ – A look at how Crossrail 2, HS2 and major infrastructure could drive growth. Further details will be available on our website.


Local Plan updates – February 2019

Ashford – On the 2nd January Ashford Borough Council received the Inspector’s report on the Local Plan 2030. This brings to a close the examination and allows the Council to progress the Local Plan to adoption.

Aylesbury Vale – The Council has received the Inspector’s response to the points raised in their letter following the publication of his Interim findings. The Council is now finalising its onward timetable including when the proposed modifications to the Plan will be published for public consultation.

Basildon – Consultation on the Revised Publication Local Plan has closed, and responses are now being processed. All the representations received will be collated and a Statement of Issues will be produced and submitted alongside the Revised Publication Local Plan and all supporting documents to the Government, and sent to the Planning Inspector for consideration as part of the Examination in Public. It is the Council’s aim to do this by the end of March 2019.

Bexley – The Council is currently preparing the Local Plan’s preferred approach policies. Consultation on preferred approach to Local Plan policies was due to take place in January 2019 but has not been announced yet.

Braintree – The Section 1 Local Plan is currently subject to a joint examination by an inspector. The examination has been paused while further work is carried out on the evidence base and Sustainability Appraisal.

Brentwood – Brentwood’s Pre-Submission Local Plan was approved. The public consultation will take place between 5 February and 19 March 2019.

Bromley – The Local Plan for Bromley was adopted on 16 January 2019.

Broxbourne –The Council has received the Inspector’s Post Hearings Advice and will now consider how the Plan could be modified accordingly.

Cambridge and East Cambs – Following the hearings, the Inspector found the submitted Local Plan to be sound subject to modifications. The Inspector will now contact the Council, via the Programme Officer, to progress the schedule of main modifications and any other necessary related work. The main modifications will be subject to full public consultation.

Castle Point – The New Local Plan 2018 was reviewed by Council in November 2018. The Council resolved to not proceed with the Pre-Publication Local Plan 2018, and is now in discussions with MHCLG in regards to the next steps.

Central Beds – The hearings part of the examination of the Local Plan are expected to commence in Spring 2019.

Chelmsford – The Independent Examination hearing sessions took place in November and December 2018. The Inspector’s report is expected early this year.

Cherwell – The Inspector will resume the Hearing Sessions on Tuesday 5th February 2019. The council is also preparing a Part 2 to the Adopted Local Plan 2011-2031 (Part 1) which will contain non-strategic site allocations and development management policies.

Chiltern and South Bucks – The Call for Sites closed on 14 January 2019 and will be used to update the Council’s Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, which will be part of the evidence base for the new Local Plan. Publication of the Local Plan for consultation prior to its submission for an examination in public is anticipated to be in spring/summer 2019.

Colchester – The Section 1 Local Plan is currently subject to a joint examination by an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The examination has been paused while further work is carried out.

Dacorum – A pre-submission Draft Plan is expected in August 2019 while the Council continues undertaking the Duty to Co-operate and public and stakeholder engagement.

Dartford – Regulation 18 public consultation was held in June/ July 2018. Public involvement in the next stage in drafting the Local Plan is expected in summer 2019.

Dover – Regulation 18 consultation is planned for July/August 2019, with adoption expected in February 2021.

East Herts – East Herts’ District Plan was adopted at an Extraordinary Council on the 23 October 2018.

Elmbridge – On 30 October 2018, a new Local Development Scheme was approved and sets out the work programme up to 2021. Regulation 18 consultation is now planned for August/September 2019.

Epping Forest – The Local Plan has been submitted for approval and Ms. Louise Phillips from the Planning Inspectorate has been appointed to carry out the independent Examination. The hearing sessions will open on Tuesday 12 February and will run until Thursday 23 May 2019.

Epsom and Ewell – Pre-Submission Public Consultation is planned for late 2019.

Folkestone and Hythe – The Council submitted their Places and Policies Local Plan to the Secretary of State on the 28th September 2018 for independent examination. The Planning Inspectorate has appointed Mr Jameson Bridgwater to oversee the examination process.

Gravesham – Local Development Scheme was planned for Stage Two of Reg 18 consultation for November and December 2018, but it has not been announced yet.

Guildford – Following the public consultation on the proposed main modifications to the plan held in autumn 2018, the Inspector requested a further hearing to discuss the housing requirement arising from the latest household projections, the implications for the additional sites that were included in the main modifications, and the way forward. This hearing will be held on 16-17th February and the council hopes the plan will be adopted soon afterwards, though it may be delayed until after the May 2019 elections depending on how quickly the Inspector turns it around.

Harlow – The Harlow Local Development Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in public on 19 October 2018. David Reed BSc DipTP DMS MRTPI has been appointed by the Secretary of State to undertake the independent examination of the Plan. Provisionally the Examination hearing sessions will be held between 26 March and 4 April 2019.

Havering – Following the hearings which took take place between the 9th and 19th of October 2018, the examination was suspended to allow the Council to complete the required additional work. The reconvened examination is due to take place on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May. The inspector expects to advise of revised matters and issues and guidance notes by 16 April.
Hertsmere – Consultation on ‘potential housing and employment locations’ closed on 20 December 2018. Publication of Draft Local Plan is expected later in the year.

Maidstone – New Local Plan was formally adopted at Full Council on 25 October 2017. The Council is already preparing its review, with a Regulation 18 – scoping/options consultation planned for summer 2019.

Medway – The council published updated Local Development Scheme in December 2018. Regulation 19 – Publication of draft plan is planned for Summer 2019.

Milton Keynes – The Council held a six-week period of public consultation to provide an opportunity to comment on the schedule of proposed main modifications to the emerging local plan between 31 October and 12 December 2018. It has now sent all the responses to the planning inspector and is awaiting the inspector’s report, which it hopes to receive shortly (original expectation was mid-January but not yet received). The councils intends to adopt the plan around March 2019.

Mole Valley – Reg. 18 Preferred Options consultation to take place in June 2019 (delayed by May 2018 local elections), and Reg. 19 in Winter 2019/20.

North Hertfordshire – Following the hearing sessions into the Local Plan, the Inspector published his proposed Main Modifications to the plan and the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal. Cabinet approved the Main Modifications to the Local Plan on 10th December 2018. The consultation on these is running from 3rd January to 14th February 2019.

Oxford City – The consultation on Draft Plan Regulation 19 ran until 28th December 2018. The aim is to submit the plan for examination in March 2019.

Reigate and Banstead – Following submission of the draft Development Management Plan in May, examination hearings ran until 9th November 2018. The council made the amendments requested and heard back from the inspector on 18th January with a letter setting out the suggested main modifications. A public consultation on them will take place in the near future, likely February 2019.

Rochford – Preferred Options Document public consultation (Regulation 18) is planned for October/November 2019.

Runnymede – The Council submitted the Runnymede Local Plan to the Secretary of State on 31st July. Hearing sessions took place in November 2018, with Stage 2 hearings set to commence 5th February.
Sevenoaks – The council is consulting on the Regulation 19 Proposed Submission Version of the Local Plan until 3rd February 2019. The plan will be submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspector in Spring 2019.

Southend-on-Sea – Council intends to undertake consultation on Local Plan Issues and Options in Spring 2019.

South Northamptonshire – The Council submitted the Part 2 Local Plan to the Secretary of State on 22 January 2019. The Planning Inspectorate will now appoint an Inspector who will conduct the examination into the soundness of the submitted plan.

South Oxfordshire – Latest draft version of plan was approved at Council on 20 December 2018. The council is undertaking a Regulation 19 consultation from 7 January to 18 February 2019, with a view to submit to the Secretary of State in March 2019.

Spelthorne – The Council invited comments on the draft Site Selection Methodology, with the consultation finishing 28 January 2019. Consultation on Preferred Options (also Reg. 18) is scheduled for June-July 2019.

St Albans – Reg. 19 consultation ran until 17th October 2018. All valid representations are now being considered by the Council with the aim to submit for independent public examination in March 2019.

Stevenage – Still awaiting the secretary of state’s permission to move forward with its local plan following last November’s holding direction, after concerns were raised by Stevenage Tory MP Stephen McPartland, including over proposals to regenerate Stevenage’s train station and town centre.

Surrey Heath – The Draft Surrey Heath Local Plan Issues and Options/Preferred Options Consultation finished on 30th July 2018, and the Pre-submission Consultation is scheduled for June 2019.

Swale – The Council has recently published its Local Development Scheme which sets out the timetable for preparing the next Local Plan, with plans to hold Reg. 18 consultation in Oct – Dec 2019.

Tandridge – The Council submitted its local plan to the Planning Inspectorate for examination on Friday 18 January 2019. The Inspector has not been appointed yet.

Tendring – Tendring, Braintree and Colchester’s Local Plan share an identical Section 1, which was considered through a joint examination in public in 2018. Following an agreement after this to continue work on the proposals, the councils expect to complete further evidence and a new sustainability appraisal by Feb/March 2019 and public consultation will follow in June/July 2019, with the enquiry likely to take place in late 2019. Tendring-specific policies and allocations can be found within Section 2 of the Local Plan, which will be finalised following Section 1 and is expected to be submitted in Spring 2020.

Thanet – The Council submitted the draft Local Plan to the Secretary of State on 30th October 2018 for independent examination. Independent Inspectors have been appointed and sent Initial Questions for Examination to the council on 17th December, to which the council responded on 11 January. Hearing dates are potentially scheduled for April/May 2019.
Three Rivers – Potential Sites Consultation ran between 26 October and 7 December 2018. Publication stage is planned for Autumn 2019.

Thurrock – Reg. 18 (Issues and Options Stage 2: Spatial Options and Sites) took place in July 2018. Reg. 19 was planned for September 2019 but has been delayed following the publication of the revised NPPF.

Tonbridge and Malling – The Reg. 19 consultation ran until 19th November 2018 and the council submitted its local plan to the secretary of state on 23rd January 2019. An inspector will now be appointed.

Tunbridge Wells – Preferred Options Reg. 18 consultation is completed. Consultation on a Pre-Submission Local Plan (Reg. 19) will take place from 30th March 2020.

Uttlesford – Consultation on the Addendum of Focussed Changes to the Regulation 19 Local Plan ran until 27 November 2018. The plan was submitted on 18 January 2019 to the Secretary of State and Inspectors have been appointed to carry out an independent examination.

Vale of White Horse – Hearings for the Local Plan 2031 Part 2 closed in September 2018 and the inspector outlined suggested main modifications on 19th December. Cabinet will consider the report of modifications on 1st February and they will go to Full Council on 13th February. Public consultation on the modifications is set for 18th February to 1st April.

Watford – Issues and Options consultation ran from Friday 7 September to Friday 19 October. First draft local plan is expected in Autumn 2019.

Waverley – The council is completing additional work on the Local Plan Part 2 and it is expected that the Reg. 19 Consultation will take place in June/July 2019, with submission in Winter 2019.

Welwyn Hatfield – Stage 5 of the hearing sessions took place on 6-7th November 2018. The Stage 6 hearing sessions which were provisionally set for early December 2018 are now likely to take place in Autumn 2019. Following a request from the Inspector, the council is currently exploring if there is any scope for additional housing sites to be identified to help meet the OAN – the submitted plan allocates land for just over 12,000 homes, although 16,000 new homes are needed. The deadline to the further call for sites is 4 February 2019.

Woking – Site Allocations DPD consultation (Reg. 19) ran until 17 December 2018 and submission to Secretary of State is expected in June/July 2019.

Wycombe – Submitted for public examination in March 2018 and the final scheduled hearing session took place on September 26th. The modifications for the consultation are expected to be published shortly (originally expected January 2019), and the Inspector indicated she would provide her report to the Council by 28 March 2019.


March Breakfast Briefing in Herts on Infrastructure-led Growth

infrastructure projects


Our breakfast briefing in March is on ‘Infrastructure-led growth’ and will take a look at the key projects driving growth throughout the South East.

Keynote speakers will be joining us from MHCLG, Lichfields and local authorities in London and Hertfordshire to set out their views on how infrastructure should be delivered to help our new communities take shape.

Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion, and a full networking breakfast will be provided.

Join us on Wednesday 6th March, from 8:00am – 10:00am, at the De Vere Theobalds Estate in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Click here to register.