“Land values funding row set to throw Axminster masterplan and relief road plans into chaos”

As reported by Owl a week ago:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/11/29/axminster-master-plan-back-to-the-drawing-board-but-dont-upset-the-developers/

“A row over land values is set to scupper a masterplan that would see more than 800 new homes and the long-awaited relief road for Axminster built.

The Axminster North East Urban Extension masterplan for 850 homes was adopted in January, and also includes employment land, open spaces and community facilities.

It also included the £16.7m north-south relief road that aims to end the severe congestion, pollution and HGVs having to travel on the existing road that runs through the centre of the town.

East Devon District Council had successfully bid for a £10m Homes England Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF) grant that would be used to help fund the delivery of the crucial new relief road, only for the government agency to change their mind and turn the grant into a loan. …

Outlining the situation in his report, Mr Freeman says that the land owners have been contacted but are unwilling to reduce their expectations.

The Crown Estate who own their land outright advised that the value attributed to their land is fixed by what they actually paid and cannot therefore be renegotiated, he said, adding the land owners whose land is optioned to Persimmon Homes were not willing to entertain this option, stating that if they could not realise their expected values they would simply continue to farm the land and await a more attractive offer in the future. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/land-values-funding-row-set-3608294

“Bovis Homes bracing for investor backlash over plans to hand bonuses to bosses of up to 200% of their salary”

“Bovis Homes is bracing for an investor backlash over plans to hand bonuses to bosses of up to 200 per cent of their salary.

Shareholders will have the chance to vote on the proposal today as they meet to decide on the housebuilder’s £1 billion takeover of the residential arm of construction firm Galliford Try.

Backlash: Shareholders will have the chance to vote on the pay proposal

The acquisition will make Bovis Britain’s fourth-largest housebuilder, potentially producing up to 12,000 homes a year.

If the takeover and pay scheme is approved, bosses would be able to earn long-term performance share bonuses of up to 200 per cent of their salary – up from 150 per cent previously – as well as cash bonuses of up to 150 per cent of their salary – up from 100 per cent.

Bovis has said the pay deal is justified because the combined business will be trickier to run and that it is in line with the wider industry.

But shareholder advisory group ISS has flagged ‘significant concerns’ and urged investors to vote against the changes.”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7744319/Bovis-Homes-bracing-investor-backlash-plans-hand-bonuses-bosses.html?ito=rss-flipboard

Axminster ‘Master Plan’ – back to the drawing board but don’t upset the developers!

See pages 12-18 here:

https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk/documents/g1348/Public%20reports%20pack%2009th-Dec-2019%2010.00%20Strategic%20Planning%20Committee.pdf?T=10

What a mess! Houses but no road?

Recommendations:

“That Members:

1. Accept that it is not going to be possible to progress with the Housing Infrastructure Fund bid as things stand and that the offer is likely to be withdrawn unless Homes England change their position on land values

2. Re-engage the consultants for the Axminster Urban Extension Masterplan to:

a) review options to enable as much of the development in the masterplan to proceed accepting that this would be ahead of delivery of the relief road in its entirety
b) update the viability of the project to reflect the latest cost estimates and funding position
c) consider the re-phasing of the development in light of the failure of the HIF bid

3. Agree that a Housing Delivery Action Plan be produced to consider how to bolster the housing land supply position in the district and that this be considered by Strategic Planning Committee alongside a revised Axminster Masterplan.”

Greendale wants a hot-shot Property Manager – preferably with experience of Local Plan and Greater Exeter Strategic Plan

Interesting Job Vacancy for a VERY expanding and expansionist company recently noted by Owl … Greendale Group are looking to appoint a Group Head of Property to join their team based at Greendale Business Park.

Seeing they are “developing future exciting and ambitious growth plans” are the residents prepared… Owl thinks maybe they will be now!

According to the Advert which was closed to applicants closed a few weeks ago, so let’s see who gets the job which seems a step-up for a planning officer, for example! The ad states:

“The Greendale Group is a successful family company which boasts a diverse range of businesses including the Greendale Business Park, Greendale Farm Shop, a large working farm (2,000 acres), a fishing business (23 vessels), Exmouth Marina, as well as several other investments in both commercial and residential property across the South West.

The Company is currently developing future exciting and ambitious growth plans. This key role has responsibility for all the Group’s property interests including the Greendale Business Park and reports directly to the MD and will be pivotal in ensuring the company realises its future potential.

Responsibilities:

• Management of commercial and residential portfolios across the business including the Greendale Business Park covering all aspects of property management: marketing, lettings, rent reviews, debt control, planning consent, insurance, maintenance and property improvements.
• Leading strategic expansion and development plans for the business including responsibility for overseeing planning applications.
• Reporting to the Board on key financial performance of the property portfolio.
• Identifying and developing projects to maximise commercial utility of property across the business including evaluating joint venture agreements, option agreements, promotion agreements and similar where appropriate.
• Appointing and managing consultants and advisors as required including architects, planning consultants, engineers, contractors, solicitors, agents and other professionals.
• Liaising with external stakeholders including local authorities and other statutory bodies.
• Preparation and delivery of property budgets and property maintenance programmes.
• Manage all areas of the Company’s property requirements including identifying property requirements for other parts of the Group’s business (for example, farmland and fishing).

Requirements:

• Professional Membership of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – ideally Chartered.
• Significant experience of managing a diverse range of properties/tenants at a strategic level.
• Track record of building strong working relationships with local authorities and statutory bodies.
• Knowledge of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan / East Devon Local Plan would be highly beneficial.
• Highly commercial, excellent negotiation skills and the ability to influence at all levels.
• Highly organised and efficient.
• Strong IT skills (advanced Excel).

The role of Group Head of Property offers a highly competitive salary and benefits package which includes a basic salary, bonus and company car allowance. If you are an experienced property professional seeking a new, challenging and exciting opportunity, this could be the right role for you.”

New hotel allowed on A3052 – convenient for Westpoint, Crealy and Greendale

Interesting that EDDC would have refused it but delayed too long so the decision was taken away from them.

“A new 130-bedroom hotel will be built on the site of a caravan and camping park just outside Exeter.

Hill Pond Caravan and Camping Park successfully appealed against the non-determination by East Devon District Council over their plans to build a new L-shaped hotel on the site of the existing park just off the A3052.

The site is adjacent to the Hill Barton Business Park, and is across the A3052 from Exeter City’s training ground and Crealy Adventure Park, and near to Westpoint.

Planning inspector Andrew Spencer-Peet in his report said that the economic benefits of the new hotel were evident, it would address the acknowledged current shortfall of holiday accommodation in the area, and the benefits of the proposal carry sufficient weight to justify allowing the appeal scheme. …” …

East Devon District Council had issued a report that said they would have resolved to refuse planning permission, had the decision not be taken away from them by the appeal against non-determination.

Issuing their ‘would have’ refused notice, council planners said there was an absence of robust evidence of need and demand for a hotel in the location and it hadn’t been demonstrated that there was such an un-met need for the hotel, there could be a departure from the local plan.

But Mr Spencer-Peet, announcing his decision last week, allowed the appeal, subject to 15 conditions being met.

https://www.devonlive.com/whats-on/whats-on-news/new-hotel-plans-approved-site-3583765

Retirement flats – the big con

Tens of thousands of families have seen their inheritances decimated after elderly relatives paid inflated prices for new retirement homes that have collapsed in value, an investigation by The Times has found. Prices of retirement flats in developments built by some of Britain’s biggest housebuilders have plummeted by up to 90 per cent in the face of costly annual management charges and ground rents.

Analysis of Land Registry data suggests that £3 billion could have been wiped from the value of retirement homes built between 2001 and 2015. In one case, a flat bought for £197,000 in 2009 from builder McCarthy & Stone, a FTSE 250 company, was sold for only £26,000six years later. The owner, Miriam Savage, was paying £8,200 a year in service charges and ground rent to the managing agent.

The losses often become apparent to families only when their loved ones die and they try to sell their home. There are 150,000 retirement flats in the UK. They don’t have full-time nurses but most have communal areas and features to help residents live independently. There is often 24-hour telephone support or wardens on site.

The properties are sold as leaseholds with the freeholds bought by the highest bidder. The freeholder collects an annual ground rent and appoints an agent to run the development. These companies have been accused of levying excessive fees and charges and leaving facilities to fall into disrepair.

Sebastian O’Kelly, of betterretirementhousing.com, said: “These flats routinely plummet in value and the reason is the leasehold system. The freeholder and property manager still get their ground rent and service fees irrespective of price. It’s deplorable that families are pouring money into these purchases, often in desperation, only to see their value evaporate.”

Retirement home builders say the value of the properties is not just financial. They say they reduce loneliness and the burden of maintenance and increase safety and security. McCarthy & Stone points out that since 2010 it has not allowed outside companies to manage its sites and this is protecting values.

Some families have concerns about how properties are sold. One complained that a 88-year-old relative was sold a flat while her daughter was on holiday. When the woman died, the flat wouldn’t sell. Land Registry data shows the average loss of value for flats in the block is £74,000.

The Times looked at nearly 500 retirement flats in 15 developments built between 2001 and 2015. Almost 80 per cent of the homes sold since their first purchase had fallen in value with an average loss of £38,846. The analysis suggests that flats built since 2010 have fared better with only 37 per cent experiencing losses. But one McCarthy & Stone flat built in 2015 lost £45,000 in value when it was sold this year. In the past four years McCarthy & Stone has made profits of £383 million.

Mr O’Kelly said: “The situation may be improving as builders move to being service providers but these companies successfully lobbied government to retain ground rents on retirement sites, which doesn’t encourage the belief they have a long-term interest.”

This week Churchill Retirement Homes donated £150,000 to the Tories. The company is run by Spencer and Clinton McCarthy, the sons of John McCarthy, the co-founder of McCarthy & Stone. There is no suggestion that the donation was linked to the decision to exempt retirement home providers from a ban on ground rents. Spencer and Clinton McCarthy have been Tory supporters for ten years.

The industry says the sale of freeholds funds communal areas and without this system flats would cost more.

Sources at McCarthy & Stone insist it is a different company to the one that developed homes pre-2010. FirstPort is responsible for maintaining the developments built before 2010. It said that nine out of 10 customers say its properties improve their quality of life. It added: “Independent research by the Elderly Accommodation Counsel in 2019 found that new retirement properties typically increase in value. The vast majority of our managed properties increase in price on resale and they are more than just places to live.”

“The billionaire and the 219 tiny flats: a new low for rabbit-hutch Britain?”

“Campaigners have piled in to criticise plans drawn up by a billionaire property tycoon to cram more than 200 tiny flats into an office building in north London. They describe it as a “human warehouse” that would be filled with people living in “cramped single-occupancy shoeboxes” like “rabbits in hutches”.

Amid claims that some of the planned flats would be as small as 15 sq metres – that’s less than 13ft by 13ft for residents’ entire living space – some locals say the proposal is one of the most shocking examples yet of the phenomenon known as office-to-residential conversion. A typical Premier Inn hotel room is 21 sq metres, while national space standards state that the minimum floor area for a new one-bedroom one-person home is 37 sq metres.

It was 10 years ago that, while London mayor, Boris Johnson pledged an end to “hobbit” homes in the capital, but examples of rabbit-hutch developments keep coming, and one leading architect told Guardian Money: “We’re heading towards the so-called ‘coffin homes’ in Hong Kong.” …”

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/nov/23/the-billionaire-and-the-219-tiny-flats-a-new-low-for-rabbit-hutch-britain?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other