Persimmon non-payment for 3 years may lead to loss of bus service

Owl says: if a developer has not kept its side of a bargain and ows money or in-kind payments, with a planning application, surely it should not be allowed to submit further planning applications till the debt has been fully discharged (with appropriate interest).

“The future of a vital bus route could be placed in jeopardy. Persimmon Homes South West has built 334 new homes at Mile End on the Ashburton Road on the A383 at the edge of Newton Abbot, and as part of the planning agreement for the scheme, they would help to fund the number 88 bus service that runs between Newton Abbot and Totnes, via Buckfastleigh, and travels on the A383 Ashburton Road,

But, the developers have been accused of not paying those contribution for 2015, 2016 and 2017 – a total of £225,000.

Teignbridge Council have commenced legal proceedings against the developer to ensure all the signed contributions are met.

But there are fears that unless the developers pay up, the bus route could be placed in jeopardy as there could be no funds for it.”

http://www.devonlive.com/south-devon-bus-service-under-threat-as-developers-have-not-paid-contributions-for-it/story-30282913-detail/story.html

Persimmon loses appeal against Newcastle master plan decisions

Though basically it was just a developer/developer spat – one developer fighting another about who got to build 3,000 houses and where – Persimmon saying that the other developer shouldn’t be allowed to build where it was given permission to build.

Nothing like the right to build masses of houses to bring out the developers’ lawyers!

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30620%3Acouncil-defeats-high-court-challenge-to-masterplan-and-planning-permissions&catid=63&Itemid=31

Who will help people in sub-standard new build homes?

“There are rising concerns that the rush to build new homes is causing housebuilders to cut corners. Many firms have set tough targets to cash in on huge demand.

There are rising concerns that the rush to build new homes is causing housebuilders to cut corners. Many firms have set tough targets to cash in on huge demand — and meet the Government’s pledge to build 200,000 new homes a year.

Thousands of victims of poor workmanship have formed groups on social media websites such as Facebook, including Taylor Wimpey Unhappy Customers, Avoid Persimmon Homes and Bovis Homes Victims Group.

Hundreds have posted on Snagging.org — named after the jargon builders give to the task of finishing a project — citing problems such as creaking floors, scratched windows and stained carpets.

Campaign groups want a new homes ombudsman who can step in when families are let down. Buyers should also be given a chance to inspect their new-build before being handed the keys, they say.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, says: ‘You have more consumer protection when you buy a toaster.

‘The industry is tilted too far in favour of developers, and the complaints system is too confusing.’

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment found more than nine in ten buyers report problems to their builder.

Oliver Colvile, chairman of the parliamentary group and Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, says: ‘There have been too many reports of new homes that are quite simply uninhabitable.

‘We need to ensure there is a clear process whereby developers can be held to account and are responsible for correcting any below-par workmanship as soon as possible.’

Britain’s biggest house builders nearly all reported soaring profits last month. Persimmon reported a pre-tax profit of £783 million for 2016 — a 23 per cent increase on 2015.

Barratt Developments saw a 20.7 per cent rise to £682.3 million, Bellway a 36.5 per cent rise to £492 million, Redrow a 35 per cent rise to £140 million and Taylor Wimpey a 21.5 per cent rise to £733.4 million.
Bovis reported a 3 per cent fall in profits but still made £154.7 million.
Bovis has been forced to set aside £7 million to compensate buyers who have complained about the poor quality of its homes.

In January the firm was revealed to have offered up to £3,000 to buyers who moved into their houses by December 23 as it struggled to meet targets.
Sales have been boosted by the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which has helped 100,284 first-time buyers onto the property ladder since 2013.
All the firms reported an increase in both the number of homes built and average selling prices. …

… A spokesman for the National House Building Council says: ‘We carry out spot check inspections at key stages during construction… [but] the builder is responsible for ensuring homes conform to building regulations and our standards.’

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman says: ‘We recognise that we do sometimes get things wrong, but we are committed to resolving those issues.’
A Bovis spokesman says: ‘We are putting more resource into customer care and reviewing our processes to ensure a focus on quality.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-4314028/Who-help-families-forced-live-half-built-homes.html

The housing white paper: Guardian nails it!

Not so long ago, the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, sounded like the scourge of the big housebuilders as he complained that current rates of housebuilding were “not good enough”. His white paper on housing upgraded the rhetoric to describe the market as “broken” but it would be hard to conclude the fix-it plan will make life uncomfortable for the likes of Barratt, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey.

The stick that Javid has chosen to beat the big boys looks more like a twig. Developers will be forced to build on land within two years of gaining planning permission. That is a reduction from the current cut-off of three years but, given that most developers tell us they start building almost as soon they receive permission, the switch may be barely noticed.

At a push, one might say government assistance for small housebuilders could inject more competition. But, if the sight of profit margins at 20%-plus across the sector hasn’t brought forth a rush of new rivals, the problem may go deeper than a lack of official encouragement for the smaller brigades.

Javid’s greater focus seems to be funding more “affordable” homes, to be delivered chiefly by housing associations and local authorities. Since the big boys tend to be uninterested in the affordable end, they’ll be happy to let others get on with the job. Share prices across the sector rose gently, and one can understand why. The big boys can continue building at their current steady rate and their special dividends can keep flowing.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2017/feb/07/housing-white-paper-builders-sajid-javid

Council takes out injunction against Persimmon for highways work not completed before house sales started

“In a statement made after the injunction was served but before agreement was reached, David Hammond, Housing and Planning Manager at Wychavon, said: “The highways issues relate to our concerns that construction traffic could meet other road traffic, cyclists and pedestrians on a road that is currently too narrow, unsuitable and unsafe for construction vehicles.

“By beginning development on site and selling homes, Persimmon is in breach of a planning condition that was imposed by the Secretary of State on 2 July 2014, a condition that clearly states that in the interests of public safety, the necessary highways work should have been completed before any development took place.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29915%3Acouncil-and-developer-reach-deal-after-injunction-served-over-highways-issues&catid=56&Itemid=24

Bovis … creek … no paddle?

Bovis is currently constructing all over East Devon, including in large numbers at Axminster, Seaton and Cranbrook.

The company has recently seen the creation of the Bovis Homex Victims Group Facebook site:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/09/08/bovis-homes-victims-group-facebook-page/

Could it be that this has also contributed to their woes?
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/12/23/axminster-and-cranbrook-slums-of-the-future-says-councillor-hull-whilst-councillor-moulding-says-nothing/

A City attempt to lay the foundations of a £5bn merger of Bovis Homes and Berkeley Group is on shaky ground, with Berkeley understood to have rejected the idea.

Schroders, Bovis’ biggest shareholder, wrote to Berkeley proposing an all-share merger following a difficult trading period for Bovis which claimed the scalp of its chief executive David Ritchie.

Bovis had issued a surprise profit warning at the end of 2016, saying that pre-tax profits were likely to be flat this year at between £160m and £170m, below analyst predictions of £180m, due to a slowdown in the rate of building and sales in December.

The string of events prompted Schroders to target a merger with Berkeley, which mostly builds homes in London and the South East. Bovis’ activity is also concentrated on that area.

But Berkeley sources said the company had dismissed the call, instead choosing to concentrate on growing through partnerships with the likes of the National Grid, with whom it signed a £700m joint venture to develop new homes on disused land owned by the power provider in 2014, rather than mergers.

Other housebuilders, such as rivals Redrow or Persimmon, could still be in the frame to buy Bovis, which has struggled in recent months with slowing sales of its homes amid wider market uncertainty.

Berkeley itself has not been immune to a slump in the market: last month it amended its five-year dividend plan to return some cash through share buybacks instead. It also said in December that the number of reservations for its homes had fallen by a fifth since the referendum, signalling the impact of the slowing London property market on the company.

It hit out at Government policy which it said was increasing demand rather than supply, saying while it had helped in some areas, it was having “a negative effect on the capital”.

Schroders declined to comment on the terms of its proposals.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/01/22/merger-bovis-berkeley-shaky-ground/

Persimmon’s “very affordable homes” claim examined

““Buying a new-build home remains a compelling choice supported by competitive mortgage offers which continue to make a new home purchase very affordable.”

So said Persimmon Homes, on the back of its latest trading statement. An update that made the company the belle of the stock market ball. Revenues for 2016 were 8 per cent higher than in 2015 and the group completed 559 extra sales. Happy days for its investors.

But let’s take a closer look at that quote. Is an average Persimmon home really “very affordable”?

Now, the company said that its average selling price increased by 4 per cent to £206,700 in 2016. To put that in perspective, the median average British wage, which has been increasing at something more like 2 per cent per annum, stands at £28,200.

To find out whether Persimmon’s average home is indeed very affordable to an average family (if there is such a thing) I created one of my own.

The Smiths have £500 each on their credit cards (after Christmas) and they spend £100 a month on loan repayments. That makes their level of debt rather modest by British standards.

John Smith works full time earning £28,200. Jane Smith works two and a half days a week and makes half that on a pro rata basis. I haven’t factored in any child care costs because we’ll assume relatives help out.

Between them, they’ve scrimped and saved enough for a 10 per cent deposit which comes to £20,670. Feeding those details into NatWest’s handy mortgage calculator, I was told that they could borrow a maximum of £169,200.

If Jenny Smith were to work three days a week, earning £16,920, that gets us to £180,400. That’s still just under £6,000 below what it would take to make Persimmon’s average home barely, and not very, affordable.

It looks like Jane Smith will either have to take on more hours, or the family will have to save a bit more and hope that their savings catch up with the rise in average house prices. Perhaps they’ll get lucky and find a lender willing risk the wrath of its regulators to play ball with them. I’m sure Persimmon will be only too happy to point them in the right direction.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/persimmon-says-its-homes-are-very-affordable-does-that-stack-up-a7510746.html