Independent Property
NEWS & VIEWS

Reporting daily on the Thames Valley property market 

Reporting daily from the Thames Valley        tvproperty.co.uk

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Expert views

Leading Thames Valley professionals offer insights and opinions on the region's current property market

  1. 'Technology must serve the industry's future'
    21 May, 2018
    'Technology must serve the industry's future'
    UK Property Forums researcher Andrew Gibson reports from the FT Future of Construction summit at One Great George Street in London on Wednesday, May 16. Technology has been at the forefront of discussion when looking beyond the horizon in any industry - and construction is no different. But is it all hot air? A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute found the construction sector to be one of the least digitised global industries.  While there has been great progress in the development
  2. 'We have changed people's perceptions of Basingstoke'
    14 May, 2018
    'We have changed people's perceptions of Basingstoke'
    Thames Tap spoke to two of the leading figures behind the multi-billion pound regeneration of Basingstoke; Cllr John Izett, former managing director of Rogers Chapman at the time it was sold to JLL, and Victor Nicholls, former deputy chief executive of Bracknell Forest Council. Both public and private investment is flowing into Basingstoke and the councillor overseeing the town’s regeneration has no doubts why. A combination of an 8,000-home Garden Town, the £300 million rebuilding of its main
  3. Oxford: 'A great environment to be in'
    10 May, 2018
    Oxford: 'A great environment to be in'
    Few people have a better understanding of the issues facing Oxfordshire than Bob Price. We spoke to the former leader of Oxford City Council about how both the city and the county should address the challenges in its dynamic future.  The May elections brought to an end 35 years on Oxford City Council for former leader Bob Price. Mr Price spent half his life on the authority during a period of development unlike anything the city has seen. Yet the growing pains caused by the explosion of
  4. New homes coming to Harwell Campus
    01 May, 2018
    New homes coming to Harwell Campus
    The evolution of the Harwell Campus moves into a new stage this year as plans are drawn up to build 1,000 homes on the site. The 710-acre former RAF airfield, operated since 2014 by a partnership between Harwell Oxford Partners and U+I, plus two Government backed agencies, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UKRI STFC) and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), has long been a global success story of leading-edge science and is already expanding commercially faster than anywhere in
  5. Bursars' rare insight into University of Oxford
    30 Apr, 2018
    Bursars' rare insight into University of Oxford
    Delegates at a special debate at the Oxfordshire Property Festival learned of the extraordinary growth of the University of Oxford in recent years and the knock on effects that have resulted. The College Bursars’ Round Table, chaired by Hugh Blaza, senior partner at BrookStreet des Roches, was a rare look at the finances and challenges facing the university and its colleges at a time of rapid growth. It was held under a form of Chatham House rules so some information is not attributed.
  6. Five years of PDR - a developer's evaluation
    27 Apr, 2018
    Five years of PDR - a developer's evaluation
    Five years on from the introduction of Permitted Development Rights (PDR), Andy Jansons, managing director of Jansons Property, weighs up the pros and cons it has brought to the industry. Although opinions vary on PDR, most would agree it is something of a double-edged sword. Its critics acknowledge its success in creating additional homes often in town centres where they support the retail, while many of its supporters accept there is a cost in lost employment sites and, subsequently,
  7. 'City status will match our ambitions'
    27 Apr, 2018
    'City status will match our ambitions'
    Slough’s council leader believes the booming borough can become a city within the next five to 10 years. Cllr James Swindlehurst told Thames Tap city status would match the authority’s ambitions for massive future developments which are on a scale even bigger than those built in recent years. Thousands more homes, £40 million of new leisure and one of the most ambitious shopping centre developments of recent times, he suggests, will help Slough’s bid. Cllr Swindlehurst said: "We are serious
  8. Employee engagement - the new strategic priority
    24 Apr, 2018
    Employee engagement - the new strategic priority
    Vail Williams partner, Geoff Fallon, looks at the changing nature of the value employers place on their workforce. More than ever, people are a company’s most important asset. How they are treated will shape the future of the modern organisation. Today’s working world is evolving rapidly and, in a time of heightened expectancy, employers need to provide a productive, engaging and enjoyable workplace experience if they are to attract and retain the best talent. This is especially important on
  9. Productivity and the transformation of the working environment
    28 Mar, 2018
    Productivity and the transformation of the working environment
    Both the working day and the working environment are ever evolving concepts. Vail Williams partner David Thomas discusses where work is going. The working day has changed considerably in the last 30 years. From getting into your Ford Escort to travel to work for your 9-5 job, surrounded by rows of typing pools and telex machines in your naturally ventilated office, to travelling to work in cars that have more technology than the average computer had 20 years ago! Nowadays, our agile,
  10. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) – how are you affected?
    13 Mar, 2018
    Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) – how are you affected?
    There are just days left before the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) start to come into effect. Vail Williams partner, David Castle, explains how this affects the interested parties in a property, from landlord to tenant - and even some of those less directly involved. If you haven’t already heard about MEES here's some information about what they are, what to do to prepare for them, and by when.   The new standards will directly affect tenants, landlords, investors and developers, as
  11. Motes and planks: who is really to blame for the housing shortage?
    07 Mar, 2018
    Motes and planks: who is really to blame for the housing shortage?
    Nigel Hewitson, planning partner at BrookStreet des Roches, weighs up whether prime minister Theresa May's comments about developers during her March 5 speech on the planning reforms were entirely justified. We are regularly told that, as a country, we are not building enough homes. There is widespread acceptance that, to meet demand, the UK needs to build about 300,000 new homes a year. Yet for years we have built, at best, half that number. The result is ever higher property prices which
  12. Small offices can survive PD
    06 Mar, 2018
    Small offices can survive PD
    Steve Head, business space partner at Hicks Baker, describes deals which have defied the trend for Permitted Development.   Despite recent changes in the tax regime, designed to dampen aspects of the buy-to-let residential market, there has been no tailing off of demand for the conversion of existing office buildings to residential under Permitted Development (PD) Rights. However, as a number of recent deals transacted by Hicks Baker illustrate, the change of use to residential is not
  13. Business rates appeals down 97% in the Thames Valley
    27 Feb, 2018
    Business rates appeals down 97% in the Thames Valley
    Linda Staker, business rates partner at Vail Williams, illustrates why it is more important than ever to know what businesses can do about minimising what they need to pay.   According to statistics published by Government in December, the number of business rates ‘checks’ lodged by Thames Valley businesses have dropped by a huge 97 per cent, compared with the previous revaluation in 2010. Despite boasting some of the country’s leading organisations, businesses in the Thames Valley are failing
  14. New challenges of the evolving high street
    23 Feb, 2018
    New challenges of the evolving high street
    Jamie Barton, partner for real estate at BrookStreet des Roches, considers the 21st century issues facing operators in the retail world.       RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS It is no secret that the times are tough on the high street for many retailers. Online sales accounted for nearly 20 per cent of sales in November 2017 and the devaluation of sterling has led to an increase in costs in many supply chains. Meanwhile consumers have switched from spending on clothes to spending on leisure pursuits and
  15. It's all about performance
    19 Jan, 2018
    It's all about performance
    Our wellness round table, featured in three parts last week, brought together a range of people involved in improving employee performance through workplace design. Steve Hutton, director of Three Sphere Workplace Design,  sums up the debate and offers some assistance. Wellness debate Part 1: 'Employers fail to grasp the impact of the workplace' Wellness debate Part 2: 'Workers need a variety of spaces' Wellness debate Part 3: Feedback loop 'is essential' It’s all about performance - the art
  16. Be heard at the latest consultation on Heathrow
    17 Jan, 2018
    Be heard at the latest consultation on Heathrow
    Thames Valley businesses have been urged to get their voices heard in the latest consultation over Heathrow expansion – one of the UK’s largest ever. The Expansion and Airspace Principles Consultations involves two main themes. The first is about infrastructure design options for an expanded Heathrow and the second, on the future design principles for airspace around the airport. From today until March 28, a dedicated website allows comments on both consultations and, during the 10-week
  17. Will serviced apartments be the next property goldmine?
    11 Jan, 2018
    Will serviced apartments be the next property goldmine?
    We spoke to Thames Tap sponsor T A Fisher about one of the most exciting areas of development of recent years - one where its own subsidiary leads the market in the Thames Valley. Few people in development will be unaware of the major investment opportunities to emerge in recent times – but what will be the next?   Care homes, student accommodation, hotels, PRS and, of course, residential, are all segments of the property market which have risen in prominence.   But one area which has been
  18. The developing world of student accommodation
    01 Nov, 2017
    The developing world of student accommodation
    Student accommodation in the 21st Century is a world away from the traditional halls of residence. Andy Jansons, managing director of Jansons Property, casts a developer's eye over this fast evolving market. Cinema rooms, PlayStation facilities and private dining areas illustrate how student accommodation has become one of the most exciting sectors for new developments in recent years. This once relatively-small market has evolved to a point where the major pension funds are now established
  19. How chancel repair liability continues to affect landowners
    17 Oct, 2017
    How chancel repair liability continues to affect landowners
    Despite changes in 2013, an ancient law could still present landowners with a large unexpected bill. BrookStreet Des Roches partner Rebecca Thomas explains.  CHANCEL REPAIR LIABILITY – IS IT STILL AN ISSUE? Chancel repair liability has the potential to leave property owners with a large bill to pay towards the upkeep of their local church. In October 2013, the law relating to chancel repair changed so that chancel repair liability stopped being an overriding interest – but what does this mean
  20. Permitted development: Positive or Negative?
    16 Oct, 2017
    Permitted development: Positive or Negative?
    Charles Royle, assistant portfolio manager for AEW UK, argues that Bracknell has done well from Permitted Development rights and questions the use of an Article 4 Direction. The introduction of permitted development rights for change of use from offices (B1a) to residential use (C3) in 2013 has been a huge benefit for the Thames Valley (TV) office market. Councils, landlords and occupiers have all gained from permitted development in different ways. * Councils have, according to DCLG, seen an