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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. Concern remains over Oxfordshire's 100,000 housing target
    10 Dec, 2018
    Concern remains over Oxfordshire's 100,000 housing target
    The delayed draft Local Plan for South Oxfordshire goes before councillors this week but there are concerns over whether the county can now meet its housing target. In May, South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) asked officers to reassess all its main sites for housing after controversy, particularly around the allocation of Chalgrove Airfield. Now, although three new sites – Grenoble Road, Bayswater Brook and Northfield - have been added, SODC expects to deliver fewer homes over the plan
  2. Judicial review may challenge Government's preferred option for the Expressway
    06 Dec, 2018
    Judicial review may challenge Government's preferred option for the Expressway
    Karen Jones, partner in Blandy & Blandy's planning & environmental law team, reviews the latest situation regarding the Government's Road Investment Strategy 2 and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway in the light of a likely judicial review. The Government announced in 2015 that it was preparing its Road Investment Strategy 2 and that studies were required to identify the right investment decisions. One such strategic study was in respect of the Oxford to Cambridge expressway. A consultation by
  3. Getting Bucks in a row
    16 Nov, 2018
    Getting Bucks in a row
    Tim Burden and Taylor Cherrett, director and associate director respectively at Turley, weigh up how plans for a single unitary authority for Buckinghamshire could affect planning, infrastructure and decision making in the county. On 1 November 2018, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, James Brokenshire, announced that proposals for a new unitary authority covering Buckinghamshire were to be given the backing of Government. The  Local Government Update:
  4. Mixed views over Bucks council shake up
    05 Nov, 2018
    Mixed views over Bucks council shake up
    The news that five councils in Buckinghamshire are to be replaced with one unitary authority has been met with a mixed - but overall positive - response from those involved in the county's future development. Secretary of state James Brokenshire announced on Thursday, November 1, that after considering two options, one for two unitary councils and another for one, he has opted for the latter, subject to Parliamentary approval. It means Buckinghamshire County Council and the district councils
  5. Autumn Budget 2018 response: Relief for the few, not the many
    30 Oct, 2018
    Autumn Budget 2018 response: Relief for the few, not the many
    Following Chancellor, Philip Hammond’s Budget speech on Monday, October 29, partner and head of business rates at Vail Williams, James FitzGibbon, gives his views on whether or not the changes go far enough. On Monday, the Chancellor cut business rates by a third for two years for small businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 and under, in a bid to help save the British high street, but whilst the cut is to be welcomed, it simply does not go far enough. The fact remains that liabilities
  6. Objecting to planning applications explained
    29 Oct, 2018
    Objecting to planning applications explained
    Karen Jones, partner in Blandy & Blandy LLP’s planning & environmental law team, explains the process for objecting to planning applications. You will never please everyone and this sentiment is particularly true in respect of proposed development. You are able to submit representations on planning applications whether a proposed development is minor or major. Objections should always be planning based.  Despite guidance on local authority websites, the planning portal and other third party
  7. I can hardly contain(er) myself: DesBox creative development in High Wycombe
    10 Oct, 2018
    I can hardly contain(er) myself: DesBox creative development in High Wycombe
    As work gets under way on a box park development in High Wycombe, Ben Henderson and James Nelson of the Real Estate and Development team at Blaser Mills Law look forward to the impact it could have on the town centre’s regeneration. With a decline of its traditional high street, High Wycombe has been striving for new ways to invoke some spirit and identity into the local area. Now Docklands-based Container City has begun work to create an exciting new space in the town centre, combining
  8. Community Infrastructure Levy: 10 things to remember
    02 Oct, 2018
    Community Infrastructure Levy: 10 things to remember
    Simon Dimmick, partner in Blandy & Blandy’s planning & environmental law team, explains 10 important points to remember when it comes to Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). 1.     Submit the additional information form with any planning application – our experience is some local planning authorities will not validate the application without it. 2.     Apply for any exemptions/reliefs in good time – the charging/collecting authority needs to make a decision on whether or not they will grant
  9. Microsoft site sale 'proves the value of Thames Valley Park'
    01 Oct, 2018
    Microsoft site sale 'proves the value of Thames Valley Park'
    The sale of the Microsoft campus has been described as an illustration of the value of Thames Valley Park. Costar News has reported that London-based real estate investment manager, Valesco Group, along with AIP Asset Management, headquartered in Seoul, have exchanged contracts to buy the IT giant’s 246, 138 sq ft UK HQ campus for £100m. The investment in the three buildings is backed by a consortium of South Korean institutional investors. Charlie Nicholson, partner at Vail Williams which is
  10. Short term occupation: lease, licence or tenancy at will?
    28 Sep, 2018
    Short term occupation: lease, licence or tenancy at will?
    Rebecca Thomas, legal practice director at BrookStreet des Roches, explains the risks involved where leases are not formally documented.​ Owners of commercial property often want to allow someone into occupation without the time and expense of negotiating a lease. There is a tendency in these situations to just allow the occupation on an informal basis, not involving lawyers or thinking too much about the nature of the occupation. This is fine while the parties all agree on what they are
  11. 'Joined up thinking needed' over Oxford to Cambridge Expressway
    20 Sep, 2018
    'Joined up thinking needed' over Oxford to Cambridge Expressway
    Following the announcement of the Government’s choice of ‘Route B’ for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, we asked some of our sponsors and partners for their thoughts on it. The issues, it seems, go much deeper than the recent announcement. Planner Tim Burden says the Government’s choice of route for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway has revealed a clash between local and strategic decision-making. Roads minister Jesse Norman announced on September 12, the choice of ‘Route B’, the central
  12. Public realm is key to the future of town centres
    05 Sep, 2018
    Public realm is key to the future of town centres
    Quality public realm is going to be essential to the future success of town centres. Matthew Hopkinson, co-founder of data analyst business Didobi, who has published reports on the future of the high street, will speak at the Thames Valley Property Festival on September 13. Speaking to Thames Tap ahead of the conference, he said he believes the desire for eating, drinking and interacting will make the quality of environment more important to the new users of town centres.  Shop units will need
  13. The differences and similarities between planning solicitors and planning consultants
    31 Aug, 2018
    The differences and similarities between planning solicitors and planning consultants
    Karen Jones, partner in the planning & environmental law team at Blandy & Blandy, explains the differences between planning solicitors - or lawyers - and planning consultants. One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a planning lawyer is - What do you do? There is often a perception of overlap between planning consultants and planning lawyers but if you have the right professionals advising that should not be the case. As a legal associate of the Royal Town Planning Association I
  14. Dilapidations and how (and when) to prepare
    28 Aug, 2018
    Dilapidations and how (and when) to prepare
    Vail Williams Partner, David Castle, explains the importance of occupiers making provision for dilapidations long before their lease comes to an end. It’s easy to put off thinking about issues that may arise from breaches of lease covenants relating to the condition of your property, but it’s important for businesses to ensure they’re one step ahead from the outset. The best way to avoid major cost implications when it’s time to exit the property is by having a clear understanding of your
  15. The co-working conundrum
    31 Jul, 2018
    The co-working conundrum
    Vail Williams partner, David Thomas, weighs up the pros and cons of co-working spaces for occupiers.    At a recent seminar the hosts posed the question of whether the office was dead, with the conclusion in part, that ‘it wasn’t dead but just smells a bit funny’. If you follow the press documenting the gargantuan expansion and growth of co-working spaces, not only in London but across the UK, you may jump to the conclusion that traditional office space may have had its day. With the
  16. Heathrow expansion - MPs' vote offers a commercial take-off
    06 Jul, 2018
    Heathrow expansion - MPs' vote offers a commercial take-off
    Buckinghamshire law firm Blaser Mills Law sets out the progress of the third runway at Heathrow Airport from the commitment given by the Government almost a decade ago to the future the expansion offers the region. “Check in” – a look back on events leading to the crucial vote​ In 2009, the incumbent transport secretary Geoff Hoon declared that the cabinet at the time supported the notion of a third runway to be built at Heathrow Airport. On June 5, 2018, almost 10 years later, the transport
  17. Heathrow expansion: 'Great - now please get on with it'
    11 Jun, 2018
    Heathrow expansion: 'Great - now please get on with it'
    ‘Just do it’ was the resounding response from Thames Tap’s Voices of the Valley when we asked their thoughts on Heathrow expansion – and some had a little more to say. A mix of positivity and exasperation was evident when we asked our panel for their views on the long-awaited third runway which came a step closer when transport secretary Chris Grayling set out the Government’s final proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) on June 5. A vote will take place in Parliament within
  18. '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
  19. '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
  20. 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