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Expert views

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

  1. Oxfordshire Vision 2050 under the spotlight
    13 Feb, 2019
    Oxfordshire Vision 2050 under the spotlight
    Members of the family of Lichfields senior director Daniel Lampard are in for a treat during the Winter half term break, as he explains. This month I shall use the half term holiday to take my children to a roadshow on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.  Whilst they may not appreciate it (in both senses of the word) as current, and I hope future, residents of Oxfordshire, they have as much an interest as I do in the development of the county over the next 30 years.  They will also be more at home
  2. Could Brexit allow occupiers to challenge business rate liabilities?
    06 Feb, 2019
    Could Brexit allow occupiers to challenge business rate liabilities?
    As uncertainty around the Brexit ‘deal’ continues, could it represent an opportunity for businesses to challenge their rateable values? Nigel Katseph, associate and business rates adviser at City-based property consultants, Vail Williams LLP, discusses. The future of Brexit remains uncertain, as Government continues its attempt to resolve the Irish backstop issue. If the Government fails to get cross party agreement to adopt Theresa May’s ‘deal’ by March 29, will we simply crash out with no
  3. Reading’s regional magnetism
    18 Jan, 2019
    Reading’s regional magnetism
    David Thomas, Partner at Thames Valley-based property consultancy, Vail Williams LLP, looks at the growing popularity of Reading town centre, both for employers and employees. If you think of mass urbanisation, you may hark back to geography lessons at school and your mind may conjure up examples of the rapidly developing cities and economies of, say, Beijing, Delhi or Mexico City. Yet something equally significant is happening right here in the Thames Valley, specifically around Reading.
  4. Forfeiture: the right of re-entry
    18 Jan, 2019
    Forfeiture: the right of re-entry
    Forfeiture or the “right of re-entry” is a landlord’s right to end a lease in the event of a breach by the tenant. Gemma Tolmie, Senior Associate - Commercial Litigation at BrookStreet des Roches provides an overview of how and when the right arises in commercial leases, the procedure to be followed, relief available to the tenant and what the landlord can do following forfeiture. When can a landlord forfeit the lease? A landlord can only forfeit a lease if it contains a forfeiture clause.
  5. The importance of landlords’ intentions
    14 Jan, 2019
    The importance of landlords’ intentions
    The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in S Franses Limited v The Cavendish Hotel (London) Limited (2018). In this much anticipated judgment, the Supreme Court determined that a landlord cannot oppose a renewal of a tenant’s lease pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“the 1954 act”) on the basis that it has developed a scheme of works to be carried out solely for the purpose of securing possession. Simeon Fenn, senior associate - real estate litigation at  BrookStreet des
  6. Science and high tech surges on
    07 Jan, 2019
    Science and high tech surges on
    Demand for high tech workplaces is defying the gloom about Brexit according to Scott Harkness from Carter Jonas. But he said Brexit remains a major concern. Mr Harkness, head of commercial at the property consultancy, sponsor of our Oxford Social events, has given his thoughts on the commercial property market in 2019, picking out critical growth sectors, regions and his predictions. He writes: “Life sciences will continue to be a critical growth sector for the UK and substantial steps have
  7. High hopes for deals at Basing View
    07 Jan, 2019
    High hopes for deals at Basing View
    Significant office lettings could be in the pipeline at the latest new building in Basing View among a number of developments at the 65-acre business park in Basingstoke. Basing View has teamed up with Thames Tap to become one of our Valley Voices and the newest scheme unveiled there is the Florence Building (pictured below), a 65,000 sq ft development by Abstract Securities which completed this summer and is being marketed by Savills and Rare. Project director Kate Dean said: “I understand
  8. Slough businesses cautiously optimistic about 2019 prospects
    07 Jan, 2019
    Slough businesses cautiously optimistic about 2019 prospects
    Paul Lewis, regional director for new Thames Tap partner Segro plc, has managed Slough Trading Estate for more than 18 years. He explains the reasons he is cautiously optimistic for 2019. Last year was a good one for businesses on the Slough Trading Estate. More than 350 enterprises of every size are based here, working across diverse sectors – from automotive and IT, to food production and pharmaceuticals. They range from small start ups to global leaders – housing a rich mix of talent and
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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:
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. '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
  20. 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