Sharon began working at Rapleys in 2010 as a senior client accountant in the property & asset management team and has over 20 years of accounting experience.

Sharon heads up the accounts function for various key clients including New Look, Ann Summers and Bauer. Sharon’s role is to manage the client team and to act as a key contact for these clients, ensuring their expectations are met in areas such as monthly, bespoke and ad hoc reporting.

Since joining Rapleys, Sharon has used her extensive property accounting experience to mobilise a number of key clients on both the landlord and tenant side of the business focusing on transfer of key financial data and critical dates such as rent payment and/or collection data to ensure there are no failures in payment or collection of rent and other outgoings.

As part of the mobilisation process for new clients, Sharon undertakes a due diligence exercise on the portfolio we inherit. One of Sharon’s key skills is identifying and auditing new clients’ portfolios to ensure they are managed in the most efficient and cost effective way, in terms of a payments and collection of rents and other outgoings.

 

Stuart joins Rapleys with 30 years experience in the property industry. He started his career with Strutt & Parker as a graduate surveyor and progressed quickly to achieve his Chartership in 1993 with Carter Jonas where he continued to advance his career for over 20 years.

At Carter Jonas, Stuart was promoted to Partner and Head of Residential Sales within the Cambridge office and he specialised in residential sales, valuation and marketing. As part of his role he was also involved in land appraisal, viability and acquisition advice for retained developer clients. Stuart is proficient in dealing with clients from a range of backgrounds including institutions, local authorities, developers, trusts and charities as well as private clients.

Stuart became a formal RICS valuer for lending, estate and tax planning and Inheritance Tax purposes. This role lead to a membership of the RICS’ Policy and PR Committee for the East of England and he held a prominent position within the organisation as a media spokesperson.

Stuart moved on to provide more specialised, direct services to limited companies in Executive Directorship roles. Within these companies he provides freelance advisory work covering his areas of expertise such as land appraisal, viability and promotion & development funding. Stuart is also experienced in the care home sector covering all property services.

At Rapleys, Stuart is head of the Cambridge office and coordinates a variety of services from there with a focus of development services, strategic land, town planning and building consultancy services.

In a move to further the significant Town Planning successes Rapleys has already been delivering in the region, the firm is delighted to welcome to the partnership, from April, its new lead of Town Planning in Cambridge, Richard Sykes-Popham.

Richard, previously of Carter Jonas and Januarys, brings with him a wealth of experience in Cambridge and across the eastern region and enjoys an excellent reputation as a trusted and focused planning advisor.

He joins, the business, as a Partner.

Richard’s background has given him exposure to a broad range of work and to business and team management. In addition to the promotion of planning applications and appeals, Richard has a particular focus on public inquiries, Examinations in Public (EiPs), environmental impact assessment, green belt cases and sustainable urban extensions.

He is able to bring his expertise, to the table, on town planning and wider multidisciplinary instructions: the latter in association with our other service lines in the Cambridge office, including development consultancy.

On his move to Rapleys Richard commented: “I am delighted to be at Rapleys. In the process of joining I have been able to get a good measure of their ethos and values, which have the firm’s clients and its people at their centre. The culture of the practice coupled with its excellent fundamentals make it an extremely exciting business to be part of. My focus will be on getting our planning services to clients and to ensure that we add value in the pursuit of future instructions and commissions.”

Rapleys’ Senior Partner, Robert Clarke, adds “I am delighted to welcome Richard to the partnership. He is a significant appointment in the growth of the Cambridge office. He brings a wealth of local, and national, experience to the business: to the benefit of our client base. I have no doubt that, under his leadership, the town planning team, in Cambridge, will become an important player in the city, its hinterland and wider region”.

In common with all aspects of day-to-day life, the property world has been hugely affected by current events. However, in terms of the planning system there is a huge push by government at national and local level to “keep calm and carry on” as much as is possible. Therefore, if they are in position to, there are several things that companies with property portfolios can do to protect themselves in the immediate term, and prepare for the future, once the storm has passed. 

1. Keep monitoring local plans and applications of interest
Although there are well publicised delays to local plan examinations and planning committees, most local authorities are still doing what they can towards the preparation of local plans and processing planning applications, so it is still vitally important to keep a close eye on local plan consultations, and the progress of planning applications, that are relevant to you.

2. Take stock of what you have
Even if you are not able to actively promote development at the moment, the current situation provides an opportunity to step back and review portfolio strategy.

3. Don’t lose your planning permissions
There are rumours that the Government will announce measures to extend the life of planning permissions. However, until then make sure you are discharging any relevant conditions and planning obligations, in the interests of commencing development at the earliest possible stage.

4. Instruct ecological surveys
Such surveys are time critical, as they can only be taken at certain times of the year, and for many species we are coming into season. Despite the lockdown, a number of ecological consultants are still able to carry out surveys. To avoid missing the window, make sure these are undertaken so you don’t have to wait another year.

5. Keep your eye on the ball
Measures to encourage development and keep the planning system going are being announced on a very regular basis. Make sure that you are up-to-speed with all the changes as they happen.

Summary
As the situation is constantly changing, so are the regulations and responses that are being put in place to support the system. For example, and as reported in our previous newsletter, the Coronavirus Act 2020 has received royal assent last week to enable planning committees to ‘meet’ without being together in the same place – regulations providing further detail of this were published this week, and will be reported in full in our next newsletter. Also, some local authorities are seeking to reduce the need for committees in the first place, by expanding powers of delegation.

Rapleys will continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep you updated. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this or any other queries you might have arising as a result of the current circumstances, please contact Jason Lowes, Town Planning at Rapleys.

As published in Property Week on 7 April 2020.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As part of the UK government’s response to Covid-19, Boris Johnson announced the closure of all pubs, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities, with the closure of retail units following shortly afterwards.

The exception to the rule is a relatively small number of essential services such as supermarkets and other food shops, pharmacies, post offices and petrol stations.

To assist in supporting businesses through the coronavirus outbreak, the government has temporarily relaxed planning legislation to allow pubs, restaurants and cafes to speedily implement a change of use and operate temporarily as food takeaways.

Hot food takeaways operate in a different land use to pubs, restaurants and cafes, and would ordinarily require the submission of a planning application to the local authority. An over-concentration of hot food takeaways is commonly resisted by many local authorities owing to their perceived impacts on residential amenity, including noise, odours and loitering, as well as more general concerns relating to public health. However, in light of lockdown restrictions, limited food supplies and the closure of many businesses, the need for takeaways and food deliveries is more essential than ever and they are in incredibly high demand.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order is a statutory instrument permitting certain types of development without the need for planning permission, including both physical development and changes of land use. To enable pubs (use class A4), restaurants and cafes (use class A3) to operate for the provision of takeaway food, amendments to the order were laid before parliament on 23rd March 2020 and came into force the following day.

The provision of takeaway food is interpreted as: “any use for any purpose within class A5 of the schedule to the use classes order, and any use for the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for consumers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by consumers off the premises.”

The change of use can be brought into force any time between 24 March 2020 and 23 March 2021 and is subject to the following conditions:

  • The developer must notify the local planning authority that the land is being used for the provision of takeaway food during the period;
  • The use of the land for the provision of takeaway food does not affect the use class for the purposes of the use class order – in other words, the original land use is retained even during use of the permitted development right;
  • The use of the building and its land will revert to its previous lawful use at the end of the relevant period, or earlier if the temporary use ceases before 23 March 2021.

Those wishing to benefit from the amended legislation must therefore notify the local planning authority to ensure the temporary use is lawful, and must be aware that any physical changes associated with the temporary use are likely to still require planning permission (for example, the installation of an external flue).

Jason Lowes is a partner and Olivia St-Amour an associate at planning and property consultancy Rapleys.

 

Dan Tapscott, Head of Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team comments on important reminders and lessons learned from a recent Rights to Light case.

Rights to Light case law moves at a relatively slow pace. It has been 10 years since the notable HKRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney [2010] judgement, where the courts awarded an injunction against a constructed and occupied scheme in favour of a neighbouring office rather than allow compensation to be paid. We then had Coventry v Lawrence [2014] which questioned whether the courts’ willingness to opt for an injunction first before allowing compensation was correct or has been adopted too readily. Scandia Care Ltd and another v Ottercroft Ltd [2016] reminded us of the importance of the conduct of the parties. Now we have the outcome of Beaumont Business Centres Limited v Florala Properties Limited [2020] to consider.

It is a case where Rights to Light matters have been rumbling along for quite some time between the parties, but in brief:

• Beaumont’s property is a serviced office building which was refurbished and extended by a further storey in 2011/12.

• Florala purchased their property in 2013 and raised concerns over their Rights to Light because of Beaumont’s building work, with a reciprocal agreement tabled for Florala’s impending development of their building.

• Discussions surrounding this continued, but in 2015 Beaumont sold its freehold interest and a sale and leaseback agreement resulted in another Beaumont property taking on a leasehold interest in the property. The original Rights to Light claim remained with the new freeholder which resulted in Florala arguing that the end goal was therefore a ransom demand rather than a preservation of light.

• Meanwhile, in 2015 Florala obtained planning permission for the redevelopment of their own building into an apart-hotel. In 2017/18 Florala proceeded with these works which included a vertical extension of 11.25m. Beaumont had objected to the proposals and although proceedings for an injunction began, they did not apply for an interim injunction for the works to be paused. Florala sought a summary judgement claiming that Beaumont had no grounds for the injunction but this was dismissed.

• Beaumont’s proceedings reached the High Court which led to an injunction being granted requiring Florala to pull down part of its offending development which had been completed almost 2 years ago.

The court considered a wide variety of aspects of Rights to Light and there are a number of key conclusions and reminders for the industry. These can be summarised as follows:

1) The primary remedy the court will use is awarding an injunction before damages via compensation. Developers should not assume compensation in the commercial world is the natural default;

2) The pre-existing Rights to Light Deed between the defendant and the landlord of the claimant’s property didn’t help the defendant even with changes in ownership to contend with. Careful consideration of such documents needs to be paid, when relying on them or on the drafting when entering into them;

3) The claimant’s neighbouring property was poorly lit to begin with therefore the court found the remaining light received to be precious and worth protecting. The fact that there was a previous reliance on artificial light in these offices was irrelevant;

4) The analysis used in the case to quantify the levels of interference was Waldram analysis (based upon the calculations of Percy Waldram in the 1920s). Comparable analysis was submitted considering ‘Radiance testing’ which is more advanced and, in our opinion, more holistic, considering reflected light bouncing off adjacent surfaces. However, this was largely ignored by the court;

5) If damages via compensation were to be accepted (by Beaumont choosing not to join the tenant) then the basis of these calculated by the court was again a third of the developers profits from the offending parts of the massing; and

6) The matter was dealt with over a long time and on a reactive basis. Hindsight is a great thing but ‘neighbourliness’ at the outset seemed to be thrown out of the window. Conduct of the parties remains key, proceeding at risk of is unadvisable. The ‘high handed’ manner the courts regarded of the developer pressing on when there were clear and unresolved objections did not help them. Florala has sought to appeal this decision. It will be interesting to see what arises from this or whether the matter is resolved ‘on the steps’ as was the case with the appeal for HKRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney leaving the construction industry to either proceed at risk or to prudently tread carefully.

Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team operate throughout the UK providing Rights to Light, Daylight & Sunlight, Party Wall and Access Arrangement services for both developers and neighbours to development.

If you are planning a development where we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Dan Tapscott or a member of the Neighbourly Matters team at Rapleys.

In common with everything else in these unusual days, the restrictions imposed on movement as a result of the coronavirus outbreak have had a huge impact on the planning system, resulting in well-publicised delays to local plan examinations and public inquiries. However, it is a credit to decision-makers at both a national and local level that great efforts are being put into reducing the disruption as far as possible.

To date, these efforts and changes have included the following:

The Coronavirus Act

Passed in Parliament last week, in addition to giving the Government considerable powers, this emergency legislation allows the convening of planning committees via video-conferencing, addressing a major potential hurdle to planning decision-making.

Temporary relaxation of planning regulations

Extended permitted development rights came into force on 24 March 2020 to enable pubs, restaurants and cafes to operate as food takeaways for a 12-month period. This is on top of other government advice aimed at cutting red tape, for example the Written Ministerial Statement by Robert Jenrick on the 13 March 2020, in which local planning authorities are encouraged to act flexibly, and not to take enforcement action that would result in unnecessarily restricting the deliveries of food and other essential items during this period.

Activity at local authorities

It is fair to say that the current performance of local authorities is mixed, but working from home has become commonplace in many councils over the last few years and in a lot of places decision-making is still happening, including at committee level (and we can expect this to increase as a result of the Coronavirus Act – see above). As a result, in local authorities with good technological support, the immediate impact has been relatively limited to matters which require human contact, such as meetings and consultations, and even here there seem to be improvements all the time.

Keeping the system moving

Last week the Chief Planner, encouraged local authorities to be innovative in decision making, including exploring opportunities to use technology for meetings and consultations, anticipating and seeking to address the areas of greatest challenge – ie officer/applicant meetings, and public consultation exercises (both pre-and post-application).

In short, things are changing on a daily basis, but one of the bright points of the situation is the commitment that the Government and many local authorities have to maintain their planning services as far as possible and under very challenging circumstances. Therefore, our advice to clients is that – where possible – development should continue to be vigorously promoted in order to ensure that proposals are in “pole position” once normality starts to set in again.

As the situation evolves, further updates will be circulated over the coming weeks. In the interim, to discuss this and any other queries arising as a result of the current situation, please contact Jason Lowes, Town Planning at Rapleys.

Dan Tapscott, Head of Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team comments on the Government’s “Planning for the Future” guidance [published in March 2020] and considers the direction of travel regarding vertical extension rights.

It is applauded that the Government are looking at ways to enable ‘innovative’ development to happen, including building upwards with vertical extensions. However, we know this is an area that will still warrant detailed consideration by developers in order to avoid Rights to Light objections. These could be quite costly or make developments unviable, even if they get a green light in terms of planning.

A Right to Light (or Right of Light; there is no difference) is an easement, similar to a Right of Way. This enables the passage of diffuse skylight through a defined aperture such as a window to be protected by law. If the level of light received is reduced to an unreasonable degree, then the relevant owners of the property who can make use of the right can raise an objection. The remedy to an objection would either be damages via compensation or the awarding of an injunction to forbid the offending construction commencing, or for its removal, even if the new building is occupied.

Planning laws do not override common or civil law and therefore it is important that before detailed design work progresses, developers ensure they are aware of where the risks are and their strategy for dealing with them. The use of Rights to Light Envelope Studies is an area that could prove invaluable to help guide a design team to work within certain parameters, to avoid unreasonable levels of interference to the neighbouring properties. We believe that in taking this course of action prior to considering what can be achieved via any relaxation in planning laws for Permitted Development, would be the best all-round approach.

The remaining options for developers to deal with matters arising are negotiation with the effected parties in a proactive manner, ignore the issue and wait six years after the injury has been triggered for an objection to arise or consider an insurance based approach.

There has been talk of reform in the Rights to Light industry since the issuing of the Law Commission report in 2014, although nothing has progressed since then. As and when this comes back online (when we hope that the advances in technology for calculating light loss are taken into account), it will be interesting to identify areas of joined up thinking rather than those which conflict.

Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team operate throughout the UK providing Rights to Light, Daylight & Sunlight, Party Wall and Access Arrangement services for both developers and neighbours to development.

If you are planning a development where we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Dan or a member of the Neighbourly Matters team at Rapleys.

As, like many other businesses, Rapleys continues to follow Government guidelines by ensuring all our staff are safely working from home. We are still operating as a fully functional property consultancy service by putting our clients at the forefront of our efforts.

Myself, fellow partners and knowledgeable teams are contactable to discuss how we may be able to assist you with your property assets during these uncertain times.

To stay up to date with our news and announcements you can visit our News section.

Updated 5 May 2020


During such uncertain times following the outbreak of COVID-19, as an organisation, we at Rapleys wanted to reassure you inline with Government guidance all colleagues are set-up to work from home. By doing so, we will be able to assist you with your property and planning needs in a safe environment.

Updated 27 March 2020


We are, quite clearly, living in unprecedented times with the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and, in this context, I just wish to reassure you of Rapleys’ plans for the foreseeable future.

Essentially, as I am sure you can appreciate, the health and wellbeing of clients, staff and other contacts are of paramount importance to me as well as my board and fellow partners.

In this context, we have been taking a proactive stance in the issue of regular updates, and advice, to our teams in the interests of reducing, or delaying, COVID-19. Such advice has been relative to matters of general and personal hygiene whilst, further, seeking to limit non-essential engagements, public gatherings/events and travel (as per the Prime Minister’s latest announcements). We have also encouraged our staff to engage with clients in order to understand any general, or specific, concerns that may be held in respect of COVID-19 and any associated contact with our business. Some team members have been self-isolating, already, as a sensible and measured response to the pandemic.

However, as further pre-cautionary measure (and, in this context, please note that we have no reported cases), we are now actively encouraging our teams – with some minor exceptions – to work from home and, thereby, to only attend our offices for critical business engagements (which, of course, will need to be determined in consultation with other, involved parties). There is no doubt that we have the capability to work remotely. We have the infrastructure and technology in place (including virtual desk-top capabilities with lap-top back up) and our intention is to ensure – and deliver – business continuity. It will be business as usual, although with more reliance on the phone and e-mail rather than meetings.

Let’s get through this safely, and together.

Robert Clarke
Senior Partner

Published 17 March 2020

Yesterday’s Budget announcement contained a clear message of business continuity as the Chancellor relayed emergency measures to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus. Public health, the NHS, SMEs and workers were the primary focus, but for the property industry, there were still some takeaway messages. Not least, an announcement of short term emergency Business Rates relief, as well as a programme of investment launched for roads and infrastructure. Key members of our service teams add their comments.

Retail & Leisure Group

Russell Smith, Partner, comments; ‘overall there was some welcome, positive news for the high street, in particular for small shop and restaurant owners who will see an increased business rates discount. It is a temporary and extreme step sadly in light of the destabilising Coronavirus pandemic, but nonetheless it is well needed and overdue for the ailing retail sector.

The announcement to hold a review into the long term future of business rates should make a marked change to the future of the high street. This will need to be implemented in a timely manner however as there is likely to be a further reduction in footfall in high street across the country in the months to come.’

Alfred Bartlett, Partner, adds ‘ironically, the digital service tax (2% tax introduction on digital businesses) will also help bricks and mortar retail and may prove a good first step in balancing the investment in trading formats and redressing the high street decline.’

Automotive & Roadside

Phil Blackford comments; ‘the Government have announced a fund of £500 million over the next five years to support the rollout of a fast-charging network for electric vehicles ensuring that drivers will never be further than 30 miles from a rapid charging station. That is very welcome news to both manufacturers and EV charge suppliers and hopefully will provide the much needed kick start to creating the necessary infrastructure in the UK to align Government targets, manufacturer’s development and production and a structured network of EV charging stations.’

Town Planning

Jason Lowes, comments; ‘in terms of planning, most of the announcements in the Budget were primarily financial commitments, with the Government’s planning reform initiatives saved for today’s announcement by Robert Jenrick. These indicate that a planning white paper will be released in the spring, addressing a wide range of matters, including:

  • Introducing a “zonal” element to the planning system
  • Further measures to encourage development on brownfield land
  • Initiatives to speed up the planning system

By way of background to the above, the Government feels that the planning system is holding back the delivery of housing, and that these initiatives will break down barriers. However, they are all at a very early stage, and we will be looking very closely on how they develop. Nevertheless, any initiatives that render the planning system more predictable and straightforward to navigate will no doubt be welcomed by the industry. Rapleys Town Planning team will be releasing a fuller newsletter on these reforms shortly.’

 

Women make up around 14% of construction industry professionals and this number can only be set to rise with more and more women choosing construction jobs. Misconceptions about gender specific roles are gradually diminishing with the industry and a growing number of women choosing a career in construction.

Women in Construction are helping to challenge the diversity divide and reshape the industry. Each year they hold a summit at The London Build Expo and last year Natasha Bray was selected as a Woman in Construction Ambassador.

Natasha joined Rapleys in November 2017 and is the lead contact for Neighbourly Matters services in London. She specialises in Daylight & Sunlight and legal Rights to Light. Last year Natasha was selected as a Women in Construction Ambassador to help reshape the gender imbalance of the construction industry. Natasha has a strong background in Compulsory Purchase and s.203 Housing and Planning Act 2016 with Council related schemes. She also has experience in managing large scale developments and schemes with a large number of potentially affected neighbours.

We spoke to Natasha to find out more about her experiences as a woman in the construction industry and what that has meant for her since the start of her career and her role in here at Rapleys.

What does a typical day involve?
My day is always extremely varied, one day I could be meeting clients discussing the best strategy for their sites, the next I could be at the other end of the country taking measurements of a property. A lot of the work is heavily reliant on technology so you will always find me with a laptop in hand.

What makes you proud of your work?
Many of the clients I have worked with tend to find the Neighbourly Matters area particularly problematic. I am therefore always proud to be able to find a solution to a problem that seemed impossible to begin with.

What personal qualities help you succeed?
As a person I am very goal orientated, if I have a list of tasks to do for either the day or the week, I do not feel satisfied until they are complete. This really helps me keep on top of my work and allows me to provide the best service I can to my clients.

What perks are there about working in this industry that not many people know about?
For me the biggest perk is the variety of people and work I get involved with. No two days look the same and that really helps to keep the day to day interesting.

What was it about a career in the construction industry that appealed to you?
I have always like the idea of being part of creating something out of nothing. My role allows me to be part of solving the problems that come along with that.

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in construction?
Work experience is worth its weight in gold. I would encourage everyone looking at construction as a career prospect to get experience in as many different roles as possible. Even if you decide you do not like a good number of them, it is better to start ticking off things you don’t like that to fully commit to something you may not enjoy.

How do you think the construction industry can attract more women?
This is a question that in my opinion has many different answers. However, for me personally I think that an active effort to celebrate the women in the construction industry currently is very important.

In order to open the field up to more women it makes sense to make the current women more visible. The sooner we can spread the message that the industry has plenty of jobs women would enjoy, the sooner young women will realise this industry is an option.

What are the challenges, if any, that you face as a woman in a male-dominated field?
Aside from the occasional comment of “oh are you not feeling well” on the days where I have decided not to wear makeup. I luckily have not faced any substantial challenges as a result of being a woman in a male dominated field. I do however recognise that this is likely a result of my personality.

I have over the years called out any occasions where I have felt that actions or comments have occurred because I am a woman and that the same treatment would not have been received if I were a man. This has certainly reduced the number of similar comments I would have received than if I had just laughed them all off.

I think as a woman in this industry it really benefits you to be confident enough in yourself and your convictions to speak up in uncomfortable situations. Hopefully the more people that speak up, the easier it will be to reduce the amount of these situations.

How do you think women are leading the charge on improving diversity in the construction workplace?
Being one of the largest groups of underrepresented people in the industry I think a lot of women have made it their mission to improve access to the industry for those that would normally not look to construction as a viable career route. This is certainly something that I myself am keeping under constant review.

Rapleys are pleased to confirm that our Building Consultancy Group have been shortlisted for the Property Awards 2020. The Building Consultancy Group, headed by Justin Tuckwell, are shortlisted alongside Hollis, Savills, Knight Frank, Shoosmiths, Aitchison Raffety and others, for Professional Team of the Year.

After a period of significant growth, driven by the team’s pioneering approach to the specialist services delivered, we are grateful for the recognition by the prestigious Property Awards and look forward to celebrating in the success of all come April.

Justin Tuckwell comments; ‘To have a niche building consultancy division leading the way in terms of revenue, profit, client and staff growth in a national multi-disciplinary business is unique. Reaching the shortlist of Professional Team of the Year further confirms our forward-thinking position within the business and industry. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team and I am very grateful for all their efforts throughout this incredible time for us.’

Click here for the full details of all the award categories and nominations.

In the latest installment of Insider’s Property Perspective Q&A series, Stuart Harris was asked to comment on the South East property market.

As head of the Cambridge office, he discussed how office space remains in strong demand, how the industry is adapting to changes in investor perceptions and the key obstacles to development. The following questions were asked and answered in full throughout the article, below is a snapshot of detail.

In what sectors (residential, industrial, office, leisure) do you see the highest demand for new space and why?

‘Online retail habits are well documented, and have been for some time, but we see this feeding strong continuing demand for industrial space.’

What are the key industries that are diving demand for property?

‘Technology, innovation and biomedical industries are affecting demand across many property sectors…’

What changes to legislation do you want to see in the coming years?

‘Green belt legislation is having a stifling effect on the scope for continued investment in progressive cities such as Cambridge, where pioneering industries show a great appetite to grow within clusters.’

What future changes to the industry do you see making a significant impact on your business?

‘The industry is adapting to changes in investor perceptions and a realignment of the scenery in the built environment.’

How much of a role should the market/local authorities play in development?

‘Increasingly, there is scope for local authorities to participate and lead development through the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors.’

What are the key obstacles for more development and how can they be overcome?

‘With confidence growing in relation to the long-awaited resolution of Brexit, the adoption of more progressive attitudes towards planning and taxation would assist in removing obstacles.’

How can areas away from the main motorway corridors and urban centres become more attractive to investors?

‘Investors are telling us that town centres under pressure can still provide attractive yields, particualrly where risk can be mitigated by the delivery of a greater degree of mixed-use…’

For the full article follow the link to Insider Media here, published on 31 January 2020.

 

With a new year come exciting changes, as our Corporate and Investor Management team joins forces with our Asset Management team, and rebrand as Rapleys Property & Asset Management.

Strong growth in both the property management and asset management service lines along with clear overlap and synergy, meant it made good sense to merge these teams as we enter a new decade and perhaps more political and economic stability.

For our vast range of investor, occupier, developer and landlord clients it’s business as usual, but we firmly believe a more focused ‘one team approach’ will deliver enhanced service levels and generate exciting opportunities for clients. Added to that, the team name sends out a clearer message to the industry about its focus on:-

Property ManagementAsset Management
  • Lease management
  • Formulating strategies aligned with clients’ business plans
  • Property accounting & reporting
  • Identifying and executing ‘value add’ opportunities
  • Service charge management
  • Transaction management
  • Facilities management
  • Strategic refurbishments or major works programmes
  • Critical events management
  • Identify/appraise redevelopment opportunities
  • Vacant space management
  • Added value through alternative uses
  • Insurance & service charge challenge
  • Sustainability

 

Adam de Acetis, Partner and Head of Property & Asset Management commented ‘both teams have built a great platform. Looking ahead, we see tremendous opportunities with our asset managers working immediately alongside our property managers to maximise asset performance for clients. Our partner led approach will not change, nor will our mission to provide a great service’.

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner commented ‘it’s exciting times for these service lines. A ‘one team approach’ and greater collaboration aligns with our business values and will undoubtedly benefit both service lines, our wider business and our clients.

For full details on all of the services that Adam and his team can provide, on a national basis, you can refer to the webpage or get in touch directly with Adam directly.

Matthew joined Rapleys as a client accountant in 2015.

He started his career in an accounting practice in Peterborough. He progressed and gained more responsibility within the practice where his duties included completing draft accounts, VAT returns and handling client queries.

Matthew has also successfully passed his level 2, 3 and 4 AAT.

Rapleys’ property and planning consultancy continues to show the ongoing growth of its business by announcing this week that the Cambridge team will relocate to larger premises, and therefore increase their profile, just nine months after opening in the city.

Remaining in the CB1 business district was of upmost importance to Rapleys and its new and existing client base. The practice has taken a private office at 50-60 Station Road; a modern, high quality environment, next to the station.

The new office will house, amongst other teams, the practices’ Town Planning, Development, Building Consultancy, Business Space and Automotive & Roadside departments.

Stuart Harris, Head of Cambridge Office comments: “Whilst Rapleys’ arrival in Cambridge was far from any ‘cold start’ with our long standing presence in the county, we have been delighted by the traction gained in our opening months in the city. This has necessitated a fairly rapid expansion of both the size and quality of space available to us.”

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, adds: “I am very pleased with the new office at Station Road and look forward to welcoming our clients to the innovative space. Our move is a direct response to client needs. We are excited by the future prospects in Cambridge and the wider region.”


Full contact details for the Rapleys Cambridge office:

50/60 Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2FB
0370 777 6292 |  info@rapleys.com


Featured in Commercial News.

 

Rapleys Automotive and Roadside team were pleased to complete a deal on a former car showroom on Regents Park Road, North London. The 4,030 sq ft premise had a prominent frontage to the busy road and attracted significant interest from trade, retail and leisure operators which resulted in competitive bidding in excess of the quoting rent.

Toolstation were successful and secured a 10 year lease with V8 Properties Ltd. The unit is one of the first of a new retail format being rolled out by Toolstation within London. Planning consent for A1 was refused previously but after successful appeal it was overturned and the unit has now been refurbished to Toolstation brand standards.

Rapleys client Daniel Sayers of V8 Properties Limited, comments: ‘As a small family owned property business we are delighted that Rapleys have been able to secure excellent terms for the letting of our former car showroom, enabling its modernisation and long term occupation by a well-known national operator, thus safeguarding and significantly enhancing the value of our asset.

Geoff Sayer and his colleagues at Rapleys steered us expertly through a successful marketing campaign, a contentious dilapidations dispute and a tortuous planning process, aided by an enthusiastic tenant in Toolstation Limited.

Rapleys were able to advise us on marketing, rental value, dilapidations, business rates, planning and project management ultimately leading to a better deal than we had hoped for and enabling us to make significant savings along the way.

The constructive partnership of Geoff and his colleagues with us as the client and also with our tenant enabled this project to succeed (even when at times it seemed unlikely) and we are very grateful for that.’

Rapleys has made several new appointments across the business over the summer months, collectively strengthening our service offering, and representing the ongoing growth of the practice.

  • Campbell Moffat (Senior Associate, Corporate Investor Management)
  • Laura Briggs (Senior Surveyor, Corporate Investor Management)
  • Jamie Alderson (Planner, Town Planning)
  • Harriet Nind (Planner, Town Planning)
  • Marcus Fatoye (Surveyor, Corporate Investor Management)
  • Callum Dickinson (Graduate Surveyor, Automotive & Roadside)
  • Oliver Exton (Graduate Surveyor, Automotive & Roadside)
  • Bradley Wild-Smith (Accounts Assistant)
  • Stacey Collarbon (Property Accounts Assistant, Corporate Investor Management)
  • Ben Godfrey (Data Analyst, Corporate Investor Management)
  • Serena Ridley (Client Accountant, Corporate Investor Management)
  • Stephen Wilde (Client Accountant, Corporate Investor Management)
  • Shanice Redmond (QHSE/Data Management Assistant)
  • Emma Bailey (PA to Head of Building Consultancy Group)

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, comments; ‘I am delighted to welcome our new recruits and look forward to working with them to serve our clients’ needs in the future.’

Richard is the deputy head of finance in the corporate & investor management team.

His duties include day to day property & asset management accounting, reporting and forecasting for corporate clients including Chubb Common Investment Fund and New Look.

Richard is instrumental in liaising with clients to ensure their financial reporting requirements are met and that the Rapleys reports are aligned to their internal reporting functions.

He is particularly accomplished in cash forecasting and has built a very strong reputation in this discipline. His role extends to 65 week cash forecasting of all aspects of property expenditure on a weekly basis.

Richard’s other responsibilities include running and maintaining multiple development cash forecasts and preparing development appraisals for a range of commercial and residential clients.

 

 

‘Lookers car dealership boasts flat above – a one-off or a new mixed-use template, asks Nick Hughes’ – Property Week.

‘Standing three storeys tall beneath a block of modern apartments, Lookers in Battersea, south London, is not your average car dealership – on two counts. Not only is it the largest Volkswagen showroom in Europe, it is also part of what is thought to be the first UK mixed-use scheme to include a dealership.

The development has been the best part of a decade in the making and involves three key players: Lookers, developer Linden Homes and agent Rapleys, which brought the other two parties together.’

Angus Irvine, Head of Development Services, brought Lookers and Linden Homes together to achieve a balanced and innovative scheme in this desirable London postcode. Stretching back for several decades a dealership has occupied this site but Lookers Chief Executive, Andy Bruce, could see the dealership ‘being dwarfed by the rise of surrounding developments’ over the last few years. With no intention to sell the freehold of their site they turned to Rapleys to unlock the value in the land and in this area, the value was in upward development.

The result was a tower development scheme with 173 apartments and ‘a full-blown dealership with servicing. That’s why this is unique’ says Angus. To overcome the challenges the multi discipline Rapleys team, led by Angus, brought together experts from across the firm’s DevelopmentPlanningInvestment and Building Consultancy practices to work with Lookers to maximise the significant land value of the site.

For the full article follow this link to Property Week or for direct advice on how Rapleys can help unlock the land potential on your site speak to Angus Irvine.

 

The Government has introduced changes to the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), effective from 25 May 2019. The changes are intended to make it easier to convert certain properties to provide more homes and offices, but some changes have not been introduced and the question remains, is this enough?

The changes were made following a public consultation in October 2018 and were confirmed in the Government’s Spring Statement. However some key changes, including the proposed permitted development (PD) right allowing upward extensions to create new housing, have not been introduced at this stage.

PD rights and changes to use classes have increasingly been used by the Government as planning tools to encourage and allow greater adaptation and diversification of our high streets. This latest set of PD changes introduces the following key amendments:

  • The temporary provision in Part 1 Class A, allowing larger residential extensions, is made permanent, having been due to expire on 31 May 2019
  • A new Part 3 Class JA allows shops, financial and professional services, hot food takeaways, betting shops, pay day loan shops and laundrettes to change to office use, up to 500sq m. This is subject to prior approval, which will assess transport and highways impacts, noise impacts from commercial and retail premises, and the impact on the sustainability of the existing shopping area
  • Part 3, Class M will now allow hot food takeaways to change to residential use, up to 150sq m, subject to prior approval application
  • Part 4, Class D is amended to allow temporary changes of use between various high street uses, offices and leisure facilities for a three year period (increased from two years) and is widened to include changes of use to certain community uses

However, the changes do not include the proposed PD right that would allow upward extension to create new housing. Nevertheless, despite the fact that this was the subject of significant objection during the consultation period, not least due to concerns relating to design impacts, the Government has indicated that it still intends to implement this at a future, unspecified date.

The proposed PD right allowing the demolition and redevelopment of existing commercial properties to provide new homes has also not been included at this stage, albeit the Government has indicated that this remains under consideration.

Evidently, the Government is striving to deliver on the promises it has made to use the planning system to reshape and revitalise our high streets and town centres, create prosperous communities and encourage new housing in underused properties. So far, certain PD rights introduced pursuant to these aims have been taken up with vigour by the development industry. For example, since 2015, some 42,000 new homes have been created using the office to residential PD right. The further changes to the PD rights outlined above can therefore be generally welcomed as a means of providing greater flexibility within the planning system.

The delay in the implementation of the wider ranging PD rights relating to upward extensions and commercial redevelopment schemes is not unexpected, in the context of the weight of objections associated with these matters during the consultation period. These represent complex issues, with impacts on neighbouring amenity, and in particular daylight & sunlight and legal rights to light being significant considerations in the potential application of such rights, should they come into force in the future.

As ever with permitted development rights, the devil is in the detail and it is therefore advisable to ensure that full due diligence is undertaken prior to commencing any works that may be considered to benefit from PD rights. Rapleys Town Planning and Neighbourly Matters specialists are well placed to advise on such matters. Please get in touch for further information.

Rapleys updated Use Class Order (England) guide can also be found here.

 

Rapleys are pleased to confirm a number of promotions across the business this month:

Senior Associate

Guy Davies – Building Consultancy Group, London
Rebecca Harper – Investment, London

Associate

Josie Hayes – Building Consultancy Group, Birmingham
Chloe Ballantine – Town Planning, London

Senior Planner

Conor Healy – Town Planning, London

Senior Surveyor

Charles Alexander – Development Services Group, London

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, adds: ‘It is a great pleasure to announce these promotions. They are well-deserved. I look forward to their ongoing contribution to the business and, more particularly, our valued client base.’

 

As featured in various publications. CoStar – click here.Commercial News – click here.

Jonny’s role is to advise pension funds, financial institutions, property companies and private individuals on the sale, purchase and funding of income producing UK commercial property.

Although the majority of work is transactional, Jonny’s role is to advise UK and overseas clients on their property portfolios. Advice typically constitutes guiding property values, highlighting asset management potential and analysing properties for purchase and exit strategies.

Clients include: AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, Palmer Capital Partners, RREEF (now Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management), Threadneedle Property Investments,TH Real Estate, Moorfield Group, Palace Capital plc, CCLA Investment Management, Siemens Real Estate, Wm Morrison plc, Central England Co-Op, Disney Inc, Malthurst Group, Mercedes Benz, Sytner Group, Lookers plc, Johnston Press plc, Milton Keynes Parks Trust, John Lewis Partnership, Pendragon plc, Bolling Investments, Marshall Motor Group, Musgrave Retail Partners (now Tesco), C2 Capital, Private Investors and Chubb Common Investment Fund (in-house fund).

Jonny specialises in working with private equity groups, property companies and HNWI’s on value added deals which typically involve repositioning of assets by active asset management, refurbishment and redevelopment angles. Experience also extends to large mixed-use developments, especially where anchored by PRS.

Jonny joined Rapleys in 2006 and became an associate in 2010. He was promoted to partner in 2015. Thus far, Jonny has acted on in excess of £1bn of transactions.

 

 

Jay joined Rapleys in 2015 as facilities helpdesk supervisor in the property management team.

Jay is responsible for the management and operation of the facilities helpdesk, overseeing the efficient handling of all calls and emails from landlord and occupier clients, their customers, suppliers and other third parties on a wide variety of issues including but not limited to maintenance and repairs, emergencies and general ad hoc enquiries.

In addition to this, Jay is responsible for overseeing and supervising the other facilities helpdesk operators, both office and field based.

 

Commercial property and planning consultancy Rapleys has advised Lookers PLC on the development of its new £10m dealership located on York Road, Battersea.

The 90,000 sq ft Volskwagen dealership forms part of a multi-million pound mixed-use joint venture between Lookers and Linden Homes. The state of the art dealership comprises the first three floors of the development, including significant amenity and customer experience space as well as a state-of-the-art automotive services department.

The multi discipline Rapleys team, led by partner Angus Irvine, brought together experts from across the firm’s Development, Planning, Investment and Building Consultancy practices to work with Lookers to maximise the significant land value of the site.

Principally this included a full planning and feasibility study, resulting in the unlocking of air rights to facilitate a multi-storey, mixed-use development comprising both the car dealership and a residential scheme. Rapleys identified and secured Linden Homes as the joint venture partner for the project, subsequently securing planning permission for the full commercial and residential scheme, to include 174 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, both private and affordable, across the fifteen storey, four tower development.

Rapleys also advised Lookers on relocating the existing dealership to an alternative site while works were being undertaken, to minimise any disruption to the day-to-day business.

Angus Irvine, Partner and head of Development, commented: “As competition for land, particularly in urban conurbations, increases, it is critical that investors and developers have a creative approach to maximising the value of their assets. Frequently this means changing or expanding uses and more often than not, building up rather than out. Lookers’ new dealership is a terrific example of this; maintaining and enhancing commercial operations while delivering much needed private and affordable housing in the heart of London courtesy of JV partner Linden Homes.”

Rapleys’ property and planning consultancy continue to deliver on their ambitious business development plan with the announcement of the latest office move for the Edinburgh team.

The team moves to Rutland Square this week, after a decision was taken not to renew the lease in Caledonian Exchange. The move provides Rapleys with superior accommodation that better suits their needs as well as a growing client base. By stepping over into EH1, Rapleys are at the centre of the commercial property market in the city and ultimately their valued clients will benefit from this accessible and vibrant location.

The key service lines offered from this hub are Town Planning, Corporate & Investor Management, Business Space, Retail & Leisure and Automotive & Roadside. With local knowledge and national insight from the wider network of offices the professional teams provide comprehensive property and planning solutions on a value-added basis consistently.

Colin Steele, Partner and head of the Edinburgh office, comments: “this move comes at a great time as we continue to expand the team and service lines available here from our Edinburgh hub. On a wider practice level, the last 12 months have seen many of our regional offices move up and on to better spaces, improving the environment for the benefit of colleagues and clients alike. It is great to align ourselves to the overall business development plan and we will continue to offer the excellent, local services that our clients value us for, from this new location.”

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner adds: “I am delighted with the new office space at Rutland Square. It is a recognised and established business address in the heart of the city. Needless to say, we look forward to welcoming clients to, and advising from, our new home in Edinburgh.”

Full contact details for Rapleys Edinburgh

8A Rutland Square
Edinburgh EH1 2AS

0370 777 6292
info@rapleys.com

Property and planning consultancy Rapleys announces the launch of a new office in Cambridge. The new office is Rapleys’ second in Cambridgeshire, with the firm being founded in Huntingdon and maintaining a strong presence and heritage in region since 1951.

The Cambridge office consists of both professional advisory and transactional teams from across Rapleys’ service lines, delivering a joined-up, multi-disciplinary offering to clients in the region. Each team consists of professionals who live and work in the city, with strong established relationships across Cambridge’s range of complementary consultancy services.

Stuart Harris has been appointed Head of the Cambridge office, and joins Rapleys with more than 30 years’ experience working in the industry and region, including roles with Strutt & Parker and Carter Jonas.

Stuart, alongside the existing partnership, will be responsible for promoting and coordinating the delivery of the firm’s core property consultancy and town planning services in the city, including: Town Planning, Building Consultancy, Development, Affordable Housing & Viability, Commercial Agency, Landlord & Tenant and Investment.

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner at Rapleys, commented: “Our new Cambridge office, alongside the appointment of Stuart, represents a key further stage in Rapleys’ evolution, which builds on our long-established heritage, presence and reputation in the region going back to the founding of the firm in Huntingdon in 1951. We saw a real opportunity in Cambridge, which is undergoing substantial growth, and a market opening where we can bring in services – such as Affordable Housing and Viability, Strategic Land, Building Consultancy and Town Planning – which are currently underrepresented in the region or are subject to increasing demand. At the same time, our expanded footprint and capacity in the region further complements our national expansion programme – providing clients access to partner-led teams with both local expertise and UK-wide reach.”

Stuart Harris, Head of the Cambridge Office at Rapleys, added: “Principally I am delighted to join Rapleys at this exciting juncture. There are significant opportunities in Cambridge, which is rapidly increasing in commercial importance and is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. This looks set to continue – not least driven by the wider strategic plan for the region including the Cambridge-Oxford arc and expressway – and we are seeing an increasing demand particularly for planning and consulting services from businesses seeking to capitalise on this growth. I look forward to working with the wider Rapleys team to help clients seize these opportunities.”

Rapleys’ Cambridge team can be contacted at 20 Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2JD / 0370 777 6292.

As an Investor in People (IIP) awarded company, Rapleys is committed to our staff and their development. We are pleased to announce that we have continued to grow our team in the last three months with 10 new professional appointments.

Our new team members will allow us to better service our clients and promote new service lines across our office network.

Please click through to the full newsletter to meet our new team members and those who have been awarded promo

If you are looking for a change and a new job in 2018, we have vacancies!

Take a look at our careers page to see the opportunities we have available. With current vacancies across a range of our sectors and services, now is a great time to join us.

You could be working with an Investors In People awarded company, one who cares about the growth and development of our staff and the high level of service we provide to our clients.

Jump start your career in 2018 and contact Sheila Coulman for more information.

Rapleys wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We would like to thank you for working with us throughout 2017 and hope you and your colleagues have a wonderful festive break.

Our offices will be closed from 1pm on Friday 22nd December and will re-open on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

Should you need any urgent help over this period, our property management team and Facilities Helpdesk (0800 988 7021) will be open as usual.

We look forward to working with you in 2018!

Our Bristol office has moved!

We are delighted to announce that as of Friday 01 December, we have taken the opportunity to move our Bristol office to new premises located at:

21 Prince Street
Bristol
BS1 4PH

0370 777 6292
info@rapleys.com

Our newly refurbished office will provide an excellent base for our team in the heart of the city centre.

It’s business as usual and all of our phone numbers and email addresses remain as before.

Rapleys is pleased to announce the following appointments who have joined our team in the last three months:

 

Balvinder Sagoo – BSc (Hons) MRICS
Partner
Building Consultancy
Balvinder joins Rapleys to establish and lead the building consultancy team in Birmingham. Balvinder brings 17 years experience in the commercial sector acting for investors, landlords and occupiers across all sectors.
07920 016838 | balvinder.sagoo@rapleys.com

 

Stuart Lobb –  BSc (Hons) MRICS
Associate
Automotive & Roadside
Joining Rapleys’ automotive & roadside team in our Manchester office, Stuart brings 15 years of experience across agency, development and valuation.
07831 099095 | stuart.lobb@rapleys.com

 

Maria Dychala – BA (Hons) MA
Planner
Town Planning
Maria has previously worked for a private planning and development consultancy and joins Rapleys with a wealth of experience in projects across England, Scotland and Wales.
07867 537091 | maria.dychala@rapleys.com

 

Clement Lam – MSc
Senior Surveyor
Corporate & Investor Management
Clement joins with almost 20 years experience in residential, commercial and asset management whilst in Hong Kong and New Zealand.
07917 536613 | clement.lam@rapleys.com

 

Tom Cherry – BSc (Hons) MRICS
Senior Surveyor
Building Consultancy
Joins our London team with 9 years experience.
073929 088129 | tom.cherry@rapleys.com

 

Taya Cotterill – MPLAN MRTPI
Senior Planner
Town Planning
Joins in Bristol after previously specialising in residential.
07917 567263 | taya.cotterill@rapleys.com

 

Will Primrose – BSc (Hons) MRICS
Senior Surveyor
Retail & Leisure
Joins the London team with extensive experience in the area.
07879 417824 | will.primrose@rapleys.com

 

William Seddon – BSc (Hons) MRICS
Surveyor
Automotive & Roadside
Transferring from Rapleys’ retail group to automotive & roadside.
07786 264490 | william.seddon@rapleys.com

 

Courtney Rodda
Credit Controller
Corporate & Investor Management
Joins as a credit controller based in our Huntingdon office.
01480 371428 | courtney.rodda@rapleys.com

 

Grant Allan – MA (Hons) MSc
Planner
Town Planning
Joins the Edinburgh planning team working across various sectors.
07920 061235 | grant.allan@rapleys.com

Rapleys is delighted to announce that four of our graduate surveyors have passed their APC and are now registered members of RICS. This was a 100% success rate for Rapleys.

We pass on our congratulations to:

Well done all!

We have much to report as the business enters its new financial year from May 1st. Here are just some of the headlines.

Birmingham and Building Consultancy

Balvinder Sagoo has been appointed as Partner to establish and lead our Building Consultancy team in Birmingham and the wider Midlands.

Balvinder joins from GVA where he acted for a range of private sector clients and brings with him extensive experience in all aspects of commercial business surveying.

Rapleys entered the Birmingham market in 2016 with the acquisition of Bartlett Property. Balvinder’s appointment enhances and expands our service offering from the Birmingham office (which already comprises professional and transactional business). Watch this space for further appointments in Birmingham over the coming months.

Corporate & Investor Management

Our property management business has been strategically renamed Corporate & Investor Management.

Under the leadership of Jeremy Day, who joined as Partner in January, this is an increased area of focus for Rapleys. The rebranding more accurately reflects the variety and scope of our work for corporate occupiers and property investors.

The team’s structure now allows us to deliver best practice and develop our distinct corporate and investor capabilities. We are adding to our technology platform to provide enhanced access for clients, as well as increasing our consulting services.

The team manages real estate in all sectors nationally from our hub in Huntingdon and our five other UK offices. Our professional staff are experts in the management of data, on-boarding portfolios and taking care of the important day to day duties, including service charges, insurance, rent collection and payment. The focus is always on quality, responsiveness and good customer service, with a careful eye on risk management and compliance to keep everyone safe.

Retail

We have restructured our retail business in the interests of providing a more dynamic and cohesive offer to the market.

Previously, the partnership’s retail business comprised distinct teams in agency, development and lease consultancy. Now, these service lines are combined into a single market sector team (operating from all our six offices), with national support from our investment, management and planning departments.

This new retail team will be led by Alfred Bartlett, with Russell Smith maintaining responsibility for agency and Tim Holt being the principal contact for lease consultancy. They are all partners.

Promotions

We are pleased to announce the following promotions:

Dan Cook – Partner

Mark Frostick – Senior Associate

Guy Owen – Senior Associate

Robert Frost – Associate

The promotions reflect the contributions made to our business and, more particularly, our client base.

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, commented that “The business continues to grow and remains committed to the pursuit of high quality service lines, on a nationwide basis, for the benefit of our clients. These headlines demonstrate our drive to deliver.”

Rapleys will now offer Neighbourly Matters services after the appointment of leading specialist, Dan Tapscott. Dan, who joins as a partner, will establish and lead the national service offering from his base in Bristol and is looking to quickly establish a team across the UK.

The new department will help drive forward Rapleys’ long-term strategy to cement its position as one of the UK’s leading independent property and planning firms. 

Focusing on rights to light, party walls, daylight & sunlight amenity and access arrangements, Dan will support developers in maximising the development potential on their sites from inception to completion. He will also be representing neighbours to construction projects to protect and preserve their assets.

The team has already begun to be built with Jo Colebrook joining as a graduate surveyor in January.

Dan states “I am genuinely excited to be joining Rapleys. They are focused and ambitious and their multi-disciplinary services compliment my skillset in the field of Neighbourly Matters perfectly.

Having gained experience on notable schemes over the past 10 years in the South West, I am looking forward to replicating this throughout the Rapleys office network and establishing our team as the go to provider of Neighbourly Matters consultancy services UK wide.”

Robert Clarke, senior partner at Rapleys, commented:

“I am looking forward to working alongside Dan. He has an excellent reputation in the market. His appointment demonstrates our ability to attract specialist, and quality, professionals to the partnership. He will lead our new service line in neighbourly matters. His skill set will complement our existing Building Consultancy and Town Planning teams, to the benefit of our client base.”

The Chancellor presented the Autumn Statement on  Wednesday 23 November with some announcements impacting the property and development markets. Rapleys wraps up the key points below.

Planning
Despite including housing in one of the four key areas to be targeted by the £23bn of spending generated from the NPIF to 2021/22, the Statement failed to deliver a silver bullet for housing delivery. We will await the much anticipated Housing White Paper to deliver the detail.

The focus on investment in traditional and technological infrastructure is, however, welcomed. It is often these areas which act as ‘pinch points’ in themselves for both economic and residential development capacity. The commitment of £2.3bn investment in infrastructure to unlock potential for 100,00 new homes in areas of high demand, can only be welcomed as a fiscal aid to support viability. However, it’s questionable whether the proposed £23,000 per plot is an efficient approach.

Similarly, the support to increase affordable housing delivery is much needed but there was an absence of detail in how this will represent an effective approach in light of the 1m home target over the parliament, which is well short of its objective.

Of potential significance is the commitment to relax restrictions on government grants to allow providers to deliver a wider range of housing, which could translate into a stimulus in starter home delivery and Private Rented Sector accommodation.

However, it is the commitment to the balance of budget and investment, with focus on new infrastructure delivery to provide an environment to support economic and residential growth which will be the headline of the statement for the development industry, alongside the requirement for Local Councils to make tough decisions on the location of development.
Ben Read | 07747 757639

 

Housing
The Chancellor’s announcements in relation to the housing market appear to be shifting away from the previous Chancellor’s almost entire focus on home ownership, to a more balanced housing market. The RICS have reacted positively to the announcements on increased investment for affordable housing, particularly for affordable rent.

Alongside the £2.3bn to be spent on infrastructure, the government also committed to an additional £1.4bn to be spent on affordable housing, which is in addition to the £4.7bn that was previously announced. The money will help fund an additional 40,000affordable homes. The Government has also lifted the restrictions limiting the funding to homeownership products. This is a clear indication of a shift back towards a more balanced housing market to take into account the decline in home ownership and increasing importance of good quality rental stock.
Nick Fell | 07964 558697

 

Business Rates
For business rates, there were limited announcements from the Chancellor. The most revealing announcement was confirmation that rates bills will go up by a maximum of 43% year on year in 2017/18, and a further 32% the year after for those RVs over £100,000. These were pitched as a saving from 45% and 50% respectively, but these were figures out to consultation only and still represent increases more than 20 times the current rate of inflation—once again leaving businesses short changed.

He confirmed a previously announced scheme offering rate relief to the hard pressed Oil and Gas exploration sector, and a doubling of Rural Rate Relief to 100% from 50%. The announcement that new fibre optic broadband infrastructure will benefit from 100% relief for 5 years will benefit BT Openreach significantly, but very few others.
Alan Watson | 07917 352428

 

Business Space
The continued focus of the Autumn Statement on the development of housing indicates that the trend of existing office and industrial floorspace and land supply being lost to residential use is set to continue. The consequence will be growth in office and industrial land prices and a strong growth in rents.
Colin Steele | 07860 749034

 

Scotland
The key impact to the Scottish market will come via the City Deal funding announcement which will bring economic growth and development to infrastructure and strategic projects. A City Deal agreement for Edinburgh is confirmed, proposals from Perth and Dundee are being considered and talks will begin shortly on Stirling.

The Chancellor stating that every city in Scotland will be on course for a City Deal gives local areas greater powers and freedoms to help support economic growth, create jobs or invest in local projects.
Neil Gray | 07467 955228

 

Property Management
The Chancellor stated that insurance premium tax (standard rate) will increase from 10% to 12% which will see this type of tax doubling within 2 years. This will lead to additional expenditure on buildings insurance and we expect those with large property portfolios to be significantly hit.

The announced increase in the national living wage to £7.50 from April 2017 will also cause an impact to property management costs as it is highly likely that we will see contractors (receptionist, security, landscaping providers etc) passing this cost onto their customers meaning landlords and tenants should prepare themselves for increased service charge budgets and expenditure.

However, the Carbon Price Support will be capped to 2020 which should reduce the increase seen on energy bills for end consumers, helping reduce the expenditure seen on utilities.
Mark Coles | 07785 522956

Please contact a member of the team if you would like more information on the Autumn Statement and the impact it may have on your property or portfolio.

Our Manchester office has moved!

We are delighted to announce that as of Monday 08 August, we have taken the opportunity to move our Manchester office to new premises located at:

55 Spring Gardens
Manchester
M2 2BY

0370 777 6292
info@rapleys.com

Our new office, with its modern, open plan space gives us an ideal base from which to build on relationships with clients in Manchester and the wider area.

It’s business as usual and all of our phone numbers and email addresses remain as before.

Rapleys is delighted to announce that it has appointed Ben Read as a Partner based in its Bristol office.

Ben joins the practice’s nationwide planning department and will be promoting a range of planning applications for developers, land owners and occupiers. Prior to joining Rapleys Ben was with Hunter Page.

Senior partner Robert Clarke at Rapleys commented: “I am pleased to welcome Ben to the partnership. He brings a wealth of experience in managing, and promoting, residential and commercial schemes through the planning system. He will, undoubtedly, foster and contribute to our ever growing planning business (both nationally and in the south west market).”

Ben Read commented: “I am delighted to have joined Rapleys and am looking forward to contributing to a nationally recognised planning team in what is an exciting period of growth for the business.”

 

We are also pleased to welcome the following new starters to Rapleys:

Pankaj Vara as an associate in the viability/affordable housing team based in the London office.

Andrew Priestley as a surveyor in our development consultancy team based in the London office

Alexandra Weatherilt as a surveyor in the automotive and roadside team based in the Manchester office.

Simon Burrage as a surveyor in the building consultancy team based in the London office.

Matthew Nicoll as an associate in the property management team based in Huntingdon.

Leading property and planning consultancy Rapleys has today unveiled a significantly refreshed brand and visual identity as it continues an unprecedented period of growth and expansion. The firm’s new look, including a new website, will help drive forward Rapleys’ long-term strategy to cement its position as one of the UK’s leading independent property and planning firms. 

For more than 60 years, Rapleys has provided market-leading advice and services to a broad range of clients across a diverse range of sectors, including automotive & roadside, retail & leisure, business space, healthcare and residential. The new Rapleys brand will build on this heritage, but also look to the future and the firm’s ambitions.

The launch of the new brand comes at a major juncture in the firm’s evolution. Since the election of Robert Clarke as senior partner in April 2015, the firm has significantly accelerated its growth and expansion. This has included, for the first time in its history, the pursuit of strategic acquisitions, beginning with chartered surveyors Biscoe Craig Hall in September 2015. The firm also recently announced the acquisition of commercial property advisers and surveyors Bartlett Property, adding Birmingham to its existing network of five offices across the UK.

Rapleys’ new brand will assist this growth profile, nurture the firm’s highly-valued and longstanding client relationships and establish a platform for success in a new era by putting the firm’s client-focussed, highly personal and commercially driven approach centre stage on a national basis.

Robert Clarke, senior partner at Rapleys, commented:

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Rapleys, with a number of recent acquisitions contributing to our continued expansion. Refreshing our brand was a natural next step in this journey, and positions us well to further accelerate our growth and realise our ambitions.

“The property industry is rapidly evolving, with new demands from clients creating both challenges and opportunities. With the right mix of organic growth and targeted acquisitions, we are better placed than ever to provide market-leading advice on a personal and nationwide basis to clients as they look to succeed and thrive in this dynamic property landscape.”

As part of Rapleys’ continued investment in the development of employees we are pleased to announce the latest promotions:

  • Alun Jones (Development, London) to Equity Partner
  • Graham Smith (Charities Consultancy, London) to Non-Equity Partner
  • Jennifer Lemen-Hogarth (Lease Consultancy, Bristol) to Senior Associate
  • Jemma Cam (Town Planning, Bristol) to Associate
  • Gary Collins (Town Planning, London) to Associate
  • Jessica Lockwood (A&R/Development, Huntingdon/London) to Senior Surveyor

“The promotions reflect their contributions to the business and are thoroughly deserved. I would like to thank them for all their hard work and support in the continuing growth and success of the practice.” Rapleys Senior partner, Robert Clarke.

Property and planning consultancy, Rapleys, is delighted to announce that it has achieved the Standard Award for Investors in People following a recent assessment.

This success reflects its commitment to its staff and acknowledges the efforts of everyone who works within the organisation.  Excellent service to clients can only be achieved by staff that are motivated, properly trained and given opportunities for development. Rapleys has an excellent rate of repeat business and this fact is testament to the quality of the staff it employs.

Investors in People (IIP) provides a framework for organisations to improve their business performance through the development of staff, in order to help them and their company reach their personal and collective potential.
The IIP assessor’s report noted “…. Rapleys culture is an extremely positive one and feedback from the staff confirmed this.”

Robert Clarke, senior partner of Rapleys, commented:

“We are extremely pleased to have been awarded IIP accreditation. It provides us with a framework for planning future strategy and action. The firm would not be what it is today without our dedicated staff and it is only right that we invest in them and their future.”

Rapleys is pleased to announce the acquisition of commercial property advisory and surveying firm Bartlett Property. The addition of the Birmingham-based firm further expands Rapleys’ existing office network to six locations across the UK, alongside London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Huntingdon and Manchester.

Bartlett Property has been operating for over 10 years and has developed a market leading position in the retail, leisure, roadside, and trade park arenas. The company is recognised as providing in-depth and comprehensive advice in relation to the acquisition, disposal, development, investment, and asset management within its specialist sectors.

Bartlett director Alfred Bartlett, who is well known to Rapleys, having worked at the firm in the 90’s joins as partner and will lead the Birmingham-based team from its offices at Cornwall Buildings, 45 – 51 Newhall Street, B3 3QR.

This deal represents the second such acquisition by Rapleys in less than a year. In September 2015, the firm announced the acquisition of London-based chartered surveying firm Biscoe Craig Hall, the first acquisition in its 60-year history.

Robert Clarke, senior partner of Rapleys, commented:

“I am delighted to welcome Bartlett Property to Rapleys. The firm’s sector capability clearly complements Rapleys’ core areas of expertise, and will further enhance and develop our offering to clients. We are very much looking forward to working closely with Alfred again, and we welcome both his regional and sector knowledge to the team.”

“This acquisition is part of our on-going strategy to expand the business and continue our trajectory of growth. This move into Birmingham and the Midlands is another piece in the geographical jigsaw, enabling us to provide a nationwide service to our clients through our office network.”

Alfred Bartlett added:

“I have always had an affinity with Rapleys and am very pleased to be re-joining the fold. I am looking forward to contributing to the firm’s continued growth which couldn’t come at a better time given the thriving Birmingham and Midlands market. The opportunity to expand our client base and demonstrate not only the specific retail agency and development skills that Bartlett Property brings but also the wider and comprehensive services that Rapleys offers is very exciting. The combination of services will also better serve the combined client base nationally.”

Following David Cameron’s recent announcement that businesses affected by flooding will get 100% business rates relief, Rapleys is offering to help anyone in need of assistance in England to get the appropriate relief, completely free of charge.

The government’s plans, while short on detail, appear largely to be a re-announcement of the existing guidance that any business premises affected by flood damage which renders the premises incapable of occupation will qualify for 100% relief from business rates for a period up to three months from the date of the flood.

In the event of flood damage being experienced, an application must be made immediately to the relevant local council.

Rapleys is offering assistance free of charge to anyone in England who needs help in securing the relief on offer, and we would urge anybody who feels they might be entitled to a reduction to contact one of our team:

Nik Moore
07831 099095
nrm@rapleys.co.uk

Alan Watson
07917 352428
acw@rapleys.co.uk

Mike Rose
07599 285201
jmr@rapleys.co.uk

Stacey Jolly
07714 133953
scj@rapleys.co.uk