Jennifer joined Rapleys in September 2019 as an Assistant Property Manager based in the Birmingham office. Jennifer has a strong background in residential property management with over 8 years experience in this sector.

Jennifer has a practical and pragmatic approach to property management but also has the ability to think outside of the box when it comes to problem solving. At Rapleys, Jennifer hit the ground running to assist a client with over 40 dental practices across the UK. In her first two months Jennifer streamlined the processes for this client. She maintains a daily involvement overseeing the works at the properties and keeps the client informed. The level of outstanding repair works for this client has since more than halved and the client’s feedback has been incredibly positive.

Jennifer offers a high level of care and efficiency in her work making clients and tenants alike feel valued and having trust in the service provided by Rapleys.

 

Samantha has recently joined the Manchester town planning team as a planner. She has dealt with a range of projects across the UK that require the preparation of documents such as planning statements and covering letters, negotiation with various consultants and planning officers as well as submitting planning applications.

She is able to offer honest and expert planning advice that is tailored to the client’s needs and aspirations. Samantha works directly with the client from the initial site appraisals through to achieving planning permission.

She is well equipped with Urban Designing skills and very good with numbers, she is able to translate and communicate technical information easily. The skills also enable her to offer creative design proposals that can be integrated effectively with the surroundings.

 

Richard joins Rapleys business space team with a focus on lease consultancy services. Having worked across many different sectors, Richard brings experience from residential sales and valuations as well as commercial sales, lettings, valuations, acquisitions and rating.

Richard previously ran a partnership business, Fane and Company, and has been involved in all aspects of property consultancy in the public and private sector, as well as client side. The wealth of knowledge and expertise on this range of services will be instrumental in supporting the business space team deliver added value for each and every client across the full spectrum of their needs.

Rapleys’ Building Consultancy Group is pleased to introduce the most recent Associates’ to join the team.

Adam Reed, Bristol

Adam is a commercially driven chartered Building Surveyor who joins the team with a wealth of experience across a broad spectrum of building surveying services. Having a strong working knowledge of the regional market, and notably being a member of the BCO NextGen Committee for the South West region, will prove invaluable for the Bristol service line within the national Building Consultancy Group.

Adam is adept at providing the full range of commercial building surveyor services to clients including; technical due diligence, dilapidations, contract administration and CDM advisory. Recent projects have included CAT A office refurbishment and industrial contract administration. Each project has been approached professionally and client relationship management always prioritised, ultimately providing reasoned commercial advice and added value to each project.

Adam comments: ‘I am looking forward to getting involved in the wide-ranging projects and services that the whole Building Consultancy Group delivers at a national and regional level. My move to Rapleys comes as they go from strength to strength in the market and I am confident I can add further to the growth of the team and services.’

Jack Downing, Birmingham

Jack joins the Land Development Project Management service line within the Building Consultancy Group. This move follows experience leading the design and delivery of primary infrastructure on a range of mixed use developments nationally.

Bringing over ten years’ experience in infrastructure engineering, Jack is a qualified member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and has managed numerous land development and building schemes. With a strong track record in value led and outcome based design, Jack has a keen eye for delivery strategy whilst keeping a firm grip on the detail to ensure risks are managed and opportunities are realised.

Jack comments: ‘I am exciting to join the team and I feel there is a significant opportunity to build and expand our offering to clients. I am very much looking forward to playing a key role in residential and mixed use development sites and making use of Rapleys’ full range of property services. Delivering a client focused service has always been at the heart of my approach. I do this by investing the time to understand the client’s key drivers so I can ensure these are achieved and I will continue this as I progress here.’

Justin Tuckwell, Head of Building Consultancy, comments: ‘I am delighted to welcome both Adam and Jack to Rapleys. Their talent and skillsets were carefully considered to enable a continued, and improved, service to our clients. I am excited to support their careers and develop their skills. I am confident that with their combined experience and proven service delivery our position will be further strengthened in the market as the Building Consultancy Group continues to expand.’

 

Dan joined Rapleys in July 2018 as an Associate in the town planning department.

Since graduating from the University of the West of England in 2007 Dan has worked for RPS and Walsingham Planning (Ian Jewson Planning until a merger in 2016). He became a Chartered Town Planner in 2009.

Dan has a range of experience in different areas of planning, with a particular focus on residential and residential-led mixed-use developments. His areas of expertise include planning appraisals, applications, appeals and development plan promotions. He also has significant experience in co-ordinating multi-disciplinary teams and the preparation of Environmental Statements.

  • D1 use
  • 1,300-2,500 sq ft
  • Open plan space on one floor
  • Good parking/accessibility
  • 15 year lease with 5 year and 10 year breaks

Contact: Richard Curry | 07876 747146

Following graduation from Nottingham Trent University, Adam returned to Barker Storey Matthews for a year working in the agency team across all sectors. Adam moved to London in 2014 to join ES-Group, who was later acquired by Lambert Smith Hampton working within the valuation consultancy team, concentrating predominantly on south east of England residential led developments. In 2015, Adam qualified MRICS and later in the year joined GVA to work in the Industrial Agency team dealing with warehouse/industrial property within Greater London and the south east of England.

In 2018, Adam joined Rapleys’ to join the Business Space Agency team dealing with warehouse/industrial and office property throughout the UK.

The department specialises in acquisition and disposal programmes on behalf of multiple occupiers such as Lok’nStore Group plc, Johnston Press plc and Siemens plc amongst others. Business space agency is also active in the development sector and has completed several industrial, trade counter and mixed use schemes in the south east of England.

 

Tony joined Rapleys as a partner in the town planning department in January 2018. Before joining the team, Tony headed up the Regional planning teams at GL Hearn. Prior to this he was Head of Planning at the RPS Bristol. Tony has well over twenty years’ experience as a professional planner, with the last seventeen years spent in consultancy.

Tony has advised a wide range of private and public sector clients across a variety of sectors and has acted on a number of high-profile planning projects including:

  • DP World London Gateway Container Port for Shell and P&O Ports
  • Barton Farm 2,000 dwelling urban extension to Winchester for CALA Homes
  • 2,500 dwelling Hunts Grove urban extension to Gloucester for Crest Nicholson
  • Major leisure, retail and tourism proposals extending to 500,000 sq ft for Aviva and the Eden Project

Tony has advised major home builders such as Crest Nicholson, Bovis Homes, Barratt Homes, Persimmon Homes, Linden Homes and CALA Homes. He has also advised regional home builders such as Redcliffe Homes, developers including Gallaghers, Heron Land and Places for People, and public sector bodies such as Severn Trent Water Ltd, Thames Valley Police Authority and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Tony is an experienced expert witness having acted on behalf of clients at major planning inquiries and examinations in public across the country. He has significant experience in successfully managing and leading multi-disciplinary teams on a wide range of major projects with a particular focus on large scale residential schemes.

  • Linlithgow/Falkirk/Stirling and surrounds
  • Parking required
  • 6,000—8,000 sq ft
  • Leasehold preferred
  • All details, including rent, rates and service charge to Colin

Contact: Colin Steele | 07860 749034

Oliver joined Rapleys in August 2017 as a member of the Building Consultancy team and has a broad range of experience across all areas of commercial building surveying. His main focus is on dilapidations, pre-acquisition surveys and project management.

Oliver has undertaken pre-acquisition surveys on a wide range of properties and project managed office refurbishments and landlord works in shopping centres.

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

Richard is a partner in Rapleys’ town planning team. He has extensive commercial and residential sector knowledge and experience, gained within a variety of both public, private and client side roles.

Richard has worked with a wide range of national clients, particularly in the convenience retail sector where he is currently managing the Lidl portfolio.  He has successfully obtained planning permission on appeal and embarked on a number of informal hearings resulting in a successful outcome. Richard’s extensive experience and interest in S106 negotiations, viability, CIL and planning policy give him a complete understanding of the best way to secure planning permission.

Richard has expertise in securing planning permission for major complex planning applications and high profile schemes. He specialises in guiding and developing tough planning strategies for schemes often requiring significant community and public engagement.

Richard is highly focused, fostering a good work ethic to motivate his team towards the successful execution of shared objectives and engaging with the local community to address planning issues.

Wakako is a senior associate in Rapleys’ town planning team and has advised on a wide range of planning projects involving commercial, leisure, retail, residential and mixed use commercial developments. Her experience includes the project management and co-ordination of multi-disciplinary teams in a number of planning applications and appeals, as well as providing advice on the policy formulation process in protecting and promoting clients’ interests.

She has represented clients at appeal hearings and assisted the expert planning witness in giving evidence at a major inquiry, as well as providing assistance in support of various large scale mixed use regeneration schemes. She has also negotiated with various agencies and stakeholders through a number of complex planning applications and has represented clients at Local Plan examination hearings.

Wakako joined Rapleys in 2006 as a graduate planner and was promoted to senior associate in 2015.

 

Tim joined Rapleys in 1999 and was elected as a partner in 2008. He is an RICS Registered Valuer, member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a member of the President of the RICS Panel of Arbitrators and Independent Experts and regularly receives third party appointments.

He advises both landlords and tenants upon lease consultancy matters and also provides valuation advice to clients.

Tim is involved with a wide variety of property types including retail properties ranging from high street shops to large out of town food stores, retail warehouses, drive-to and drive-thru restaurants, as well as industrial, warehouse and office premises throughout the UK.

 

Steven is a partner in the business space team and has wide-ranging commercial property experience. He has professionally represented a range of institutional landlords, national tenants, private individuals and banks. He is also a RICS Registered Valuer.

He specialises in all aspects of lease consultancy work including the negotiation of rent reviews, lease renewals, lease regears and the preparation of Expert Reports for use in Arbitrations and Court proceedings.

Steven joined Rapleys in 2003 and was elected as a partner in 2011. Prior to joining Rapleys he worked at Luton Council and Lambert Smith Hampton and has over 26 years surveying experience.

 

Stacey has worked for Rapleys since 2001, starting out as an office administrator and working in various secretarial and administration roles within the company before starting work in the rating department in 2005.

Since then she has gained good knowledge of business rates and in 2008, decided to take the opportunity to further her career and undertook a distance learning course in Surveying Practices.

In 2010 Stacey was awarded her Diploma in Surveying Practices.

Her role now includes dealing with professional casework, such as appeal recommendations and negotiating rating appeals on behalf of our clients, as well as being head of administration for the department

  • Office Requirement
  • Sheffield city centre
  • 18,000 – 25,000 sq ft
  • Leasehold

Contact: Will Waterhouse | 07917 567026

Neil is a Partner in Rapleys’ town planning team and is passionate about providing clear, commercially informed planning advice to his clients.

He has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the planning system gained during more than 15 years experience within private sector planning consultancies in London, Leeds and Manchester. In this time, Neil has successfully advised clients in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Neil has specialist knowledge and experience in the residential, retail, automotive and roadside, office and healthcare sectors. He has a proven track record in managing complex planning applications and appointing and leading large, multi-disciplinary consultancy teams on behalf of his clients. Neil is confident in leading negotiations with local authorities and key stakeholders. More recently, Neil has successfully represented clients at appeal as an Expert Witness.

Completed and current projects include:

  • Redevelopment of the former British Sugar factory site in York to provide over 1000 new homes, educational facilities and public open space
  • Redevelopment of a previously developed Green Belt site in Greater Manchester to provide approximately 85 new family homes
  • Redevelopment of an out of centre brownfield site in Leeds for retail and car showroom units totalling 90,000 sq ft
  • Redevelopment of a key City of London site to provide a new 50,000 sq m headquarter office building
  • Development of a headquarter office building in the Green Belt on behalf of a international pharmaceuticals company

 

Lisa joined Rapleys in July 2013 as a surveyor specialising in managing property portfolios on behalf of landlords.

Promoted to senior associate in November 2017, Lisa has over 11 years experience in managing a diverse portfolio of offices, shops, industrial, leisure complexes and residential properties on behalf of a major landlord and landowner in Hertfordshire as well as number of other landlords across the country.

Lisa is now head of landlord services and through dealing with new lettings, property management, service charges, asset management, L&T issues and land acquisition ahead of a compulsory purchase order, is well placed to provide clients with an exceptional level service ensuring that property risks are minimised.

 

 

Jonathan is a senior associate and has a wide range of experience across a number of property sectors including residential, retail, commercial, and automotive & roadside development.

The work he has undertaken includes the project management of major planning applications, planning appraisals to assess the development potential of sites, the identification and promotion of strategic land sites, and planning appeals.

He has experience advising a wide range of clients including national retailers, house builders, asset managers, private developers and corporate clients.

Jonathan joined Rapleys in 2012.  He previously worked for North-West based planning consultancy NJL Consulting LLP.

 

Jason is a partner in Rapleys’ town planning team. Since joining Rapleys, Jason has submitted and negotiated a wide range of planning applications, including retail, motor trade, residential and public transport infrastructure. To support such proposals, Jason has prepared retail, design and general planning statements.

Jason has undertaken numerous site analyses and appraisals, and provided planning advice in relation to site disposal. He has also been actively involved in public consultation exercises promoting development, particularly public exhibitions.

Jason has given planning evidence at public enquiry, has provided expert planning witness advice and has promoted development at examinations in public.

Jason was educated at Stowe School and University College London. Since graduation in 2000, Jason spent three years gaining experience within the construction/refurbishment industry. Subsequently Jason worked for two years in contract work as a development control officer for a number of local authorities in the north-west London area, dealing with a wide range of planning applications from minor to major, and contributing to the London Borough of Ealing petition in respect of the Crossrail Bill.

James is a partner in the building consultancy team and has a broad range of experience across all mainstream areas of commercial building surveying.

He specialises in management of refurbishment projects, preparing and negotiating dilapidations claims on behalf of both landlords and tenants, undertaking pre-acquisition and technical due diligence building surveys and advising on Party Wall matters in both residential and commercial schemes.

James has project managed refurbishments valued in excess of £8million and negotiated numerous large dilapidations claims on behalf of various clients ranging from pension and investment funds to top global brands. James has also acted for both Building and Adjoining Owners regarding complex party wall schemes and undertaken building surveys on various prestigious commercial properties ranging from small scale to hundreds of thousands of square feet in size.

 

 

James is a senior associate in Rapleys’ lease consultancy team and has a wide range of commercial property experience. He has professionally represented a range of institutional landlords and private individuals, and is a RICS Registered Valuer.

He specialises in all aspects of lease consultancy work including the negotiation of rent reviews, lease renewals and lease re-gears. He also undertakes Red Book Valuations for loan security and other purposes.

James joined Rapleys in 2013. Prior to this he worked at Strettons Chartered Surveyors in London for nine years where he split his time between commercial agency, Red Book Valuations and lease consultancy.

 

Dave has substantial experience in commercial building surveying advice, particularly in respect of the repair and maintenance obligations and strategic dilapidations advice for property owners and occupiers, including the preparation of planned preventative maintenance programmes.

He is an expert in preparing and negotiating dilapidations claims, pre-acquisition due diligence advice for freehold and leasehold properties, and strategic planned preventative maintenance/lifecycle cost advice. He also has extensive experience of monitoring developments on behalf of funding institutions, project management and contract administration of maintenance alterations and refurbishment fit out works as well as construction health and safety advice (CDM).

Prior to joining Rapleys in 1993, Dave worked across a range of developments in both Central London and the regions at a city based, multi-disciplinary practice.
Dave was elected a partner in 2000.

 

Claire joined Rapleys in 2002 bringing 15 years experience in the IT service provider industry to the business, having predominately worked in IT solutions and database administration.

Claire is a principal surveyor delivering services across a number of commercial portfolios and leads the database management for all corporate clients. She has led the set-up of databases and extranet portals for various key clients. Claire delivers high quality account management and is a superb communicator whose focus is on maintaining open and positive relationships with clients, tenants, occupants and landlords alike.

Heading up Rapleys’ TRAMPS database management, Claire deals directly with IT, property accounting and service charge management in corporate real estate services.

More recently she has developed Rapleys’ new facilities management service offering.

 

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations come into force in two months’ time. From 1 April 2018, commercial properties must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’ or above in order to be let. The MEES regulations will apply to the renewal of existing leases and may also have an impact upon future lease events, such as rent reviews and break options occurring after 1 April 2018.

The changes in MEES regulations are likely to affect property owners and existing tenants throughout the UK. So, to minimise the impact, forthcoming lease event dates for any sub-standard property should be identified quickly.

Firstly, landlords would be well advised to ensure that lease renewals for properties with an ‘F’ or ‘G’ rating are completed before the MEES regulations become mandatory on 1 April 2018.

Landlords should also ensure that new leases restrict a tenant from obtaining a new EPC, other than for when one is actually required i.e. in connection with an assignment or the grant of a subletting. This is because a new ‘F’ or ‘G’ rated EPC obtained by the tenant may place an obligation upon the landlord to carry out improvement works in order to bring a sub-standard property up to the minimum ‘E’ rating. Equally, landlords should ensure that sufficient rights are reserved in new leases to enable them to enter the premises in order to carry out any works that may be required.

Where existing leases contain breaks which may be effective after 1 April 2018, we would advise landlords to establish that the EPC rating of the property is ‘E’ or above. Again, if this was found to be sub-standard it would place an obligation on the landlord to carry out improvements to enable the property to be re-let. Tenants will no doubt appreciate that this situation could also assist them during negotiations with the landlord over whether or not to exercise a break.

For ‘F’ or ‘G’ rated properties that are subject to rent reviews occurring after 1 April 2018, whilst a letting might not be possible in the real world without energy efficiency improvements being carried out, a number of questions may arise in the hypothetical world of the rent review:

  • Where the lease provides an assumption that the tenant has complied with its covenants and/or statutory obligations, this would effectively result in an assumed increase in the EPC rating to ‘E’. In this case, the landlord of a sub-standard property may seek to achieve a higher rent than that which might ordinarily be possible.
  • A tenant may argue that the rental value should be reduced because the landlord will not, in reality, be able to let a sub-standard property.
  • Where the cost of energy efficiency improvements carried out by the landlord is recoverable through a service charge, the tenant may seek to adjust their rental bid to reflect this situation.

It is therefore essential for both property owners and tenants alike to consider the impact the MEES regulations will have on future lease events.

Rapleys can help with this and if you require any further information, please contact Tim Holt.

 

Alan has many years experience in dealing with rating valuations of all types of commercial property from both the public and private sector.

Alan has appeared before the Valuation Tribunal on many occasions, acting as Advocate and Expert Witness.

Having worked extensively on both sides of the rating fence, Alan has a thorough understanding of the complexities of rating and the various ways that clients’ rates liabilities can be minimised.

Alan joined Rapleys in 2006, having previously been a partner at Fuller Peiser and a director at Evans & Payne from 1989 until he left  in 2006.

 

A common project objective is completing construction work as quickly as possible, but it is key to choose an appropriate form of construction that optimises time on site without compromising the quality of the design or the end product. Modular construction is the quickest means of delivering a new building and, with the latest technical innovations, is also capable of delivering high quality.

Modular construction, which involves buildings being constructed off site with pre-fabricated components, became popular after the Second World War when there was huge demand for new buildings – particularly dwellings – to replace bomb damaged structures.

While modular and pre-fabricated construction successfully satisfied the requirement for buildings to be completed quickly, a common perception was that the quality of finish, aesthetic appearance and durability were not so readily achieved. This point of view continued during the following decades with people typically associating modular construction with poor quality buildings such as cold, damp and draughty temporary classrooms.

However, over recent years technical innovation and advancements in design and production techniques have meant that modular buildings can now be bigger, more flexible and achieve higher aesthetic and quality standards. This has resulted in a resurgence in both popularity and acceptance.

A high profile recent example of the speed with which modular buildings can be completed is the temporary school, known as KAA2, which was required to accommodate 960 pupils following the Grenfell Tower fire. The new school, constructed of 210 modular units, was completed by modular experts, Portakabin, just 13 weeks after project inception.

While speed of construction on site remains the main advantage of modular buildings over more traditional forms of construction, the other benefits typically include:

  • More programme certainty with construction being less susceptible to adverse weather conditions
  • Improved quality control achieved through standardisation, repetition and fabrication processes being undertaken in a factory controlled environment
  • Reduced cost through supply chain management, economies of scale and reduction of waste
  • Brand consistency – particularly appealing for occupiers with a corporate identity eg. restaurant and retail chains
  • Improved sustainability and environmental credentials resulting from reduced resource inputs and less waste material – the charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has reported that off-site fabrication can reduce waste on site by up to 90% when compared to traditional construction
  • Provide suitable temporary accommodation on sites where major refurbishment or redevelopment is to take place on owner occupied buildings

While modular construction does provide clear benefits, there are also downsides that need to be fully considered and mitigated:

  • Rigorous pre-planning is required to ensure that a coordinated and integrated fabrication and construction sequence is agreed at the earliest opportunity.
  • Before fabrication commences, the design should be checked to ensure compliance with the brief. Design changes during fabrication, or worse still on-site, will be increasingly costly.
  • A lack of coordination during the design and installation stages will lead to delays and cost increases that will negate the benefits of implementing a modular approach.

There are also other ways this construction method can be utilised if full modularity is not appropriate or viable. Elements of prefabrication, such as bathroom and kitchen pods, can be incorporated into more traditional building designs to derive some of the pros without the cons.

We regularly help clients find the best form of construction for their projects and project manage the instruction through to completion. If you would like any help or advice on your next construction project, please contact Alastair Bliss.

 

Alun is responsible for a wide range of development related issues, including urban regeneration projects, site disposals, site acquisitions for property developers, development audits/appraisals and agency advice. He has considerable experience in setting up joint ventures.

Alun has extensive knowledge across all sectors of the market including residential disposals and acquisitions, food and non-food retail schemes, industrial and office developments and in particular has been involved in a number of major mixed-use developments.

Alun joined Rapleys in 1997 and was elected a partner in the development team in 2000. Prior to this he worked at Railtrack Property and the British Rail Property Board.

 

Following graduation from Paisley College, Colin spent four years in general commercial practice in Glasgow before joining Rapleys’ Huntingdon office to specialise in automotive & roadside related agency throughout the UK and Ireland.

In 1997 Colin transferred to Rapleys’ London office to head business space agency dealing with warehouse/industrial and office property throughout the UK from the West End and our national office network.

The department specialises in acquisition and disposal programmes on behalf of multiple occupiers such as Lok’nStore Group plc, Johnston Press plc and Siemens plc. Business space agency is also active in the development sector and has completed several industrial, trade counter and mixed use schemes in the south east of England.

Colin was elected a partner of Rapleys in 1992.

 

Property Week 17/02/2017

Nicholas King, director at Formal Investments, has a vision for a new warehouse in London that many have labelled “ambitious”. Reading between the lines, it is perhaps a polite way of saying the idea is complicated, daring, brave, foolish, crazy even.

Rapleys partner Colin Steele discusses whether sheds going underground is a viable option for companies and the potential value that may or may not be added.

Read the full Property Week article here.

Property Week 14/02/2017

These days even die-hard Luddites are shopping on their smartphones. Technology is transforming the way people buy goods and that is transforming the logistics sector.

Rapleys Partner Colin Steele looks comments on how the logistics sector is becoming increasingly affected by technology and how the industry is reacting to these changes.

To read the full article please click here

Rapleys is pleased to share some of our most recent agency transactions in our latest newsletter.

We are also happy to share some of our currently available properties. A full list of our properties can be found in the property section of our website. Please get in touch if you require more information on any of our available properties.

To view our latest newsletter in full, please click here.

 

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.

More permitted development on the way

Further changes to permitted development will come into force on 6 April, the most important being:

Office to residential
As previously announced, the right to change the use of most office space to residential without planning permission is to become permanent. It will continue to be subject to a prior approval procedure, albeit this will be extended to consider the impact of noise on new residents.

Current non-geographic exceptions will remain in perpetuity, but geographic exceptions (including Central London and Manchester city centre) will expire in May 2019, although one can expect many of the local authorities affected to promote Article 4 directions to retail the restrictions beyond this.

Interestingly, there is no mention at present about the idea mooted last autumn of extending permitted development to include demolition and redevelopment of office buildings for housing. This was quite a radical proposal, raising many questions about how it might be implemented – the government may feel that it needs more time to consider this.

Light industrial to residential
A new three-year temporary permitted development right for changes of use from light industrial to residential will come into force on 1 October 2017. Beyond its temporary nature, there are a number of other restrictions imposed, including:

  • A floorspace limit of buildings less than 500sqm;
  • Evidence will be required that the building was used solely for light industrial purposes on 19 March 2014 (or, if the light industrial use was established but the building was vacant in March 2014, the date the building was last in that use would be relevant), and
  • Whether the site is identified as being particularly sensitive (for example, listed buildings, scheduled monuments or in a site of special scientific interest).
  • Prior approval will be required relative to flood risk, contamination and transportation considerations. In addition, the prior approval process will include consideration of the impact of the change of use on surrounding light industrial operations, where these are deemed to be “important”. Prior approval must be granted before 1 October 2020, and development must be completed within three years of the prior approval date

Commentary
Office to residential conversions have proved popular with developers – according to government figures, almost 4,000 conversions were approved between April 2014 and June last year and no doubt the extension of this right in perpetuity will also be welcomed. However, the change of use from light industrial floorspace may not prove as popular, given the restrictions improved (not least on floorspace), and the level of additional work that might be required to render sites fit for habitation. Further, it will also be interesting to see how local authorities will define areas that are considered “important” for light industrial use – from past experience, some local authorities may take a very broad view.

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The market in 2015 for office and warehouse/industrial property was a strong one and we see things continuing in a similar manner in 2016, subject of course, to the possibility of any major global changes dampening the UK economy.

Barring such change, we believe the parallel trends in each sector will continue:

  • Sustained rental growth coming through from new lettings and driving the case for uplifts at rent review.
  • Lengthening lease terms with landlords resisting three/five year lease breaks that would have been commonly available two years ago.
  • Tenant rent free incentives shortening to commonly one month or less per year of lease term – certain, from what might have been two months as recently as 2014.
    In the face of limited options, occupiers will show willingness to be more flexible in their requirements and, in particular, to consider new locations that would previously have been regarded as too off-pitch.

Specifically in the office sector:

  • Developers’ commitment to new schemes two plus years back will bolster a supply side that was lacking new stock, but competition for the best buildings will be strong and lettings significantly in advance of practical completion will be more common.
  • Secondary office buildings will continue to be eroded from the available pool by conversion to residential thereby reducing options and pushing up rents on the remaining stock.

In the warehouse/industrial sector:

  • Retailers and e-tailers will continue to be active drivers of the distribution market throughout the UK, particularly as a consequence of sustained internet sales growth.
  • Home delivery and click and collect will press the need for facilities closer to market in larger metropolitan areas with the scarcity of stock bringing secondary/older buildings back into frontline use, particularly if they have good yardage.
  • In larger urban conurbations, the demand for and political focus on providing more housing will bring further erosion of previously “protected” employment land.
  • In extra-urban locations throughout the UK, there has been significant speculative warehouse development but not on the large scale of the previous cycle. We regard the market to have greater balance going forward in that developers holding enabled land are more commonly agreeing design and build deals with occupiers who are keen to secure buildings more closely suited to their operational requirements.

In summary, more of the same in 2016 as we had in 2015.

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