Research Paper outlines proposals for a ‘healthier’ Property Market

Posted on 14 March, 2015 by Chris Grigorovsky

During the MIPIM International Property Conference in Cannes, Three industry giants Lambert Smith Hampton, Countrywide and Hamptons International released a joint research paper that outlines recommendations for creating a ‘healthier’ UK property market.

Real Estate Representing World Wide Web And Property

Titled ‘Tonic for Tomorrow’, the document highlights the structural issues plaguing the property industry today. Its overall goal is to spark debate amongst many important sectors like trade bodies, practitioners, academic and government, which hopefully in turn will create a list of policies that improve the market going forward.

The document focuses on issues throughout both the commercial and residential sectors. Here are a few highlights regarding commercial property. Jonny Morris, Head of Research at Hamptons International and Oliver Du Sautoy, Head of Research at Lambert Smith Hampton, provide their comments.

Widening Retail Use Classes to aid High Streets

Oliver du Sautoy comments on the DCLG’s proposal of broadening the retail use classes, saying  that it  “will allow change of use from retail to leisure via permitted development rights, for example changing record shops to coffee shops. While greater flexibility of use will not by itself arrest the decline across many of our UK high streets, policy should at the least provide a means for businesses to adapt more quickly to local demand and promote footfall back into our town centres”.

Reforming Business Rates

Mr Sautoy says: “We want to see a business rates system which is both a fairer reflection of prevailing market conditions and provides stronger support for small businesses”. He also thinks that the frequency of revaluations should be increased from five to two years “exempting small businesses entirely from business rates and allowing local authorities to set rate relief areas within town centres would be a significant step towards a fairer system”.

Giving planners time to catch up with policy

Mr Morris said: “Over the last ten years the fundamentals of the planning system have been in a state of flux following reform by successive governments. Today only half of planning authorities have plans fit for purpose under the National Planning Policy Framework. Allowing time for planning authorities to catch up will allow us to see if the plan-led system can work as intended”.

Permanent permitted development righs for office to residential conversion

The research paper says: “While evidence of the impact of PDRs is mixed, headline take up has been high.  However the time limit on the current right and constraints on changes to buildings means that few schemes falling with the PDRs have progressed.  Allowing under utilised office space to be converted to housing without the need for full planning consent provides a welcome boost for housing delivery, while removing obsolete office space.”



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