Bringing you thought provoking opinion articles from our experts and the recent news from within our Planning & Development division.

Featured article from the new edition of Planning & Development Insite

It is nearly 75 years since the post war ‘baby boom’ and we now find ourselves with a shortage of specialist housing that will allow our aging population to downsize and release much needed family housing to those in need.

It would be naïve and simplistic, however, to assume that all older people have the same needs and it would also be wrong to assume that creating communities specifically for older people is the answer. As is clear from the increasing political divide (crudely recognised as the Corbyn-supporting pro-European youth versus the older Conservative Brexiteers), age segregation is a factor in today’s society.

Peter Edwards, a Partner in Carter Jonas’ London office, has experience in the retirement housing sector and acknowledges that different locations will appeal to different age groups and that communities are often out of balance. A similar divide is frequently found within local authority areas, where older people tend to dominate larger houses in established, often more rural, areas with younger people tending to dominate new urban estates.’ Research by McCarthy & Stone, the provider of retirement homes, has revealed that that there are potentially 4.1 million people who could downsize and if they were to move, approximately 2 million existing bedrooms could become available.

In summary, the UK’s population is ageing fast. There are now more people over 60 than under 18 and in the next 17 years the over 65 age group is projected to rise by more than 40%; which is likely to polarise communities further. If age segregation is defining our communities today, then action must be taken to prevent it escalating further.

Earlier this year the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee assessed the current state of housing for older people. It referred to research which found that only 15% of local councils were adequately planning for retirement housing. However, a number of Councils were noted for adopting a progressive stance; Sunderland City Council for example provides for a variety of specialist housing policies in its Local Plan, whilst Central Bedfordshire publishes a Housing for Older People strategy, which addresses the area’s demographic profile and identifies market opportunities for its older residents.

‘Typically, older people tend to gravitate towards housing located close to local amenities’, says Peter. ‘Consequently, infill or brownfield sites in central locations should be ideal in meeting the specific needs of older people and at the same time reduce the problems associated with segregation.

‘However, housing types are diverse and are targeted at different sectors of society by offering a range of unit sizes, tenures, and levels of affordability; with a range of products available to help renters, sharers and house buyers onto the housing ladder. This variety is reflected in how housing is being delivered including: community-led housing, self-build housing, co-operatives, co-housing, leasehold schemes, extra care/sheltered housing, retirement housing/senior living, retirement villages, home sharing and traditional housing, all of the specialist competing with the mainstream house builders. And in this context there is significant benefit in local authorities collaborating with health and social care teams.’

But developers face obstacles in providing specialist housing. Responding to the Committee report mentioned above, the Home Builders Federation has acknowledged that retirement housing providers struggle to compete with the national house builders because their gross development costs are higher due to a need to provide specialist facilities and communal spaces, in a market place where the supply of suitable land is limited. The fact that specialist housing attracts CIL and Section 106 obligations is a particular challenge as is the price of brownfield land being driven up by the mainstream house builders competing amongst themselves for prime central sites.

‘The best way to ensure an adequate supply of specialist forms of housing would be to exempt developers from CIL payments and affordable housing contributions, allowing savings to go towards on-site community facilities and domiciliary care provision’, says Peter. ‘Specifically allocating land for retirement/ extra care living would also have the effect of making specialist accommodation more affordable to those on lower incomes and those people with limited savings.

‘Most of all, we need a holistic approach which involves specialist housing providers, developers and Government developing policies, products and services that can be used to both deliver specialist housing and incentivise aging relatives to downsize to accommodation more closely associated with their needs. We need new insurance products that allow individuals to plan for their old age; make it easier for retirees to make best use of equity release schemes; consider the relaxation or graduation of stamp duty and introduce tax relief for careers (both professional careers and family members)’.

Essentially, any development that prioritises health and social benefits, is well located and offers a variety of amenities can appeal to young and old alike; with such communities having the potential to integrate communities; meaning that neither the young or old feels isolated. The answer seems to lie in ensuring the older generation remains an integral part of the community and with this in mind we need to plan in a holistic way and create environments that are accommodating of both young and old. Again the issue is one of location, funding and high quality design with government and developers working together more closely.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Peter Edwards
Partner, Planning & Development
020 7529 1501

This article was first published in Planning and Development Insite, Spring 2019 click here to download the issue.

Carter Jonas in the news

Carter Jonas has secured planning permission for a new depot at Tilbury in Essex for GAP Group Ltd (GAP). The 6.8-acre site is located adjacent to Tilbury Port, immediately east of a new Amazon distribution centre.

With more than 1,800 employees and over 130 locations, GAP is the UK’s largest independent equipment rental company, hiring out an extensive range of equipment to industries including construction, utilities, civil engineering and events. In recent years, GAP has focused on a diversification strategy that has seen the company grow from its traditional plant & tool hire roots to a multi-service offering with eight divisions, providing customers with a complete hire solution.

GAP purchased the Tilbury site in 2017. The firm’s first application for planning permission was refused with the notice citing reasons of transport impact, flood risk, a lack of contribution to the adjacent port activities, and the site’s metropolitan green belt location. Carter Jonas’ planning team was then appointed to review and amend the application prior to resubmission. This involved having to address the issues raised in the refusal notice and establish the ‘very special circumstances’ required to justify the creation of a new depot at the site. Thurrock Council ultimately accepted that despite the proposals’ apparent conflict with the Local Plan, the application scheme passed the stringent tests required for development in the green belt.

Richard Sykes-Popham, Associate Partner, Carter Jonas said:
“GAP had been looking to establish a new depot east of London for some time and the Tilbury site provided a perfect and somewhat scarce opportunity to do this. It was therefore critical that planning related complications could be overcome.”

“The site has a complex history. Although it had been earmarked for allocation for employment uses in an emerging Local Plan, and indeed had outline planning permission for commercial development, the Plan had not moved forward. As a result, the site remained in the green belt, despite the development of adjacent sites. We assessed the site and the proposed development against the national policy tests and provided specialist advice on how to overcome the previous reasons for refusal. Thankfully we were able to meet the necessary requirements and assist GAP in pushing ahead with the scheme. We are now working with the GAP team on a number of projects across the country as they continue to meet their ambitious growth targets.”

Douglas Anderson, Joint Managing Director, GAP Group Limited: “With over 130 depots UK wide and a steadily growing business, there was a strong business case to create a large multi-divisional presence in the Thurrock area.  The “Island Site” in Tilbury Docks became available and the port-related business potential was an extra attraction for us. We were delighted with the purchase, but utterly frustrated and disappointed when we received our planning refusal. Thanks to the help of Cartas Jonas and their planning team we managed to mount a very successful application and we can now start our construction programme”  

Gavin Smith, Property Manager GAP Group Limited: “When we purchased the site we were unaware of the historic planning complexity of the site, and that was despite a reasonably sound due diligence process.  When we received the refusal we called in Cartas Jonas to undertake a comprehensive and professional application the second time around. I am delighted to say that this was a very astute appointment and we now have a full consent thanks to the Cartas Jonas planning team and our contractors are now on site”.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Richard Sykes-Popham
Associate Partner, Planning & Development
01223 326553

The northern Carter Jonas planning team obtained planning consent for the change of use of an existing B1 office unit into a specialist orthopaedics and neurology veterinary surgery for small animals.

Facilities within the surgery will include consulting rooms, theatres, a dog ward, cat ward, treatment rooms, MRI room , prep-room, x-ray room, CT scanner, offices, changing rooms and WC’s, waste and laundry room, staff areas, meeting room and waiting area.

The surgery will be in operation 24/7, seven days a week given the nature of the specialist services offered.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Simon Grundy
Partner, Planning & Development
0113 203 1095

The six Oxfordshire authorities – city, districts and county have committed to a joint strategic local plan.

This is as a result of a ‘Housing & Growth Deal’ with government that has seen a commitment to deliver 100,000 new homes by 2031 and further ‘ambitious’ new homes targets by 2050.  

In return, the region will receive funding for infrastructure and affordable homes. This is also an opportunity for Oxfordshire to engage with national strategic plans such as the Cambridge to Oxford ‘Arc’ and the potential expressway.

Carter Jonas have begun to engage with the authorities and their dedicated team of officers on behalf of a range of clients including; major strategic development site promotors (1,000 – 3,500+ dwellings); science parks and campuses; public sector research and healthcare organisations; smaller site owners; and, private individuals.    

The authorities’ have a two year timetable to develop this plan, so work is due to progress at some pace. The next consultation is due in the autumn of this year. Carter Jonas are excited to be part of a co-ordinated and regional response to the challenge of housing and economic growth nationally and have high hopes that this plan can deliver on both our, and our client opportunities and aspirations.    

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

James Bainbridge
Head of Planning & Development Division
01865 404437

The Carter Jonas London planning team has obtained planning permission for the redevelopment of a retail unit and ancillary storage on Hounslow high street, West London and its replacement with a new apart-hotel development.

This success follows that of a previous planning application submitted by Carter Jonas for a smaller apart-hotel scheme at the same site which was granted approval at planning committee in June 2018.

The new seven storey building, designed by architect’s TP Bennett, will provide 106 apart-hotel units (use class C1), and will also include an ancillary restaurant (Use Class A3) and event hall/venue space at ground floor level, as well as a gym, bicycle storage and staff facilities within the basement.

The event hall/venue will provide a much needed space in the town centre for functions including seated lunches, dinners, conferences and wedding receptions. Crucially, it has also been made available for use by the community, acting as a hub of activity appropriate to the town centre location.

The London planning team was also successful in assisting the client with the timely signing of the S106 agreement, in order that the formal decision notice could be issued by the London Borough of Hounslow prior to 1st April 2019, the date on which the Mayor’s new CIL charging schedule came into effect. By securing planning permission prior to this date, the client avoided having to pay an increased CIL liability for the scheme.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Chris Cooper
Associate, Planning & Development
020 7529 1512

The next edition of Planning & Development bulletin will be published in June 2019, however you can keep up-to-date with our latest firm wide developments on the News & Events of our website.

@ James Bainbridge
James Bainbridge
01865 404437 email me about James
@ Nick Taylor
Nick Taylor 
Partner - Head of Planning
020 7016 0733 email me about Nick Taylor
@ Colin Brown
Colin Brown
Partner - Head of Planning and Development Division
01223 326826 email me about Colin
@ Steven Sensecall
Steven Sensecall
Partner - Head of Planning in the Southern Region
01865 297705 email me about Steven
@ John Webster
John Webster
Partner - Head of Planning and Development North
0113 203 1063 email me about John

James is Chairman of Carter Jonas.  Formerly Head of the Planning & Development Division, James advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the south of England with nearly 30 years of experience in residential and mixed use development.  This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities. He has specific expertise in option, promotion and other development agreements, joint ventures and landowner equalisation agreements. James has been involved in sites ranging from new settlements to city centre regeneration and smaller provincial and rural schemes, and also provides expert witness and independent expert valuation services for dispute resolution.

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Nick is a chartered town planner and development surveyor with over 25 years' experience, gained across the residential, commercial, retail and industrial sectors for corporate, institutional and private landowners and developers. He has worked at CBRE and Drivers Jonas Deloitte. His professional experience is in three main sectors – Strategic Land / Projects, Retail / Mixed-Use and Central London. Strategic Projects / Land involves the promotion of land for commercial and residential development for landowners and developers. Retail / Mixed-Use schemes are a blend of edge of centre and town centre mixed-use schemes with food stores and other uses, often residential. This sector includes regeneration and waterside schemes. Central London focuses on projects from Canary Wharf to Hammersmith and Camden down to Wandsworth, Southwark and Lambeth.

When he isn’t working, Nick can be found playing golf (increasingly badly) and spending time re-stocking and emptying his wine cellar to indulge his passion for wine.

Colin is a Partner and was appointed Head of Planning & Development Division in November 2020, he is based out of our Cambridge office.  He has over 25 years’ experience of planning consultancy and has a broad sphere of work.  He acts for a wide range of private, institutional and developer clients and has worked on significant planning applications and appeals.

He regularly instructs Counsel, and has appeared at a number of Local Plan examinations and in Section 78 and other appeals where he has often given evidence.  He carries out much land promotion work and has a strong track record of delivering planning consents taking projects through their entire process from site identification to construction on site.  

Away from work, Colin is Chairman of the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry and of the Cambridge branch of networking group, Interact.  He is also Chairman of the Dining Rights Committee at the Hawks’ Club, a sporting club in the City for Cambridge University sportsmen. He is a regular, if poor golfer, a keen cyclist and a committed, but somewhat less dangerous skier than he once was.

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Steven is Partner and Head of Planning Southern Region and is based in our Oxford office.

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John is Head of the Leeds office and the Planning & Development Team North. John advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the North of England.  He has over 30 years’ experience in residential and commercial development acting for private, corporate, institutional, charity and public sector clients.

This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities.

John has specific expertise in Options, Promotional Agreements, Joint Ventures and Conditional Contracts, acting mainly for landowners.  John has been involved in projects such as new settlements, to city centre regeneration, provincial sites, large commercial developments and site sales.

The Development Agency team are currently instructed on 6,500 acres in 150 locations across the North West, Yorkshire and the North East.

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