Reactions to the Budget 2017

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It’s good to see the government taking the housing crisis seriously with the final quarter of the speech devoted to this one subject, an impressive commitment to extra spending of £44bn over five years and the headline grabbing finale of the reduction in stamp duty. The devil though will, as always be in the detail. The lifting of HRA caps is good in principle but there are no details at all, while the £34m for skills training sounds like a drop in the ocean when we are faced with a huge likely loss of construction workers post-Brexit. Other measures announced include the review to be chaired by Oliver Letwin which may, helpfully, lay to rest the myth that land banking is a serious problem - most developers being concerned to turn over their capital as fast as possible rather than tie it up in dormant sites. Finally there is the reduction in stamp duty for first time buyers, which will undoubtedly appeal to younger voters, but the same measure would probably be much more effective, economically, as an incentive to retired people to downsize, releasing under-occupied houses into the market.

PHOTO CREDIT / Ben STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

 

Update: Planning

Planning Updates:

Perspective 2 St Albans

St Albans Revised Application

Our improved scheme for the site in St Albans received another successful planning approval.

The proposals for Beechcroft Developments are for retirement housing on the site of the former Maryland Convent.

Bishops Waltham Colour Perspective

Bishops Waltham

We have recently submitted a planning application for this site in Hampshire.

Bishops Waltham pond, Abbey Field and Abbey Mill with its surrounding land lie just south of Bishops Waltham centre with the imposing ruins of the medieval bishop’s palace immediately to the east, the embankment of the old railway to the west and open fields to the south.

The scheme proposes a care “village” with a 66 bed care home and 39 units of Assisted Living accommodation. There is also family housing on site, with 12 affordable dwellings and 19 family houses for private sale.

Retirement Housing Group

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Richard has recently delivered, (on behalf of the Retirement Housing Group RHG), evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group APPG on Housing and Care for Older People. The group, chaired by Lord Best and Peter Aldous MP is currently hearing evidence for its enquiry into Rural Retirement Housing - HAPPI 4.

Richard will also be talking on Rural Retirement Housing at the RHG Conference on 28th September.

Update: Planning & On Site

Planning Updates:

St Albans

We can now announce that St Albans District Council has granted planning consent for our scheme on Townsend Drive, St Albans. The proposals for Beechcroft Developments are for retirement housing on the site of the former Maryland Convent.

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Four Winds

Our planning application for this house in Harrow for a private client was successful. We have now begun the working drawings for the major extension of this attractive 1906 Arts and Crafts House in Harrow on the Hill. The designs preserve and enhance the existing building while creating a large pool and leisure complex at basement level.

Tenterden

We have recently submitted a planning application for a mixed assisted living and care home scheme for APM, Cognatum and Barchester Healthcare. The sloping site is to the west of Tenterden town centre. The scheme comprises 22 new assisted living units plus a resident managers office, and a 56 bed care home for the frail elderly with specialist provision for dementia patients.

A substantial area around some existing badger sets will be left undeveloped, cultivated as a wild flower meadow and safeguarded for the future.

 


Site Updates:

Leatherhead

Progress on site at Leatherhead is going well, with the show apartments getting ready to be launched in the summer. Block A has the timber frame completed and the roof is watertight, the Block B timber frame is rapidly going up, whilst the foundations for Blocks C and D are already completed.

Winchcombe

Winchcombe

We have recently submitted a planning application for 53 assisted living dwellings and a 52 bed care home on this splendid, but very sensitive site on the edge of Winchcombe. Traditionally designed in Cotswold stone, the new buildings are informally grouped to create a series of village spaces relating to the town and the adjacent grounds of Sudely Castle. Near the site entrance is a group of listed but derelict farm buildings which are to be restored for community use, while to the east and north riverside gardens will be created along the site boundaries.

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The Tower of London and other new projects

The Tower of London and other new projects

Dealing with 3 million visitors each year in a hugely important set of buildings which were designed to make entry and exit almost impossible is a monumental challenge. Add to this the fact that the Tower is also a place of education, a place of work for the many staff of Historic Royal Palaces, home for dozens of families and a place of protection for the world's most famous collection of jewels.

RM Architects have been appointed to carry out a series of logistical studies, identifying problems arising in the fulfillment of these widely varying functions and possible initiatives which will overcome those problems while preserving the historic fabric and enhancing the perception of this utterly unique place.

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New staff and promotions

New staff and promotions

Asua Ellimah has recently re-joined us as a Senior architect having worked with the firm previously between 2012 and 2014. Prior to that Asua worked with Richard and Yarema for a number of years at Sidell Gibson.

Valeria Cabrera is an Italian architect , specializing in work on historic buildings having trained in Rome, Istanbul and London.

Caveh Bahreyni Toosi qualified as a medical doctor  and worked in that role for a number of years in Iran and China before deciding on a career change and training as an architect, first in Northern Cyprus and then in the UK. He recently completed his Part 1 qualification.

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New Luxury Residential Projects

New Luxury Residential Projects

In the ‘luxury residential’ sector we have recently been appointed to work on three individual properties. In Ashley Gardens, Victoria we are completely transforming a standard mansion block flat to create a series of open plan living areas and  four separate bedroom suites; in Oatlands Avenue, Weybridge we are converting and adding a major extension to an arts and crafts detached house, and in Roxburgh Park Harrow we have recently been commissioned for a major extension and conversion, doubling the size of a locally listed house built in 1906.

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New listed building planning application

We have recently submitted planning and listed building applications for the extension of the Tiger, the grade 2 star listed church hall of All Saints Lindfield. The front part of the building is an exceptionally rare timber frame Wealden house from the end of the fourteenth century and previous extensions date from the sixteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Our proposed addition is intended to provide extra space for the church’s vital youth work.

Storrington wins gold for best landscaping in What House? Awards 2015

Storrington wins gold for best landscaping in What House? Awards 2015

We are delighted that our Orchard Gardens scheme in Storrington was recently awarded gold in the Best Landscape Design category at the What House? Awards 2015. The judges described it as 'an eloquent scheme sensitively designed and executed within a historic setting', and praised its 'elegant simplicity'. 

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Three Peaks Walk for Alzheimer's Society

Three Peaks Walk for Alzheimer's Society

Thirty years after having first completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk I once again took to the hills earlier this summer for a second go. Having triumphed for a second time I returned to the same pub for a well deserved pint. How time does fly! This was all in aid of Alzheimer’s Society and, with my son, my daughter and my brothers alongside, we raised over £4500 which is wonderful news.

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