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Weekly News Summary

Friday, 19 January 2018

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Top stories this week

  • Carillion collapses more
  • MHCLG confirms more
  • Rightmove: Busy start to 2018 more
  • MHCLG: Independent review to tackle barriers to more
  • CITB steps in to help apprentices – but needs industry’s more


Carillion collapses

Carillion, one of the UK's largest construction firms, has gone into liquidation. The firm currently employs 19,500 people in the UK, has debts of around £1.5bn and a shortfall of £600m in its pension fund. Carillion has a number of contracts with the government, including for HS2 and for the management of 50,000 homes on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. It has also run a training operation currently employing 1400 apprentices. 

In a statement on Monday morning, the company said: “Carillion continued to engage with its key financial and other stakeholders, including the government, over the course of the weekend regarding options to reduce debt and strengthen the group’s balance sheet.

“As part of this engagement, Carillion also asked those stakeholders for limited short term financial support, to enable it to continue to trade whilst longer-term engagement continued.

“Despite considerable efforts, those discussions have not been successful, and the board of Carillion has therefore concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect.”


However, Carillion said it understood that the government would be “providing the necessary funding…  to maintain the public services carried on by Carillion staff, subcontractors and suppliers”.

Meetings were held over last weekend between Carillion and its lenders in a bid to agree on a rescue plan to save the troubled contractor.

Government officials also met over the weekend to discuss the future of the firm.

The BBC reported that banks were reluctant to lend Carillion more money unless they could get guarantees from the government, the contractor’s biggest client. 

CITB have stated they will be supporting the Carillion apprentices to find new placements and also assisting the wider Carillion workforce (see story below in skills section) and HBF have issued a briefing on the arrangements being made here.(LINK) 

CITB statement on Carillion


Read more 

Business Secretary outlines departmental action following Carillion liquidation

Following the appointment of the Official Receiver as liquidator, the Business Secretary has written to the Insolvency Service and the Official Receiver asking that the statutory investigation into the conduct of Carillion 's directors is fast-tracked and extended in scope.

This means the Official Receiver's investigation will consider whether those who are, or were previously directors of the company may have caused detriment to those owed money, including workers and businesses affected.

Alongside this, the Business Secretary has also written to the chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), Sir Win Bischoff, and asked it to conduct an investigation into the preparation of Carillion 's accounts past and present, as well as the company's auditors.

Greg Clark said:

It is important we quickly get the full picture of the events which caused Carillion to enter liquidation, which is why I have asked the Insolvency Service to fast-track and broaden the scope of the Official Receiver's investigation.

In particular, I have asked that the investigation looks not only at the conduct of the directors at the point of its insolvency, but also of any individuals who were previously directors. Any evidence of misconduct will be taken very seriously.

The Business Secretary also chaired a meeting on Monday with leading business and construction trade bodies, representing Carillion 's sub-contractors including representatives from the construction sector:

Build UK 
Civil Engineering Contractors Association 
British Constructional Steelwork Association 
Building Engineering Services Association 
Federation of Master Builders 
Construction Products Association 
Electrical Contractors' Association 
Specialist Engineering Contractors Group 
Also invited were representatives of leading business bodies with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Institute of Directors (IOD).

The Business Secretary also met the General Secretaries of the TUC and Unite, Frances O'Grady and Len McCluskey, to discuss the impact on employees affected by Carillion 's insolvency.

The department has also outlined the resources open to those workers and businesses affected by Carillion 's liquidation who are seeking further information, including:

a web page set up by the Insolvency Service for those affected and seeking advice 
a dedicated website set up by the Special Managers, PWC, as well as a dedicated helpline – 0800 063 9282 
a hotline set up for any employee worried about their pension situation on these specific pension schemes – 020 7630 2715 
for more general advice on business support, the BEIS Business Support Hotline can also provide information – 0300 456 3565 
Jobcentre Plus, through its Rapid Response Service, also stands ready to support any employee affected by this announcement 
Alongside this, the department's network of 38 Local Growth Hubs, run in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is also on hand to help businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to access support.

Letters on the Carillion insolvency can be accessed here and here:

Further Business Department announcement on support measures for businesses affected by Carillion liquidation

The Business Secretary Greg Clark welcomed the decision by several banks to set up funds to support small businesses affected by Carillion’s insolvency.

Lloyds Banking Group has launched a £50 million fund, HSBC a £100 million fund and RBS has made £75 million of assistance available.

It follows a meeting held by Greg Clark with banks where he discussed further support and advice that could be provided by the banks for small businesses affected by Carillion’s liquidation.

Greg Clark said:

I welcome this quick and positive move by banks including Lloyds, HSBC and RBS. This follows my meeting with the banks yesterday where I challenged them to see what further support they could provide for SMEs affected by Carillion’s insolvency.

It is essential that small businesses exposed are given the support they need by their lenders, and I look forward to other banks following suit.

HMRC has also outlined the support being offered to those businesses contracted to Carillion that may be concerned about their ability to pay tax. HMRC are providing practical advice and guidance to those affected through its Business Payment Support Service (BPSS). 

Read more:

FSB: Carillion’s small suppliers must be paid

Responding to construction giant Carillion going into liquidation, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said:

"It is vital that Carillion 's small business suppliers are paid what they are owed, or some of those firms could themselves be put in jeopardy, putting even more jobs at risk besides those of Carillion 's own employees.

"These unpaid bills may well go back several months. I wrote to Carillion back in July last year to express concern after hearing from FSB members that the company was making small suppliers wait 120 days to be paid.

"Sadly these kind of poor payment practices are all too common among some big corporates. Perhaps if they weren't it would be easier to spot the warning signs of a huge company in financial trouble.

"When the dust settles on this sorry saga, there is also a wider lesson to learn about the concentration of public contracts in the hands of a small number of very big businesses. Public procurement must be much more small-business friendly, in which it is easier for small firms to navigate the system and the Government should prioritise meeting its target of at least one third of taxpayer-funded contracts going to smaller firms."

Carillion’s demise raises concerns about Government’s reliance on large contractors, says FMB

The FMB also said the Government must learn from Carillion 's demise and assess its over-reliance on major contractors, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). 

Commenting on the announcement that Carillion is to enter compulsory liquidation, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: " Carillion 's liquidation is terrible news for all those who work for the company and it will have serious knock-on effects for the many smaller firms in its supply chain, some of which will be in serious financial danger as a result of Carillion 's demise." 

"Carillion 's liquidation raises serious questions for the Government, not least about its over-reliance on major contractors. The Government needs to open up public sector construction contracts to small and micro firms by breaking larger contracts down into smaller lots. That way, it can spread its risk while also reaping the benefits that come from procuring a greater proportion of its work from a broad range of small companies. Construction SMEs train two-thirds of all apprentices and are a sure-fire way of spreading economic growth more evenly throughout the UK."

MHCLG confirms responsibilities

 The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published ministerial responsibilities following the recent reshuffle.

Dominic Raab Minister of State for Housing and Planning has been made responsible for Supporting the Housing Secretary on housing supply policy and delivery. His responsibilities include:

  • Housing financing streams
  • Home ownership policy
  • Planning policy and casework oversight
  • Homes England sponsorship and performance
  • Building safety and regulations (including government response to the Hackitt review)
  • Land assembly and release, and Public Sector Land and Digital Land
  • Help to Buy
  • Quality and design
  • Grenfell recovery programme
  • Social Housing Green Paper

Heather Wheeler MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Housing and Homelessness) has been made responsible for:

  • Homelessness and rough sleeping
  • Private rented sector
  • Housing Ombudsman and redress
  • Leasehold reform
  • Voluntary right to buy
  • Reform of the home buying process
  • Supported housing
  • Domestic abuse and refuges
  • Minister for Secondary Legislation
  • Member of the Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Building the homes our country needs is an absolute priority for this government and so I’m delighted the Prime Minister has asked me to serve in this role. The name change for the department reflects this government’s renewed focus to deliver more homes and build strong communities across England.”

Read more:

Government commits to publish Social Housing Green Paper by spring

 The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government will publish a Social Housing Green Paper by the Spring, under the leadership of the new minister for housing, Dominic Raab. A spokesperson for the Ministry said, “We are still committed to publishing a Social Housing Green Paper in spring 2018. The housing minister, Dominic Raab, will continue the tenant engagement work started by Alok Sharma.”

CIEH Praises Government Support for Karen Buck Housing Bill

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has strongly welcomed the announcement that the Government will now be supporting Karen Buck MP's Private Members Bill on housing and landlords.

The Labour MP's bill seeks to update the law requiring rented homes to be presented and maintained in a state fit for human habitation. It would also introduce new means of redress for renters, who will be able to seek action through the courts where a property is in an unfit condition.

CIEH has been working closely with Karen Buck to bring this bill together and has been actively campaigning for the Government to support it.

The Bill is needed as, whether private or social, tenants currently have no way of enforcing property standards or threats to their safety due to dangerous housing conditions without the help of Local Authorities. Existing legislation only allows tenants to take action when something is in disrepair.

In addition, many tenants are deeply concerned with retaliatory evictions if they raise safety concerns, with environmental health professionals across the country reporting that these evictions still take place as current legislation does nothing to stop them.

Tamara Sandoul, Housing Policy Manager at CIEH said:

"We have worked closely with Karen since the summer on this Bill, and we are delighted that the Government has decided to end their opposition and throw their full weight behind it.

In the wake of Grenfell, CIEH has been calling on the Government to adopt the Bill and work to improve housing safety across our country; giving both private and social renters the right to a safe and secure home.

We would like to see the Government commit to a review of retaliatory evictions legislation to ensure that any tenants using the new powers given in the Bill are adequately protected from unfair eviction.

Safe housing should not a political issue, and we hope that MPs and Peers from across both Houses will now be able to give this Bill the support it deserves."

LGA: One in 10 new homes was a former office

A study by the Local Government Association has found that almost one in ten new homes were converted from office blocks. Permitted development rights rules allow office space to be converted into housing without planning permission. The LGA have said that this has led to the loss of over 7,500 affordable homes they would have expected to be provided had the developments been subject to normal planning rules. Spokesperson for LGA, Cllr Martin Tett said “Councils want to see more affordable homes built quickly and the conversion of offices into residential flats is one way to deliver much-needed homes. However it is vital that councils and local communities have a voice in the planning process.”

MSP pushes for sprinklers in new-build housing blocks

David Stewart MSP has launched a consultation to inform a members bill in the Scottish Parliament, that would seek to make sprinklers mandatory in new buildings. The proposed legislation would require councils and social landlords to install automatic fire suppression systems into all newly built social housing. A number of inquiries following the Grenfell Tower fire found that hundreds of social housing blocks in Scotland do not have fire suppression systems fitted. The consultation will close on 16 April, and will also seek to address the question of existing high-rise tower blocks.

Latest annual tax on enveloped dwellings

The Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (Indexation of Annual Chargeable Amounts) Order 2017 which states the annual chargeable amounts of the annual tax on enveloped dwellings has been released.

The document is available here.

HMRC: ATED Guidance updated

HMRC have updated guidance on the annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) online service to add more information about registering as an agent or business.

Submit your Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings return explains how to register for the ATED service to submit returns online. The guidance has been updated to add more information about registering for the ATED online service as an agent, or as a business wishing to submit their own ATED returns.

View the updated guidance here.

Economics & Statistics

Rightmove: Busy start to 2018

A report by Rightmove has found that house prices in London have dropped to their lowest asking price since August 2015. Prices reduced by 1.4% in January to £600,926 on average. The average number of days required to sell a house has also increased from 71 to 78. Director of Rightmove, Miles Shipside said that the results are “a bout of realism rather than the usual New Year optimism”. Nationally, asking prices have increased by 0.7% this month. 

Other key points are: 

  • Early traffic data indicates a busy start to 2018, with Rightmove visits up by an average of over 9% so far in January compared to same period last year1, averaging over 4 million visits per day
  • Average price of property coming to market is up 0.7% (+£2,067) this month on Rightmove, tracking over 90% of the UK property market, similar to the 0.6% rise at this time a year ago with virtually identical number of properties coming to market
  • To have the best chance of a successful sale this year, sellers should note:
  • Buyers are still price-sensitive with sales agreed numbers in the last quarter of 2017 down 5.5% on the same period a year ago
  • Sellers of properties suitable for first-time buyers set to have greatest chance of sales success following last Autumn’s stamp duty saving boost 

Read more:

UK Finance: Mortgage Market activity bouyant during November 2017

UK Finance 's mortgage trends update for November 2017 reveals steady increases in mortgage lending for first-time-buyers and home movers compared to the previous month and the equivalent period in 2016.

Key data highlights: 

  • There were 34,800 new first-time buyer mortgages in the month, some 15.2 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. The £5.6bn of new lending in the month was 16.7 per cent more year-on-year. The average first-time buyer is 30 and has an income of £40,000.
  • There were 36,200 new home mover mortgages in the month, some 16.8 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. The £7.5bn of new lending in the month was 19 per cent more year-on-year. The average home mover is 39 and has an income of £54,000.
  • There were 38,400 new homeowner remortgages in the month, some 8.5 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. The £6.5bn of remortgaging in the month was 10.2 per cent more year-on-year.
  • There were 6,600 new BTL house purchase mortgages in the month, some 1.5 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £0.9bn of lending in the month, the same year-on-year.
  • There were 13,500 new BTL remortgages in the month, some 3.6 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £2.1bn of lending in the month, 4.5 per cent down year-on-year. 

Commenting on the data Paul Smee, Head of Mortgages at UK Finance said:

"The data shows housing market activity remains buoyant, despite November's rise in the base rate. Steady increases in lending for house purchases together with increases in homeowner remortgages reflect a keenness among consumers to benefit from still historically low interest rates, and a highly competitive marketplace.

"In contrast, declines in buy-to-let lending reflect the changing regulatory and fiscal environment for landlord businesses, where some landlords might be inclined to reappraise the viability of their portfolios."

RICS: Stamp duty change to have limited impact as new buyer interest drop further

The UK housing market continued to display a lack of momentum in December, with buyer interest edging lower. Changes to Stamp Duty for first time buyers are having little immediate effect, according to the December 2017 RICS UK Residential Market Survey.

Survey in brief

86% of respondents report no response yet from first time buyers following changes to Stamp Duty 
Buyer interest edges lower as sales and new instructions continue to decline 
However, the twelve-month outlook for prices and sales is more upbeat 

In December, activity in the UK housing market continued to drop. After new buyer enquiries came close to stabilising in November, 15% more respondents noted a decline in demand (as opposed to an increase) in the month of December.

Read more:

HM Land Registry:UK House Price Index for November 2017

The UK House Price Index (UK HPI) shows house price changes for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

The November data shows:

  • on average, house prices have risen by 0.1% since October 2017
  • an annual price rise of 5.1%, which takes the average property in the UK to £226,071 

Read more  

NAO PFI Report released

The National Audit Office (NAO) have published a report that assesses the costs, benefits and impact of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Key findings from the report include:  

  • There are currently over 700 existing PFI and PF2 projects, with an approximate value of £60 billion and little evidence of any financial benefit;
  • Even if no new contracts are started, future deals will continue for a minimum of 25 years at a cost of £199 billion to the government;
  • The cost of privately financing public projects can be 40% higher than relying solely upon government money.  

In response to the report, the National Secretary of the GMB Union, Rehana Azam has said that PFI is a “catastrophic waste of taxpayers’ money” and projects were “financial time bombs”.

ONS: Comparing measures of private rental growth in the UK: October to December 2017

Compares growth in the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices to other measures of private rental growth.

Read more:

Index of private housing rental prices (IPHRP) in Great Britain: Dec 2017

An experimental price index of prices paid for renting property from private landlords.

Main points  

  • Private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by 1.2% in the 12 months to December 2017; this is the lowest annual growth since the series began in January 2012.
  • In England, private rental prices grew by 1.3%, Wales saw growth of 1.7% while Scotland saw rental prices increase by 0.4% in the 12 months to December 2017.
  • London private rental prices grew by 0.4% in the 12 months to December 2017, that is, 0.8 percentage points below the Great Britain 12-month growth rate.  

Read more:

Local authority housing statistics: year ending March 2017

National statistics on social housing that is owned and managed by local authorities in England.

Read more:


MHCLG: Independent review to tackle barriers to building

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has publicly launched an independent review into the gap between the number of planning permissions granted and those built in areas of high demand. The review, originally announced in November’s Budget, will be chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, who commented that “this government is serious about finding ways to increase the speed of build out as well as tackling the complicated issues surrounding it”. The review will take place in two phases, firstly by “seeking to identify the main causes of the gap”, which will include “information gathering sessions with local authorities, developers, non-government organisations and others”, followed by a series of recommendations on practical approaches. The review will also consider how to avoid interventions which might discourage house building or hinder the regeneration of complex sites. 

Sir Oliver will be assisted by a team of leading experts: 

  • Richard Ehrman – author, small commercial property developer and former journalist. Former special adviser to the Secretary of State for Employment and subsequently Northern Ireland, onetime Chief Leader Writer of the Daily Telegraph, and former Deputy Chairman of Policy Exchange
  • Lord Jitesh Gadhia – Member of House of Lords and investment banker
  • Lord John Hutton – (Labour) Peer and former Secretary of State
  • Rt Hon Baroness Usha Prashar CBE, PC – (Crossbench) Peer with a career spanning public, not for profit and private sectors, currently Deputy Chairman, British Council and a non-Executive Director of Nationwide Building Society
  • Christine Whitehead – Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics at London School of Economics 

Sir Oliver Letwin, Chairman of the Review Panel, said:“This government is serious about finding ways to increase the speed of build out as well as tackling the complicated issues surrounding it.That’s why we have set up this diverse panel to help me test my analysis and to make practical, non-partisan recommendations, as we look to increase housing supply that’s consistent with a stable UK housing market.”

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said:”We are determined to build the homes this country needs, but currently there is still a significant gap between the number of planning permissions being granted and the number of homes built.This review is vital to helping us understand how we can build more homes quickly. All parties have a role to play in closing the gap and I look forward to receiving Sir Oliver’s findings.”

Read more

Government publishes new Planning Regulations

On the 15th January the government published the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (Commencement No 3) Regulations 2018. The regulations bring into force various sections of the 2017 Act over three commencement dates. 

Coming into force immediately (16/01/18) are the requirements for LPAs to identify their strategic priorities for development and use of land in their area. In effect, this brings into force the statutory requirement for development plans. The regulations also bring into effect the various powers for the SoS to ensure that such plans are put in place, including direction of joint plans and the ability to require County Councils to prepare plans for an LPA within their area. 

The requirement for LPAs to notify neighbourhood planning bodies of planning applications within their area where there is a neighbourhood plan in place will come into force on the 31st January. Similarly, the new processes for amending a neighbourhood plan will come into force on 31 January 2018. 

Coming into force on the 31st July 2018 are various provisions requiring local authorities to give greater assistance and guidance to those bodies preparing neighbourhood plans and to set out such assistance in their statements of community involvement. 

The full Regulations can be found here:

MHCLG:Strengthened planning rules to protect music venues and their neighbours

Housing developers building new homes near music venues should be responsible for addressing noise issues in a move to protect both music venues and their neighbours, the Housing Secretary has said.

With late-night venues and community sports clubs being forced to make high cost changes following when new residents move into the area, Mr Javid has committed to working closely with the music industry to help strengthen planning policy.

The National Planning Policy Framework, which local authorities are legally bound to comply with, will now be clarified to include a specific mention of the 'Agent of Change' principle, and will be consulted on in spring.

The move means developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any sound problems, if granted permission to build, and avoid music venues, community and sports clubs and even churches running into expensive issues as a result of complaints from new neighbours.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said:

" Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country's grass roots music culture.

"I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby.

"That's why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper. I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also give more peace of mind to new residents moving into local properties."

With strong backing from the music industry including the Music Venue Trust, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been working with John Spellar MP following his private member's bill on this subject to ensure that planning policy reflects what the industry needs.

Read more:

London First:London’s housing pipeline cracks as nearly half of new homes aren’t built

A report published by London First and Grant Thornton UK LLP has found that 54,941 homes had planning permission granted in 2014, but only 29,701 were currently under construction, or already completed. In 2016,the percentage of non-builds was 33%, which increased in 2017 to 46%. Chief Executive of London First, Jasmine Whitbread said, “with outer London building just 3,000 homes in 2017, barely a tenth of the new homes brought to the capital, the Mayor must get serious about holding these boroughs to account. To tackle London’s housing crisis, boroughs must free up more land, government must enable more investment and developers must start building the homes we need”. 

Read more:

Government plans guidance for councils on garden towns

Speaking to Planning magazine at the launch this week of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on New Towns, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid Javid said that the government’s forthcoming  prospectus for the 5 garden towns it pledged to support in the November Budget would be accompanied by new guidance. "The legislation has already gone through," he said. "We are going to set out shortly exactly how you can take advantage of that." 

Javid also told Planning that people should recognise the government's intent to use compulsory purchase to tackle housing shortages. 

"They shouldn't be in any doubt [that we will back development corporations if they want to use compulsory purchase powers]," he said. 

"We've made it very clear, and [government housing agency] Homes England also has compulsory purchase powers. When I've talked about a more muscular housing agency, that's one of the things I expect them to do ... to do whatever it takes to make sure we are building the homes that we need". 

The new All Party Group is chaired by Lucy Allan, MP for Telford, and is

being supported by the Town and Country Planning Association. It plans a number of parliamentary round table discussions on housing delivery and other new towns’ objectives during the rest of the year. 

The Secretary of State’s speech at the APPG launch can be read here:


Loss of open space allowed 

In allowing an appeal for 40 dwellings but dismissing an alternative proposal for 42 dwellings at East Moseley, Elmbridge, Surrey the inspector was primarily concerned with the amount of open space lost through the alternative schemes. The Council was unable to demonstrate a five year supply of land for housing and the development of the site would reduce the need for green belt releases. The smaller scheme incorporated more useable open space than the slightly larger layout resulting in less harm to local amenity. 

Appellant: Langham Homes (Hurst Lane) Ltd


Unsustainable location 

An appeal for 59 dwellings in Danbury, Chelmsford, Essex was dismissed despite the Council being unable to demonstrate a five year supply of land for housing. Although the development would produce significant benefits the location was poorly served by public transport and non-car travel. This would mean the development was unsustainable. 

Appellant: Mr A Jubb


Harm to character of area 

Despite the Council being unable to demonstrate a five year supply of land for housing a development for 150 dwellings in Wincanton, South Somerset was dismissed. The development would involve the loss of 16 protected, mature trees which would adversely affect the character of the area. The development would also result in the loss of a gap between two villages. In the planning balance the benefit of additional housing was outweighed by the environmental impact. 

Appellant: Oxford Law Ltd


Retirement housing risk higher 

In allowing an appeal for 41 sheltered apartments in Deal, Dover, the inspector accepted the viability assessment of the applicant and thus a reduced off site contribution towards affordable housing provision than the figures of the LPA. The planning practice guidance suggested that risks for sales of housing for the elderly could be higher than for other forms of dwelling and thus a 20% return to the developer was appropriate. The development conformed with the development plan and met identified housing needs in the area. 

Appellant: Churchill Retirement Living


Strategic gap protected 

A development for 100 dwellings in Willaston, Cheshire East was dismissed. It was uncertain as to whether or not the Council could demonstrate a five year supply of land for housing and the inspector erred on the side of caution and sustainable development. Although the proposal had been reduced in scale to that of a previously dismissed appeal, the development would still have a seriously detrimental effect on a strategic gap between settlements. The environmental impact of the scheme, therefore, outweighed the social and economic benefits leading to unsustainable development. 

Appellant: Stretton Willaston Ltd


Valued landscape protected 

A proposal for 75 dwellings at Tingewick, Aylesbury Vale was dismissed despite the Council being unable to demonstrate a five year supply of land for housing. Despite the plan identifying the land as being of local landscape importance being out of date the inspector concluded that the site was clearly of greater landscape character than “mere countryside”. This meant that it fell within the restrictions of footnote 9 of paragraph 14 of the NPPF and the presumption in favour of development did not apply. The harm to landscape character outweighed the benefits of additional housing, including 40% affordable housing. 

Appellant: Gladman Developments Ltd


Flood risk sequential test not followed 

A development for 60 dwellings in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees was dismissed. The site was in flood zones 1 and 2 and, although the proposed mitigation in the flood risk assessment was adequate, there was no evidence that, since the site was not allocated for development, the sequential test had been followed. The proposal did not, therefore, comply with national policy regarding flood risk. 

Appellant: P & M Properties


Harm to setting of village and listed building 

An appeal for 31 dwellings on the edge of Quainton, Aylesbury Vale was dismissed despite the Council’s plan being time expired. Whether or not the replacement plan would need to meet the housing needs of adjoining Authorities was not a matter for a S78 appeal although a Memorandum of Understanding between the LPAs was given considerable weight in assessing whether or not there was a lack of housing land supply. Nevertheless, the development would have a detrimental effect on the setting of the conservation area and of the Grade I listed church and this harm outweighed the benefit of additional housing. 

Appellant: PAG Ventures Ltd


CITB steps in to help apprentices – but needs industry’s help

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is calling on all former Carillion apprentices to get in contact so it can help them continue their training – and for employers to step forward to take them on.

CITB has worked with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to ensure funding is available so that we can continue to support the training for Carillion apprentices this week following the company's liquidation on Monday.

It has attempted contact with the 1400 apprentices, and hundreds have already been booked in for events being held across the country this week. CITB is offering every former Carillion apprentice a face-to-face session with CITB Apprenticeships to find out their individual learning needs. Many more need to be contacted so they can take up the career lifeline CITB is offering them through its offer of support.

The Carillion apprentices were primarily in bricklaying and carpentry and joinery – skills that the country vitally needs to build homes and solve our housing shortage.

For this reason, CITB is also calling on construction employers – particularly homebuilders, as many of the skills are applicable and in demand for that sector – to rally round and take on the former Carillion apprentices.

A hotline has been set up for both former Carillion apprentices to get in touch, and for construction employers who are interested in helping them.

The apprentices were being trained in Carillion centres through England and Scotland, with some of the bigger centres based in Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sunderland, Sittingbourne and Southampton.

CITB hopes to start placing the first apprentices with new employers as early as next week as the construction sector looks to recover from the collapse of its second biggest firm.

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said:

"We understand it's a very worrying time for the young people who were on the Carillion apprenticeship programme, but we can help them restart their training and get their careers back on track if they get in touch with us. Our industry needs the skills these young people are developing and we want to help them find new employers and get their qualifications.

"Our industry, which has consistently reported skill shortages and difficulties in attracting apprentices, now needs to step up and support these young people who have so much to offer. There is certainly no shortage of work in construction, with housebuilding and infrastructure particularly strong, so these young people can have great careers despite this setback.

"At CITB, we are committed to doing everything we can to help the former Carillion apprentices, and hope to see many of them restarting their careers very soon." 

HBF briefing on this, linking to detailed CITB guidance here

Read more

CBI:In perfect harmony: Improving skills delivery in England

The CBI has published a new report In Perfect Harmony which calls on learning providers to take a “fresh approach” to skills. The report made the following key recommendations:  

  • A national, stable and joined-up skills plan must be central to the Government’s Industrial Strategy - developed and delivered with business and skills providers;
  • Give the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education the power to regulate and report on the performance of the skills market;
  • Evolve the Apprenticeship Levy into a flexible skills levy so firms can fund training for their people whatever the form of high quality course they do;
  • Pilot local Apprenticeship Levy pooling in at least four English regions – and roll out a full system by 2020 - to better engage smaller firms in new training clusters;
  • Firms should commit to engaging with skills at a senior level – and assign staff time to ensuring provision meets their needs;
  • Local leaders, including LEPs, Mayors, businesses and learning providers must create local skills plans that address their skills demands.

Redrow launches housebuilding degree

Redrow has partnered with two academic institutions to launch what it says is the UK’s first dedicated housebuilding degree.

In partnership with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Coleg Cambria, the housebuilder will deliver the three-year degree which, it says, will offer candidates a broad discipline of housebuilding skills including housebuilding quality, project management, health and safety, business skills and negotiation. Other areas of learning include relevant elements of law and economics.

Students will achieve a foundation degree in the first two years, with a final year “top up” to a full degree in construction management – housebuilding.

Redrow employees will make up the first intake of the programme, starting this year, Redrow explained. They will complete six modules per year and be assessed via a mix of examinations, coursework and a final year dissertation project. Each year of the degree consists of six weeks of classroom learning, which a team of Redrow business experts will teach in partnership with LJMU’s Department of the Built Environment and Coleg Cambria.

The rest of the “contact time” will be covered through virtual learning, practical site visits and tutorials, allowing students to continue working at Redrow throughout the course, the housebuilder said.

To be nominated for the programme, Redrow team members must have a level three qualification or a minimum of five years in the industry. The housebuilder hopes in the coming years to extend the degree to other housebuilders.

Karen Jones, Redrow’s group HR director and trustee at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said: Participants on the course will be able to learn while they earn and develop the skills necessary to rise through the ranks in the housebuilding sector.”


Housebuilder Product Awards 2018

The Call for entries for the 2018 Awards is now open. Entries must include the following: 

  • Completed entry form
  • One copy of additional materials including DVDs, product samples and images
  • One electronic high res jpeg image of product
  • Payment of £135+vat per entry
  • 500 word submission (7 copies) - maximum 4 sides of A4 stapled and NOT bound.  Images and third party testimonials should be incorporated 

Please download the entry form now, complete and return by post with all of the required additional material.


Please contact the events team with any questions on  

HBF Policy Conference 2018

21 March 2018  - early booking deadline 9 February

One Wimpole Street, London 

This year's HBF Policy Conference takes place on 21 March at 1 Wimpole Street and will discuss the key issues currently surrounding the government's policy that 300,000 extra new homes are built each year, addressing the impact that this will have on the UK private sector housebuilding industry.  Communities Secretary Sajid Javid heads an incredibly strong line up of speakers that also includes the Labour Shadow John Healey and senior members of the sector.  

The full line up of expert speakers and the opportunity to book can be found at

Sponsored by DAC Beachcroft, Newgate Communications, Tamdown and United Trust Bank  

HBF AGM & Annual Industry Lunch 2018

26 April 2018  - special table discount until 23 February

London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square 

The HBF AGM & Annual Industry Lunch is a highlight in the house building calendar, providing a unique opportunity for the industry’s leaders to meet informally and discuss the issues currently affecting their businesses.  The day begins with the HBF Members Meeting and AGM, attended by members only and is then opened to the whole industry, with attendance to the reception drinks and lunch reaching approximately 500 attendees.

Book now at

Sponsored by H+H  

HBF Midlands AGM & Dinner 2018

17 May 2018  - book your place now

Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham 

The HBF Midlands AGM and Dinner is a chance for housebuilders, suppliers and associates from the Midlands region to network and discuss industry issues. The event begins with pre dinner drinks in the Horton Bar and is followed by a three course dinner in the Horton Suite. 

Book now at

Sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland

HBF Future Talent Conference 2018

4-5 July 2018

East Midland Conference Centre (residential event)


The HBF Future Talent Conference 2018 is the HBF’s main event each year to bring together, trainees, graduates, apprentices and other  professionals developing their skill set within the home building industry. 


The Conference programme aims to provide learning insights  on the main issues and changes for the industry from a national perspective that will enhance the delegates’ knowledge and understanding as they develop their careers.


Full details and the opportunity to book coming soon at

HBF Golf Day 2018

17 July 2018 – don’t miss out and book your team now 

The HBF Members Golf Day will take place on Tuesday 17 July 2018 at the stunning Woburn Golf Club. 

The day begins with an early breakfast, before teams from across the house building industry battle to be crowned the unofficial 'industry golf champions'.  

A three course dinner  awaits their return from the course and finishes the day's events. 

Following the last few sell out years, we recommend you book early at 

Sponsored by United Trust Bank 

HBF Ball 2018

30 November 2018 

InterContinental London Park Lane, Mayfair 

This year's HBF Ball will be held on the 30 November at its new venue, the luxurious InterContinental London Park Lane in Mayfair. 

Full details and the opportunity to book coming soon at



Habitat for Humanity’s annual fundraising event will be returning to the Peak District this June 15th-17th.  A weekend of innovation, building, bonding, and challenges - Is your company ready? 

To get a full flavour of the event, take a look at this fantastic video from 2017. 

Registration is now open and costs £300 per team. 

To take part, you’ll need to select a team captain to pull together 4 to 6 people ready for a trailblazing challenge. It could be your management team, new graduates, or a representative from across a few offices. Whatever the make-up, employee engagement, teambuilding, and the great outdoors are guaranteed. 

Each team has the challenge of raising £3,000, the average cost of a Habitat house. 

Habitat for Humanity believe every man, woman and child has the right to a decent home that will keep them safe, secure and warm. Join Hope Challenge to help us give vulnerable families a helping hand out of poverty, while taking part in a great event, packed full of networking opportunities and good memories. 

Any questions please email: or call 01753 313611.