Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

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60 Second Bulletin: That Class Sketch

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Afternoon,

For many a year, British society could be summed up by watching the classic John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett ‘class sketch’ first aired in 1966.

For those of you too young to remember this (obviously including myself), the sketch features the three comedy icons stood in height order, representing the upper class, middle class and lower class Britain. The late Ronnie Corbett, representing the traditional working man, repeatedly says “I know my place”.

Well the election on 8th June shows that voters don’t necessarily know their place. Whilst Jeremy Corbyn is being hailed as the real winner from the election (another sign of the strange times we live in), it is also true that Mrs May’s disastrous campaign did manage some successes in parking the Tory tanks on Labour’s lawn.

Places like Mansfield, Walsall, Middlesbrough and Stoke-on-Trent punted for the blue rosette for the first time in decades (in some cases, ever). Unfortunately for Labour, northern and midland working class voters appeared to no longer “know their place”.

But of course, neither did a lot of traditional middle class voters, perhaps summed up perfectly by Kensington backing Comrade Corbyn.

Is this a sign that the class system in Britain is dead? Or that it is just being reconfigured? As polling companies have shown for a while that we can actually be divided up into six classes, including “Not working” class.

One of the other lines from the iconic Frost Report sketch is the upper and middle class Cleese and Barker “looking down” on working class Corbett. With Brexit driving a wedge between well-heeled, university educated urban voters and traditional working class communities in “left behind” Britain, it could be that voting Labour is now how the new metropolitan elite “look down” on the Conservative voting hinterland.
Strange times indeed.

Tom

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This week at Curtin&Co

Curtin&Co is delighted to have been part of the project team working with Bloor Homes to achieve approval for an application of 450 homes at Chippenham in Wiltshire.Congratulations to Bloor and all of the team!

Is this a good idea or very bad idea?

How the nation’s homeowners voted in GE17
Renters Vs Homeowners. How did they vote?

Brexit impact on house prices
Housing prices start to fall ahead of Brexit negotiations.

Battersea Power Station slashes affordable housing
Sadiq Khan to review as affordable housing offer reduces from 638 to 386.

Grenfall Tower Planning System Review
Extra assurance made by Planning Committee Members over fire safety.

And Finally…

Ascot Vs The Queen’s Speech
Queen’s speech organised around her trip to Ascot


Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288


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60 Second: Hung out to dry

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Afternoon,

When it comes to elections, the betting men among us need to have a rethink, cut out all the analysis, set aside our political bets and just put houses on the most unlikely of the outcomes.

The outcome of the General Election is perhaps the most bizarre yet. The Conservatives got the most seats, but seem to have lost. Mrs May’s days are now surely numbered.

The ruthless and power-hungry Conservative Party won’t make the mistake of allowing her to lead them into another election.

The Labour Party got less seats but claim to have won and Corbyn is now seen a saviour by many parts of his Party.

The same people that were plotting against him and resigning from his Shadow Cabinet just last year were giving him a standing ovation last week.

02d4cb5f-5ef9-4aab-8579-a18129d19ad1Actually, aren’t the real winners the DUP, but they only increased their seats from 8 to 10. Politics is a funny old world.

For us operating in the housing world it means yet another Housing and Planning Minister, after the previous one, Gavin Barwell lost his seat in the election. You needn’t worry though, Mrs May has just made him Chief of Staff.

The new Housing Minister is a chap called Alok Sharma MP. The resounding response from the rest of Curtin&Co office when his name was announced was “Who?”, but as someone with connections in Reading, our paths have crossed.

My concern is that we are told housing and planning is a priority for Government, yet here we are with our fourth minister in as many years. So much for strong and stable.

Let’s hope this one has some stickability. Let’s also hope we don’t have a General Election any time soon either, his Reading West seat now has a majority of just 2,876.

Have a good weekend,

Tom


More uncertainty for builders as houses hung in the balance 
Hung parliament puts house building in limbo

Corbyn calls for national action
Jeremy Corbyn calls for Government to take over ’empty’ houses and give them to survivors of Grenfell Tower fire

ONS says house prices have risen 
Typical house price up £12,000 in a year, says ONS

Affordability, Affordability, Affordability
Housing market: Affordability is ‘biggest tenant concern’

“Armchair” buy-to-let investors face crackdown
Lenders in crackdown on ‘secret’ buy-to-lets

And Finally…

Gove and Balls do Gangnam Style in an elevator 

This week at Curtin&Co

Curtin&Co was delighted to be part of Fairview’s team which secured a consent for a 76 unit scheme in Camden. The application was complemented by Planning Committee Members who approved the scheme 10 votes to 2. Congratulations to all involved.


Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288


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60 Second: If I were Prime Minister…

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

If I were Prime Minister…

Morning,

You may not agree with much of what Donald Trump says, but unlike most politicians he does get things done – even though I don’t agree with most of it.

So here are a few easy wins for our new Prime Minister (whoever that may be). None of them are earth-shattering but they would make a difference to ordinary citizens’ lives.

1. Let’s go back to the old summer time – so that we get a extra hour every evening. This will upset our Scottish friends in Aberdeen who will lose an hour in morning but we can’t all win.

0954637f-7903-46ab-9d68-429318c9d9772. Let’s get rid of all those bank holidays in April and May. It was the Labour Party who moved the winter bank holiday to May to celebrate Workers’ Day. We’re all workers now. Let’s have a nice Halloween instead and break the winter blues.

3. Make all commercial deliveries in cities and large towns be completed by 07.00. And while we’re at it, increase the congestion charge to £100 in London for all except public vehicles – taxis, busses but not private-hire like Uber. The current is minuscule.

4. Build another runway at Gatwick (it’s actually there already). Given the booming economy we are are promised post-Brexit, it will be needed.

5. Make private health insurance compulsory, like car insurance, for everyone earning (rough figure) £40,000. It would be tax-deductible but would bring resources to the NHS. Obviously those who are unemployed, old age pensioners or the incapacitated would still still receive the medical services free of charge.

These are only a number of simple measures which would improve our lives. But we get obsessed with the big picture (do you understand your pension scheme) yet it’s simple things that make big change to people’s lives.

Now, I’m not an economist but I reckon these simple measure would not only be tax-efficient but would save us poor taxpayers a lot of money.

Chances of them happening: in your dreams.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

Have a good weekend,

Tom


Election Overview
A Hung Parliament is the result. Individual results can be seen hereElection Impact on UK House Prices
Experts looks at how a Hung Parliament could impact UK House Prices

Call for more generations accommodation
Estate Agent calls for homes to accommodate several generations of same family under one roof

(Former) Housing Minister on slashing red tape in property market
Will this now go ahead? Gavin Barwell lost his seat but will his policies remain?

Who will fix the Housing Crisis?
Overview of the main Parties’ Manifesto pledges on Housing Building, whoever forms a Government

America’s Innovative Construction
The USA has built its first high-rise timber building standing at 12 storeys

And Finally…

Word’s ugliest buildings
Take your pick – which is the ugliest building in the world?


Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288


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The Wheels On The Bus

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

The wheels on the bus

Afternoon,

Whenever we work on a new housing development one of the big issues is transport – there is always, “too much traffic”.

What people say is: “we want more public transport and cycle lanes” (Although I nearly had a heart attack the other day when I saw a cyclist actually using one of Reading’s cycle lanes).

The only problem is that, outside of London and other major cities, hardly anyone uses public transport.

b1d1b27f-56b7-40e3-9f94-9f0f51329798Our offices are on Oxford Street which has one of the highest levels of air pollution in Europe. The street is closed to private traffic most of the time so only busses and taxis can use it.

Since the busses are bigger beasts than the cabs, they must be causing most the pollution. So I’ve conducted my own little anecdotal study of the red monsters and found that they were nearly all either empty or near empty.

Now any sensible business will look at the demand for its products before launching them. Well, the occupancy rates in for Oxford Street’s busses is at best 10% to 20% according to my survey.

So they must be grossly uneconomical with huge amounts of subsidies (I.e. Your hard-earned dosh) propping up this pointless service.

London’s Mayor Mr Khan says he wants to pedestrianise Oxford Street but where will all the busses go.

The surrounding streets are jammed as well.

So what do we replace them with. Let’s think outside the box a bit – how about a travelator with hop on and hop off points. Or a tram. Or a shuttle service.

So come on Sadiq if anyone can, you Khan.

Tom


Plans for ‘New Monaco’ to be submitted to Birmingham City Council

Blades secure a late win
Sheffield United get green light for Bramall Lane Development

Turning off the tap
BPF warns that divorce from the EU may lead to construction skills shortages

And Finally…

Definitely May-be
Jeremy Corbyn plumps for Oasis over Blur, but will he be looking back in anger on June 9th?

The week ahead

You might have noticed there’s a General Election taking place on Thursday. Curtin&Co wishes the best of luck to all current and former consultants involved in the campaign.


Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288


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I wanna hold your hand

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

I wanna hold your hand

Afternoon,

As every young teenager knows, on a first date there comes a time when someone has to make a lunge and reach for the other’s hand.

35b95f9c-7573-47b7-9f1a-186d7b9ad658his is a moment of trepidation for young men: will they catch her by the wrist? Or even the elbow? Even worse is when the advance is totally rejected. (By the way, all of the above also applies LGBTQ people as well.) Also, I accept in these promiscuous days, this hand-holding step is often skipped altogether and people get straight down to business.

Now a man who should have some experience of this is Donald Trump, who seems to have grabbed many a lady by the hand but also had aspirations on other parts of their anatomy as well.

Well, at the moment Don’s strike rate is pretty low. First, there was that awkward march down the aisle with Mrs May.

Then we had the ‘no handshake Mrs Merkel’ 

But worst of all was the brush off with the Pope, a man who has softened the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality

I think it’s back to the school prom for Don.

Have a good weekend.

Tom


Houses pile-up to ten-year high
English house-building at highest for a decade

But demand still outstrips supply…
UK House building hits highest level since 2008 financial crisis but demand still outstrips supply

First time buyers keep buying
Surge in first time buyers as they now outnumber home movers for the first time in 21 years

Horizontal move
Housing market moving sideways, lenders say

Downsized housing
UK homeowners face future of shrinking properties as housing prices continue to rise

Discounted homes?
House prices — sellers forced to offer discounts

And Finally…

When you try and crack a joke but your dad’s still mad at you for touching the orb


Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288


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England’s green and pleasant land

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

England’s green and pleasant land

Afternoon,

Politicians have a great ability to ignore the obvious, especially when it is inconvenient.

It is clear that even a ten-year-old could figure out that, if we want to solve the ‘housing crisis’ then we have to make more land available.

All parties accuse developers of ‘land hoarding’ – as if? Is Tesco hoarding baked beans? Is B&Q boarding bricks?

But there is land hoarding going on aplenty.

So here’s a simple idea; trawl through the records of councils and local authorities across the country and sell the surplus land they don’t use.

595d8729-b385-4b38-9df0-125cb6c6728eMany are holding back land for industrial development that will never occur. The chances of Bill Gates pitching up to build a new world HQ in the Shetlands is remote. And it is equally remote in many councils in London and the South-East. Why don’t councils use this land for housing? I’d be surprised if many even knew it existed, let alone that they were the owners of it.

Why on earth do local authorities in the United Kingdom own 407 golf courses or 174 hotels?

And what is Bradford Metropolitan District Council doing with a car showroom? Or South Ayrshire Council, which owns an aviary and a castle?

The solution is simple. Sell off these bits of land to developers, raising significant amounts of money in the process. The developers, or even the council itself, can then use this land to build enough houses which would increase supply and even reduce prices, helping greater numbers onto the property ladder.

So we have more houses at lower prices and the councils get loads of money.

Everyone wins…at least in theory…

Have a good weekend,

Tom


Summer blues?
Surveyors predict ‘flat summer’ in housing market

The Green Belt postcode lottery 
Councils ‘ignore powers to limit building on green belt’

Named and shamed
London’s rogue landlords to be named and shamed on new City Hall database

Cracks clear in housing policy 
To crack the housing crisis Theresa May needs to shake-up Whitehall

Andy’s mayoral mission
Andy Burnham launches plan to drive down homelessness in Manchester

Buy-to-let mortgage rates stack up
New blow for buy-to-let landlords as mortgage rates rise

And Finally…

Jeremy Corbyn will avoid using new election battle bus because of ‘anti-carbon footprint’ views

This week at Curtin&Co

Curtin&Co was delighted to have been part of the project team which received planning consent for Dominvs Group for its new boutique hotel in Ludgate Hill, near St Paul’s Cathedral.  The application was passed on Tuesday by the City of London Corporation’s Grand Planning and Transportation Committee.

Lee Saywack from Dominvs Group said: “We are very pleased with the planning consent granted for our next boutique hotel overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral.  Curtin&Co provided a valuable insight into the politics of the City of London and worked with members to ensure that we got the best result for this important site.”

Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288


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The Black Cab – loss of a national icon?

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Afternoon,

There’s a revolution happening in transport in London. No, it’s not Crossrail or any of those minor projects.

It’s the demise of the iconic London black cab.

It’s going to be a slow death but it started years ago. The Hackney Carriage (nothing to do with the London Borough – it’s a word of French origin) is on its way out.

The killer blow is Uber.  The company doesn’t have taxi ranks – instead its drivers park up – often illegally – and wait for their next job from the app. Uber is cheaper, easy to use for the millennial generation, clean and efficient.

But what a shame if we lost this icon of London. In many ways the ‘trade’ has only itself to blame.

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Credit cards now vastly outnumber cash purchases – but it took years for taxis to accept them universally and there are still some whose machines are permanently ‘out of order’.

Then there is the grumpy driver who looks like his aunt has just died when you don’t say you are going to the airport. And as for finding change for a twenty pound note, you get a look like you are some sort of pervert.

Earphones are a disaster for drivers ‘didn’t the gunners do well last night?’ I’d rather hear their good old-fashioned right-wing opinions.

Unlike Uber, the taxi drivers don’t present an united front – they have tried numerous apps – far too many – whereas Uber offers only one.

Legislation is not the way to save the Black Cab – the brand needs to be reinvented. Google maps has overtaken the ‘knowledge’; the rank has been replaced by door-to-door.

For London’s cabbies the future looks black.

Tom


Experts apply here 
Mayor seeks experts to boost London’s affordable housing offer

Whitehall not ambitious enough?
MPs accuse Whitehall of ‘lacking ambition’ to solve housing crisis

Lasting legacy 
Osborne role in housing market woes is clear from HMRC figures

Naked what?!
Naked homes’ tap into the horror and desperation of housing need

Trouble ahead
The two charts that spell big trouble for Britain’s housing market


Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288


TM GE 17

Snap Election Briefing

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TM GE 17

Snap Election Briefing

Theresa May announced her intention to hold a General Election on 8th June. Unlike the days before the Coalition Government, the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 means that the Prime Minister no longer has the authority to call a General Election simply by asking the Queen to dissolve Parliament.

Instead, Mrs May must go to the House and secure a 2/3 majority in favour of ignoring fixed terms and calling a General Election. Already, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP have all said they will back a fresh election and one would assume that the PM would not have made such an announcement without getting her ducks in a row with her own MPs.

In terms of impacts on development, the first thing to consider is how this morning’s announcement has upped the ante with the County Council on 4th May, giving a much more national edge to campaigning and very possibly driving up turnout as election fever grips media coverage. There is already speculation that the inaugural Metro Mayoral elections in areas such as the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire and Manchester, will be postponed from May to June.

Secondly, there will be seats which will now be key battlegrounds, in particular between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. Internal polling from the Conservatives recently showed that the Tories would lose most of the 27 seats it gained in 2015, including seats in Hampshire, London and the West Country. Doubtless that amongst the clashes over hard or soft Brexit, development will be a key battleground for candidates.

Despite this, it would look likely that on 9th June we will be waking up to a much more convincing Conservative majority and a much reduced Labour Parliamentary Party.

If you have any questions about how this might affect any sites you have, get in touch on info@curtinandco.com or call 0207 399 2280.

Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288