Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Ho-ho-homes

60 Seconds: Ho ho homes!

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60 Seconds: Ho ho homes!

santaMorning,

“On the fourth day of Christmas, the councils gave to us…four planning consents!”

Christmas came early on Wednesday as Curtin&Co was part of four different project teams which gained consent for projects across London.

Consent number 1  
A large build-to-rent scheme in Sutton.

Consent number 2
29 units on behalf of Londonewcastle, to regenerate a longstanding derelict site on Rye Lane in Peckham. The unanimous approval means we maintain our 100% success rate in Southwark.

Director at Londonewcastle, James Shindler said: “Thanks to you… for all your hard work – that’s 2 out of 2 on the Curtin/Londonewcastle success rate (with hopefully many more to come)”.

Consent number 3 
The regeneration of a former Nestle factory in Hillingdon on behalf of Barratt London and Segro. The scheme will bring forward 1,381 new homes, employment opportunities and community space.

And last but certainly not least…

Consent number 4
The development of new campus buildings at University College of Football Business by Wembley Stadium. Red Vale’s scheme will bring forward much needed student accommodation, study space and admin space to support the expansion of the University. Back of the net!

Ho-ho-homesSo was it Christmas spirit or is there more behind this handsome haul?

Perhaps the tide is turning. At Curtin&Co we have always argued that a if communities and decision-makers feel that they have been given ownership of the process and able to genuinely input into the proposals, they will support them.

Legislation may not yet have found a way to cut all of the red tape, but the London Plan is coming, Oxfordshire has a Housing and Growth Deal, Greater Manchester wants one and the Government has increased the housebuilding target from 250,000 per year to 300,000.  Turkeys won’t vote for Christmas and politicians won’t vote for anything which will lose them votes so perhaps the message is getting through now: if we are a nation which aspires home ownership then we need to build the homes (and social infrastructure around them) to meet the demand.  The Treasury may just thank you too.

It may only be the first spade in the ground, but at least there are four more of them this week.

Have a great weekend,

Tom


The week ahead

Rule Britannia! 
Leading think tank calls for half of new homes to be reserved for Britons

All Black (list)
New Zealand bans foreigners from buying homes as housing crisis escalates

The weiner takes it all
What could Vienna’s low-cost housing policy teach the UK?

Cash in the attic 
Empty space above shops could be key to unlocking homes

And Finally…

Some might pay
Estate agent goes to extreme lengths to sell property by singing Wonderwall for prospective buyers


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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288


Builders have left the building

60 Seconds: Builders have left the building

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Morning,

I have a question for Theresa May and Spreadsheet Phil… How are we supposed to ‘take back control’ of our borders and build 300,000 homes a year?

To state the blindingly obvious – it takes builders to build houses. And nowadays most of them are from EU countries.

One in five workers on home building sites are from overseas, rising to almost 60% in London.

Also, foreign-born workers are broadly younger than workers born in the UK. Around 70% from the EU are in the 20-39 age group compared to only around a half of those born in the UK.

Already, many are packing their tools and heading home. Let’s look at what’s happening in the NHS as a guide.

Builders have left the buildingAccording to The Guardian,the number of nurses and midwives coming to work in Britain from Europe has plunged by 89% since the UK voted to leave the EU, figures have revealed.

The sharp fall coincided with a sudden increase in qualified European medics leaving the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register: from 2,435 in 2015-16 to 4,067 in the last year – a rise of 67%.

An average of 1,966 nurses and midwives from Spain joined the register every year between 2012 and 2016. However, that fell by 95% to just 104 people between October 2016 and September 2017.

Similarly, the number of health professionals from Romania joining the register has dropped from 1,604 a year during those four years to only 216 last year. There has also been a dramatic drop in the numbers coming to work from Italy (1,325 down to 187), Portugal (1,127 to 73) and Poland (305 to 34).

If the figures for nurses and doctors are repeated in the building industry then there is no hope of fixing the ‘broken house building market.’ It will be more like 30,000 new homes rather than 300,000.

Good luck, Mrs May and all Brexiteers.

Have a good weekend.

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

This week we have been delighted to say a huge “thank you” to some of our clients who made it to our Christmas events around the UK. Although lunch is still the high point of the PR day we have been working hard to prep our pre-Christmas applications… We promise!
The week ahead

HBF’s census of sense
Home Building Workforce Census 2017

The very nimby caterpillar 
Sun-loving caterpillars block housing plans

Laughing all the way to the land bank
The UK is worth £10tn – and more than half of that is from land value

The baby boomers are back in town
Baby boomers are cashing in the country house and returning to London

And Finally…

‘Home is South London mate’
Sadiq Khan quips at BBC reporter who asked if it felt good ‘coming home’ to Pakistan


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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288


greenGrass

60 Seconds: The Green Green Grass of Homes

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

60 Seconds: The Green Green Grass of Homes

Morning,

You know you ought to raise an eyebrow at the draft London Plan when the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) publicly supports it…

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the role of London’s Mayor is to champion London and Londoners alike, why doesn’t he step up, do what’s really needed and loosen up our metropolitan green belt?

Not only has his draft plan placated the CPRE, but it will no doubt please the good burghers of Hillingdon, Havering and Bromley, all of which are Conservative Boroughs. Strange considering he’s a Labour Mayor.

Anyway – back to the green belt. Of course, reform would need to be careful and comprehensive. Our open land has a positive environmental impact on London. Not to mention, the fact that we all cherish the surprisingly quick transition between the inner city to acres of countryside in just a short train ride.

greenGrassNevertheless, this preciousness over green belt has pervaded for too long. Longer than I care to remember.

As part of Mayor Khan’s vision, a third of all new housing planned in the capital will be built on small sites including back gardens and upwards extensions of existing houses, apartment blocks and shops.

Whilst loosening the limitations on building density is a welcome move (although has anyone told the boroughs?); why can it not be accompanied by loosening restrictions on the green belt?

The answer is simple: it is political dynamite.

Centre for Cities’ 2014 report, ‘Delivering change: building homes where we need them’, calculated that if just 60% of green belt land within 2km of a train station in Greater London was developed into suburban housing, London could build an additional 432,000 homes. In other words, London could finally meet its housing need.

Protection of the green belt has led to over-protection, and at a high price. We are downgrading the quality of London housing, downgrading the quality of life, and exacerbating London’s housing shortage, all to conserve a few green fields and even some not-so-green fields – which shouldn’t be the priority in our nation’s capital.

And if the Campaign to Protect Rural England kicks up a fuss? Let them. This isn’t rural England, this is London!

Have a great weekend.

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

This week we were delighted to be part of the project team who secured planning consent for 96 homes in High Peak on behalf of Sherwood homes. Leonie English, a member of the Sherwood team, said that after working with Curtin&Co, “The result we wanted was achieved by the next planning committee meeting”. A great result and congratulations to everyone involved!
The week ahead

Khan he do it?
Mayor vows to protect ‘the lungs of the capital’

Park life 
British buyers pay a £116,500 premium to live in a national park

Work hard pay hard
London’s house price to salary ratio has hit a record high

Breaking newts!
DNA test curbs newts’ power to block homes

And finally…

Upon this rock…
Church must use land holdings to promote affordable housing


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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288


CurtinCoHiresConservativeStaffers

Curtin&Co Critique: Autumn Budget

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catherinesenBig and Bold: The New Strong and Stable

Good evening,

Tomorrow Philip Hammond will unveil his latest budget and, this time, he is apparently being urged to shun the “strong and stable” mantra in favour of “big and bold”.

The headlines are meeting the brief: 300,000 new homes?  That should sort out the housing crisis.  But, so far, the how seems to be missing.

One thing which both our Labour and Conservative correspondents (for today – Paul and Martin) agree on is that the industry would back a more radical solution to investment in development.  Another thing they agree on is that the Chancellor is unlikely to provide it this time around.  In fact, they agree on a little too much for my liking: who says the centre ground has disappeared?

In my view, the industry needs a stronger voice.  From smaller house-builders to large landowners and promoters, there is a wealth of expertise and a plethora of ideas at the Government’s disposal and we need to be more forthcoming in shouting about it.  We should be writing the Budget collectively.  After all, lamenting the latest Local Plan delay over lunch may be therapeutic, but it doesn’t mean the right people hear it.

Click here for more from our expert political consultants who sit on either side of the political fence. And if you think we, as an industry, should be more direct with our messages to Government, give us a call for another one of those therapeutic lunches.

Happy dissecting where your money is going tomorrow!

Catherine


 

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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288


CurtinCoHiresConservativeStaffers

60 Seconds: Tackling housing from down under

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

60 Seconds: Tackling housing from down under

G’day

You have to hand it to the Aussies – they have a solution for the housing crisis. And it’s simple – all young millennials have to do is change their diet.

Earlier this year Australian property mogul Tim Gurner urged millennials in Melbourne to stop buying avocado on toast and expensive coffees to save for a deposit.

In an interview he said: “when I was 19, I was in the gym at 6am in the morning, and I finished at 10.30 at night, and I did it seven days a week, and I did it until I could afford my first home. There were no discussions around, could I go out for breakfast, could I go out for dinner. I just worked.”

(Could all staff at Curtin&Co please note.)

Good for him. But going back to the millennials I know, they are working hard and feel they are being prevented from reaping the rewards for which other generations have received.

So it’s not just a question of whether people can afford homes in future, it’s also a question of how we promote aspiration across a whole generation.

We’ve gone from being a “nation of home-owners” to a nation of “home-hopers”.

This week Strutt&Parker echoed Tim Gurner’s comments and told us that by changing a few dietary and lifestyle choices, millennials in the UK could save up the £94,000 needed for the average house deposit in London.

The bad news? It will take approximately seven years of sacrificing sandwiches, takeaways, nights out, mini-breaks and phone upgrades… and that’s if you’re lucky enough to be saving with a partner AND receive 30k from your parents.

Now as my consultants confirm, I am a firm believer in all young’uns working hard and making certain sacrifices to save for a home – we’ve all had to do it (did I mention I was a cockroach exterminator in Harlem, New York?).

But even so, is this what it has come to? Should we be encouraging future generations to live frugally until their mid-thirties just to save for the deposit on a London home? That’s forgetting Stamp Duty, estate agency fees, mortgage payments and actual furniture to go in the house.

And for those of us who have darling children, did any of us think we would have to budget at least £30k to get them out of their teenage bedrooms?

Let’s hope they don’t take it seriously or we’ll have to cash in our shares (if any) in Starbucks and Pret.

Have a great weekend and easy on the avocado.

Tom

If you wish to read the article about Strutt & Parkers’ study click here
And if you wish to read the article about avocados click here


This week at Curtin&Co

This week our very own Martin Curtis took part in the Estate Gazette’s Question Time Panel in Cambridge. The event had a great turnout, and it represented a fantastic opportunity to quiz speakers from the property industry and hear their thoughts on infrastructure and development within City.

The week ahead

Oh what a feeling, building on the ceiling 
This estate agent says 40,000 new homes could be built on London’s roofs

The brick man of Europe 
Sadiq Khan calls for urgent action to stop drain of European builders

Mother Theresa of housing 
Theresa May to renew ‘personal mission’ to fix broken housing market

Potteries for a pound
Stoke-on-Trent Council is selling off homes for £1


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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288


paradise

60 Seconds: Leader of the Non-opposition

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

60 Seconds: Leader of the Non-opposition 

Morning,

Typically, the Leader of the Opposition’s role is to oppose Government policy –  clue’s in the name.

I’d have thought Corbyn would have found this easy, with his track record of not only opposing Conservative Government policy, but the policy of his own party almost as frequently.

However, of late, it seems he can’t stop agreeing with the Prime Minister. He agrees on hard Brexit, he agrees we need a transition deal (only a madman wouldn’t), and now it seems he shares May’s stance on the green belt.

paradiseAlthough rumours have circulated about Hammond’s plans to relax the restrictions on green belt release in the upcoming Budget, the PM is known to dislike the idea.

Speaking to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) last week, JC mirrored May’s view, explaining he is ‘sceptical about building on green belt’. He said:

I feel very strongly about the principle of the green belt, because if you take away this cordon of green space and cleaner air around big cities, I think you have the danger of massive ribbon development.

…Or cutting down and building over his magic money tree.

Instead, it has been suggested that May supports Javid’s beg to borrow £50bn for a big housebuilding programme. No doubt JC would agree with May on this too – he’s always up for borrowing money.

Perhaps May should consider JC in her next Cabinet reshuffle? They’re more in agreement than May and most her front bench… or what’s left of it.

Have a great weekend.

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

This week Curtin&Co was delighted to be part of the team that secured approval for Charterhouse’s application for 210 homes including 84 affordable in Coxheath, Maidstone Borough.

In your backyard
How much of your area is built on?

300,000 homeless in Britain today
New report by Shelter

Innovate or capitulate
Modern Methods of Construction and new ‘players’ critical to solving UK housing shortages

Housing Halifacts
House prices rise at fastest rate since January, says Halifax

And finally…
Bachelor sad? 
End of the ‘bachelor pad’ as almost a third of men live at their parents’ home until their mid-30s


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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288


Bot-the-Builder

60 Seconds: Bot the Builder

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

60 Seconds: Bot the Builder

Morning,

As an Irishman, I am proud of the contribution my fellow countrymen have made to Britain’s construction industry, especially in the post-war period.

Nowadays, they’ve been replaced by hard-working people mainly from Eastern Europe, and good luck to them.

Many of these eastern europeans are already leaving in fear of the post-Brexit world. But there is a bigger threat to the labour pool: robots and demand from New Zealand!

I know what you are thinking – no this is not a bizarre tagline for an upcoming (and no doubt unsuccessful) film.

New research from Mace predicts that 600,000 of the current 2.2m positions in the construction industry could be automated by 2040 as part of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

Bot-the-BuilderThe hardest-hit profession is forecast to be bricklaying, with the current 73,000 people doing the job expected to tumble to just 4,300.

Imagine – C-3PO and R2-D2 laying bricks in hard-hats and high vis vests.

The industry’s widespread adoption of artificial intelligence and robots would reportedly tackle the sector’s productivity, help solve the UK’s housing shortage and increase safety. Perhaps I should consider trading in my consultants for a set of obedient robots… (joke guys).

The building sector is already struggling to attract enough staff. This situation is exacerbated by questions about whether foreign staff will be able to work in the UK after Brexit.

To make matters worse, New Zealand has caught wind and is now attempting to poach our beloved builders for its biggest ever infrastructure and housing programme.

An estimated 65,000 new construction workers will be needed over the next five years to meet the Kiwi’s housing demand, forcing the industry to work with the government to create its largest ever recruitment drive for UK workers.

And who could blame them for leaving? I’d ditch the UK’s wintry building sites for some glorious New Zealand sunshine quicker than a builder clocks off for a tea break.

And if they do leave, perhaps we’ll have no choice but to build builder bots! Even still, out of all of the future challenges facing the UK construction industry, it did not occur to me that robots and the enticing Kiwi climate would be two of them.

Have a great weekend.

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

Success in Watford!
This week Curtin&Co was proud to be part of the team that secured the largest speculative office development in Watford in a generation. Promoted by Clarendon Road Developments, the 120k sq ft grade A office accommodation includes a roof cafe & public plaza. The commercial development is also supported by 154 residential units in an elegant glazed tower rising to 23 storeys which will provide an iconic visual focus for Watford’s expanding business district. Developer Nigel Berney said, “Curtin&Co made a real difference to the consultation process whether it was dealing with existing tenants, residents or local councillors”.

Hidden talents!
Also this week, our very own COO, Nick Stanton, was crowned one of five winners of a Times Red Box competition to find a slogan their winter mugs. His winning quip… For the many not the Brew. You can see his winner’s mug on Curtin&Co’s twitter: https://twitter.com/Curtinandco 

The week ahead

It’s not easy building green 
Hammond rebuffed over budget plan for green belt housing

Half a bar for an hour in the car 
How a one hour commute can save buyers £500,000 on London house prices

Wrath of Khan 
Examples of local authorities being hoodwinked by developers, says Khan

Baby boomers’ cash blooming 
Baby boomers splash more property cash with equity release plans

Interest rates rise
Bank of England interest rate rise: what will it mean for savings and mortgages?


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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288


Javing-it-large

60 Seconds: Javing it large

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Javing it large

Morning,

Ever wondered whether Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, is a real contender for the next leader of the Conservative Party?

Well I have… not because he has started sharpening his knife (like Bo-Jo), but because he is one of the few Cabinet Members currently doing a good job.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Javid called for £50bn worth of funding in next month’s budget for social housing. Specifically, he said there needed to be a distinction between “vitally important” deficit reduction and “investing for the future” in housing and infrastructure.

Putting that into context, he said the Government should “absolutely be considering” taking advantage of the “record-low interest rates” we currently have and borrowing money to build homes.

Javing-it-largeIn true Oliver Twist style, The Chancellor has responded to this latest request imitating Mr. Bumble: “He wants some more?!”.

Javid’s rebellious streak is becoming ever-less surprising, particularly since he told the Observer: “we shouldn’t have banged on about Brexit” and expressing his lack of support for Prime Minister May in a recent interview.

In fact, the most surprising outcome of Javid’s interview with Marr is Jacob Rees-Mogg’s reaction. Unlike some of his other more controversial views, his opinion on housing actually seems to reflect modern-day society.

He said that borrowing more money would be “putting the cart before the horse”. First, our “gummed up” planning system needs to be overhauled. He even said the idea of building on green fields “is extremely welcome”.

Good luck to him promoting the development of green fields in his constituency – North East Somerset… rather you than me, ol’chum!

Will Javid soon be joining Rees-Mogg as one of the so-called ‘favourites’ for next Conservative leader? Or will he be simply smacked down by Mrs. May and Mr. Bumble? Given the current turbulent political landscape, I’m sure it won’t be long until we find out.

Have a great weekend.

Tom


The cap’s out of the bag

Theresa May performs major U-turn on plans to cap housing benefit

Building for the future
Borrow to invest in new homes, says Sajid Javid

Borrow to build bungled?
Philip Hammond plays down £50bn housing boost in Budget

Planning to eradicate the Green Belt?
Jacob Rees-Mogg says Britain’s green belt fields must be built on as he blasts Sajid Javid’s plans to borrow £50bn to kickstart housebuilding

NHS Airbnb
NHS considers Airbnb room rental plan

Housing applications boom
UK housing starts on track for 10-year high – industry group

Gazumpgate 
What is ‘gazumping’?

And Finally…

Apocalypse for the rich 
These fancy doomsday shelters for the 1% make Armageddon sound pretty nice


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 Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288