Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

expectStorms

60 Seconds: Garden Bridge to Garden City

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Morning,

If the Garden Bridge was Bo-Jo’s vanity project, Mr Khan has what seems to be an insanity project… who knows?

After, in my view, rightly scrapping the Garden Bridge (even after tens of millions of pounds had been spent on it) Khan has thrown his support behind a campaign to turn London into the first ever National Park City.

Yes, you heard correctly – a National Park City.

The Architecture practice WATG has released a prototype for a green Fleet Street this week, just one of the areas planned to be transformed by the campaign.

The plans would see new buildings on Fleet Street made from modular living materials with native wildflower seeds, added greenery and its own irrigation reservoir.

Soon, walking through the streets of London will feel like walking through the set of ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream.’

The campaign’s overall aim is to connect the urban parts of London to its green spaces by creating corridors across the city for native wildlife such as invertebrates, small mammals and raptors.

It all sounds quite pleasant but, having worked for Thames Water, I can tell you that the most prominent small mammals to scutter across London are rats.

expectStormsWATG states that it wants to create a city “where it’s a pleasure to swim in its rivers and green homes are affordable.”  Have you heard of Weil’s disease? It’s pretty deadly and spread by our furry friendly rats.

Not to take a glass-half-empty approach, but the GLA is struggling to provide affordable homes as it is. So is the only way to build green and affordable homes to construct thousands of little greenhouses for people to live in?

And can you imagine taking a clean, refreshing dip in the Thames which is effectively London’s sewer? Sorry, I’m busy that day.

The journey towards a National Park City will continue into 2018 and 2019. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Oh, and if you suffer from hay fever, I suggest you start considering permanent relocation…

Have a great weekend.

Tom

To view WATG’s prototype for Fleet Street, and its ideas for a National Park City please follow this link: http://www.watg.com/london-national-park-city-green-block/


Homage to Catalonia 
First Catalonia, next Canvey Island

Foot the bill spreadsheet Phil
Find budget cash to get Britain building, Tories urge Philip Hammond

Higher or lower?
House prices: Have they actually gone up in your neighbourhood?

Managing the managing agents
DCLG pledges ‘crackdown’ on ‘unfair’ managing agents – property reacts

Nimby’s of the world, unite!
London’s housing crisis can be solved by ‘reining in middle class nimbys’, report says

Raffling off London homes
New property raffle website offers aspiring homeowners the chance to win a London flat for the ‘price of a coffee’

And Finally…

Dead good deal 
Man puts his own coffin up for sale after misdiagnosis from a fortune teller


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


estateAgent

60 Seconds: Deal or no deal?

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

60 Seconds: Deal or No Deal?

Morning,

Out of everything, I did not expect the Brexit negotiations to inspire a new adaptation of Deal or No Deal…

We’ve had ‘soft Brexit’, ‘hard Brexit’ and ‘Brexit means Brexit’. As we embarked on the fifth round of negotiations this week, ‘no deal’ seemed to become the latest Brexit buzz-phrase.

During a Treasury Select Committee meeting on Wednesday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was quizzed over whether the Treasury was setting money aside to prepare for a ‘no deal’ outcome. Which, to put it plainly, Hammond responded with “no”.

He told the Committee that money would not be redirected from investing in health and education to prepare for an outcome we do not want, simply to “send the EU a message”.

estateAgentThe PM was later accused of “ramping up” the ‘no deal’ rhetoric during PMQ’s. If true, perhaps Noel Edmonds should be heading our Brexit negotiations instead of David Davis, lining up the 27 other nations in a semi-circle as they one by one reveal their hands.

Conservative MP Peter Bone also used PMQ’s to press May for assurance over whether an extension of negotiations would be granted if we hadn’t reached a formal agreement by 29th March 2018. She told the Commons there wouldn’t be.

In other words, we would tell The Banker “no deal”.

Supposing this is the outcome, let us hope (and, calling on my Catholic upbringing, pray) we made the right decision and that the number inside our box is red and not blue…

Have a great weekend.

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

We were delighted to be part of the project team who secured unanimous consent for Fairview, securing a residential-led, mixed use redevelopment of 807 units in the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). What a result, congratulations to everyone involved!

Spa-dah!
UK spa towns among happiest places to live

Sharing is caring
Private renters prefer shared ownership

Stamp out stamp duty
Stamp duty could be cut for home owners who make their properties more energy efficient, minister says

Don’t make yourself at home
Homes are not assets to be passed on to children, says minister

Confidence-building
Confidence and activity in the housing market at lowest level since the referendum

And Finally…

Govt stats on house prices per sqm
House price per square metre and house price per room, England and Wales: 2004 to 2016


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


Coughing-up-for-housing

60 seconds: Coughing up for housing

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

60 seconds: Coughing up for housing

Morning,

For a Conference described as being “flat and lacklustre”, the PM’s keynote address certainly provided much-needed entertainment. Sadly, for Mrs May, it was neither intentional nor for the right reasons.

Evidently her team is not only incapable of delivering a successful General Election campaign, but incapable of providing the poorly PM with a mere Strepsil before her big speech.

Looking beyond the disruptive sore-throat, the P-45-prankster and the Fawlty Towers signage, May spoke a lot about housing. In fact, it was a potent theme across both the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences this year.

While JC committed to rent controls and Miliband’s ‘use it or lose it’ rhetoric, May struck back by announcing £10bn for help-to-buy and £2bn for social housing.

The £2bn figure seemed radical at first glance, but was quickly overshadowed, not just by the coughing fit, but because it has since been speculated that £2bn will only build 25,000 homes over five years. Not exactly the ambitious policies required to help the 1.2 million families awaiting social housing and revive the Conservative Party.

It is welcome that the government is alive to the need to increase the amount of houses that are built, but hardly surprising given that Generation Rent overwhelmingly voted Labour last June.

Coughing-up-for-housing

If nothing else, at least her speech dragged housing into the limelight and muted all matters Boris and Brexit (if only for a 5 precious minutes).

The disasters which upstaged her could prove to be her saviour. Even the hardest of hearts cannot help but feel some sympathy and admiration for the ‘ice-maiden’s’ perseverance.

But the speech also highlighted how much she is at the mercy of events beyond her control – less the captain of the ship than the lookout in constant fear of sighting an ice-berg.

Have a great weekend,
Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

Coughing-up-for-housing2Curtin&Co at Conference
We welcomed the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Sajid Javid MP, at our inaugural fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference. Our very own Associate Director Andrew Bingham, former MP for High Peak also gave a great speech. Thank you to everyone who came.

Success in Central Bedfordshire
Curtin&Co was delighted to be part of the project team which received planning consent under delegated powers for Catalyst Housing and their scheme for 61 new homes, the majority of which are affordable. The proposal was passed by Central Bedfordshire Council on Monday. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Success in Woking
Curtin&Co was also part of the of the project team who secured planning consent for 46 new flats on behalf of New Central Developments. Planning permission was unanimously granted by Woking Borough Council. Again, congratulations!

The week ahead

Put your money where the South is
What £500,000 buys you in the UK’s top northern cities compared to London

The Price Isn’t Right
Affordable homes in south-east England should cost £250,000 or less, says study

Social housing May-day
Theresa May’s speech and the challenge to expand English social housing

Industry reaction to May’s speech
Theresa May’s speech – property reacts

EU should turn red, says Clegg
Nick Clegg has urged people to join the Labour party in a bid to stop Brexit

And Finally…

Take That planning refusal Robbie
Robbie Williams loses three-year battle to build a summerhouse in the garden of his London mansion after a row with neighbours


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


ConservativeConference1

60 Seconds: Conservative Conference

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Down, but not out!

Afternoon,

Unlike most delegates, the mood at Conservative Party Conference was somewhat sober.

ConservativeConference1The cons ensus all round was that this year’s event was flat, but not defeatist. Some likened the atmosphere to the conferences in the early 2000’s, with one distinct difference: this time we were the architects of our own downfall.

Nevertheless, the Conservative Party remains resilient, with most members and politicians looking to steady the ship over the next 18 months. Of course, there remains the key question of leadership, but for now ‘the put up and shut up’ attitude will do.

The main challenger, Boris, was kept on an extremely tight leash. After appearing for an hour on Monday morning for a small business breakfast, he was soon locked back in his suite at the Midland Hotel.  His naked ambition, all 4,000 very public words of it, were pushed as far from the public stage as possible.

On housing, the debate was detailed, but monotonous. Despite a significant collection of industry bodies, lobbyists and Councillors in attendance, it was hard to have a really meaningful discussion about the delivery of homes given that there is still no consistent policy narrative or direction from the Government. Let’s hope we can keep a Housing inister for longer than 11 months to drive some through.

ConservativeConference2However, if we were to take an ‘action point’ from fringe discussions, including our own event which saw Sajid Javid speak, it is that better resourcing in planning departments would go some way to mitigating a small number of problems associated with delivery of new homes and positive place making.

CPC2017 was not a conference to write home about but it has taught us one thing: the PM is safe…for now!

Have a good week,

Sarah

Curtin&Co Associate Director Sarah Wardle is one of our London Conservative Party specialists. Prior to Curtin&Co Sarah worked for two Conservative MP’s and continues to actively campaign for the Conservative Party in West London.

sarahw@curtinandco.com
020 7399 2753
For a full list of Curtin&Co’s consultants and their expertise, go to our website: www.curtinandco.com/our-team/


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


uber

60 Seconds: Corbyn vs. Housing

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

60 Seconds: Corbyn vs. Housing

Morning,

Oh to see the world through the eyes of a politician! Everything would be so simple, if only everyone else would see things the same way.

Since returning from their hols, HM’s government and opposition have been busy telling us everything will be fine, from Brexit to Boeing. And now, Jeremy Corbyn has assured us that the housing crisis will be solved simply by returning power from the greedy few to the poor oppressed many (his magic cure for everything).

Making regeneration of estates subject to a tenant’s plebiscite or forcing developers to build or be taxed on land (even without planning permission Jez?) will slay the capitalist scourge which, according to Mr Corbyn, is the cause of all our housing woes.

uberNow I’m not going to get into a tirade about the rights and wrongs of socialism (I, after all, was brought up in a good Labour household) but I would urge JC to consider the law of unintended consequences.

Earlier this year, all us Proles rejoiced at the news that tax relief was being removed for buy-to-let landlords. Both sides of the House agreed that good honest folk should not have to support fat cat property speculators. However, since this took effect, the number of rental properties in Central London has fallen by 17% as landlords jettison costly properties, according to research by Hamptons International.

By coincidence (maybe), this has coincided with a steep increase in rents in Central London, forcing ever more young professionals out to the fringes of the Capital, where they can sit on those ram-packed, privately operated trains Mr Corbyn famously lambasts.

Sometimes targeting the few can come back to bite the many.
Have a great weekend,

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

Curtin&Co was delighted to be part of the project team which secured unanimous consent for New Central Developments to build 46 new homes in Woking. Congratulations!

The week ahead

Sister (caught in the) Act
Nun accused of paying £28k bribe to get planning permission for hotel near Vatican

New homes brewing
Here’s your chance to live in a brewery

Brexit bounce-back
Expensive London property will ‘bounce back in price once Brexit is decided’

Catch a falling rent and put it in your rocket
Central London rents rocket as number of rental homes drops by 17% in a year

And Finally…

Shake your money baker
For sale: a grand family home that hosted the Great British Bake Off tent


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: Labour Party Conference

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tom3c70f0c3ca84Morning,

People watching at this week’s Labour Party Conference from outside, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Brighton sea air has enthused every visiting Labour Party member to the point where they have lost touch with reality. Some of this year’s ‘highlights’ have included Unite boss Len McCluskey’s insistence that the Party won this June’s General Election, BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg being forced to hire a bodyguard to protect herself from angry Corbyn supporters, and a besotted Corbynista parading a hand-painted icon of his saviour bedecked by tinsel and fairy lights around the conference floor.

All of this obscures the fact that the remnants of a rather different, more sober pre-Corbyn Labour Party is also meeting in Brighton this week. Moderate Labour councillors and MPs have not disappeared. At the same time as a speaker at a fringe event was arguing that the Holocaust was a legitimate topic for debate, in the next door room the Leader of Greenwich Council and the Deputy Mayor of Newham were celebrating the contribution of businesses and developers to the regeneration of East London.

The Labour Party in London is currently selecting its candidates for council elections next May and, with a few significant exceptions, it appears Labour moderates will continue to dominate London local government for the coming years. That’s good news for developers as most London councils will continue to be led by pragmatic politicians who are positive about regeneration. But this conference has demonstrated that Jeremy Corbyn is totally secure in his leadership of the party, meaning Labour councillors will be in uneasy coexistence with a membership far to their left for the foreseeable future. This membership is suspicious of regeneration, critical of compromise and downright hostile to private developers and housing associations. More than ever, moderate Labour councillors will have to demonstrate that their pragmatism is delivering sufficient numbers of homes at social rents in order to placate the party membership that they are ultimately answerable to.

Have a good week,

Mark

Curtin&Co Account Manager Mark Harrison is our London Labour Party specialist. He was a Lambeth councillor from 2009-2014, and continues to be an active Labour Party member.

markh@curtinandco.com
020 7399 2287

For a full list of Curtin&Co’s consultants and their expertise, go to our website: www.curtinandco.com/our-team/


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


The good old housing days

60 Second: The good old housing days

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Morning,

When I first came to the UK from the island of Saints and Scholars in 1974, I was paid the handsome sum of £2,500 (per annum not per month).

After a few years thanks to inflation and other promotions, I was nudging £4,000.

So I went to the building society manager to ask how I stood for a mortgage: “Mr Curtin”, he said, “You don’t stand for a mortgage, you kneel.” He continued: “What you need to do is save a 10 per cent deposit over the next year with the Society and then we will look at you favourably.”

So we scrimped and saved (there were now four of us) and got the deposit together.

Meantime, we had found a lovely ground floor maisonette with a little garden in Harrow at £9,900. The offer was accepted and the building society manager was true to his word.

Then tragedy struck, I was offered a job back in the auld country and I accepted it. This was the worst investment decision of my life.

Their aim is tackling the problem of middle-income workers being exiled to the peripheries of London by unaffordable housing.

BACK TO SCHOOL

But would this happen today? A 27-year old with a family being offered a mortgage?

Among our excellent staff are a number of what are known as ‘millennials’ those born after 1980. Unfortunately, I just missed qualifying. And we employ a number of three first-class young staff.

They have got a problem: their chances of buying a home (despite, in my view, the extortionate salaries they are paid) are almost zero.

And even if they do manage to buy somewhere they are going to pay a huge chunk of their salary on a mortgage.

According to a report by Resolution Foundation, they will spend three times more of their salary than their grandparents – and in worse accommodation. In other words, 12 per cent of their salary compared to their grandparents (me and others) who bought in the 1960s and 1970s.

Even more scary, they will have to save for 19 years to get a deposit compared to 3 years for us lucky folk who bought in the happy hippy days.

And then people wonder why young people are voting Labour?

Have a great weekend

Tom

In other news

Curtin&Co are holding an event at this year’s Conservative Conference alongside the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Andrew Bingham, our latest Associate Director and former MP for High Peak will be speaking at the event. The Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has also been invited. The event starts at 8pm on Sunday 1st October in The Think Tent. It is invitation only so if you wish to attend please email thinktent@taxpayersalliance.com. We look forward to seeing you there!


This week at Curtin&Co

This week our Founder and CEO Tom Curtin gave a presentation at the 2017 Home Builder’s Federation Planning Conference on Wednesday, about the importance of engaging politicians and communities in the planning process. It was an insightful event with an eclectic variety of speakers. Thank you to the Home Builder’s Federation for inviting Curtin&Co to be a part of it.

The week ahead

Strong and stable standards
New rules to strengthen standards for Councilors and mayors

Money well rent
Housing money wasted ‘propping up rents’

No nukes is good news
Most Britons ‘dislike prospect of living near mini nuclear station’

The no home counties?
Affordable homes shortage blights the countryside

And Finally…

Javid the V.U.P. (Very Unimportant Person)


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


60s-Living-in-a-shoe

60 Second Bulletin: Living in a shoe

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tom3c70f0c3ca84

Morning,

When she was younger, there was nothing my daughter loved more than playing with dolls’ houses. Hours would be spent carefully arranging the furniture to get it just right for Ken and Barbie.

Who would have thought that all these years later the Barbie Dream Flat would be the answer to the London housing crisis?

This week, regeneration specialists U+i introduced plans to develop “microflats” in multiple locations across Central London.

Their aim is tackling the problem of middle-income workers being exiled to the peripheries of London by unaffordable housing.

BACK TO SCHOOL

These flats reportedly have only 19-24 sq m of floor space, significantly lower than Greater London Authority’s recommended 37 sq m.

There is now such a trend towards “compact living”, John Lewis is working on a new range of furniture for small flats – (presumably a shower that doubles as a washing machine…)

Once upon a time miniature housing was meant for Little Old Ladies whom lived in shoes. Now it is considered prime London real estate and the answer to the housing crisis.

If only my daughter had kept hold of her dolls’ houses, we’d be Multi-millionaires.

Have a great weekend

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

This week Curtin&Co was part of the team that helped Forelle Estates secure delegated consent for a new filling station in Frome, Somerset. As part of our consultation Curtin&Co helped to secure over 150 letters of support from members of the public.

The week ahead

Touchy Duchy

Duchy of Cornwall residents fight ‘unfair’ freehold ban

Stewwwwdent housing

A new urban eyesore: Britain’s shamefully shoddy student housing

House that for planning

Consultation on further measures set out in the housing white paper to boost housing supply in England.

And Finally…

Crewe’d have thought it
Hot Housing Index 2017 puts Crewe in second place for the best place to live in the UK.


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