March Ponderings

March Professional Ponderings

The sun is shining, the vaccination programme is in full swing and there appears to be light at the end of this ‘lockdown’ tunnel. If you have completed every TV series on Netflix or documentary on BBC iPlayer, you might want to turn your attention to this latest update from the Planning and Development department.


Although there were big question marks over how 2020 would materialise, the P & D team had a very good year, with a number of important development land sales, examples include 600 houses in Wellingborough, 80 houses in Rushden, 10 houses in Weston by Welland and 4 houses in Upper Dean. We also sold two commercial yards and a number of land parcels on the edge of settlements. In addition to this, we secured many planning permissions for clients, ranging from farm yard redevelopments, agricultural dwellings in the open countryside, conversions of farm buildings to houses and new agricultural buildings to support farming businesses. During 2020 we were also kept very busy with lots of Option and Promotion work, a few examples of recently concluded agreements include a new settlement in SW Cambridge for 30,000 homes and in Bedfordshire we are working on a promotion scheme of approximately 50 dwellings.


As a department, despite starting the new year in yet another lockdown, we remain as busy as ever and have taken on a number of new instructions, which is very encouraging. Much to our frustration but not to our surprise, one of the biggest challenges we currently face is getting timely responses from Local Planning Authorities. It appears that many Councils are severely understaffed and this has led to planning applications taking a lot longer to be determined. Whilst on the topic of Councils, it is worth mentioning that the following eight existing Councils - Wellingborough, Corby, Daventry, East Northants, Kettering, Northampton, Northamptonshire County and South Northants – will be replaced with two brand new unitary councils on 1 April 2021. Government legislation has now been passed to create a new West Northamptonshire unitary council serving the areas of Daventry District, Northampton and South Northants, and a new North Northamptonshire unitary authority serving Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and East Northants. These two new councils will start providing services to the residents and businesses of Northamptonshire in April of this year.


Whilst on the topic of change, I am sure many of you will be keeping a close eye on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s eagerly anticipated Budget which is due to be revealed this week. With all the economic upheaval over the last 12 months, many of us are anxiously waiting to see what tax changes are unveiled, as the Chancellor looks to balance the books. There are rumours of potential changes to capital gains tax, corporation tax, inheritance tax and possibly the extension of the stamp duty holiday. As our Estate Agent department cross their fingers in the hope that the SDLT holiday is extended, the P & D team are rushing around desperately trying to get our residential development land sales completed pre-budget, as a hike in CGT could have big implications for landowners.


I hope everybody keeps safe over the coming months and it isn’t long before we can enjoy the company of our friends and family, without the fear of a visit from the COVID police. Should you wish to discuss the above, or any planning related matter, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the planning team, as we would happily help.


Tristan Peck

Planning & Development

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