Developers East Sussex minutes: 6 December 2022
Date: 6 December 2022
Location: Microsoft Teams
See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.
1. Welcome and introductions
- JB welcomed the group to the meeting.
2. Review of previous minutes, 18 October 2022
- The minutes were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.
3. Autumn Statement update
- An update from BHr on some of the recent changes at national policy level, including the ‘sunset clause’ on stamp duty. The reduction in stamp duty land tax is the only policy which has survived from Kwasi Kwarteng MP’s ‘mini budget’ into the current administration.
- The group discussed how Levelling Up has had some resurgence since it dipped as a government priority during the Truss/Kwarteng administration. JB provided updates on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, and highlighted three documents in particular: a letter dated 9 November 2022 from the Secretary of State to the Competition and Markets Authority; another letter from the Secretary of State to Local Planning Authorities dated 5 December 2022; and an Amendment Paper to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill published today, 6 December 2022.
- There is a clear message from Michael Gove MP about moving away from 5-year supply and how housing need is looked at overall. The group discussed how, in general, the government seems to want more housing. However, it is creating more obstacles and ultimately more work for Local Planning Authorities which prevents developments from being delivered.
- Investment Zones are not coming forward as originally described. The revised approach was set out by Jeremy Hunt MP in the Autumn Statement 2022.
- The social housing rent cap has ultimately been set at 7%.
4. Market conditions / open forum
- The group had the usual catch-up on how members see the current state of the market and any new/ ongoing concerns, such as interest rates, mortgage availability, stamp duty changes etc.
- CM and EP confirmed that the prices of commodities are continually going up, and that it is hard to forecast these prices. On the other hand, the sub-contract market has proved to be able to cope. The main issue at the moment is the change to the sales market due to a lack of confidence and affordability. This has resulted in a fall in demand, especially since the ‘mini’ budget. Overall, there is a lot of uncertainty in the market.
- From a commercial point of view, THa and CBr confirmed that occupational development is still proving to be robust. Currently, most stock comprises offices and there has been a trend in downsized (<5,000 sq ft) but higher quality space.
- In terms of planning resourcing, CBe confirmed that there has not been much change. Increased uncertainty is making it hard to recruit more planners into the sector.
5. Business rates on new commercial property
- BHr (on behalf of DG) provided some information on how commercial development is being inhibited by business rates becoming payable as soon as the commercial property is completed. For speculative commercial developers there is too much risk of completing and then becoming responsible for business rates. CBr reiterated that if this could be alleviated, it would create more confidence to bring property forward and ultimately alleviate supply issues in terms of stock. It was agreed that this would be discussed at the next meeting.
6. DLUHC / Homes England engagement
- The usual update on our conversations with DLUHC. JB reminded the group that regular meetings with DLUHC officials are continuing, so please feed in any points that ought to be raised.
- JHe from Homes England provided a brief update on how they are looking to support their partners and RPs. A renewed strategic plan is to be announced which will have more of a focus on property-based regeneration (rather than just housing numbers).
7. Local Planning Authority (LPA) updates
- LP provided a very brief update on the Eastbourne Local Plan Growth Strategy, the main aim of which is housing growth (with a little bit of employment), and which is out to consultation now. The Peacehaven Neighbourhood Plan is also coming through.
- JPy mentioned that Rother is aiming to publish its Local Plan for consultation. This is likely to follow after the May 2023 elections.
- CBe confirmed that the Wealden Local Plan is being prepared to go out as soon as possible in the new year, subject to any reaction to ongoing Government announcements.
8. AOB (any other business)
- JB confirmed that a face-to-face networking session is planned to take place in the first quarter of 2023 with more details to follow soon.
- The next meeting will take place on 24 January 2023 at 2pm.
Summary of actions
Attendees and apologies
- BB, Beverley Bayliss, East Sussex CC
- BHr, Brian Horton, SELEP
- CBe, Chris Bending, Wealden DC
- CBr, Chris Broome, Sea Change Sussex
- CD, Christine Dadswell, Batcheller Monkhouse
- CM, Chris Moore, Bellway Homes
- DM, David Martin, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
- ED, Emma Davies, Redloft
- EP, Erica Peck, Rydon Homes
- JB, Jonathan Buckwell, (CHAIR) DHA Planning
- JC, Janan Clatworthy, Countryside Partnerships
- JHe, Josh Hemmings, Homes England
- JHu, Jonathan Hugo, Berkeley Homes
- JM, Joshua Mellor, Stantec
- JPo, Joe Powell, Rother DC
- JPy, Jeff Pyrah, Rother DC
- JS, Janet Shields, Vulcan Ellis
- KC, Kirsty Castle, Batcheller Monkhouse
- LD, Lee Davies, HNW Architects
- LP, Leigh Palmer, Eastbourne BC / Lewes DC
- LS, Lauren Sinden, DHA Planning
- NF, Nick Fenton, Nick Fenton Associates
- NW, Nichola Watters, Wealden DC
- PC, Peter Coldbreath, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
- PN, Phillip Naylor, RH Partnership Architects
- PT, Paul Thomas, Development Land Services Ltd / SELEP
- RT, Ryan Trodden, DLUHC
- SC, Simon Collins, Jones Homes
- SR, Stacey Robins, Wealden DC
- THa, Tim Hardwicke, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
- AF, Amy Fearn, Rother DC
- AM, Annabel McKie, Redloft
- BHk, Ben Hook, Rother DC
- BP, Brett Pearson, Locate East Sussex
- DE, Dave Evans, East Sussex CC
- DG, Derek Godfrey, Derek Godfrey Consulting
- EG, Emma George, Rentplus
- ES, Edward Sheath, East Sussex CC
- ET, Ed Tibbetts, Orbit Homes
- KB, Kim Bloxham, East Sussex CC
- LME, Lourdes Madigasekera-Elliott, East Sussex CC
- RM, Ravail Marwaha, Taylor Wimpey
- THi, Tom Hichisson, Clarion Housing Group
- VG, Vera Gajic, East Sussex CC