Green light for 42 – storey ‘Paddington Cucumber’

Earlier this week Westminster planners voted to grant planning consent to the revised proposals for the canal side site in Paddington.
Outline permission was initially granted several years ago for a 42-storey tower by Robin Partington & Partners (now Apt), then nicknamed “the Cucumber”, along with three other blocks.
The main tower will now be joined by another smaller tower of 21 storeys, delivering a combined total of 426 units, with the latter housing 67 affordable units. There will also be some retail and leisure floorspace, and the main block will have a two-storey “sky bar” on the top two floors.
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Easter break : some Brexit factors to keep an eye on

1. Germany’s growth forecast announcements. Germany already lowered the 2019 growth forecast to 0.5% down from the 1% previously forecast.

2. Currency movements. The Euro is expected to strengthen against the pound on the back of better than forecast Chinese economic data and a lack of Brexit related activity. A turnaround in China is expected to boost trade internationally and possibly help end Germany’s export slump.

3. Surveys. A poll amongst economists carried out by Reuters shows that Brexit is more likely to be cancelled than there being a no-deal. Most economists polled said that the most likely outcome was a free trade deal. The survey was taken between the 12 and 17th April.

4.Irish boarder solutions. A Home Office report leaked to the media indicated that a technology solution at the Irish boarder could take 10 years to be implemented.

5. 2nd May local elections. 248 English local councils are contesting with a total of 8,773 councillors due to be elected. A poor performance for the Conservatives will accelerate calls for the PM to make way for a new leader.

6. European parliament elections. A YouGov poll shows that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is in the lead on 27%, ahead of  Labour (22%) and the Conservatives (15%). European parliamentary elections are scheduled for the 23-26th May.

7.Labour’s position on Final Say vote. As negotiations carry on between the government and Labour, Jeremy Corbyn is under increasing pressure to ensure that a Final Say vote is included in any deal with the Prime Minister.

8.Bored of Brexit. Property investment activity is increasing. This is in part seasonal but some is being attributed to pent up demand converting into transactions.

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London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into force.

As from today, vehicles will have to meet tight exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to drive into central London. The most polluting vehicles will have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 for cars, motorcycles and vans, and £100 for lorries, buses and coaches. These charges will be over and above the daily £11.50 congestion charge.

Initially, the ULEZ will cover the same area as London’s congestion charging zone, however in October 2021, it will be expanded to cover London’s major circular arterial roads as shown above in yellow (Map provided by Tfl).

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Guidance on the letting fees ban published

As from the 1st June 2019, the tenant fees ban comes into force through which landlords and their agents will be banned from charging ‘agency fees’  to tenants for things like credit checks, inventories and references.

The guidance on the Tenant Fees Ban published by the government makes it clear that ‘The only payments you (landlord and their agents) can charge tenant in connection with a tenancy are:

  1. the rent;
  2. a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above;
  3. a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent;
  4. payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher;
  5. payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant;
  6. payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
  7. A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement”

Fees included in existing contracts can still be charged until 1st June 2020.

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