The importance of assignments: If you are purchasing a site for development, would you rely on a report your seller obtains in its favour then gives to you, stating that you can rely on it; the seller accepting no liability for its contents?

Author: Susannah Davis, Professional Support Lawyer, Construction, Real Estate, London

This blog post explores why purchasers should take an assignment or insist on other protection before relying on reports provided to them by others.

If your answer to the question posed is ‘yes’, read on as this is exactly what happened in the case of BDW Trading Ltd (the “developer”) v Integral Geotechnique (Wales) Ltd (the “consultant”). In this case, the developer was left without a legal remedy when he suffered loss having relied on a negligently prepared report. Continue reading

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Affordable Housing Back to Basics: What do the new NPPF and Draft London Plan modifications mean for affordable housing?

Author: Charlotte Dyer, Of Counsel, Planning, Real Estate, London

This blog post explores how the meaning of affordable housing has evolved following the publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (“NPPF”) on 24 July 2018 and the Draft New London Plan showing Minor Suggested Changes on 13 August 2018. This is part of our ‘back to basics’ affordable housing series and is intended to supersede entry 1 in the series. Continue reading

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Revised National Planning Policy Framework—will it fix the housing market?

This article was first published on Lexis®PSL Planning on 9 August 2018.

Will the government’s new planning rulebook deliver on its promises? Robert Walton, barrister at Landmark Chambers, says the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is a step in the right direction and should result in more houses. Matthew White, partner and head of the planning team in Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s London office, predicts that, by itself, the revised NPPF will not streamline the planning process, nor close the gap between planning permissions and housing delivery. Continue reading

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Impact of revised National Planning Policy Framework

The revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published on 24 July 2018. This post considers what difference it will make – in terms of the impact on developers, whether the government’s aims will be achieved and how soon its effects might be seen.

Impact on developers

On the whole, policies in the revised NPPF are more restrictive. Tighter controls over design standards, green belt boundaries, developer contributions and viability appraisals, stronger protection for the environment and the introduction of the “agent of change” principle to new development all provide little incentive to bring forward development.

A welcome change, however, is that LPAs should now take a more flexible approach to daylight and sunlight issues.

The new standardised methodology for calculating housing need, which takes effect immediately, represents a significant change for residential development. It will provide more certainty on housing requirements in each LPA’s area, generally with an increase in housing targets. Local authorities’ success in delivering against these targets will be assessed by the new Housing Delivery Test. From November 2018 local plans will be deemed out of date if the LPA fails to deliver 25% of its housing target as assessed by the new standardised methodology; this threshold will increase in subsequent years to 45% of the target from November 2019 and 75% of the target from November 2020. If local plans are deemed out of date the presumption in favour of sustainable development will be brought into play, increasing the likelihood that planning permission will be granted. Continue reading

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Equitable easements – a trap for the unwary developer

Author: Julia Tobbell, Senior Associate, Real Estate Disputes, London

When purchasing a development site, it is important to make sure that the site can be used for the purpose for which it is acquired. When it comes to easements, in theory a purchaser should not get any nasty surprises. However, overriding equitable easements can be hard to detect but can have costly consequences. What are they, what is their impact and how can the risk they present be minimised? Continue reading

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Beware! Contract Races – Could you be in one?

Author: Ruth Benfield, Senior Associate, Real Estate, London

The SRA Code of Conduct 2011 forms part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority Handbook. The Code is to be adhered to by all lawyers – both in-house and in private practice. Sometimes it’s good to have a timely reminder of aspects of the Code which you don’t necessarily come across that often. Of particular interest to investors and developers is the duty that a seller’s legal team must inform potential buyers of a seller’s “intention to deal” with more than one party. Understanding this duty may help when structuring the transaction. Continue reading

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Real Estate Podcast EP2: Highways – dedication, adoption, maintenance and stopping up

In this podcast, Herbert Smith Freehills associate Martyn Jarvis explains the difference between dedication and adoption of a highway, what a duty of maintenance of a highway involves and what stopping up is. Continue reading

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EGi: What’s so unlawful about London’s affordable housing policy?

The High Court has declared a key policy in the mayor of London’s planning guidance on affordable housing ‘unlawful’ – but what does that mean in practice? Matthew White, Partner and Head of UK planning, explains the impact of the decision in this article published on EGi on 25 June 2018, in hard copy in Estates Gazette on 30 June 2018.

For more information please contact:

Matthew White
Matthew White
Partner and Head of UK planning practice, London
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2461

 

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How the legal profession is responding to technological advances – interview with HSF partners Jeremy Walden and Shona Grey

In this podcast our HSF Real Estate partners Jeremy Walden and Shona Grey discuss how the legal profession is responding to technological advances, as part of the EG Tech Talk Radio series.

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HMRC wins landmark SDLT avoidance case

Authors: Neil Warriner, Partner and Head of UK Real Estate Tax; Will Arrenberg, Partner, Real Estate Tax; Heather Gething, Partner and Head of Tax Planning and Tax Disputes, London

In a 4-1 ruling, the Supreme Court has found in favour of HMRC in the long-running saga of Project Blue Limited v. HMRC (2018) UKSC 30, to the effect that the taxpayer was liable to pay stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on the amount of financing (£1.25bn) it received under the sharia’h law compliant structure, and not merely on the actual price it paid for the land (£959m).

To recap briefly, the taxpayer had contracted to buy a freehold property at Chelsea Barracks in London from the Secretary of State for Defence for a basic price of £959m and had arranged to finance this, along with anticipated development costs, by using a sharia’h law structure under which it sub-sold the freehold on to a banking group for £1.25bn and immediately leased back the asset on terms that effectively replicated a normal financing arrangement, at the same time taking a right to buy back the freehold in the future once the financing arrangement had run its course.

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