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The RO Developments and Office Agents Society (OAS) Roundtable Debate: Is the Market Ready for Office Development and Refurbishment in the South/South East? Pt 6

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - RO Developments / OAS Roundtable DebateTraditionally the barriers to development and change of use have been the planning system. However the developers agreed that some Local Authorities outside of London are being much more pragmatic about development. In recent years, planning authorities have fought against the developer through development control and planning gain, stifling development.

Many Councils now realise that to retain investment and regenerate their towns, they need to get their built stock back into beneficial use and need to work with developers in order to do so. It was also noted that the Government has recently announced an initiative to freeze business rates on developments completed before 30 September 2016 and has introduced permitted development rights for change of use from office space to residential.

Never far from developers’ minds, partly due to frustration at a lack of straightforwardness, is the green agenda. While the majority of the office market wants to see a more sustainable modus operandi, the fine details are much less clear. This, said, Sam Resouly of Trinova Real Estate, is partly caused by a lack of clarity at the highest levels. “I don’t think the government has worked out how to tax it properly yet and until they work out how to it won’t be as high up on peoples’ agendas. It can be a political nightmare and the cost implications are huge; it’s millions and millions of pounds of unrecoverable money”.

It’s a climate filled with complexities and, potentially, risk, but despite all that, the fundamentals of office development remain the same: tenants will go for quality, and demand can be capitalised on.

As Simon Glenn of Dowley Turner Real Estate, speaking at the event said: “The total supply of new builds is still pretty low. If you build the right property in the right town, you will attract the occupier”.

The fineprint might be a little more difficult to see than before, but for investors and developers, sticking to those broad strokes will stay pay dividends for the smartest players on the scene.

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 8th April 2013 (updated 09/04/2013)

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