Category: community news

Nimbyism in Marple is Dead – Long Live the Planning Permission Rule Changes:

Slide5 - Nimbyism in Marple is Dead – Long Live the Planning Permission Rule Changes:

How will this affect the 23,980 Marple Property Owners?

The 1st July 1948 heralded a new dawn in how property was built, as the Town & Country Planning Act 1947 came into force, meaning no property could be built without the say so of the local authority. Now, Boris Johnson has announced a substantial change to that, by in effect, ending planning permission. 

The decision of what gets built (and what doesn’t) will be removed from Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and replaced by Westminster governed ‘Zoning Commissions’. The anticipated reform will give presumptive building rights to any piece of land outside areas of outstanding natural beauty, green belt and national parks, although in the press release there was mention of protection for the countryside. 

Travel to Europe and it’s common to see out of place haphazard development of new households or commercial buildings, surrounded by open countryside … so, I hope these new regulations protect us against that. 

The principles of the planning rule changes are a departure away from looking at each planning application as a standalone application to a ‘zone-system’ of planning. Land will be divided into three classes: 1st for growth, 2nd for protection and 3rd for renewal. Anyone applying for planning permission to develop homes, offices and shops on land zoned for growth, will automatically be granted planning permission; whilst land zoned for renewal planning permission will be granted in principle while Government officers perform checks. Local authorities have until 2024 to designate areas for the three classes and once agreed, planning departmentswill have little or no say over individual applications that fit the rules.

Interestingly, these changes come on top of new planning regulations coming into force this September which gives implied rights to demolish any office building and replace with a block of flats, and the right to build extra floors/storeys on your home.

The Housing Secretary has specified the motive behind the changes to the planning system is not to make planning permissions easier to get (although 88% of planning applications are approved by local authority’s already). Instead, they have been done to make the planning process quicker, less expensive and less likely to be held up by special ‘interest’ groups. 

95% of planning permissions in Stockport Metropolitan Council

were approved last year (compared to the national average of 88%)

Noteworthy, the planning rules were changed in 2016 to turn disused shops and office space into residential homes (called ‘permitted development’ rights), yet these new regulations about to be announced by Boris will take that right even further. This is important because in 2019, there were 241,340 new households created in the country, yet 29,260 of those households came from turning disused shops and office space into residential homes (i.e. the planning permission rule changes made in 2016).

My concern is that the new planning rule changes do not make shop or redundant space into the new 21stCentury ghettos. An RICS report in 2018 showed a massive difference between the conversion of office blocks with planning permission and those without (i.e. permitted development). What was interesting is that only 1 in 5 properties met the national space standards, a non-legally binding suggestion on the minimum size of home, minimum dimensions of bedrooms, natural light, storage & floor to ceiling height, whilst 3 in 4 of office block conversions that did obtain planning permission met the standard. 

These planning changes cannot be a charter for cowboy builders or developers, otherwise your children or grandchildren could end up renting one of these sub-standard homes, thus stealing human dignity from thousands of youngsters who will end up renting these homes.

So, what does this all mean to Marple homeowners and Marple landlords? If you have been reading my articles you will know that one of the most important factors holding back the Marple property market is the lack of new properties being constructed and when they are, the lack of infrastructure surrounding them.

Since 1995, only 709 properties have been built in SK6

Yet, these new planning changes will also introduce a new method of taking a lot more money off landowners and builders, as the Government will take a larger share of uplift in land value (i.e. the increase in value from farmland to building land) to finance infrastructure around the development. This would mean new housing developments would come with upgraded roads, GP surgeries, primary schools and shops that these new communities need to be viable. Also, communities will be asked to decide on their own standards on style and design for new developments in their area, allowing residents a greater say on the development in their locality.

Like all things, the devil is in the detail. All of us in Marple cannot deny that we need to build more homes to keep up with the ever-growing population and the fact that people are living longer. This new planning system should lead to more housebuilding, which in turn would increase the supply of property for those trying to get on the property ladder. Also, in the proposed legislation is the new ‘First Homes’ scheme, which would allow key workers, first time buyers and people who live or work in the Marple area to purchase their new home at 30% less than its market value and when they come to sell it, that 30% discount would be passed on to the new buyer (if they also met the criteria).

With regard to what can be built and where, Marple people will have a say upfront (i.e. between now and 2024 when the zoning rules are drawn up) but once the zoning has been established, then ‘nimbyism’ will become a thing of the past and hopefully we can construct the Marple homes we are proud of for our children and for Marple generations to come.  

Please do let me have your thoughts on this matter.

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Marple Home Buyers & Landlords Set to Save £1,159,030 in Stamp Duty Over Next Nine Months

Slide3 - Marple Home Buyers & Landlords Set to Save £1,159,030 in Stamp Duty Over Next Nine Months

The British are infatuated with owning their own property and politicians know that. Margaret Thatcher used it as a vote winner in 1979 when she allowed council house tenants to buy their own home. Coming to the present day, Boris Johnson’s Conservative government have anxieties that the Brits have not been buying nearly enough homes lately and, as with all countries in the world, the British property market was put ‘on ice’ for several months to help contain the Coronavirus, exacerbating the problem. 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced on Wednesday plans to boost the property market by momentarily scrapping Stamp Duty Tax (a tax paid by homebuyers) when they buy a property that costs less than £500,000.

Interestingly, Stamp Duty was originally introduced in 1694 as a way to raise funds for The Nine Years’ War (1688–1697) against Louis XIV of France and applied to property and some legal documents.

Why is this important? Well the Government recognise that when the property market is working well, the economy also tends to work well, yet one of the barriers to people moving home is Stamp Duty. Even before Coronavirus, Brits were moving 40.21% less than they were at the start of the millennium, and now with this dreadful situation, the natural reaction is for people to stay put in their own homes, meaning another potential nail in the coffin for the economy.

Stamp Duty has raised not an insignificant £166.53bn since 1998, impressive when you consider the NHS costs £129bn per annum. Looking at more recent figures, the Government currently raise £1.045bn per month from Stamp Duty Tax and this statement will remove a good chunk of that from the Chancellors coffers each month, yet the Government knows a healthy property market will help the wider economy.

As Stamp Duty is a transaction tax, it restricts labour market mobility, making people who are thinking of switching jobs think twice before moving. Stamp Duty also holds back elderly homeowners from downsizing to smaller homes, which is an issue for the UK, as we don’t have enough homes to meet supply and also curtails first time buyers as it forces them to use some of the savings on the tax, as opposed to using for a deposit.

Before the changes, the Stamp Duty thresholds were as follows: 

  • Zero percent up to £125,000
  • Two percent of the next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)
  • Five percent of the next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)
  • Ten percent of the next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
  • 12% of the remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

and between the 8th July 2020 and 31st March 2021

  • Zero percent up to £500,000
  • Five percent of the next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000)
  • Ten percent of the next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
  • 12% of the remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

Landlords and buy to let landlords will also benefit from these reduced rates yet will still have to pay their additional premium for second homes (as they have since April 2016).

To give you an idea how significant this is, if these rules had been in place exactly a year ago for Marple properties purchased under £500,000 (i.e. between the 8th July 2019 and 31st March 2020).

Stamp Duty would not have been paid on 463

Marple (SK6) properties, worth in total £115,780,700

Anyone buying any home in Marple over £500,000 are also winners in this, as they will save having to pay the first £15,000 in stamp duty (under the old scheme). This is because during these 9 months, stamp duty is only paid on the difference over £500,000 (so if you buy a property for say £620,000 – one only pays the stamp duty on the difference between £620,000 and £500,000 i.e. £120,000).

I’m all for reducing Stamp Duty, which is imposed progressively at higher rates the higher a property costs (as you can see from the tables above). Yet, short-lived changes to property taxation risk warping the property market and generating a ‘property market hangover’ in Spring 2021. I am part of a group of 2,500 estate and letting agents from the UK, and most of us were running at 150% speed before this announcement, coping with the post Coronavirus explosion in demand. 

Now it seems that the ‘feast’ will continue until the end of March 2021 as many more people will move to take advantage of the cut in tax. However, some are suggesting this could lead to ‘famine’ down the line as it will stop people moving into the late spring and summer of 2021. 

History tells us different stories on the influence on transaction volumes from changing Stamp Duty rates. In 1991 the Tory’s raised the Stamp Duty threshold at which house buyers started paying and Gordon Brown did so in 2008 when we went into the Credit Crunch. More recently, both George Osborne and Philip Hammond fine-tuned Stamp Duty so that landlords had to pay an additional Stamp Duty Premium after March 2016 whilst first-time buyers pay less Stamp Duty and the purchasers of more expensive homes (over £1.5m) pay more.

The Stamp Duty changes for landlords in 2016 affected the property market only for a short while and by the autumn, transactions levels had returned to normal. However, in 1991, John Major’s Stamp Duty change encouraged home buyers to bring forward home purchases but nevertheless the property market ground to a standstill again once the benefit ended (although the steps up the 1990’s Stamp Duty levels were much harsher as the tax applied to the whole purchase price, not the margin steps as it had in the 1990’s).

So how much money will Marple people save when buying a home under £500k?

The average Stamp Duty paid by those Marple home buyers in the 9 months between the 8th July 2019 and 31st March 2020 was £2,503 

Being objective, I can see why the Chancellor could see this as a suitable way to motivate spending because when people move home, they are more inclined to spend comprehensively on property renovations and the services of solicitors, home removal people, tradesmen and estate agents. So, drastically reducing Stamp Duty will undoubtedly help the UK economy, or at least contain some of the damage from the Coronavirus.  

Also, the experience of being in lockdown will have confirmed to many Marple people that they need a bigger home or one with a bigger garden. I also suspect other people may be able to work from home on a more long-lasting basis, meaning there could be a shift from the larger cities to outlying towns and even a move to the countryside.

So, these are my thoughts, what are yours?

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The Marple Post Lockdown Property Market

The Marple Post Lockdown Property Market

What have we learned in the first month?

From talking to most of the Marple estate and letting agents and our own findings, it might surprise many of you that new enquiries from homebuyers, tenants, landlords and home sellers have been at record levels since lockdown was lifted from the property market in mid-May.

There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, we had the pent-up demand for Marple property from the Boris Bounce in January and February. Next, many Marple people were planning to move this spring yet were prevented doing so because of lockdown, and finally, surprisingly, an advance wave of home movers seeking to bring their Marple moving plans forward because of a fear of a second Covid-19 wave later in the year.

So, what does all that look like and how does it compare to the last 12/18 months?

Data from Yomdel, the live chat and telephone answering service for a quarter of UK estate and letting agents, is able to track objective and more current information from across the UK on what is really happening. Each week, they are dealing with thousands of enquiries including: 

  • Seller enquiries (i.e. house sellers looking to put their property on the market) 
  • Buyer enquiries (i.e. people looking to view a property on the market with the intention of buying it) 
  • Landlords enquiries (i.e. landlords looking for tenants for their rental property) 
  • Tenant enquiries (i.e. people looking to view a property on the market with the intention of renting it) 

They have created a rolling weekly average of those enquiries for the whole of the UK for the 62 weeks before the country went into lockdown. Then they compared that 62 week average with specific time frames, namely the 10 weeks of the run up to the General Election, the 8 weeks of Post Boris Bounce in January and February 2020, the weeks of lockdown in March, April and early May and then finally, from mid-May, the post lockdown. 

You might ask why tracking estate and letting agency enquiries is so important? 

Enquiries in letting and estate agencies are the beating heart of the property market – they are the ECG machine of the estate and letting agency. Of course, house price data has its place and is lauded by the national press as the bellwether of the property market, yet it takes 6 to 9 months for the effects of what is happening today to show in those house price indexes, whilst these enquiries are what is happening now. 

Have a look at the data in the graph and table, it can be seen in the 8 weeks up to the General Election, every metric was down. Next, the post Boris Bounce saw house seller and house buyer leads increase yet note how low tenant enquiries were (hardly any change from the run up to the election), everything dipped during lockdown as expected, yet look at all the metrics post lockdown … amazing! (e.g. if a number in the graph/table below is say -25%, that means its 25% below the rolling 62 week average, yet if it were +20%, then that would mean it would be 20% more than the rolling 62 week average)

 General Election Run UpPost Boris
Bounce
LockdownPost Lockdown
Seller Enquiries-27.0%20.6%-41.9%94.3%
Buyer Enquiries-19.9%12.9%-9.3%163.7%
Landlord Enquiries-10.9%1.0%-27.6%78.5%
Tenant Enquiries-34.9%-27.2%-23.1%92.5%
308 Graph - The Marple Post Lockdown Property Market

The numbers speak for themselves! 

So, what is happening in the Marple property market? Well, there is plenty of activity in the Marple property market, yet that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. Enquiries are an important metric, yet another way to judge the health of the property market is to look at the number of property transactions (i.e. people moving). 

Now the Land Registry data isn’t quite as exhilarating, yet it is less volatile. Nationally, it shows that property transactions were at their lowest level since its records began in April 2005. The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential property transactions in April and May 2020 was 90,210, 53.4% lower than the 193,500 transactions of April and May 2019. Again though, this was because of the restrictions on moving during Covid-19. The stats for Marple are still to be released, yet rest assured I will share them in due course.

Looking again at what is happening now, when I look at the number of properties for sale…

116 Marple properties have come onto the property market in the last 14 days alone, and of those, 13 are already sold subject to contract

So, what of the future of the post-lockdown Marple housing market? While a stern recession seems almost guaranteed, a housing market crash is not. Many newspapers are predicting property values to fall in 2020, then rise reticently from the ashes in 2021. The fact is, nobody knows. The property market is driven a lot by sentiment. Buying a home is not like buying stocks and shares – it’s a home to live in … and those Marple landlords who are looking for an investment opportunity, often let their heart rule the head (again sentiment) when investing in property.

Property always has, and always will be, a long-term investment. Many of you Marple people reading this, especially potential Marple first time buyers, have been putting off buying your first home because of Brexit, now its Covid-19, and in a few years, it will be something else. There will always be ‘something else’… and you could get to your 50’s and 60’s, still renting, waiting for the ‘next thing’ to pass before you buy … and end up buying nothing.

Nobody knows what the months or years ahead will bring … yet what I do know is, people will always need a place to live. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Tell us what your experiences are as a Marple landlord or homeowner, tenant or buyer so we can all learn from each other.

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Essential Tips For Working From Home

articleimage3133 s1 c0 0 600 400 o600 400 e - Essential Tips For Working From Home

For a small number of people, working from home will be the norm. But for the majority of the nation, the current climate has caused us to quickly adapt our working practices to home working for the safety of ourselves and those around us. In doing this, it is important to create healthy working practices to maintain motivation and routine throughout the day.
We’ve gained advice from those who regularly work from home so that we can share some top tips for the coming weeks ahead. Continue below for our top tips on how you can get the best out of home working:
1. Get ready for the day
Get up and ready for work as you normally would. Getting dressed out of your pyjamas and fresh for the day helps you to maintain a routine and get ready for a day of work. Doing this will signal to your brain that you are going to work and create a good mindset.

2. Have a routine
Working from home can get lonely, so a routine will prevent the day blurring into a mix of work and relaxation time. Creating a morning routine that will guide you into your work chair each day so that you can signal the separation between home and work. Start and finish work at your usual times so that you do not become overworked.

3. Create an office space
If you have a separate office space to work in, then that’s great. But even if you don’t, it is still important to create an area in your home that you can designate and associate with work. Whether that be at a desk, or if it has to be your dining room table, this will support you to keep a routine. At the end of the day, shut down your equipment and put it away. This will signal the end of your working day and the start of your own time.

4. Keep to your regular hours of a working day
With all your work equipment at home, it can be tempting to try and get ahead by setting yourself mammoth tasks that take you all evening to complete. Set yourself achievable goals (as you would when you go into work) so that you maintain your usual work hours and maintain your positivity and optimism. This will also allow you to keep a work life balance.

5. Have regular breaks
When you are in the office, you naturally take short breaks throughout the day. Whether that be to go and make a drink or go and discuss something with a colleague. These breaks away from the computer are crucial for your productivity and health. Breaks away from the computer screen help to break bad posture habits, help with concentration and productivity, and prevent fatigue. This should be no different at home. You can call a colleague for a chat, go and make a drink, or spend some time in a different room for a few moments.

6. Get some exercise
Living and working in the same space can be challenging at times so you may find it important to get a change of scenery. Stepping outside for a walk not only allows you to “leave the office” but also allows you to get valuable exercise (providing this is in line with Government guidelines). Some fresh air and natural light will do you the world of good. With people rarely leaving the house, a short walk could be all the exercise you get in a day so place importance on this. Alternatively, you may want to do a short home workout. There are tons of guides online to help you do this. Let’s not forget about those all-important endorphins.

7. Take your lunch break
You are still entitled to your full lunch break and it is important to take this. Ensure you continue to eat well and take time away from your work space to break up the day. Using this time to get some exercise (as advised in step 7) is a great idea too.

8. Get on the phone
Communication is so important during this time. Working from home can be isolating (especially if you live alone). To overcome this, ensure to keep up with regular team meeting via group calls. Check in with your colleagues throughout the day – even for a general chat not related to work. This is what you would usually do in the office and it is important to maintain this to make the day more enjoyable. Call people instead of email so that you can have proper conversations during the day which is so much more personal that email communication. You could even use Facetime for a more personal touch.

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marple covid 19 mutual aid group page

90702991 10222015617168889 8979124054254419968 o - marple covid 19 mutual aid group page

A Facebook page has been made for the community of Marple. The group provides a space to co ordinate community help for the most vulnerable residents and the group comprises of residents of Marple and surrounding villages as well as our approved volunteers. Mutual Aid group provides assistance by approved volunteers.

For more information on their page, you can click here.

The page also confirms what local businesses are open and when so you can support local as and when you can!

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Strines Cafe helping out during Lock down.

Strines Cafe - Strines Cafe helping out during Lock down.

Just to give you the heads up….next wkends menu will be

Breakfast Baps – bacon, sausage and/or egg.
Homemade mince and onion gravy pie with chips and peas.
Homemade cheese and onion pie with chips and beans.
1/4lb Angus cheese burger and wedges.
Chicken Breast Burger, cheese & bbq sauce with chips.
All £6.50

Sunday Roast Beef Dinner, mash, 3 veg, roasters, gravy and yorkie. £6.95

Rhubarb Crumble and custard. £3
(orders for Sunday Roast only to be in before 2pm Saturday).

The Sunday Dinner does go quick, so i would suggest ordering sooner rather than later.

Telephone orders 07860133175

Take care everyone and stay safe 🌈 ❤

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Spider-Man is spreading joy around Stockport for kids stuck in isolation

0 spiderman2JPG - Spider-Man is spreading joy around Stockport for kids stuck in isolation

You can always count on a superhero when times are hard. And not one but two versions of Spider-Man have been spreading joy around the streets of Stockport. Using their hour of exercise a day, pals Andrew Baldock and Jason Baird have been using their time in the best possible way. Working separately, they have been visiting streets around Stockport to wave to children who are stuck indoors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pair have been using social media to let families know where they are heading around lunchtime each day and children have been waving and sharing messages from their windows.

In fact a Facebook group to follow their whereabouts, and for people to share photos of their little ones getting in the superhero spirit, has already amassed nearly 800 members in just a few days.

Jason, 34, owns and runs Jason Baird’s Black Belt Academy in Reddish and Andrew, 44, is a full-time instructor there. With Andrew covering Bosden Farm and Jason in parts of Bredbury, both are sending the message to children to stay indoors and wave from their windows to avoid breaking any social distancing guidelines.

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Window Display at the Marple office.

NHS - Window Display at the Marple office.

As we continue the lock down across the country we are showing our support for the wonderful work our great NHS are doing to safe lives. Stay home and stay safe.

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Discover Mellor 10km Adventure Walk

10k WALK - Discover Mellor 10km Adventure Walk

Distance approx 9km (5.5miles) 09:30-12:30

A chance to discover the varied scenery of the village of Mellor, which lies between Marple Bridge and New Mills and extends from the start of the old turnpike road at the boundary of Marple Bridge to the current county boundary with Derbyshire.

We’ll briefly visit the Iron Age Hill Fort by Mellor Church, before going through fields to the Memorial Gardens, we then head to Bottom’s Hall before heading up to Mellor Cross where we should get fantastic views over Cheshire.

With an optional Lunch at The Devonshire Arms after we finish our walk.

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The Fisherman’s Table, Marple Takeaway menu.

fishermans table menu - The Fisherman's Table, Marple Takeaway menu.

So we’ve tried out our delicious food in takeaway tubs and so far with great results! So From this evening we will be offering a call and collect system! With 25% off your FULL BILL including all drinks & wine! So simply call the restaurant either wait in the car out side and we will bring it to you pay over the phone or cash ❤️🐟 Lunch 12-2:30pm Dinner 6-9pm 01615364389 Please SHARE 👏🏻 #supportlocal #staylocal

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