A £1 billion scheme will create a bustling new community close to London’s South Bank.
The gap between South Bank and Tate Modern is to be transformed when the ambitious new project gets underway.
The current vibrant South Bank ends at Blackfriars Bridge, where pedestrians then have to use an underpass to reach the Tate Modern gallery and its environs.
Eventually pedestrians will be able to walk from the London Eye right along the Thames to the Tate Modern.
The huge new project will extend the dynamism of the South Bank to include the area on the other side of Blackfriars Bridge.
A report in the Evening Standard notes that the first phase of the project, at Bankside Yards, has already started.
This initial stage will involve 240 homes and an office building in a 49-storey tower. Shops and restaurants will be houses in a row of railway arches that are to be renovated.
The next phase of the project, devised by developer Native Land, will include more homes and a hotel alongside open space.
Radical reform of Stamp Duty Land Tax would take nine out of 10 home buyers in England out of paying the tax altogether.
The effect of raising the threshold at which the tax is paid would also revitalise the house-building sector as developers react to increased demand from buyers who would be free from paying the duty.
A report entitled Stamping Down by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has called on the Government to consider reforming the stamp duty system, which currently brings in around £5.1 billion to the Treasury every year.
Alex Morton, the CPS head of policy, is a former adviser to David Cameron when he was Prime Minister and has written the report.
He says raising the threshold at which buyers must pay stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000 would mean nine out of 10 buyers in England no longer have to pay the tax.
The current average cost of stamp duty in England is £2,300 with buyers in the south-east forking out more than £6,000 when they buy a property.
Morton says raising the threshold would cost £1.6 billion, but the spin-off benefits in increased transactions and a rise in house-building would replace that revenue for the Government.
His proposals would only affect residential property transactions. Buy-to-let landlords and those buying an additional property pay higher rates of stamp duty, and those would not change in this suggested reform.
Robert Colvile, director of the CPS, sayd: “It’s no coincidence that stamp duty is one of the taxes that people hate the most.
“It’s a huge barrier to people living in the kind of homes that best fit their families and their lives.
“And as our report has shown, the current sky-high levels are doing more harm than good.
“We urge the Government to take bold action to stamp down on stamp duty and get the property market moving again.”
London’s first new high street in a century has been given the go-ahead by councillors in Southwark.
The £4 billion plan will create a new town centre at Canada Water in Rotherhithe, on a site that includes Surrey Quays and the former Dock Offices courtyard.
The project will create around 3,000 new homes – of those, 35 percent will be affordable.
The new town centre will also include 2 million square feet of workspace for up to 20,000 jobs, and around 1 million square feet of shopping, entertainment, leisure, community and education space.
With around 12 acres of open space, the new Canada Water town centre will also include its own town square, 16 new streets and a 3.5 acre park.
Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said: “We are delighted that this major step towards our vision for Canada Water has been approved.
“The masterplan provides the blueprint for an exciting new town centre that will provide thousands of new homes, particularly hundreds of new social rent homes, new jobs and opportunities, new open spaces and a brand new leisure centre for Rotherhithe in the first phase of the work.”
Improved transport links in the area will mean increased capacity at Surrey Quays and tow new bus routes.
Londoners spent last Sunday freely walking, running and cycling on more than 200 car-free roads last weekend as part of the capital’s Car Free Day event.
The annual event aims to give millions of residents the opportunity to experience a day without heavy air pollution and to appreciate London’s green spaces.
With pollution levels in some part of the capital at illegal levels, the imperative from the Mayor’s office is to improve air quality and eliminate the pollution hotspots blighting the lives of residents.
Now home buyers are being offered the chance to find out if the area they intend to buy in is suffering from air pollution – and if it is, negotiate a discount on price.
Using data from King’s College London, www.addresspollution.org offers an air quality report for every postcode in London based on nitrogen dioxide readings, revealing if pollution levels exceed legal limits and giving each neighbourhood a score out of five.
The website has been established as a registered community interest, not-for-profit company that runs campaigns for people and the planet.
Its aim is to give users a report they can use to lobby local councils and MPs to demand improvement on pollution levels locally and nationally.
According to its research, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of Londoners think property for sale in areas with heavy pollution should be sold or rented at a discounted price because of the negative effects on people’s health.
Almost six in 10 of those who were questioned said they’d think about withdrawing their offer on a property if they discovered it was situated in an area with illegal air pollution limits that breach World Health Organisation levels.
Humphrey Milles, the organisation’s founder, said: “Air pollution is killing people across the country and London is worst hit, but people don’t believe it will affect them personally.
“The air quality rating is a tool to change these perceptions and show just how real, and dangerous, air pollution is across the capital, including in some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods.”
A £3.7 billion regeneration project is set to transform Canning Town in London’s east end.
Around 10,000 new homes will be built as part of the development with upgrades to the local transport network.
The biggest project is at Hallsville Quarter, where 1,100 new homes will be created on a 15-acre site near Canning Town station at a cost of £600 million.
Of those homes, a third will be affordable and marketed for those on low and middle incomes.
The latest part of the project will include a retail area with shops, restaurants and facilities such as a health centre.
Canning Town has an Underground station while the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) also runs through the station.
Crossrail, the rail project to connect London’s stations from east to west, will also stop near to Canning Town at the newly created Custom House station once complete.
Average property prices in Canning Town are now £439,000.
Meanwhile, Newham Borough Council is considering planning applications for the redevelopment of Custom House, plans that include 800-900 new homes, community facilities and improved local shops.
The house price premium for living close to the UK’s top 100 state secondary schools has dramatically fallen.
According to new research from Santander, the price premium for parents keen to secure a spot for their offspring at the best non-fee-paying schools has fallen from 15 percent to 5 percent in the last year.
That means an actual financial drop of £32,100.
In 2018, parents moving into the catchment area of the best state schools were paying a premium of £51,600. In 2019, that has fallen to £19,500.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of parents said they were willing to pay a premium to ensure their child got a place at their preferred state school, with £20,000 the average extra willing to be paid.
Parents rate proximity to a good school as more important than being close to good transport links, family and friends.
Meanwhile, the Santander research has revealed that parents start thinking about school places long before their child is ready to pull on a uniform for the first time.
Seven percent think about schools when planning a family, 6 percent when pregnant and 22 percent shortly after their child is born.
Miguel Sard, managing director of Santander UK, said: “The recent property market slowdown has seen house prices in many school catchment hotspots cool significantly, giving an unexpected boost to parents looking to move near to sought-after state schools.
“With many parents planning for their child’s education straight after or even before their baby is born, and properties in top school catchments now more accessible, competition for school places looks set to be fiercer than ever.”
The walls and roofs of London are helping to keep the capital green.
A decade-long policy, part of the creation of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, has led to the “greening” of buildings that has resulted in new developments that host roof gardens, create greener public realm and offer a home for wildlife.
New figures show that London has more than 40 percent of the UK’s green roofs and walls, representing around 1.5 million square metres of space. Green space that includes plants and vegetation helps to reduce air pollution.
In Barnet, urban greening is being promoted at a new development that is creating 2,900 new homes.
Covering 47 acres, Colindale Gardens will include parks and sports pitches as well as other facilities such as a primary school and retail units.
The homes will feature green roofs and podium gardens, while the development will also include wildlife habitats, allotments and an area for urban agriculture.
Home sellers in London have had some good news with new house price data showing the first year-on-year price growth in the capital since 2017.
Rightmove’s monthly house price index has revealed several reasons to be cheerful for those looking to sell up in London.
The price of property coming on to the market is up by 1.3 percent on the same month a year ago, the first time since August 2017 there has been an annual rise.
With the summer months usually seeing a flattening of asking prices, this marks a positive change for those keen to secure a sale before the autumn.
Meanwhile, the number of sales agreed in London is also up by 5.2 percent on the same period a year ago.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Some potential buyers have sat back and watched the price of property coming to the market in the capital falling year-on-year for the last couple of years, giving many of them little incentive to do anything but sit on the sidelines.
“It’s always hard to spot the bottom of a market, especially in a massive place like London with its myriad of local markets.
“However, new seller asking prices are now 1.3 percent higher than at this time last year, and if that trend continues, buyers might decide to stop sitting it out before prices rise further.
“That could happen if we have more certainty on our Brexit outcome, and this annual price rise may be an indicator of more market activity to come.”
Chris Osmond, sales director at London-based Johns&Co, told Rightmove that his company has registered more buyers in the first seven months of 2019 than in the whole of 2018, suggesting that those keen to move are no longer inhibited by the prospect of Brexit.
He added: “It’s not surprising; it’s been three years since the vote and Brexit fatigue has kicked in.
“After all, life goes on and you can only put plans on hold for so long.
“We’ve also seen the number of vendors wanting to cash in on long-held investments increase, and there are plenty of canny investors on the periphery looking for good deals, so overall we expect the summer season surge to linger on into autumn.”
London housing associations are to receive an extra £200 million from the city’s mayor to ensure they can still subsidise new affordable homes in the capital.
The extra funding is to be used to offset the impact of any uncertainty caused by Brexit.
Mayor Sadiq Khan is offering the finance to housing associations across London but has called on the Government to protect those providers from any negative impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Housing associations use the money they bring in from selling affordable homes to finance those they rent at social or intermediate rent levels.
However, a slowdown in London’s property market, partly prompted by the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, means some bodies are not making as much money from sales as they had anticipated, meaning they have less to invest in producing new properties.
With little or no income from central government, that scenario is putting pressure on the finances of many housing associations.
The mayor’s deal means associations will be able to take some of the properties they cannot currently sell off the market and switch them to rental properties. With guaranteed rental income, they are then in a position to cement their future construction plans.
Mr Khan said: “At City Hall, we are building record numbers of new social rented and other genuinely affordable homes. That’s why it is right we push our funding to its very limit to keep housing associations building more affordable housing through the ongoing uncertainty.
“Whatever happens with Brexit, Ministers must at the very least match my support and ensure we can keep building the homes Londoners need over the coming years.”
Topping the list is Barking and Dagenham in east London, according to analysis of the sold prices for property recorded by the Office for National Statistics.
The east London borough is the cheapest in the capital with its property up to a third cheaper than other boroughs. The average price there is £300,518, up 4 percent on the year. This district is also expected to be boosted by another 11,000 new homes created on the Olympic legacy sites.
At No.2 on the most affordable list is Bexley in south-east London, with average property prices of £341,784, up 1.8 percent on the year. The town will benefit when a Crossrail station eventually opens and directly connects the area with the centre of the city.
Newham, again in east London, takes the third spot on the most affordable list, followed by Croydon in fourth place. Newham’s average property price is £365,182 (down 0.8 percent), while Croydon’s is £365,931 (down 2.6 percent).
The rest of the top 10 is: 5. Havering, average property price, £375,014 (down 2.1 percent); 6. Sutton, average property price £382,607 (up 0.3 percent); 7. Hounslow, average property price £395,734 (down 0.4 percent); 8. Enfield, average property price £396,908 (down 0.5 percent); 9. Hillingdon, average property price £399,639 (down 4.5 percent); 10. Greenwich, average property price £411,492 (up 2.9 percent).