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Reporting daily on the Thames Valley property market 

Reporting daily from the Thames Valley

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Expert views

Leading Thames Valley professionals offer insights and opinions on the region's current property market

  1. M&A property due diligence: it pays to do your homework
    09 Apr, 2019
    M&A property due diligence: it pays to do your homework
    Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are among the most significant activities that will take place in a business, typically to support future growth and business aspirations. They can take several forms – from a full business merger to the purchase of a specific asset or stock. In almost every M&A transaction, a purchaser will acquire an interest, whether freehold or leasehold, in at least one property asset. However, such assets are unlikely to be the driving force behind the M&A activity. If they
  2. How smart are our new motorways?
    08 Apr, 2019
    How smart are our new motorways?
    The smart motorway concept is much in evidence in the Thames Valley right now. Beth Wilson, senior consultant at transport planners and engineers, SYSTRA, based in Reading, weighs up the increasing arguments around their effects. In a world where technology is becoming more intelligent than us, with the likes of smartphones, smart TVs and even smart toothbrushes, just how ‘smart’ are smart motorways? Data obtained by Highways England suggests that congestion on our motorways and major road
  3. The new Blandys website - and the thinking behind it
    02 Apr, 2019
    The new Blandys website - and the thinking behind it
    When law firm Blandy & Blandy LLP told us about its new website, we asked its chairman, Brenda Long, to explain how a 285-year-old practice continues to adapt and evolve in the digital world. Twenty years on from the era when websites were little more than sales brochures or online ‘signposts’, Blandy & Blandy says its own has become one of its principal means of taking new instructions from clients. The Reading-based law firm and member of our UK Prop Social networking division, was
  4. How Slough spread the word at MIPIM
    29 Mar, 2019
    How Slough spread the word at MIPIM
    After attending MIPIM Cannes for the previous two years, Slough Borough Council was at the 2019 event, seeking to build on the progress made so far. Service lead for economic development, Shabnam Ali, explains how the borough approached it, some of the contacts that were made and where the team goes from here. Slough’s decision to attend this year was based on building on the work we have done in promoting the borough at MIPIM over the previous two years as well as actually seeking investors
  5. Vacant commercial space could provide 800 homes in Berkshire
    19 Mar, 2019
    Vacant commercial space could provide 800 homes in Berkshire
    Almost 800 homes could be created in Berkshire by converting vacant commercial space, according to planning consultancy and Thames Tap partner, Turley. Turley calculates that if just half the vacant commercial space in the county was converted to residential, 779 homes could be delivered. If, in those developments, an additional floor could be added, the number doubles to 1,558.  The figures were derived from research carried out by Turley for its latest report, Making Sense of Mixed-Use Town
  6. The role of data in commercial property rents
    08 Mar, 2019
    The role of data in commercial property rents
    Most occupiers of commercial property will at some point need to work out what the market rent of their property is, either for a rent review or a renewal of their lease. Adam Schofield, associate at property consultants, Vail Williams, explains the increasingly important role of data in commercial property rents. It’s easy to work out the rental value on a property when you move in, as it has been on the open market, but what if it has been a few years? How do you go about working out the
  7. Oxfordshire 2050: Visionary or Vaporous?
    04 Mar, 2019
    Oxfordshire 2050: Visionary or Vaporous?
    Barton Willmore experts weigh up the issues around the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. There may be a long way to go but is now the time to seize the opportunity? Set to establish ambitious objectives for housing and economic growth for the region over the next 30 years, preparation of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (previously known as the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan) will be challenging.  Endorsed at the Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting last month, the publication of an issues and options paper
  8. Is it time to KonMari your office?
    19 Feb, 2019
    Is it time to KonMari your office?
    David Thomas, partner at property consultants and Thames Tap partner, Vail Williams LLP, discusses the merits of KonMari’ing your office space. As the Marie Kondo decluttering trend continues to gain momentum, our occupier advisory team offers its thoughts on how an adaption of these principles can make your office environment more cost efficient and less cluttered, whilst inspiring creativity, reducing stress and, ultimately, creating a more productive workforce. If you are yet to experience
  9. Oxfordshire Vision 2050 under the spotlight
    13 Feb, 2019
    Oxfordshire Vision 2050 under the spotlight
    Members of the family of Lichfields senior director Daniel Lampard are in for a treat during the Spring half term break, as he explains. This month I shall use the half term holiday to take my children to a roadshow on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.  Whilst they may not appreciate it (in both senses of the word) as current, and I hope future, residents of Oxfordshire, they have as much an interest as I do in the development of the county over the next 30 years.  They will also be more at home
  10. Could Brexit allow occupiers to challenge business rate liabilities?
    06 Feb, 2019
    Could Brexit allow occupiers to challenge business rate liabilities?
    As uncertainty around the Brexit ‘deal’ continues, could it represent an opportunity for businesses to challenge their rateable values? Nigel Katseph, associate and business rates adviser at City-based property consultants, Vail Williams LLP, discusses. The future of Brexit remains uncertain, as Government continues its attempt to resolve the Irish backstop issue. If the Government fails to get cross party agreement to adopt Theresa May’s ‘deal’ by March 29, will we simply crash out with no
  11. Reading’s regional magnetism
    18 Jan, 2019
    Reading’s regional magnetism
    David Thomas, Partner at Thames Valley-based property consultancy, Vail Williams LLP, looks at the growing popularity of Reading town centre, both for employers and employees. If you think of mass urbanisation, you may hark back to geography lessons at school and your mind may conjure up examples of the rapidly developing cities and economies of, say, Beijing, Delhi or Mexico City. Yet something equally significant is happening right here in the Thames Valley, specifically around Reading.
  12. Forfeiture: the right of re-entry
    18 Jan, 2019
    Forfeiture: the right of re-entry
    Forfeiture or the “right of re-entry” is a landlord’s right to end a lease in the event of a breach by the tenant. Gemma Tolmie, Senior Associate - Commercial Litigation at BrookStreet des Roches provides an overview of how and when the right arises in commercial leases, the procedure to be followed, relief available to the tenant and what the landlord can do following forfeiture. When can a landlord forfeit the lease? A landlord can only forfeit a lease if it contains a forfeiture clause.
  13. The importance of landlords’ intentions
    14 Jan, 2019
    The importance of landlords’ intentions
    The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in S Franses Limited v The Cavendish Hotel (London) Limited (2018). In this much anticipated judgment, the Supreme Court determined that a landlord cannot oppose a renewal of a tenant’s lease pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (“the 1954 act”) on the basis that it has developed a scheme of works to be carried out solely for the purpose of securing possession. Simeon Fenn, senior associate - real estate litigation at  BrookStreet des
  14. Science and high tech surges on
    07 Jan, 2019
    Science and high tech surges on
    Demand for high tech workplaces is defying the gloom about Brexit according to Scott Harkness from Carter Jonas. But he said Brexit remains a major concern. Mr Harkness, head of commercial at the property consultancy, sponsor of our Oxford Social events, has given his thoughts on the commercial property market in 2019, picking out critical growth sectors, regions and his predictions. He writes: “Life sciences will continue to be a critical growth sector for the UK and substantial steps have
  15. High hopes for deals at Basing View
    07 Jan, 2019
    High hopes for deals at Basing View
    Significant office lettings could be in the pipeline at the latest new building in Basing View among a number of developments at the 65-acre business park in Basingstoke. Basing View has teamed up with Thames Tap to become one of our Valley Voices and the newest scheme unveiled there is the Florence Building (pictured below), a 65,000 sq ft development by Abstract Securities which completed this summer and is being marketed by Savills and Rare. Project director Kate Dean said: “I understand
  16. Slough businesses cautiously optimistic about 2019 prospects
    07 Jan, 2019
    Slough businesses cautiously optimistic about 2019 prospects
    Paul Lewis, regional director for new Thames Tap partner Segro plc, has managed Slough Trading Estate for more than 18 years. He explains the reasons he is cautiously optimistic for 2019. Last year was a good one for businesses on the Slough Trading Estate. More than 350 enterprises of every size are based here, working across diverse sectors – from automotive and IT, to food production and pharmaceuticals. They range from small start ups to global leaders – housing a rich mix of talent and
  17. Concern remains over Oxfordshire's 100,000 housing target
    10 Dec, 2018
    Concern remains over Oxfordshire's 100,000 housing target
    The delayed draft Local Plan for South Oxfordshire goes before councillors this week but there are concerns over whether the county can now meet its housing target. In May, South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) asked officers to reassess all its main sites for housing after controversy, particularly around the allocation of Chalgrove Airfield. Now, although three new sites – Grenoble Road, Bayswater Brook and Northfield - have been added, SODC expects to deliver fewer homes over the plan
  18. Judicial review may challenge Government's preferred option for the Expressway
    06 Dec, 2018
    Judicial review may challenge Government's preferred option for the Expressway
    Karen Jones, partner in Blandy & Blandy's planning & environmental law team, reviews the latest situation regarding the Government's Road Investment Strategy 2 and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway in the light of a likely judicial review. The Government announced in 2015 that it was preparing its Road Investment Strategy 2 and that studies were required to identify the right investment decisions. One such strategic study was in respect of the Oxford to Cambridge expressway. A consultation by
  19. Getting Bucks in a row
    16 Nov, 2018
    Getting Bucks in a row
    Tim Burden and Taylor Cherrett, director and associate director respectively at Turley, weigh up how plans for a single unitary authority for Buckinghamshire could affect planning, infrastructure and decision making in the county. On 1 November 2018, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, James Brokenshire, announced that proposals for a new unitary authority covering Buckinghamshire were to be given the backing of Government. The  Local Government Update:
  20. Mixed views over Bucks council shake up
    05 Nov, 2018
    Mixed views over Bucks council shake up
    The news that five councils in Buckinghamshire are to be replaced with one unitary authority has been met with a mixed - but overall positive - response from those involved in the county's future development. Secretary of state James Brokenshire announced on Thursday, November 1, that after considering two options, one for two unitary councils and another for one, he has opted for the latter, subject to Parliamentary approval. It means Buckinghamshire County Council and the district councils