Thu, 07 Jul 2016
‘Cautious optimism’ was the message from a number of the leading planning professionals in the Midlands after taking part in a special round the table discussion on Brexit.
More than 30 representatives from leading Planning and Development firms based in and around the Midlands attended the meeting which was hosted by leading Birmingham-based barristers No 5 Chambers’ highly rated planning experts Martin Kingston QC, Jeremy Cahill QC and Richard Kimblin QC at Hotel Du Vin in Birmingham. Expert economic input to the debate was provided by Siobhan Lodder of KPMG.
Leading house building brands including Barratt Homes, Bloor Homes, Miller Homes and Taylor Wimpey were joined by consultants and lawyers from the Planning sector to unravel the potential impact that separating the UK from the EU might have on the sector and ultimately its consumers.
Despite the economic uncertainty which has struck since last month’s historic vote, there remained a note of cautious optimism based on the fundamentals of the need for more housing.
Martin Kingston QC said: “The tone was relatively upbeat. There are inevitably uncertainties both now and ahead but the demand for housing and commercial investment, and therefore the demand for land, is still high.
“Everyone agreed that some immediate guidance and action from the government to quell that initial uncertainty would be useful particularly in relation to larger schemes with longer lead times and heavier upfront investment.
“That would help steady the ship, keep planning applications and land acquisitions moving forward and ensure growth keeps moving in a positive direction.
“On the whole, and at least for the short term on smaller sites, there is room to be optimistic. On larger more complex sites and for the longer term the picture is much less clear largely because of the political uncertainties.”
It was recognised that EU funding plays a critical role in the construction industry in some growth areas. Methods of sourcing new investment from the public or private sector have not yet been determined but, with a robust banking sector, the UK should remain an appealing prospect for investors’ subject again to the political uncertainties resolving themselves.
In addition the discussion raised the ongoing labour supply issues faced by the sector with some representatives recruiting up to 20% of their workforce from other EU nationals.
No5 Chambers is widely acknowledged by professionals working in the industry as one of the leading sets of Planning and Environment Barristers in the country. Housing some of the most sought after barristers in the field, members provide advisory and advocacy services to the highest standard and represent clients across both the public and private sectors.
With a strong team of QCs and juniors, backed by a proactive and skilled clerking team, the group has been instructed to represent clients at every level with barristers involved in a wide range of complex and controversial proposals.
Martin Kingston QC was listed second in The Planning Law Survey’s Top Five Planning Silks nationwide in April this year, and was also one of two No5 barristers named as the top two highest rated barristers in the Residential sector.