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RealCast: Westminster council limits house size, retail parks rally, ESG attracts lenders

Nicol Dynes, Giles Barrie, Paul Strohm and Richard Betts

In the spotlight this week:

The new Westminster city plan sets the planning context for what is one of London’s largest boroughs until 2040 and the new rules will not only ensure that new developments include 35% affordable housing but, more controversially, impose a maximum size of 200 sq m per dwelling. The limit runs counter to the post-pandemic trend for bigger homes and may discourage international investors and could push up the price of existing schemes.

In Milan, developer Coima has selected the master plan team for the Porta Romana project which will transform a disused railway yard in the heart of the city into a new community and 2026 Winter Olympics athletes’ village.

Easing of lockdown in the UK has meant opening of non-essential shops, as well as bars and restaurants and retail parks, until recently thought to be a fading concept, are enjoying something of a renaissance because they fit well with Covid restrictions.

Schools are seldom talked about in the context of commercial property but Estates Gazette’s four-page feature on the the rollout of up to 18 schools by Urban & Civic indicates that the developer plans longer term involvement in the curriculum.

Glasgow will be staging the COP 26 climate conference later this year and the city council is keen to present its ESG credentials. Elsewhere, ESG is being targeted by lenders such as Aviva which, having allocated £1billion to sustainable transition debt, has granted one of the first facilities to a developer. Meanwhile, Singapore-based Temasek and New York’s Blackrock have formed a partnership to provide capital to help global progress toward net zero by 2050. And in the Netherlands, CBRE Global Investors has been awarded a Well-building Institute award for an entire portfolio.

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