Building Safety Bulletin May 2021

It has been an interesting month in the media for building safety, not least following the recent passing of the highly anticipated Fire Safety Bill. The government may have been hoping that the dust would settle quickly, but the opposition has had other ideas. Media outlets of all shapes and sizes have not held back on their criticism of the government, accusing them of betraying leaseholders and leaving innocent people to pick up the bills. You have may missed the Queen’s speech – it was a more subdued affair this year owing to the ongoing pandemic. Among the 26 Bills

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Cladding: ‘They will not forget; and they will not forgive’

Opinions may vary regarding Robert Jenrick’s announcement on further funding for cladding remediation work earlier this month. However, I think it’s fair to say that ‘widespread condemnation’ was the overwhelming response from media outlets up and down the country. Front pages were splashed with the words ‘betrayal’, ‘anger’ and ‘laughable’. Even backbench Conservative MPs broke ranks to criticise the government. It’s hard to recall any other government announcement receiving quite such a hostile reaction. Why is everyone so angry? Simply put, the further £3.5bn announced earlier this month doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. The House of Commons’ Housing, Communities

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Last call for leaseholds?

The Background The Law Commission published three reports earlier in July 2020 which set out a series of proposals to reform the leasehold system in England and Wales. The Law Commission was asked to look into the issue of leasehold reform by the government after former communities secretary Sajid Javid promised (in 2017) to make extending leases and purchasing a freehold ‘much easier, faster and cheaper.’ The leasehold system has been criticised for many years, but most recently for the ‘ground rent scandal’, where homeowners had unwittingly bought homes with ground rents which would double every ten years, making them almost impossible

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Paving the way for the future of planning

Long-awaited reforms to the planning system in England were finally unveiled on 6 August. While previous housing secretaries, of which there have been many, have merely tinkered with the edges, Robert Jenrick’s efforts appear to be about to turn the system on its head. The glossy 43-page consultation document, ‘Planning for the Future’ certainly contains proposals which should be welcomed, such as bringing the process of community engagement kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Jenrick wants to move away from laminated signs hastily affixed to lampposts and statutory notices at the back of local newspapers (which everyone has stopped

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Qui tacet consentire videtur

Silence says you consent.  Social issues get the country, and consumers, talking. The murder of George Floyd in the US city of Minneapolis has achieved global media attention and put a rocket under the BLM movement. From the #MeToo to #Icantbreathe protests, petitions and social media campaigns have dominated the media, even managing to break through coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is the realisation that having no opinion is not an option that sets these campaigns aside and explains why so many brands have sought to make their sympathies and understanding known – from publishing statements of solidarity to posting the infamous ‘black out Tuesday’ square on social media. Others have simply kept hush.  While there was once a debate over ‘appeasement vs alienation’ in corporate branding strategy, this has been lost

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The Persist List

Society appears to have undergone some quite seismic changes since Thursday 12 March – the day the UK Prime Minister announced that COVID-19 was not going to be a barrel of laughs and that we should all start washing our hands. A lot. However, whether it is the community spirit, the air quality, the (much) shorter commute to work or simply the realisation that office work can be achieved without going to the office every day, most people acknowledge that there are some changes that we should aim to retain. But of all the changes that society has undergone, which

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