The Future Of Slough – Regeneration and Reinvention

The Future Of Slough – Regeneration and Reinvention

We have been hearing news of the future of Slough for months now. It is safe to say that we can currently see regeneration and reinvention happening right in front of our eyes. What is to hold for Aston Bond’s home town is awaited with much anticipation.

With the Crossrail train due to complete in the next two years, it will place commuters in London in around 30 minutes. In addition, the new Western Train link will allow you to reach Heathrow Airport in around 6 -7 minutes. Such major infrastructure projects, needless to say are a great improvement for everyday transport facilities however, in the long term the infrastructural development will also enable businesses to work closer together in a more efficient manner, and this will only increase Slough’s potential for economic business growth.

Commercial & Residential Development

We cannot refer to the future of Slough without discussing the commercial and residential development that is currently ongoing, and the impact this will have for the town.

The recent demolition of the old Slough Library site will be replaced with high quality hotels and restaurant facilities in the town centre and around the new commercial district, this is to take into account the demands that will arise from the improved business and conference facilities. Developers along with major employers in London have already noticed the lower rents and prices of both commercial and residential property. London occupiers will be looking for spaces outside London, in order to utilize areas for office purposes or for headquarters functions. In the long term the office buildings being built will provide workspaces for the rapid business world, and investment in business facilities can only increase the procurement of commercial business activity in Slough.

Two major longer term redevelopments include a substantial mixed commercial and residential use scheme on the previous ‘Thames Valley University’ site in Slough which is anticipated to include 1,500 more homes along with office and leisure developments. Another major redevelopment is to be implemented at the ‘Queensmere shopping centre’ in Slough, which has permission for a refurbishment and 674 flats built to be built above the renovated site. This will consequently increase employment opportunities and further elevate the employment market within Slough.

Meanwhile, Aston Bond’s home address, ‘Windsor Road’ in Slough will be the site of 100 new homes to be utilized by homeowners, or by investors looking to rent properties to City workers who are always looking for residential properties at a lower rental rate to London and with convenient proximity to work. In addition, the Windsor road will be one of many key routes where the infrastructure is being improved, it is anticipated to incorporate a mass rapid transit scheme that will transport workers from the Slough station to Bath Road offices, stopping at strategic points e.g. offices of major employers.

To conclude this is an exciting time for Aston Bond’s home town and we cannot wait to see the urban redevelopment come into fruition. If you are looking to invest into Slough as a business entity and require corporate advice, or are looking to invest in Slough’s boasting residential and commercial property industry, please feel free to contact us. As a leading Thames Valley firm that has developed and established itself in Slough, we can offer bespoke legal advice to our clients, and can also provide a personalised service regarding market trends in Slough, for investors who require a firm with experience in dealing with an extensive number of investment matters in Slough and adapted knowledge of the demographic area they are looking at for investment purposes.

Fun fact for those of you reading who are residents of slough, or are reading this blog and have never visited Slough; Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), the famous astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus in 1781 with a self-built telescope, lived in Observatory House on ‘Windsor Road’ (Aston Bond’s street address) from 1786 until 1822.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) for commercial & residential properties comes into force on 1st April 2018It is estimated that buildings account for 43% of the UK’s total carbon-dioxide emissions.

Government estimates that 18 per cent of commercial properties hold the lowest EPC ratings of F or G. While Building Regulations ensure that new properties meet the current energy efficiency standard, MEES will tackle the UK’s older buildings.

From 1st April 2018 Landlords will not be permitted to grant a lease of a property with an EPC rating below E unless they’ve carried out all possible cost-effective energy efficiency improvement works, or an exemption applies.

From 1 April 2020: (in the case of residential properties) or 1st April 2023 (in the case of commercial properties), landlords will not be permitted to continue to let properties with an EPC rating below E on an existing lease unless an exemption applies.

What are the exemptions?

Landlords do not have to carry out any improvement works where –

  1. Third Party Consents (eg from the tenant, planning authorities, mortgagee’s consent etc) are not available. To be released of its obligations the Landlord needs to show that despite reasonable efforts by the landlord to obtain any necessary third party consent, that consent has been refused or granted subject to a condition with which the landlord cannot reasonably comply.
  2. The works are not cost effective. The Landlord will need to be able to demonstrate that within seven years, the expected energy bill savings will not equal or exceed the cost of purchasing, installing the improvement measures.
  3. A report from an independent surveyor states that the works will reduce the value of the property by 5% or more, or that written confirmation by an expert states that wall insulation required to improve the property may damage the fabric or structure of the property, or the building of which it forms part.

In order to apply for an exemption the landlord will need to provide such evidence to a centralised register, the “PRS Exemptions Register.” The exemptions have a limitation period of 5 years. Therefore, the landlord will have to regularly review whether energy efficiency measures can be implemented to bring the EPC rating up to band E or above, or whether the grounds for the exemption still apply.

Enforcement & Penalties

The enforcement authorities for the MEES Regulations are the:

  • Local authority for a domestic PR property.
  • Local weights and measures authority for a non-domestic PR property.

The authorities will have the power to enforce civil penalties for non-compliance with the MEES Regulations. The penalty will reflect the property’s rateable value, and will range from a minimum penalty of £5,000 to a maximum of £150,000.

Future Implications

  • Marketability of properties with low EPC ratings will be more difficult unless the upgrading is reasonable and easy to implement. This could have a knock on effect on the valuation of the properties.
  • Lenders will also be affected by the new regulations as they will need to take measures to ensure that the value of their security is not involuntarily affected.
  • New Leases will need to be carefully drafted in order to ensure adequate provisions are in place for compliance with the MEES Regulations.

No doubt there may be further implications to consider upon the implementation of the MEES Regulations in 2018, and it is important that your solicitor advises you, whether you are a Landlord or a Tenant, of how the forthcoming regulations will impact you in the future.