Resilience, re-imagination and responsibility were the key themes that emerged from our real estate predictions event in January 2021. This year our colleagues have gathered views from Dentons and contacts on what may be in store for real estate in the UK and Ireland in 2022. You can view the full article along with videos HERE.
From a planning perspective, 2022 looks to be a busy year across the spectrum of housing, energy and transport infrastructure. Small and mid-sized developers have refreshed their development pipeline over lockdown. Larger projects for repurposing and redeveloping retail assets are reaching full steam, with a large bank of obsolete town centre assets in play. Alternative asset classes are maturing. The key for the planning development pipeline over the later part of the year will be whether opportunities are now all priced in or if there is real value that can still be achieved while navigating costs from increasing policy ‘asks’ on sustainability, affordability, green and blue infrastructure. In London, the gloves are off following High Court intervention on tall buildings, which will fuel aspirations for scale outside areas designated for height. Everywhere, there is political volatility and a greater reliance on the appeal system.
We should expect current public sector resourcing to continue to be a powerful limit to the pace that investors want to work at – resource constrained local authorities, pressures on a limited pool of planning officers, too few officers in specialist areas such as biodiversity. The well of junior planning professionals is also drying up. This requires a concerted effort to ensure that planning and related disciplines are well regarded and resourced and initiatives such as Public Practice will be crucial in rebuilding capacity.