Greenbelt

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Greenbelt's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Greenbelt is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.greenbelt.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
24 | THOMAS:STEVENSON
Supporting the regions
Alongside this, our region has lost a
number of major employers during my
lifetime, including ICI, Davy and British
Steel. While change is inevitable, this loss
has not been at all balanced. When I was
young, the difference between Tyneside
and Teesside was present but not acute
and the same could be said for the
difference between Teesside and Leeds.
Since that time, however, our subregion
has been left behind. A symptom of
this is Teesside Airport. While this
airport used to have a daily service to
Heathrow, it has been in demise to the
extent that closure looked likely with
the land destined for housing. Tees
Valley Combined Authority has now
intervened and there is hope, but this
venture needs support from central
government. As public infrastructure
has become increasingly inadequate,
and failing industry has not been
replaced, the region has been cut
adrift. It is only through investment
in infrastructure and connectivity that
local economies can expand. This is
true on both the local and national
level: if public transport was improved
we could conduct a far higher volume
of work in the surrounding cities.
The support of external
organisations
When I started in my profession in
the late 1980s, English Estates was
a government body which enabled
speculative commercial development.
If developers were looking to build
or develop a space, a new industrial
development for instance, English
Estates would often subsidise these
projects, helping to mitigate the risks
of the developers. After English Estates
was replaced with the Homes and
Communities Agency, this proactive
agenda disappeared. Such funding is
no longer available and regeneration
and development has suffered as a
result. Without these support systems,
businesses are less likely to be attracted
to less developed areas and the vicious
circle continues.
I also believe that the Royal Institute
of Chartered Surveyors, our governing
body, needs to implement tougher
regulation. Currently, many of those
hired to act as independent experts
pay scant regard to the statement of
truth in a submission and instead act
as advocates. Regulation needs to
be tightened to address this and to
ensure that surveyors and independent
experts see their duty to the court as
paramount. This is important as it can
have significant effects on overheads for
businesses, which can lead to joblosses.
I think there is a possibility that the
regions could benefit from a change
of heart in government policy. Brexit
clearly demonstrated the unhappiness
felt in these struggling regions. I hope
there is a change of policy and a
movement towards investment outside
the southeast, re-energising the
left-behind parts of the country and
supporting them to thrive.
It is only
through
investment in
infrastructure
and
connectivity
that local
economies
can expand
The city games held on
Stockton high street –
just one example of the
efforts taken to give a
boost to the high street
25GREENBELT |
HOUSING
Chief Executive AlexMiddleton
Meynell Road,
Loughborough
Greenbelt works across the UK to provide a sustainable model
for the management of open space on new developments.
The company’s flagship Greenspace land management
service, says CEO Alex Middleton, is sustainable and secure in the
long term. Alex tells
The Parliamentary Review
that the benefits of
a well-managed environment are at the heart of services his team
offers, and that Greenbelt is trusted to deliver flexible, one-stop
solutions for land management up and down the country.
A series of concerted campaigns against land management companies is threatening
the future of green space stewardship and the social cohesion of communities across
the UK.
Pressure groups that purport to represent homeowners claim that when customers
buy new-build homes they’re also unwittingly signing up to an unaccountable land
management monopoly.
They further contend homeowners have no powers to change providers if maintenance
prices rise or the land is not maintained, and the only way to “escape” such
arrangements is to sell their homes. Some groups are even attempting to use technical
and legal loopholes to urge homeowners to avoid paying land management fees.
False perceptions and the need for constructive dialogue
The accumulative effect has been that the voices of the majority of homeowner
residents, who have voluntarily opted for responsible land management at the time
of their home purchase, are struggling to be heard.
FACTS ABOUT
GREENBELT
»Chief Executive: AlexMiddleton
»Established in 1999
»Based in Glasgow and Leeds
»Services: Open space land
management
»No. of employees: Around 60
Greenbelt
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | GREENBELT
In some developments, neighbour
is pitted against neighbour in an
artificially heated environment, stoked
by social media trolling and often
sensationalist press coverage.
The antagonistic nature of online
propagandising and the growing
intensity of ill-informed political lobbying
are now causing major concerns across
the wider land management and
constructionindustries.
We believe where there are concerns
among residents about land
stewardship, more can be gained
through constructive dialogue between
individuals, communities, management
companies and politicians.
A starting point would be to
acknowledge as a point of general
consensus and agreement the fact
that from wildflower meadows to
woodlands to hedgerows, the green
spaces we value around new-build
homes not only provide a diverse
habitat for plants and animals but are
vital for our own happiness.
The Improving Wellbeing through
Urban Nature, a project carried out
by academics from the University of
Sheffield’s Department of Landscape
Architecture, has found there is a
measurable improvement in health
and wellbeing when people notice the
nature around them.
That’s why these researchers are calling
on policymakers to invest in new and
existing green spaces so they meet the
diverse needs of urban populations
and everyone can access their benefits.
More recently, a project in England
named Prescribing Green Space found
that six to eight months after receiving
a “green prescription”, 63 per cent of
patients had become more active and
46 per cent had lost weight.
Our Greenspace model
Against this backdrop, our Greenspace
model has forged ahead and become a
benchmark of quality and consistency
in the industry. As the UK’s largest
private company to manage green
spaces in new-build developments,
the company is acutely aware just how
much of a positive impact our work
can have for homeowners.
That’s why we work with developers,
planners, residents’ associations and
local communities to achieve results
in green spaces that protect and even
enhance the future value of properties.
The Greenspace model can aid
developers in their quest to build
homes by helping them overcome
what is often a final hurdle: sustainable
management of green spaces –
something local authorities are
increasingly reluctant or unable to
facilitate due to budget constraints.
We do this by helping to transfer
obligations on legacy open space. Our
interim maintenance and open space
transfer programme includes a full
development appraisal and ensures
developers comply with duty of
careliabilities.
The long-term planning also allows
provision of maintenance regimes
that suit all parties, including
planning obligations, equipped play
areas and mature tree inspections
with a single point of contact for all
administrativecosts.
Smisby Road, Ashby de
la Zouch
We work with
developers,
planners,
residents’
associations
and local
communities
to achieve
results in
green spaces
that protect
and even
enhance the
future value of
properties
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | GREENBELT
In some developments, neighbour
is pitted against neighbour in an
artificially heated environment, stoked
by social media trolling and often
sensationalist press coverage.
The antagonistic nature of online
propagandising and the growing
intensity of ill-informed political lobbying
are now causing major concerns across
the wider land management and
constructionindustries.
We believe where there are concerns
among residents about land
stewardship, more can be gained
through constructive dialogue between
individuals, communities, management
companies and politicians.
A starting point would be to
acknowledge as a point of general
consensus and agreement the fact
that from wildflower meadows to
woodlands to hedgerows, the green
spaces we value around new-build
homes not only provide a diverse
habitat for plants and animals but are
vital for our own happiness.
The Improving Wellbeing through
Urban Nature, a project carried out
by academics from the University of
Sheffield’s Department of Landscape
Architecture, has found there is a
measurable improvement in health
and wellbeing when people notice the
nature around them.
That’s why these researchers are calling
on policymakers to invest in new and
existing green spaces so they meet the
diverse needs of urban populations
and everyone can access their benefits.
More recently, a project in England
named Prescribing Green Space found
that six to eight months after receiving
a “green prescription”, 63 per cent of
patients had become more active and
46 per cent had lost weight.
Our Greenspace model
Against this backdrop, our Greenspace
model has forged ahead and become a
benchmark of quality and consistency
in the industry. As the UK’s largest
private company to manage green
spaces in new-build developments,
the company is acutely aware just how
much of a positive impact our work
can have for homeowners.
That’s why we work with developers,
planners, residents’ associations and
local communities to achieve results
in green spaces that protect and even
enhance the future value of properties.
The Greenspace model can aid
developers in their quest to build
homes by helping them overcome
what is often a final hurdle: sustainable
management of green spaces –
something local authorities are
increasingly reluctant or unable to
facilitate due to budget constraints.
We do this by helping to transfer
obligations on legacy open space. Our
interim maintenance and open space
transfer programme includes a full
development appraisal and ensures
developers comply with duty of
careliabilities.
The long-term planning also allows
provision of maintenance regimes
that suit all parties, including
planning obligations, equipped play
areas and mature tree inspections
with a single point of contact for all
administrativecosts.
Smisby Road, Ashby de
la Zouch
We work with
developers,
planners,
residents’
associations
and local
communities
to achieve
results in
green spaces
that protect
and even
enhance the
future value of
properties
27GREENBELT |
HOUSING
Greenspace guarantees services are
protected: homeowners are assured
this model will remain in place for
them, helping to nurture their green
environment in a sustainable way, as
well as boosting future propertyvalues.
A landmark ruling by the Lands
Tribunal for Scotland states: “The
model has corresponding advantages
in the way of relieving the house
owners of all the inconvenience
of looking after the open ground
themselves, including the holding
of meetings, the appointment of
factors or landscaping contractors,
the monitoring of their performance
and so on, with the risk of potentially
damaging divisions among themselves
to which these matters can give rise.”
The need for clarity
We need clarity when it comes to
understanding the role of the land
manager, especially in light of the
recent political debate focused on
the so-called “fleecehold” scenario.
There is general confusion about
leasehold versus freehold models and
so-called“monopolies”.
The fact is Greenspace is a legitimate
business model. Registered and
compliant, it is tried, tested and future-
proofed, ensuring sustainable business
for the long-term benefit of customers.
In the case of both leaseholders and
freeholders, the reasonableness of
charges is for our public open spaces
only – so whether any challenge to the
reasonableness of charges is brought
by freeholders or by leaseholders
would have no bearing.
While detractors and politicians insist
on conflating Greenspace with the
so-called “fleecehold scandal”, there’s
a growing realisation the Greenspace
model is entirely voluntary and is the
one that works best for everyone,
yet it can be easily replaced by the
homeowners themselves.
Moreover, we are a member of the
government’s Primary Authority
scheme, making us the only land
management company in the UK to
have been registered for a partnership
agreement with its primary authority,
and this ensures we comply with the
highest trading standards.
We are also registered to trade as a
property factor under the Property
Factors (Scotland) Act of 2011. This
means we also we operate as part
of a regulated scheme that ensures
transparency and the right for
customers to challenge any operations
or billing through a homeowner panel.
This is a system we fully support and
is indeed something we proactively
encourage as a matter of responsible
governance and good practice.
While there is not yet such legislation in
England, Wales and Northern Ireland,
we have rolled out our compliance
measures across the UK to ensure a
consistently high level of service.
Moving forward, Greenbelt welcomes
the opportunity to work with
members of parliament and legislators,
demonstrating how adaptability
and awareness of landscape trends,
coupled with our business model
and knowledge, can accommodate
and indeed shape the future of
landmanagement.
There’s a
growing
realisation that
the Greenspace
model is entirely
voluntary and is
the one that
works best for
everyone
Springhead Mills,
Guiseley

www.greenbelt.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Greenbelt. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development