Developers learn planning secrets at Regentsmead show

Developers learn planning secrets at Regentsmead show

Specialist lender Regentsmead last week held a successful inaugural event, the One Stop shop for developers, in the heart of the city..

Specialist lender Regentsmead last week held a successful inaugural event, the One Stop shop for developers, in the heart of the city.
On Thursday last week, over 70 developers descended onto The St Botolph Building in Aldgate, London, to hear from an array of speakers, including a warranty provider, a leading architect, a Regentsmead developer and James Bloom, CE of Regentsmead
James opened the day, by introducing Paul Cooper, Managing Director of warranty provider, Checkmate, division of Lockton Companies.
Paul described how the firm launched the web-based online platform on 1st March 2010, and was designed by developers and builders for developers and builders.
Checkmate provides insurance policies across a wide range of new and newly converted or refurbished homes and commercial premises throughout the UK.
Paul explained why the firm is the “low carbon solution” to go to and highlighted how it had launched a Green Library, an environmental service which is “like an online Yellow Pages for green construction”.
He also announced that the warranty provider will be launching new specific PRS policies this summer. 
One of the standout presentations of the day was by Jane Duncan, of Jane Duncan Architects, who went into the numerous nuances of planning tactics for developers.
With new planning guidance coming out thick and fast, Jane gave a breakdown of all the different planning changes, including a summary of cuts to levy (CIL) to boost housing supply, exemptions and extensions and also an insider look into GPDO loopholes.
Jane, who is one of the early frontrunners in the race to become the next RIBA President, also updated the delegates about the changes to the planning appeal system and gave a great brief on how developers can “make the most in the pre-application game”.
Developer Alex Neale of Romford Homes was next to present, giving all developer delegates a real insight into not only his business but why he started using Regentsmead
for funding and why he’s not sourcing it anywhere else.
Alex gave an insight into issues regarding financing projects, including tips and facts on the industry and highlighted a recent case study he had just completed. 
Having been let down by Lloyds Bank, who took three months to decide not to give Romford Homes funding, Alex started using Regentsmead
and he hasn’t looked back since.
Alex highlighted a recent case study which involved the construction of two five-bed detached houses on a site in Solihull, West Midlands. Works started in May 2013 (below left), but completed in February 2014. The site costs equated to £425,000, with a GDV of £1.64 million. The site size was 110m by 42m and the build area was 800m². 
Alex, whose aim with Romford Homes is to complete 25 units this year, is already moving on to another project with Regentsmead
James Bloom rounded off the day by reiterating Regentsmead
’s heritage in the industry and how it has been a true principal lender for over 50 years. The lender states that 83 per cent of first time borrowers go on to borrow from the outfit again and that 67 per cent of current borrowers have referred someone on to the lender.
Commenting on the success of the event, James told B&C: “We were delighted with the response to our inaugural developer event with over 70 developers attending. The feedback we had on the event has been incredibly positive and people said they found the content both well delivered and very informative. The attendees were given some really useful information and they told us that the speakers delivered some really useful nuggets for them to take away. 
“The event was months in the planning and my team did a great job ensuring it all ran smoothly on the day. 
“The developers present seemed to like the fact that we lend our own funds and offer an immediate and highly personal service, we have already been asked by several attendees when the next seminar is so watch this space. The next Regentsmead event is on 1st May in conjunction with the NACFB and there are few places left so please register on our website if you haven’t already done so
From a delegate point of view, Michael Conlon of First Merchant said: “The seminar was excellent. For years the "professionals", solicitors, architects, surveyors etc. have been pushed into the background, consulted only after the deal has been done, rarely if ever, were they asked for advice in the initial stages of a project.
“With changes in planning regulations likely to be continuous and with a tsunami of regulation drowning many small and medium size firms, the professionals will have to be involved from the beginning in virtually all applications for finance. Experience, the great talisman of the non-professional and his cheeky side kick, presumption, will play second fiddle to detailed and factual knowledge of exactly what the current regulations are. 
“This will add to costs, slow down the decision process, and probably not prevent bad loans being agreed and viable loan applications being declined, but that's how it's going to be.”
Roshan Doostdar, Director of Vision Finance, who incidentally won the Regentsmead quiz on the day, added: “What really came through from the developer day was their personality. They really are "people people" and they are always at the end of a phone should any problems arise, which in the business of property development are always possible. While Regentsmead
do not hold themselves out to offer the cheapest development finance, they are competitive, and what they do offer are quick decisions and certainty for the developer. The whole event was impeccably well organised, and the presentation from Checkmate Warranties and Jane Duncan Architects were very informative.”

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