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Politicians are the least trusted profession but it’s also bad news for estate agents, bankers and traffic wardens

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Research from homebuying platform, YesHomebuyers, has revealed that estate agents are among the least-trusted professionals in the UK, ranking below both lawyers and traffic wardens. But it could be worse. They could be politicians.

After the past 12 months, it’s good to see that medical and healthcare professionals are, by far, the most trusted professionals in the UK. 54% of the general public ranked them top, followed by scientists (24%) and teachers (12%) which bodes well for the future of the country.

For estate agents, the results aren’t quite as complimentary. Just 1% of people think that agents are trustworthy as a profession. This means agents are considered less trustworthy than lawyers (3%) and traffic wardens (2%) and are on an equal footing with some of society’s biggest white-collar villains: bankers (1%).

The only professionals that the UK public considers less trustworthy than estate agents are politicians. In fact, not a single respondent declared any amount of trust for the UK’s politicians.

When it comes to the qualities that build the most trust with the public, honesty (67%), knowledge (15%), and respectfulness (8%) are the most important. Three qualities that are increasingly difficult to apply to politicians after a difficult sociopolitical year.

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, commented: “There’s no doubt that the pandemic has impacted the way we feel about certain professions in society with those working tirelessly on the front line by far the most respected and trusted by the public. In contrast, those at the helm have fared far worse and you can’t really blame the public for having this perception of politicians generally, let alone based on their handling of the pandemic.

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“It’s perhaps more surprising to see estate agents are still getting such a rough deal. The stamp duty holiday has caused a huge influx of buyers and the nation’s army of estate agents have been the ones working tirelessly to facilitating these sales despite huge market backlogs building at the back end of the transaction process.

“Of course, as the human touchpoint for many buyers and sellers, they’re always going to get it in the neck despite the great work they’ve been doing.”

Survey of 1,174 of the UK population carried out by YesHomebuyers on 18th March 2021.

Which of the following do you most associate with trust?

AnswerRespondents
Honest67%
Knowledgeable/intelligent15%
Respectful/courteous8%
Compassionate4%
Hardworking3%
Communicative3%
Heroic1%

Which of these professions do you trust the most?

AnswerRespondents
Medical professionals51%
Scientists24%
Teachers12%
Police7%
Lawyers3%
Traffic wardens2%
Bankers1%
Estate Agents1%
Politicians0%

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Property

Home sellers in Wales may need to advertise properties to local Welsh speakers first before selling on open market

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The Welsh Government is proposing a ‘fair chance scheme’ in areas with high numbers of second homes that could mean sellers must advertise to local Welsh speakers first before selling their property on the open market.

Minister, Jeremy Miles MS says that the move is designed to protect the Welsh Language. Welsh Conservative’s have criticised the move as potentially “promoting discrimination”.

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The Minister shared details of the proposed scheme at the recent National Eisteddfod in Tregaron, Ceredigion saying that properties could be marketed locally only, for a fixed period, with the Welsh Government working with organisations such as estate agents to address the housing needs of those communities.

Jeremy Miles said: “For the Welsh language to thrive, we need sustainable communities and good job opportunities in the areas where it is widely spoken.

“Through our Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, and the Commission for Welsh-speaking Communities we’re announcing today, we and our partners will work together with communities where Welsh is the main language and help them develop plans which protect their identity and our language.  

“This isn’t about imposing solutions, so everything we do will be in line with local communities’ aspirations.”

“I’ve said many times that the Cymraeg belongs to us all, as does the responsibility for its future. We’ll have to be brave and tackle things together that might be difficult. I’m sure that some of the things the Commission will tell us will be challenging, but that’s important – that’s what will help us find the most effective answers!”

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Welsh Conservatives meanwhile have criticised the move as potentially “promoting discrimination”.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Housing Minister, Janet Finch-Saunders MS said: “This scheme appears to be promoting discrimination against house buyers who do not speak Welsh. This is, of course, completely unacceptable. Immediate clarification on this policy is needed from the Labour Government.

“As a nation of sanctuary, there should be no prejudice against people looking to buy a house in Wales.

“We should not forget that these paltry policy tweaks and voluntary schemes will not address the underlying problem that is the Labour-caused housing crisis.

“There is no escaping the fact that Labour are only delivering half of the homes Wales needs in order to meet demand. This is Labour’s housing crisis and they are failing to deliver for local communities across Wales.”

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Construction

University expertise to help new ‘Living Building’ residents to grow own food on roof

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Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) is a key partner in a pioneering ‘Biophilic Living‘ initiative which is said to provide a radical new approach to living and working within the city.

A first for the UK, the University says this unique project will trial a new, scalable model that is set to change the way we conceive of inner-city housing in Wales.

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The construction will transform the former Woolworths store on Oxford Street in central Swansea – opposite Waterstones bookshop – and feature a new adjoining 13-storey structure.

It will be a mixed-use building with affordable and shared ownership housing, retail and low carbon commercial office space.

Residents will have the capacity to grow their own produce using the integral urban farm facility. Featuring two south-facing greenhouses at roof level, the building will use an aquaponics system, developed by Swansea University academics, designed to produce up to 4.5 tonnes of fruits, vegetables, salads and herbs per year.

Aquaponics is a food production system that creates a continuous cycle where waste produced by fish, living in on-site tanks, adds nutrients to the water which feeds the greenhouse plants. The water is then filtered and recirculated back into the system. The process will be explained in an educational public display on the ground floor of the tower

The project has been awarded funding through the Welsh Government Innovative Housing Programme.

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Professor Geoff Proffitt, head of biosciences at Swansea University, explains: “The Biophilic Living development will clearly be an inspirational building for the people who will live and work there, but it is more than an exciting home and workplace. The building will be driven through with cutting-edge biological, design, and engineering innovations. It will be a living, working example of great design, innovation and existing technology combining to support and nurture human health and wellbeing.

“The Biophilic Living plan and the ethos that underpins its design and development is a focus for change, the start of a new sustainable, Biophilic urban regeneration of Swansea. If we are to fully respond to increasing global challenges, urban development and redevelopment will have to take a lead.

“The project will contribute to local and global goals to address the climate change emergency, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Architects, designers, engineers and scientists will need to combine their skills to respond to these complex and immediate challenges. Biophilic Living is our first example of this collaborative approach”.

Swansea-based Hacer Developments is behind the scheme which has been designed by Swansea architects Powell Dobson. It is a result of extensive collaborative working among a range of local organisations, including Swansea University, the Active Building Centre, Public Health Wales, Swansea Community Farm and Sero Homes Ltd.

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The ‘living building’ is being funded by a mixture of private sector funding and funding from the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme, Pobl and the Development Bank of Wales.

The building is earmarked for completion by the end of 2023.

(Lead image: Powell Dobson / Hacer Developments)

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Bridgend

New development plan for Bridgend county moves to next stage

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A masterplan which will be used to determine what development takes place throughout Bridgend County Borough between now and 2033 has moved a step closer.

Cabinet members have agreed to refer the plan to a future meeting of full Council along with a recommendation that it be approved and submitted to Welsh Government for independent examination.

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The plan, which has taken three years to produce and is several hundred pages long, has been subject to a huge amount of research, evidence gathering and an extensive public consultation process which has taken into account more than 1,200 representations from local people.

The replacement Local Development Plan (LDP) features all of the policies that the authority will use when determining future planning applications. It sets out how land throughout the county borough can be used and which areas will be maintained as open space or designated for residential, employment, retail, waste, mineral development, community and tourism purposes.

The plan incorporates several potential development sites and includes locations at Porthcawl, Pyle, Pencoed, Island Farm and land to the west of Bridgend as well as sites identified within the town centre masterplan.

The replacement LDP proposes making enough land available to support projected increases in population, the development of 7,500 new jobs and the construction of 7,575 homes including 1,600 affordable dwellings, some of which have already been built, along with a 10 per cent flexibility allowance.

It also includes providing five new primary schools, transportation developments such as park and ride facilities for Porthcawl and the proposed Brackla railway station, extended / new park and ride facilities at Pyle, Maesteg Ewenny Road and Pencoed, and a new replacement road bridge over the railway at Pencoed.

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Under the LDP, all SINC wildlife sites and SSI scientific interest sites will be protected, and there are provisions for increasing public open space as well as the number of local allotments.

Other key developments include establishing a new passing loop and half-hour rail services to Maesteg, and bus corridor improvements in the Llynfi, Ogmore and Garw valleys, between Porthcawl and Cornelly and between Pyle, Aberkenfig and Pencoed.

Since its previous draft, several significant changes have been made to the LDP. Parc Afon Ewenny has been removed as a potential strategic housing site due to planning requirements on development within areas that are at risk of flooding, while a proposed site for gypsy and traveller accommodation on land located to the north-east of the council depot in Bryncethin has also been removed due to changes in identified need.

Elsewhere, flood prevention work carried out in Porthcawl has supported proposed regeneration development in the Salt Lake, Coney Beach and Sandy Bay areas.

Councillor John Spanswick, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The replacement Local Development Plan has been three years in the making and is the result of a huge amount of research and analysis, and I think our planning team have done a fantastic and meticulous job in preparing it for the county borough.

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“It lays out a carefully-planned balance of residential, commercial and leisure development that will ensure Bridgend County Borough can meet future demand between now and 2033 while also encouraging fresh investment and employment.

“From the feedback received through public consultation, it is clear that some residents are concerned about the potential impact additional development could have upon existing healthcare facilities, traffic levels, schools, utilities and green space.

“I want to reassure them that under the terms of the LDP, no new development can take place unless it can also deliver whatever additional infrastructure improvements may be necessary, and that this includes things like roads, schools, GP surgeries, leisure, open space, community facilities and more.”

Council Leader Huw David added: “We are in the middle of a national housing crisis and are already supporting around 200 homeless families and individuals.

“Latest census data has also confirmed that Bridgend County Borough is now one of the fastest growing areas in Wales, and that we are keeping pace with much larger areas such as Cardiff.

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“People are living for longer, and the situation is only going to get worse unless we plan ahead now and ensure that more homes can be provided to meet this rising demand.

“At the same time, we have to carefully balance residential needs against developments that support new employment and investment, and the LDP enables us to do this while taking a huge range of additional guidance and legislation into account.

“The next step now is to discuss the LDP at Council, and to then submit it to Welsh Government where it will be independently assessed as part of an inquiry presided over by a planning inspector.

“Once that process has been concluded, the draft LDP will go before a meeting of full Council for a final decision, and if approved at that point, it will serve as the new LDP for the next 15 years.”

(Lead Image: Adobe Stock)

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