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  • Affordable homes policy 'could threaten smaller schemes'

    Developer John Fisher says the requirement for affordable homes on small developments could threaten the viability – and therefore deliverability – of those schemes.

    Mr Fisher, managing director of Thames Valley housebuilder T A Fisher, says small developers seeking to maintain a high threshold of quality could find it difficult to incorporate both affordable houses and developer infrastructure contributions on smaller projects.

    Government changes to national planning policy have sought to prevent local authorities asking for contributions towards infrastructure and affordable housing on developments of 10 dwellings or less.

    This was challenged in court last year by Reading and West Berkshire councils which initially succeeded but then lost on appeal.

    However, the Court of Appeal stated that ‘local circumstances may justify lower (or no) thresholds as an exception to the national policy’.

    Reading Borough Council, which has a shortage of affordable homes, has successfully argued at a number of appeals, that it is one such exception.

    Reading’s lead councillor for strategic, environment, planning and transport, Cllr Tony Page said at a meeting on April 4 that volume developers ‘liked cheap and cheerful’ and that the council would fight them at appeals.

    Mr Fisher has empathy with Reading Borough Council’s stance but argues that those seeking to build small numbers of quality homes would find the obligation to provide infrastructure contributions along with affordable homes on such small schemes, exceedingly difficult to absorb in viability terms.

    Mr Fisher said: “There is scope on larger greenfield developments to accommodate a fair and reasonable affordable housing obligation however directly schemes fall below a certain threshold there are risks that may well prevent those developments coming forward and frustrating the delivery of much needed housing that would otherwise come forward; that scenario is surely undesirable for everyone.

    “By insisting upon the delivery of affordable homes and infrastructure contributions on small sites against Government guidance, these local authorities are potentially limiting the delivery of new homes by the small/medium housebuilders who produce really good quality designs, to a high standard and build them in a sensible timescale.”

  • T A Fisher Secures Letting To Osirium

    Fast expanding cyber security business Osirium has joined T A Fisher and House of Fisher at Theale Court.

    Osirium, launched in 2008 by Thames Valley IT entrepreneur David Guyatt, has taken a vacant 3,400 sq ft office in the building, owned by T A Fisher, where its team of 39 staff now operate.

    The firm was previously along the High Street at Brewery Court.

    Mr Guyatt, founder of MIMEsweeper, has been at the forefront of developing software in the region for over 25 years and in the 1990s was Sales and Marketing Director for Integralis, another Theale based company.

    He took Osirium through the IPO process in April 2016 and in the last year, has seen growth double. The sector has become increasingly important in combating cyber attacks and protecting against data breaches.

    Osirium wanted to keep existing staff who like the Theale location and be able to attract more as it grows.

    Operations Director Catherine Jamieson said: “Theale is a good place in terms of location. It is not in the centre of Reading and so we don’t get the traffic but we are accessible from the university for software developers and IT people. There is also a good train service to London.”

    House of Fisher, the serviced apartments division of T A Fisher, moved its team to a newly created office on the same floor to give Osirium a brand new open plan area for its expanding team.

    House of Fisher Managing Director, Trine Oestergaard said: “We created a modern, fresh and uniquely branded office for our young HOF team.

    “This includes a lovely big and bright board room, a ‘Tactics Room’ and brand new staff kitchen. Theale Court works very well for us, right by the M4, a train station and with great connections and many of our Thames Valley locations.”

  • E-Centre Spot For Broadband Provider

    T A Fisher has completed a deal to sell a property in Bracknell to the firm rolling out ultra fast broadband in the Thames Valley.

    Communication services provider BtL which has partnered with CityFibre to roll out broadband speeds of up to 1GB throughout major towns and cities across the UK – and which last year launched in Reading and Bracknell – has acquired 7,500 sq ft Unit 3 at the E-Centre in Easthampstead Road.

    The deal puts the telecoms provider in the heart of its network and is a further boost to an area which has seen a dramatic upgrade in recent years.

    The property is close to Beneficial House, once an unloved office block, but now an apart hotel run by T A Fisher’s serviced apartment division House of Fisher, along with a popular gym on the ground floor. Other businesses have moved into the areas in recent times and the site is within easy reach of the new Lexicon development which opens in September.

    T A Fisher managing director John Fisher said: “This is an excellent deal for all parties and it demonstrates there is a market for freehold offices for owner/occupiers. E-Centre is well positioned, close to the town centre, shops and within walking distance to the station so it has great appeal for all occupiers.”

    Rob Lamden, managing director of BtL said none of the properties he viewed were as good as the E-Centre. He added: “It’s great for my young staff because it’s right in the middle of Bracknell so they’ll be able to walk across to the shops – and it will be more attractive for getting new staff in.

    “One of the key things for us is that we are in the middle of the CityFibre network and this is actually one of the few spots in the whole network in the Thames Valley where the fibre actually goes all the way round it.”

    A training company currently has a lease on the ground floor and will become a tenant of BtL.

    BtL plans to turn part of its premises into a beach-themed showroom to illustrate the ‘work anywhere’ concept. Potential clients can bring their iPads and experiment with various download options to highlight the speeds available and trial other services. The firm hopes to move in by March 11.

    Agents for T A Fisher were Page Hardy Harris.

    Director Nick Hardy said: “I am delighted that the sale of 3 E-Centre has completed, bringing BtL onto the estate and into the heart of Bracknell.”

  • Launch date for Blue Prior – in UK’s most desirable location

    As idyllic places to live go, few can match the location of T A Fisher’s latest release.

    Blue Prior is a development of just 13 two, three and four bedroom homes, tucked away in Church Crookham, Hampshire, where village life exists just over a mile from the bustling town of Fleet.

    Both fall within Hart District Council, where residents have good reason appreciate the desirability of their area.

    The district has been named the healthiest, happiest and wealthiest place to live in the UK for five consecutive years in an annual survey by Halifax.

    And for Blue Prior residents, desirability goes a stage further.

    The development’s launch over the weekend of March 4 and 5, will offer the first glimpse of this distinctive, design-led scheme where T A Fisher has worked with the local authority to ensure an outstanding look combines with our customary high specification and exceptional quality.

    Blue Prior’s striking, contemporary appearance features a mix of classic red brickwork, white rendered and timber panelled detail and high-ridged and pitched grey tiled roofs.

    Both the external designs and internal layouts offer considerable variation across the 13 homes.

    Plot five has been described as a modern take on the traditional coach house. It is a split level, two bedroom terrace with garage, utility room, cloakroom and lobby below and kitchen/living room, bedrooms and bathroom above.

    Five of the homes feature two double bedrooms where both have en suites and for larger families there are three storey, four bedroom properties.

    Many of the homes offer spacious kitchen/dining/living areas, desired by today’s aspirational families.

    Facilities in the immediate vicinity of Blue Prior include a children’s nursery and a BUPA care home while nearby towns including Fleet, Odiham, Hartley Wintney, offer a vast range of retailers and restaurants.

    Fleet’s new train station can get you to London in 40 minutes and the A287 offers easy access to the M3.

    For more information:

    Visit: http://www.mackenziesmith.co.uk/development/?id=16370

    Contact: MacKenzie Smith on 01252 812121 or email fleet@mackenziesmith.co.uk

  • Horticulture House Acquisition

    The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has sold its Theale premises.

    Developer and property investor T A Fisher, based just a few yards away, has acquired Horticulture House in Theale High Street and is offering office occupiers the chance to rent space in the building temporarily while it draws up plans to develop the building.

    T A Fisher has acquired a number of office buildings in the Thames Valley in recent years for redevelopment.

    Until the plans are finalised, 12-month licences are available in the 8,000 sq ft building. Alternatively the 37 car spaces are also available separately to rent.
    For further details please contact Stephen Head of Hicks Baker on 0118 959 6144.

  • Solstice House Comes Into The Spotlight

    The next T A Fisher development to launch will offer both rare investment opportunities and a chance for first time buyers to get stunning apartments at affordable prices.

    Solstice House in Farnborough will be released over the weekend of February 25 and 26 (10am – 4pm).

    Four of the mix of 12 stylish, contemporary apartments at the new building will be available through a special leaseback arrangement with our serviced apartment division, House of Fisher (HOF).

    HOF’s arrangements to provide major corporate companies with long and short stay accommodation, allows investors to own a property without day-to-day tenant issues.

    The other eight apartments are available through the Government’s Help to Buy scheme which offers financial support for first time buyers. All 12 of the apartments are for sale privately.

    Solstice House will have two retail units on the ground floor and one is already pre-let to an estate agent. The building has studio and one-bedroom apartments on the first floor, one-bedroom apartments on the second floor and two penthouses on the third floor; one with two bedrooms and one with three, but both benefitting from amazingly generous roof terraces and fantastic views.

    Each of the 12 apartments has the kind of modern specification demanded by both today’s aspirational tenants and owner occupiers.

    Among a host of features, each has economical heating and hot water plus radiators with individual thermostatic controls.

    Kitchens come complete with all the main appliances including integrated dishwasher, fridge/freezer and washer/dryer. Features of the bathrooms and en suites include half tiled walls and fully tiled showers, ladder style heated chrome towel rails and shaver lights.

    Solstice House presents modern living in a fast-progressing town.

    Farnborough town centre is undergoing an £80 million regeneration. The Meads Shopping Centre has been refurbished with a cinema and restaurants added; the Princes Mead Shopping Centre is nearing the end of a major upgrade with new stores opening and work is underway on the new Horizon Shopping Park.

    Work has also begun on the vast new Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre at Farnborough Airport, home of the biennial Farnborough International Airshow.

    Solstice House is in Victoria Road and is a six-minute walk from Farnborough station where trains reach London Waterloo in just 37 minutes.

    Romans New Homes are dealing with sales. Contact 01344 753110

    For information on investment opportunities through House of Fisher, contact 0118 933 3500.

  • Mortimer To Be Consulted On Proposals For New Homes and Public Open Space

    People in Mortimer are being invited to have their say on proposals for up to 110 new homes on two separate sites in the village which together will provide the community with more than 40 affordable homes and new public open space.
    The purpose of the public consultation event is to ask local residents about where the balance of the 110 new homes that are to be provided in village should be located if, as now seems likely, it is found that they cannot all be accommodated on the preferred draft Neighbourhood Plan site.
    The proposals, which also include land for a school and GP surgery, will be on show at a drop-in event at Mortimer Community Centre on Thursday 26th January from 4pm – 8pm. Members of the project team will be available to discuss the scheme and there will be an opportunity to leave feedback to help shape the plans before they are submitted to West Berkshire Council.
    Approximately 75 of the new homes are proposed for a site behind St John’s Church, and around 35 on land south of West End Road. Forty percent of the houses will be designated as affordable homes, with a portion being available for rent and others being available for shared ownership.
    The proposals are being brought forward by local house builder T A Fisher, in conjunction with the landowner the Englefield Estate. They have been drawn up by architects Pro Vision of Newbury.
    John Fisher, Managing Director of T A Fisher said: “Mortimer’s Neighbourhood Development Plan has already identified one of these two sites as being the preferred location to help meet the village’s need for at least 110 new homes.
    “In looking at the final draft of the Neighbourhood Plan, the examiner was concerned that not all of the 110 homes could be accommodated on the preferred site for landscaping reasons, which means another site would need to be found. As a result, and to make sure we are able to deliver the right number and type of homes in the best places, we have bought forward these latest proposals.
    “That means Mortimer would still be able to meet its target of 110 new homes, with 44 of them being affordable, in appropriate locations close the centre of the village and adjacent to existing development. This would also ensure land for community infrastructure, including a new infant school, and a large area of open space are provided alongside the new homes.
    “The layouts have been carefully drawn up to reflect and enhance the special rural character of the village.”
    “Edward Crookes, Estates Director from Englefield, said: “The Estate has a long history of supporting local communities, and has provided places for people to live, work, learn and play for many years. “As a local landowner, we have been asked to make space available for new homes in Mortimer to help meet the pressing need for new houses. The two areas we put forward have long been identified as potential development sites by West Berkshire Council.
    “These latest proposals also mean we will be able to set aside land which could be used to help Mortimer meet its future needs, for new school buildings and a GP surgery, for example.”
    The proposed scheme also includes three hectares, or seven acres, of public open space for the village.
    Details about the plans, and the exhibition, are also available online at the website

  • New lease of life for historic Peppard Common House

    A house brimming with history in its South Oxfordshire community is to get a new lease of life as part of T A Fisher’s latest redevelopment.
    The Square House, in Stoke Row Road, Peppard Common, a four up, four down property was built in 1900, long before most in the area. It is to be refurbished and two further four bedroom detached homes will be built within the grounds.
    For most of the last century the original house had a connection with the health profession which, apart from a brief spell in 1947, lasted until its sale to T A Fisher in 2014. A succession of doctors lived in the house and treated their patients in a surgery in a separate outbuilding.
    So for 27 years, residents of Peppard Common had not only a surgery within their community but doctors living on site. A night bell for medical emergencies still exists next to the front door.
    The Department for Health bought it in 1947, and from 1950 let it to the eminent psychiatrist Dr Gerald O’Gorman, the then new Medical Superintendent at Borocourt Hospital, who lived at the Square House with his family.
    Exuberant and energetic Dr O’Gorman, who, during the war, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, working as a psychiatrist in a number of battle zones was a pioneer in the subject of what is now termed intellectual disability.
    After he died in 1998, his wife Katie O’Gorman continued living at the house until two years ago when she decided to downsize, ending the family’s 64-year connection with it.
    As well as its medical and community significance, the house is characterised by a number of quirky, historical features.
    A railway carriage has survived in the garden since the 1920s. Its various uses have included a home for the manservant of the early owners of the house, storage space and a great place for the O’Gorman’s children to play in.
    Yet, no-one living today can seem to explain how almost 100 years ago, it found its way to a house in rural Peppard Common, miles from any railway track.
    Another feature of the garden is less obvious. Hidden beneath an outdoor slab is something known as a Chiltern Flask, an igloo-shaped underground chamber. Rainwater would be collected in it and, via a pump in the garden, could be re-used. Sustainability, Victorian-style.
    T A Fisher is working hard to retain, as a conversation-piece for the house’s new occupants, a set of servant bells in the kitchen bearing the name ‘Callas, Sons & May’, a well known Reading business at the time. They would allow the past occupants of the upstairs rooms to ring for service.
    One interesting aspect of the Square House can only be seen by venturing along the road where there is an almost identical home, facing the opposite direction, effectively ‘bookending’ a row of homes in Stoke Row Road!
    When T A Fisher was approached, land consultant Jeremy Fisher knew of it straight away. He would frequently pass it when out running but had never previously known its significance.
    He said under T A Fisher’s scheme, the Square House will be ‘stripped out and put back together again’. Much of the charm and history will remain while allowing mod cons usually associated with newly built homes.
    Two further four bedroom detached homes will be built within the grounds in complimentary styles, both having large kitchen/dining/living areas which are popular with modern family living.
    A new improved access for the three properties will be formed onto Stoke Row Road, intended to increase visibility and safety in and out of the development.
    Work is expected to start in January 2017 with completion in the Autumn.

  • Plans submitted for 30 homes at Kennylands Road, Sonning Common

    Reading based house builder T A Fisher has submitted plans to South Oxfordshire District Council for 30 new homes on land at Kennylands Road, Sonning Common. The site is allocated in the recently adopted Neighbourhood Plan (Son 5) which was overwhelmingly supported by residents at the referendum held in September.
    The site lies on the western fringes of the village. It is adjacent to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) but separated from adjoining farmland by a mature hedgerow and tree belt. The land is well located for village centre shops, Sonning Common Primary School and Chiltern Edge School.
    Head of Land & Planning Julian Pacey commented: “The submission of this planning application is the culmination of extensive discussions over several years with the Sonning Common Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan Group. The scheme will deliver a range of bungalows and family houses including much needed low cost affordable homes.”
    T A Fisher is a long established, locally based family business. In recent years the company has undertaken two schemes in the area – at Ilex Close Sonning Common and Butlers Yard Peppard Common.
    Mr Pacey added: “We are naturally delighted to be undertaking a further small scheme in the village.”

  • New start for Lane End House

    Work is due to start next spring on nine T A Fisher homes in Shinfield.
    Wokingham Borough Council recently granted Planning permission for the detached properties on a 1.18-acre plot known as Lane End House at the junction of Brookers Hill and the Shinfield Road.
    A fine house once stood on the site converted to office use some time ago and most recently occupied IFIS (formerly the International Food Information Service). The offices were demolished following IFIS move to Arborfield and will be replaced by the scheme of attractive three and four-bedroom family homes.
    The new houses, carefully designed to reflect the character of the village, will benefit from easy access to all the local services & amenities and recently the improved transport links to Reading and the M4.
    T A Fisher managing director John Fisher said: “These homes will reflect their traditional surroundings but at the same time benefit from modern construction techniques and energy saving features. These homes offer good quality design with generous outdoor space on a relatively small non-estate scheme that will complement the immediate neighbourhood and wider Shinfield village.”

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