Planning system holds back the delivery of new homes

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The construction of new homes is being delayed due to the demands placed on homebuilders trying to navigate the planning system

The Home Builders Federation has warned the planning system is holding back the delivery of new homes.

Concerns were raised as the organisation published its latest Housing Pipeline report. According to the data within the report planning permission was granted for 289,011 homes in the 12 months from September 2015. This represented the highest figure since the survey began in 2006.

However, issues surrounding the pre-commencement conditions laid down by local authorities means builders are not legally entitled to start construction until all these are discharged.

Resources must be in place

HBF’s executive chair Stewart Baseley said: “The housebuilding industry is committed to building more homes but can only do so if it has the land on which to build them.

“It is encouraging that so many headline planning permissions are being granted but we simply have to find a way to unblock the system and reduce the time it takes to get a permission to the stage where builders can actually start building.”

Recommendations

The HBF said that while the Neighbour Planning Bill will aid with the pre-commencement conditions the government needs to do more. One of the recommendations includes introducing a maximum number of conditions; another called for an end to ‘spurious’ council requirements.

The report also suggested local authorities were granting planning permission for large strategic sites, rather than a mix of sites. The HBF said this needs to be addressed.

It was private housing that drove growth in planning permissions, with the number of projects approved in Q3 2016 reaching 10 per cent higher than the same period in the previous year. Meanwhile social housing projects fell by 21 per cent.

Nationally, declines were seen in the North East, Scotland, the West Midlands and the East of England, while permission rose in London, the South East, Wales and the North West.

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