Speeding up the “drip-fed” housebuilding process requires serious planning reforms, says think tank Civitas
If developers are to sell more homes cheaply while turning over new properties quickly the planning system must be overhauled. Cross-party think tank Civitas said planning reform is necessary to ensure barriers to the housebuilding process are removed.
Housing and the shortage of affordable properties remains a key issue in the UK. The government has enacted a number of measures to streamline the building process including loosening the rules surrounding converting commercial buildings into homes and development on brownfield sites. However, the housing crisis still remains an issue for many, with sections of society completely outpriced out of the market.
Over the past few years there has been a push to streamline the planning process and remove some of the red tape. But Civitas has warned there is still more to do to increase the rate of housebuilding.
Planning reforms are needed
Currently, homes are built in a way that keeps house prices level. Furthermore, Civitas warned new residential land “is drip-fed by the market at a rate that keeps prices high”. The think tank called for a new land and planning framework to enable developers to build and sell faster, as well as the removal of landowners’ rights to sit on land indefinitely.
The organisation said planning reforms would place the onus on landowners to sell to private developers before the local authority steps in with compulsory purchase orders. This would enable developers to buy land cheaper and would also put pressure on developers to build faster.
Civitas’ editorial director Daniel Bentley said: “What is required is a new land and planning framework that enables developers to sell homes more cheaply, and so build them more quickly, by purchasing the land at lower prices.
“For this to be feasible, the landowners’ right to sit on land indefinitely needs to be removed.”
Contractual obligations should be introduced alongside planning permission, which would set the pace of delivery by developers. If contracts are breached Civitas said fines should be imposed.