Graphic Version

Media

02 December, 2014

Government acts on house builders’ call to speed up planning process

House builders today welcomed commitments in the National Infrastructure Plan to speed up the planning system and accelerate housing delivery.  As HBF has been stressing to Government, the time taken – and associated costs – to get applications to the stage where work can start on site has increasingly acted as a constraint on housing delivery and worked against smaller house builders in particular.

Building on recommendations made by HBF to Government over the summer, the measures announced today (see note 2), if implemented, should  reduce the time taken to get applications approved, cut down on risk and get more sites active more quickly.

If successful, the measure should particularly assist and encourage smaller builders, who, lacking the financial capacity and resources of larger companies, have been disproportionality penalised by the delays and costs of the current system.

HBF also welcomed commitments by Government to bring forward larger sites.

Northstowe – successive Governments have been trying to develop land earmarked for housing for 20 years now.  If contracts can be developed that bring sites forward quickly, in a way that is attractive to developers, the area could contribute to much needed housing numbers. Such a model could be particularly attractive to smaller developers if upfront costs are reduced.  Delivery must be closely monitored and if sites don’t come forward as anticipated, alternatives sites must be allocated elsewhere to ensure housing needs are met for the area.

Bicester – also has been long earmarked for development. If Government can provide the infrastructure required to bring forward land for development more quickly this also could boost housing numbers. As with all new towns though, homes provided will be completed over a very long period with activity possibly taking some time to begin. Proposals must not therefore be at the expense of measures to spark house building in the short term

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF said;

“Measures to speed up the planning process are positive and what the industry has been calling for. We need a system that is responsive to current housing needs and not one that acts as a constraint. The current system is too slow, overly complex and costly. Such improvements can only help get more sites started more quickly.”

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 or 07919 307760. Steve.turner@hbf.co.uk    

Notes to editors

  1. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk
  2. Today’s  announcement states that Government will introduce measures that;
  • ensure the principle of development need only be established once
  • speed up section 106 negotiations
  • increase the requirements on Local Authorities with regard to the speed of decision on applications.